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View Poll Results: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

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  • Yes

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  • No

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  1. #1
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    Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    I made a mistake.

    I enjoy ODN because I like discourse. My last OP does not turn on discussion; it turns off the very people I seek to engage. Honestly, I should know better. I make a living by building long-term relationships with clients. I'd never dream of addressing them the way I address Christians in the last OP. At least, not until I'd actually developed a long-term relationship. People on ODN don't know me like that yet. It doesn't matter if Christians misunderstand my humor as cold vituperation. The fact is, they do. My bad. "Tooting my own rhetorical horn," as Talthas called it, definitely ain't the way to win friends and influence folks.

    Christians, I don't expect you to leave your faith, just as you probably don't expect me to convert to Christianity. Still, if we challenge ideas, surely this fulfills our purpose on ODN: Learning and enjoying healthy, intellectual debate. Thanks to the Christians who committed to responding to this thread.

    That said, let's see if we can move forward with a question that hopefully generates a good discussion.

    Has the Christian God done everything in his power to convince unbelievers?

    Worldwide, unbelievers outnumber Christians 2 to 1. In some countries with massive populations - India, for instance - unbelievers outnumber Christians 50 to 1. Should we really expect this, considering 1 Timothy 2:4?

    1 Timothy 2:4


    3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
    In 1 John and Matthew, God also commands people to "believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ," and Jesus describes "loving God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" as the greatest commandment.

    I cannot imagine how appeals to free will can apply.

    Consider the following biblical accounts of God performing miracles that convince unbelievers. I quote these verses at length, to show that I do not take these verses out of context.

    1 Kings 18:22-39 (New International Version)

    22 Then Elijah said to them, "I am the only one of the LORD's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God."
    Then all the people said, "What you say is good."

    25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire." 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
    Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

    27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

    30 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel." 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs [a] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood."

    34 "Do it again," he said, and they did it again.
    "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

    36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."

    38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

    39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!"
    Acts 3:6-20

    6Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

    Peter Speaks to the Onlookers 11While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. 12When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you?

    Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

    17"Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ[a] would suffer. 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
    Acts 9:33-42 33

    There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. 34"Aeneas," Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat." Immediately Aeneas got up. 35All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

    36In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas[a]), who was always doing good and helping the poor. 37About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!"

    39Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

    40Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. 42This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.
    Acts 13:6-12

    6They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10"You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun."

    Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
    Acts 14:3

    3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.
    Acts 28: 3-6

    Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." 5But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.
    Why does God not provide such convincing miracles today? Why would he provide such ample convincing during times of great credulity and illiteracy, but then scale back the miracles during times of greater skepticism and literacy? Surely, today's humans need miracles just as much - if not more than - the mostly illiterate humans in antiquity.

    Indeed, it seems quite absurd to state that God has done everything in his power to convince unbelievers. At least some humans in antiquity got a plethora of miracles. Modern-day humans got gypped. We only have ancient, mistake-filled and fabricated reports, written by who-knows-who and who-knows-when, with anonymous sources, in an arcane language.

    We can't excuse God's behavior with an appeal to free will. Can we say "God doesn't give us miracles, because then our belief would not be a matter of faith"? I think not. The people who witnessed God's miracles in the Old and New Testament believed - and they had solid evidence presented to their very eyes. God obviously did not mind providing those those people with evidence.

    So, if God hasn't done everything in his power to convince unbelievers, then it seems he is either unable or unwilling to do so. If he is unable, is he really omnipotent? If he is unwilling, then can we really describe him as an all-loving, omni-benevolent deity who wants us to know him? If he is unwilling, it seems that the God of the Bible (consider 1 Timothy 2:4) does not exist.
    Last edited by sonofnietzsche; January 21st, 2010 at 09:57 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    I'd say He DOES provide both solid evidence and convincing miracles, but throughout the centuries, nobody (or very few) really pays attention. It's not that miracles don't happen, but they don't seem to make a big difference in people's minds. I had a friend in Japan that was hit by a car and it totally destroyed his hip. As he was laying on a hospital bed, he called for a blessing from the Elders from the church, they came, did the blessing, and after they left he told the nurses that he wanted to try standing. They laughed it off as a joke, but he shifted a little bit, turned, and stood. The nurses called the doctor in, who was dazed for a bit. Then he turned around and left muttering "Shinjirarenai" - "I can't believe it." The doctor, of all people, should know that he shouldn't have been able to stand, but because he hadn't done the preparation to be ready for the miracle, he simply went into denial. He wasn't prepared to act on the information he was given - which would likely be an entire uprooting of his belief system. I'll bet that to this day, he's either conveniently suppressed the memory or ignores it.
    " 'God is not dead, nor doth he sleep...' "

    My mormon.org profile (if you'd like to know a little more about where I'm coming from):
    http://www.mormon.org/me/1KM4-eng/Alex

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanLeadread View Post

    Indeed, it seems quite absurd to state that God has done everything in his power to convince unbelievers.
    Please support the implied premise: Christians (as a group, ie Christianity) believe God has done everything in His power to convince unbelievers.



