Objections to Jesus: I don’t need God!

“Religion is just a crutch for weak people”, “I have no need for Jesus” “I’m alright as I am”, “I don’t see why I have to be religious” “I’m trying my best” “I’m a good person” : All of these statements are summed up in one major objection to Jesus, “I don’t need God”

Before I start exploring this objection, I would like to point out that this post is by no means exhaustive. I’m sure  I’ll miss certain things out, and maybe not explain myself so clearly. Please forgive me; for I am only a mere mortal, who does these sorts of things. If you have further questions, please leave your comment at the bottom of this post so that we can discuss further. Now, on with the first thing I would like to say. And to do this, I will ask a primary question:

Why do people talk like this? By that, I mean why do they ask the aforementioned questions that started this post off. I would contend that it is because they follow the philosophy of humanism. Humanism is all about being kind, justice, honesty and all good things. Humanism, moreover, is like religion but without all the ‘God’ stuff. But why do they follow these good things? Why are they good?

Humanists don’t believe that everyone is perfect. And they realise that there is bad in man. But they believe that there is good in everyone. And only if we could just work at being better, then one day, we may achieve it.

Humanism and Biblical Christianity that I believe in (and share with a majority of the Christians throughout the world) are destined for a head on collision. Because we’re different in the very fact that our ideas about goodness are completely different.

A humanist will argue that goodness is whatever is good for mankind.

A Christian would say to this answer that that isn’t acceptable. Because the standard for goodness in this context will constantly change. The common word for this is consensus.

Many years ago, in British society, you could be hanged for stealing. Everyone accepted that, because they thought it good for society. Now, of course, this is a million miles away from the thinking of today’s thinking.

But a Christian would go even further than this! They would argue that no one is good, apart from God himself.

Of course, humanists and atheists and people who ‘don’t need God’ wouldn’t stand for this. Because they don’t believe in God! They don’t believe in a higher being that gives the world moral order, let alone Jesus Christ who I profess to love, adore and worship. So, let me ask a few questions:

  1. Where did you get your idea of goodness from? How have you distinguished it from badness? You may say “Well, we’ve evolved!”
  2. I would then ask, well if this were true, why did evolution need moral law? In fact, doesn’t that mean that this lower life form that we evolved from needed a mind? And why would it need a mind? It didn’t need to strive for anything, and it didn’t need a purpose for anything either. I thought evolution was about survival of the fittest. You may then say “Well, it’s just our instinct” to which I would reply
  3. Very well then, but if a friend is screaming for help because he/she is in danger and you are in immediate peril for your life, what would your instinct be? You would say “To run!” and I would say, “Yes, it would. But what would your ‘heart’ tell you to do?” And you would say “It would tell me to help my friend.” – which is why instinct must be taken out of the equation. Moral law is something which we are not compelled to do, but have the free choice to adhere to.
  4. What about another question. “How do you measure a moral standard?” If God has no part to play, which universal standard do you use? The Nazis thought their moral standard was fine. Others did not. And the same can be said for countless other individuals. But where is the moral standard? You can’t keep changing a moral law that’s made by man, because goodness will carry on changing and the goal posts will be extended and shortened depending on social circumstances. But let me tell you this; even if the boundaries change, whether you accept or deny the point I’m about to make, we all know in our heart of hearts what’s right and what’s wrong. There’s no need for education or any instruction. We just know. And the only explanation I can find to the source of this knowledge is God himself. If you want to argue anything else, then please do comment on this post.

So let us assume that God is the giver of moral law, which births ‘goodness’. You will still be saying that it doesn’t mean you need God in order to be good.

Remember what I said; Christians believe that only God is good.

In Luke chapter 18, Jesus talks with a humanist. Here’s the conversation:

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.’”

21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

I need to explain a few things here.

