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Know Your Logical Fallacies 20 Jul 2008

Posted by Jessa in Religion, Science.
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Today’s lesson: post hoc ergo propter hoc

Post hoc ergo propter hoc (translation: “after this, therefore because of this”), often shortened to just “post hoc“, is an attempt to apply a cause and effect relationship to two events that happen in temporal succession.  This fallacy is generally expressed as:

X happened, then Y happened.
Therefore, X caused Y (or Y was caused by X)

Here’s a example, straight from my inbox:

DID YOU KNOW THESE FACTS?
I SURE DIDNT TILL NOW
Death is certain but the Bible speaks about untimely death!
Make a personal reflection about this…..
Very interesting, read until the end…..

It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7):
‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sow,that shall he also reap.

Here are some men and women who mocked God :

John Lennon (Singer):
Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine, he said: ‘Christianity will end, it will disappear. I do not have to argue about that. I am certain. Jesus was ok, but his subjects were too simple, today we are more famous than Him’ (1966).

Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.

Tancredo Neves (President of Brazil ):
During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency.

Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, then he died.

Cazuza (Bi-sexual Brazilian composer, singer and poet):
During A show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ),while smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said:’God, that’s for you.’

He died at the age of 32 of LUNG CANCER in a horrible manner.

The man who built the Titanic
After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be. With an ironic tone he said: ‘Not even God can sink it’

The result: I think you all know what happened to the Titanic

Marilyn Monroe (Actress)
She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show. He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her. After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said: ‘I don’t need your Jesus’.

A week later, she was found dead in her apartment

Bon Scott (Singer)
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang: ‘Don’t stop me; I’m going down all the way, down the highway to hell’.

On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead, he had been choked by his own vomit.

Campinas (IN 2005)
In Campinas , Brazil a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend….. The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car: ‘My Daughter, Go With God And May He Protect You.’ She responded: ‘Only If He (God) Travels In The Trunk, Cause Inside Here…..It’s Already Full ‘

Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died, the car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact. The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was broken

Christine Hewitt (Jamaican Journalist and entertainer)
said the Bible (Word of God) was the worst book ever written.

In June 2006 she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle.

Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus.

Many have died, but only Jesus died and rose again, and he is still alive.

——SNIP——–

See the fallacy?  These people mocked God (X happened), then they died untimely deaths (Y happened).  Therefore, they died untimely deaths because they mocked God (Y was caused by X).

Although the fallacy is pretty easy to spot in this example, sometimes it’s more difficult to see.   A good first step to try to determine if you’ve encountered a post hoc argument is to turn the argument around to see if it holds true.  In this case, the reverse would be:

“You can prevent dying an untimely death by not mocking God.”

Clearly, this doesn’t make sense.  Plenty of people who have died untimely deaths did not mock God.  The connection between the two events has not been established, so it’s a post hoc argument.

It is important to note that not all links between earlier and later events fall into the post hoc fallacy category.  Many scientific hypotheses start out as post hoc ideas.  But the causal relationships outlined in a hypothesis are then supported (or disproven) by evidence from properly-conducted experiments.  If it hasn’t been confirmed by evidence, proceed with skepticism.

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Comments»

1. Geis - 20 Jul 2008

Also, I’ve been mocking God for years and have not paid a high price for my supposed sin. In fact, I’ll do it again. Right here and now, I challenge God, any god, all gods, to meet me outside right now (or, at least in a few minutes so that I can finish checking my RSS blog feeds) to settle things once and for all. Pistols at 20 paces. Swords. Fisticuffs. Harsh words. Lightening called from the sky. Whatever. Bring it on, God. Now’s your chance to whoop my blasphemous ass. Show all us atheists that you really do exist. Whimp. I’m calling you out.

2. Geis - 20 Jul 2008

Well, I sat out on the porch for a while. Drank a can of soda. Read a few chapters of Jules Verne. Nothing untoward happened. Didn’t even rain. I guess no one is listening.

