Thursday, March 3, 2011

FacePalm of the Day #63 - Debunking Christianity: Is God Omnipotent or Not?


John Loftus has posted yet another argument trying to show that God cannot be omnipotent and good. My comments are going to be bolded. Let's see where he goes off the rails this time.

Why is it that believers say God can do anything until I suggest a scenario that they don't like? This is yet another reason why I think Christians are delusional. It's crystal clear that what they think God can do depends on whether a given scenario is something that they like or not. It's much like how they deal with unanswered prayer. They count the hits and discount the misses. And it's much like giving God the credit for the good that happens in life and blaming human beings (or the devil) for everything else. I don't get it. Is God omnipotent or not? Let me give just one scenario concerning earthquakes which cause massive amounts of suffering.


Unfortunately, he has a point about Americanized Christian culture. Fortunately, the Bible clearly does not allow this viewpoint, although many Christians think this way.

Several earthquakes have caused a great amount of carnage in recent years, including the one in the Indian Ocean in 2004 that caused a tsunami which killed over a quarter million people, countless numbers of animals, and devastated the environment. There have been earthquakes in Haiti last year, and in Pakistan and New Zealand this year already. We know that in the future there will be massive earthquakes in Los Angeles, along the San Andreas fault line, and also in Istanbul.


All true. I live in California. The San Andreas Faults is really close to me. I'm well-aware of it.

Now, could God have averted the ones in the past and continue doing so in the future? Yes or no? No fudging. No obfuscation. No red herrings. No sidestepping the question. No delusional dances. No gerrymandering around the question. Yes or no? I take it the answer will be a resounding yes. "Yes, praise Jesus, he can do this!"

Yes, God can and does do that. That is why I continue to live.

Now let's also agree that the more power a person has then the more he is morally obliged to help avert suffering.

Now hold on.  There it is. Here is where the argument fails: Who said that God is morally obliged to avert suffering,. How can God be omnipotent and yet be limited to how He should apply that power when? No. we don't need to grant that premise. There is no logical reason to accept that point.

If all it takes is a snap of one's fingers, or a signature on a piece of paper, to avert suffering then that person has a greater moral obligation to help avert suffering than a person who must die in the process of doing so. Agree?

I disagree. 

If a superman came upon a gang of thugs in Darfar who were pillaging a town, wantonly killing children, and repeatedly raping women, then does he have more of a moral obligation to help these innocents than a mere mortal who does not have the power to stop them and will surely die in the process? Again, Yes or no? No fudging. No obfuscation. No red herrings. No sidestepping the question. No delusional dances. No gerrymandering around the question. Yes or no? I take it the answer to this question will also be a resounding yes. "Yes, praise Jesus, God has more of a moral obligation than others to avert suffering because he has more power to do so!"

No. Equating Superman to God is really not looking at it correctly. The fictional Superman is just as valuable as any other human being and is obligated but because of the Moral standard God has established. God is not bound by the same standard.and we belong to Him. Superman belongs to the world. Superman serves the world. The world is supposed to serve God.

Put two and two together and there you have the problem. It's a serious one if you wish to continue believing in your delusion, and delusion it is. Why is it that an omnipotent God could not do a perpetual miracle by stopping plate tectonics from ever moving, especially if all it takes is a snap of his omnipotent "fingers"? Is he omnipotent, or not?

Loftus is putting two and two together and coming up with five.  He asks "Why is it that an omnipotent God could not do a perpetual miracle by stopping plate tectonics from ever moving?" Simple. Without plate tectonics we are all dead. Look at the science from Reason to Believe website.


How Could A Good God Allow Earthquakes?
Another Benefit for Life in Earthquakes


God has a reason for everything he does and does not do. Claiming to know better is one of the best examples of stupidity ever thought by the minds of men.

Believers have only one reasonable way to escape the clear implications of this serious problem for faith in what I call the omniscience escape clause: "My ways are not your ways," we read in Isaiah. "How do we know what an omniscient God might do?" an apologist chimes in with an implied, "We can't." The answer is obvious. We must be able to understand enough of God's ways to know that his ways are good and that he knows what he's doing. It's that simple. If God does not act as a loving person would do then all we can reasonably conclude is that God is not acting like a loving person would do. And if God does not respond in discernible loving ways when tragic events take place then it looks entirely as if tragic events happen randomly without his ever-watchful eye.


