Essay:Big Questions and Possible Answers
'Big Questions and Possible Answers' by Mega (Teresita "Ruby" Rivera Mercado)
These are my replies to a set of eighty questions posed by an atheist on USENET in the alt.atheism group. Some of them are flippant, some are deep. After I get the work formatted for RationalWiki I will flesh them out and add more questions from other sources until I reach 101.
1. Why would God entrust the spreading of 'His' word to one of his 'fallible' children?
Radio receivers are prone to static and interference, but we endure their shortcomings to spread our words and music because they can convert modulated RF into audio information. In the same way, God's message must be put into human words which are bound to human experiences, so God uses 'fallible' human messengers.
2. If Satan is the ultimate trickster, how do we know that Satan hasn't tricked Christians into worshipping him as God (Yahweh) and are actually rebuking the "real" God in his own name?
Satan is called the "Father of lies" but there is no biblical evidence that Satan ever did lie. In fact, in the Garden of Eden, when Satan tells Eve that she won't die in the day she eats the fruit, Satan is telling the truth, because Eve did not die until much later.
3. If God cast the devil into hell and hell is a place for eternal punishment from which even God cannot grant a pardon, then why do the preachers tell us the devil is walking up and down the hallways of high schools tempting teenagers to do drugs and have pre-marital sex?
A warden who allows his prisoners the freedom to go out and kill and rape would be terminated for incompetence. Temptation to do drugs arises from natural curiosity or boredom. Temptation to have sex arises from natural horniness. There needs no devil to tempt teens into doing these things.
4. I have often heard from many believers that even Satan has a presence in the church, which is why even in church people can still have impure thoughts. If Satan can find his way in the church, how do Christians know that Satan didn't find his way into the Bible and twist the whole book?
Satan caused the men of the Protestant Deformation to delete seven books from the Old Testament.
5. If the Universe is everywhere by definition, why do theists ask where it came from? How can there be anywhere for the universe to come from if the Universe is already everywhere by definition?
"Come from" can be linguistic shorthand for temporal origins. If a person is surprised by a frank remark, often they will say, "Where did that come from?" which refers to the thinking that led up to the remark, not the idea that the remark came from Montana or someplace.
6. Does God think? If so, he cannot be all-knowing. Think about it.
If God is all-knowing (which I do not concede), then God does not perform mental processes which rely on changing results in an intermediate "scratch pad" memory to arrive at final results, because he already knows all final results.
7. If a soul is non-physical and the human body is physical, how does a soul stay in our bodies?
The particles of a human body are linked by quantum processes with a "spiritual body" that receives continual updates. Death results in a loss of signal and this true body wakes up elsewhere with a lifetime of memories. Just like in The Matrix.
8. If God is all-knowing, how could he be disappointed in His creation?
Obviously God must avert his gaze from knowing His own future actions, in order to permit himself to have free will. This implies a God that is not all-knowing.
9. If God is unchangeable (immutable), how is there evidence of a God when everything else around us is changing?
Fundamental constants such as the velocity of light in a vacuum do not change.
10. Why did God flood the earth to remove evil? It didn't work! Evil came right back, God should have known that would happen! So why did He bother?
The flood story may have been an embellishment of a local flood, possibly caused by a comet or asteroid striking the Persian Gulf. Also there is evidence of a large local flood in the Black Sea region around 11,000 years ago.
11. Why is it that theists tell me that I have to examine every part of the universe and not find God anywhere in order to say that there is no God, when in fact all I need to do is not find God in one location since he is supposed to be omnipresent?
Its a lot like characters in a video game debating the existence of a computer on which they run...they can look forever and never find it, because they are represented as symbols on that computer, and the computer can never be found or even approached on that same level.
12. If the garden of Eden was a perfect paradise as xians claim, then why did Eve even want to eat the apple? Wouldn't a perfect place provide everything a person would want or desire and thus she would want nothing?
It is called the Forbidden Fruit syndrome. When an authority figure tells you that you oughtn't do something, that very thing becomes an obsession.
13. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death" Does this mean animals sin as well? Or uni-cellular organisms? Do plants sin? Because they all die as well, not just humans. Why does an animal die, if it doesn't know the moral difference between right and wrong?
The wages of sin is spiritual death. In other words, when you disobey the Creatress, you alienate yourself from Her.
14. Why would an all-powerful God become flesh in order to sacrifice himself to himself so that his creation might escape the wrath of himself. Couldn't God, in his infinite wisdom, come up with something a little more efficient?
That way no one could tell God, "You don't know how bad it is down here!" because He came down here and experienced how bad it is.
15. If we are the children of God, and yet we have never seen him, does that make us the bastards of God? Not to mention my mom didn't marry God
Adopted children are not related by blood, yet they are often loved as much as true offspring.
16. After 9/11 a lot of people have been tossing around "God bless America". Why do they keep saying this? From the looks of it God hasn't blessed anything. If God had blessed america, the 9/11 event would've never happened. Theists seem to give the answer of "everything is part of Gods big plan". If everything is part of Gods big plan, why are we after Bin Laden? Wasn't he and other terrorists just carrying out Gods desired plan? So it seems that Bin Laden/ terrorism isnt our enemy , but God.
God used 9-11 to spur America into finally bringing the Middle East out of the 7th Century. Over decades, this will result in far fewer deaths by genocide (ala Saddam) than died in the two towers.
17. Christians say that God is NOT the author of confusion. Can you say, Tower of Babel?
There are always exceptions. For instance, baptism is required for salvation, but the Good Thief on the cross next to Jesus was promised salvation despite the lack of water to baptise him.
18. Christians will tell you that if a baby dies it goes to heaven. Why then are they so against abortion? All the child is being deprived of is the opportunity to go to hell. Either that or God expects unborn fetuses to accept Jesus.
Christians are against abortion because the believe God is the absolute master of life and death.
19. Why does God have emotions (jealousy, anger, sadness, love, etc.) if he is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent? Emotions are reactionary, how can God react to us if he is all-knowing and has a divine plan?
God is said to react to us when he interfaces with us in time, but this is an artifact introduced by our linear time-perspective. Computer programs are sometimes designed to give the illusion that they "react" to us but in reality the human user and the computer program form a single system that proceeds inexorably down one of several courses.
20. If Jesus Christ is allegedly the omnipotent God made flesh.....how is it that he did not inherit Original Sin? Remember, he is allegedly Man and God in union, and if truly man, as well as God, he must have inherited Original Sin.
Jesus was the son of Mary. Mary was "cured" of Original Sin in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. This is the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
21. If God is the father of Jesus, what is Jesus' DNA like? Does God have sperm? If he doesn't, where did Mary get the DNA from that was needed to make Jesus? This would make Mary asexual and Jesus would then be a girl. No Y chromosome.
One leg of Mary's X chromosome in the egg was lopped off to form a Y and the necessary genes were edited by hand. The angel Gabriel could have handled this basic genetic modification.
22. I never got the remote controlled car I prayed for as a child, butif I want to go to hell, will God grant my wish?
Oscar Wilde said when the Gods want to punish us they grant our prayers.
23. In the "Last Days" Jesus is supposed to appear in the clouds. How are the Christians on the opposite end of the world going to see him? Are there going to be millions of Jesus'? What about people that work underground?
The event will be carried live on the net. Everyone will have broadband by then.
24. A true Muslim man is not supposed to do anything that the prophet Muhammad didn't do. If one remembers there was a big debate over whether or not Muslims should eat Mangoes. If this is true why in the Hell were these Islamic Fundamentalists flying airplanes?
Obviously they were not true Muslims. Another sign they were not true Muslims is when they killed civilians. You have to understand that Islam today has been hijacked by a death cult.
25. If the earth was covered by a complete global flood, every living creature killed except those surviving on the ark, why are there many completely unique animal species in Australia that are found no where else indigenously on the earth?