3. omcdurham - 21 Jul 2008

Right now, I’m enjoying a beer at the home of my girlfriend. We aren’t married, we engage in silly, porn movie-style sex, and I left organized religion when I learned that not all Christians are created equal.
God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten plagues of disease, blight, mayhem, murder, and chaos.
Well, God, can you take a minute to assuage the pleas of the believers?
I’m not yet an atheist, but who knows what will happen next? Maybe the wrath of God will descend upon us and kill us all, but I won’t hold my breath.
Both of my parents have had cancer, and both came through OK. But why should they have received this special present from God, malignancy, when both led clean lives and were active members in church?
I wonder why murderers and thieves don’t get cancer, or hives,or rabid camel fleas. I break most Commandments daily, except for killing and adultery, but I’m still alright. My girlfriend is still alright. So why should Osama Bin Laden not be dead on account of him killing people in the name of God (Allah)?
Let’s face it, more people have died in the fight to force God upon people than for any other reason. Why didn’t God stop the killing? It broke a Commandment. Yet those people were cannonized as having spread the Word of God. This logic defies logic. Crusaders rule!
God, if you’re listening now, We, as a people, are so messed up that You need to send another flood. We can’t handle life according to Your rules.

4. dailystruggles - 11 Aug 2008

The Bible passage refers to judgment, not quick action here on earth. We all know in our hearts that there is a god of some sort, whether we know God is a different story. The invisible qualities of life and creation make us aware of this, and we are all held accountable. There is no such thing as a atheist, at least beyond a description, like describing a unicorn. It doesn’t make it a real thing.
I am sorry to read comments about bad church experiences, and whether or not we are created equal. Try to find a new church, one where people don’t hurt so much. They are out there.
You guys know your own life, your own satisfaction, and make your own decisions. Life here isn’t fair, and was never meant to be fair. It was meant to be a place where we learn and grow, and that’s about the extent of it. Many have suffered their entire life while doing all God asked of them, that was their lot. There’s really only one thing that needs to be learned. The rules are simple, love God and love your neighbor. If it were easy, what would be the point? What have you ever achieved in your life that was worthwhile that was easy? Do you suppose it is easy to love you guys? To really love anyone? No more floods, all that is left to be sent is His Son. Read Luke 16:19-32 if you want to know a bit about what hell will be like. Good luck with each day, I truly hope each of you finds peace.

5. GingerknitsUK - 11 Aug 2008

In response to dailystruggles:

There is no such thing as a god, at least beyond a description, like describing a unicorn. It doesn’t make it a real thing.

Atheists exist. I am one. If you want to believe in a God, fine by me. I have a friend who believes in fairies and unicorns. Fine by me too.

My take on life is this.This is the only life we get, nothing happens after we die, no heaven, no hell, just nothing, we cease to exist. Our memories and actions live on so yes, I agree, love your neighbour, live the best life you can, try and improve the world and find peace.

See, we came to the same place with and without a god.

6. k2sc1 - 11 Aug 2008

dailystruggles.

There is no heaven. There is no hell. There are no unicorns. There is no God. These are all creations of the human imagination. The bible was written by humans. I’m quite disturbed by what they came up for Hell, but it was done to keep fellow humans, particularly women, in line. To keep people too scared of the consequences to defy the church, the crown, and their male relatives. It was done in a time of extreme superstition and paranoia.

You are free to believe what you want, but please don’t assume that it needs to be believed by all of humanity, and especially please don’t belittle us atheists by saying we don’t exist. We do.

P.S. I kind of wish there were unicorns. I thought they actually existed until I was 6 or 7, and was disappointed when they didn’t.

7. Teanah - 11 Aug 2008

dailystruggles

You should be careful reading these sorts of blogs. You might catch the Atheism.

Sorry to be a smarty pants. I truly hope that you will embrace logic and the basic knowledge of right and wrong that all humans possess. It is a truly wonderful thing when you stop letting a centuries old novel dictate your choices.

8. the Procrastinatrix - 11 Aug 2008

dailystruggles said:
“We all know in our hearts that there is a god of some sort,…”

There is NO god in my heart. There is only me in my heart. Even if your god turned out to exist, I wouldn’t want him in my heart. My heart doesn’t have room for all the lies and jealousy and vengeance and judgment. My heart only has room for loving my neighbor and taking care of the people I can reach. My real live Dad taught me that, not your silly god.

