Answers to the Ethical Atheist

3 March 2006

On a site run by the “Ethical Atheist”, I have found this article consisting of 65 questions for God. However, Ethical Atheist also says he will accept answers from God’s supporters, and I figured that God had better things to do. Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to answer the various questions posed by Ethical Atheist. In the end, we will see that none of these questions are really very threatening to those who hold to the Christian faith. Click HERE to see the questions, and then refer to this article for my proposed answers.

1. God may not “show” himself to you personally, but that does not mean that He is not trying to reach you. In fact, the method in which He is currently trying to reach you (the Holy Spirit) is much superior to the method of a meeting and discussion you propose. As you have claimed numerous times on this page and others, you are upset with the way that God allows evil or you think God is cruel for what He commanded in the Old Testament. An outright revelation would probably not help you in your quest to know God. You perhaps would “know” that He exists, but your dislike of Him would continue and would lead to a state of affairs even more terrible than atheism.

2. I doubt that God “handpicks” the Catholic Hierarchy. Of course, the fact that these priests are doing evil and inexcusable things does not mean that God condones such activity. Rather, He explicitly forbids such things. You may ask why God does not stop the priests, which is the issue of the problem of evil. That topic will be covered soon.

3. Your question of why God made Eve from a rib is actually quite useless. No matter what God did in the beginning, you would be able to claim “Why did God do that?” If Eve had been made from dust and Adam made from Eve’s rib, you could ask the same question in reverse. It doesn’t really matter what method God decided to use in order to create Eve, and it is really not an important question to ask. By the way, women would not have one more rib because she would not inherit traits that way. Your view implies Lamarckism, which is a discredited view. For example, cutting off my index finger will have no effect on my children. Thus, it is seen that the “missing rib” dilemma is no dilemma at all.

4. This is essentially a form of the “problem of evil”. In my mind, God decides to give us free will, and our tendency to abuse it is our own fault alone. Asking God to create a world in which individuals have free will and at the same time will not commit acts of evil is like asking God to make a square circle. Of course, if God decided to take away our free will we would be nothing but automatons and ultimately we would be worthless. I am therefore glad that He has decided to grant us free will despite our tendency to abuse it.

5. There are indeed a great deal of religions, but I don’t know what you expect God to do about it. He has provided evidence and revelation for the Christian religion. It is unfortunate that others have taken the wrong path, but God (specifically the Holy Spirit) has still not given up hope on them.

6. It says in the Bible that God led all the animals to Noah. Since we are arguing from the premise that the Ark story is true, we can therefore not have trouble with this apparent problem. Also, the animals would fit just fine, because biblical kinds, not species, were brought aboard. On top of this, the Christian religion could still be true even if the story of Noah is just parable or hyperbole.

7. Catholics have no exclusivity to be able to speak with God. But why must you speak with God anyhow? All your questions have been answered by theologians for years, so you have no real need to speak to Him personally.

8. It is not God’s fault that humans have acted irresponsibly and have had wars, nor is it His fault that these evil persons ally God with their cause.

9. The sons probably had sex with their sisters whom, while not mentioned in the Biblical text, are implied. Also, genetic mistakes would not be a problem because the human race would still be in its infancy. Genetic problems with incest only occur because of the buildup of mutations in the human genome. There would be no (or few) such mistakes in the beginning of the human race. Also, incest was not regarded as evil until later on in Biblical times, probably for the specific reason of avoiding genetic mistakes.

10. You are taking “Thou shalt not kill” out of context. Obviously, God did not intend for his followers to stand by idly while their children are being raped. Rather, He would expect you to kill the individual, and for good reason. “Thou shalt not kill” only refers to revenge murders or hate crimes. 1 Also, God never ordained the rape of women and children, any such inference you have to that occurring is based upon your own opinion. (And yes, I am aware of the passages).

11. God put no lies in the Bible. Firstly, you are assuming that God intended for those portions of the Bible to be taken literally, which may not be so. Also, modern theologians have described sufficient explanations for what was probably meant by the passages used to support the earth-centered universe and the “firmament”. 2

12. Theories are man-made, not inspired by God. Even so, you have failed to show that evolution is definitely true, and beyond that, you have failed to show that the concept of evolution and Christianity are incompatible.

13. God created humans with free will, our choice to choose to do evil things is our own problem. Asking God to make humans with free will and without the ability to choose evil is like asking God to make a square circle.