  1. When Jesus talk about no one being good but God alone, he’s talking about himself, seen as the man has called Jesus ‘Good Teacher’
  2. Jesus talks to the man about the commandments. Jesus has elaborated on the commandments to fulfill the law and reveal their true meaning. That is, that adultery doesn’t just mean physically and sexually cheating on a man or wife. It means looking at someone else in a lustful way whilst you’re with someone. Lying doesn’t just mean a bare faced lie. It means not saying the whole truth. Murder doesn’t just mean shooting and brutally murdering someone and hacking them to death. It means merely just having the thought of hate for one of God’s children whom he loves.
  3. The man thinks he is good, because he kept the commandments since he was a boy. But do you really think he was good? If keeping the commandments (which, might I add, is God’s moral law for the world) meant tat breaking them would include simply thinking the wrong things, then how could this man be good?
  4. Jesus could have told him everything this man had done wrong that very day, seen as he was God. But in stead, he tells the man that he must do one more thing; to sell everything he has.
  5. At this point, alarm bells should ring as the man is not prepared to do that seen as he’s wealthy. Which means that he valued his money and material wealth more than he loved and cherished the God who he claimed to be ‘good’ for. So he had broken the very first commandment, which is to put God first.

“OK then”, you may say. “But that I’m fine without God, I’ll just carry on as I am”. This answer is completely illogical. If we have established that only God is good, and he is the author and creator of moral law, then you can’t simply just live as you are. You’ve admitted that there must be a God in order to give us this moral law, and therefore if God is there, then it is worth following the things he’s said. Don’t tell me that you can live perfectly without God when it is the same God that gives you the moral law that you’re trying to live by, but obviously failing, because we all fail at the moral law.

And if God has said that only he is good, then what does that make us? It makes us bad.

You value justice don’t you? Well, so does God. And badness, whether that be thought, word, deed or anything spiritually dark, God has to repay with justice. And the justice that God has is, as you probably know, death and hell.

OK, so this post has suddenly got very heavy and deep.

Death and hell is the wages of our badness. The only way in which death and hell can be avoided is by looking to God who is good. Which is why Jesus died and rose again – to pay the debt that we deserve for our badness.

Do you see how all this ties in?

So, please don’t tell me that you don’t need God. Because you do. Goodness and good virtues are… good things. But you cannot be good alone. Because no one is good. Only God is. And that’s why you need him.

If you have any questions, or you think that I haven’t explained this all properly, then please do comment the post and get in touch. I’d love to clarify and discuss if things aren’t clear.

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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about

  • Renshia

    Greetings Dean,

    Here let help you out with this. It’s hard to anticipate what the other person might say when you don’t understand them. Please understand that the opinions I will express are mine and mine alone. I do not represent the opinions of anyone else, atheist or not. In fact I think you will find most people will complicate things far beyond the conclusions I have come too.

    For what it is worth here it is.

    1. Where did you get your idea of goodness from? How have you distinguished it from badness?

    Stripping it all down to it’s simplest form; All that we do, we do, in order to survive.  What I mean with that is, one thing all humans have in common is the desire to survive. Although many factors influence what is necessary to survive. Human advancement has drastically changed the definition, but we strive to survive. What is goodness, that which is beneficial to survival. What is badness, that which is detrimental to survival. Did evolution play a part, yes, directly through the development of our desire to survive, and indirectly through the our social development.

    2. why did evolution need moral law?

    It didn’t, there is no such thing as moral law. What your calling moral is just a general consensus of things that contribute to our general survival. No we did not need a mind for our evolution. Our mind is a product of our evolution. Evolution is not about survival of the fittest, it’s about being adaptable to change. The most adaptable are the most successful. The development of the mind, our ability to reason, is what gave us the advantage to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. thus enhancing our ability to survive.

    3. What would your instinct be? what would your ‘heart’ tell you to do?

    My instinct would be to run, to avoid danger, to protect myself.  Another part of myself would react as well, my reason, that part of me that realizes that as a collective my survival is connected to the the person in troubles survival.  We have as a society come to understand that working as a group is most advantageous to our survival. Part of that understanding is when we have need, those who can, will respond to those who are in need. For the collective to survive we understand the responsibility to respond, when there is need, to fulfill our duty to the collective. This “is something which we are not compelled to do, but have the free choice to adhere to.” This understanding manifests itself within the part of our mind that has  developed our ability to feel compassion and empathy.

