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  1. #41
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I'm sorry, but it's not my fault your beliefs are internally inconsistent. I've offered argumentation for the conclusions being reached. If you refuse to respond and address the conclusions and their implications, not my problem. So far, all you're doing is putting your fingers in your ears and shouting "lala I can't hear you". Again, if you can't provide any specific reason why a supreme being capable of creating a universe out of nothing would not be able to convince everyone if it wanted to, then you either believe in a deity that is capable of convincing everyone and wants to, or you believe in a deity that is capable of convincing everyone but doesn't care to do it, but still punishes people for not being convinced.
    What I believe is irrelevant to this thread and to what I am trying to convey.

    You have offered an argument but have not supported that argument with anything beyond conjecture. Your conclusions are therefore suspect. As such, I have requested that you provide support for your underlying assumptions, namely that your assertion that God is able to "easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe" is consistent with mainstream Christian doctrine.

    If you cannot demonstrate that this is what Christians actually believe, then your conclusion fails for lack of support.

  2. #42
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    What I believe is irrelevant to this thread and to what I am trying to convey.

    You have offered an argument but have not supported that argument with anything beyond conjecture. Your conclusions are therefore suspect. As such, I have requested that you provide support for your underlying assumptions, namely that your assertion that God is able to "easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe" is consistent with mainstream Christian doctrine.

    If you cannot demonstrate that this is what Christians actually believe, then your conclusion fails for lack of support.
    I've repeatedly explained to you the reasoning behind the Xtian deity being able to convince everyone. If you're going to continue to claim that Xtians don't actually believe that it can convince everyone and that therefore this is not part of Xtian doctrine, all you're doing is pointing out an internal inconsistency with believing in a supreme being which can create a universe from nothing, while at the same time not believing (or understanding) that this means it can also convince everyone if it wanted to. Again, lacking any specific scriptural limitation against doing so (which would still strain credibility), the ability to do so necessarily follows from the ability to create a universe from nothing.

  3. #43
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I've repeatedly explained to you the reasoning behind the Xtian deity being able to convince everyone.
    Why should anyone trust your understanding of Christian doctrine?

  4. #44
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Why should anyone trust your understanding of Christian doctrine?
    Again, I've explained the reasoning, and it has nothing to do with my understanding of Xtian doctrine. Either respond to it or move on. Further posts which don't add to the debate will be disregarded and/or flagged as spam.

  5. #45
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Again, I've explained the reasoning, and it has nothing to do with my understanding of Xtian doctrine. Either respond to it or move on. Further posts which don't add to the debate will be disregarded and/or flagged as spam.
    That's fine. You're welcome to prove the non-existence of your made-up deity. It would however be incorrect for you to equate your made-up deity with the Christian God, as you have not supported that.

  6. #46
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    That's fine. You're welcome to prove the non-existence of your made-up deity. It would however be incorrect for you to equate your made-up deity with the Christian God, as you have not supported that.
    I haven't made anything up. A supreme being with the ability to create an entire universe from nothing and wants us to know it is mainstream Xtian doctrine, is it not?

  7. #47
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    I haven't made anything up. A supreme being with the ability to create an entire universe from nothing and wants us to know it is mainstream Xtian doctrine, is it not?
    Certainly, except you don't stop there, which is why I brought it up in Post #6. Christians believe that Jesus was/is God in human form. Christians also believe that everyone has the ability to choose to follow Jesus (i.e. free will), enumerated on many different occasions throughout the New Testament transcripts. This is in conflict with your OP, as it is clear within Christian doctrine that God gives us free will.

    You are trying to argue that because people reject the Christian God, that He does not exist.

    What I am arguing is that the cornerstone of the Christian faith (Jesus) was rejected by God's chosen people (Israelites), and therefore if you are "assuming Xtian theism" you are either making it up or need to provide support.

  8. #48
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Certainly, except you don't stop there, which is why I brought it up in Post #6. Christians believe that Jesus was/is God in human form. Christians also believe that everyone has the ability to choose to follow Jesus (i.e. free will), enumerated on many different occasions throughout the New Testament transcripts. This is in conflict with your OP, as it is clear within Christian doctrine that God gives us free will.