Oh and my heart has room for Unicorns. 🙂

9. artcoffeewords - 12 Aug 2008

dailystruggles-

You assume too much about other people. Just because you are personally too weak to stand without the crutch of religion does not mean that everyone else share your faults. I am an atheist. I cannot even properly address you statement that “We all know in our hearts that there is a god of some sort”. The entire concept of belief in a deity is foreign to my being. All of my accomplishments and my faults are my own. There is so much to learn and experience as humans living in a tangible universe it is sad that you would limit yourself to the teachings of one book and your one shallow rule. By your own statement we are meant to learn and grow, but then you contradict yourself by saying there is only one lesson to learn. It is time for humanity to grow beyond the stranglehold of primitive religious thought and oppressive minds like yourself.

10. ray - 12 Aug 2008

dailystruggle:

I don’t exist? Hmmmm… interesting. Tell that to all my creditors and utility bill collectors and my landlord! LOL

Seriously, though, atheists do in fact exist. There are millions of people who do not have any sort of theism.

Your handle describes my life as a Christian: it was a daily struggle to figure out what I was “supposed” to do, what I was supposed to believe, and how the heck I was supposed to live up to all of that. It was a burden, a struggle, and definitely unnecessary hardship.

Once I looked under god’s skirts and realized there’s nobody and nothing under there, the struggle ended. I am definitely real and I do exist, and I have many people who can vouch for my existence. There is nobody who can honestly vouch for the existence of god and provide tangible proof. It’s all circumstantial speculation, and that’s just not good enough.

11. dailystruggles - 12 Aug 2008

What’s great about God is that He gives each of us the right to make our own decisions. There is a natural tendency to see things from only our perspective, and our brain tends to think we are the center of things. I impose nothing on any of you, nor infer anything about any of you, make no assumptions about you, did not define Christian life, nor do I rely on “religion.” I simply state what I know to be true, and like you, I have to make this choice. Why you do what you do is not known to me. But if you will mock God, you will mock anyone. As to atheists, it isn’t that they don’t exist, but that their claim is not valid. I don’t use the word liar, as a lie involves intent, but Romans 1:20 tells me you are wrong. Someone can tell us they are an atheist, but God knows their heart and will hold them accountable. But it certainly takes us back to the original discussion point, Galatians 6:7, that each of us will reap what we sow. You can read all you want into what I said, add your own interpretations, rationalize to your hearts content, and attack me as a person. It doesn’t mean I said it, or meant that, it only speaks of you. As to what place we will all end up at, each of us will soon find out. You haven’t arrived anywhere yet. Words here, or actions now, do not prove us right or wrong. Only one man has ever died and come back to life, and this was witnessed by many who devoted their entire lives to sharing this (in that “book” several of you mentioned). Those men that suffered and were tortured and yet none of which ever denied Christ. So if you want to pretend He never existed, and that these men were wrong, that is your choice. But if you expect me to believe you, instead of them, I think that choice is pretty easy. Based on my beliefs, I am called to share this truth with you, which I have done, twice now, so I am done. Again, good luck in your daily walk, and I hope you are ready when you meet Christ face to face, which we will all do some day.

12. dailystruggles - 12 Aug 2008

Change “come back to life” to mean resurrection, as Christ did bring several people back to life…

13. Sunshineandrage - 12 Aug 2008

I’d leave a rebuttal to dailystruggles’ posts, but apparently I don’t exist….

14. crden - 12 Aug 2008

dailystruggles wrote: “There is a natural tendency to see things from only our perspective, and our brain tends to think we are the center of things.”

Actually, part of the reason I have trouble with the idea of a deity watching out for each of us is because we’re just *not* that important. There’s no reason to believe we are. The universe is mind-bogglingly huge and pretty unimaginably old. As far as we can tell, we’re nowhere near the center of it. The human species is a very, very recent blip in the Earth’s history. I don’t see any good reason to believe that when the human species dies out (as it eventually will, one way or another), that it’ll be particularly notable on a universe-sized scale. In the face of this, I don’t see how believing that some all-powerful being created all this, that we’re made in its image, and that it’s interested in you personally comes off as humility. Maybe I’m odd that way.

So yes, people do have a tough time seeing from outside their own perspective. That, I feel, is part of why we make up the sort of stories we do to explain why we’re here. It brings it down to more familiar sorts of ideas, ones we can relate to more easily in some ways. It’s easier to imagine dying and being back with our loved ones than not existing as an entity at all any more, isn’t it? We like to think the bad guys will get their due after they die. All this stuff is easier, in a lot of ways, for our brains to comprehend than the alternative.