I believe there never was a global flood. The Sumerians had a tale of a large flood on the plains of Mesopotamia, probably caused by a small asteroid striking the Persian Gulf, and the Hebrews adopted this tale and changed the cast of characters.
26. If God is omniscient and "God is love," why would he allow a child to be conceived, knowing that that child would one day reject him and spend eternity burning in a lake of fire? If I were God, I wouldn't allow it; I have more love for humanity than he does.
This is what Calvinists believe. I hold to free will as an axiom.
27. How can Heaven be utter bliss when you know that people you love and care about are burning in Hell?
Maybe your love and care is sufficient to save them from burning in hell. Maybe only real monsters burn in hell, like Adolph Hitler.
28. Revelations takes place on Earth. What if we colonize the moon or Mars or inhabit a self-sustaining space station? Do we escape "judgement"?
Everyone faces a personal "end of the world" because they are mortal. Maybe if you can figure out a way to live forever you can evade judgment.
29. Many people believe in ghosts. My question is, "Why is it that people see only ghosts of people or pets? Why not Neanderthals or better yet dinosaurs? That would be one hell of a ghost to see a Brontosaurus parading downtown.
This sounds like an excellent idea for a Stephen King novel. I don't believe in ghosts. I believe when you die you don't do or know anything because you need a brain to do or know things. That does not rule out the possibility of God creating a version 2.0 of you someday, with a new brain, so you can do and know things again.
30. If God did open the sea so that Moses and the jews could run away from Egypt, why didn't he open the concentration camps gates?
The Jews have been cursed since the day they rejected their Messiah and said "his blood be upon us and our children". Until they convert to Christianity they will continue to suffer the wrath of God.
31. Why are we granted free will if our duty in this life to our God is to do as we are told? We are to follow rules upon threat of punishment. Is that free will?
We have the freedom to either stop or run a red light. It is good citizenship not to abuse our free will, and sometimes it leads to a longer life.
32. Isaiah 40:28 says, "...the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is he weary?" If this is true, why did God rest on the seventh day?
The day of rest was not from fatigue, but as a punctuation mark indicating the end of the heavy-lifting part of creation, sort of like GWB going on that carrier and saying "Mission Accomplished".
33. Everytime I go to a funeral the preacher and guests always say that "God" has called that person to Heaven or they say, "God said it was time to come home", or some such variation. If God is calling these people "home", why are we putting the murderers of these victims in prison? How can we punish a man or woman for doing God's will?
Only when a person dies of natural causes, or an accident, are they said to have been "called home" by God. When they are killed by a person who has usurped the role of God, they are said to have died, "Before their time." Yes, they still go home, but they are sent home early as far as God is concerned.
34. Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?
Adam and Eve were the first primates God spoke to. They were not made from scratch, they had mothers and belly buttons.
35. Traditional Jews utilize Yahweh or (YHWH) as Gods name because his true name is supposedly unpronounceable. My question is, how can it be possible that people are using the Lords name in vain when nobody really knows what his name is?
In the culture of the ancients, knowing a person's name gave you some kind of mystical power over that person, and they could not imagine this situation in the case of the transcendent God, YHWH. But that's just my take on it. YMMV.
36. Why is God predominately called a "he"?
Because every male author of the bible's books was biased. But God is more properly known as an "it".
37. If you are born retarded, then does that mean your "soul" is retarded as well?
Retarded in an intellectual sense may be quite advanced in a sense that is more important to God, such as kindness to animals.
38. Planet Earth, we are reliably informed, is several billion years old. The last dinosaur expired some 70 million years ago. Homo sapiens, the only form of life according to christian doctrine, that is of any interest to their God is not more than 100,000 years old. How in the name of all that is reasonable did the judaeo-christian God occupy himself for all those millions - billions of years until humankind came along to keep him so busy ?
God was attending to civilizations in other galaxies.
39. If man is modeled after "God" does that mean "God" has a penis?
The Creatress most certainly does NOT have a penis.
