God, Evidence, and the Will

Thomas Nagel, an atheist philosopher at New York University said something very revealing in his book The Last Word:

In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that (Oxford Univ. Press, 1997), 130-131.

Nagel seems to be speaking for many when he reveals what the root problem is—an unwillingness to acknowledge God’s lordship in his life. Note too how Nagel admits that a lot of smart people he knows are believers, which makes him very uncomfortable.

Let me mention another book that addresses the will in relationship to God and the available evidence. Christian philosopher Paul Moser’s book The Elusive God (Cambridge University Press) directs us to the need to consider the role of the will and “perfectly authoritative purposively available evidence” from God. Moser, with whom I have had the pleasure of co-editing The Rationality of Theism (Routledge) has been writing for some time on the dangers of cognitive idolatry and mere “spectator evidence” for God that fails to engage the will. We can easily treat discussions about God with non-believers as mere armchair theorizing rather than a topic of potentially life-altering significance. Notice the priority of the will in Jesus’ words in John 7:17: “Whoever chooses to do his will shall know whether my teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own.”

I just recently spoke at an open forum at the University of South Carolina on “God’s Existence and Why It Matters.” Below is a list of questions I raised at the beginning of my talk. I spoke of evidence, but I also addressed the topic of human need for outside assistance (“grace”) and that God has taken initiative in the person of Jesus to identify with us in our broken human condition and to bring us into a filial relationship with God. In my talk, I pointed out the deep interconnection of God, the will, and evidence. Here are some of the questions I raised to start the conversation:

  • Could it be that I am looking at the evidence for God in the wrong way—like the duck-rabbit scenario? Perhaps God seems hidden from humans because we aren’t paying attention or because we don’t want God’s authority “interfering” with our lives or because we’ve determined the height of the bar over which God must “jump”?
  • If a good God exists, what would God’s goals be? If God exists, what does God have to do with me?
  • If a good, perfectly authoritative God exists, am I willing to acknowledge my unworthiness to receive this God’s grace? Do I make demands of God (“if God exists, then he ought to put on a display of divine pyrotechnics”) rather than ask, “What demands does God have on me?
  • Do I have a right to demand evidence of God if I am unwilling to go undergo personal transformation?
  • Am I open to evidence for God in whatever form it comes—or do I insist that evidence must be a certain way?
  • Does my will have anything to do with my actually benefiting from evidence?
  • If God exists, how would this impact my life? Is it possible to intellectually believe God exists but my life to remain unchanged by knowing this intellectual fact? What’s the point if my life remains unchanged and self-centered rather than God-centered? What’s the point of evidence if I’m not willing to be transformed by the reality of God?
  • Does God want more than just an acknowledgment of his existence? What if God wants an I-you relationship with individual humans?
  • What kind of an attitude does truth-seeking require? Does the fact that people want to disprove evidence for God actually reveal an attitude of non-truth-seeking?
  • Is it possible that some people might hate God all the more as one piece of evidence for God is stacked on another? Is it possible for me to believe God exists and still hate God (James 2:19)?
  • Can my will interfere with God’s goals for me—to relate to me and to change me from being self-centered to being God-centered and other-person-centered? Are we willing to do what a loving God wants for me so that I might find out what life really is?
  • Must God leave us unavoidable evidence before I believe—or might he leave me avoidable evidence that reveals whether I am genuinely truth-seeking?
  • Wouldn’t it be a strange God who made no demands on us or who didn’t care if we had our way over against God’s?
  • What if accessing relationship-producing evidence is like that of tuning a radio dial to seek out universally—but not necessarily immediately available dismissible armchair evidence?

God isn’t interested in just changing our beliefs. He’s interested in changing *us*! A loving, authoritative God made us to relate to us. Are we willing to receive evidence on God’s terms?

These are some of the themes in Moser’s thought-provoking book. Whatever one thinks of Moser’s views on, say, natural theology, he is surely right to direct us to the centrality of the will and to the very goal of God’s self-revelation—namely, to reveal God personally to human beings so that we might experience intimate, personal knowledge of God through his Spirit, by whom we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

36 Responses to “God, Evidence, and the Will”

  1. I agree with Nagel in a way. It would horrify me if God, as articulated in the bible really existed. This God seems to act exactly in the manner of a tyrant, or at least an abusive husband. He creates unachievable laws and then punishes us for not achieving them. He saves only those who are willing to lay down on their bellies and tell him how wonderful he is, and tortures forever those he has not ‘chosen’ for no other reason than they can not fulfill his unobtainable laws.