15. Sherry W - 13 Aug 2008

God needs to make people suffer horribly to ‘learn lessons’ like not be a jerk to other people? Life is not supposed to be easy? What the hell kind of a sadist bastard is this Christian god?

My Dad is a lifelong Christian, a great person who is always generous to others and kind to strangers. Why did Jeebus choose to smite him with ALS to ‘learn lessons’ he had down pat?

There are only a few logical answers here:
1) There is no god and sometimes bad stuff just happens to nice people. Genetics, accidents, illness, etc.

2) God exists but is too busy playing Grand Theft Auto with Bezelbub to listen to the prayers. Several churches worth of folks asking for mercy for my Dad, who is dying slowly every day of suffocation.

3) God gets his jollies by making nice people suffer for no good reason. Maybe the Second Coming was really one of our historical dictators?

4) God is not omnipotent. Which leads me back to #1

16. dailystruggles - 18 Aug 2008

To Sherry W: I am sorry to hear about your suffering. It wasn’t your father that suffered (or is suffering), but those around him. No amount of physical suffering can change our faith once we know Christ, and in this there is enough comfort to get us through anything. A lifetime without any physical pain yet without knowing Christ is far more painful experience. “Why” is a question often answered differently for each of us. The will of God is beyond our comprehension, and what we think of as so important in this lifetime is extremely insignificant. All of those people praying for your father trust in God more than their personal desires, as that is the essence of faith. I will say a prayer for your father. But, again, please read Luke 16:19-31, where we are told even someone coming back from the dead won’t change us. God gave you everything you need to find the answer, and if you choose to pursue something else that is okay, but don’t blame God. He is patient, and will wait until you are ready.

17. omcdurham - 19 Aug 2008

Dear Daily Struggles:
You may have read one of my comments, and might be displeased over my might-be-atheism. I respect your beliefs, and I respect anyone who stands up for their beliefs. But, I digress.
You talk of what “you know to be true.” How do you know? Faith is based upon believing things that are unknown or unproved, or unprovable. I don’t choose to mock god, I choose to question whether or not god really cares. More people have been murdered in the name of god than for any other reason. Ask the Muslims why they kill. Ask the Crusaders why they kill. Ask why the zealots of any religion kill in the name of god. Ask yourself. Why did he Spanish Inquisition happen? To eliminate all who did not adhere to the forced beliefs thrust upon the “heathens” by those brainwashed by “The Church.” Killing in the name of….
If god so loved the world, why did he kill us all. If incest is a sin, why did Noah listen to god and take along only his family, who would then repopulate the earth. Who was Cain’s wife, for that matter? Didn’t Adam and Eve bear all male kids? Who did they mate with? Ask Darwin, I guess.
Faith means that one believes for the sake of believing. In what? This is a show-me world. So, show me.

18. dailystruggles - 20 Aug 2008

To omcdurham: Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
I am not displeased over anything, your decision is yours. Let’s not confuse killing with murder either, a common error in reading the commandments. But we are under a new covenant.
Let’s also not make the mistake of taking the actions of people and applying them to God. People make mistakes, even those trying to follow God. If you place your fate upon what you see in others, or see others doing, that is sure to lead to problems.
But I have already given you the answers you seek. Again, in Luke it tells us that even someone returning from the dead will not convince us. So where does the answer lie? Do you want it to be some kind of “poof” now I believe? I certainly can’t do that, only God. Seek Him earnestly and you will find your answers, and maybe even your poof. But if it is an argument you seek, or to pick apart the Bible with questions men cannot answer, I won’t indulge that in this context. I can tell you one other fact though, and I hope it helps:
Every man and woman will know, when that day of judgment comes, exactly what they have done and what they deserve, and they will not question it. I care enough about you to say this to you.

19. omcdurham - 21 Aug 2008

I enjoy your point of view, Struggles. My mind just races to find answers to questions that make me ask why “God” seems like such a fantasy.
The Bible was written by humans, and I’m pretty sure god didn’t host a press conference, saying, “write this down, This what I did, and this is how you got here.” The Bible was written by Jews, who don’t believe in Christ, and they think the world is only roughly 6000 years old. Science proves otherwise. How does one explain fossils, skeletons, and the many other phenomena associated with Darwin’s ideas?
Jesus was a Jew, and Christianity didn’t begin in earnest until he was dead for over 300 years.
I’m sorry, I’m ranting, but I feel as though the science of nature is lost in your explanations.
The Bible can, and will, be picked apart, and I will be one to ask questions about things that don’t make sense. It’s all about what one believes, whether spoonfed from birth, or figuring it out for oneself.
Just answer this for me…If you can’t defend the Bible’s explanation of the events it depicts, then where does your faith come from?