    .
    Last edited by evensaul; January 22nd, 2010 at 09:01 AM.
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by yasashiku View Post
    I'd say He DOES provide both solid evidence and convincing miracles, but throughout the centuries, nobody (or very few) really pays attention. It's not that miracles don't happen, but they don't seem to make a big difference in people's minds. I had a friend in Japan that was hit by a car and it totally destroyed his hip. As he was laying on a hospital bed, he called for a blessing from the Elders from the church, they came, did the blessing, and after they left he told the nurses that he wanted to try standing. They laughed it off as a joke, but he shifted a little bit, turned, and stood. The nurses called the doctor in, who was dazed for a bit. Then he turned around and left muttering "Shinjirarenai" - "I can't believe it." The doctor, of all people, should know that he shouldn't have been able to stand, but because he hadn't done the preparation to be ready for the miracle, he simply went into denial. He wasn't prepared to act on the information he was given - which would likely be an entire uprooting of his belief system. I'll bet that to this day, he's either conveniently suppressed the memory or ignores it.
    Surely a "miracle" such as this would be news worthy, right? Why is it that it only "seems" that the only miracles god is performing are medical ones these days? Surely it isn't possible that the hip wasn't "destroyed" as you claim and/or there was a misdiagnosis. This reminds me of someone who claimed that when Pope John Paul II got shot many years ago, it was a "miracle" because god moved the bullet 1 inch to the left and missed his heart, allowing him to live and continue to be pope. Wouldn't the better miracle have been god moved the bullet 2 feet to the left? Just like your "friend", wouldn't it have been a better miracle if the car missed him? I didn't get hit by a car today (yet) so I must be receiving a better miracle than your friend. No offense, but this is just another anecdotal story that is unlikely to be verified and we have no reason to believe it was your god that performed any miracle at all. People of completely other faiths around the world experience and tell of similar "miracles" done by their gods.


    Opposing theory to the creation of the "known universe". Read it carefully, it's not a difficult read on physics and quantum mechanics.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanLeadread View Post
    Has the Christian God done everything in his power to convince unbelievers?
    This is an interesting question, but I'm not sure it's the right one. I think that an equally relevant and valid question is: "Is it incumbent upon God to do anything to convince unbelievers?" Does God - the Creator of the universe and of the human race - owe it to those who don't believe in Him to do something (more) to demonstrate His existence? It has been argued (here and elsewhere) that God's existence is proven everywhere for those who wish to find Him. As the saying goes, "miracles happen every day." What's more, is it truly necessary for God to personally manifest a custom-made miracle for every person that doesn't believe in order to say that He's "done due diligence," even if such diligence is due?

    The first implication that comes to mind is that if God were to actually do as the OP requests - to make a command performance of sorts that unequivocally convinces all who witness it that He is the one true God - it would deprive human beings of the ability to make the willful choice to come to Him of their own accord. Such an action on God's part would deprive the conversions of such people of a great portion of their moral value, since it usurps their free will to some extent or another. "How much more blessed are those who believe and have not yet seen," said Jesus.

    I want to make it clear: I'm not suggesting that every atheist just randomly suspend their reason and logic and allow themselves to drink the kool-aid or whatnot. But rather than trying to put God in the box of our own expectations, it seems like there might be another approach that is at least as valuable as the logic-driven one. Faith is not simply a mass delusion that tricks the gullible and the weak-willed. It is a rational response to a stimulus that cannot be explained by rational means. When someone experiences the presence of God in their lives, it can happen without that person having asked for it.

    There are countless stories of atheists who had exactly these types of experiences - miraculous healings or protection... messages delivered, or even things as simple as experiencing the divine Peace that Jesus promised to all who believe in Him.. and believed, without ever having asked. I propose that it is because in their hearts and minds, they were ready to accept that form of Grace as-is and receive it as the gift that it is. Those who are not ready will *never* be able to believe until they are, because they will always find some way, however unlikely, to "reason it away." We're talking about the same world, the same rules, the same humanity as existed in Biblical times. There are always ways to explain things away if you want to find them badly enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanLeadred
    I cannot imagine how appeals to free will can apply.
    It's simple. A being "exists" as such only in as far as it has free will. Our existence as sentient beings, if broken down into the most basic philosophical terms, can be summed up in that we are autonomous, rational, moral actors. We owe our very concept of "self" to this simple fact. If we were not capable of forming independent thoughts and did not have internal freedom of ideas, we would not be independently existing beings. We would be little more than agents of whatever controlling power guided our thoughts. We would be, in effect, automata. Thus, anything that deprives a person of free will deprives him of the ability to make moral choices to the same degree as the first, and vice versa. This essentially renders the person so controlled, effectively, into an automaton.

    If we believed only because God gave an irresistibly compelling demonstration, we could not say that we acted of our own accord. Thus, there would be no moral value in belief. Since the act of belief in Jesus is an entirely moral act, as are almost all of the later implications of that belief, depriving the initial act of conversion of its moral value renders the rest of the faith, to some degree, inert.

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanLeadred
    Why does God not provide such convincing miracles today? Why would he provide such ample convincing during times of great credulity and illiteracy, but then scale back the miracles during times of greater skepticism and literacy? Surely, today's humans need miracles just as much - if not more than - the mostly illiterate humans in antiquity.
    Western thinking has become so enmeshed with Rationalism and a Cartesian dualism that I believe the position of the community of intelligentsia to be fundamentally incompatible with faith, unless said position is rectified by eyes guided with faith. Providing a miracle would do no good unless it were absolutely and irresistibly compelling, and I have just shown why I believe this to be an unacceptable end.

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanLeadred
    We can't excuse God's behavior with an appeal to free will. Can we say "God doesn't give us miracles, because then our belief would not be a matter of faith"? I think not.
    I disagree, for reasons I have just shown.

