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Why Does God Permit Natural Disasters?
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Like many Americans during the past three weeks, I’ve been bombarded by news about the destructive power of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida. The stories are of misery, death and destruction.

The misery, death and destruction are acutely difficult to accept because they have been visited upon innocents. I say that knowledgeable of the ancient argument that our personal and collective sinfulness has merited our pain. Yet that raises this question: Does anyone really deserve personal ruination because of personal sin, particularly from a God whose Son said he came to call sinners and not the just?

Stated differently, why does an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God permit innocents to suffer in natural disasters?

This question has occupied philosophers for millennia. The natural order of things has revealed that we all have free will, and we know from our experiences that we can easily abuse that free will. The individual will is so free that we can use it to do magnificent things or horrific things.

But a natural disaster is not the handiwork of anyone’s free will. Could it really be the handiwork of an angry God impatient with the manner in which we have abused free will? This argument is not a logical extension of Christian teaching, unless God is terribly inconsistent with His impatience over human failures and errors and has somehow overlooked and not yet grown impatient with the world’s worst monsters.

Why the natural disasters? We know from the exercise of our reason that the curvature of the Earth and its continuous movement through space set in motion a series of forces. These forces protect the Earth and its inhabitants from the harmful rays of the sun and permit the intrusion of the beneficial rays. All this comes at a price. The movement of the Earth actually produces friction, and that friction in turn ignites energy, and that energy often is drawn by the Earth’s gravity and finds an outlet in destructive forces on the planet.

Though these forces — the linchpin of which is the Earth’s gravity — can be avoided through the exercise of creative reason (we can build shelters from them), they are often, as with Harvey and Irma, beyond our ability to harness or control. All this is a thumbnail sketch of basic astrophysics, largely acquired through human reason and beyond serious dispute.

But the disputable philosophical questions remain. What force set all this in motion? What caused the big bang in the first place? What caused the Earth’s gravity? What tipped over the first domino that billions of years later triggered the explosions of energy that eventually became Harvey and Irma?

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We know from reason that every effect had a cause. You plant grass seed and water it and the effect is blades of grass. The cause was the interaction of the seeds and earth and rain and sun brought together by the free will of the person who did the planting. There are infinite examples of this. Yet is there any cause that was uncaused? Yes. That is the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving uncaused cause, whom most of us call God the Father.

Now back to the question posed earlier. If God the Father created us and loves us, why does He permit natural forces that He set in motion to harm and even to devour us? A similar question was actually addressed by our Lord Himself when he was approached by biblical scholars who asked about a young man who was blind from birth. The question they put to Jesus was: Whose sinning caused this man to be born blind? Was it the man himself or his parents?

The question may have been an attempted trap. Yet Jesus answered by saying essentially that no one’s sins caused the blindness. Rather, he was born blind so that the works of God could be made manifest in him. In other words, he was born blind so that Jesus could cure his blindness publicly — as he did — and thereby enhance the faith and understanding of all who learned of this and believed it.

Of course, not all who learned of the cure of the blind man believed in Jesus’ divinity. Some thought he was a charlatan performing tricks, and some thought the young man was never really blind. Their skepticism and doubts caused G.K. Chesterton to remark that “the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

Chesterton recognized that we are free to believe or to reject belief. To those who believe in the all-loving God, we know that from time to time, He manifests Himself to give us a need to embrace Him, just as He did with the man born blind. That embrace is the test of faith. It was manifested in countless unseen acts of generosity and selflessness — from believing stranger to believing stranger — in Texas and in Florida.

I can hear the prayer of the faithful in pain. “O Lord, I prayed that the hurricane would not destroy my home, yet it did. I still love you, Lord, because my family was spared. I love you more now because I need you more now. I don’t reject the truth. I embrace it, no matter the cost — because the truth will keep my free will set upon you.”

As pope, St. John Paul II called this rational belief. It is the essence of understanding. It is faith tempered by human reason and human reason informed by faith. Faith without reason and reason without faith lead to fanaticism. Only their informed juxtaposition will guide our free wills to do the right things and to have understanding when bad things happen.

Copyright 2017 Andrew P. Napolitano. Distributed by Creators.com.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Hurricane Harvey, Religion 
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  1. I suspect that St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John Paul II, both are among many rationalists who perhaps need to become blind, but the blind man whom God gave sight, he could truly see.

    https://www.lds.org/bible-videos/videos/jesus-heals-a-man-born-blind?lang=eng

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  2. The misery, death and destruction are acutely difficult to accept because they have been visited upon innocents.

    In this case they have been ‘visited’ by other people who chose to build habitation in a dangerous place without appropriate safety precautions, not by God.

    (Trying to make a grand philosophical problem out of some people’s desire to cut corners in civil engineering is silly.)

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  3. Theodicy? For real? What’s next? Angels dancing on pinheads? Angels dancing with pinheads?

    Read More
  4. Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

    Read More
  5. SMK says: • Website

    “Why does an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God permit innocents to suffer in natural disasters?” This philosophical question is based on the premise that such a God exists -for which there is not a scintilla of objective evidence. Faith is belief with no evidence.

    If one assumes, purely for the sake of argument, that such a God exists, all-powerful and all-knowing and capable of performing miracles, then “he” has the power to not only permit but also prevent such natural disasters and, consequently, is not “all-loving” but rather evil or indifferent.

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  6. one does not need faith to have reason; faith, as it applies to belief in a god.
    god or gods were created by man and not the other way around.
    long ago man needed explanations for fearful things he couldn’t understand. man satisfied the need with an all-knowing, all powerful deity.

    man gets religion:

    free range primate sees
    zig zag zap joshua tree.
    says to himself, lord
    it cudda been me.

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  7. Sam McGowan says: • Website

    The good judge needs to actually read the Bible. If he did, he’d discover that we live in a fallen world that has yet to be redeemed. Natural disasters are just that, natural. Now, Irma was a typical hurricane that hit a state that is hurricane-prone. Fortunately, it lost strength and went up the west side of Florida instead of out in the Gulf. Harvey, on the other hand, was a phenomena in that instead of moving inland and dying out as hurricanes normally do, it ran into a front and stalled, then turned around and drifted over Southeast Texas where it dumped unprecedented amounts of rain. The rainfall caused street flooding and, naturally, rivers, bayous and creeks got out of their banks. Those things happen.

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  8. nickels says:

    Christianity is often mistaken with hippieism, the idea of peace, love, dove and justice for all.
    This is completely wrong.
    In Christianity this world is only a place for us to achieve salvation in the world beyond. Often suffering leads to redemption.
    In City Of God Augustine answers the question posed here in depth.
    Suffering is allowed to bring salvation, sometimes to punish sin or the tolerance of sin, and sometimes just to remind the good that their reward is not of this earth but the world beyond.

    Read More
    • Replies: @SMK
    If I were a Christian, deeply and devoutly, and believed in a an afterlife, an eternity in heaven or hell for my "immortal" and immaterial "soul," I'd be terrified of dying even if I was 90-95% certain that my "soul" was going to heaven rather than hell.

    For an atheist who rejects the dogma of mind/body dualism, the fantasy of a "soul" and afterlife, what's to fear in and of death. Death is nothingness, oblivion, the cessation of consciousness, the end of pain and suffering, liberation and surcease from the "hell that is other people," the annihilation of a lifetime of memories in which (for me and for most people) the bad and worse far exceed the good and better.Thus I face the end with stoicism and equanimity.

    Death is like falling asleep, with no dreams, and never waking. One dies (i.e. loses consciousness) every night when one sleeps with no dreams. If not for such "deaths," the temporary loss of consciousness when one sleeps for many or a few hours with no dreams, it's probable the suicide rate would increase at least 5- fold and likely more so. People long for sleep at night or naps during the day not simply because they're tired and drowsy and need the rest but also to escape the monotony of life for many or a few hours.
  9. Giuseppe says:

    Remember those killed at the fall of the tower of Siloam in Jesus’ discourse. They were not the most guilty in Israel.

    The question is not why did some die in hurricanes, but rather why were we all spared from death in hurricanes, or other natural disasters?

    Should man question God, who sustains all things moment to moment?

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    • Replies: @Giuseppe
    God, who sustains all things moment to moment through love?
  10. Giuseppe says:
    @Giuseppe
    Remember those killed at the fall of the tower of Siloam in Jesus' discourse. They were not the most guilty in Israel.

    The question is not why did some die in hurricanes, but rather why were we all spared from death in hurricanes, or other natural disasters?

    Should man question God, who sustains all things moment to moment?

    God, who sustains all things moment to moment through love?

    Read More
  11. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” – John 9:2

    Just to request a correction in the article above, it was not Biblical scholars perhaps attempting to set a trap. It was an innocent question from Jesus’ own disciples.

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  12. DaveE says:

    I’m sorry, but blindness is not made so Jesus can cure it.

    All suffering carries with it an opportunity to be taught. Humans, being stubborn, usually refuse to change unless it hurts NOT to do so. So an all-loving God, through pain and suffering, teaches us what we NEED to learn, although it usually hurts us in the short-term.

    In the case of blindness, many blind people are able to replace the light their sight is incapable of delivering with a light much deeper and more profound. It’s called “enlightenment” for a reason and it has nothing to do with your eyes. I’ve met several blind people who, IMHO, are very near saint status and would agree that their forced separation from the world made the self-discipline required unavoidable.

    In the same way Buddhist and Hindu monks separate themselves form the material world, sometimes God makes the decision for us. Blindness is one of those ways.

    So as usual, Christ’s words, while quite true, are used by “Christians” as an excuse to glorify THEMSELVES.

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  13. SMK says: • Website
    @nickels
    Christianity is often mistaken with hippieism, the idea of peace, love, dove and justice for all.
    This is completely wrong.
    In Christianity this world is only a place for us to achieve salvation in the world beyond. Often suffering leads to redemption.
    In City Of God Augustine answers the question posed here in depth.
    Suffering is allowed to bring salvation, sometimes to punish sin or the tolerance of sin, and sometimes just to remind the good that their reward is not of this earth but the world beyond.

    If I were a Christian, deeply and devoutly, and believed in a an afterlife, an eternity in heaven or hell for my “immortal” and immaterial “soul,” I’d be terrified of dying even if I was 90-95% certain that my “soul” was going to heaven rather than hell.

    For an atheist who rejects the dogma of mind/body dualism, the fantasy of a “soul” and afterlife, what’s to fear in and of death. Death is nothingness, oblivion, the cessation of consciousness, the end of pain and suffering, liberation and surcease from the “hell that is other people,” the annihilation of a lifetime of memories in which (for me and for most people) the bad and worse far exceed the good and better.Thus I face the end with stoicism and equanimity.

    Death is like falling asleep, with no dreams, and never waking. One dies (i.e. loses consciousness) every night when one sleeps with no dreams. If not for such “deaths,” the temporary loss of consciousness when one sleeps for many or a few hours with no dreams, it’s probable the suicide rate would increase at least 5- fold and likely more so. People long for sleep at night or naps during the day not simply because they’re tired and drowsy and need the rest but also to escape the monotony of life for many or a few hours.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Christian

    Death is like falling asleep, with no dreams, and never waking.
     
    You WISH, SMK. God's a funny rascal, I suspect. He has a sense of humor. I really don't think he's malicious. There IS a plan. Maybe He's going to send you back. Our souls are more durable than just for 75 years (or whatever) and then you get to take a nap. He didn't do all this for nothing. Maybe He sends us back to do better, maybe He just likes to watch the children play, sort of like the City Zoo writ large. Detroit? Think Wild Kingdom, only it's Black humans, not Cheetahs and Lions. Maybe God calls in guests, the kids and grand-kids and after dinner they have a good snicker over His creations. Hey, maybe God had children AFTER the Bible was written? Maybe He watches us like we used to gather as families and watch Archie Bunker? A worldwide sitcom/drama/sociality documentary, real-time, for God's entertainment. Maybe humanity is a collective lab-rat and he's evolving a human-cooperative system. Problem is, we won't cooperate. Again, I think He's a rascal and not malicious. I do hope he repays the chits run up by pervs that ruin children and do ratty, evil stuff while here (how much fun for God would it be to settle THOSE accounts?), but the average-and-overall benevolent among us are going to have to fulfill another purpose.

    But if you think you're going to do a nice peaceful checkout and take an eternal afternoon snooze, you got God laughin' His ass off. All due respect. The product of a vivid imagination all this? Maybe. But my take is as close to reality as anyone's including the doods that wrote the Bible, both books. If God wanted some laughs, who better to observe than THOSE kooks?

    , @Ris_Eruwaedhiel
    Medical surveys find that religious people are more likely to cling by their fingernails to life because they believe in miracles while the secular are more likely to accept the reality that they are dying. The "right to die" movement is secular.
    , @nickels
    I wasn't sure how this related to the article.
    Not sure people fear death as much as they do the actual cause of death.
  14. Meh, hurricanes and tornadoes are cleansing actions for the earth itself. Then man fucked it all up by installing fragile cities in their paths for convenience, for climate, for profit. Same for Tsunamis (after all, earthquakes are merely the lurches of an evolving, 4-billion year process). More disaster, not caused by God, but rather by the PEOPLE that installed the property-to-be-destroyed in the Zone of quite natural forces. It’s a disaster, but not for the Earth, merely for the idiots that built in or bought into, the Zone. To compound it all, we installed fragile Nuclear right in the middle of the most active and (to property, not the Earth) “destructive” Zones. Filthy floods? Sorry. The earth can only support so much, even if a lot. Then man installs too many humans into too small an area, hence fountains of shit running in the streets when it rains. Rising seas, sinking land? Who the Hell went to Florida and built huge buildings on top of sinking, fragile limestone? We bitch about lightning strikes, but who the Hell installed delicate electronics in the grounded paths of said strikes? Solar flares, acts of God? Insurance companies like to say so. Actually, these are the acts of man to put property and lives in the path of such forces.

    “Acts of God”? No. Again, repeated, all are acts of stupidity by man, greed/free enterprise, however you wish to dress it up. We put our property in front of powerful natural-Earth forces and then bitch to God about it? Ya gotta be shitting me, pardon the profanity. Inanity drives my profanity. Jesus H. Christ Andrew, that’s all it is. Spare the piety and pass some common sense! Repair the damage, move on, but move on with the absolute certainly that it will be destroyed again. God’s funny that way. He’s not stopping the evolution of HIS Earth over trivial infrastructure that will be destroyed one day by say, an ASTEROID. God’s business goes on. Trifle at your own risk.

    Disclosure: I ask God for nothing, He asks nothing of me, or hasn’t so far. I suppose He can call in a marker or two if He wishes, but nothing so far. I got major problems with God on all sorts of human Admin issues, but give the Guy a break. He can’t save us from ourselves as regards natural occurrences.

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  15. @SMK
    If I were a Christian, deeply and devoutly, and believed in a an afterlife, an eternity in heaven or hell for my "immortal" and immaterial "soul," I'd be terrified of dying even if I was 90-95% certain that my "soul" was going to heaven rather than hell.

    For an atheist who rejects the dogma of mind/body dualism, the fantasy of a "soul" and afterlife, what's to fear in and of death. Death is nothingness, oblivion, the cessation of consciousness, the end of pain and suffering, liberation and surcease from the "hell that is other people," the annihilation of a lifetime of memories in which (for me and for most people) the bad and worse far exceed the good and better.Thus I face the end with stoicism and equanimity.

    Death is like falling asleep, with no dreams, and never waking. One dies (i.e. loses consciousness) every night when one sleeps with no dreams. If not for such "deaths," the temporary loss of consciousness when one sleeps for many or a few hours with no dreams, it's probable the suicide rate would increase at least 5- fold and likely more so. People long for sleep at night or naps during the day not simply because they're tired and drowsy and need the rest but also to escape the monotony of life for many or a few hours.

    Death is like falling asleep, with no dreams, and never waking.

    You WISH, SMK. God’s a funny rascal, I suspect. He has a sense of humor. I really don’t think he’s malicious. There IS a plan. Maybe He’s going to send you back. Our souls are more durable than just for 75 years (or whatever) and then you get to take a nap. He didn’t do all this for nothing. Maybe He sends us back to do better, maybe He just likes to watch the children play, sort of like the City Zoo writ large. Detroit? Think Wild Kingdom, only it’s Black humans, not Cheetahs and Lions. Maybe God calls in guests, the kids and grand-kids and after dinner they have a good snicker over His creations. Hey, maybe God had children AFTER the Bible was written? Maybe He watches us like we used to gather as families and watch Archie Bunker? A worldwide sitcom/drama/sociality documentary, real-time, for God’s entertainment. Maybe humanity is a collective lab-rat and he’s evolving a human-cooperative system. Problem is, we won’t cooperate. Again, I think He’s a rascal and not malicious. I do hope he repays the chits run up by pervs that ruin children and do ratty, evil stuff while here (how much fun for God would it be to settle THOSE accounts?), but the average-and-overall benevolent among us are going to have to fulfill another purpose.

    But if you think you’re going to do a nice peaceful checkout and take an eternal afternoon snooze, you got God laughin’ His ass off. All due respect. The product of a vivid imagination all this? Maybe. But my take is as close to reality as anyone’s including the doods that wrote the Bible, both books. If God wanted some laughs, who better to observe than THOSE kooks?

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    " The product of a vivid imagination all this? " - definitely


    "But my take is as close to reality as anyone’s" - not even close
  16. @SMK
    If I were a Christian, deeply and devoutly, and believed in a an afterlife, an eternity in heaven or hell for my "immortal" and immaterial "soul," I'd be terrified of dying even if I was 90-95% certain that my "soul" was going to heaven rather than hell.

    For an atheist who rejects the dogma of mind/body dualism, the fantasy of a "soul" and afterlife, what's to fear in and of death. Death is nothingness, oblivion, the cessation of consciousness, the end of pain and suffering, liberation and surcease from the "hell that is other people," the annihilation of a lifetime of memories in which (for me and for most people) the bad and worse far exceed the good and better.Thus I face the end with stoicism and equanimity.

    Death is like falling asleep, with no dreams, and never waking. One dies (i.e. loses consciousness) every night when one sleeps with no dreams. If not for such "deaths," the temporary loss of consciousness when one sleeps for many or a few hours with no dreams, it's probable the suicide rate would increase at least 5- fold and likely more so. People long for sleep at night or naps during the day not simply because they're tired and drowsy and need the rest but also to escape the monotony of life for many or a few hours.

    Medical surveys find that religious people are more likely to cling by their fingernails to life because they believe in miracles while the secular are more likely to accept the reality that they are dying. The “right to die” movement is secular.

    Read More
  17. “For an atheist who rejects the dogma of mind/body dualism, the fantasy of a “soul” and afterlife, what’s to fear in and of death. Death is nothingness, oblivion, the cessation of consciousness, the end of pain and suffering, liberation and surcease from the “hell that is other people,” the annihilation of a lifetime of memories in which (for me and for most people) the bad and worse far exceed the good and better.Thus I face the end with stoicism and equanimity.”

    I guess your pronouncement on what death is must be proof that you’ve been there and done that. So, you’re just like the Messiah. Hallelujah! Hey everybody. SMK knows what death and the “soul” are! Just like he knows there is no God. Aren’t we blessed to have someone so wise and knowledgeable to guide us?

    Read More
  18. The Scalpel says: • Website

    I believe it is all a result of the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster. After all, there is more concrete existence of the great flying spaghetti monster than the God of the Christian Bible. I can just hear all the Christians out there saying that my statement is ridiculous. But what is it about the Christian Bible gives it any credibility at all aside from a fairly inaccurate history of regular people? It is all faith based on no evidence.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous White Male
    As is atheism. When you people have the honesty to admit this, maybe you'll STFU. Who am I kidding? Those that "know" what is NOT are no different than those who "know" what IS.
  19. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @Jim Christian

    Death is like falling asleep, with no dreams, and never waking.
     
    You WISH, SMK. God's a funny rascal, I suspect. He has a sense of humor. I really don't think he's malicious. There IS a plan. Maybe He's going to send you back. Our souls are more durable than just for 75 years (or whatever) and then you get to take a nap. He didn't do all this for nothing. Maybe He sends us back to do better, maybe He just likes to watch the children play, sort of like the City Zoo writ large. Detroit? Think Wild Kingdom, only it's Black humans, not Cheetahs and Lions. Maybe God calls in guests, the kids and grand-kids and after dinner they have a good snicker over His creations. Hey, maybe God had children AFTER the Bible was written? Maybe He watches us like we used to gather as families and watch Archie Bunker? A worldwide sitcom/drama/sociality documentary, real-time, for God's entertainment. Maybe humanity is a collective lab-rat and he's evolving a human-cooperative system. Problem is, we won't cooperate. Again, I think He's a rascal and not malicious. I do hope he repays the chits run up by pervs that ruin children and do ratty, evil stuff while here (how much fun for God would it be to settle THOSE accounts?), but the average-and-overall benevolent among us are going to have to fulfill another purpose.

    But if you think you're going to do a nice peaceful checkout and take an eternal afternoon snooze, you got God laughin' His ass off. All due respect. The product of a vivid imagination all this? Maybe. But my take is as close to reality as anyone's including the doods that wrote the Bible, both books. If God wanted some laughs, who better to observe than THOSE kooks?

    ” The product of a vivid imagination all this? ” – definitely

    “But my take is as close to reality as anyone’s” – not even close

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Christian

    “But my take is as close to reality as anyone’s” – not even close
     
    How do YOU know? Are you connected to the savior? Seriously. Why would YOU know what's "close"? See, that's the problem with Christians and Jews and Muslims all. Because their predecessors said "it", that must be what "it" is. And so no one else is ever "close". I submit Scalpel that due to your religious chauvinism, that you (and the Jews and the Muslims) are fulla shit. Exactly what do YOU, or anyone else, KNOW about it? Only the dead know, and they aren't talking.

    So let's hear it, did God tell you I'm not close, or that Moses is? Or Muhammad, is/was he close?Are you close? You wife, your Ma? I might be spot on, but YOU wouldn't know. You have only your dogma to support you. And it's off. If I said *I* knew, you'd say the same thing. So follow your faith with the sure and certain knowledge that your faith is full of shit too. No one knows. Not you, not me, no one knows. I love religious nuts that think they "know".
    , @Jim Christian

    “But my take is as close to reality as anyone’s” – not even close
     
    So what's reality, Scalpel? Forgot to ask. As soon as you say, I'll offer my similarly uneducated remark that you aren't even close, either.
  20. @The Scalpel
    I believe it is all a result of the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster. After all, there is more concrete existence of the great flying spaghetti monster than the God of the Christian Bible. I can just hear all the Christians out there saying that my statement is ridiculous. But what is it about the Christian Bible gives it any credibility at all aside from a fairly inaccurate history of regular people? It is all faith based on no evidence.

    As is atheism. When you people have the honesty to admit this, maybe you’ll STFU. Who am I kidding? Those that “know” what is NOT are no different than those who “know” what IS.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    I am not an atheist. I believe in the flying spaghetti monster. Please explain to me why my beliefs are inferior to those of Christians
  21. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @Anonymous White Male
    As is atheism. When you people have the honesty to admit this, maybe you'll STFU. Who am I kidding? Those that "know" what is NOT are no different than those who "know" what IS.

    I am not an atheist. I believe in the flying spaghetti monster. Please explain to me why my beliefs are inferior to those of Christians

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous White Male
    Did I say your beliefs were inferior to Christians? What did I say? Go back and read it. What I said was in response to your Godlike statement of "It is all faith based on no evidence". As is atheism. You consider yourself an intellectual, obviously. But, you are incapable of recognizing that declaring what "is not" is just as non-evidence based as declaring what "is".
  22. @The Scalpel
    I am not an atheist. I believe in the flying spaghetti monster. Please explain to me why my beliefs are inferior to those of Christians

    Did I say your beliefs were inferior to Christians? What did I say? Go back and read it. What I said was in response to your Godlike statement of “It is all faith based on no evidence”. As is atheism. You consider yourself an intellectual, obviously. But, you are incapable of recognizing that declaring what “is not” is just as non-evidence based as declaring what “is”.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    Ok, so we agree that Christianity is no better or worse than worshipping the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    I did not declare "what is not". I declared that there is no solid evidence of a Supreme Being - Christian or otherwise. That is a fact that can be verified along the lines of, "there is no water in this glass." I did not declare that there is certainly no God. I will say that using the same logic, one cannot be certain of anything.

    Yet, humanity does advance scientifically. We do this based on probabilities. Given no solid evidence of a supreme being over hundreds of years, one could confidently say that it is very, very unlikely that there is a supreme being. Put another way, one could say it is very, very likely that there is no supreme being.

    Also, given the complete lack of solid evidence, and by this I mean an appearance in person, or some other evidence that would reliably show cause and effect for example, all these "Holy Scriptures" are nothing more than comic book stuff and human philosophy
  23. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @Anonymous White Male
    Did I say your beliefs were inferior to Christians? What did I say? Go back and read it. What I said was in response to your Godlike statement of "It is all faith based on no evidence". As is atheism. You consider yourself an intellectual, obviously. But, you are incapable of recognizing that declaring what "is not" is just as non-evidence based as declaring what "is".

    Ok, so we agree that Christianity is no better or worse than worshipping the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    I did not declare “what is not”. I declared that there is no solid evidence of a Supreme Being – Christian or otherwise. That is a fact that can be verified along the lines of, “there is no water in this glass.” I did not declare that there is certainly no God. I will say that using the same logic, one cannot be certain of anything.

    Yet, humanity does advance scientifically. We do this based on probabilities. Given no solid evidence of a supreme being over hundreds of years, one could confidently say that it is very, very unlikely that there is a supreme being. Put another way, one could say it is very, very likely that there is no supreme being.

    Also, given the complete lack of solid evidence, and by this I mean an appearance in person, or some other evidence that would reliably show cause and effect for example, all these “Holy Scriptures” are nothing more than comic book stuff and human philosophy

    Read More
  24. No, we do not agree that Christianity is no better or worse than worshipping the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Firstly, because you yourself do not believe in the FSM. It is your attempt at preening and saying “Look, aren’t I witty”. No, you’re not. You do enjoy mental masturbation, though. And as far as being no worse than believing Christianity, does your belief provide an ethical and moral framework for people to structure their lives around? I’m sure that you’ve heard that if religion didn’t exist it would have to be created? Maybe you could codify the FSM’s instructions to his/her/xer followers?

    You are an atheist and you know it. You proved it when you commented

    “I did not declare “what is not”. I declared that there is no solid evidence of a Supreme Being – Christian or otherwise. That is a fact that can be verified along the lines of, “there is no water in this glass.” I did not declare that there is certainly no God.”

    So, there is no Supreme Being but you did not declare that there is certainly no God. You are just playing with semantics. If you don’t believe in a Supreme Being but you do believe in a God, you are splitting hairs. And, if you don’t believe in a God, that’s fine. It’s your choice. If you cannot look at creation and see a Creator, there’s nothing I can say that will convince you, so I don’t waste my time. My feeling is that I can see order and structure in Nature which did not occur by chance. It requires more faith for me to believe this is all a matter of chance than that everything evinces an intelligence. I could almost believe that life was created from matter by accident if the only life form that existed was an amoeba like creature. However, where did the matter come from? Just always was? Isn’t that an assumption based on no evidence? But the complexity of our bodies, the interrelatedness of things in Nature, and the order of the cosmos rules that out for me.

    “Given no solid evidence of a supreme being over hundreds of years, one could confidently say that it is very, very unlikely that there is a supreme being.”

    This is more evidence of your mental masturbation. No solid evidence? How would you define this? Do you actually think that a finite mind such as yours can understand God? That is just hubris. You don’t even understand who and what you are, much less someone or something beyond time and space. Again, you are claiming that “non-evidence” is “evidence”. That is your faith. Whatever. Just remember you can’t use the excuse that just because you don’t believe in God you aren’t attached to a “faith”, which is what you will try to do. Faith has multiple definitions. For instance,

    1. confidence or trust in a person or THING – thing, like your confidence in your opinion.
    2. belief that is not based on proof – your only “proof” is “non-proof”.
    3. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc – do you want me to point this out to you or can you be honest?

    You top off your screed with

    “Also, given the complete lack of solid evidence, and by this I mean an appearance in person, or some other evidence that would reliably show cause and effect for example, all these “Holy Scriptures” are nothing more than comic book stuff and human philosophy”

    Would you even recognize an appearance in person? If someone exists in multiple non-physical dimensions, how would your eyes and ears discern them? And I’m sure you’re not honest enough to admit that your embrace of Darwinism is also nothing more than comic book stuff and human philosophy. Perhaps you can point to anything Darwin said, other than survival of the fittest, for which there is any solid evidence? Transitional forms? When and where? I also find it amusing that you won’t give any credence to historical evidence of Jesus but you will with the Trojan War.

    Sorry, atheism is just an attempt to shore up your ego. God has not revealed himself to you or asked your meaningless opinion about life. You resent that. All ego. Just remember that the adversary said if you do this, ye shall be as gods. That is your need. You're a pseudo-intellectual that doesn't even know what you don't know.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Scalpel
    Ok, I will stop here. I go by the motto, "Never argue with fools. They will bring you down to their level, then beat you on experience." You win
  25. ” You’re a pseudo-intellectual that doesn’t even know what you don’t know”

    So what you are really implying is that anyone who does not believe in your version of “God” is then a so-called “Pseudo-intellectual”.

    Well the truth of this issue is thus : There is no external separate “God”, rather every single human being is creating their own actual individual universe, complete with stars planets and the suns, and each human being is then the “God” of their own personal universe.

    This means that within this space arrangement there are roughly seven billion universes, and they are all overlapping and imposed upon each other, so a to lend the effect of there being only one universe, and each one of these universes has it’s own creator and “God”, those being : you, me, and every other individual located within these multiple universes.

    By the way, precisely who told your God that he could only have one son, seeing as “Gods” can do anything, your God should have been capable of creating millions of sons, and not being just limited to only one son, and then all of this talk about him having given his “Only son” to atone for our sins would have been superfluous.

    And also the question of : If Jesus was going around and performing miracles, one after the other, raising the dead, walking on water, multiplying fish, water to wine, if he was able to accomplish all of these miraculous feats, why was he, all of a sudden, after he was arrested, unable to perform any more miracles, such as flying up and off of the cross, or creating a mock-up of himself, to be beaten and whipped by the crowds.

    Of course your answers to these questions will be : These are mysteries which only God can understand.

    To be continued.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, Airborne trained US Army vet, and pro jazz aritist.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous White Male
    No, I call someone a pseudo-intellectual when they claim there is no evidence for something and then claim that this is evidence for what they believe in. I also call someone that ends all his posts with "Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, Airborne trained US Army vet, and pro jazz aritist" someone that has some insecurities and can't let his words speak for themselves. Then you compound your misinformed post by saying:

    "Well the truth of this issue is thus : There is no external separate “God”, rather every single human being is creating their own actual individual universe, complete with stars planets and the suns, and each human being is then the “God” of their own personal universe.

    This means that within this space arrangement there are roughly seven billion universes, and they are all overlapping and imposed upon each other, so a to lend the effect of there being only one universe, and each one of these universes has it’s own creator and “God”, those being : you, me, and every other individual located within these multiple universes."

    Oh, you've seen/experienced this and can manipulate these universe yourself? No? I didn't think so. You can imagine I'm going trust you to tell me about something you know nothing about. You're going to tell me the "truth" of the entire nature of existence you've based on Eastern religious thought, science attempting to postulate things it cannot measure, and some mental masturbation common with self-righteous people. Let me repeat myself so you won't misconstrue what I am saying.

    You and pseudo boy don't have a clue about the nature of the universe except the experiences you have had. I don't have a clue about the universe except the experiences I have had. However, when someone claims to "know" the truth, as of course you obviously do (sarc), and criticizes someone for having a different seat at the table than you do, you show you are no different than the person you criticize. We might ask you why you felt you had to pontificate on this issue. You and pseudo boy assume something that was not in evidence and then proceed to inform us of your "Mensa level" understanding of the nature of the cosmos. I assure you, you have none. Just like me. And atheists are among the most egregiously obnoxious true-believers, exceeded only, possibly, by Scientologists. Maybe.
  26. The Scalpel says: • Website
    @Anonymous White Male
    No, we do not agree that Christianity is no better or worse than worshipping the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Firstly, because you yourself do not believe in the FSM. It is your attempt at preening and saying "Look, aren't I witty". No, you're not. You do enjoy mental masturbation, though. And as far as being no worse than believing Christianity, does your belief provide an ethical and moral framework for people to structure their lives around? I'm sure that you've heard that if religion didn't exist it would have to be created? Maybe you could codify the FSM's instructions to his/her/xer followers?

    You are an atheist and you know it. You proved it when you commented

    "I did not declare “what is not”. I declared that there is no solid evidence of a Supreme Being – Christian or otherwise. That is a fact that can be verified along the lines of, “there is no water in this glass.” I did not declare that there is certainly no God."

    So, there is no Supreme Being but you did not declare that there is certainly no God. You are just playing with semantics. If you don't believe in a Supreme Being but you do believe in a God, you are splitting hairs. And, if you don't believe in a God, that's fine. It's your choice. If you cannot look at creation and see a Creator, there's nothing I can say that will convince you, so I don't waste my time. My feeling is that I can see order and structure in Nature which did not occur by chance. It requires more faith for me to believe this is all a matter of chance than that everything evinces an intelligence. I could almost believe that life was created from matter by accident if the only life form that existed was an amoeba like creature. However, where did the matter come from? Just always was? Isn't that an assumption based on no evidence? But the complexity of our bodies, the interrelatedness of things in Nature, and the order of the cosmos rules that out for me.

    "Given no solid evidence of a supreme being over hundreds of years, one could confidently say that it is very, very unlikely that there is a supreme being."

    This is more evidence of your mental masturbation. No solid evidence? How would you define this? Do you actually think that a finite mind such as yours can understand God? That is just hubris. You don't even understand who and what you are, much less someone or something beyond time and space. Again, you are claiming that "non-evidence" is "evidence". That is your faith. Whatever. Just remember you can't use the excuse that just because you don't believe in God you aren't attached to a "faith", which is what you will try to do. Faith has multiple definitions. For instance,

    1. confidence or trust in a person or THING - thing, like your confidence in your opinion.
    2. belief that is not based on proof - your only "proof" is "non-proof".
    3. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc - do you want me to point this out to you or can you be honest?

    You top off your screed with

    "Also, given the complete lack of solid evidence, and by this I mean an appearance in person, or some other evidence that would reliably show cause and effect for example, all these “Holy Scriptures” are nothing more than comic book stuff and human philosophy"

    Would you even recognize an appearance in person? If someone exists in multiple non-physical dimensions, how would your eyes and ears discern them? And I'm sure you're not honest enough to admit that your embrace of Darwinism is also nothing more than comic book stuff and human philosophy. Perhaps you can point to anything Darwin said, other than survival of the fittest, for which there is any solid evidence? Transitional forms? When and where? I also find it amusing that you won't give any credence to historical evidence of Jesus but you will with the Trojan War.

    Sorry, atheism is just an attempt to shore up your ego. God has not revealed himself to you or asked your meaningless opinion about life. You resent that. All ego. Just remember that the adversary said if you do this, ye shall be as gods. That is your need. You're a pseudo-intellectual that doesn't even know what you don't know.

    Ok, I will stop here. I go by the motto, “Never argue with fools. They will bring you down to their level, then beat you on experience.” You win

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Christian
    There's a cop-out, Scalpel. But you did that with my comment too. If you're going to throw unattributed beliefs at us, at least make sense of your own remarks. You sound confused. Tell us the Holy and unvarnished Truth.
  27. @Authenticjazzman
    " You're a pseudo-intellectual that doesn't even know what you don't know"

    So what you are really implying is that anyone who does not believe in your version of "God" is then a so-called "Pseudo-intellectual".

    Well the truth of this issue is thus : There is no external separate "God", rather every single human being is creating their own actual individual universe, complete with stars planets and the suns, and each human being is then the "God" of their own personal universe.

    This means that within this space arrangement there are roughly seven billion universes, and they are all overlapping and imposed upon each other, so a to lend the effect of there being only one universe, and each one of these universes has it's own creator and "God", those being : you, me, and every other individual located within these multiple universes.

    By the way, precisely who told your God that he could only have one son, seeing as "Gods" can do anything, your God should have been capable of creating millions of sons, and not being just limited to only one son, and then all of this talk about him having given his "Only son" to atone for our sins would have been superfluous.

    And also the question of : If Jesus was going around and performing miracles, one after the other, raising the dead, walking on water, multiplying fish, water to wine, if he was able to accomplish all of these miraculous feats, why was he, all of a sudden, after he was arrested, unable to perform any more miracles, such as flying up and off of the cross, or creating a mock-up of himself, to be beaten and whipped by the crowds.

    Of course your answers to these questions will be : These are mysteries which only God can understand.

    To be continued.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, Airborne trained US Army vet, and pro jazz aritist.

    No, I call someone a pseudo-intellectual when they claim there is no evidence for something and then claim that this is evidence for what they believe in. I also call someone that ends all his posts with “Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, Airborne trained US Army vet, and pro jazz aritist” someone that has some insecurities and can’t let his words speak for themselves. Then you compound your misinformed post by saying:

    “Well the truth of this issue is thus : There is no external separate “God”, rather every single human being is creating their own actual individual universe, complete with stars planets and the suns, and each human being is then the “God” of their own personal universe.

    This means that within this space arrangement there are roughly seven billion universes, and they are all overlapping and imposed upon each other, so a to lend the effect of there being only one universe, and each one of these universes has it’s own creator and “God”, those being : you, me, and every other individual located within these multiple universes.”

    Oh, you’ve seen/experienced this and can manipulate these universe yourself? No? I didn’t think so. You can imagine I’m going trust you to tell me about something you know nothing about. You’re going to tell me the “truth” of the entire nature of existence you’ve based on Eastern religious thought, science attempting to postulate things it cannot measure, and some mental masturbation common with self-righteous people. Let me repeat myself so you won’t misconstrue what I am saying.

    You and pseudo boy don’t have a clue about the nature of the universe except the experiences you have had. I don’t have a clue about the universe except the experiences I have had. However, when someone claims to “know” the truth, as of course you obviously do (sarc), and criticizes someone for having a different seat at the table than you do, you show you are no different than the person you criticize. We might ask you why you felt you had to pontificate on this issue. You and pseudo boy assume something that was not in evidence and then proceed to inform us of your “Mensa level” understanding of the nature of the cosmos. I assure you, you have none. Just like me. And atheists are among the most egregiously obnoxious true-believers, exceeded only, possibly, by Scientologists. Maybe.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Authenticjazzman
    Okay so your religious informs you that we humans are " Made in the image and likeness of god", so perhaps you could tell us just why your God is endowed with male reproductive organs, and women are not made in the image and likeness of God seeing as they are not endowed with said organs, or are these phenomena simply attributed to another "Mystery" which humans are unable to comprehend.

    Authenticjazzman "Mensa" qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army Vet, and pro Jazz musician.
  28. jamie b. says:

    This is what scientific illiteracy sounds like…

    “We know from the exercise of our reason that the curvature of the Earth and its continuous movement through space set in motion a series of forces. These forces protect the Earth and its inhabitants from the harmful rays of the sun and permit the intrusion of the beneficial rays. All this comes at a price. The movement of the Earth actually produces friction, and that friction in turn ignites energy, and that energy often is drawn by the Earth’s gravity and finds an outlet in destructive forces on the planet.