Loftus misses another option: Maybe we don't know what Love is. If you don't know what love is, how do you discern what loving is.  How do you not  know that God has actually don e what was the absolute best for us all, although it doesn't seem like it to us. This is where trust comes in. We trust God and don't rely just on what we think because what we think will change. That doesn't mean don't think, but look at the world the way God has given it to us to look at it.

So I put it to believers. If God is omnipotent then why does he not care? He could avert all earthquakes with a perpetual miracle quite easily. Why doesn't he do it? No fudging. No obfuscation. No red herrings. No sidestepping the question. No delusional dances. No gerrymandering around the question. Why doesn't he do it?

Who said God doesn't care? While God could have chosen to make this world in a way that earthquakes were not needed, He didn't. This is what God decided to do and how He decided to do it. Do we know why? No.  Do we need to know why?  No. Can we ask God? Yes. Will He answer? When He is ready for us to know we will know but the signs and evidence point to earthquakes being needed fro the life we have on earth..

Then when you've come up with your answers look at them. Think about them. Ask yourself if these answers make sense apart from what you read in an ancient superstitious set of texts written by pre-scientific agency detectors. Do they really make sense give the omnipotence of God?

Unfortunately, many Christians don't think about these issues.  I have thought about this a lot and the conclusion I've come to is that the Bible is right.  Even it means everyone of us is wrong, God is right.

I have no hopes that what I've just written can shake you from your delusion, because you are deluded. Doubt is the adult attitude. Grow up.

Maybe John Lofuts should really take stock and see where the delusion is.


5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. - James 1:5-8


Debunking Christianity: Is God Omnipotent or Not?
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30 comments:

  1. Who said that God is morally obliged to avert suffering...No. Equating Superman to God is really not looking at it correctly.

    Ok, maybe you should ask Berkeley for your money back if you took any logic courses.

    P1: the more power a person has then the more he is morally obliged to help avert suffering.

    P2: Superman and God have more power than a normal humans.

    C: Superman and God have a larger moral obligation to avert suffering.

    You can attack the premises, but the conclusion is solid. Unfortunately for you, attacking the first premise will probably lead you to god not being omnibenevolent and moral relativism, attacking the second premise would lead to god not being omnipotent. But give it a shot.

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  2. First - You don't know how to fill out a bibliography so you need to get your money back. You don't know what APA is.

    Second - Who says that "the more power a person has then the more he is morally obliged to help avert suffering."? Prove that. There is nothing that makes that a necessity. If the premises fail so do the conclusions on which those failed premises. And you claim to understand logic?

    Third - Do you even know what omnibenevolent means? I already explained why we can't look at what God does and make a value judgment on it because we don't have all the pieces.

    Fourth - Omnipotence doesn't just mean being able to do anything but also being able to choose what you will or not do. If you think God has free will, why wouldn't God? He doesn't have to do anything.

    Fifth - This has been answered ad nauseum. Read Job. Read Ecclesiastes. Read the Paul's letters. Read What Jesus said about it. The answer is there. It's just as unavoidable as Gravity.

    Sixth - Setting up straw men premises and pretending that I have to accept them without thinking is real pathetic. You sure you are not in a cult?

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  3. This is not how you argue against a logical syllogism. Definitely get your money back.

    2nd, John Loftus did. It's his premise. You can't just say the premise fails or "prove it" (he did with the Superman in Somalia example in any case), you have to actually show the premise is faulty.

    3rd, Yes. But the premise has nothing to do with omnibenevolence directly, the premise is looking at moral obligations. It can be inferred that if someone doesn't fulfill their moral obligations, they are not omnibenevolent.

    4th, no one's disputing this, again though, we're talking about choosing to fulfill one's moral obligations.

    5th and 6th were just gibberish.

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  4. This is not how you argue against a logical syllogism. Definitely get your money back.

    First - you've conceded....good.

    2nd, John Loftus did. It's his premise. You can't just say the premise fails or "prove it" (he did with the Superman in Somalia example in any case), you have to actually show the premise is faulty.

    I did show that it was faulty. No way can you or Loftus can give a single reason why anyone should accept the premise other than it will allow you to argue the conclusion you want to reach. Got to do better than that. The Superman discussion is not proof and erroneously applied. You know just as much about Superman as you do about God. If you won't pick up the Bible then at least pick up a Comic book. Such issues do come up and are dealt with in Superman stories. Here is one that even you may have seen - Superman IV. Yes, it is the weakest of the franchise but it deals with the question: Is Superman obligated to end the threat of Nuclear War by getting rid of Nuclear Weapons? Go back and watch it if you want to see just how wrong this argument is. By the way, the current animated movie and original mini-series All-Star Superman will help you understand how Superman is truly handled and his responsibilities.

    3rd, Yes. But the premise has nothing to do with omnibenevolence directly, the premise is looking at moral obligations. It can be inferred that if someone doesn't fulfill their moral obligations, they are not omnibenevolent.

    That is the conclusion Loftus is arguing: God cannot be omnibenevolent and omnipotent as the same time. However, the premise misses the point that neither you or I know enough of the big picture to determine that God is not fulfilling his Obligations because he is not obligated to us. You seem to think the God's purpose should be to avert our suffering. Romans 8:29 directly disagrees with you.

    4th, no one's disputing this, again though, we're talking about choosing to fulfill one's moral obligations.

    Loftus is disputing number 4 that if you argue that due to His power, God is obligated to avert all human suffering. Ryan, are you sure you read Loftus' argument?

    5th and 6th were just gibberish.

    Ryan, you have the tendency to call something "gibberish" when you have no rational response.

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  5. Awww, you are a comic book geek, the lowest form of geek. Add to that you are a superman comic book geek, lowest form of comic book geek. This explains much.

    Very... slowly... now...

    "Superman" is not "Superman from Superman IV" or "All-Star Superman", he's just "moral actor who can save people being threatened by Somali thugs and is not going to killed by Somali thugs, even though you and I would be killed by said thugs if we tried to save said people".

    Seriously, you went to Berkeley, try actually reading John's stuff. I'm surprised Berkeley hasn't offered you a full refund in exchange for never mentioning that they gave you a degree.

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  6. Awww, you are a comic book geek, the lowest form of geek. Add to that you are a superman comic book geek, lowest form of comic book geek. This explains much.

    Very... slowly... now...


    All more adhominem attacks. Oh well, it's all you have to work with.

    "Superman" is not "Superman from Superman IV" or "All-Star Superman", he's just "moral actor who can save people being threatened by Somali thugs and is not going to killed by Somali thugs, even though you and I would be killed by said thugs if we tried to save said people".

    Culturally, today, I realize that John means "superman" the way Nietzsche did. But can you really think of a greater fictional touch for discussion of issues of power and responsibility. I see nothing wrong with using DC Comics superman in this discussion, given that Loftus opened that door. I never said Superman was real. DC Comics Superman exactly fits the definition of superman you gave much more closer than God does.

    Seriously, you went to Berkeley, try actually reading John's stuff. I'm surprised Berkeley hasn't offered you a full refund in exchange for never mentioning that they gave you a degree.

    I earned two degrees from Berkeley. That's not pride just a statement of fact. And given your inability to write a bibliography or make a good argument, I'd be too embarrassed to call anyone else dumb if I were you.

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  7. All more adhominem[sic] attacks

    Given that you didn't know how to criticize a syllogism, I guess it should come as no surprise that you don't know what an ad hominem is.

    I'd be too embarrassed to call anyone else dumb if I were you.

    As someone who believes that 1) Noah lived on Pangea 175MYA and 2) doesn't think Judea was Hellenized, your suggestion that I am dumb is worthless (hint: now this is an ad hominem, hope you learned something).

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  8. Given that you didn't know how to criticize a syllogism, I guess it should come as no surprise that you don't know what an ad hominem is.

    To accept a stupid premise without any good reason to accept it as true is silly. And calling me a geek and suggesting that I'm less than intelligent for knowing more about Superman than you do typifies an ad hominem attack - against me with no connection to the arguments I proposed.