    This is a very hard issue for me. I have read the bible several times and have struggled to understand but I just do not believe. I wish I could. The whole ‘plan of salvation’ seems to be an overly complex baroque construction. Beautiful on one level, but also ugly in its over-the-top ostentation. Anyway, just a reaction to your post. I know many Christians and I love them (many are part of my family) but i can not overcome this divide.

  2. Topher:

    It can be interesting and a bit disturbing to read through the Torah (i.e., the first 5 books of the OT) as if one is reading it for the first time, without (as best as possible) imposing either Jewish or Christian theological understandings or interpretations on it, but just reading it to get an idea of who YHWH is and what YHWH worship and allegiance are all about.

  3. Many people have trouble with the Old Testament.

    To try to fix this, over the centuries, Christianity came to be dominated by the theory that … said that in some way, the New Testament “fulfilled” or somehow discharged the old Testament an its “law.” And put us under a (slightly different?) “new covenant” with God.

    Though just exactly how, and by what arguments, the old God himself, or his very firm laws, are superceded, and replaced by a New Testament, is another disturbing question, for many.

    Was it Leopold Bloom who wrote a book on the old God?

    By the way: my Jewish friends tell me to read the Tanak; with the modern Jewish scholar’s translations of the first five books.

    Or also, I liked reading the Jerusalem Bible version too (not the new one; the old one). If you can find it. It looks as if it is being systematically hunted down and destroyed, at present.

    Christians should be honest. And it’s not honest to picture Nagel as questioning: he’s really more simply … shocked and unaccepting of the old God: “I don’t want there to be a God” like the one in the Old Testament.

    A challenging idea.

  4. “Who YHWH is and what YHWH worship and alligiance are all about”

    I guess that is my question. What is worship of God all about? Why worship God at all? If God knows who is saved and who is not saved why have a church at all? What does God get out of being worshiped?

    As the third point of the post asks that we have to acknowledge our unworthiness to God. I ask, why do we have to do this?

    Anyway I don’t mean to ask so many questions but I guess this is why I am a cat person and not a dog person. I like the independence of cats and find dogs too servile. It just does not make sense that God expects the same servile posture towards him.

  5. Dr. G.:

    Well, since Jeremiah said that God would initiate a New Covenant, I don’t see why it’s “disturbing” to accept the fact that Jesus did indeed initiate a New Covenant, thus fulfilling and superseding the Old Covenant.

    And it’s clear from reading the New Testament how God did in fact establish a superior New Covenant through Christ’s offering of Himself.

    Christianity didn’t have to “fix” the Old Testament God, just further reveal Him.

  6. Harold Bloom, of course.

    Though generations of preachers deny this, many theologians accept that God changes some of his rules, his theology, from the Old Testament, to New. Particularly in the writings of Paul.

    From that, here’s the question that bothers many: many laws of God, were announced as “eternal” and everlasting, etc.. So how could any “eternal” laws of God change? Or how could someone come along and change that, to have God offering a new convenant? HOw could Jeremiah for example, simple announce new laws to come? God can do anything; but is it fair if he contradicts himself or changes things once announced to be “eternal”?

    Whatever you decide to semantically call these moments when the eternal suddenly changes – “fix”ing or “superseding” – still, the fact that things once announced as absolutely firm, the “word of God,” are suddenly changed, “further reveal”ed … I think, rightly disturbs many.

    Or however, you could take from this a message of freedom; if God’s firm word attimes changes, then for these and other reasons, some assert the “freedom we have in Christ.” Which is not quite the servility of many.

    Possibly, some even say, God does not need our worship; who are we that God needs our worship? (Who is man, that…). Though to be sure, some study of his principles would be useful. I’d recommend real theology; not a simple corner church.

    How much should we study this? It is all pretty Baroque, and over-elaborated. Some liberal people would just say: be good. And that’s enough. “Whatever things are good,” Paul said, we should look into them. Even ordinary people know “by nature” what God requires, some say.

    To some extent, your intuition may carry you pretty far. Though of course, once you are drawn in, it gets infinitely complicated – “Baroque”; even “Manneristic.”

    Be good.

