Do they worship the same god?

The article below seeks to answer the question whether the followers of Abrahamic religions worship the same deity.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2016/01/christians-muslims-and-monotheism?fsrc=gp_en?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/christiansmuslimsandmonotheismthediscipliningofaprofessorraisesanoldphilosophicalquestion

d’Holbach’s quotes

Friends, in the next few posts, I will be sharing a few gems from Letters to Eugenia written by d’Holdbach where he refutes the doctrines/ dogmas of christianity, its foundations and the ideas of divinities.  To start us off, I share this piece that appears to me to be a critique of theology, natural or otherwise.

Do not tell me that your understanding is too weak to sound the depths of theology. Do not tell me, in the language of our priests, that the truths of religion are mysteries that we must adopt without comprehending them, and that it is necessary to adore in silence. 

Whatever is supernatural is unsuited to man, and whatever is beyond his comprehension ought not to occupy his attention. To adore what we are not able to know, is to adore nothing. To admit without examination every thing we are directed to admit, is to be basely and stupidly credulous. To say that religion is above reason, is to recognize the fact that it was not made for reasonable beings; it is to avow that those who teach it have no more ability to fathom its depths than ourselves; it is to confess that our reverend doctors do not themselves understand the marvels with which they daily entertain us.

Blog break 6: A question

Fellow sufferers, am being very generous today. Am not going to argue for existence of gods, Mohammed or Jesus but I have a very simple question.

The apologists have told us that religion is a way of knowing.

Now tell me, is there a time in our lifetime that a scientific answer has been replaced with a religious one?

Just that and please support your answer and preferably if you have a link to the source material include it in your response.

Theists, help needed!

1. You believe so strongly your god is all powerful and all knowing, whom are you trying to please by engaging in apologetics?

2. Why aren’t Catholics born to Muslim parents if we are born religious?

3. If your god is spirit, incorporeal, how could it will anything?

4. If your god is self sufficient, immutable and unchanging, what happened at the point it decided to create the universe or it became unchanging after that?

5. You insist your god gave us free will so that we can choose to do good or bad, was it difficult to make all our choices between degrees of good?

6. Each of you claim your religious text is the right one, does it occur to you that not all of you can be right, so how do we tell who is right?

7. If this is the word of god as you claim, why so many interpretations as there are believers? Was it impossible for your god to be clear?

8. This should have been the first question, what is god?

9. If you are Muslim, do you believe the heavenly language is Arabic?

10. Do you believe that Mo went to heaven aboard a Pegasus?

11. Do you believe it is fine to have intercourse with 9 year olds?

12. Christians do you think a man survived in a fish for three days?

13. Which direction is heaven?

14. Jews, do you think god cares so much for foreskin from baby penises?

Am tired, I will populate this list with more questions later. Gone to read

Can god be a person?

I have lifted this who passage from Atheism Explained by D.R. Steele, I would like to hear the response of those who conceive of god as a person to tell me how they deal with the objections raised here.

God cannot be destroyed. He can’t be injured against his will or made to suffer against his will, and he knows this. If this is true, then God can’t be afraid of anything. He has never known fear at first hand, though he may have known fear in his imagination, the way we know fear by watching a horror movie . But if God has never been fearful, then God has never been courageous . The virtue of courage consists in overcoming or disregarding or perhaps suppressing one’s fear or one’s inclination to fear. Bravery, then, is a virtue that God can never achieve .

The same applies to most o f the human virtues. Most virtues, like courage, involve self-control and therefore have no application to God, who experiences not the slightest flicker of appetites or impulses which might cause him to deviate from doing whatever he infallibly decides is best. God cannot be tempted, so he earns no points for resisting temptation. Nothing, to God, is an effort, so he can never become lazy or irresolute, and deserves no praise for being steadfast!
If God is all powerful and almighty, then God has never faced any onerous tasks, has never shouldered any burdens, has never had to give up one thing in order to get another ( except where the alternatives are logically incompatible ) , has never felt involuntary pain or even a twinge of discomfort or anxiety, has never had to make a difficult decision, has never solved an intellectual puzzle ( since he knows all the answers in advance ) . God has no curiosity, since he knows everything instantly, without making an effort to find out.

God has never had to work hard at anything, has never been surprised or disappointed. God has never had to make a choice, since that would presuppose at least a moment where he had not made up his mind. God can never be careful or considerate. God can never pay particular attention. God has never experienced, at first hand, the joy of understanding an elegant theorem or experiencing a great work of art. He has heard it all before.
Creation of anything by humans, for example creation of a song or a book, has its joys and its sorrows . But for God, the Creator of the universe, there could be no joy, or sorrow, or sense of accomplishment. He created the universe just by willing it and before he willed it, he knew how it was going to turn out. Aside from that, joy and sorrow are characteristics of evolved conscious beings with bodies, forever enmeshed in the struggle to survive and reproduce.
Such emotional flurries could have no place in the life of. an eternal, indestructible Supreme Being. Theists say that God is wholly good. This implies that he has never known at first hand malice, lust, greed, or envy. Furthermore, God, defined as God who is wholly good, is held to be necessary. If it’s necessary that God is wholly good, then God could never go even slightly bad, he could never start toying with a bit of shadiness here and there . So God can’t do anything even slightly evil . No credit is due to God for being good; he can’t help
himself.

Only a very few theists are prepared to say that God could choose to do evil, and it’s easy to see why. If God is free to do something evil, then he might, at any moment, do just that. Being all-good would then be revealed as not necessarily true of God : it must have been a mistake all along to think of it as necessarily true & a practical matter we could no longer depend on God to be good. How could we ever know that God had turned bad? What evidence might we find to give us an indication of any such turn of events? It does seem to be essential to the God concept that God is impotent to commit evil. Even mild naughtiness must be beyond his powers. We begin to wonder whether this entity can really be a person .