14. Actually, God IS saving us from ourselves. It is called Salvation.

15. The use of medical techniques is not in violation of God’s will. I don’t see why you would think it is, and the fact that some Christians in the past have claimed it is no reason for me to think that such is true.

16. Nope, heaven is a reality. Admittedly, it is an enjoyable reality.

17. Well, I suppose God has decided to use me for His purposes. Admittedly, I wish He’d do it himself, as this is quite time consuming, but God works in mysterious ways, my friend. :)

18. I must admit that I don’t know what you’re talking about here.

19. Probably God doesn’t want all of the unsatisfactory elements of human form up there (stinky armpits, uncontrollable flatulence, etc.)

20. Yep, and it is your free will to give up that hamburger if you wish.

21. God gave men a desire for women so that the two could join together in a peaceful union. Rather than abuse it, you should both enjoy sex and resist temptation. Ultimately, it will probably result in a more satisfying relationship.

22. God doesn’t want to destroy everyone. Also, God does not condemn you for your lack of belief, He condemns you for your sin. If you could live a sin-free life, there would be no need to repent to Jesus Christ. I trust you haven’t lived a sin-free life.

23. It is not God’s fault that humans act inappropriately. This is another non-issue.

24. I believe in fossils. I hope that doesn’t make me an atheist.

25. God’s listening, and that is why the Holy Spirit is at work. Apparently, you’re a tough nut to crack. In the meantime, I am here on a mission from God to answer your questions! :D

26. It is possible that the tale of Jonah could be true. It could have been a miracle. What’s more, it could have been hyperbole or a parable for all I care. Why do you care about Jonah anyway? The real truth about Christianity is found in the resurrection of Christ. (NOTE: A possible reason for it being a fable is to teach a moral lesson, just like so many other fables.)

27. By saying that the sun stood still, He was using the Earth as a reference frame, which is a valid procedure. 3 Other options are available as well. 4 Once again, you are taking “Thou shalt not kill” out of context (see above).

28. They could have eaten dead animal carcasses or fish. Or, it could have been a miracle. Or, the whole story could have been a parable. Why are you focusing on such non-issues? The real issue is the resurrection of Christ.

29. The Catholic Church acted wrongly, and that is their responsibility, not God’s. God has no problem with discovery, but I’m sure He does have a problem with people killing scientists for no reason.

30. I’m sure the Native Americans got the message eventually.

31. He was probably using parable or poetry.

32. Well, they were Biblical kinds. It is possible that genetic recombination led to more specific species that required such conditions, or it is possible that the Noah’s Ark story is parable, or it is possible that the flood was a large local one. Why do you keep focusing on it?

33. It’s not a false statement in context. To everybody on earth, there are literally two sources of light. This issue is so petty that it is quite ridiculous. Of course I’m sure you would have preferred God to say that He created one light in the sky and “a large ball of mass upon which light from the aforementioned ‘one light’ will often reflect creating the illusion of a light source in the night sky.” Personally, I prefer the way God described it for simplicity.

34. Well, even if evolution is true, there is no way to know that God did not use evolution as a process for creation. If He did, then “from the dust” would be quite accurate, since life would have to begin with abiogenesis.

35. Well, those followers are nutcases. Not my problem.

36. The rain lasted 40 days, but of course the floodwaters do not subside instantly!

37. It is probably discolored from an eclipse, and God was using parable or hyperbole to speak. Do you have some sort of problem with God saying things artistically? If it were up to you then the Bible would be the most boring book to read on the planet.

38. It might have meant literal 24-hour days, or it might simply demark periods of creation. Why are you focusing on such non-essential issues?

39. I find no reason to doubt that Adam et al. lived long. But, even if they did not, so what? This is another glaring non-issue.

40. Why should God be concerned with your petty insistence that He mention all of the creatures you think He should? Also, I doubt the giants are as huge as you are implying. Men were shorter back then, and a height of 6 or 7 feet would probably seem “gigantic”. Thus, their existence is unimportant because 7 feet humans are not so surprising or abnormal.

41. Hitler was an evil man and the Catholic Church did an evil thing, neither of which was God’s fault. Hitler was not carrying out God’s will, but God did not stop him because He does not generally interfere with the actions of humans. Besides, what guarantee do you have that somebody else would not have “stepped up to the plate” upon Hitler’s death? The issue is much deeper than you may imagine. It’s not as though Hitler was the only man responsible for the tremendous evil of the Holocaust.

