this place as a character building location


for the deity.

I have seen it written by some goddites we shouldn’t be complaining about evil. All the things suffering, the pain and the struggles were meant by deity to build our character. It seems, to me, omniscience had to go through the charade of making people suffer to guide it in choosing who should be damned and who shouldn’t. Rational people must ask why a god would create animals who can suffer, but didn’t find it in divine omniscience to tell them the suffering was temporary and meant to build their character.

What happens to those who fail this test? Those who for some reason due to their suffering went mad, what becomes of them? Does the deity accept them in heaven and cure them of their madness? And if this is the case, what was the point of omniscience having them here knowing they would go mad and then accept them in heaven whole?

The goddite who argues this is the best possible world must be the most unimaginative sort. From where I sit, I can conceive of a world that doesn’t exist, I can also conceive a world without suffering or a world where all the animals are not conscious of their suffering. To tell me omniscience and omnipotence couldn’t do better than this is, to me, blasphemy against deity.

This comment

But what you call abuse and malicious is a refining of you and your character. Without trial or hardship this would be no test from deity at all. Nor would you grow to learn and appreciate all the gifts and opportunities we are given. You would stay the spoiled school child and never grow to be a man, or a man of God. You see this life is a gift and a test, a proving ground if you will, and God allows evil in the world to see what you will do out of his presence.

on SB’s post on faith very disturbing.

I will end this post by a saying of Celsus on whether the world was created for us or for the lower animals- as we like to call them

We indeed by labor and suffering earn a scanty and toilsome subsistence, while all things are produced for them without their sowing and plowing.

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

120 thoughts on “this place as a character building location

  1. Reminds me of Mother Teresa. “Suffering brings people closer to…” Mithra’s cousin. It’s a necessary part of the psychological manipulation of religion. If something wonderful happens, it’s because Mithra’s cousin did it. If something terrible happens, Mithra’s cousin is testing you so you become closer to him.
    That twisted logic is actually the backbone of patriarchy. If a child ‘behaves well’, the credit is to the family. If a child ‘behaves badly’, suddenly the responsibility is exclusively the individual’s and they’re dishonouring their family.
    It’s a very clever system where we can attribute all good to one side and all bad to the other.

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  2. Another fine post, my friend.

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  3. This nonsense from the Christian is always bemusing. By their claims, we have a omniscient being that somehow “needs” to test. So, it can’t know what people will do? Not much of a god, is he?

    And this god can’t just make people the way it wants? Why not? Why the puppet show?

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    • Do you mean to say that when we see that person whose legs are shrivelled by polio and who lost both arms in an explosion painting a christmas card with a paintbrush held in their mouth, that’s not god’s work? It doesn’t prove the wonderfulness of god’s plan?

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    • makagutu says:

      And he is the grand puppeteer.
      The people who claim omniscience and then use the character building excuse to explain suffering haven’t given the word any serious thought.

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  4. Arkenaten says:

    The more people understand the bible the more they realise it could only have been written by humans and the god created in the same way.

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  5. Peter says:

    I am more and more convinced that in many areas of discussion, such as about faith, discussion between the religious person and the non religious person is pointless. I say this because they will never agree, because the world views are too different.

    Really the debate always come down to does ‘God’ exist or not. Because the answer to that question drives our evaluation of these second order debates about faith. Because it is incredibly difficult to have any sensible debate on whether ‘God’ exists or not, I prefer to debate the books of faith, like the Bible. Are they the sort of books that look like they have been provided by a divine being or do they look more like a human work written by the people of that time who struggled to understand the reality of life?

    However even debate on these objective grounds rarely seems to get anywhere. The fundamentalist so strongly believes their book is divine that when the facts show the book is wrong (i.e. first 11 chapters of Genesis) they conclude the facts must be misrepresented (perhaps a scheme of the Devil?).

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    • makagutu says:

      Peter, you are wise fellow. But I think so far, you have realized that even the approach you have chosen doesn’t get you so far.
      The character building defense is one of the arguments that have been used to explain away suffering and to show that suffering and god are consistent. I only attempt to show that such a view is plagued still with more problems than the ones it began with

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      • Peter says:

        My approach has got me virtually nowhere in discussions because I have found very few Christians are even prepared to consider my arguments as to why the Bible might not be a divine book.

        Christian theology says:
        1. God is good; and
        2. God is all powerful.

        Thus many argue that somehow suffering must be for our benefit. Though Billy Graham did admit once that at times he cannot understand why God allows certain types of suffering.

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        • makagutu says:

          Christian theology simply reads; god is tyrant.
          I know I will get nowhere with most Christians. I raise such issues among others to try and point our how deficient some of these arguments

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    • Peter, I agree that it can seem like it’s to no avail, and I’m certain that Christians think the same way about us. Nevertheless, it is educational, and it does allow us to see where people are coming from. It is my view that people who’ve been deeply indoctrinated about the punishment of eternal hell, and the rewards of heaven, will justify just about anything, and counter anything that might stimulate death anxiety, which can now be seen via fMRI imaging.