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanLeadred
    The people who witnessed God's miracles in the Old and New Testament believed - and they had solid evidence presented to their very eyes. God obviously did not mind providing those those people with evidence.
    You must remember, everything that the Bible tells us God did and said is not simply a literal account of "what happened." It's also got very significant moral and theological implications that must be considered when discussing them, or a vital part of the puzzle is missing. What's more, the cosmic and moral truth of the accounts, to my mind, totally supersedes the matter of whether it literally happened or not. It may have, and it may not have. In each case of such things, there are vigorous debates that range back and forth, both with some convincing evidence. The point is not proving the literal events as much as it is understanding why they were important at all. God's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was to teach the Israelites of the dire consequences of breaking the sacrosanct laws of hospitality. Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt as she looked back was to drive home the importance of obedience, and it is filled with layers of spiritual meanings if one examines it closely. Every story of God's actions and words are like this. Rather than ask why these things no longer happen, a better question would be to ask why it was important that they happen in the first place.

    That said, it is the position of many Christians that miracles do happen in real and demonstrable ways. As I said above, I do not believe that it is not incumbent upon God to custom-design a miracle for every person that simply can't be "explained away." Even so, the Catholic Church rigorously investigates all miracles brought to its attention, especially during the process of considering someone for canonization as a Saint, which requires that the person have performed three verifiable miracles during his or her life. During this process, one of the panel takes on the role of the "Devil's Advocate," and it is his holy task to be "the prosecution" against the case for canonization. He is charged with doing everything in his power to disprove any miracle, invalidate any demonstrations of goodness, and generally exercise every faculty to prove that this person does not deserve Sainthood. The process can take years, and it is very exhaustive. Even so, the Catholic Church has canonized several people within the last century, so it must have found evidence - incontrovertible to the most vehement of skeptics, commanding all the formidable resources of Rome - of miracles.

    If it's good enough for them, why isn't it good enough for atheists? They use the same scientific methods and rigorous testing to prove or disprove that a thing happened. They must play the role of Thomas, who refused to believe without physically touching the wounds of Christ. The Church has plenty of room for doubt. Doubt is what strengthens faith. What the Church *can't* accept is a refusal to accept the truth when it becomes plainly revealed as such.

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanLeadred
    So, if God hasn't done everything in his power to convince unbelievers, then it seems he is either unable or unwilling to do so. If he is unable, is he really omnipotent? If he is unwilling, then can we really describe him as an all-loving, omni-benevolent deity who wants us to know him?
    Jesus gave His followers the Great Commission: "Go, therefore, and teach all nations." It is incumbent upon the faithful - members of Christ's Holy Church here on earth - to ensure that God's message of love and peace reaches everyone. To this end, many faiths have become evangelical and proselytize in the streets, or door-to-door. Personally, I find such approaches lacking in both persuasive power and any real effectiveness, because they don't tend to make lasting believers. Others, like the Catholic Church, focus more on mission work and in spreading the Gospel through acts of service and love. I find this to be a much more agreeable approach.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by yasashiku View Post
    I'd say He DOES provide both solid evidence and convincing miracles, but throughout the centuries, nobody (or very few) really pays attention.
    Three things are required for a miracle to be accepted as being a supernatural act.

    1. A clear establishment of the state of a thing before the miracle occurs.

    2. A change of state that is known not to happen under natural circumstances.

    3. No other attributable cause for the change of state.

    your story fails on all 3 counts.

    1. We don't know for a fact it was not possible for your friend to stand, only that it was hard/painful.

    2. People recover unexpectedly from injury an illness fairly frequently, under the prayers of various faiths, and under no prayers at all. The body and mind are well able to affect repairs or to overcome the effects of pain and injury.

    3. It is well known that motivation and faith can overcome pain and difficulty that otherwise people find overwhelming. Athletes and heroes demonstrate this all the time. Faith in god, real or otherwise is well known to allow people to achieve that which they felt they could not without such faith.

    As compared to the bible stories in the OP, your story is not a miracle at all.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    This is an interesting question, but I'm not sure it's the right one. I think that an equally relevant and valid question is: "Is it incumbent upon God to do anything to convince unbelievers?" Does God - the Creator of the universe and of the human race - owe it to those who don't believe in Him to do something (more) to demonstrate His existence? It has been argued (here and elsewhere) that God's existence is proven everywhere for those who wish to find Him. As the saying goes, "miracles happen every day." What's more, is it truly necessary for God to personally manifest a custom-made miracle for every person that doesn't believe in order to say that He's "done due diligence," even if such diligence is due?
    See, the thing is, Tal, most of us DON'T want to find the Biblical God. It would be really unfortunate if such a flawed, vindictive, angry, and seemingly not too bright deity did in fact exist. But if He does, 2/3 of the world is going to hell. You repeatedly forget this. If this little detail wasn't in the equation, no one would be demanding that God show Himself. We wouldn't care. But there's a penalty for not believing in this God. So is it not natural to ask for more proof? It reminds me of a Bollywood movie I saw once; this guy orders from Dominoes, knowing they have a "30min or less or its free" policy. The delivery guy arrives in 20min, but the caller hides from him. After the 30min is up, he jumps out and demands his free pizza. That's exactly what's happening here. We want to find God, if only to avoid not getting paid, so to speak. If we don't find him in time, we give up our pizza for free. But God, like the caller, keeps hiding from us. Ordinarily we wouldn't care. But there's a penalty attached to it! A very big stick! So we care. We do our best to find Him. But is it our fault if we fail? Shouldn't God make things more obvious?

    The first implication that comes to mind is that if God were to actually do as the OP requests - to make a command performance of sorts that unequivocally convinces all who witness it that He is the one true God - it would deprive human beings of the ability to make the willful choice to come to Him of their own accord. Such an action on God's part would deprive the conversions of such people of a great portion of their moral value, since it usurps their free will to some extent or another. "How much more blessed are those who believe and have not yet seen," said Jesus.
    Again, the threat of eternal Hell robs us of that luxury, Tal. I'd love to just dilly dally and wait for something to inspire me to believe in Yahweh. But what if that never happens? Most likely it won't. And I'll fry. See the urgency?