  7. Dr. G:

    “Be good.” and “…freedom we have in Christ”

    I like this. Thanks. I have often had the sneaking suspicion that God saves the honest freethinker:)

    I have always like the idea from the Persian prophet Zarathustra, “Gaze at the beams of fire and contemplate with your best judgment.

    Let each person choose his creed, with that freedom of choice which each must have at great events” (Gathas, Yasna 30.2)

    Does not the choice freely chosen honor God more than vain repetitions?

    Anyway just some random thoughts from a (mostly) honest freethinker.

  8. How awesome it is to hear the would-be-gods speak! They sound so much like the Devil that it is frightening. Can there be devils without a God?

  9. And as for those devils, those deceived Christians, that think they are following Christ? But are following a false idea of Christ? As foretold?

  10. Phil McCheddar April 22, 2009 at 6:59 am


    Thank you for this post. If you don’t mind, I would like to copy those questions you raised onto the hard drive on my PC so that I can look at them again and again. I think they are worth posing to certain people I know, as well as to myself (already a believer but prone to keep God a safe distance away).

    Thank you again.

  11. Note the above are questions; not answers. Probably in fact they could not be posed as statements firmly; because as statements, they would oppose much of the BIble

  12. Truth Unites... and Divides April 22, 2009 at 9:41 am

    God, Evidence, and the Will

    Answer: Monergism.

  13. PCopan, are there articles or good posts on the web where one can read more about the elusiveness of God? I’ve found bits here and there on the topic, by accident, and understand that it is a developing area in theology. I would like to know more.


  14. Paul Copan,
    Yes, that’s what I have been saying all along…God wants to change us.

  15. Oddly enough, the looseness – elusiveness? – of God, was noticed by liberals. And oddly, they got it, surprisingly enough, not out of sloppy thinking … but out of more and more exact Biblical scholarship/ criticism.

    By c. 1800-1960, much of Biblical scholarship was exact enough, to notice variability in the sacred texts. And out of noticing that variability, grew theologial liberalism; which suggested that after all, if the most sacred texts vary … then why follow them to the letter?

    And amazingly, parts of the Bible seemed to allow that: like parts that condemned the “letter of the law”; that allowed for the “freedom of Christ.” And so forth. To those however, who were able to “see” this level of the text. And who had already “well-formed consciences.”

    Such people as notice the variablity of sacred sayings – and related to that, the elusiveness of any exact and final definition of God – were it almost seems, in the Bible itself, given a certain amount of freedom, in their religion.

    And out of that, many become rather liberal too, towards others. Believing that the most sacred texts after all, can .. change, vary, etc.. Therefore, we probably, to be moral and good, should not enforce them too severely. SInce what is said in one translation, or edition of a holy book, might disappear in the next. What is said in the Old Testament, might have been modified in the New.

    Therefore, the conclusion was: if we start executing people as heretics, on the basis of one text? What happens if that translation was wrong?

    Thereby, liberal theologians deduced – not (originally) from vague sentimentality, but from precisely the most rigorous and scientific and logical and pious observation of texts – that we should not be so rigorous in religious enforcement.

    As indeed, Jesus himself at times seems to urge. Jesus and Paul noting problems with the the Pharisees, the legal religious lawyers, “law”-enforcers, the “letter of the law” folks, of the time. Who in fact eventually killed Jesus himself, because they believed he was breaking the letter of Jewish laws (about working on the Sabbath, etc.).

    So you might even way, strict enforcement of religious law, is in fact, what killed Jesus. And opposing that – Jesus refusing to prosecute an Adultress for example – was one of Jesus’ main messages. Bringing a certain liberality or “Grace,” instead of strict religious “law” enforcement.

  16. Dr. G,
    Then tell us what “pass this cup from me” means? Do you realize that Jesus first passed the cup when eating with the disciples, and then asked the Father to pass the cup if it be His will. What’s the cup, and why pass it? What’s in the cup? Why was Jesus willing to pass the physical cup but God was not willing to pass the spiritual cup? Or do we have it backwards?

  17. rayner markley April 23, 2009 at 8:45 am

    So far, there seems to be no discussion of the role of the will in belief, which is the point of this topic. In ordinary life, and even in scientific inquiry, we can be convinced by evidence. It may take some time and some quantity of evidence but eventually we can be convinced even against our will.

    In the case of God, no really convincing evidence is possible. Should someone claim to have such evidence, it would no longer be evidence of God but evidence of some natural phenomenon. That’s the necessary result of our notion that God is transcendent. And that changed only in the person of Jesus, a union of God and man. We may say that Jesus Himself is the only evidence for God.