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  6. john zande says:

    The spiritualists in Brazil (the second-largest “religion” here) believe that before entering heaven the soul spends time in a literal hospital where their suffering is explained and smoothed over.

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  7. foolsmusings says:

    The idea that horrible things are happening to other people as a way of building your character is such a ridiculous egotistical view. Religion is designed to prey on individual’s own ego.

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  8. I found that paragraph you’ve quoted from Sirius’ jaw-dropping. I thought it was really dogmatic, insulting and dismissive, but I tied my fingers in knots and didn’t say anything on his blog about it. The irony was, that it bore out exactly what Sirius was saying in his post in the first place.

    ‘No, no! You’ve got it wrong! This is how you should be looking at it, Sirius.’

    Weird.

    As adults we have to cope with adversity and bad times. But to seriously think it is all a silly little test to see how we cope is crazy crazy. Infantilism.

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    • makagutu says:

      I can’t understand the mindset of the goddite. SB writes it is an insult to tell someone who has left the faith that they believed wrong, that you have the correct explanation and then someone says the same thing!
      All we must do is to find solutions to our suffering and those of others. To tell a person their suffering is to build their character is, I think, sick

      Liked by 1 person

      • “To tell a person their suffering is to build their character is, I think, sick.”

        I couldn’t agree more. But in their mind they think they are being consoling. When I hear or read people go on and on about purpose, I think they are really focusing on suffering. In their mind they need to understand, so telling someone that it’s all for a good reason might help them cope with their suffering. However, when you look at the psychological aspect of it — what they are really saying is because humans are “sinners” and disobeyed Yahweh, suffering came into the world. It’s not consoling. It’s inhumane. That is what’s so sick about it.

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  9. Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

    It gets slightly sicker. Those who have more suffering are more loved by god (ever hear of Job)? Those in real agony are stacking up rewards in heaven…their crowns await, and in the catholic church, sainthood awaits. I’ve heard many a suffering christian beg for less “love” from God!

    I found it quite difficult to read SB’s post and then see this christian’s response, not even realizing he was doing exactly what SB was talking about (and he did it several times). This happens a lot on SB’s blog, to the point where I’m not sure christians are actually reading his posts before they respond. Or maybe it’s that life-view thing Peter was talking about…they read the same words and translate it entirely different than we would.

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    • makagutu says:

      I don’t read most of the comments after my initial comment and most times I don’t get to interact with true goddites. I guess they read but don’t understand what they read. I see no reason why if anyone understand SB, they would make a comment such as the ones this fellow wrote.
      Making a virtue of suffering

      Liked by 1 person

    • You were really polite and civilised, my first thought was when I read it, ‘what the f*** are you talking about?’ (Oh wait, I can say fuck on here can’t I Mak? 🙂 )

      Anyways. You did well Violet. Sirius always makes some good points, and I think because he is so thoughtful, and expresses how deconversion is difficult, maybe that’s why he attracts these characters who think he’s not really sure.

      And as he said, and you did, that’s where the Internet is actually helpful to people. So many resources now for people who have doubts or want to question religion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

        You can’t imagine how I had to hold myself back in my response! Yet there’s only a select few blogs where I will bitch and swear to my heart’s content…Mak’s blog being one of those places (he assures me his grandma doesn’t read his blog). Of course I bitch and swear all over my own blog, but generally I try to be civilized when visiting the writing spaces of my friends. Honestly though, sometimes “fuck” is just the most appropriate word.

        Like SB, I have often discussed my difficulties with deconverting on my blog. The christian proselytizers got so aggressive with contacting me by email, I actually had to write a post telling them to fuck the hell off (in those exact words). Deconverting is painful, but that doesn’t mean I’m questioning my atheism…it just means it’s hard to throw off indoctrination.

        I think I would have gone completely insane without finding such a helpful online community…I shudder to think what people deconverting alone are going through. Victoria from Neuronotes deconverted all alone, as there was no internet at the time. It must have been awful for her.

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        • I can’t believe you had proselytisers emailing you 😦

          Evil!

          Yeah, Victoria’s an old-hand these days. And an extremely helpful, useful and supportive one.

          But for people now, there is a wide atheist/deconvert network, there should be something that suits most people somewhere 🙂 And I’m glad you’ve found this circuit.

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          • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

            The proselytizers used my “contact me” page on my blog to email me (that was not my intention for the contact me page!). I swear I had at least 30 bible bangers hounding me after my first post where I talked about how hard deconversion was. A few commented publically on my blog, but most of them said the atheist commentary was “too much” for them, and they wanted to privately discuss religion with me. There was so much emotional manipulation in those emails I couldn’t bear it. After my fuck off post, at least they had the decency to stop.

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        • makagutu says:

          Given what you go through each day, I must say you are built of tougher material. Luckily for me, I have never got mail from anyone telling me I believed wrong. I would have used the same language you used if I were in your position

          Liked by 1 person

      • makagutu says:

        You know you can say fuck or any other cuss word of choice here.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. A Guy Without Boxers says:

    If all this suffering and pain is meant to build character, my questions is: what do we do with all this character that we have earned? Is their a grand prize for the most character?