    You are trying to argue that because people reject the Christian God, that He does not exist.

    What I am arguing is that the cornerstone of the Christian faith (Jesus) was rejected by God's chosen people (Israelites), and therefore if you are "assuming Xtian theism" you are either making it up or need to provide support.
    Nothing you've written here has anything to do with your statements in post 6, or anything to do with the fact that a supreme being capable of creating a universe out of nothing is also capable of communicating such a fact to any number of people it wishes. So yes, I do stop there, since there's no justifiable reason for going further other than making flawed attempts to rationalize away inconsistencies within your religion.

    The free will argument fails because, according to the bible, there have been quite many occurrences when direct revelation has been provided to people. There have even been occurrences when those with direct knowledge of God's existence have still retained sufficient free will to decide to rebel against him. God also directly violated Pharoah's free will for no reason other than he just wasn't done showing off. Given these facts, the free will rationalization does not provide sufficient justification of the failure to convince everyone, and fails to overcome the OP's hypothesis as an explanation for the observed evidence.

  9. #49
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Nothing you've written here has anything to do with your statements in post 6, or anything to do with the fact that a supreme being capable of creating a universe out of nothing is also capable of communicating such a fact to any number of people it wishes.
    You prefaced your argument with the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    This OP is about the kind of religious theism which claims that there's a deity that interacts with reality in a detectable way, and wants us to know it and have a relationship with it. It's mostly about Xtian theism, bu can also apply to other types of theism.
    I have indicated that your assumptions regarding the nature of this deity are in conflict with Christian theology, meaning that your statement that this argument is "mostly about Xtian theism" is incorrect.

    You also declare without any supporting argumentation that "an omnipotent being could easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe". If you had even a remote understanding of Christian theology, you would understand that while God is capable of making everyone believe, that this is not His desired state (e.g. believers who are forced to believe). As such, at least where it regards Christianity, your argument fails, as it has an explanation for why everyone isn't a Christian.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    The free will argument fails because, according to the bible, there have been quite many occurrences when direct revelation has been provided to people. There have even been occurrences when those with direct knowledge of God's existence have still retained sufficient free will to decide to rebel against him. God also directly violated Pharoah's free will for no reason other than he just wasn't done showing off. Given these facts, the free will rationalization does not provide sufficient justification of the failure to convince everyone, and fails to overcome the OP's hypothesis as an explanation for the observed evidence.
    This again misses the point, as there exists a logical possibility that in order to achieve the desired relationship between man and God, that the outcome was that not all would believe. In any case, you have not defined "the free will argument" in this thread, so you will need to at least provide some context here as otherwise you have set up another straw man.

  10. #50
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    This again misses the point, as there exists a logical possibility that in order to achieve the desired relationship between man and God, that the outcome was that not all would believe. In any case, you have not defined "the free will argument" in this thread, so you will need to at least provide some context here as otherwise you have set up another straw man.
    Nearly anything is possible. The question future-boy is getting at is, "does it make very much sense upon critical examination?"

    Even Christians run into situations and passages in the bible where they have to throw up their hands and say "Well, I believe by faith, some things I can't really explain or understand." Bereft of such faith the rest of us say, "Ya well it's probably just not true." That isn't unique to Christianity of course, nor even religion.

    It's almost as if God was saying, "I don't much care for skeptical people. I really want the folks that will just accept what their mind tells them is probably wrong."

    In the bible, God appears to people directly, or he has Jesus perorming miracles for them. It takes some pains to say that even some of those who see these things happen don't believe. in that case, I get it, God is saying "Well you clearly just don't want to believe then." And as a skeptic, I'd say, well, ya I guess he gave it a fair go there, did a good job presenting himself. But when its all second hand legend from 2000+ in history, you can understand how I might find it all pretty dubious. Every year there are new gurus and people claiming to perform miracles and such. You don't find them too convincing, neither do I. But... you beleive these stories from ancient history about the same type of event and I don't.