  18. KK: I’m not sure what you’re talking about. But if you mean the phrase where Jesus asks God to take this cup from him? The moment when Jesus asks God not to hand him the cup?

    Most regard that as the moment when Jesus is remarking that God seems about to lead him to a moment of … both triumph, kingship, but also execution. This is a bitter “cup,” that he does not want to drink. But he concludes, that he will drink it, if it is God’s will.

    Normally wine in the passover, is thought to symbolize the good and kind spirit of God. But cf. the “grapes of wrath” and so forth; and the moments when God slays so many, the blood flows like wine and so forth.

    Wine in the Bible, has different kinds of symbolism. Sometimes, it stands for the kind support spirit of God. But other times, his wrath, his executions.

    Jesus it seems, is confronting … he grapes of wrath, here?

    In one understanding of that verse.

    Do you have another one? It would be interesting to hear it.

    Am I understanding your question?

  19. Phil McCheddar April 24, 2009 at 7:27 am

    I am a Christian but I wonder if Paul Copan’s argument could be inverted and used against Christianity? How would the Christian readers here answer the following charge:

    You hope a transcendent, all-powerful being exists because you like the idea of someone protecting you, taking care of you, and helping you. After all, the world is a scary place.
    You want there to be a God because you feel it gives you a sense of purpose in life instead of life being random & meaningless, and it gives you a hope that you will continue to exist after you die instead of becoming as if you had never existed.
    You want a superior being to choose your actions for you and give you rules to live by because you are afraid of taking responsibility for your own decisions or too lazy to plot your own course.
    You hope God exists because you have a low self image, but you feel a fuzzy glow at the thought of being chosen from eternity and a child of the King and an heir of heaven and dearly beloved for ever.

    Christians and other theists are predisposed to believe in God – they have strong emotional reasons to want God to exist. Therefore, they do not analyse the evidence for/against God objectively, any more than Thomas Nagel (the atheist philosopher quoted in the opening post). Christians are prejudiced and are just as guilty as atheists of subconsciously forming their conclusions first and then afterwards marshalling and interpreting the evidence to support those conclusions. By repressing or minimalising the evidence against God, and exaggerating the significance of the evidence for God, they can make a reasonable enough case to prop up their belief in God whilst maintaining a sense of integrity and rationality.

  20. 1) So, to try to clumsily tie all this into one thread, true to the official topic, as requested above: our “natural” “will,” so to speak, is made up in large part of … emotions?

    2) And especially, as suggested above, a major part of our emotions, is a natural desire or will …for a transcendent truth/ God?

    3) And it is claimed that atheists are looking for that too in effect.

    4) In which case, should Christians condemn atheists? Who are deep down, Christians? Or who are, say, looking for God too? Albeit, God under another name?

  21. Phil McCheddar April 24, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Errr …. no! I think you misunderstand me, Dr.G. I’m saying that atheists may have a different personality type or psychological make-up to Christians. Atheists would genuinely prefer God not to exist – so that they can live life their own way without interference from an authority figure. The thought of an all-seeing, all-knowing God breathing down their neck who will judge them after they die for everything they’ve done is too uncomfortable for them. Therefore they subconsciously manipulate the evidence for/against God to support their desired conclusion.

  22. Phil:

    Sorry about the mix up; I was addressing my post to several comments; not just yours.

    But to clarify now? I guess I agree with your two points. That 1) Nagel’s argument could be inverted; to say that, even more than atheists, Christians are too emotionally driven. Though to be sure, you seem to back off this, with your next post? Ending up suggesting that however, 2) after all, still, atheists are too emotional. Their insistence that there is no God, is an emotional, not rational, belief.

    3) But what I’m trying to do here, is turn all this on its head, once again. To wit:

    a) If after all, even atheists are not entirely logical, but are responding to deep emotions (which by the way, Christians also do even more, as you rightly note);

    b) And our emotions, our “nature,” is partly from God? Then …

    c) The atheists’ emotion, seemingly against God, is partly from God.

    Indeed, it is by now a commonplace that Atheists are said to have an emotional “faith”; that there is no god.

    But … if they have an emotional faith, then … ironically, then they have a faith. Ironically, they end up … heading for God.

    d) So the next question might be … is the atheist’s faith … better than the Christian’s? Or …

    e) Are both Christians and Atheists somehow, ironically, imbued in “faith” … and heading for the same God? Or different parts of the same God.

    f) So that therefore … Christians should cease to vilify atheists?

