A Fourth Option, Mr. Harris

Sam Harris:

Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes, or He doesn’t care to, or He doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.

Or maybe there’s a fourth option, Mr. Harris.

Maybe God is neither impotent, nor evil, nor non-existant. Maybe He is, in fact, GOD: wholly sovereign, wholly wise, wholly good. Not subject to your whims and wishes. Not dangling on a string from your finger. Not concerned with what you think is “fair” or “unfair,” “right” or “wrong.”

Maybe He is, in fact, working all things (yes, Mr. Harris, even catastrophes) for His glory. Maybe He moves as He pleases and does what He pleases because He is the infallible architect of a Greater Good which you, in all your fallible human wisdom, cannot see or understand.

Maybe. Just maybe. And if so…

Who are you, Sam Harris, to reply against God? Who are you to call Him to account? Must He consult you on the “fairness” of His actions? Are you, O creature, wiser than your Creator? Will you judge the Judge? Will you dictate morality to the One in whom morality has its very existence?

God is not on trial here, Mr. Harris. He never was. He doesn’t answer to you, or to me, or to anyone or anything. He wouldn’t be God if He did.

“I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.” (Isa. 45:7)

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122 thoughts on “A Fourth Option, Mr. Harris”

    1. Hello again, NAS. :) Long time, no see…

      This is less an issue of “might makes right” than “God makes right.” He wouldn’t be God if He wasn’t perfect. That being the case, it’s patently absurd for imperfect human beings to tell their perfect Creator what He should and should not do.

      1. True.

        But given the fact that common sense and harm/benefit analysis seems to show that we are more moral than the god of the Bible, it lends credence to the theory that it was written by people with Bronze-age morality.

        1. Just curious, assuming God is immoral, but, define morality, where did our morality come from, why is our morality right, and why is modern morality better than Bronze-age morality? By what standard dost thou judge morality?

          Oh, and, what is wrong with “might makes right” according to your standard?

          1. Modern morality is better because less people are harmed by it.

            If I were a god, I’d make sure no one ever went hungry. Thus making me a better god than the one written about in the Bible. Just from that one simple change.

          2. My dear NAS, you missed the entire point of my comment. Where did your morality come from, and by what standard do you judge. You say modern morality is better because less people are harmed, but why is it wrong that people are harmed, upon what standard do you decide that?

            Why is it wrong for people to go hungry, upon what standard do you decide that?

            No NAS, you would not be a better god, you would be a Greek or Roman god perhaps. An elevated human being with all the failings of the rest of mankind. Unless you can provide a standard for your morality, a basis for your morality, an origin for your morality, you cannot be better than God. And the simple truth is that you cannot provide any of that.

            Understand, I did not mean that comment to be harsh or judgmental in any way, I simply wish to understand your justification for your statements.

  1. Sam Harris doesn’t hate god, he hates the belief in god and the behaviour this causes.

    This post seems to be suggesting that there;s no pint in believing in god or doing anything he tells you as he’ll do as he pleases anyway, which is fine I suppose but why would we exist if that was the case?

    Even you have suggested that all the things we think of as evil are in fact created by god, thus proving the point that the god you believe in is evil, as defined by our puny ‘human’ minds.

    It was actually Epicurus not Hume who first argued this point, long before Jesus was around.

    1. This post seems to be suggesting that there’s no point in believing in god or doing anything he tells you as he’ll do as he pleases anyway, which is fine I suppose but why would we exist if that was the case?

      If that’s what you took away from this post, then you missed my point entirely. Harris tries to measure God by human standards, and comes to an erroneous conclusion that completely ignores the fact that God is GOD – not a finger-puppet.

      1. What other standards can we use to make sense of anything, other than those which you ‘god’ has given us? If we are not supposed to make sense of anything but just blindly follow orders without any understanding, if god will judge us based on standards we cannot understand, where is our ‘free will’? What is the point of our existence in the Christain worldview if we are not meant to understand our purpose when worshipping god?

        I measure god by the methods I have available to me and find him lacking. The things he himself says are bad or evil in his book are the very things he has the power to stop but does not. These are not, according to the bible, merely human standards, they are the standards that god has set in the bible, yet he follows them not. Thus I reach the only logical conclusion, the only god that could exist is one that is neither omnipotent nor good. This, to my mind, is not a god worth worshipping.