    4. How do you measure a moral standard? Which universal standard do you use?

    If you look around your home, your town, your state, your country, your continent, and then your world, You will find that throughout each area there are different standards of moral codes. It is all dependent forces effecting the ability to survive., whether it is an individual, a family, a community, a country, or, now more importantly than ever, the world. This is why in some areas, killing your neighbour and eating his head is a perfectly moral behavior and in others killing your neighbour is frowned upon. If you look at history, the moral code is a fluid entity, In some cultures it is more civilized, respecting life and liberty, others less civilized and barbaric. On a general basis, many societies have developed a similar code, don’t kill, don’t steal,don’t covet. These similar codes have been, at times, claimed by religious, to be the frame work of a gods moral code. This is a mistake, it is simply the result of the similarity between each other of the things that are advantageous of our survival. This is the explanation of why we know “in our heart of hearts what’s right and what’s wrong”.

    So I will not dissect the remainder of you post because you have not substantiated that your conclusion “that God is the giver of moral law” is correct. There is a perfectly logical explanation for these developments without  the need for a supernatural agency.

  • The moral argument is an important one, but I think there’s a more fundamental issue. Saying “I don’t need God” assumes that “I should believe in God if he’s useful to me”. But “Is God useful?” is completely the wrong question. The real question is “Is God worthy?”

    The Bible says that God isn’t just an added consumer extra to be fitted into our lives if he makes us feel better, but the loving Father who made and upholds the universe and who sent his Son to live and die for us – “love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all”. If the Bible is true, then God is worthy of us giving up everything for him.

    • Amen to that! 🙂

    • Renshia

      If the Bible is true

      That’s really is the crux of the matter isn’t it? Being that the bible is rife with inconsistencies and errors, I guess that should answer the question.

      • What inconsistencies and errors are you talking about, Renshia? I know it will be  temptation to now google “Biblical Contradictions” (and I’m not automatically suggesting you would) but I want you to at least start with some of the supposed contradictions that you see or have found yourself in the Bible. I’m curious…

        • Renshia

          What is your point in asking me? Are you not aware of any? Or are you just trying to test my biblical knowledge? What inconsistencies? How about the ones that cause strife and have fractured churches for thousands of years. If the bible was written as gods word, do you really think god would not do a better job of it. One that would not fracture it’s church, it’s bride into over 1500 different sects. Look at the hate, anger, the broken families and broken lives caused over it. There is no point even discussing individual ones. The damage goes far beyond doing apologetics to sort things out. You can choose to lie to yourself to whats right in front of you. That is your prerogative. A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it.

          • So you’re saying that the reason we decide to disagree over little issues in the Bible as opposed to focussing on Jesus is God’s fault? And anyway, what inconsistencies are you talking about that cause strife and split the church?

            Hmmm…

            And no, it wasn’t to test your Biblical knowledge. And no, I’m not aware of any. I was asking to see whether you could give me any inconsistencies that you came across yourself. And you didn’t. You only talked about what humans have done to eachother rather than anything to do with God himself.

            As to the thing about lies – that could equally be the same for you. So let’s not go down that one.

          • Renshia

            So you’re saying that the reason we decide to disagree over little issues in the Bible as opposed to focussing on Jesus is God’s fault?

            I am saying, for the bible to have come from a supreme being.  He has delivered a very poor set of instructions, considering the level of fallibility in which we were created. Yes, if the captain gives a poor set of instructions, so that no one knows for sure what he wants and what he is asking for, damn straight, it’s the captains fault.

            You asked what inconsistencies I was aware of. The inconsistency that started me to look at the bible with speculation and therefore search out others on the net, were those concerning the birth of jesus. I wondered how, if they couldn’t get that story straight, what is there to insure they got the rest right.

            There are two parts that got me questioning. First the genealogies of jesus, they differ. Mathew and Luke have different  genealogies. Then I also noticed according to history, their time lines differ. Also they differ on when Joseph and Mary were in Nazareth.

            After looking into those inconsistencies, I did search for more. Many others arose. For instance, No archeological evidence for the Jewish people ever living in the dessert for forty years. No record of the Jews being slaves in Egypt. No Egyptian record of the plagues. I know this will be irrelevant to you as it was for me, when I was a christian. I know there are excuses for all of these things. Eventually I had to think, if this is what the whole of my life is be be based on, somebody should have done a much better job of relaying the information, if it was to appear credible.