    Good job, my Nairobi brother! I hope that you and all the character that you have amassed are enjoying the summer! Love and naked hugs! 🙂

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    • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

      The grand prize is a gold crown in heaven. There are five different crowns…the third crown is for patiently enduring trials. Here’s an interesting link explaining them: http://so4j.com/five-crowns-rewards-in-heaven

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      • makagutu says:

        Thanks for that link V,
        Tell me who would not , as a believer, want those crowns. I didn’t see any crown for the godless

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        • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

          No crowns for the godless…we burn in hell. 😉

          I wonder if you get more than one crown, if there’s a way to stack them all on your head so they look nice? The devil’s in the details.

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          • makagutu says:

            Do we have different ranks in hell? I wouldn’t want to find CS in the same place. I would ask to die a second and third time

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          • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

            From a catholic perspective there is only one hell…that of the Lake of Fire. So hitler, CS, you, and I, will all be swimming together in the flames.

            I’m not sure if other denominations have more than one level of hell or not. Mormons believe in different levels of heaven, so someone out there probably believes in different levels of hell.

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          • makagutu says:

            It would be unjust to have CS for company. One how will we communicate with him? Have you read his comments on V’s blog?

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          • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

            LOL, yes, I’ve read his comments on Vi’s blog and have been to his own blog. Satan will probably pair you up with CS just so you two can drive each other insane. Sorry dude…it *is* hell, after all. 😉

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          • makagutu says:

            I don’t think Satan would be that unjust to me especially after the work I do spreading the good news of no salvation

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          • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

            I think you’re mistaken there, friend. If there’s no JC, there’s no satan. You’re definitely on the outs with the Big Goat.

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          • makagutu says:

            Who knows, friend, maybe I have seen the light and with a lot of books on heaven tourism, I believe them😊

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          • Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

            I think that’s about as likely as hell freezing over. Oh wait…I’m not sure that analogy works for an atheist!

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          • Yes. Everyone in Hell is given the label, “A-hole.” After this, there’s a numbering system depending on how big of an A-hole you were in life. For example, CS would be an A-hole #5 because, well, because he’s a BIG A-hole. Then there are babies who die without being baptized. These are A-holes #2. They’re A-holes, but it’s not their fault they’re A-holes. Their parents, who didn’t baptize them, are A-holes #3 for not doing so. Hitler is an A-hole #15, BTW. He’s one of the highest ranking A-holes in Hell. Hope this helped answer your question.

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          • makagutu says:

            I have no more questions teacher

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          • Peter says:

            I can’t say this is the gospel truth, but:
            Picking a punishment

            This guy dies and is sent to Hell. Satan meets him and shows him the doors to three rooms and says he must choose one of the rooms to spend eternity in.

            So Satan opens the first door. In the room there are people standing in cow manure up to their necks. The guy says “No, please show me the next room”.

            Satan shows him the next room and this has people with cow manure up to their noses. And so he says no again.

            Finally, Satan shows him the third and final room. This time there are people in there with cow manure up to their knees drinking cups of tea and eating cakes.

            So the guy says, “I’ll choose this room”. Satan says O.K. The guys is standing in there eating his cake and drinking his tea thinking, “Well, it could be worse”, when the door opens. Satan pops his head around, and says “O.K. tea-break is over. Back on your heads!”

            don’t worry it is a joke!

            Liked by 1 person

          • makagutu says:

            Hahaha.
            Peter, I love your jokes

            Like

        • Peter says:

          Trials of Heaven?

          Three guys die together and go to heaven…. St. Peter says, “We only have one rule…don’t step on the ducks as they are God’s favorite creation.”

          They enter heaven and see ducks everywhere, and it’s almost impossible to not step on a duck. The first guy accidentally steps on one, and soon here comes St. Peter with the biggest, ugliest woman he’d ever seen…

          St. Peter chains them together and says, “Your punishment is to be chained to this ugly woman forever.”

          The next day the second guy steps on a duck…Sure enough, St. Peter comes with another ugly woman and chains them together.

          Seeing this, the third guy is very, very careful. He goes for months and doesn’t step on any ducks. One day, St. Peter comes along with this beautiful woman: Blonde, blue-eyed, very young and very sexy. He chains them together and leaves without a word.

          The man remarks, “I wonder what I did to deserve this good fortune?” And the Blonde says, “I don’t know about you, but I stepped on a duck.

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    • makagutu says:

      I am donating some character. Do you want some?

      Liked by 1 person

  11. shelldigger says:

    Pain and suffering is a builder of character in some ways. But to take that and spin it to explain your gods shortcomings is a tad, as roughseasinthemed said, infantile.

    That they cling to this so tightly is to me a sign of desperation. Desperately avoiding the fact that there is no good reason for suffering in this world, if their supposed god had any empathy whatsoever. Thine armor is chinked.

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