20. dailystruggles - 21 Aug 2008

To omcdurham: This is the reason I did not wan’t to discuss things in this context, because it gives you the opportunity to distort things, and because it appears you are here to argue, not find the truth. A verbal forum could help tremendously, but even then only depending on your intent. Unless you believe that God can do anything, you cannot comprehend the answers to some of the questions you ask. Some men were revealed pieces of God’s majesty and were ill for days, overwhelmed by even part of the concept. The Jewish writing in the Bible was written by Jews who believed Christ to be the Messiah (Jews believe in Christ, since we know He existed, just some don’t believe him to be the Messiah).
You speak of science explaining things, yet it does not explain creation. Every explanation begins with things already existing and then exploding or evolving into other things. But no where does science explain how the first sign of life, or the first hand full of dirt, was created. Prove it, right? Science is the void many cling to so that they can claim a knowledge of things they cannot explain. Your measure of time is also in error. Science is our way of showing we are so smart we can explain anything. Quite inadequate when we consider disease, isn’t it? Yet this is where you look for answers?
I never said I couldn’t defend the events of the Bible. This is a twisting of words and distortion of facts. This is what Satan, the father of lies, uses to promote his kingdom, being the father of lies.
You say you don’t mock God, when you clearly did above. This page began with an argument regarding “these things happened, then this happened, therefore…” yet you use the same invalid argument to attempt to make a point. The point of this page was correct, in that the conclusion was invalid based on the events, but the email was a misapplication of the meaning the scripture. As people we are very limited in what we comprehend, even in our daily lives. We make so many mistakes, constantly. I know I have made mistakes here. Yet somehow you expect me to explain things which are beyond my comprehension to you, and which even if I could explain would be beyond your comprehension?
Asking questions about things that don’t make sense is quite different than asking questions about things we cannot comprehend. I understand the desire to think we can grasp any concept, it is our nature to see things from our own perspective and believe we are the center of things, but God’s plan is far too complex for us to comprehend. And trusting in Him is where faith comes from. You blame God for cancer, while I believe it is a product of our lifestyles and what modern man has done to the earth (and, according to an Italian oncologist, cancer is a fungus and treatable with sodium bicarbonate, something he claims was revealed to him through prayer). The disease, the hatred, the murder, and on and on, these are products of man, not God. Would you rather be like a pet, or a puppet, and not have the knowledge that you have? Continue in the garden of Eden without ever knowing what evil is? With that knowledge come hard choices, and God did choose to give us those choices, but we still have the choice. I would rather live this difficult life (difficult because of people, not God), than go through each day like someone’s pet. But with God in each day I can live with the difficulties, no longer a slave to sin but a slave to righteousness. This assumes you are able to allow yourself to admit there is a god, or God, otherwise we can just eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
As to spoonfed from birth, I went 35 years before coming to know the Bible as truth and Christ as my savior, this some 15 years ago. I read the Bible many times before this without understanding what it meant, so I understand this frustration. I responded to Sherry because I felt her pain, but as I said, I do not believe this a proper forum to keep answering your questions, moreso when I don’t think it is answers that you seek. And if you truly seek answers, you know where they lie, and it isn’t here asking me, so please look there and don’t expect further discussion with me here.