40. Why can't we wait until we get to Heaven to worship God?
Because the kind of people who didn't bother to worship God would be bored in a heaven where all you do is worship.
41. What is the purpose of prayer? What can a finite being on Earth possibly tell an omnipotent, omniscient deity that he doesn't know already?
Prayer is to put human beings in the spiritual state of acceptance of God's will.
42. If God has a plan for you, and his plan cannot be thwarted, do&nb sp;you really have a free will?
God's plan can be thwarted. Then he goes to plan B.
43. If the "soul" is everything that is you (the essence) then how come when someone gets into an accident, they lose memories, functions and can be paralyzed? Why should "brain damage" matter if this "soul" is so important?
The brain is merely a pre-processor for the True Brain which exists in the spiritual body somewhere else. If the meat brain is damaged, this does not effect the main spiritual Brain.
44. Christians like to talk about what Jesus sacrificed. If Jesus was the all-knowing God, then when he "died" didn't he know he'd be in heaven in less than 3 days to rule? If Jesus is alive and ruling today, what did he sacrifice?
As a human being, Jesus emptied himself of certain knowledge, such as the certainty that his consciousness would survive death. He had to experience the doubts and fear of all human beings. This was the sacrifice.
45. If the omnipotent God wants us to know him, why doesn't everyone know him? God knows that men are sinners, untrustworthy and evil, why does God leave it up to fallible man (clergy..etc) to teach others about his word? Why would he put our eternal souls at risk if he loves us to much?
46. Where is Hell and Heaven? It was believed that heaven was in the sky until modern astronomers showed otherwise.
Heaven and hell are not "places" but they are spiritual states which a soul can be in even during life on earth. If you love God, you are in heaven. If you hate God, you are in hell. This is because after death, you will find nothing but God.
47. If God's design is so great, why do men have nipples?
All fetuses begin as female due to a design economy. When the Y chromosome is expressed the vag closes up and the clit grows to become a penis. Nipples remain undeveloped.
48. How did Adam and Eve know it was wrong to disobey God if they hadn't eaten of the tree of knowledge (of good and evil) yet? You can't blame them if they didn't know.
That was the test, to see if they would refrain from disobeying God based on their internal warning system, instead of knowing clearly that it was wrong.
49. If God has such a tremendous problem with uncircumcised penises, why did he make man with foreskin in the first place?
Uncircumcised penises are the original design, but God told Abraham to lop off the foreskins in order to tell them apart from pagans. Sort of like a secret handshake, but more painful.
50. If God is all-knowing is there anything we can do to shock him? If not, why does he react so often to what we do?
Because it always confuses people when he reacts to stuff BEFORE we do it.
51. If reincarnation is real, why is it that our population is growing? Where would the extra "souls" come from?
Some animals such as good doggies are promoted.
52. Why does the omnipotent, omnipresent God need help from man or angels to spread his word or do acts?
It's more elegant that way. It's sort of like having a search engine find your webpages rather than typing in every URL by yourself.
53. How did Jesus ascend to Heaven in the Flesh when Paul says that flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of Heaven? (1 Cor.15:50)
Flesh is symbolic of a worldview of selfishness. The kingdom of heaven is only "inherited" by putting to death the self and putting on Christ who has already been risen to eternal life.
54. If God wants us to live right and choose "the good," why did he create evil? (Isaiah 45:6,7) Not to mention he already knows which people are not going to choose "the good" so why create those people in the first place? It seems that many people are born to go to Hell.
God created every person with free will, which is a buffer isolating Him from blame for their final destiny.
55. I hear Christians all the time speaking of a war between Heaven and Hell, if this is true does God have limitations of power? Man only conducts wars because of our limitations of power and foresight. God has both all-power and all-knowledge, no reason for war.
This is a mish-mash of gnosticism and Zoastrianism which has entered Protestant Christianity. It is the idea that God and Satan are almost equal in power and duke it out over souls. In actuality, Satan is the loyal messenger of God who delivers all the bad news.