    I've heard some say: well if God is in your heart, he helps you believe. Basically, at that point, we are in Calvinist territory. Either god want's you to accept it or he doesn't and it isn't a matter of what you want. AKA God isn't interested in people who are very skeptical. Well, not skeptical about him, since they are plenty skeptical of every other religious claim in the world. But is that becaue of true skepticism or simply exclusive faith? Probably the latter I suppose.

    The problem with God's desired relationship with Man is that it doesn't make much sense to me. Any way you formulate it, I can point to some bible passage that doesn't comport very well with the idea. I mean, if you want to tell me what you think that relationship is, I wager I can find a bible passage you will have to work pretty hard at synergizing with it.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  11. #51
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Nearly anything is possible. The question future-boy is getting at is, "does it make very much sense upon critical examination?"
    I disagree that nearly anything is possible within the context of this discussion. There are limitations in the Christian example, notably the nature and characteristics of God, that put constraints on what is possible for God. Yes, one could pick out verses in the Bible that say that "...nothing is impossible with God." (Luke 1:37), but as with any piece of literature and especially where it concerns ancient literature, there is context, audience, environment, language barriers and authorial intent to discern and understand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    It's almost as if God was saying, "I don't much care for skeptical people. I really want the folks that will just accept what their mind tells them is probably wrong."
    The funny thing is, the eyewitness testimonies from the NT manuscripts say the very opposite of that. Luke indicates that

    ...many have undertaken to compile an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, like the accounts passed on to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning. So it seemed good to me as well, because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know for certain the things you were taught. (Luke 1:1-4 NET)

    Similarly the contemporaneous nature of these writings suggest that the first century Christians were very concerned with accuracy, with Paul essentially stating that people who are reading these letters go verify the eyewitness testimony themselves by getting to the source--i.e. the eyewitnesses to Jesus' life and ministry.

    There is also the problem that these New Testament writings cannot be categorized with legends, because they record events and can be dated to within 20-30 years of the events described. This is too short of a timeframe for these stories to become legends. It's fascinating stuff, and I think anyone who suggests that the Christian faith is a blind faith, or a faith that requires suspension of critical thinking, has to ignore the first Christians and the Christian movement of the first and second centuries.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    The problem with God's desired relationship with Man is that it doesn't make much sense to me. Any way you formulate it, I can point to some bible passage that doesn't comport very well with the idea. I mean, if you want to tell me what you think that relationship is, I wager I can find a bible passage you will have to work pretty hard at synergizing with it.
    Honestly, if you want to understand God's relationship with man, you have to start with Jesus. Who is he, and what was he all about, and how did Christianity escape the first Century?

  12. #52
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    God is capable of making everyone believe
    I find it baffling that it took you nearly three pages to finally cede the point I've been making from the very beginning and which you've been disputing from your very first response. But thanks. So again, we're dealing with a deity which, from the OP: "could easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe". What you're now disputing is whether that deity actually wants us all to believe - more on that below.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    that this is not His desired state (e.g. believers who are forced to believe).
    Again, the free will argument fails here, since God has already supposedly violated countless folks' choice of whether to believe, according to the bible, so it is not a valid reason to not convince everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    As such, at least where it regards Christianity, your argument fails, as it has an explanation for why everyone isn't a Christian.
    You're yet again just rationalizing here, and it doesn't overcome the difficulties already pointed out, nor does it come anywhere near providing an explanation which is more rationally justified than the OP's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    This again misses the point, as there exists a logical possibility that in order to achieve the desired relationship between man and God, that the outcome was that not all would believe.
    So you're saying that God's desired relationship with mankind is to have a majority of the world not believe in the Xtian deity, and be in a state of on-going religious decline? How do you reconcile this with the issue of him supposedly creating every single person in the world, a majority of which do not believe and which he will punish eternally for not believing? Again, the OP's explanation makes a whole lot more sense given the available evidence. All you're doing is trying to make rationalizations to explain the inconsistencies between your religion and what we observe happening in the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    In any case, you have not defined "the free will argument" in this thread, so you will need to at least provide some context here as otherwise you have set up another straw man.
    I don't need to define it - it's quite will known, and I've already indicated where you've attempted to use it by referring to God's desire for us to have free will and to choose to believe, and I've explained why it fails, which you haven't addressed.