21. omcdurham - 22 Aug 2008

Hey there Struggles:
I guess we can’t have a discussion here because you’re either:
winded; tired of defending your faith with hot air and maybes, or that you’re right and I’m wrong.
I don’t disagree that Man created all the mayhem, murder, and bad stuff we all go through. We were given the right to choose the difference between right and wrong, according to the book of Genesis. But god ALLOWED all the killing and suffering, in his name, that was known as the crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, not to mention the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues, and so on. So benevolent is he. Thou shalt not kill, right? Commandment?
Is the Bible a book of facts, or just a bunch of paraphrases based on heresay?
Did god dictate his Old Testament to a press secretary, who then diseminated the info to the writers, or was he actually involved in the concept of a Bible?
God didn’t create the sun until the fourth day, but there was light on the first day? Physically impossible, but blind faith will warp you to believe otherwise. Have you seen the movie “Inherit the Wind”? It’s about the Scopes Monkey situation, where a science teacher was fired, and then prosecuted for teaching the theory of evolution as expressed by Charles Darwin. Imagine that biology can shed some light on how we came to be (the light didn’t come til day 4).
And, about your Italian oncologist who treats cancer with baking soda, he must be a total moron. That stuff, mixed with water, can clean a car battery terminal, but the well respected doctors at the Henry Ford Hospital (top 10 for oncology in the country) that treated both of my parents know that cancer is a cellular mutation, not a mushroom. Mushrooms grow in cow poop, not inside people. Duh!

22. dailystruggles - 22 Aug 2008

Your comments are so far from the truth, and reality, and I appreciate you making them and clearly showing why discussions with you in this context aren’t appropriate.
Do your attacks on me, and on the Bible, and on God, do these make you feel better now? Do you feel superior? Have you sufficiently proved to all of us that you know more than us, and God? Have you made the world a little better?
To me you are like the kid who shows up to give his book report, but hasn’t read the book, or who couldn’t understand it. Very sad indeed, especially considering the importance of book.
But rather than argue about who is right, let’s take a serious look at this. If you are right, we are all destined for destruction, so who cares? If I am right, you are headed for eternal suffering. Isn’t it worth spending the time to find the truth, instead of just spitting out your own thoughts and concepts?
I had such a hard time accepting God, because I have loved ones that I felt were good and didn’t accept Christ, and I didn’t think it was right that God would punish them. Punish them for not knowing something which only God could allow them to know, and why didn’t He? But I finally had to let go of what I wanted, and what I thought was fair, and trust that God would be just. And that requires faith, and is a difficult step.
I am not winded, but why do I want to keep having you attack and ridicule me and my faith? I have tried very hard to be civil, and not to sound like ‘I am right’ or sound pompous, but I have to say that your comments are ignorant. You can’t even get basic facts straight, and want me to explain step by step so you can turn around and take this off into a multitude of bizarre arguments. Sorry, but I don’t think fueling your personal efforts to glorify yourself are productive.
But my fault too, I am so busy and with spending all this extra time here, I never even prayed for you. We all get so busy, it is part of life’s trappings. But I will pray for you now, each of you reading this, that you will seek God and He will reveal Himself to you. God bless.
Bye!

23. omcdurham - 22 Aug 2008

Dear Struggles:
I’m not attacking you personally, so just get over yourself. All I’m trying to get across is that people have differing opinions about who we are and how we got here. I’m not trying to glorify myself, and I appreciate that you want to pray for me. Just don’t tell me I don’t know what the basic facts are when your basic facts are based on faith, which is speculative, and not biological or historical.
It took me several years to lose my faith, and maybe it was because I went to the right church. I was taught many years ago that all people were equal in the eyes of god, but a certain denomination (I won’t mention which one) taught me otherwise. Church politics that are 500 years out of date are still in place to this day, and I swore off all organized religion on that day. Christ never taught segregation based on political doctrine, but this particular church regarded me as a proverbial pariah because I wasn’t one of their flock. I grew up as an Episcopalian, and my church welcomed anybody who was baptized to receive the holy sacraments of communion. This other church would not recognize me as a baptized Christian, regardless of denomination, and thus denied me the opportunity to receive the Holy sacraments, the Body and Blood of Christ.
At the time, I was heartbroken.I also lost a relationship with a woman who, at the time, was me reason for being. She couldn’t understand why I felt her church was bogus. She dumped me, and I dumped organized religion at that moment.
Now, don’t get me wrong, but over the years since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking, and asking questions. I’ve also done a lot of reading. I’ve been able to form my own opinions about the existence of god, his “works”, and the hypocrisy that is perpetuated in his name. I guess it also helps that I try to think logically.
I am not an official atheist, but I must admit that I am leaning in that direction. God has not proven to me that he deserves to be worshiped. Perhaps god doesn’t have to prove anything, but it sure would make a lot of people happy if he would just say hi once in a while.
Anyway, my ignorant ass is going to say nite-nite to you, you’ve grown tired of my rants. And I’ve grown tired of having to prove to you that a healthy argument can stir the mind, and you shouldn’t get so stressed about other’s opinions. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Hope your struggles work out for you.
If you still hate me, don’t respond. If you enjoy a good argument, then, by all means, hammer away. After all, aren’t blogs just a way of expressing oneself?