    Though these forces — the linchpin of which is the Earth’s gravity — can be avoided through the exercise of creative reason (we can build shelters from them), they are often, as with Harvey and Irma, beyond our ability to harness or control. All this is a thumbnail sketch of basic astrophysics, largely acquired through human reason and beyond serious dispute.”

    Embarrassing. My seven year old son could give a more accurate account of “astrophysics” (rolling my eyes)!

    Read More
  29. @The Scalpel
    " The product of a vivid imagination all this? " - definitely


    "But my take is as close to reality as anyone’s" - not even close

    “But my take is as close to reality as anyone’s” – not even close

    How do YOU know? Are you connected to the savior? Seriously. Why would YOU know what’s “close”? See, that’s the problem with Christians and Jews and Muslims all. Because their predecessors said “it”, that must be what “it” is. And so no one else is ever “close”. I submit Scalpel that due to your religious chauvinism, that you (and the Jews and the Muslims) are fulla shit. Exactly what do YOU, or anyone else, KNOW about it? Only the dead know, and they aren’t talking.

    So let’s hear it, did God tell you I’m not close, or that Moses is? Or Muhammad, is/was he close?Are you close? You wife, your Ma? I might be spot on, but YOU wouldn’t know. You have only your dogma to support you. And it’s off. If I said *I* knew, you’d say the same thing. So follow your faith with the sure and certain knowledge that your faith is full of shit too. No one knows. Not you, not me, no one knows. I love religious nuts that think they “know”.

    Read More
  30. @The Scalpel
    " The product of a vivid imagination all this? " - definitely


    "But my take is as close to reality as anyone’s" - not even close

    “But my take is as close to reality as anyone’s” – not even close

    So what’s reality, Scalpel? Forgot to ask. As soon as you say, I’ll offer my similarly uneducated remark that you aren’t even close, either.

    Read More
  31. @The Scalpel
    Ok, I will stop here. I go by the motto, "Never argue with fools. They will bring you down to their level, then beat you on experience." You win

    There’s a cop-out, Scalpel. But you did that with my comment too. If you’re going to throw unattributed beliefs at us, at least make sense of your own remarks. You sound confused. Tell us the Holy and unvarnished Truth.

    Read More
  32. nickels says:
    @SMK
    If I were a Christian, deeply and devoutly, and believed in a an afterlife, an eternity in heaven or hell for my "immortal" and immaterial "soul," I'd be terrified of dying even if I was 90-95% certain that my "soul" was going to heaven rather than hell.

    For an atheist who rejects the dogma of mind/body dualism, the fantasy of a "soul" and afterlife, what's to fear in and of death. Death is nothingness, oblivion, the cessation of consciousness, the end of pain and suffering, liberation and surcease from the "hell that is other people," the annihilation of a lifetime of memories in which (for me and for most people) the bad and worse far exceed the good and better.Thus I face the end with stoicism and equanimity.

    Death is like falling asleep, with no dreams, and never waking. One dies (i.e. loses consciousness) every night when one sleeps with no dreams. If not for such "deaths," the temporary loss of consciousness when one sleeps for many or a few hours with no dreams, it's probable the suicide rate would increase at least 5- fold and likely more so. People long for sleep at night or naps during the day not simply because they're tired and drowsy and need the rest but also to escape the monotony of life for many or a few hours.

    I wasn’t sure how this related to the article.
    Not sure people fear death as much as they do the actual cause of death.

    Read More
  33. @Anonymous White Male
    No, I call someone a pseudo-intellectual when they claim there is no evidence for something and then claim that this is evidence for what they believe in. I also call someone that ends all his posts with "Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, Airborne trained US Army vet, and pro jazz aritist" someone that has some insecurities and can't let his words speak for themselves. Then you compound your misinformed post by saying:

    "Well the truth of this issue is thus : There is no external separate “God”, rather every single human being is creating their own actual individual universe, complete with stars planets and the suns, and each human being is then the “God” of their own personal universe.

    This means that within this space arrangement there are roughly seven billion universes, and they are all overlapping and imposed upon each other, so a to lend the effect of there being only one universe, and each one of these universes has it’s own creator and “God”, those being : you, me, and every other individual located within these multiple universes."

    Oh, you've seen/experienced this and can manipulate these universe yourself? No? I didn't think so. You can imagine I'm going trust you to tell me about something you know nothing about. You're going to tell me the "truth" of the entire nature of existence you've based on Eastern religious thought, science attempting to postulate things it cannot measure, and some mental masturbation common with self-righteous people. Let me repeat myself so you won't misconstrue what I am saying.

    You and pseudo boy don't have a clue about the nature of the universe except the experiences you have had. I don't have a clue about the universe except the experiences I have had. However, when someone claims to "know" the truth, as of course you obviously do (sarc), and criticizes someone for having a different seat at the table than you do, you show you are no different than the person you criticize. We might ask you why you felt you had to pontificate on this issue. You and pseudo boy assume something that was not in evidence and then proceed to inform us of your "Mensa level" understanding of the nature of the cosmos. I assure you, you have none. Just like me. And atheists are among the most egregiously obnoxious true-believers, exceeded only, possibly, by Scientologists. Maybe.

    Okay so your religious informs you that we humans are ” Made in the image and likeness of god”, so perhaps you could tell us just why your God is endowed with male reproductive organs, and women are not made in the image and likeness of God seeing as they are not endowed with said organs, or are these phenomena simply attributed to another “Mystery” which humans are unable to comprehend.

    Authenticjazzman “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Army Vet, and pro Jazz musician.

    Read More
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