42. Once again, it is not God’s fault that humans use their free will for evil purposes.

43. Probably because, in Old Testament times, sacrificing animals according to God’s orders represented love, trust, and respect between God and the individual.

44. Well, God does have the right to do what He wishes with His creation. However, I believe that God will not punish the child if he/she distances him/herself from the sins of the father.

45. Actually, logic and reason are the best allies of Christianity. For example, the Cosmological Argument provides sufficient evidence that God exists. See HERE. In addition, the fundamental constants of the universe which allow the existence of life are too specific to have occurred by chance. The existence of God has thus been confirmed by recent finds in physics. Additionally, science has uncovered the fact that even the “simplest” cells are fantastically complex, resisting naturalistic explanations.

46. Perhaps God enjoyed eating the fruit himself, for all I care. Perhaps He felt humans should have a choice in the matter. Whatever the case, it is not His fault that humans disobeyed His clear commands (which were meant to help us in the first place).

47. Humans are much more important than animals, thus we have “dominion”. However, that doesn’t mean that we should abuse this planet, and God does certainly not endorse any actions done which cause planetary destruction. Are tendency to do such is only more human abuse of a gift from God.

48. The Bible does not explicitly confirm that the Earth was created 8 to 10 thousand years ago. That is your own interpretation, whether or not it is valid.

49. The translations of the Bible are not all that different. Besides, God made no claim that His word would be perfectly preserved. It is not His fault that humans are incompetent. Nevertheless, all important teachings and doctrines remain intact, so we have nothing to whine about. If you are really all that concerned, you can look into Christian Scholarship which tries to solve these translation issues.

50. I find your effort to minimize Christ’s sacrifice rather unpleasant. Jesus Christ endured a brutal whipping, right before he was nailed through his wrists and feet and left to die, all while receiving mockery. However, the real reason that Christ’s sacrifice was important was because He was completely innocent. Jesus Christ lived a life without sin, unlike the courageous recruit who had sinned and thus deserved the penalty of death.

51. None of God’s sins were sins at all.

Firstly, the flood was a judgement upon an exceedingly evil and viscous people who had a chance to repent. They refused, and God was justified in action (you should thank him. Who knows what kind of world you would be living in now if it weren’t for God’s judgement years ago!)

Secondly, God didn’t make the man finish through with the child sacrifice, so what’s the problem?

Thirdly, God restored Job to a state of happiness and Job was probably better off after going through the whole ordeal, and his inspirational story may have saved countless others. Got any evidence otherwise?

Thus, none of God’s “sins” were sins at all, while you remain guilty for your sins and I remain guilty for mine.

52. God, as the creator of life and as an omniscient being, actually has the knowledge and the right to judge people if He so chooses. You should thank Him that He is so lenient, or else there might be quite a few more judgements. Also, God does not judge people for “not believing”. He judges them for sin. Besides, you have no evidence that the cultures in which God decided to destroy were not completely deserving of such a fate. Earlier, you asked why God did not interfere with Hitler. Perhaps those societies in which God destroyed in the Old Testament would have caused harm in great excess of the evils of the reign of Hitler. It appears as though it is a “lose-lose” situation for God. If He acts to rid evil, he is a Cruel Deity, and if He doesn’t act to prevent evil, He is a Sadist.

53. Probably because people often project their own wishes upon God. Last time I checked, though, that was not God’s fault.

54. There is no problem with God doing things. If He creates a situation, we still have free will to decide how to deal with that situation.

55. I treat atheists with compassion. Sorry if other Christians don’t do the same.

56. Probably because God doesn’t give a rip about a stupid football.

57. Luckily for you, God is still giving you a chance. You still have time to consider the evidence and convert to Christianity. You would certainly whine greatly if you were not given a fair chance to become a Christian.

58. Probably because Hell is the absence of God.

59. Because Jesus never sinned, and He was in fact part of the Trinity.

60. Well, God doesn’t sin. You don’t go to Hell for “not believing”, you go hell for doing evil. Salvation is only meant to save us despite our sin.