    I want to make it clear: I'm not suggesting that every atheist just randomly suspend their reason and logic and allow themselves to drink the kool-aid or whatnot. But rather than trying to put God in the box of our own expectations, it seems like there might be another approach that is at least as valuable as the logic-driven one. Faith is not simply a mass delusion that tricks the gullible and the weak-willed. It is a rational response to a stimulus that cannot be explained by rational means. When someone experiences the presence of God in their lives, it can happen without that person having asked for it.
    Like I said, that would be fantastic...if there wasn't an eternal penalty for not having enough dumb luck to experience the presence of God in their lives.

    There are countless stories of atheists who had exactly these types of experiences - miraculous healings or protection... messages delivered, or even things as simple as experiencing the divine Peace that Jesus promised to all who believe in Him.. and believed, without ever having asked. I propose that it is because in their hearts and minds, they were ready to accept that form of Grace as-is and receive it as the gift that it is. Those who are not ready will *never* be able to believe until they are, because they will always find some way, however unlikely, to "reason it away." We're talking about the same world, the same rules, the same humanity as existed in Biblical times. There are always ways to explain things away if you want to find them badly enough.
    See, even if this happened to everyone, it still wouldn't prove the existence of the Biblical God. Why can't it be Ra? Or Odin? Or Quetzalcoatl? Or maybe it's some God no one's ever worshiped before? Again, the medium of miraculous revelation is notoriously sloppy. But of course, no one would care about that, if there wasn't a penalty attached for not buying into it.

    If it's good enough for them, why isn't it good enough for atheists?
    Because there's more to it than that. Believe me, I'd like nothing more than to be assured a ticket to eternal salvation for lip service to Jesus. But if I do that, I accept several things that run completely contrary to my morality. I accept that God is wrathful and malicious. I accept that God does stupid things for no particular reason. I accept that He's a murderer. I accept that humans are inherently evil (and that God helped that become so) I accept that God picks favorites. I accept that there is a hell, and that people are burning in its lowest pit simply for using their brains. I accept that there are false gods. I accept that even the most innocent looking and otherwise beautiful non-Christian faith is up to its neck in devil-worship and sin. I accept that human sacrifice is a good thing, and in fact necessary. See what I mean?
    Last edited by The Great Khan; January 22nd, 2010 at 11:43 AM.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    This is an interesting question, but I'm not sure it's the right one. I think that an equally relevant and valid question is: "Is it incumbent upon God to do anything to convince unbelievers?"
    The problem with your arguments is how weak and conjectural they are. (not weak as in your reason is poor, just weak as in they ask a lot of faith/assumption to accept them)

    Your primary argument as I see it is...

    1. God need not prove himself, and you offer some reasons why he might not choose to.

    True, however it misses the background of the challenge. It is established in scripture that God wants us to believe. It is established that he has in the past supposedly done many undeniable miracles. It would be highly effective to perform undeniable miracles. He has the power to do so.

    Its easy to say "God doesn't need to prove himself so he doesn't." But you have no positive reason to show why he does not do so. As where the proposition "because there is not God" is the most obvious and simple answer. You have the free will / faith should come from within argument, but God clearly didn't operate that way on many occasions. That leaves God to be either inconsistent or arbitrary in his deeds which is not fitting with the God you tend to describe.

    You offer some reasons why God did this or that for practical reasons of or for teaching one lesson or another, but God no longer seems to do such things (he has nothing to accomplish any longer?) and certainly many lessons in the bible are simply taught by word and not by deed.

    And its pretty crystal clear that the first miracle example was a straight up pissing match between Baal priests and God's priest and the only accomplishment was to convert people. Is there any other lesson to be drawn from it? I don't see it.

    Backing into imagining possible reasons for Gods acts without actually demonstrating a consistent doctrine or an internally consistent set of behavior simply seems like pure conjecture against the simplest explanation for the lack of overwhelming miracles. That makes it a weak argument.

    It is like seeing an abandoned house and coming up with all the reasons the occupants are eccentric enough to board it up, never use the lights and let the place go to seed, when the first answer would be... its abandoned and no one lives there.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    As compared to the bible stories in the OP, your story is not a miracle at all.
    According to the stipulations you specified, you're right... it's not a miracle. But I disagree with your stipulations. First, there's nothing that says a miracle has to be wholly supernatural. Second, it does it really matter whether it's a supernatural miracle or not? If it accomplishes the purpose of converting someone to the faith, then Herman's conditions have been met, regardless of whether someone else believes it's a miracle or not.

    ---------- Post added at 02:33 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:24 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Your primary argument as I see it is...