        1. First, about God’s standards. You cannot speak of blindly following orders that cannot be understood and in the next breath supposedly understand and judge God with those same standards. Also, you cannot measure God by his standards and then reject him according to those because it’s an oxymoron of sorts. To measure God by his standards, you must admit that those standards exist, yet to deny God, you must deny the existence and value of those same standards. You cannot take God’s hand slap him in the face with it, and then say while still holding on to God’s hand, “see, God doesn’t exist.”

          Second, let’s consider Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. Within the play Hamlet denies the existence of Shakespeare, he comes to the same conclusion as Harris. Either, the author does not exist, is impotent, or he is evil. Obviously, he was not impotent. Of course Shakespeare could control what happened in his play. Which brings us to the third option, was Shakespeare evil? Does the fact that Shakespeare allowed death and suffering in his play mean that Shakespeare was evil?
          Now, shall we conclude as Hamlet did that Shakespeare did not exist?

          Third and finally. Consider that the suffering in the world was caused by mankind’s sin. When Adam fell the whole universe groaned. Thus sin came into this world because we disobeyed God. Now, consider further that God is justice, he is the standard of justice. To stop all evil in this world, he would have to contradict himself, an impossibility. This is not to say that God is impotent, he is not. He allows all things for a reason. Within a painting, a tapestry, a book, or a piece of music, there is always both light and dark. Yet, should we rail against the authors/painters/composers because they allowed darkness within their music. Should the music notes rise up and complain to the composer because some of them portrayed darkness and some portrayed light? Remember Shakespeare’s line, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” This was Ink’s point in his original post, who are we, the created clay, to mock and judge the Creator, when he with one thought, one word, can end our lives. It’s like, or rather, it is Aslan being mocked by the witch’s minions when he was their maker.

          As a quick note on something you said. We do know our purpose in worshipping God, to glorify him and enjoy him forever, and with God’s grace, we are perfectly capable of doing that. Revealed in God’s word and in creation is all we need to explain God’s demand, and Christ provides the grace to meet those commands.

          1. I think you’ve kind of proved my point. Either god’s standards are unknowable by us, in which case the bible is a book of nonsense, or they are knowable to us in which case god must be evil. I judge things by my own man-made standards, given to my mind by the evolution of my genetic code and the experiences of my life thus far. I do not beleive in any divine standard, I use it in my argument because you do. My point is that either there is 1 standard, in which case we must know it and can therefore coment on it or there are more than 1, in which case we can never truly know what is good or evil.

            If the characters of a tragic play or novel were real people with real suffering then yes, the author would be considered evil in my opinion. Thus using this analogy, the only god that could exist would have to be evil.

            If god cannot contradict himself, why Noah & the flood? If good cannot exist without evil, what are heaven & hell? Will they have equal amounts of good and evil? If he is omnipotent he must be able to contradict himself, if he so chooses.

            An omnipotent god requires his imperfect creation to worship him without question after giving man the ability to do so. Why does he need this glory?

          2. I think you’ve kind of proved my point. Either god’s standards are unknowable by us, in which case the bible is a book of nonsense, or they are knowable to us in which case god must be evil.

            But the thing is, Christians assert that God’s standards are knowable to us. Which brings us to your second point. Your whole accusation of God as evil is based on God’s standards. You cannot prove God evil without accepting God’s standards, but by accepting God’s standards, you must accept that God exists. There are no standards outside of God, there is no single immutable universal standard for morality outside of God. That you believe in right and wrong, and such things as human dignity shows that deep down you believe in God. You give lip service to atheism, but do not remain consistent with it (for consistency with atheism leads to the destruction of morality).
            If your morals evolved, than mine evolved too, but mine say that it’s okay to kill you, why is yours right? There is no basis for right and wrong outside of God.

            My point is that either there is 1 standard, in which case we must know it and can therefore coment on it or there are more than 1, in which case we can never truly know what is good or evil.

