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Friday, October 3, 2008

A question for theists

Liz asked a very interesting question here. I wasn't sure that enough theists would see it, so I asked her permission to make it its own post.

The question is this:

"I wanted to ask any theists here a question I've been pondering.

If there were no mention of heaven and hell, everlasting life, or eternal punishment in the bible (but everything else was exactly the same), would you still worship your god? Please elaborate on you answer if you can.

Not a snarky question, I'm honestly curious."

Thanks in advance."

It's a great question, Liz. I hope to see some good answers.


  1. Yes, I would. I talked about this in a bit more depth here, but the gist of the matter is that Christians should be ready and willing to follow God into hell itself, if he led the way, because of the love He showed us and because He is God.

    That has a great deal to do with why I object to Ray's 'gospel'. After all, the Bible does say that he who seeks to save his life will loose it...

    Oh, and sorry for the trite answer, I'm on my mobile.

  2. And of course the answer is "Absolutely Not."

    Ninety nine percent of Christians are actually agnostics.

    You may ask, "dale, how do you know this?"

    I know this because ninety nine percent of the fundamentalists I have talked with always invoke Pascal's Wager, thus admitting that they are not sure there is a God, but they are so afraid that there may be a hell, they want to play it "safe."

    So they invoke Pascal's Wager on others to assuage their inner fears that they are acting in an irrational manner, wich of course they are.

  3. Interesting question.

    While I'm not a theist, (I'm agnostic), I'd actually be *more* inclined to worship the Christian god if there were no mention of heaven, hell, afterlife, etc. If that were the case, it seems to me it would be more about "doing good", than rewards and punishments.

    (Note, that's not to say if all mentions of heaven and hell were taken out I'd suddenly become a Christian; simply that I'd find the religion more appealing/less off-putting.)

  4. Without the stick of hell and the carrot of heaven? I doubt it.

  5. Ornitheologist,

    Thanks for your sincere response. I read your post as well.


    That's sort of what I thought as well, but I didn't want to assume too much, hence the question.


    I agree with you.


    That's the exact picture I get in my head when pondering this question.

  6. Interesting post, Ornitheologist, in that it puts a different slant on things.

    I still disagree with your theology, but it was an interesting post.

  7. I hate to say it, but has anyone else noticed that Ray's blog has become, well, boring recently?

    I think the loss of Terry and others to the sin bin and the installation of the new moderation system have driven the final nail in the cross that is Atheist Central. A sad day indeed.

  8. You didn't remove death and evil from the scenario, so yes, I would still worship God.

    The reason I would is because He is sovereign and righteous. I would want His favor and protection from the evil.

  9. froggie,

    I used Pascal's Wager before I knew it had a name, and not because of the reason you stated, but as an argument for what I believe.

    I don't have that inner fear you mentioned and I don't believe I'm irrational about what I believe.

  10. Yes I would still serve God. Because it is my duty.
    Serving god just so you can get goodies and go to heaven is not a very high concept of god (sounds more like Santa Claus than God)

  11. Freed,

    How does god offer you protection from evil? Again, not being snarky.


    Thank you. I'm trying to gage if Ray's brand of fundamentalism is the exception or the norm. IMO he seems to preach the whole carrot/stick belief system.

  12. I find the problem with Pascal's Wager is you don't have a choice, but many choices. It's not christian god or no god, but rather christian god, muslim god, buddhism, ect.

    Hi Mrfreethinker,

    If you don't mind me asking, how did you come to the conclusion that it was your duty to serve god and what made you want to follow that duty?


    Ray comfort is not the norm, because I think most people aren't that arrogant and I think Ray mostly just wants to start fights.

  13. Liz, you asked "How does god offer you protection from evil? Again, not being snarky."

    In this example I'll use evil in the weakest sense because the protection I believe him for goes beyond evil in the vilest sense.

    Say there was a crises that affected the a large part of the population, and it was caused by the greed of evil men, I believe God for protection from the gross effects of this crises. I'd be in it, but not devastated as someone who has no one but himself to rely on.

    One effect may be food shortage because of money shortage. An unbeliever would rely on himself to make do. I would rely on God to provide for me.

    I would rely on God's protection and help in all the areas of my life and my life would have been better for it, rather than having to rely only on my devices.

    I realize unbelievers think they have it just fine without any help from God, but as a side remark..
    Satan doesn't attack unbelievers. He focuses on believers, and we couldn't make it without God's help.

    So, yes, I would worship God even if there was nothing after death.

  14. SS,

    My husband is muslim and so you can imagine the conversations we have concerning God.

    He believes we worship the same God and I don't agree. I used the Pascal's Wager on him and it meant nothing to him. As far as fear goes, they are threatened with death if they leave their religion.

    The first time I mentioned sin to him he asked what that was.

    Sorry, a little off subject.

  15. Freed,

    I thought you were joking about your husband being Muslim. Is my irony meter broken again??

  16. :D @ NM.

    No, not joking as I usually do. He's definitely a muslim, but not the radical type. He's in Lebanon right now visiting his family and I'm missing the sweet thang.

  17. Freed,

    I replied to your reply.

  18. NM,

    And I sent you the juiciest reply.

  19. Freed,

    Oh! That was juicy!! Woah!

    I sent you some juicy stuff, too!

  20. I came to the conclusion in many different ways. Mostly because of the inner witness of the holy spirit.
    But I have no problem providing evidence for a creator.

  21. mrfreethinker,
    the 'inner witness' thing is interesting. I suppose you agree that your brain is involved in recognizing this witness, feeling a presence, an invigoration of sorts. From the position of one who has never felt such a thing (I have tried), I must ask is it not possible that this is a mechanism your brain produces on its own, and given what we already have found out about the capability to self-decept and the many biochemical influences that change our moods, our experiences and our way of thinking - is it not overwhelmingly probable that your experience is from within you? That the authors of the Bible, and the countless people who formed religious beliefs all over the world, were attributing their experiences and interpretations of them to higher powers because they didn't have any idea of these inner mechanisms?

  22. Mrfreethinker,

    You just woke me up, pre-caffeine. Evidence for a supernatural entity? -- well, don't keep us in suspense, tell us what it is!

  23. Felix,

    No one asked me, and I don't know what mrfreethinker is going to say, but while you are waiting for an answer from him, I would just like to throw out I John 4:13-16 where John discusses evidences or signs of genuine Christianity -
    vs 13 says:
    ...we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit

    The presence of the 3 signs listed in I John testifies to one's true spiritual condition.

    I've been saved forever and didn't discover these verses until a couple of years ago because I didn't really study the Bible so there was no self-deception on my part.

  24. Send me juicy stuff!

    Freed- this is dale, by the way.
    I couldn't believe my eyes when you arote about your husband.

    Diversity personified.

    Does he make you walk behind him?

  25. Yes froggie, I knew you were dale. The avatar gave it away.

    I've posted before that I am married to a muslim...that shows no one pays any attention to what I say :(

    Hahaha...No walking behind him. I'm not very good at being subservient but really it was the leash that I protested!!

  26. MrFree,

    You said,
    "But I have no problem providing evidence for a creator."

    Please hurry lest I perish of curiosity!

  27. My guess is that many would still believe in their god. It makes sense because, supposedly, there was no eternal life before Christ. However, motivations are so different, and logic does not necessarily apply on this.

    Maybe I would wonder if a deep believer would be able to answer this question honestly. Not because they would willingly lie, but because their senses are already "biased."

    Anyway, just thinking out loud.


  28. G.E.

    Maybe I would wonder if a deep believer would be able to answer this question honestly. Not because they would willingly lie, but because their senses are already "biased."

    I thought about the question Liz asked for quite awhile before I replied. I asked myself if I believed only because of wanting to go to heaven and to stay out of hell or some fear, or whatever.

    I remember the night I realized I loved God. No one talked me into it, no one threatened me with hell or anything else.

    My belief is not because my senses are biased. My belief came about because I had a true conversion experience and I believe Jesus is God's Son and died for me. It's not hard at all for me to understand why atheist don't believe this, but I'm just as sure of the truth of it as I am that I have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs.

    So many atheists here have said they tried to believe, prayed, etc. and now don't believe. Well I have a theory about that and if that subject is ever posted I hope I'm ready for it.

  29. Mrfreethinker, you've had over a day to answer my request for evidence for the existence of your imaginary friend.

    You had time to post a long comment about unfulfilled prophecies or false prophecies. But no time to post one little scrap of evidence for little ole Weemaryanne.

    Is it because I forgot to say please?


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