             

          • Lucy

            I completely agree, Renshia. I have also read the Bible having been brought up in a deeply religious school and found there to be so many contradictions within it. I cannot understand how you can possibly say there aren’t to be honest, Dean. Even most Christians who have read the Bible will admit there are many contradictions in it. But then there are others who will tell atheists who list these contradictions that they’ve ‘taken it out of context‘ or ‘misunderstood it‘. But then it goes beyond contradictions just within the Bible, there are contradictions with what it says and with modern geological, archaeological, historical and scientific discoveries as well. Ask me for examples of as many of those as you like because the list is inexhaustible.

            Take Noah’s ark, for example. How is it that people genuinely believe this story? Firstly, there isn’t enough water in all the world (including if the polar ice caps melted) to cover the Earth’s entire land mass. Secondly, I’m interested to know how a 600 year old man, a) lived that long!, and b) how he got two (as it says in Genesis 6:14-19) or seven pairs (as it says in Genesis 7:2-5) of each ‘kind’ (whatever that is, species, breed, who knows?) of every animal on the whole planet to the Middle East? And how would those animals from far off regions of the world get to Middle East and actually survive once there? A conservative estimate of the number of animals Noah would need to fit on his ark is 17,400 birds, 12,000 reptiles, 9,000 mammals, 5,000 amphibians and 2,000,000 insects! On one ark. All brought on by a 600 year old man and his family. Oh and that’s obviously including the unicorns that are mentioned in the Bible :).

            Also, each animal would need enough specialist food provisions to last them for a year. Two elephants would need 365,000 lbs of food, two lions would need 16,060 lbs of fresh meat. Then after the rain had stopped after the 40 days, where would they get their fresh water for the remaining 325 days?

            Plus, how would the animals behave? I.e. the predator/prey situation?

            Then there’s the problem of all the land mass being covered to a depth of 20ft – so above everest, that would put the altitude of the flood waters at 29,055 ft. All the animals would freeze to death and those that didn’t would suffocate in an atmosphere that has 33% less oxygen. Not even most of the sea life would survive if the salt water and fresh water mixed!

            Then when the animals got off the ark, what would they eat? A huge flood of this scale would destroy all the vegetation so the herbivores would have nothing to eat, and every time the carnivores ate they would be making a whole species go extinct!

            Then obviously, the last point, two individuals of each species is not enough genetic diversity to propagate an entire population of said species.

            Would you like any more examples of inaccuracies and contradictions in the Bible, Dean?

            Or perhaps this is one of those stories that we’re just ‘not supposed to take literally‘. If that’s the case I’m not entirely sure of the moral message this story sends out either.

          • I can’t give all my time to all the comments addressed directly to me, but I must say that the fatal flaw in your argument about Noah’s ark is that you’re judging it by current atmospheric, geological  and various other angles.

            Who said that Everest was there all those years ago? And I don’t know whether I’m a young earth creationist or something else, but just because there isn’t enough water now, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t then. God is God, and those who try to get rid of God will never understand the Bible and how God works within the Biblical accounts.

        • hayley

           im a christian. dean your a theology student right? so uve read much more of the bible than me (a good thing in my opinion) so you must know the bible is full of contradictions, it was written by god (my belief) through people so its never going to be perfect because people arent perfect. Your enthusiasm for evangalism is great, but sometimes you should be careful with the way in which u debate points. It can come across as know it all rather than opinions etc

          Googled it cus i didnt know it exactly but ive always tried to remember it when i speak about my beliefs to people.

          Matthew 6:5-6“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

          • Thanks for the reminder Hayley. Though I would say that when you debate on something like a blog, what you type may not necessarily mean you’re being full of yourself if you see what I mean.

            As for the contradictions; I think that the contradictions can be tied up and justified. And contradictions are rather different from lack of evidence or archaeological fact.

            Hope you continue to comment 🙂

          • Lucy

            As it happens, Dean, I am not merely judging it by today. According to the Bible, this occurred no more than 6000 years ago. And although there may have been minor variations in the geology of the planet 6000 years ago, not different enough at all to invalidate the points I have made. In fact, that is a very weak counter argument, and the points I have made still stand.

            You have cherry picked the points in my comment which you wanted to reply to, and even then your argument is incorrect as the Earth would not have been so different 6000 years ago. Aside from that, there are still very many facts in what I wrote which you cannot deny render the story ludicrous.

            I’m also afraid what you wrote about water is ridiculous – water doesn’t just disappear! Where do you suppose it went then?

