THE ARGUMENT FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD BEING THE BASES FOR OBJECTIVE MORAL VALUES AND DUTIES: PART III
I strongly feel that it is important to submit one’s ideas and hypothesis to those that are hostile or unsympathetic toward one’s views . The atheists with whom I have debated have been hostile (in the academic sense) and unsympathetic. Doing so has required me to look back and realize I was defending an argument I had not initially presented. Despite my best efforts, it seems I followed a red herring. I believe part of the reason was that I was conflating two different arguments which were:
1)An argument against Dr. Sam Harris’ book, “The Moral Landscape“, which assumes that objective morals exist.
2)The existence of objective morals as an argument for the existence of God.
Here is what the initial argument was:
“First, we must clarify the argument. The moral argument, in its simplest form is, that if God exists, then we have a firm foundation for objective moral values and duties; if God does not exist, then we do not have a sound foundation for objective moral values and duties. It must be clear that the argument is not whether God does or does not exist.”
Here is what I have been in fact defending (and erroneously in an earlier response I said was the argument):
1) If objective morals and values exist, they are grounded in God – thus God exists.
2) Objective morals exist.
3) Conclusion: God exists.
In reviewing the arguments presented in the actual posts, they were arguments defending the first assertion. Looking at the arguments I made to the responses to the posts, I was in fact defending the second set of premises. All of this made things a bit confusing and perhaps non-cogent.
For now. I will be defending the second argument. The reason being is that many of the respondents, unlike Dr. Sam Harris, don’t believe there are objective morals. It is perhaps a more prodigious argument – but it is for sure more interesting argument. The unfortunate thing is that some of the points presented in the original posts themselves, are arguments that only work to defend the original argument (the argument against Sam Harris, which assumes objective morals exist).
If you have not read Part I, click here
If you have not read Part II click here
Last time we examined the foundation for objective moral values and duties as well as the fallacy of the naturalistic explanation for objective moral values and duties. In this post, we will examine the difference between moral ontology and semantics as well as whether one can argue for the existence of evil if God does not exist.
Moral Ontology vs. Semantics
One must not confuse the moral ontology with moral semantics. The phrase, “If religion is not true, then words like good and evil, or right and wrong, would have no meaning,” is confusing moral ontology with moral semantics. Moral ontology asks, “What is the foundation for objective moral values and duties?” Moral semantics asks, “What is the meaning of moral terms.” No semantical claim, in this argument, is being made that “good” means something like “commanded by God.” The argument is for moral ontology – what is the ground or foundation for moral values and duties? The following will add some clarification:
Think of light. Light is a certain visible wavelength within the electromagnetic spectrum. But obviously that isn’t the meaning of the word light. People knew how to use the word light long before they discovered its physical nature. And people certainly knew the difference between light and darkness long before the physics of light. Similarly, we can know the meaning of moral terms like good and evil or right and wrong without being aware that the good is grounded in God ontologically; once again, that is the argument being defended.
Let’s ponder another question: “Does atheism provide a sound foundation for moral objective duties?” Duty has to do with moral obligation or prohibition – what I ought or ought not to do. Here, the reviewers of Dr. Harris’ book, The Moral Landscape, have been merciless in pounding the attempt to provide a naturalistic account for moral obligation. Two problems stand out:
1. Natural science tells us only what is, not what ought to be the case. As philosopher Jerry Fodor has written, “Science is about facts, not norms. It might tell us how we are, but it wouldn’t tell us what is wrong with how we are. In particular, it cannot tell us that we have a moral obligation to take actions which are conducive to human flourishing.” If there is no God, what foundation remains for objective moral values and duties?
On the naturalistic view, human beings are just animals and animals have no moral obligations to one another. When a lion kills a zebra, it kills the zebra, but it doesn’t murder the zebra. When a great white shark forcibly copulates with a female, it forcibly copulates with her, but it doesn’t rape her. None of these actions are forbidden or obligatory. There is no moral dimension to these actions. So if God does not exist, why do we think we have any moral obligations to do anything? Who or what imposes these obligations upon us? From where do they come? It is very hard to see why they would be anything more than a subjective impression ingrained into us by societal and parental conditioning. On the atheistic view, certain actions such as rape and incest may not be biologically and socially advantageous and so in the course of human development have become taboo (socially unacceptable behavior). But that does absolutely nothing to prove that such acts are really wrong. Such behavior goes on all the time in the animal kingdom. On the atheistic view, the rapist who chooses to flout the herd morality is doing nothing more serious than acting unfashionably – the moral equivalent of Lady Gaga.