God belief as an insult to our collective intelligence

How gladly one would exchange the false claims of priests- that there is a god who demands good from us, who is guradian and witness of each act, each moment, each thought, who loves us and wants the best for us in every misfortune- how gladly one would exchange these claims for truths which would be just as salutary claiming and soothing as those errors! But there are no such truths; at the most, philosophy can oppose those errors with other metaphysical fictions. But the tragic thing is that we can no longer believe those dogmas of religion and metaphysics, once we have the rigorous method of truth in our hearts and heads, and yet on the other hand, the development of mankind has made us so delicate, sensitive and ailing that we need the most potent of cures and comforts hence arises the danger that man might bleed to death from the truth he has recognized.

Of course, any degree of frivolity or melancholy is better than a romantic regression and desertion, an approach to christianity in any form; for one can simply not engage in christianity, given the present state of knowledge, without hopelessly soiling his intellectual conscience and abandoning it to himself and to others.

F Nietzsche

A contradiction of sorts

Friends, it has occurred to me that in the theist’s mind, especially the christian, there exists a serious contradiction that I find hard to explain. In this post am going to try to detail some of this contradictions and look forward to hearing your thoughts about them as well.

I will start from what the christian believes will happen to the unbeliever in nether world. He believes when the Grim Reaper calls the unbeliever he will send him/her straight to hell to be administered to by the devil. The believer has in their mind that the unbeliever is an agent of the devil working hard to lead them astray, now tell me, if I have been working for the devil is he going to punish me or will he not prepare the choice wines for his followers? If god is preparing a heaven full of bliss for his children, the devil must do the same unless we change the administration of hell to be a good but malicious angel of god and not his antagonist. What say you?

My second concern comes from the genesis story of creation and subsequent warnings at the fall of man. Anyone who has read the story is aware that Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil, had no knowledge of what it means to die, what it means to give birth and labour, so what was god getting at when he issued edicts that they will die if they eat of the fruit of knowledge or that henceforth child-birth will be a painful experience and that man shall have to toil to eat, please help me with this.

My next problem is in the way the christian apologist twists the meaning of words to suit his purpose. Now why do I say this? Any rational person alive today, maybe except some extremist Muslim somewhere in Afghanistan, knows that to command genocide is evil. To kill first-born of families for no fault of their own is malicious or to drown an entire generation of people is beyond description; the theist says we can’t know what is good in god’s eye or mind I don’t know whether it has this things in the first place anyway. Should that be the case, then what meaning has the word good if god considers drowning an entire generation good? Do we really need to worship such a god? Please tell me!

The theist objects to suicide that it is against the edicts of their god. Now consider that the first christian, the one who died on the cross, if he lived, committed suicide except he abdicated the responsibility. Why I bring this up is to ask, is an all-powerful and all-knowing god deficient in ideas? Every time he has had need to purify the human race, he has chosen death as his modus operandi. Does he need our help in coming up with more humane methods of conflict resolution?

I don’t understand why the theist prays. You ask him, he says he doesn’t want to change the mind of god but to know god’s will. Now tell me, maybe am wrong, but the many times I hear a prayer, someone is asking for rain, for good health, for a job. Is this the will of god you are trying to find, are you trying to change his mind or are you asking him to act in your favour? But if he is an omniscient being, hasn’t it occurred to you that he knows you’d be making such a prayer and he knows how is going to act such that making the prayer in itself is an act in futility. Maybe I don’t understand it well, please someone help!

The theist makes a positive claim that their god is just and merciful. Forget that the two qualities are in themselves contradictory, this just god punishes everyone except the responsible person. Let me explain; in genesis when man fails he punishes man while in real the person with the greatest responsibility is this god. He created satan more intelligent than man, he placed the fruit in the garden and he was all-knowing. In the chain of events, he ought to bear the greatest responsibility, if anything he owes man an apology. When Pharaoh, who god hardened his heart, fails to release the sons of Israel who god had led to slavery, he kills every first-born even of slave girls. Please tell me what justice, what mercy this is? When Moses disappears to talk to god for forty days and returns finding the people with a golden god, who does he punish, all the men except the family of Levi. When David has Uriah killed who does he punish, the baby or David? Please tell me where the justice and mercy is?

Here am a little confused. Jesus we are told preached to multitudes of people and that one point he fed 5k men; this count doesn’t include women and children. He preached in synagogues, by the riverside and entered triumphantly, if riding donkeys is triumphant, into Galilee and nowhere are we told the soldiers lived in garrisons or barracks, why would someone be needed to betray a celebrity of this kind? Anyone would identify him in a crowd? Did they just want to transfer the guilt of his suicide to Judas? All generations have vilified Judas for the betrayal, did he have a choice? While at table Jesus says one of you here is going to betray me, if he already had foreknowledge, why didn’t he call Judas aside and tell him not to do it? Where was his power at this time? Please while answering this questions don’t bring that line that I need to be a bible scholar to understand zilch in the bible, god would have said so himself. If he wants to be worshiped by intelligent men, he has to do be as clear as is omnipotent-ly possible or else he throws the tag omnipotent out of the window.

I want to stop here in the anticipation that you’ll be kind enough to help shed light on these matters that are between me and your god. Maybe there could be a change of heart.

On revealed religion

the most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonorable belief against the character of the divinity, the most destructive to morality and the peace and happiness of man that ever was propagated since man began to exist. It is better, far better, that we admitted, if it were possible, a thousand devils to roam at large, and to preach publicly the doctrine of devils, if there any such, than we permitted one such imposter and monster as Moses, Joshua, Samuel and the bible prophets, to come with the pretended word of god in his mouth and have credit among us

Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason