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Seven Mistakes of the Messiah
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Steve - The Seven Mistakes of Jesus
I intend nothing but to bring some ideas to your attention. The latter six points or "mistakes of Jesus" are all depending on the reality of the first. By this, I mean that if the first were correct then the others would have to be reevaluated concerning each their own truth.
Your argument against the existence of God is thus, "But when we consider the pointlessness of a violent universe, plus parasites causing serious diseases in man and beast, plus the pain inflicted on sensitive creatures by Mother Nature, we can but conclude that there is no Almighty Abba." This argument, as we both know, is called The Problem of Evil. Most people point to the wickedness of man and say there can be no God. This argument is a lack of responsibility on the hands of mankind. Even your own editor, Kaz Dziamka, agrees with this point as he says, " Like Huxley, I would like to submit that indeed about two thirds of all human misery is human made and thus avoidable; but, unlike Huxley, I don't think it can be eliminated through a Huxleyan blend of Oriental mysticism and Western science. I submit that most of our problems can be solved through a practical, pragmatic and operational philosophy of life known as rationalism which does include science but rejects mysticism and all kinds of religious and other superstition." (Kaz Dziamka, Editor: The American Rationalist) The third part of "human misery"(Dziamka), that Dziamka does not mention, is the part which you now refer. This part is that of natural evils.
Natural evils can be catagorized into two classes. The first class is that which I call "natural evil by location". Examples of this are situations such as landslides, forest fires, and the like that effect human life. The fact is, in the event of a landslide, that there is nothing intrinsically evil in the landslide itself, the evil is that it effected and possible even killed humans. The event of the landslide would be morally neutral had it not effected humans in a negative way. There can be no blame in this situation, even if people are injured and/or killed, because the slide would have happened regardless of whether people were there or not. If one wanted to put blame somewhere it would have to be on the people for building houses on or near the base of an unstable hill. It is likewise that those who choose to live on a tropical island for the beauty of the area must recognize and take responsibility for their choice in moving to an area known for hurricane activity.
The second class of natural evils are what I call "natural evil by self-affliction". Examples of these types of evils are disease, famine, and the like. These evils are perceived as natural but are actually natural event caused, again, by man. For example, a once fertile land becomes a dry wasteland and the inhabitants die of thirst and hunger. It appears that this event just happened, there seems to be no direct cause. The choices that man has made concerning technology and industrialization have effected the climate and resources of every area inhabited by mankind. If one were to inspect the area with a biological and scientific eye he would find pollution in the water, chemicals in the air, and a temperature not natural to the area due to global warming or the depletion of the ozone layer, which is caused by carbon monoxide and several other man made gasses. Man is quick to feed himself, warm himself, and reside in materials that he does not completely understand. Often, people drink common tap water without thinking what is in it. People also smoke cigarettes and then later question why they got cancer. Man has exposed natural diseases to unnatural conditions and caused them to mutate and into new and more complex diseases. These evils are in nature, but only due to man's influence.
If you are questioning why diseases exist at all, then there is an entire new argument to have. This argument, the argument of best possible worlds, would take further discussion. To ask why diseases exist at all, is the same as if to ask why flowers exist. One would say that the flowers are good and it is acceptable that they exist, but diseases are not beneficial to man or other forms of life and therefore should not exist. If one does not believe in God then they cannot say this. If God does not exist then man is just another animal, a rational animal, and who are we then to judge which other animals, that are equal in existence to ourselves, should have the privilege to live. If God does exist, then, who are we to question the choice of an infinite being.
Another approach I would like to examine is one that belongs to your beloved David Hume. In section four of Hume's "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" Hume states, "The contrary of every matter of fact is still possible; because it can never imply a contradiction, and is conceived by the mind with the same facility and distinctness, as if ever so conformable to reality." What this means in terms of God is that God either exists or He does not, this is a fact. If you wan to claim that God does not exist you must accept that the opposite is at least possible.
In retrospect, now with at least the possibility of God, the first point on your list of mistakes made by Jesus is possibly wrong. If this point is wrong then there is a possibility that the other six are wrong as well. This is possible considering the fact that they were all based off the assumption that the first point was correct. Now, what the implications of this are to you are up to you.
mikolaj - comment to the article
If this what i've just read is a point of view generous for the poeople who don's believe in God and Scripture, there is no additional argument for me needed that atheism and sceptisism are based not only on the logical arguments but also on a strong faith. Atheists are not the ones who doesn't believe in nothing. They believe in themselves, and their infallibility. Hello to the "rationalists"!
michal - Steve - congratulations!
After reading the article and the comments I must admit that it was much more interesting to go through Steve's comment rather than "Seven Mistakes...". And although I think that arguments used by A.J Mattill were pathetic in many points, I cannot agree with Mikołaj's opinion. Fortunately, plenty of rationalists are not people who try to prove that Bible is just another kind of fairy tale. They (including me) believe in scientific evidence of actions and processes and try to explain world in a rational way. Which always (or at least often) means questioning the existence of God (god or gods). Thus, agnosticism is much closer to my state of mind than atheism. I can't exclude the possibility of existence of any supernatural power or The Creator, it is that I do not believe in any of the holy books such as Bible, Quran or The Vedas.
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