          • Dean-

            You invite people to point of contradictions in the Bible. When they do, you explain them away as “it’s God”. That’s not a discussion. That’s a cop-out. I’ve been invited over and over by Christians to present contradictions in the Bible so we can have a “real discussion” about it. And when I do, I get a cop-out response like that. This is why I don’t bother anymore.

          • I’m afraid it is exactly the idea of God which you cannot take that makes our faith real to us and insanity to you who don’t believe. God could perfectly get rid of some water that he made couldn’t he? Because he’s the God who made the water. I’m sorry that I can’t explain this using a sum… I can’t help you find answers to these questions. I’ve never described myself as an apologist and I never will be one. I’m just merely seeing the world from a faith perspective.

          • Dean-

            The problem I have is in presenting an argument that’s like, “let’s discuss this”, and then making your point by saying “it’s God – he can do anything”. That’s not a discussion.

             

            Hey, let’s talk about what’s the best band ever. Mine is Mastodon, and that’s what God endorses too, so QED. Nothing more to discuss. If there is a god, I don’t think he would appreciate you cheating and deluding yourself to win arguments.

          • I understand that, Rhomboid, but I have to ask, how can we have a discussion about it? The whole matter boils down to the fact that I believe in God and you don’t. And God changes everything for me…

          • No, the whole thing boils down to whether you’re claiming divine influence in your opinions/beliefs. And I do believe in God, just not the same one you do.

             

            Let’s have a discussion, though. Take it for a trial run. What’s your response to God’s favor of Mastodon as the greatest band ever? I mean, I’ve got this book right here that says it’s true.

          • Well please, kindly tell me about your god?

          • I sent you a blog post I wrote about my god a few days back. My god says that mastodon is the greatest band ever and that everyone who disagrees doesn’t know the truth and beauty in the music they’ve let loose on the world, and that everyone who denies the importance of their music will spend eternity in a firey pit of torture, known as Texas.

             

            I’m asking, what is your rebuttal?

          • That’s exactly the point – your god is one that you make up to suit your needs. In other words, it’s centred around yourself.

          • Exactly. You’ve figured out the point I’m trying to make, teapot. I’ll be your kettle.

             

            But so, let’s have a discussion about whether Mastodon is the greatest band in the world, given that  God says that’s true. I’ll respond with the same oversimplified response every time. Or, let’s have a discussion about supposed contradictions in the Bible. Same difference.

             

            Not that I think you’ve just pulled your beliefs out of thin air, but you’ve put yourself in a position where you can’t be wrong and are free from ridicule because “God said so”. You’re not actually having a discussion. You’re just having a “tell me contradictions and I’ll respond with the same oversimplified answer every time” party. It’s insincere and annoying. But I guess it must be comforting to feel like you’re right all the time.

             

            And no, I don’t think I’m right. I don’t even necessarily think you’re wrong. That’s not the point. I just think your “discussions” are a farce. A discussion involves dialogue between two (or more) people, not dialogue on one side that’s followed by the same “it’s God” response to everything that’s said. You can say that it boils down to whether you believe, but that’s just another oversimplification.

          • Lucy

            What I would also say Dean, you have picked up on the fact that I made about there not being enough water to cover the landmass by saying ‘God could have put the water there, and then removed it after, because he’s God‘, but conveniently left out all the other points I have made which invalidate the story of Noah’s Ark.

            You also said I was judging it by the atmospheric and geological conditions back then, making up an argument to suit you. And this is blatantly made up because it is not true. If I make an argument I research any facts I state or check any assumptions which you obviously failed to do before blindly stating this.

            You just picked the parts of my answer you wanted to reply to and even then, the answers you gave were clearly either not thought out or just plain ignorant.

  • …you this; even if the boundaries change, whether you accept or deny the point I’m about to make, we all know in our heart of hearts what’s right and what’s wrong. There’s no need for education or any instruction. We just know. And the only explanation I can find to the source of this knowledge is God himself. If you want to argue anything else, then please do comment on this post. …

    If you don’t think kids need education and instruction on how to be good, you’ve never had to tell kids that sharing is good. Boundaries of right and wrong change all the time. Even theistic right and wrong. 500 years ago, perfectly respectable Christians the world over thought it was perfectly good, God-authorized even, to persecute women as witches and then burn them to death to save their souls.

    By the way, you’re arguing from ignorance here. You don’t know how something works, so it MUST BE GOD! God must be getting smaller every year.

    So let us assume that God is the giver of moral law, which births ‘goodness’. You will still be saying that it doesn’t mean you need God in order to be good.

    Remember what I said; Christians believe that only God is good.

    Let us assume no such thing. Moral law doesn’t birth goodness; it births dogma and institutionalized hatred. Sure, you believe that only God is good. But have you ever stopped to truly examine that belief? Objectively? Have you ever stopped to think how that belief appears from the outside. You may think that outside opinion doesn’t really matter, and you would be right, it doesn’t. What it does do, however, is allow you to shine a critical light on your own beliefs and examine them.

  • The mind of the theist separates his actions (divine) from those of the nonbelievers. In his mind, his actions are pure and of divine origin, and dissenting opinions are flawed, impure and dangerous.

    Of course, this is wishful thinking.

    Those who opposed witch burning and the Spanish Inquisition, among many other faith-driven atrocities, were viewed as heretics deserving of death by the people whose religion modern-day Christians share.

    But in those situations, if anyone was tapped into divine insight, the heathens were. And if anyone was tapped into the devil, it was the believers who tortured people and burned innocent women to death.

    • Erm… How are you able to talk about a mind that you don’t have?

      What you’ve just said is utter rubbish. Sorry to be frank, but it is.

      We don’t think that our actions are pure at all. And we don’t (or should I say most of us don’t) contrast our actions to yours.

      Very dangerous to go down the route of trying to explain your theorems up by using some events from the past to do so. If you’re going to do that, then please research all the good that Christians have done in the past and not been judgmental before you start making wild accusations on here…

      • Very dangerous to go down the route of trying to explain your theorems up by using some events from the past to do so. If you’re

        If this is true, then your entire theology falls apart, since it depends entirely on some events from the past. Or do you think that because it’s a 1500 year old belief system that different rules apply to it?

        In any case, what was said above is not rubbish, and people can talk about things they don’t have. For example, you routinely make statements about what atheists believe and how they think. If we had only to talk about the same things as ourselves life would be boring in the extreme.

        • Dean: “we don’t (or should I say most of us don’t) contrast our actions to yours.”

           

          I don’t understand. Isn’t that EXACTLY what you’ve done in this post you wrote? That is, saying that atheists lack the moral direction that Christians have? This would be most clearly reflected in our actions.

          • No, the question I’m asking is where do the moral directions come from? I haven’t said anything of the sort in the blog post.

            Please can I also say that I’m sorry I don’t reply to every individual comment, though I try to at least reply to every person at least once!

            Thanks 🙂

  • I didn’t mean to offend, Dean. I’m sure you didn’t, either.

    I read something you wrote about my moral compass and what I believe earlier. You seem to know something about me, so it’s just as likely I know something about how your mind works. We can both presume to know something about each other.

    I am not trying to keep score. I know about the good that Christianity does. I know that it’s true. However, Christianity has also played a big hand in gay teens killing themselves recently. We can talk about both sides of the coin.

    • Well that’s all very well then.

      And yes we can talk about both sides of the coin. And I completely understand why Christianity can seem so unattractive. But what I’m saying is that Christianity isn’t unattractive at all. It’s just that us, as we would call ‘fallen’ human beings shame Christ and everything that Christianity stands for by acting in horrific ways and having stinking attitudes at times.

      But atheists should not base their conclusions about Christianity on the Christians ‘whether they actually be Christians or not’ who often fall, stumble, get things wrong, and sometimes deliberately use the Christian faith to justify their sickening acts.

  • Gribble the Munchkin

    Dean said

    What about another question. “How do you measure a moral standard?” If God has no part to play, which universal standard do you use? The Nazis thought their moral standard was fine. Others did not. And the same can be said for countless other individuals. But where is the moral standard? You can’t keep changing a moral law that’s made by man, because goodness will carry on changing and the goal posts will be extended and shortened depending on social circumstances. But let me tell you this; even if the boundaries change, whether you accept or deny the point I’m about to make, we all know in our heart of hearts what’s right and what’s wrong. There’s no need for education or any instruction. We just know. And the only explanation I can find to the source of this knowledge is God himself. If you want to argue anything else, then please do comment on this post.
    Except that we don’t know in our heart of hearts what is right and wrong, thats evident just by looking at the past, like with the Nazis you mentioned, many of them thought they were doing the Right Thing, even if they found it distasteful.