56. The Bible is full of phrases beginning with, "and the lord saw". Didn't he know before hand?
That phrase makes it clear that the Lord was witnessing a particular event. Of course he witnesses all events.
57. The Bible states that in the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. It says nothing about the Universe. Some would say "the Heavens" was space, if so, when did God create Heaven? If "the heavens" is the spiritual Heaven, when did God create Space?
13.7 billion years ago, plus or minus 1%
58. If Christians say they know God exists and that he will work miracles, what do they need faith for? Faith is not knowing.
Faith is the gift of knowing things which are divinely revealed.
59. Brain transplants will eventually be possible, where would the soul be then?
If the soul is a brain phenomenon, then it would go with the brain to the new body.
60. If God really wants us to know him, why doesn't he place the knowledge of him in our minds at birth? The same way many theists believe that God implants our sense of right and wrong in us a right birth.
In the same way a parent doesn't go ahead and finish a jigsaw puzzle for her child. Its better to let the child learn how to do it.
61. If God was Jesus' father (not Joseph), then why is Jesus' family tree traced through Joseph?
In bible times, the lineage of Kings was traced down the male line. Now you are a Jew if your mother is a Jew.
62. Christians say that since we and our universe are an intelligent design, that we must have been created by God. But then God is an intelligent design also, so who created him?
God is that that necessary being which explains the existence of all contingent beings.
63. Why does almost every description of God also equal non-existence? (i.e. incorporeal, immaterial, ineffable, unfathomable, incomprehensible, etc.)
Do not sell non-existence short. In a traffic jam, only the non-existence of a car directly in front of you permits movement.
64. Why can't God appear before everyone at the same time? Everyone in the world would then know he exists and not believe. And please, don't say he already tried that. Surely a God knows exactly what to do to convince a measly human of his existence.
Obviously God is not as interested in proving his existence as atheists are of whistling past the graveyard hoping he's not there.
65. According to the New Testament Matthew 5:17 says "Do not suppose that I have come to abolish the Law and the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to complete. I tell you this: so long as heaven and earth endure, not a letter, not a stroke, will disappear from the Law until all that must happen has Happened." So since Jesus has not returned the "Law" is still in effect, so why aren't we still burning witches, stoning adulterers and disobedient children, killing homosexuals, ostracizing people that work on the Sabbath (nurses, doctors etc.), flinging blood onto the horns of the alter, pulling off the heads of small birds, and don't forget human sacrifice to God (Leviticus 27 P.28 )?
"All that must happen" refers to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. At that point the ceremonial aspects of the law were abrogated.
66. If believers can accept that a God has always been here. Why can't they accept an equally plausible argument that the non-conscious Universe has always been here in some form?
Because if there is a finite, non-zero rate of increase of entropy, then an eternal universe would have reached heat-death (maximum entropy) in the remote past. We observe that there is still a goodly store of low entropy.
67. If the story of Noah's ark is true. What did Noah do with all the feces? There wasn't even adequate ventilation. Hell, what did the meat-eating animals eat? And where were the dinosaurs and Unicorns in all this?
The Noah story was fiction, like Jonah and the whale, or like Samson.
68. What loving God accepts sacrifices of his own creations? especially his son?
Sacrifices mean that a person in fact recognizes that all things belong solely to God.
69. Was Jesus God in human form? If so was God saving us from himself. Kinda selfish eh? That's what the Christians unknowingly proclaim when they acknowledge that Jesus is God.
Salvation as proclaimed by fundies amounts to a promise by God not to torture you forever.
70. Many Christians claim that man can't judge God's actions as evil because he has a divine plan and is God. This being the case, then it would stand to reason that one cannot judge whether God is good either. Wouldn't God be ammoral? It appears that morality is a subjective concept that varies from culture to culture. Therefore, how we judge God either way?