    1. God need not prove himself, and you offer some reasons why he might not choose to.

    True, however it misses the background of the challenge. It is established in scripture that God wants us to believe. It is established that he has in the past supposedly done many undeniable miracles. It would be highly effective to perform undeniable miracles. He has the power to do so.
    However, I have also provided a very good *reason* not to use such coercive methods to establish faith. Faith is a moral issue, and so doing something that deprives faith of its moral value renders faith meaningless to the same degree. It might be effective in the temporal sense to cause people to believe by undeniable miracles, but it does not accomplish the ultimate *purpose* of that belief.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    You offer some reasons why God did this or that for practical reasons of or for teaching one lesson or another, but God no longer seems to do such things (he has nothing to accomplish any longer?) and certainly many lessons in the bible are simply taught by word and not by deed.
    The Catholic Church, by having canonized several people, has implicitly stated that at least (3 x the number of saints canonized) miracles have occurred. That's not to mention numerous instances of Our Lady or Jesus Himself appearing to people and having left verifiable proof, or the other accounts of miracles that occurred to people that have not been considered for canonization.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    And its pretty crystal clear that the first miracle example was a straight up pissing match between Baal priests and God's priest and the only accomplishment was to convert people. Is there any other lesson to be drawn from it? I don't see it.
    Well, it's easy to boil it down into those terms... and, fair enough. But the people of the day - and to some extent, people now - value strength and resolve as a character trait. Why should it be any less valid for God to show Himself to be the ultimate possessor of such qualities, over and above any other god that one might choose to worship? Is that not a moral lesson in itself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Backing into imagining possible reasons for Gods acts without actually demonstrating a consistent doctrine or an internally consistent set of behavior simply seems like pure conjecture against the simplest explanation for the lack of overwhelming miracles.
    Please demonstrate that I have done this. I disagree with your assessment of my position and want to refute your claims specifically. I believe I will be able to demonstrate a consistent doctrine and an internally consistent set of behaviors given a chance to examine your specific objections. That said, I would prefer to limit this particular point to one or possibly two additional exchanges before moving on, if possible. The point of this thread is not to discuss my personal beliefs as much as it is to debate the ideas surrounding Divine miracles as a valid source for faith and conversion and whether God can, has, or should do more of them to effect such a purpose.
    Last edited by Talthas; January 22nd, 2010 at 10:55 AM.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    According to the stipulations you specified, you're right... it's not a miracle. But I disagree with your stipulations. First, there's nothing that says a miracle has to be wholly supernatural. Second, it does it really matter whether it's a supernatural miracle or not? If it accomplishes the purpose of converting someone to the faith, then Herman's conditions have been met, regardless of whether someone else believes it's a miracle or not.
    You would have us define a miracle as any event that someone finds convincing of a proposition? So should I wake up early this morning that is a miracle proving to me that Walter the parking god exists since it let me find good parking?

    A miracle is thus an utterly subjective event that is as effective for a fool as for a sage and proves nothing to a relatively objective observer. That simply isn't the way the term is used, and even if it is, then its a terribly weak form of evidence in a rational examination. And if you want to throw out reason then debate is pointless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    However, I have also provided a very good *reason* not to use such coercive methods to establish faith. Faith is a moral issue, and so doing something that deprives faith of its moral value renders faith meaningless to the same degree. It might be effective in the temporal sense to cause people to believe by undeniable miracles, but it does not accomplish the ultimate *purpose* of that belief.
    If this contention is true, then god denied faith moral value in the past when he performed undeniable miracles such as the burning of the bull/stones/water etc... You just can't have it both ways unless God is simply fickle and arbitrary. Is that what you argue? I don't imagine it is.

    The Catholic Church, by having canonized several people, has implicitly stated that at least (3 x the number of saints canonized) miracles have occurred. That's not to mention numerous instances of Our Lady or Jesus Himself appearing to people and having left verifiable proof, or the other accounts of miracles that occurred to people that have not been considered for canonization.
    The evidence for these miracles is either un-verifiable or upon examination turns out to be far less miraculous than claimed. Believers want to believe and they look hard for events they can attribute a supernatural cause to. Jesus left no verifiable proof of anything, he only left believers who wrote stories about him. I could say the same thing about Paul Bunion.

    Well, it's easy to boil it down into those terms... and, fair enough. But the people of the day - and to some extent, people now - value strength and resolve as a character trait. Why should it be any less valid for God to show Himself to be the ultimate possessor of such qualities, over and above any other god that one might choose to worship? Is that not a moral lesson in itself?
    But this ignores that similar acts of faith are performed by people believing in other gods or even no gods at all but simply some secular virtue like nationalism. The only thing they all have in common is being human so human nature is a more likely and consistent explanation for their deeds than God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    Please demonstrate that I have done this. I disagree with your assessment of my position and want to refute your claims specifically. I believe I will be able to demonstrate a consistent doctrine and an internally consistent set of behaviors given a chance to examine your specific objections.
    I'm saying your 'God does not make undeniable miracles because it would remove the moral component of faith' (paraphrasing) is purely a supposition rather than an argument rooted in the bible, and is an "apology" to explain a contradiction between the god of the bible who does obvious miracles and the state of the real world where such things don't happen. It asks we set aside the obvious explanation for a more complicated one designed specifically to explain the contradiction.

    If you can tell me why God performed the miracle in Kings 1 but has not performed a similar miracle in the last 1000 years without simply inventing an explanation to fit the circumstances I'll be impressed. By not inventing I mean it would have to be more likely than the explanation that there is no God or strongly rooted in scripture that is consistent with Kings 1.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    This is an interesting question, but I'm not sure it's the right one. I think that an equally relevant and valid question is: "Is it incumbent upon God to do anything to convince unbelievers?" Does God - the Creator of the universe and of the human race - owe it to those who don't believe in Him to do something (more) to demonstrate His existence? It has been argued (here and elsewhere) that God's existence is proven everywhere for those who wish to find Him. As the saying goes, "miracles happen every day." What's more, is it truly necessary for God to personally manifest a custom-made miracle for every person that doesn't believe in order to say that He's "done due diligence," even if such diligence is due?

    The first implication that comes to mind is that if God were to actually do as the OP requests - to make a command performance of sorts that unequivocally convinces all who witness it that He is the one true God - it would deprive human beings of the ability to make the willful choice to come to Him of their own accord. Such an action on God's part would deprive the conversions of such people of a great portion of their moral value, since it usurps their free will to some extent or another. "How much more blessed are those who believe and have not yet seen," said Jesus.
    An example from Christianity itself refutes this notion: Fallen Angels.