If there is no moral lawgiver, then there is no objective moral law. Moral obligations or prohibitions arise in response to imperatives from a competent authority. For example, if a policeman tells you to pull over, then because of his authority, you are legally obligated to pull over. If some random stranger tells you to pull over, you are not legally obligated to do so. In the absence of God, what authority is there to issue moral duties or prohibitions? There is none on atheism; therefore, there are no moral imperatives for us to obey. In the absence of God, there is no moral imperative or prohibition that characterizes our lives. In particular, we are not morally obligated to promote the flourishing of conscious creatures. The “is/ought” distinction is fatal to atheism. If there is no objective moral law, then we have no objective moral duties. Thus the atheistic view lacks any source for objective moral duties.
2. The second problem that stands out with the naturalistic account for moral obligation deals with “ought implies can.” A person is not morally responsible for an action he is unable to avoid. For example, if someone shoves you into another person, you are not responsible for bumping into him; you had no choice. Some would say all our actions are causally determined – that there is no free will. Dr. Harris not only rejects libertarian accounts of free will, but also compatabilistic accounts of freedom. If there is no free will, then no one is morally responsible for anything. In the end, Dr. Harris admits this at the endnote of his book. He states, “Moral responsibility is a social construct, not an objective reality. In neuro-scientific terms no person is more or less responsible than any other for the actions they perform.” This thorough-going determinism spells the end of any hope of possibility of objective moral duties because on this world view, we have no control over what we do. Thus on this view, there is no force of objective moral duties because there is no moral lawgiver and no possibility for objective moral duties because there is no free will. Therefore, on this view, despite protestations (a solemn declaration or avowal), right and wrong do not really exist. So the naturalistic view fails to provide a sound foundation for objective moral values and duties. Hence, if God does not exist, we do not have a sound foundation for morality, which is the second contention. Atheism thus sits very ill with ethical theory.
Does Evil Exist?
What about evil? If objective values and duties do exist, then it follows that evil exists. It then follows that the existence of evil is an argument for,not against, the existence of God. Furthermore, the atheist runs into a problem with calling things evil. The atheist cannot do that. When they do, they are just borrowing religious language.
To quote Arthur Leff, “All I can say is this: it looks as if we are all we have….Only if ethics were something unspeakable by us, could law be unnatural, and therefore unchallengeable. As things now stand, everything is up for grabs. Nevertheless: Napalming babies is bad. Starving the poor is wicked. Buying and selling each other is depraved. Those who stood up to and died resisting Hitler, Stalin, Amin, and Pol Pot-and General Custer too-have earned salvation. Those who acquiesced deserve to be damned. There is in the world such a thing as evil. [All together now:] Says who? God help us.” (Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository; Faculty Scholarship Series Yale Law School Faculty Scholarship; 1-1-1979; Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law; Arthur A. Leff; Yale Law School)
The concept here, as I understand it, is that God is the moral lawgiver and ultimate moral authority. As human beings, we have certain feelings or instincts about what is moral and what is not, which may be different from God’s moral laws. If God creates moral laws instead of being subject to them, God can also change them. What happens when God acts contrary to the moral inclinations of human beings? For example, if God decided to wipe out the majority of human and animal life on earth in a massive flood, and a person felt that this was unjust – who would be right, the person or God? The only way to decide would be to appeal to a higher authority, a level of morality which is above both God and human. If God is the ultimate authority and there is no morality except that which is originated by God, how can humans have these moral opinions to be able to question God at all? Doesn’t this also reduce morality to being nothing more than God’s will, because if God chooses to do evil, evil then becomes good by definition because God did it?
On the other hand, if God is the creator of moral laws but is not capable of changing them and is required to slavishly follow them, he would be reduced to little more than a machine or what you might call a morality particle. He would no longer be capable of being an active participant in human affairs.
I don’t know if you considered me as one of the atheists who are hostile or unsympathetic to your views because of my previous comments. I’m not actually an atheist and I hope I’m not entirely unsympathetic – I agree with some of your statements, I just tend to comment on the parts I disagree with. No offense, I hope? Thanks for sharing your views, it’s helping me to consider my own viewpoint in more depth.