  13. #53
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I find it baffling that it took you nearly three pages to finally cede the point I've been making from the very beginning and which you've been disputing from your very first response. But thanks. So again, we're dealing with a deity which, from the OP: "could easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe". What you're now disputing is whether that deity actually wants us all to believe - more on that below.
    I haven't ceded any point--that is simply your misreading of my posts. What I have been asking is for you to support your assertions regarding Christian theology.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Again, the free will argument fails here, since God has already supposedly violated countless folks' choice of whether to believe, according to the bible, so it is not a valid reason to not convince everyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    You're yet again just rationalizing here, and it doesn't overcome the difficulties already pointed out, nor does it come anywhere near providing an explanation which is more rationally justified than the OP's.
    I don't know what to respond to here--these are just "nuh uh" statements without any supporting argumentation.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    So you're saying that God's desired relationship with mankind is to have a majority of the world not believe in the Xtian deity, and be in a state of on-going religious decline? How do you reconcile this with the issue of him supposedly creating every single person in the world, a majority of which do not believe and which he will punish eternally for not believing? Again, the OP's explanation makes a whole lot more sense given the available evidence. All you're doing is trying to make rationalizations to explain the inconsistencies between your religion and what we observe happening in the world.
    I know you would like to shift the burden of support to someone else, but given that your OP fails for lack of support, the burden remains on you to show that the OP is arguing against the Christian deity. Until you can connect the dots between actual Christian doctrine and your arguments via supporting evidence and argumentation, you are basically arguing against a deity of your own creation and imagination.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I don't need to define it - it's quite will known, and I've already indicated where you've attempted to use it by referring to God's desire for us to have free will and to choose to believe, and I've explained why it fails, which you haven't addressed.
    You do need to define it if you are going to make it a centerpiece of your argument, especially given that it is definitely does not meet the common knowledge criteria. It would also help clarify your position, which is helpful for discussion.

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  15. #54
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I haven't ceded any point--that is simply your misreading of my posts.
    I'm sorry, but this is simply getting ridiculous. Let's re-cap.
    OP: "an omnipotent being could easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe"
    Freund - #6: "can you support that God is able to 'easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe' per Christian doctrine?"
    From the very beginning you disputed the OP's claim that the Xtian deity has the ability to convince everyone.

    In my first response to you, I laid out the logic whereby the ability to convince everyone necessarily follows:
    "a supposedly supreme being that is supposedly powerful enough to create a universe from literally nothing (whatever that means) could, if they wanted to, make sure that there was no reason to doubt their existence (an understatement)"

    You then continue to engage in disputing it, only to end up agreeing that God is able to convince everyone:
    Freund - #49: "God is capable of making everyone believe"

    So, since we're apparently at an impasse over what you yourself have first stated, maintained for numerous posts, then finally ceded, I don't see any point in continuing with you until you can honestly address the above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I don't know what to respond to here--these are just "nuh uh" statements without any supporting argumentation.
    You could respond to the rebuttals. I explained why the free will argument fails. Your failure to address my statements is irrelevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I know you would like to shift the burden of support to someone else, but given that your OP fails for lack of support, the burden remains on you to show that the OP is arguing against the Christian deity. Until you can connect the dots between actual Christian doctrine and your arguments via supporting evidence and argumentation, you are basically arguing against a deity of your own creation and imagination.
    You've already agreed that we're discussing the Xtian deity which is "a supreme being with the ability to create an entire universe from nothing and wants us to know it", in post # 47. In post #49, you ceded that the Xtian deity is also able to convince everyone.

    So again, we're dealing with a deity which we both have agreed wants us to know it, and is able to convince everyone in order to achieve that.