            Two things, first, there is one standard, God, we do know it, and we can comment on it, but we cannot judge God and deny him existence because of it, because God is the standard. You cannot take a ruler, and then based on the ruler’s own measurements state that the ruler doesn’t measure up, and is therefore a nonexistent ruler
            That there are more than one standard does not lead to the conclusion that we cannot know which one is true. This is a sweeping generalization. I hold to God as my ultimate authority, by which I interpret all reality. You hold to self autonomy as your ultimate authority, by which you interpret all reality. Now, the question is which one of our authorities accounts for the very possibility of knowing anything whatsoever? My argument is that atheism leads to absurdity and the proof of the Christian worldview is that if it weren’t true one could know nothing whatsoever. Its truth must be presupposed.

            If the characters of a tragic play or novel were real people with real suffering then yes, the author would be considered evil in my opinion. Thus using this analogy, the only god that could exist would have to be evil.

            My point with Shakespeare which I should have explained more clearly, is that the “problem of evil” is no problem for Christians because we hold that God has a morally sufficient reason for all the evil he permits. But, in the atheist worldview, why would suffering be a bad thing? If people are no more than bags of chemicals, the offspring of millennial old slime, then why should they be treated any different then slime? And furthermore, why is suffering a bad thing? Doesn’t that promote natural selection. That you consider suffering as wrong shows that you presuppose the truth of the Christian worldview, which alone provides a reason why suffering is wrong—man is made in God’s image.

            If god cannot contradict himself, why Noah & the flood? If good cannot exist without evil, what are heaven & hell? Will they have equal amounts of good and evil? If he is omnipotent he must be able to contradict himself, if he so chooses.
            Again my point, which I admit, I did explain badly is that above, that God allows evil for a morally sufficient reason. Not that good cannot exist without evil, there was a time when evil was not. Also, I think you misunderstand the meaning of omnipotence. God cannot contradict Himself because it is against His nature. To do so would mean He would cease to be God. The Christian God is all-powerful according His nature.

            An omnipotent god requires his imperfect creation to worship him without question after giving man the ability to do so. Why does he need this glory?
            You misunderstand the meaning of “glorifying God”. The Bible uses this term not in terms of “giving God” something He does not have, but rather as giving recognition to what and who He is. Just as we bow before a king. A king does not need to be bowed to, but we bow in recognition of his kingship. God is already glorified as much as He can be, and demonstrates His glory through His attributes and actions. However, man is called to give recognition to this glory through worship. From a Biblical view this makes sense since God created us.

            Wow, that was long. :) Sorry about that, but I wanted to thoroughly answer your questions.

  2. Well said Ink. And of course, there’s the minor detail that the human standards with which God is judged unworthy, are God’s standards.

    1. I’ve read your other comments, I’m sorry to tell you that your arguments are completely ludicrous. Basically, what you and this article are doing is abandonning morality itself as we know it, or logic itself, in order to make place for the supposed morality of a perfect god, which we have no evidence for. I am sorry, but we do have evidence for the fact that people do suffer, catastrophes where small kids burn and people drown are bad. Your whole argument is based on the denial of this fact. In fact you have no choice to deny it, that’s where you have been cornered to. Either god is not omnipotent, evil, neither, or (your fourth option) innocent people dying and suffering is not really something evil or bad. You don’t say it like this, but that’s what your “God’s standard” argument reduces to, there’s way around it. There’s a reason this option was never presented, it amounts to complete madness.

      What your move has been is to give up any form of morality any sane person, or any children could hold, to make place for “God’s perfect morality”. That’s equivalent to giving up logic itself, as in having faith. That’s what it all reduces to. Of course we cannot argue with you anymore at that point, that’s because you can’t argue with madness and absurdity. If you’re willing to give up any moral intuition whatsoever (such as the fact that burning babies is bad), and logical reasoning itself (such as when you’re asked to have faith: belief without evidence) to make place for your god, don’t be surprised if we don’t subscribe to it, Your own arguments and thoughts, by the way, are human. We can play your card too. Who are you to talk about God’s standard, and to judge which is worthy of him or not? Maybe God doesn’t care that you think he has standards, and doesn’t have any in fact. Who are you yourself to declare having the authority on this “divine” truth such that any moral, ethics or evidence stacked against you can be discarded without further thought?

  3. Excellent response to this supposed “logical argument” … the clay cannot rebuke the potter … and that makes the clay mad. Good job Ink!