I read your response. I am running late for work. I will try to respond before the end of the day.
One point though. I did assume you were an atheist. From our conversations, it doesn’t seem like you would be the type of person offended by a mis-placed label. If you were offended, please forgive me; that is what I get for assuming. Thanks for clarifying your position. It is good to know I am being challenged by all sides. Next, I did not find you nor any of the atheists to be offensive.
In C. Beham McCullagh’s book, Justifying Historical Descriptions, he addresses how historians develop sound historical hypothesis. One of the ways is by submitting one’s ideas to hostile or unsympathetic experts. This, of course, is done via professional journals. I was borrowing his language, but switched out “experts” and put in “crowds” since our blog is far from being a professional journal. I have found the discourse to be very civil so far and I much appreciate it. Every comment that has been made on this three-part post, has been allowed to go up un-edited. This is on contrast to the post that went up on Friday where some comments were not allowed to be posted because of their caustic ad-hominum attacks. We are looking for dialogue, not an another incarnation of the Michael Savage show.
Sorry for the delayed response. I had a Court of Honor and then a Scout Committee Meeting to attend after work last night.
You are correct in stating that the first contention of my argument is, “That God is the moral lawgiver and ultimate moral authority.” You brought up a lot of points. I think there is some unpacking that needs to be done. It seems that you are contending against the first premise of the argument. That is, whether or not objective moral values and duties are grounded in God. Your latest response can be broken up into two major points:
1) The epistemology vs. the ontology of objective moral values and duties
2) The Eurythphro Dilemma
Regarding human beings having, “certain feelings or instincts about what is moral what is not, which may be different from God’s moral laws,” addresses the issue of moral epistemology. Epistemology deals with how we come to know what objective morals are. The argument presented deals with moral ontology. That is to say, upon what are objective morals are based? Within the context of this discussion, when the issue of moral epistemology is brought up, it is a red herring argument. For that reason, I will not address it.
I agree that one way to know what is objectively moral is through “instinct and certain feelings”, but as a Christian, I am also open to other ways of moral epistemology. Those other ways might be through reason, parents, etc. I am not making any epistemological claims in this argument.
You asked, “What happens when God acts contrary to the moral inclinations of human beings?” The assumption being made here is that it is God that is in the wrong. The specific example of a world-wide flood, speaks less to morality and more to God’s omniscience and to the fallibility/infallibility of scripture, whether scripture should be read metaphorically, scriptural exegesis, etc. But can’t the same question be asked in the reverse? What if we act in a way that is contrary to God’s morality? I am thinking specifically of the Aztecs. Quoting Dr.Michael D.Coe, “Most horrible of Aztec practices was the mass sacrifice of small children on mountain tops to bring rain at the end of the dry season, in propitiation of Tlaloc; it was said that the more they cried, the more the Rain God was pleased.” (Michael D.Coe, Mexico, 2nd edition, pg149). I can now ask you, how do you know that the Aztecs were acting contrary to God’s commands?
Regarding “appealing to a higher authority” than God to resolve discrepancies between our moral “instincts” and God’s moral law assumes two things: 1)There is a moral law above God. 2) God is not the standard of objective morality. In the previous posts, I outlined a version of a view called, the Divine Command Theory, which is not only held by Christian, but non-Christian theists. Philosophers that hold to this theory include: Philip Quinn ( Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame), Robert Merrihew Adams (Clark Professor of Moral Philosophy and Metaphysics, Yale), Johannes De Silentios argues in his book , Fear and Trembling, that the existentialist, Soren Kierkegaard, subscribed to this view. It is the idea that objective morals come from God.
The view is best outlined by what is called the “Euthythro Dilemma.” Since it is the second time in my post that I have brought this up, I figure I should explain what it is. I was going to wait to present it in a later post.
In Plato’s dialogue, Plato records a conversation between Socrates and an attorney by the name of Euthyphro. During this conversation, Socrates asks Euthyphro the following question:
Socrates: “ We shall know better, my good friend, in a little while. The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods?”
What Socrates is presenting is a two-pointed horn. What is being asked is, are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?
If the answer is in the affirmative to the former (which is the typical LDS view), God is subservient to the morally good and we should then worship that which is greatest; in this case it would be the morally good. If the answer is in the affirmative to the latter, God is arbitrary.