    As someone who believes that 1) Noah lived on Pangea 175MYA and

    Suggesting an alternate hypothesis that you don't agree with does not make me wrong or stupid. I told you what you need to do to prove me wrong and when you do I will admit that the hypothesis is wrong. The hypothesis being true or false has nothing to do with God being real or the Bible being true.

    2) doesn't think Judea was Hellenized,

    You sure don't seem to read what I write. Let me try to be clearer. I have pointed out that we weren't using "Hellenized" in the same way. I also clearly said that I did not mean that Greek Culture had no impact on Judasim. I meant that it had no impact on the New Testament writers greater than Judasim. I also said that you were over estimating the impact on Judea given the lengths that Jews went through to mitigate the impact of Hellenzation could have had Judaism. Saying that I said Judea was not Hellenized ignores the whole conversation.

    your suggestion that I am dumb is worthless (hint: now this is an ad hominem, hope you learned something).

    I apologize for saying you are dumb. I was wrong. You aren't dumb. God loves you and Jesus died and rose again so you can be free and truly reach the heights he has purposed for you. I don't have the right to call you stupid no matter how much I disagree with you or how wrong you are. I'm going to keep praying for you.

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  9. OK, so you backpedaled on the Hellinization thing.

    But, given everything else you said, it's clear you actually don't understand what an ad hominem is and just missed an opportunity to learn.

    PS: also calling a premise "stupid" and "silly" is not the same thing as refuting the premise...

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  10. @leftycapuchin

    OK, so you backpedaled on the Hellinization thing.

    If admitting that I did not fully explain myself on an important issue and then going back AND explaining what I meant is "backpedaling" then I backpedaled.

    But, given everything else you said, it's clear you actually don't understand what an ad hominem is and just missed an opportunity to learn.

    So how does calling me a geek and insisting that I am dumb and that I don't deserve my degrees have anything to do with showing how anything I have written is wrong? IT doesn't. That is why I called them ad hominem attacks. At least when Ryan pointed out that calling him "dumb" was worthless, I agree. I went too far. Neither of you are dumb. You are created in the image of God and God loves you. But insulting me is just as worthless because you haven't added anything to the conversation.

    PS: also calling a premise "stupid" and "silly" is not the same thing as refuting the premise...

    I wonder if you ever even read the whole post and all the comments. I did more than just call the first premise "Stupid" or "silly". I actually explained why I disagreed with it. More fundamental than that is this question: Why would you think that the first premise is true? By what authority? And Why should I accept it?

    If you only read these comments than you should know that it was in the posts I gave my reasons for rejecting the premise. There isn't an ounce of scientific or objective reasoning behind those premises or the presuppositions underlying them.

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  11. Oops, Leftycapuchin is Ryan. Didn't notice my wife was signed on to google. Notice that I showed where what you wrote was wrong and then ridiculed you in two unrelated, separate places, hence the ridicule was not an ad homenim.

    I always read your post, if I'm going to comment. You didn't refute his argument, and really only said that you think it was wrong. Reread it yourself.

    I'm a geek, I called you the lowest form of geek, for the record.

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  12. Oops, Leftycapuchin is Ryan. Didn't notice my wife was signed on to google. Notice that I showed where what you wrote was wrong and then ridiculed you in two unrelated, separate places, hence the ridicule was not an ad homenim.

    That fact that it was unrelated makes the ridicule ad hominem. And what exactly do you think you proved me wrong about?

    I always read your post, if I'm going to comment. You didn't refute his argument, and really only said that you think it was wrong. Reread it yourself.

    You didn't explain why I wrong in the slightest. The bottom line is John Loftus has no standing or any authority to assert that God is morally obliged to avert suffering. You didn't prove why that is true and neither did he.

    I'm a geek, I called you the lowest form of geek, for the record.

    If you think that calling me "the lowest form of geek" wasn't insulting, then maybe you might need to really think about what you wrote and how it would sound given the way you "communicate".

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  13. That fact that it was unrelated makes the ridicule ad hominem.

    Please check out "logical fallacies" online, I think Matt Flanagan even has an ongoing series, and stop embarrassing yourself.