61. What’s wrong with thanking Jesus when He grants your prayers? Are you unappreciative?

62. God has always existed, thus requires no cause.

63. It wasn’t an update, it was an addition. As time went on, there were more important historical happenings that led to the need for a New Testament. I don’t see how this is a problem at all.

64. Christianity.

65. Parents are undoubtedly a factor of influence, but it is untrue that individuals are always the same religion as their parents. Besides, we can only do the best with what we’ve got, it is up to each individual to analyze every religion and decide for themselves which is true. In any case, it could perhaps be true that God places us all in a position in which we are most able to come to know Him. 5

Conclusion:

The questions posed by Ethical Atheist and his contributors are of no threat to knowledgeable Christians. A large portion of the questions all deal with the “argument from evil”, many others deal with the question of origins. The large list of questions gives an illusion of a great number of arguments, but in reality it is little more than repeated and simplistic objections to the Christian faith which have been answered by theologians and philosophers for years. I can therefore see why God has decided not to answer the questions of Ethical Atheist.

NOTES

1. See J.P. Holding, http://www.tektonics.org/lp/nokilling.html

2. See J.P. Holding, http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_03_03_01.html#stretch

3. See Russel Grigg, http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/243.asp

4. See Glenn Miller, http://www.christian-thinktank.com/5felled.html

5. See William Lane Craig http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/politically.html






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  1. your so called logic is bull shit


    Carl snape    Sep 10, 12:11 PM    #
  2. Have you ever thought of while being an intelligent, logical person, you’re obsessed with tainting logic with fear-induced beliefs? Fakegod would be proud of you.


    — Amber    Jan 11, 07:00 AM    #
  3. Neither of you have said anything of substance. It’s merely simple sound bites in place of what neither of you have given: a refutation for his answers. Fakegod? What will they come up with next?


    Shane    Apr 29, 07:15 PM    #
  4. To the first poster:

    Ad hominem fallacy. You fail

    To second poster:

    ad hominem fallacy. Once again you fail.

    To the third poster: Hurrah!

    To the poster of the article: Double hurrah!!


    — David    Dec 26, 08:24 PM    #
  5. too much too say . not much time.

    13. God created humans with free will, our choice to choose to do evil things is our own problem. Asking God to make humans with free will and without the ability to choose evil is like asking God to make a square circle

    You have to also keep in mind that god created evil too. or if you don’t want to agree with that, how about god created the opportunity for evil ( he created lucifer , lucifer fell ,he allowed lucifer to tempt man to eat the fruit that he himself put there).
    In order for man to
    make use of his free will , he must have choices. the choices did not appear on their own, god created the choices,i.e good and evil
    if god had cast lucifer away(or killed him) the moment he got wind of the Coup d‘état (for lack of a better term)
    and not let the devil roam the earth there will be no evil.
    so god creates man with the ability to do evil,he creates the evil and even worse gives the king of evil full access to man, then in turn blames man for choosing evil.
    sure man chose to do evil but evil did not have to exist,and without a tempter man wouldn’t be tempted
    Ergo, Asking God to make humans with free will and without his cast away (not good enough for heaven but perfect for my newly made creatures whom i love so much) the devil/lucifer/satan, is like asking God to give us a fuckin break.
    After all isn’t that what heaven is . correct me if im wrong

    p.s you’re not really a skeptical christian. you’re a christian with slighlty different views from the average christian. That doesn’t make you a skeptical christian, It just makes you a christian


    cynic    Apr 9, 03:15 PM    #
  6. 33. It’s not a false statement in context. To everybody on earth, there are literally two sources of light. This issue is so petty that it is quite ridiculous. Of course I’m sure you would have preferred God to say that He created one light in the sky and “a large ball of mass upon which light from the aforementioned ‘one light’ will often reflect creating the illusion of a light source in the night sky.” Personally, I prefer the way God described it for simplicity.

    to everybody on earth with a basic high school education, the is only one source of light, which is the sun.
    your answer suggests the author of genesis did not have access to words . yes i would have ‘preferred God to say that He created one light in the sky and “a large ball of mass upon which light from the aforementioned ‘one light’ will often reflect creating the illusion of a light source in the night sky’. you said it. what makes it so hard for god to say it. He IS all powerful.
    It is no longer a matter of simplicity when there are obvious contradictions like two sources of light instead of one.
    the moon is not a source of light , it reflects the light of the sun therby making the sun the only one source of light.
    ‘two’ can never mean ‘one’ no matter how hard you try to explain it


    cynic    Apr 9, 04:54 PM    #
  7. Holy shit. Nice try but you don’t pull of the skeptical part well. I see so many problems but first I’ll give this a good argue but first you have to give me a definition of biblical kinds as opposed to species. Give me one good definition of what it is and it automatically ruin’s Noah’s Ark.