    You've now argued that the Xtian deity doesn't actually want us all to know it, and that the current state of the Xtian religion as a minority in decline is God's "desired relationship" with mankind. So I ask you, how do you reconcile this with the issue of him supposedly creating every single person in the world, a majority of which do not believe and which he will punish eternally for not believing? Again, the OP's explanation makes a whole lot more sense given the available evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    You do need to define it if you are going to make it a centerpiece of your argument, especially given that it is definitely does not meet the common knowledge criteria. It would also help clarify your position, which is helpful for discussion.
    It's not a centrepiece of my argument and it's not part of the OP. I didn't bring up free will in this thread, and I didn't bring it up in our exchange, you did. It's a Xtian apologetic argument that attempts (and fails, for the reasons already provided) to explain why the deity in question has not convinced everyone.

  16. #55
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    I'm sorry, but this is simply getting ridiculous. Let's re-cap.
    OP: "an omnipotent being could easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe"
    Freund - #6: "can you support that God is able to 'easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe' per Christian doctrine?"
    From the very beginning you disputed the OP's claim that the Xtian deity has the ability to convince everyone.
    If by "dispute" you mean "call into question whether your claims are well-researched", then yes, I did dispute your claim from the very beginning. Note, however, that in asking for support I have not forwarded a claim of any sort.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    In my first response to you, I laid out the logic whereby the ability to convince everyone necessarily follows:
    "a supposedly supreme being that is supposedly powerful enough to create a universe from literally nothing (whatever that means) could, if they wanted to, make sure that there was no reason to doubt their existence (an understatement)"
    All you have established here is that an omnipotent deity could make sure that there was no reason to doubt their existence. I'm with you here. I don't even think it is a controversial statement.

    The problem is with your larger argument. You argue that because there are fewer Christians than non-Christians, that the Christian deity must not exist. In other words:

    Premise 1: An omnipotent deity, such as the Christian God, could make sure that there was no reason to doubt their existence if it wanted to.
    Premise 2: There are fewer Christians than non-Christians in the world.
    Conclusion: If P1 and P2 are true, this suggests that the Christian God does not exist.

    Unfortunately, this argument can easily be defeated:

    Premise 1: An omnipotent deity, such as the Christian God, could make sure that there was no reason to doubt their existence if it wanted to.
    Defeater: The Christian God didn't want to do it that way.

    The only recourse you have here is to argue why the Christian God must do it your way, and that starts with understanding his character and attributes. In other words: "...can you support that God is able to 'easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe' per Christian doctrine?"

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    You could respond to the rebuttals. I explained why the free will argument fails. Your failure to address my statements is irrelevant.
    This is your explanation: "The main reason it fails is because God had no problem encroaching on folks' free will en masse, supposedly, in the past when he wanted to, even violating it outright in the case of Pharaoh." Emphasis mine.

    You're not even confident in your own explanation, otherwise why use "supposedly"? You mention God "encroaching on folks' free will en masse"--where, when? You mentioned Pharaoh, but offer no details. If you think that the following statement means that the (as yet undefined) free will argument fails:

    The free will argument fails because Pharaoh.

    ...then you are woefully mistaken. This isn't an argument. I could simply state "No it doesn't" and it would be a valid defeater, because you have not done any work to show that "Pharaoh" causes the free will argument to fail.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    You've now argued that the Xtian deity doesn't actually want us all to know it, and that the current state of the Xtian religion as a minority in decline is God's "desired relationship" with mankind. So I ask you, how do you reconcile this with the issue of him supposedly creating every single person in the world, a majority of which do not believe and which he will punish eternally for not believing? Again, the OP's explanation makes a whole lot more sense given the available evidence.
    I've argued no such thing. You're welcome to show where I have.