In your response you in fact argued the Euthyphro Dilemma. When you brought up the point of appealing to a higher authority, you were arguing that good acts are willed by God because they are morally good. When you ask the question, “Doesn’t this also reduce morality to being nothing more that God’s will?” and, “If God creates moral laws instead of being subject to them, God can also change them.”-you are arguing the latter part of the Eurythro Dilemma. That is, that God is being arbitrary because the morally good is morally good because it is willed by God.
As you can see, you were conflating the two different points of the Eurythro Dilemma. You must pick one or the other, not both – for they are exclusive from each other.
The Divine Command Theory avoids both horns. It argues that morally good acts are neither willed by God because they are morally good, nor are they morally good because they are willed by God. It argues that the good is a necessary attribute of God. Just like there are certain attributes that are essential/necessary to make a cat a cat. If an animal were without those attributes, it would not be considered a cat. God likewise has certain attributes that are necessary/essential to Him. He could not exist without those attributes.
As such, God is the locus of good, justice, love, etc. As St. Anselm said, “God is by definition ,the greatest conceivable being and therefore the highest Good.” Since moral goodness is a great-making property, the greatest conceivable being must be morally perfect (as well as have other superlative properties).
The Divine Command Theory of ethics makes God’s commands to us non-negotiable in the sense that we have a moral obligation to obey God’s commands. To disobey His commands is to fail to discharge our moral duties.
With this view, it can be seen that to ask, “Who would be right, the person or God?” is a nonsensical question. It assumes that God can do evil and can do wrong, but He cannot. He is the standard of good. It is like asking, “What if an inch is not an inch?” – if one was looking at a ruler. An inch carries with it a necessary definition. A bachelor, by definition is a non-married man. God by definition is the standard of good.
It was also stated, “If God is the creator of moral laws but is not capable of changing them and is required to slavishly follow them, He should be reduced to little more than a machine or what you might call a morality particle.” This is an incorrect interpretation of the Divine Command Theory.” God creates moral laws as an expression of His essential nature. He does not “slavishly follow them” anymore than I am slavishly a human and not a cat by nature.
The question was also asked, “[what if] God chooses to do evil, evil then becomes good by definition because God did it?” The objection is that we can conceive of different possible worlds in which God’s moral character is different. But, that is not the model I defend. On most Divine command theories, God possesses His moral qualities essentially. So there is no possible world in which God is not kind, impartial, gracious, loving, and so on.
I tried to address your rebuttals point by point. If I missed a point, it was by accident. Thanks for coming back. I appreciate it.
I’m not much of a philosopher and haven’t heard of the Euthyphro Dilemma, but that is essentially what I was arguing. I agree with you on the concept of God as the essence of goodness and morality, instead of being subject to morality (the traditional Mormon viewpoint). However, I have difficulty in seeing how the God of goodness and morality can be the same God as identified in Mormonism, Christianity, or any organized religion. I realize that this goes beyond the scope of your discussion here. I hope that you will eventually write a post reconciling the God you have defended here with the Christian/Mormon God, because I would be very interested to read it. Your blog is a breath of fresh air within Mormonism, as it is very difficult to find active members who are willing to have an in-depth discussion on these issues.
It was mentioned on this blog somewhere about a friend who left the Mormon religion in favor of “goodness”. I can identify with that friend. I was a very active, believing member who grew up in Mormonism, graduated from early morning seminary, attended BYU, and served a mission. The catalyst for my loss of faith was D&C 19:6-7 and 10-12. To summarize briefly: “10 Endless is my name. Wherefore- 11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. 12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment. 6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. 7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore, it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men”
What this verse refers to as being “more express”, I see as emotional manipulation. I cannot accept a God who plays word games and is less than completely honest. Keep in mind, this is in the Doctrine and Covenants where God speaks directly to Joseph Smith, so there is no possibility of misinterpretation. I brought this up several times to different bishops, who not only could not provide me with any satisfactory answer, but they usually could not even understand how I could have a problem with this. Later, of course, I found all the other issues with church history, the Book of Abraham etc which are so readily available on the internet, but my initial disillusionment was regarding the basic nature of God as taught in Mormonism. These issues are not discussed in church meetings and the standard response is to continue to pray, study the scriptures, and attend church meetings, and we will find out someday in the next life. I have discovered that prayer is a way to communicate with my own subconscious, so although I used to get answers confirming the truth of Mormonism when I believed it, my answers now that I see things differently are the opposite. Reading scriptures only brings up more questions, as does attending church meetings. I now have difficulty understanding how rational Mormons can truly believe without experiencing severe cognitive dissonance, and most of them are not willing to talk about it. Perhaps with that explanation, you can see why I am so interested in your post about the nature of God, especially with a Mormon background.