    II. THE FALL OF THE ANGELS

    391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy.266 Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called "Satan" or the "devil".267 The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing."268

    392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels.269 This "fall" consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: "You will be like God."270 The devil "has sinned from the beginning"; he is "a liar and the father of lies".271

    393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. "There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death."272
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p7.htm#II

    Wikipedia on Fallen Angels

    According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, angels were all created good but some turned bad on their own.[4] Angels don't need faith as they already have the knowledge of celestial things, so their rebellion against God constituted unforgivable sin.[5] Matthew 12:32
    Angels know God exists, and yet they reject him. Likewise, humans may reject him, even if they know he exists. Some atheists, for instance, vow to never follow a God who apparently condones slavery and the subjugation of women.

    This emphatically rejects the appeal to free will.

    We're talking about the same world, the same rules, the same humanity as existed in Biblical times.
    As historian Richard Carrier notes, "Although the gullible, the credulous, and those ready to believe or exaggerate stories of the supernatural are still abundant today, they were much more common in antiquity, and taken far more seriously." Not to mention that most people in antiquity were not even literate. Describing modern day humans as "the same humanity as existed in Biblical times" seems quite dubious.

    There are always ways to explain things away if you want to find them badly enough.
    C'mon, Tal. Do you really believe this?

    Sure, we stubborn unbelievers can "explain away" unimpressive miracles, as Itsdarts did earlier. Indeed, we cavalierly dismiss the petty chicanery of TV evangelists. But could we explain the regrowing of limbs before our very eyes? Could we explain away resurrections of long dead people?

    Imagine.

    Today, Christians say "pray for Haiti," and they describe occasional, random rescues as "miracles." I say meh. If an omnipotent God really wants to help these people, he wouldn't let an earthquake happen. Why give God kudos for too little too late? Imagine if, on live television, God suddenly restored Haiti to its pre-earthquake state. Imagine if he resurrected every deceased human, and restored every damaged thing. Imagine if he spoke in a booming voice heard around the globe: "I am the Lord your God, and I have touched Haiti with my omnipotent hand." Now, that is the stuff of an omnipotent God. Who would "explain this away? Certainly not me. Neither would Itsdarts, I suspect.

    You must remember, everything that the Bible tells us God did and said is not simply a literal account of "what happened."
    Do you assert that every single miracle noted in the OP did not occur?


    Evansaul

    Please support the implied premise: Christians (as a group, ie Christianity) believe God has done everything in His power to convince unbelievers.
    The OP asks if God has done everything in his power to convince unbelievers of Christianity's veracity. It does not assert otherwise. According to the poll, one person thinks otherwise. I address the following question to that person: Many earthlings have never even heard of Christianity. Does he not have the ability to do so?

    So, the question is: Since God wants people to be convinced of Christianity's veracity, then why hasn't God done everything in his power to accomplish this? Is he unable (no) or unwilling?
    Last edited by sonofnietzsche; January 22nd, 2010 at 08:08 PM.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    1. We don't know for a fact it was not possible for your friend to stand, only that it was hard/painful.
    My point was not to introduce some miracle that proves God's existence; in this case, it's not relevant what we know - it's not even what my friend knew. I was attempting to focus on what the doctor knew, and his failure to investigate the information presented to him.

    But I agree it was a poor example. I have some reservations about your criteria, though: I believe something can be miraculous and be entirely natural; often it's the timing or other circumstances that leave little room for doubt.

    I also confess I was a little hasty in answering yes; to return to the original question, I have a question:

    Are we talking specifically about God proving that He exists, proving that He loves us, proving that He can't lie, proving that specifically Christianity is correct...? I would say my answer would change if I misinterpreted the question.
    " 'God is not dead, nor doth he sleep...' "

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    You would have us define a miracle as any event that someone finds convincing of a proposition? ...
    A miracle is thus an utterly subjective event that is as effective for a fool as for a sage and proves nothing to a relatively objective observer. That simply isn't the way the term is used, and even if it is, then its a terribly weak form of evidence in a rational examination. And if you want to throw out reason then debate is pointless.
    Point withdrawn.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    If this contention is true, then god denied faith moral value in the past when he performed undeniable miracles such as the burning of the bull/stones/water etc... You just can't have it both ways unless God is simply fickle and arbitrary. Is that what you argue? I don't imagine it is.
    God doesn't have to be fickle and arbitrary in order for this observation to be consistent. What changed between the burning of bulls and stones and the Christian church is Christ Himself. When God did these miracles before, there was a different relationship between God and His chosen people. Before, God dwelt directly in the Temple, and He bestowed upon Israel the blessings one would expect to receive as a "chosen people."

    Jesus came to save the whole world, not just Israel. He also made a new covenant between Himself and the world. No more would there be any need for sacrifices in a specific temple where God dwelt personally. No scapegoat driven into the wild to carry the sins of the nation. No more would there be the laws of purification and kosher laws. The focus would be on "what comes out of a man" rather than what "goes into him." There would be a new law of love, and each act of love would do its part to bring about the Kingdom of God. No more was there a communal accountability for the sins of the individual. Each person would face God individually, and only by faith in Jesus' death and Resurrection would he find Salvation. God also hasn't ordained any Prophets to call down judgment upon the world since Jesus came. The power of the Holy Spirit gives everyone the power to do all things through Jesus' name, and *all* the faithful are commissioned with the task of teaching the nations.