    Until then I’m just going to say that these answers just seem like your peddling your own bullshit so you can rationalize your faith to yourself.


    — Trenton    Sep 4, 05:47 PM    #
  8. This is one of the weaker arguments on faith I have read.


    — Caleb    Nov 16, 01:48 PM    #
  9. An Atheist review of Ethical Atheist’s questions:

    http://atheistblogger.com/2008/04/03/the-new-questions-for-god/


    Mark    Dec 30, 12:31 PM    #
  10. @Post #7 ‘cynic’
    @Post #8 ‘Trenton’

    I love how atheists try to make themselves look smart even though they don’t really say anything of value :)

    A two-year-old could have done it better

    @Post #5 ‘David’
    Let’s rephrase that a bit for better use…

    “You’re not really a skeptical atheist, you’re just an atheist with slightly different views from the average atheist. That doesn’t make you a skeptical atheist, it just makes you an atheist.”

    Now that sounds better ;)


    Carl    Mar 22, 11:06 AM    #
  11. Haha I love this. And no, Trenton is completely right. This guy is peddling his own bullshit to try and rationalize why he believes.

    @Carl. All an atheist is, is someone who doesn’t believe in god. So that is the only belief (or non-belief, whatever) that atheists would share. How can you be a skeptical atheist? I believe it is you that has said nothing of value, sir.

    Also…““Thou shalt not kill” only refers to revenge murders or hate crimes. “

    Please tell me how you know this. Did you speak to god? How do you know how to interpret the bible? Why is your interpretation more correct than anyone else?


    meow    Jul 5, 04:36 PM    #
  12. The link provided above for the original article seems to be dead. Does anyone know where I can find a better one?


    — HmS    Oct 11, 06:52 PM    #
  13. Cynic, let’s start with you:
    13. If we change the statement of “God created evil” (which we should, since evil manifests, which is different), and use the statement “God created for opportunities of evil”, we still can make a more accurate statement: “God allows for opportunities of evil”. This statement, and your second statement both agree with what Kyle said about freewill. Obviously, freewill cannot exist without the possibility of choice. And people obviously cannot choose between God and no-God if there is no possibility of no-God. Since God is good, and evil is a privation of good, this means that you have just chosen “evil”.
    Your first counter-argument fails.
    P.S. You obviously don’t understand what Kyle means by “Skeptical Christian”: Kyle means a Christian who tests what he believes. Deny that he did that, but that won’t mean anything more.

    33. Cynic, the moon still lights up the night sky, even if not using its own light. Therefore, there is no true contradiction with the facts. Anyone who puts a minute of thought can see that ‘light’ is not the same as ‘light source’, which is what you and Ethical Atheist are doing.
    Your second counter-argument fails.

    Trenton, you have substance, so I’ll rebuttal you next. The Biblical kinds are not genetic. You and Kyle are both mistaken here, along with most Young Earth Creationists. The Biblical kinds are based on morphology, as evidenced by how the bat and crows, etc. are all called ‘birds’: the relevant word means any creature with wings. Does Noah’s Ark fail therefore? No, because the animals are not grouped according to their Biblical kinds, but according to species. This is yet more evidence in favor of my preferred Local Flood model.
    How do you know that you aren’t the one peddling nonsense in an attempt to make yourself more secure? You only say that because you have no better rebuttal.

    First, meow, an atheist is, according to the classical definition, someone who makes the claim that no gods exist. If you are going to say you lack enough knowledge to make a sound judgement, then you are an agnostic, which is different.
    You ask why Kyle’s Biblical hermeneutic is better than the one that creates a contradiction? That’s simply desperate, you know that? How about because there is a distinction between ‘killing’ and ‘murdering’. To murder is to lack a just reason for killing. Ethical Atheist makes his argument the way most atheists do: referencing the archaic words of the King James Version, and ignoring the cultural context behind how the Bible was translated. Maybe you should actually read the references next time, before you ask the question?


    Caleb Neff    Jul 31, 10:05 AM    #
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