Wow. That was beautifully honest. Thank you for sharing; that was brave. I think all your concerns are valid. I haven’t thought much upon the phrase, “more express.” I am going to chew on that for a while.
One of the responders to Part 2 of this post said they were interested in my other “proofs” of God’s existence. That is a misunderstanding. The word “proof” carries with it a lot of assumptions. I am not proving God’s existence. I am providing evidence and arguments for God’s existence.
When is their evidence for a certain hypothesis?
In probablility theory, to say there is evidence for a certain hypothesis is to say that a certain hypothesis is more probable given certain facts, than it would have been in the absence of those facts.
So to say there is evidence for God is to say, given certain facts, the likelihood of God’s existence is rendered more probable than in the absence of those facts. It is not saying that God exists or that it is proof that God exists. It is just to say that the existence of God is more probable, given certain facts, than it would have been in the abscence of these facts. This should be an unobjectionable and non-controversial point in terms of what does it mean to say there is evidence for a hypothesis.
So now the problem you have brought up regarding evidence of a loving, omnipotent, just God.. Is there anything answereing to that description? That is to say, does such a person exist? The whole burden of Natural Theology is to present evidence that there is such a person. My later posts over the next year will look to see if there is evidence of such a being.
I will have a 5 or 6 week post starting next week on the resurrection where I will approach the resurrection from a historical perspective. Swing by and check it out.
You say: “Let’s ponder another question: “Does atheism provide a sound foundation for moral objective duties?””
You make the mistake of making claims of attribution that atheism doesn’t provide and that atheists don’t claim exist. Atheism is nothing more than not believing in a God or Gods. Period. Atheism isn’t a religious worldview that claims to provide a moral foundation, moral objective duties, or refreshments afterwards.
If you would like to discuss the naturalistic terms of moral psychology, then go for it. But saying that atheism provides a moral foundation or duty is like claiming that Democrats can tell you the right way to bake a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. Don’t put words or claims in our mouths, please.
You came back! I knew you could not resist.
You guys seriously don’t give refreshments afterwards? No blessing on the cookies that the trans-fats will miraculously leave and become nourishing and strengthening to your bodies? Geez!
The quote you sighted I gave because that is in fact what the atheist, Dr. Harris, does claim in his book, “The Moral Landscape.” No words were put into anyone’s mouth that weren’t already there.
Secondly even if no prominent atheist such as Dr. Harris, made such a claim, wouldn’t the question just be rhetorical anyway?
Atheism is not a non-belief as you have stated. Atheism, by tradition, is a belief system. It is a belief that there is no God or gods. It is not, “not believing in God or gods.” The latter definition is re-defining the word in a non-standard way. Logically the two are completely different.
I will take some of the Democrat Pinapple Uside-Down Cake please.
I think what I failed to articulate is that Dr. Harris does not speak for all atheists regarding the possibility of an objective morality. I know many atheists, myself included, that feel that good moral understanding can come from religion (God, if you choose to call it that) and many actually disagree with Dr. Harris. I don’t believe there is any such thing as objective morality, whatever its source. Too black and white, and life just isn’t that simple in a complex world.
As you define atheism, you are actually defining yourself as 99%+ atheist. I am of course assuming that you do not believe in the 9,999 Gods that make up lost faith traditions from ancient Rome, Greece, Mesopotamia, Egypt, etc? Or maybe you believe in some of them, bringing that percentage down? I just happen to go one God farther.
I understand that the crowd you are writing for is largely uninformed about secular thinking, so I just want to put out the point that when you paint atheists and agnostics with such a broad brush you are setting up a straw man that isn’t an accurate representation of all non-believers. There are so many philosophical differences in the secular community that it is almost pointless to try and put them all in one box to prove them all wrong with one sweeping generalization. But it is fun to try.
Looking forward to your next post.
We should probably call this quits at sometime. One of the problems that I did not take into consideration is, that unlike an academic debate which has a time limit, the debates online can go on forever and ever.