    God's method of interaction with the world doesn't need to remain consistent in the face of changing circumstances to demonstrate that God is not fickle. To remain stagnant in the face of a changed paradigm would demonstrate rigidity at best. There is no more need to demonstrate God's might and majesty to the world, because God chose to relate to the world on different terms. Thus, the nature of His miracles has changed as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    The evidence for these miracles is either un-verifiable or upon examination turns out to be far less miraculous than claimed. Believers want to believe and they look hard for events they can attribute a supernatural cause to.
    Please explain the literal transubstantiation of the Sacred Host into human flesh and blood at several points in history, including one sample that still exists to this day at Lanciano, Italy and was histologically verified as human tissue in 1971. There are other miracles that can be cited, as well, such as the Miracle of Calanda, wherein a farmer who was widely known to have required the amputation of his leg had his leg restored to him while having a vision of the Blessed Virgin. This was verified and attested to by many witnesses and thoroughly documented.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    I'm saying your 'God does not make undeniable miracles because it would remove the moral component of faith' (paraphrasing) is purely a supposition rather than an argument rooted in the bible,
    I have demonstrated the basic theological principles behind the reason that my supposition has Biblical merit. These are pretty common themes in theology of both Protestant and Catholic strains, applied to the specific question of miracles as a means of interaction with God's faithful. If you insist, I will pull out some scriptures, but I'm a bit pressed for time and prefer not to have to do so at this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    If you can tell me why God performed the miracle in Kings 1 but has not performed a similar miracle in the last 1000 years without simply inventing an explanation to fit the circumstances I'll be impressed. By not inventing I mean it would have to be more likely than the explanation that there is no God or strongly rooted in scripture that is consistent with Kings 1.
    As above. If you truly insist upon the Scriptures themselves, I'll try to pull them out, but it will delay my response.

    Herman, I must defer answering your post until such time as I have a chance to research angelology a bit and discern the position of the Church on these things. I have a preliminary argument formulated, but I want to verify its truth before posting anything.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by yasashiku View Post
    My point was not to introduce some miracle that proves God's existence; in this case, it's not relevant what we know - it's not even what my friend knew. I was attempting to focus on what the doctor knew, and his failure to investigate the information presented to him.
    I see, but the OP is resting on the idea that miracles are the most direct way for God to convince unbelievers.

    But I agree it was a poor example. I have some reservations about your criteria, though: I believe something can be miraculous and be entirely natural; often it's the timing or other circumstances that leave little room for doubt.
    Timing always leaves room for doubt. Timing is sometimes good, and we note it, sometimes bad and we note that. But often its unrelated and we make no note of it. This is one of those challenges of human nature and thinking. We only pay attention to "random" events when they have meaning to us so we ascribe meaning to them outside of us and think them unusual.

    When you've played as many games with probabilities as I have you come to see that some days it seems like fate is on your side, some days it seems like its against you, but looking at it rationally you can see its still just randomness and coincidence at play.

    Are we talking specifically about God proving that He exists, proving that He loves us, proving that He can't lie, proving that specifically Christianity is correct...? I would say my answer would change if I misinterpreted the question.
    Good question. I took it as proving he exists and is the God claimed to be in whatever version of the bible one believes in.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by HermanLeadread View Post
    The OP asks if God has done everything in his power to convince unbelievers of Christianity's veracity. It does not assert otherwise. According to the poll, one person thinks otherwise. I address the following question to that person: Many earthlings have never even heard of Christianity. Does he not have the ability to do so?

    So, the question is: Since God wants people to be convinced of Christianity's veracity, then why hasn't God done everything in his power to accomplish this? Is he unable (no) or unwilling?
    It depends on your perspective; if we are assuming that He only deals with individuals while they are in this life, then I erroneously voted yes. I voted, however, based on my beliefs regarding the treatment of the dead (this is kind of a tangent, but the reason for the way I voted):

    I don't believe that our learning is limited to this life; it is rather just a phase in our progression where absolute knowledge that He exists is possible, but not necessary.

    "6 I opened the Bible and read the third and fourth chapters of the first epistle of Peter, and as I read I was greatly impressed, more than I had ever been before, with the following passages:
    7 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
    8 “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
    9 “Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Peter 3:18—20.)
    10 “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6.)
    11 As I pondered over these things which are written, the eyes of my understanding were opened, and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I saw the hosts of the dead, both small and great....
    29 And as I wondered, my eyes were opened, and my understanding quickened, and I perceived that the Lord went not in person among the wicked and the disobedient who had rejected the truth, to teach them;
    30 But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.
    31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
    32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets" (Doctrine and Covenants, 138:6-11,29-32).
    This is a reason Latter-Day Saints do genealogical research and build temples; so those that didn't have the chance to receive ordinances necessary in this life can receive them vicariously. Everyone is eventually (be it in this life or the next) given both the opportunity and necessary knowledge to accept or reject the truth, which is why I say yes.
    " 'God is not dead, nor doth he sleep...' "

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    God's method of interaction with the world doesn't need to remain consistent in the face of changing circumstances to demonstrate that God is not fickle. To remain stagnant in the face of a changed paradigm would demonstrate rigidity at best. There is no more need to demonstrate God's might and majesty to the world, because God chose to relate to the world on different terms. Thus, the nature of His miracles has changed as well.
    Really that just sounds like two different God's to me. The bible specifically says god is unchanging, yet he does a 180 at some arbitrary point in history for no explained reason other than "its time." It still sounds fickle.

    And then you go on to say there are miracles which would negate this idea that he does things differently now. So you don't even seem to be convinced by your own argument that miracles are no longer needed to demonstrate God's glory.