      1. Lol, I have a friend who spent a year making me read Greg Bahnsen, and explaining presuppositional apologetics to me, I blame it all on him. :)

        1. You have a good friend there. :) I love studying apologetics, theology, and logic – totally awesome subjects. Have you read Gregory Koukl’s Tactics? Excellent book. You should check it out.

          1. On the friend, agreed. :) I haven’t always taken the view that apologetics and theology are awesome, but now I’d definitely agree. They rock. I haven’t read Tactics, but I’ll definitely look it up.

        1. CCT, can I say Amen sister/brother? I’ve always wanted to say that in a comment, but never quite found the right situation for it. :)

          For now, I simply don’t have the time to write, but hopefully I’ll have time this summer.

  4. Good response, Corey!

    “The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil.” I find that verse nearly mind-blowing!

    To the KING be all the glory!
    Rebekah

  5. It all started here, Gen. 3:5 and continues here, John 12:40. Actually, it continues here, Matthew 19:26. We should pray that God would prepare hearts and minds to become as receptive as, Acts 10:33. :-)

  6. This is a hot spot with athiests. They argue it from every angle and phrase it in as many ways imaginable, but it’s still the same argument.

    *waves* Hi NAS! How did I know you were gonna show up? :D

    (Love the graphic, Corey–that’s a keeper. I could turn that into a bumper sticker….)

  7. Thank you for standing firm on the Truth. My 12yo and I are reading through the Old Testament. I cannot see how anyone could read God’s Word and still question His character. He is an amazingly good God. Yet, He is to be feared. One who is loving yet also firm with righteous judgement. And I am thankful I serve such a God.

  8. In Oklahoma on the 15th, three girls were killed in a tornado, ages 5, 7, and 10. It’s so wonderful that God was there to crush out their little lives that day. I’m sure it worked out even better for all of us, especially the girls’ families.

    Have you really thought through the consequences of your claim? I am sure you are a better person than to believe the above paragraph…

    1. “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.” (Isa. 45:7)

      “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?” (Amos 3:6)

      “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” (Lam. 3:38)

    2. Hi Nate,
      Same answer as the Chief of the Least.
      We live in a fallen and cursed world.
      Death came by sin.
      Christ died for our sin.
      Eternity is a sealed deal for those who accept salvation of their own free will. Ephesians 1:13, 14)

      Bad things, unjust things, happened to Jesus, worse than anyone who ever has or will ever live. Still you accuse Him of cruel insensitivity?
      Bad things happen to ALL of us in this fallen world.

      And what would you say of Christ’s humility?
      Christ’s humility alone stands apart from anything we see in this world

      P. S. – God personally became man, lived a humble life and sinless life as Jesus Christ,
      Died for those who crucified Him.

      1. Hi CCT,

        Thanks for the response. If Jesus was tortured and crucified, that was truly awful, and I don’t want to minimize it. However, you can’t say he suffered more than anyone who has ever lived. If he was actually the son of God, he knew exactly what would happen to him upon death — no one else in history has known that. So he escaped one kind of agony that’s experienced by the rest of us right there.

        He was tortured and killed within a 24-hr period, and there are many people who have suffered more than that. Again, I don’t want to be overly critical or minimize what he may have experienced. But to say it was the worst suffering in history is just not accurate.

        Also, perhaps death came by sin, but that doesn’t explain all the deaths caused by disease and natural occurrences. And those are far more efficient killers than we are. Not to mention they frequently kill much more inhumanely.

        1. Nate, I would say you’re spot on about Christ’s physical torture. Many men and women have been physically tortured in more brutal and longer ways throughout history.

          But that is not the point of the cross. Christ’s suffering only has a redeeming point to me because of this: The Father’s complete rejection/separation of Him on the cross. The cross was the physical symbol that God’s full cup of wrath was being poured on Him for the combined sins of many. So for the first time ever since eternity past and future for that matter, the Son could utter to the Father “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Hell itself was being unleashed on Him in a total way physically, emotionally, mentall, spiritually, etc.
          So in a physical sense, no, it wasn’t the worst suffering in history. In a total sense, yes, it was the worst suffering in history. Peace and grace.