24. dailystruggles - 29 Aug 2008

Dear ham: I am sorry for the sad experiences you had, and the pain. I have had a great deal of pain through church life.
What is frustrating with you is not the arguing, but the method and comments and narrow response. You make statements about Christianity, not starting in earnest for 300 years (virtually every new testament book shows this is wrong), and about light (you should read Revelation 21:23: The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp), and many other comments (all male children, etc.). Why do you limit God? Why do you expect that if every detail wasn’t explained to you in a way you could understand, that it isn’t true? Who cares about time, and genetics, and all these trivial details in comparison to what we are told? I could explain my beliefs to you, but they are just my explanations, bottom line is trust. It all becomes part of the parable of life, and some were not meant to understand it (Romans 9:22). I’m not saying this is you, but your comments show that you would rather accept how you feel and perceive things to be. And it’s hard to give up the flesh, so easy to argue in support of it. Your original comments show how much you enjoy a life of sin, and you appear to boast about it.
And what of your comment of almost being an atheist? Your argument is that you don’t like who God is, not that He doesn’t exist. I already answered your question and proved that God exists, even before you asked it (Romans 1:20). If you get into Calvinism, one can’t fall away and lose faith. Therefore one would argue that you never lost your faith, you never found it. And to ‘drop’ your faith over a woman would seem to support this. I am not saying this to be mean, but to make a point. God isn’t about a church, or even so called religion, but about a personal relationship between yourself and God. End of story. When we die, the church isn’t going to be standing next to us, or a woman, or anyone, it will be just us before God, before Christ. And God does say hi to you all the time, you just don’t recognize Him or hear him.
Did you ever read the passage in Matthew 21:22 that says “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” and wonder why you didn’t win the lottery when you prayed for it? Or why that special someone left you after you prayed? Or someone was sick and you prayed yet they still died? Or someone died and you could not raise them? It’s a conditional statement. If you believe. Until you can submit to God, and comprehend that if the choices were left to us all we would do is make mistakes, you won’t ever really believe. So trust in God, and in His choices, is what belief is all about. So if you believe, you may still ask for things, but true belief is in just being content that God’s will be done. This simple passage seems very clear, yet requires deep thinking to recognize that left to our own devices we would never progress or learn anything.
The Bible is extremely complex. Almost every time I read it new meanings and concepts appear, and it is beyond fascinating, it is alive. That poor guy that complained about reading a book thousands of years old is truly missing out by not giving it a try (and praying from his heart for understanding while reading it). How many times does the Bible mention God standing next to folks and talking to them? I don’t want to mess with people by throwing out complex passages, but there are some I want to mention (I have already mentioned some very intense ones above):
Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualitities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Romans 5:3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; character, hope.
Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
2 Corinthians 1:5-7 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
1 Cor 4:7 For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Romans 3:3-4 What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.”

Our existence here isn’t about indulging in the flesh, but in overcoming our desires to indulge. I asked you before if you would rather be a puppet, or pet, and received no response. But you took your suffering and kept it, and used it against yourself and as an argument to pursue things you knew were wrong. Your words and descriptions reveal a lot about yourself and your feelings, as much as you may want to paint a different picture. But it’s a tough circumstance, kind of like trying to get a job that requires experience when you have none, but the reality of it all is that somehow folks do this all the time, and find ways to acquire the experience.
When you quit putting down the Bible, and acting as though you can decide how God should be, hopefully you will open your heart up to a relationship with Christ. Not one of just going to church, reading the Bible, or going through the motions, but a real desire to live your life like Christ. To feel pain every day when you fail, and to pick yourself up again and try again. To learn from suffering, and be able to comfort those you love by understanding why we suffer. It’s far too much to explain, and certainly I have failed miserably, but I speak again because you shared a bit of your heart, and I really do care about you. I don’t sense hate or ignorance (although your comments about the Bible were ignorant), but more a desire to find a way out. A way out of the daily pain in knowing we exhausted our flesh in every way possible and yet no joy comes of it. Surely a good joke for you to make there, but true.
And as to that church, pray for them. God forgive them for hurting you, and for driving you and probably many others away from a relationship with Christ. There is no church where you won’t find pain and hurt, because people will go there, and we are all basically idiots. The difference is in the idiots that can see the harm and will work toward fixing it and stopping it in the future.
But, I reiterate, I am not the answer or answer man, and I can’t help you refute all those books and ideas you have sucked into your mind. If you are logical (which of us doesn’t think we are), that won’t help. If you are in earnest, like those early Christians, then open up your heart and seek in earnest. I believe it is God’s will that He will reveal Himself to you, and you will find the answers you seek.