    Is this too convoluted and silly, for discussion? Just throwing this silly syllogism out, to see if anybody wants to go with it.

    SUMMARY?: If the atheists’ belief that there is no God, is after all a “belief,” a “faith,” born in emotion, as many critics now assert, then perhaps after all, even the atheist has a faith; is responding to deep emotions. And thus is trying to find God in his own way? And should be respected? As a fellow seeker?

  23. Phil McCheddar April 25, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I confess I made an illogical inference when reading Paul Copan’s fascinating blog entry at the start of this thread. The fact that Thomas Nagel (1) hopes God does not exist, and (2) is an atheist does not necessarily mean that the former led to the latter. In theory they may be merely coincidental. And even if his prior preference did prejudice his weighing up of the evidence for/against God, it does not neccessarily follow that the same bias influencied any other atheists in their own thinking about God’s existence.

  24. Still, might that “hope” be considered a “hope” based on Reason, by many? Indeed, if God is as murderous (/”fearful”) as Nagel and others seem to think – particularly in the OT – then one might well “fear” God, as many believers were in fact encouraged to do. And even reasonably “hope” that he did not exist?

    Though to be sure, perhaps that hope was realized, in the “new covenant”; that presented a kinder gentler update, Jesus. Whose emphasis on forgiveness, took the edge off much of this?

  25. Kinder? Gentler?

    The new covenant provides the one perfect sacrifice for the sin of the world. There is no more need for the blood of sheep and bulls to pay for our rebellion. Whether that is gentler or not I don’t know.

    God commands our service, as He should. We are twice bought, once by His creation, and the second by His redemption, so bond slaves we are.

    Phil, that is what they call the genetic fallacy. There is a God (or is no God) regardless of what we want the case to be. However a dispassionate evaluation of the evidence, the fact of our existence, the Resurrection etc, must accept at least the possibility of Christianity being correct.

    Nagel’s belief that there is no God is not made false because he wishes it were true. I find atheistic answers to questions of our existence unsatisfactory at best, and incoherent at worst.

  26. Pardon me for joining the discussion rather late, but reading some of the back and forth reminded of something C.S. Lewis wrote in his memoir Surprised by Joy.

    “The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”

    By the way, I’m a cat person too.

  27. Well, you all raised some excellent, challenging questions. I can’t get to all of them (I can barely keep up with my monthly blog!), but let me mention a few things that may be worth pondering. This is the first of two posts.

    Regarding the question of OT ethics, in my writings I’ve tried to grapple with issues such as slavery, “strange” and “harsh” laws, God’s jealousy/anger, and so on. (You can check out *That’s Just Your Interpretation*, *When God Goes to Starbucks*, and *How Do You Know You’re Not Wrong?*) My next blog post (which should be up this weekend) is on the question of the Canaanites; it’s an article from the next issue of Philosophia Christi. Perhaps you’ll find some helpful insights there. In the OT we see God dealing with a chosen people who are strongly influenced by fallen social and religious structures, and God meets Israel where they are and seeks to bring incremental changes that are in improvement over other ancient Near East cultures but yet not reflecting an ideal arrangement. So it’s not a matter of God’s arbitrarily changing his mind. After all, we do read of God’s ideals set forth in Genesis 1:27-28 (the image of God in humans) and 2:24 (monogamous, lifelong marriage)—which has implications regarding the subversion of slavery, racism, polygamy, and much more. Jesus himself said that Moses permitted divorce—and, by implication, lots of other things—because of the hardness of human hearts (Matthew 19:8)—not because this was God’s ideal.

    Furthermore, the OT is anticipating a new covenant and a new way of dealing with the emerging interethnic community (again, anticipated in the OT): the true Israel comprised now of both Jews and Gentiles. The OT acknowledges a planned obsolescence that will give way to something substantial. (In terms of the alleged misuse of the OT by NT writers, check out the final chapter of my book *That’s Just Your Interpretation.*)

  28. PART II:

    Christopher Wright’s book *The God I Don’t Understand* (Zondervan) offers some excellent insights regarding say a God who gets angry at sin. He mentions Yale theologian Miroslav Volf, who grew up in the former Yugoslavia and came to see his country torn apart by warfare, ethnic cleansing, and “man’s inhumanity to man,” as Francis Schaeffer put it. Before this experience, he had found it difficult to believe in an angry God who judges. But when he saw the atrocities committed, he not only responded with righteous anger at injustice; he also realized that he couldn’t worship a God who doesn’t get angry at it.

    One question raised above was on why God wants humans to worship him. (I address this in *When God Goes to Starbucks*, but here’s the shortened version!) To worship God is to acknowledge God for who he is—the Creator who has designed us to find joy and contentment in a relationship with him. The triune God is intrinsically other-centered, and God’s calling on us to acknowledge his centrality and claim upon our lives is simply a call for all to live in touch with reality rather than out of touch with it. Idolatry, which is an attempt to give central place to something finite/created, which is a guaranteed failure and is utterly out of touch with reality. The warning against idolatry is for our good—like a parent’s insisting that his children avoid drugs or harmful company.

    John C.T., you asked about where to look for more material on divine hiddenness and role of the human will. Check out Paul K. Moser’s Idolanon website (, which has some excellent articles and bibliography. Check out the essay for starters, “Why Isn’t God More Obvious?”

    Phil McCheddar, I’m sure it’s no problem to utilize the questions I posted. I’ve simply summarized a number of Moser’s points in the form of questions.

    Rayner, I think that we have excellent evidence for God’s existence, which I note in my *Loving Wisdom*. There I discuss how the universe’s beginning from nothing a finite time ago, its amazing fine-tuning for life, the existence of consciousness, the existence of human rights/dignity/worth, the existence of free will and moral responsibility, the existence of rationality, the existence of beauty—these are features of reality that are difficult to account for if some God-like being does not exist. Indeed, many naturalists themselves acknowledge the difficulty of accounting for these features of reality naturalistically.

    In addition to all of this, the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is quite strong. I’ve edited three books on the subject, and with each one I have come away more impressed at the strong foundations there are for affirming Jesus’ bodily resurrection. Check out Gary Habermas/Michael Licona, *The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus* (Kregel).

    I think that’s it for now. As it’s already time for a new post, I don’t know that I’ll get back to this present one, but I’ll do my best.

  29. Truth Unites... and Divides May 8, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Paul Copan: “Before this experience, he [Miroslav Volf]had found it difficult to believe in an angry God who judges. But when he saw the atrocities committed, he not only responded with righteous anger at injustice; he also realized that he couldn’t worship a God who doesn’t get angry at it.”

    “Wrath is a virtue, not an evil. A God who does not visit sin with wrath cannot be good.” –William Farley”

    Do Emergers understand this?

    Eg., Minnow on another thread: “I personally see it as new wrapping for the same old controlling spirit., leagalism, and manipulation. The other emergers are more interested in practice, being hands and feet in a hurting world and letting that world know God loves it. They are also more willing to see God and good in unusual places.”

  30. “Truth”:

    Are you quoting as authority, the same William Farley that was removed from his position as chaplin, by the US Armed Forces? For being a little too blunt and uncharitable, about the wonders of a wrathful God?

    Many people other than the recently-defrocked Farley, feel that the rather severe Old Testament God moderated himself, with Jesus; who “fulfilled” the old severe “law”s of God, with a gentler “new covenant.” One that did not demand the death penalty for cooking food on a Sabbath for example. Or for heresy.

    Do you, Mr. Truth – or better said, Mr. “Divides” ? – still support the wrathful God that … enforces a death penalty, or executes people, for cooking on a Sunday? Or for committing adultry? Or for say, heresy? Misrepresenting God?

    Are you really entirely comfortable with that? Would you like to be “judge”d by the same standards yourself, that you advocate for others? As Paul suggested you might be?

    Keep in mind, you are supporting the Death penalties of God? Since you support that view of God … would you be equally enthusiastic about asking for those standards to be applied to you, yourself?

    Or mightn’t it be better, to support the New Testament idea? Of a kind, gentle Jesus?

  31. Phil McCheddar May 11, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Thank you Paul for your edifying words. I am currently reading “The God I don’t Understand” by Christopher Wright and I’m finding it very helpful. I will check out the Idolanon website. Have a good day!

  32. Excellent, Phil. Glad to assist! All best wishes to you in your explorations!

  33. Speaking of evidence, here is a resurrection debate currently taking place that I think many might be interested in following:

    The skeptic takes a radically new approach to the debate resolution: It is a historical fact that God raised Jesus from the dead.


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