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  18. #56
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    All you have established here is that an omnipotent deity could make sure that there was no reason to doubt their existence. I'm with you here. I don't even think it is a controversial statement.
    And yet you wasted so much time continuing to dispute it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    The problem is with your larger argument. You argue that because there are fewer Christians than non-Christians, that the Christian deity must not exist.
    That is not the entirety of the argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    Defeater: The Christian God didn't want to do it that way.
    Do you have support for this? I have offered reasons to accept the OP's hypothesis over your unsupported rationalizations. 1 Tim 2 clearly states that God wants everyone to be saved & know the truth, which refutes the claim that his desired outcome is "that not all would believe", and we've already agreed that he has the ability to accomplish this.

    Is there some further criteria to which God is holding that, for whatever reason, make him want to (or force him to? it's unclear without support) limit the ways in which he will accomplish his goal of saving everyone, making it so that he doesn't want to accomplish the goal of making everyone believe by simply convincing everyone? But unfortunately, this is largely irrelevant, as he has already failed to accomplish that goal. Statistical analysis of population growth throughout history means that, if Xtian theism is true, then God has assigned upwards of 95%, by common estimates, of his created beings to eternal torment in hell. Thankfully, there's absolutely nothing to indicate that any of it is true.

    So I reject the claim that "God didn't want to do it that way", because it's unsupported, and the available facts show it to be false. A more accurate statement would be "God didn't want to do it at all, despite what the bible says".

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    In other words: "...can you support that God is able to 'easily reveal themselves to everyone at any time and make us all believe' per Christian doctrine?"
    Again, you've already agreed that he is able to do so as per Xtian doctrine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    why use "supposedly"?
    The use of supposedly is only to ensure an understanding that whatever statements are made about Xtian theism, they're all still claims made without support. It has no further meaning than that and can be disregarded. The same goes for the OP's use of "claim".

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    You mention God "encroaching on folks' free will en masse"--where, when?
    Seriously? You never heard of the miracles? Have you read Acts? There are multiple instances in Acts of miracles which caused whole towns to convert. Acts 14 shows God granting magical powers to Paul & Barnabus so that they could do miracles. In Acts 9, there's miracles such as healing & necromancy which cause masses of people to believe, or "turn to God".

    So again, God apparently has no problem violating folks' free will, so that apologetic fails as an explanation for why the Xtian deity doesn't simply convince everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    You mentioned Pharaoh, but offer no details.
    Again, seriously? Have you not read Exodus where God directly violates Pharaoh's and his cronies' free will just so he could show off?
    He does it repeatedly in Exodus 10:
    "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may do these miraculous signs of mine among them, and so that you may tell your son and grandson how severely I dealt with the Egyptians and performed miraculous signs among them, and you will know that I am the Lord"

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I've argued no such thing. You're welcome to show where I have.
    *Sigh* ... Here we go again. Let's re-cap.
    Freund - #49: "in order to achieve the desired relationship between man and God, the outcome was that not all would believe"

    So again, if you're saying that God's desired relationship with mankind is to have a majority of the world not believe in the Xtian deity, and be in a state of on-going religious decline, how do you reconcile this with the issue of him supposedly creating every single person in the world, a vast majority of which do not believe and which he will punish eternally for not believing? Again, the OP's explanation makes a whole lot more sense given the available evidence.

  19. #57
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    That is not the entirety of the argument.
    Is the following not your argument?

    Premise 1: An omnipotent deity, such as the Christian God, could make sure that there was no reason to doubt their existence if it wanted to.
    Premise 2: There are fewer Christians than non-Christians in the world.
    Conclusion: If P1 and P2 are true, this suggests that the Christian God does not exist.

    If it is not, please correct it where you deem it necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Do you have support for this? I have offered reasons to accept the OP's hypothesis over your unsupported rationalizations.
    First, the way your argument is structured, I could provide any reason at all for why God did not want to do it the way you described and it would defeat your argument.

    Second, you had not offered any support that God must do it in the way you describe until this post (#56). I will nevertheless address your support below.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    1 Tim 2 clearly states that God wants everyone to be saved & know the truth, which refutes the claim that his desired outcome is "that not all would believe", and we've already agreed that he has the ability to accomplish this.