25. Sean - 08 Sep 2008

Shorter Dailystruggles:

“Everything I believe is the truth, I’m only trying to help you…by acting like a moron.”

Bravo…

26. dailystruggles - 11 Sep 2008

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Matthew 5:11

27. omcdurham - 12 Sep 2008

Struggles, you’ve come back. And your latest comment didn’t involve me. I guess I’m not so bad after all.
One question, then I’ll stop pestering you until you want to argue again.
Who was Cain’s wife?

28. dailystruggles - 12 Sep 2008

Hey Ham: God says to say “hi” to you again, and to let you know how much He loves you. As to your inquiry, I am not one to answer difficult theology questions, even as a speculation, but I will try. First of all, I don’t see any info as to the age of Cain when he murdered Abel (the Bible tells us that in early times men could live almost a 1,000 years). Cain responds to God that his judgment is too harsh, and that he is afraid that whoever finds him will kill him (Genesis 4:13-14). Unless Cain refers to Adam or Eve, or another sibling, then obviously others exist, and Cain was aware of it and feared them. We cannot limit God (perhaps in our mind, but not in reality), and should not think that because we do not understand or have an explanation, that something isn’t true (like Seen). We are not told how or when, but other people were created or born, one of them being Cain’s wife. I’m not going to guess as to how their mind set was back then, or pass judgment on creation, however it occurred (incest, etc). I know our bodies were much purer then, as was the earth, before we spent all this time screwing things up (although I imagine our processed foods taste much better, who cares if they make us fat, cause diseases, and take years off our lives). And yes, same scenario for Noah and following offspring, although another option may have come into play. God grew weary of men and limited their days. The Bible is very clear as to what men are, both before and after the flood, that “every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” Genesis 8:21a and see Genesis 6:5.
When Christ came He spoke in parables. I believe that the Bible was written as a matter of faith. I believe holes are left with intent, so that only those with eyes and ears would see the truth. Romans 11:8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.” Even though over 500 people saw Christ return after he was killed, many even in that day refused to believe those eye witnesses, so how much more difficult is faith now? Are we at an advantage with all the knowledge we have in the Bible? It appears even Christ’s brother James didn’t believe until Jesus came back to him after he was crucified. And what of Paul, one abnormally born, whose life was instantly changed out of what appears to have been thrust upon him, not of his own choice (a guy bent on destroying Christianity, now bent on preaching the gospel)? And Pharoah? There are exceptions, but I believe SOP is our free will and our choice (once God reveals…). Very simple stuff, eh? Hence, faith.
If everything were left fully explained, like a math equation, what would be the point? Again, puppet or person? Here ya go, read this and learn it; 2 + 2 = 4.
If you want to argue, then maybe argue over whether a world that thinks killing unborn children and promoting unnatural relations, a world bent upon providing people a ration of bizarre rights instead of doing what is right, is right or wrong. Argue over third world people dying because they have no sanitation and water while Americans average use is about 50 gallons of water a day. Argue over whether illegal immigration is destroying our economy, and liberals fighting for the “rights” of 12 million will end up taking away from billions of people in other countries who get aid from the United States, which may end if we go belly up due to this crisis. Argue over whether an Arab pretending to be black, armed only with verbal eloquence, and who refuses to show patriotism because it might offend other countries is the right man to be President of the USA. These are all good topics.
But as to whether Jesus Christ is your savior and the Bible the Word of God, this is something that requires prayer. It also requires submission, which is really hard for most people. It requires faith.

Shorter Dailystruggles: For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Matthew 7:8

Bravo…


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