The bible says God creates good and evil. However, the evil he creates is often in service of a greater good. For instance, a tsunami is evil, but the plate tectonics that cause it results in land being pushed up faster than erosion can wear it down, and that means the Earth does not become a swamp planet like Dagobah.
71. Why would a God make non-believers and punish them for being what he made them to be?
God doesn't punish non-believers, in fact, he grants them what they choose, which is to stay the hell away from God.
72. What is God's plan? The omniscient, omnipotent God doesn't need plans. Plans are a limitation of power. We make plans because we are not all-knowing nor all-powerful. In order for God to have a plan, or design, is to make him as humanistic as you or I. Limited.
God looked down at the end of time, saw how the universe was going to turn out, and called that his plan.
73. Many people believe there is a soul. If you can supposedly see, smell, taste, touch and hear without a body then why do you have one? Wouldn't a body be a waste? Why aren't we just "souls" floating around in the first place?
Living on a planet can only be fully enjoyed when a soul is united with a body. For instance, souls cannot experience the challenge of fording a river, they just float over it.
74. How could the all-merciful/loving God watch billions of his children burn over and over again for eternity?
"Over and over again" is a phrase which is operable in linear time. Eternity is a single all-encompassing "now" moment.
75. Before reading and writing were invented (5000BC), on what basis did God use to judge the people who died before the Hebrew and Greek text (BIBLE) were written?
If a composer creates a large body of work, he is perfectly capable of judging which pieces are good and which ones stink before he ever sits down to write a treatise on music theory.
76. How could souls burn? Aren't souls non-physical entities? I've heard of spiritual burns before. Sheesh, God sure goes through a lot of effort just to torture the children he loves. How can one hold to the barbaric belief that something has to DIE in order to appease a God for a bad deed?
There is no hellfire. Souls which are "in hell" hate God, and since God is omnipresent, there is no place they can go to get away from the One they hate. This miserable state is represented as burning torment in bible imagery.
78. Christians always say that everything is part of Gods big plan. If everything is already planned out by God, what difference does it make if they pray or not?
Prayer is to prepare human beings for God's will.
79. Why does SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) occur? Why would God allow a baby to live for such a short period of time? Why not just let them not be born in the first place?
SIDS occurs because parents lay their babies face down and they end up suffocating on their own mattress. Free will isolates God from blame for SIDS.
80. Why didn't God forbid Adam & Eve to eat from the other magic tree?
It was a test. If God forbade Adam and Eve to pull up shoots of grass and suck on the roots, they would have done that instead.
81. Of course these are the End Times. Isn't Jerusalem becoming of interest to the entire world?
Jerusalem is a holy city for three Abrahamic religions. It has always been of interest.
82. But isn't the US Currency falling?
This is more of a sign that Americans like to buy imported oil and finished goods. Since we pay for them in dollars, we are shipping a lot of dollars overseas. There is more supply for greenbacks than demand.
83. But isn't the European Union gaining strength?
Sure. So what was the economic objection to "socialized medicine" again?
84. But isn't Russia becoming defiant and returning to a Cold War stance?
Why must a sovereign nation be compliant to the United States?
85. But isn't Apostate Christianity running rampant?
One person's apostasy is another person's orthodoxy.
86. What about the One World religious movements gaining momentum?
Christ said he would have one flock and one shepherd.
87. What about the natural disasters increasing in record numbers?
Please provide evidence that the frequency of natural disasters are spiking.
88. What about the apathy in the Church?
There is no apathy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
89. What about the gay rights movement worldwide?
Next thing you know, they'll want to ride in the front of the bus or drink from our water fountains.
90. What about all the Celestial signs increasing?
Name one recent celestial sign.
91. What about crime rising in record numbers?
If crime is a constant percentage by population, and if population rises, then crime rises too. A rising tide lifts all boats.
92. What about China’s immense military power (200,000,000)?
China only has 2,250,000 active troops.
93. What about the fact that love for others is growing colder?
And meanwhile we try to pass amendments to the Constitution to make sure same-sex couples who do have warm love for each other can't get married.