To your point about the definition of atheism, you are correct. I am either athesitic or agnostic towards the majority of ther gods from past cults and religions. I was arguing for the existence of a God that fit the two presuppositions of my conclusion.
Regarding my “straw man argument”, once again I was arguing against an atheistic view that does not believe in objective moral values or that they do exist, but do not believe that objective moral values are necessary to and come from God. It was a very specific view. I would argue that it was not a straw man argument. Equally, the argument could have been against theists that don’t hold to either of those presuppositions.
To drive this point home, I actually got into a debate with a Muslim who told me that God is arbitrary with His commands and that goodness, love, justice, etc are not necessary attributes of God.
When I started writing the post, I was expecting a lot of Mormons to come and argue with me regading God being the locus of good. I actually had a commitment from Catholic friend and that same Muslim friend mentioned in the above paragraph to post responses. I am not sure what happened. Maybe when they looked at the blog post and saw that it had turned into a debate with atheists/agnostics, it turned them off. Most likely though, they got too busy and just forgot. It was fun though to come in contact with and be challenged by you and Roshi, and others.
I think I am done responding to this post now. I am ready to move on
To correct my last paragraph: Saying that atheism doesn’t provide a moral foundation or duty is like claiming that Democrats are unable to tell you the right way to bake a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. I’m sure you understood my point in the first place.
Which, by the way, makes a wonderful refreshment after atheist church which provides a moral framework and moral duties. Not just for after Court of Honors and Scout Committee Meetings, you know.
I got your point.
I see you have your tongue firmly placed against your cheek. Thanks for adding some levity to the converstion; it made me laugh.
Hey mike, I want to go back to my question at the end of the last post…I’m still trying to wrap my head around your comment of many Mormons feeling that good resides outside of god. Can you give me an example of that? I guess I have always felt that all good comes from god and so maybe I haven’t really focused on that with other members
You would be an exception to the rule. Listen to what people say in church about why God does things. They will say, “he is bound” by certain laws and he cannot act outside of those laws. They speak of it in a Platonic sense.
Do a survey of Mormon thought on the subject by e-mailing some family members the Euthyphro Dilema: “Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?” Don’t tell them your view initially.
When they give their answer, point out to them the problem with their answer. Either God is acting arbitrarily or there is something greater than God and shouldn’t we be worshipping the greatest thing? You will be surprised at the defenses you will hear. Most of their answers will some how revolve around the ubiquitous “free agency.”
After a heated discussion, tell them how to get around the problem by making “the good” essential to God’s nature. Many will still argue with you
I don’t think you quite understood what I was saying. “So now the problem you have brought up regarding evidence of a loving, omnipotent, just God.. Is there anything answereing to that description?” That is not really what I am asking. We are assuming that God is a good and moral being, by definition. My question is whether the God of religion is really the same being. If the God described by religion is not good and moral, it doesn’t mean that God no longer exists. It just means that religion is wrong about God. So my question is, does any religion actually describe a good, moral God?
I’m not sure you understood my point about the verses from D&C 19 either. I don’t have a concern about the words “more express”. My concern is that in those verses, God seems to be saying, “OK, I know I’ve been telling prophets to write down scriptures about eternal punishment for thousands of years, but I didn’t really mean that the punishment would last forever. I just said it that way to scare people into being good, and technically I wasn’t lying, because Eternal is my name, so my punishment is Eternal punishment. And Endless is my name too. Yes, I knew all along that people would think that Endless meant without end, but I really told them that for their own good so that they would listen to me.” My problem is that first of all, if I were to say something like that myself, I would feel like I was being dishonest. Shouldn’t God be at least as honest as I am, if he is really a good, moral being? Secondly, if God can intentionally say things to make people think one thing when it really means something else, what other little technicalities do I need to look out for, and how can I trust anything in the scriptures? How can I trust a God who doesn’t tell the truth?
I’m not expecting you to agree with me on anything. I just want to get my point across so that you understand what I mean. You don’t know how frustrating it is to have a question that you not only are unable to find a satisfactory answer for, but no one even seems to understand your question.
I was going to just ask for some clarification. I guess I should have gone with my gut because it is obvious that I didn’t understand what you were saying. I can see how, to you, God appears to be arbitrary with the word selection.
So an interesting post, in your summation, would be, “Does the God of the Bible really exist?” and does that God match the God I have been presenting?