    You also mentioned goodness changing as time goes on boundaries changing. But this is exactly what we see when we look at human society, th zeitgeist moves on and humans change their views on what good and evil are. Your own bible shows this brilliantly. Many christians ignore the old testament because of its savagery and violence. Traits that were much more acceptable back then. Look at the story of Abraham and Isaac. God asks Abraham to kill his son as a test of faith. What kind of monster would require that of a follower? Sure, he doesn’t let him go through with it, but Abraham was about to murder his son! Likewise, Lot offers to send his daughters out to get raped by the crowd to protect the angels that visit him. What the hell Lot! Thats vile. But back in the day, hospitality and protection of guests was placed very highly, and daughters not so much. Life was cheap, short, brutal and bloody back then. In more civilized ages we can look even at Christ and realise he was a man ahead of his time but morally inferior to most of us.

    It doesn’t matter what you think of goodness and evil changing over time. It is clear that they DO change over time.

    I am a product of the modern world and have access to the massive stores of its history and lessons of which i’ll only ever discover a fraction. But i confidently assert, I am a moral man and i do not need God, yours or anyone elses.

  • Lucy

    I’m sorry Dean, but I have to say that among disagreeing with almost everything you say in this post, I find it deeply insulting that you tell atheists that we ‘need’ God. This sweeping character assumption about us is offensive.

    You may believe firmly that you need God, but just because you personally believe that you do doesn’t mean the rest of the world does. Believe what you will but please refrain from telling atheists we need God. As an atheist I know myself better than you do, and I know that I certainly do not need God, because I do not believe there is a God there. It is not even possible for me to need him. To put upon us that we cannot be good people without him, as far as I am concerned, is discriminating.

    I would not pass such a heavy judgement on you. And given that this post is centered on the fact that Christians must have better morals it certainly seems surprising to me that between the two of us, the Christian, not the atheist, is the one to make the strong, undermining and passing comments about the others character.

    Aside from that, I am a good person and I know that I am. I work trying to make a difference to genetic diseases, I give blood every 4 months, I give to charity, I help the elderly lady across the road from me on a daily basis with all sorts of little things because she has no family. I m not a bad person because I do not believe in the same God as you. Based on a 2000 year old scripture which tells you that God is the only one that can be good?, this is arrogant, Dean.

    I’m sorry this comment seems quite abrupt, I am normally very laid back -but this post is close minded and offensive.

    • I agree, Lucy. I observe many instances of Christians offending others without intending to, or even realizing they are doing so. I know their intentions are good. But if someone responds telling them they don’t appreciate their judgmental remarks, with a bit of understandable resentment or anger at being insulted by a complete stranger, the Christian often takes this as an unprovoked attack. However, these perceived attacks are actually an act of self-defense.

       

      Like I said in a previous comment, Dean, I respect you, though I often disagree with you. Then, as now, I was trying to convey that what you were saying is offensive. To be clear, I don’t have any interest in trying to make you stop what you’re doing or saying – that would bring me no satisfaction. I am happy for you to express yourself, but I just want you to understand that what you say can offend others even when you think it’s innocuous.

       

      I know you don’t intend to offend, Dean. But I think you may do so more often you realize.

    • Anna

      Hi Lucy,

      I just wanted to say that Dean is representing one view of needing God. Aka we need to believe in God to be good people, as only through believing in good can we really know what goodness is. However, another view might be that we can only know what goodness is because God is good and he is the designer of the universe, and as we are made in God’s image, we are also good. Obviously, if you don’t believe in God this is not proof of his existence. It is just another way of looking at the goodness question.

      And if you follow this train of thought, the Bible says ‘God is love’, therefore, a Christian may view your acts of goodness and kindness as reflections of God’s love. I know that some, and I mean some not all, non-Christians see this view as imposing a Christian viewpoint upon others and the world. And I am sorry if you do, and if I have offended you by saying this. But Christianity, is, as well as being so much more, a worldview.