    And if they are not needed what exactly does demonstrate god's glory now that didn't before? Holy scripture? I just don't see what is so impressive about it. Many religions have that and the devotes to praise them. Christianity seems to spread by force or by charity rather than simple awe of scripture.

    And what has really changed in the world? Is earthly existence fundamentally different since Jesus? I don't see it beyond technological advances.

    Please explain the literal transubstantiation of the Sacred Host into human flesh and blood at several points in history, including one sample that still exists to this day at Lanciano, Italy and was histologically verified as human tissue in 1971. There are other miracles that can be cited, as well, such as the Miracle of Calanda, wherein a farmer who was widely known to have required the amputation of his leg had his leg restored to him while having a vision of the Blessed Virgin. This was verified and attested to by many witnesses and thoroughly documented.
    Lanciano: The event supposedly happened in AD 700. The relics they have may well be human flesh and blood but there is nothing to prove they were once wine and bread. Any priest or monk since that time could have simply created said relics as is often found to be the case.

    Calanda: Most of the "evidence" is a book written by the guy who it happened to. And while records of his "trial" exist there are no records of the loss of his leg in the first place. No doubt his claim brought him substantial fame and fortune once it was supported by "witnesses" including his friends and family.

    I have demonstrated the basic theological principles behind the reason that my supposition has Biblical merit. These are pretty common themes in theology of both Protestant and Catholic strains, applied to the specific question of miracles as a means of interaction with God's faithful. If you insist, I will pull out some scriptures, but I'm a bit pressed for time and prefer not to have to do so at this point.
    If you want me to buy in, you will have to show me the scripture that indicates God will no longer be performing miracles or no longer has a need to convince anyone of his existence. The new testament is filled with examples of Jesus demonstrating his divine powers and folks talking about how these miracles are proof of his divinity.

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Timing always leaves room for doubt. Timing is sometimes good, and we note it, sometimes bad and we note that. But often its unrelated and we make no note of it. This is one of those challenges of human nature and thinking. We only pay attention to "random" events when they have meaning to us so we ascribe meaning to them outside of us and think them unusual.

    When you've played as many games with probabilities as I have you come to see that some days it seems like fate is on your side, some days it seems like its against you, but looking at it rationally you can see its still just randomness and coincidence at play.
    Ah, but if we return to the case of Gideon: the dew on the fleece COULD have been coincidence, as well... but the timing of it was convincing to him. The timing of experiences I have had are just as, if not more, convincing.
    " 'God is not dead, nor doth he sleep...' "

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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by yasashiku View Post
    Ah, but if we return to the case of Gideon: the dew on the fleece COULD have been coincidence, as well... but the timing of it was convincing to him. The timing of experiences I have had are just as, if not more, convincing.
    I understand, its just that its all very subjective and it seems unfair of God to offer proof of truth in an entirely subjective fashion.

    I have this pseudo superstition from high school about "Walter the parking god." Walter you see is the patron god of parking and when you praise walter he create parking in the universe. Not just freeing up a spot mind you but actually creating parking where once there was none if he so deems needed.

    Now there have been times when I've very much needed a good spot and there indeed was a perfect one amongst an otherwise full lot, just waiting for me. A moment later and surely it would be filled. So clearly thats evidence of Walter's divine hand on my driving life since I find it convincing....

    I don't really believe, but if I did, then I could easily construe this situation, which has happened numerous times, as being proof of Walter. Anyone else would just call me a loon.

  19. #19
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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    Quote Originally Posted by yasashiku View Post
    Ah, but if we return to the case of Gideon: the dew on the fleece COULD have been coincidence, as well... but the timing of it was convincing to him. The timing of experiences I have had are just as, if not more, convincing.
    You say that and that's nice. Some Muslims and Hindus will say similar things about their respective gods and their experiences and that's also nice. There are thousands of religions and most (if not all) have people who will tell us about their experiences and timing and tell us how convincing they are.

    How does that assist the unbeliever? It doesn't. In fact, it only confirms their lack of belief.

    If there is a God and it happens to be the God that you believe in (in other words all those non-Yawheists are wrong about their own very convincing experiences) then that God hasn't done enough to convince unbelievers of His existence. That's because there are billions of people out there who haven't had your convincing experiences.

    Very few people have such very convincing experiences without believing in the first place. Experiences had by those who believe already do not count because the issue is about God convincing UNBELIEVERS. Also, those who already believe suffer from bias. When I used to believe, anytime I prayed for something and the situation worked itself out, I'd think God had heard my prayer. Now I don't believe and I don't pray. When situations work out (and they do JUST AS OFTEN AS BEFORE) I don't think of God; I think of circumstances. I don't have that bias anymore.

    So, back to my previous point. Those who are unbelievers and still get a very convincing experience from any particular god (so as to know what god it came from) are one in a million. And given the rarity of this event COMBINED with the fact that the event does happen (as rarely as it does) in many different religions, is it reasonable to suggest that it is simply a coincidence? Of course it is. In fact, that's the most reasonable conclusion one could come to.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

  20. #20
    sftt7
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    Re: Has God Done Everything in His Power to Convince Unbelievers?

    The problem with all religion is understanding its origin and how it was created. Throughout history different religions have been hyped up, and manipulated for various reasons. Either for power, for justification, or many numerous other reasons. The fact is that through time most if not all religions have drifted away from the reason they originated in the first place. So in turn to answer your question has god done everything to convince unbelievers, is some what irrelevant because some people who believe most often times don't know why, or what they are believing in. If you had asked the question weather our modern christian god has done everything to convince non believers today, then i would ask you to give me a reference of an event in recent times that compares to those great biblical stories we see in the bible. Thanks

 

 
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