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  14. Have you looked up APA style yet to learn how to properly cite research?

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  15. You still didn't answer my questions about how your insults have anything to do with the subject?

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  16. How were your insults useful and not worthless?

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  17. Just looked, the humanities typically do not use APA and for fragments, my citation looks to be correct.

    But why am I telling this to someone who puts on airs of being intelligent, but doesn't even know what an ad hominem is?

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  18. You are telling me this because pride restricts you frim admitting that you can't really back up the reference to Perseus thatyou say exists. But rhat is okay.

    That and you really don't want to answer how your personal attacks don't equate to being ad hominem although they have nothing to do with the value of my arguments. Their worthlessness does shiw the value if your own.

    Don't worry, I'll keep praying for you.

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  19. Oh sweet mother.

    "You are stupid" = ridicule/insult, often appropriate with you.

    "You are stupid, therefore, Noah didn't live 175mya" = ad hominem.

    Although reversing the above, "Because you believe Noah lived 175mya, you are stupid" seems valid.

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  20. Their worthlessness does shiw the value if your own.

    Is this supposed to be French or something?

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. Okay, so that is clearer:

    a. You weren't saying that I am stupid because of the hypothesis that Noah lived before Pangea completely broke up. This is what I thought you were saying because you haven't provided any evidence that shows he didn't - actually you conceded it as possible but said you don't think it likely (as if what you think matters). Therefore that is why I classified your "comments" as ad hominem - they don't add anything to the "conversation" and you seem to think that your inability to disprove what I am saying as proof that it's not true. I agree calling me stupid is not the same as an adhominem attack but it was ad hominem in this context - it has been the only rebuttal offered. A real pathetic response.

    b. And because you are unable to understand typos like I can understand yours when you make them, I'll restate my point:

    You worthless and baseless mockery more than show the value of your own arguments - they have no value.

    I'll keep praying for you, however. You need it.

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  23. If I'm reading you correctly, you still have it backwards. It would be fair to say that you actually are stupid (no offense) for believing that Noah lived on Pangea 175mya despite all the geological, paleontological, archeological and even genetic evidence to the contrary.

    But, if I had said, “well Marcus, you are stupid, hence, your theory that Noah lived on Pangea 175mya is without merit (because you are stupid it has no merit, not because of the evidence), then that would be an ad hominem.

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  24. If I'm reading you correctly, you still have it backwards. It would be fair to say that you actually are stupid (no offense) for believing that Noah lived on Pangea 175mya despite all the geological, paleontological, archeological and even genetic evidence to the contrary.

    But, if I had said, “well Marcus, you are stupid, hence, your theory that Noah lived on Pangea 175mya is without merit (because you are stupid it has no merit, not because of the evidence), then that would be an ad hominem.


    I'm saying it's ad hominem because you have not provided any proof. You have said that there was "geological, paleontological, archeological and even genetic evidence to the contrary" and yet you also said it was "possible not probable". You contradict yourself. You have not proven you were right right or that I am stupid - only that you don't know what you are talking about. They both can't be true.

    If you decide to provide proof remember to have a decent bibliography.

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  25. You really don't know what an ad hominem is, do you? If you are going to play at being an internet apologists, you should probably familiarize yourself with basic logic.

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  26. The disagreement is not what an ad hominem attack it. The point in question is have we made ad hominem attacks at each other. On march 5th you said I did an ad hominem attack on you because I suggested that you am dumb is worthless. I agreed because you being dumb and worthless has nothing to do with the validity of your argument. It's the same thing about your unsubstantiated comments about Pangea. The fact that you can't see this shows even more that your mental powers are lacking although they have nothing to do with the value of your arguments.

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  27. Wow, I think you finally got it. It's only conjecture, but it appears to me that you really had no idea what an ad hominem was and it took you about 5 days to finally look it up.

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  28. I think you finally read my comments. I've been writing the same thing for days. I see you have too much pride to admit when you are wrong. You have selective ignorance. That's fine as long as you stay silent where you choose to be ignorant. You don't however. It is far from cute.

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  29. I admitted using ad hominem arguments against you in the thread. You still haven't.

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