      You may have already heard all of this before, in my experience atheists and agnostics are often very well informed about religions as they have made the choice not to follow them. But I just thought I would share this with you in case you didn’t know, and might be interested. 🙂

      • Anna, thanks for contributing – this is a very valuable explanation and gives another really good perspective on the whole argument. 🙂

      • Yes, God is love. The Bible also says to stone disobedient children and that it’s okay to beat your slaves as long as they recover after a couple days. Good idea / bad idea? Let’s discuss.

        • But again, atheists and others LOVE to throw this one at Christians, but the fact of the matter is that all these morality codes are bound up in historical context and covenant theology. It will take books to explain all these things.

          God is love, yes. But the things which you’re describing happened for specific purposes in the Old Testament where the covenant was completely different. I’m not dismissing the point to the OT, but you have to know about covenants and the reason why these rules were made.

        • And to add to that, there’s a book entitled Is God a Moral Monster? ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/God-Moral-Monster-Making-Testament/dp/0801072751) but I don’t know whether you’d find that it gives you any satisfactory answers, because people who want to believe that there are contradictions in the Bible will believe it at all costs. At the same time, people who think they have their Biblical interpretation and theology correct will dismiss any other Biblical interpretation and theology that comes their way. I don’t know if that’s you… but there we go.

      • Lucy

        Nooo this comment isn’t offensive at all. And I understand what you’re trying to say, but what I’m trying to say is that it’s okay for Dean to say he needs God. I have no problem with that. But when he directs the post to everyone in general and says ‘Don’t tell me you don’t need God. Because you do‘ – that is extremely offensive. As I said above, it’s like making a sweeping character assumption, not something I would ever do.

        I think it’s hard for Christians to understand this because you obviously believe that you do need God. But how can an atheist need God when we don’t even believe in him? That is what I wanted Dean to understand. I found this comment extremely disrespectful.

        • Lucy

          *I meant Dean’s comment in his post was disrespectful, not yours, sorry Anna!

          • Anna

            Lol *sigh of relief* I was really worried you meant my comment for a second!

            I see what you’re saying. But as you’ve just complained about Dean making sweeping statements about atheists, I don’t think it’s fair for you to then say “I think it’s hard for Christians to understand this”.

            I would also argue that you may have misunderstood how Christians see God. I don’t really ever think of needing God. I think “Wow, God is amazing and I love Him because He has done so much good in my life, and in the lives of so many”.

            I argue though, that of course to you it is ridiculous that you should need something that doesn’t exist, however, I think you have to accept that Dean, as a Christian, will believe that you need God and we all need God. I would also assume that Dean believes (sorry if I’m wrong Dean) like I do that it is not a matter of whether or not you believe in God as to whether or not you need him. I would say we all need God, and thank goodness there is a God. Though obviously I don’t expect you to agree.

            In terms of offending people, I think we are all truly blessed to live in a country where we are able to cause offense! I would also say that if you read blogs, as blogs are mainly people’s opinions, you can’t be shocked that sometimes you will be offended by someone else’s views or opinions. One of the down sides to freedom of expression and speech is that people get offended sometimes. But my life would be painfully dull if everyone thought like me, so thank goodness for all you interesting people who disagree with me 🙂

        • I understand what you’re saying, Lucy. But the fact is that I’m not making that comment. It’s just what it says in the Bible which is a key component to my faith… But the way you’re coming from it is from a moral perspective. The fact of the matter is that Christianity isn’t solely being a good human being, I’m afraid. That’s a mythical fairy tale that’s been banded around the world for far too long. And the sad thing is that the world is holding onto that misconception. Christianity is realising that no one is good enough for God, which is the whole point of Christ coming, dying for sin and making a way possible to be good enough for God, and therefore entering eternal life and freedom with him.

           

          I’m deeply, and truly sorry if the whole morality argument offends you and you deem it as close mindedness. Though that is the message of Christianity. And I’m going to stick by that line, because the morality of man has not progressed since the dawn of time, and it never will. Because no one is truly good.

           

          And just to say, there’s a lot of blog posts on free speech and things at the moment, and a lot of atheists seem to be getting uptight about people saying that Jesus is the only way. To those people, I have to say that they shouldn’t get up tight. I don’t get uptight about atheism being ‘preached’. It’s just a part of the world and we have the free choice to air opinions. It’s OK for you to be offended, Lucy. I get offended all the time, but I can’t find any logic in telling someone that they shouldn’t say it because it offends me.