    Is there some further criteria to which God is holding that, for whatever reason, make him want to (or force him to? it's unclear without support) limit the ways in which he will accomplish his goal of saving everyone, making it so that he doesn't want to accomplish the goal of making everyone believe by simply convincing everyone? But unfortunately, this is largely irrelevant, as he has already failed to accomplish that goal. Statistical analysis of population growth throughout history means that, if Xtian theism is true, then God has assigned upwards of 95%, by common estimates, of his created beings to eternal torment in hell. Thankfully, there's absolutely nothing to indicate that any of it is true.
    I agree that it is God's will (or desire) that all people be saved and know the truth of the Gospel. This evangelism was one of the main purposes of Paul's letter to Timothy, who was dealing with the pollution of the Gospel within the Christian church in Ephesus where Paul had been previously. We see throughout Jesus' ministry however a God who gives people the choice to follow, which is why Christians believe free will is a limitation on the extent to which God can impose his will (that all people choose to follow / be saved instead of being forced).

    Regardless, that more people choose not to follow has no bearing on whether God exists, as God's existence does not depend on his creation choosing to follow him.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    So I reject the claim that "God didn't want to do it that way", because it's unsupported, and the available facts show it to be false. A more accurate statement would be "God didn't want to do it at all, despite what the bible says".
    Since you have not established why God must have done it a certain way, your rejection is invalid. This is due to the weakness of your argument, not the (perceived) lack of support for the defeater that I offered.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Again, you've already agreed that he is able to do so as per Xtian doctrine.
    Incorrect. You are welcome to show where I have done so.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Seriously? You never heard of the miracles? Have you read Acts? There are multiple instances in Acts of miracles which caused whole towns to convert. Acts 14 shows God granting magical powers to Paul & Barnabus so that they could do miracles. In Acts 9, there's miracles such as healing & necromancy which cause masses of people to believe, or "turn to God".

    So again, God apparently has no problem violating folks' free will, so that apologetic fails as an explanation for why the Xtian deity doesn't simply convince everyone.
    Can you explain how these miracles violated these people's free will?

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    Again, seriously? Have you not read Exodus where God directly violates Pharaoh's and his cronies' free will just so he could show off?
    He does it repeatedly in Exodus 10:
    "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may do these miraculous signs of mine among them, and so that you may tell your son and grandson how severely I dealt with the Egyptians and performed miraculous signs among them, and you will know that I am the Lord"
    It could be argued that God hardening Pharaoh's heart was simply a way to describe God placing Pharaoh in circumstances while also knowing that he (Pharaoh) would freely choose to harden his own heart as a result of those circumstances. In this scenario, Pharaoh still has agency and thus there is no direct violation of his free will by God. Some of the research into the usage of the original hebrew terms/phrases indicate that this entire passage was intended as a kind of rebuke of the Egyptian concept of god and 'heart', which you can read more about here.

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy
    *Sigh* ... Here we go again. Let's re-cap.
    Freund - #49: "in order to achieve the desired relationship between man and God, the outcome was that not all would believe"

    So again, if you're saying that God's desired relationship with mankind is to have a majority of the world not believe in the Xtian deity, and be in a state of on-going religious decline, how do you reconcile this with the issue of him supposedly creating every single person in the world, a vast majority of which do not believe and which he will punish eternally for not believing? Again, the OP's explanation makes a whole lot more sense given the available evidence.
    How does,

    "...in order to achieve the desired relationship between man and God, the outcome was that not all would believe."

    equate to me arguing that

    "God's desired relationship with mankind is to have a majority of the world not believe in the Xtian deity, and be in a state of on-going religions decline"
    ?

  20. #58
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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    The funny thing is, the eyewitness testimonies from the NT manuscripts say the very opposite of that. Luke indicates that

    ...many have undertaken to compile an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, like the accounts passed on to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning. So it seemed good to me as well, because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know for certain the things you were taught. (Luke 1:1-4 NET)

    Similarly the contemporaneous nature of these writings suggest that the first century Christians were very concerned with accuracy, with Paul essentially stating that people who are reading these letters go verify the eyewitness testimony themselves by getting to the source--i.e. the eyewitnesses to Jesus' life and ministry.

    There is also the problem that these New Testament writings cannot be categorized with legends, because they record events and can be dated to within 20-30 years of the events described. This is too short of a timeframe for these stories to become legends. It's fascinating stuff, and I think anyone who suggests that the Christian faith is a blind faith, or a faith that requires suspension of critical thinking, has to ignore the first Christians and the Christian movement of the first and second centuries.

    Honestly, if you want to understand God's relationship with man, you have to start with Jesus. Who is he, and what was he all about, and how did Christianity escape the first Century?
    I could say the same thing for Mohaad and his writings, for Joseph Smith, for Budha. But you would call all of those legends. They, I'm sure, would tell you the were interested in accuracy. They can pinpoint the age of their writings. they can call on you to talk to those who first made the claims. They can say their faith is not blind. They can say, to understand God, you only need read our holy book and accept God into your heart.

    Legends can form in days my friend. All it takes is for someone to tell a story, and for others to believe it. Every day on the internet people are spinning up new legends and trying to get people to accept them as fact. We had to invent a whole subset of work called "fact checking" to try and counter rampant legend creation. You can watch planes smashing into the twin towers and people tell you they were actually attacked by a new doomsday weapon, or demolished by spies from Israel. It doesn't take much for people to become believers beyond the desire to believe.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    I could say the same thing for Mohaad and his writings, for Joseph Smith, for Budha. But you would call all of those legends. They, I'm sure, would tell you the were interested in accuracy. They can pinpoint the age of their writings. they can call on you to talk to those who first made the claims. They can say their faith is not blind. They can say, to understand God, you only need read our holy book and accept God into your heart.
    This seems like a fairly uncritical, oversimplified stance to take, especially as you are lumping a relatively recent religious group (Mormons) with much older religions. I don't know the extent to which you have studied these religions, so it's perfectly possible that you can draw the comparisons in greater detail between these religions and Christianity and show how they are the same, but I wouldn't accept that at face value.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Legends can form in days my friend. All it takes is for someone to tell a story, and for others to believe it. Every day on the internet people are spinning up new legends and trying to get people to accept them as fact. We had to invent a whole subset of work called "fact checking" to try and counter rampant legend creation. You can watch planes smashing into the twin towers and people tell you they were actually attacked by a new doomsday weapon, or demolished by spies from Israel. It doesn't take much for people to become believers beyond the desire to believe.
    I suppose it begs the question how you define the term 'legend'--what you describe sounds like an urban or modern legend, not a historical legend. A typical legend will arise after hundreds of years of people passing down stories via oral tradition which describe a historical figure, event or place. Over time there are embellishments or mistakes find their way into the transmission, leading to these stories becoming mostly fiction.

    In early Christianity, the eyewitnesses were both the authoritative sources and protectors of the oral traditions surrounding Jesus. The manuscripts become important in codifying those traditions, and given that these manuscripts were in circulation while the eyewitnesses were still alive, any deviations would have been questioned and discarded if untrue and copies of those traditions would not have survived. Once Christians were no longer under persecution from Rome, you begin to see ecumenical councils arise with the goal of bringing together these manuscripts into a unified document--which we know today as the Bible--and likewise culling the legendary elements that had started to creep their way in--as legends usually do.

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    Re: The problem of divine hiddenness

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    This seems like a fairly uncritical, oversimplified stance to take, especially as you are lumping a relatively recent religious group (Mormons) with much older religions.
    The chronological difference between Xtianity and the others mentioned is truly negligible compared to some of the even older religions. It may seem like an oversimplified stance, but it is justified so your objection here isn't valid.

    ---------- Post added January 5th, 2019 at 12:19 AM ---------- Previous post was January 4th, 2019 at 11:57 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    In early Christianity, the eyewitnesses were both the authoritative sources and protectors of the oral traditions surrounding Jesus.
    Which sources are you referring to as eyewitnesses? Even Dr. Bart Ehrman admits that, based on his research, the NT gospels were not written by eyewitnesses, or even by people who knew eyewitnesses.

 

 
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