          1. Chief,
            I couldn’t have said it better myself!
            With perhaps one exception. :)
            Nate,
            The fact that Christ knew 100% what He would suffer for all of mankind, to bare all our sin, all our shame, caused Christ such agony in the Garden of Gethsemane that He sweat, “great drops of blood. ”
            He was fully man and fully God, and yes, this same untold grief probably caused His death on the cross.
            And He could have come down from the cross and stopped His own suffering, but He did not!
            He stayed even though He knew everything He would suffer.

        2. Different people have different levels of pain-tolerance. I’m not dismissing your contention, just adding a thought to it. Something I find interesting in the biblical account is that Christ had the rather practical inclination to NOT want to be tortured. Some people seek out martyrdom. I’m not certain that the bible claims Jesus knew he was going to be tortured to death from the outset.

  9. So I’m to take it our God is a Drill Sargent who knows what’s best and it is not my place to question him? …Because I was under the impression that I served a father who loved ALL of his children. who could question him all they wanted. AND the cool part is, he actually answers you, if your sincere about wanting an answer. But what I see here is that your take on God is a very harsh one sided view. What happened to “God is Love?” Because I don’t see it in any of the arguments any of you had with the atheists in this post. All I see is “Suck it up princess!” Which is something he has NEVER said to me. I say it all the time but he doesn’t.

    The problem with Harris, Hume, and I’m throwing in Epicurus as well just to prove I read the whole damned thread, is that they want a god who makes everything perfect and if anything bad happens to anyone then God is either a bastard or useless. Not to be insulting but this is a pretty juvenile attitude to take. God loves his children, even the ones we don’t like. He hurts every time one of them hurts. But he did not promise life would be without pain. he promised that life was better with him. We give him our praises because of how it blesses US. He doesn’t need it. He wants it because he wants good things for us.

    Try taking this tack the next time an atheist talks to you about God, because I get tired of doing clean up after you people.

    God bless, God speed, God riddance.

      1. You’re spreading ‘fear’ in the name of my God and you think I should just let it ride?

        That aint my speed.

        1. Look – if you want to leave a comment and disagree with what I’ve written, feel free. I can appreciate that. What I do not appreciate is your jumping into this thread with a condescending, know-it-all attitude. Don’t leave a lengthy comment and then gripe at the end about how you’re tired of “doing clean up.” It smacks of arrogance.

          1. You have a good point. And I am arrogant. Not one of my better qualities and certainly not one I’m proud of so, yes, I am very sorry I acted like an ass on your blog. However. what you are doing is hurting our brothers and sisters. You are showing them a hard, mean, Father who is not to be questioned. It is a very cold image of God and it is not accurate.

            God bless.

          2. I appreciate the apology, haydendlinder. Thank you.

            That said, I cannot see how I am “hurting our brothers and sisters.” God is neither cold nor mean, but He is God. He does listen to His children when they cry to Him, yes. But there is a difference between crying out and gnashing one’s teeth at Him – which is exactly what Harris was (and is) doing.

            I’m reminded of Job, protesting against God. Toward the end of the book, God finally answers (see chapters 38 – 42). Here’s an excerpt from Job 40:

            Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,

            Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

            Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

            Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.

            Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.

            Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

            Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.

            Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?

          3. Yeah I am well aware of the book of Job and what you are describing IS cold. Have you tried talking to God about this?

          4. Yeah I am well aware of the book of Job and what you are describing IS cold.

            I gave you scriptural proof that I was not off-base and you reject it. That being the case, it seems that your problem isn’t really with me, but with the God of the Bible, since you find Him so “cold.”

          5. I asked if you talked to God about this and you just told me “No.” My problem isn’t with God. I talk to him every morning. The one thing I always ask him for in the morning is to lead me to what HE wants me to do today. I would suggest you stop quoting verse and start talking to the man. The God of the Bible can vary drastically depending on who’s reading it.

          6. First of all, I do “talk” to God – if by “talk” you mean “pray.” Second of all, I must ask: are you saying the God you serve is different from the God of scripture?

          7. You keep hedging here. I didn’t ask if you talked to God. I assumed that you did. I said you should talk to God ABOUT THIS. Is there some reason you don’t want to go to God and ask him if your interpretation of the scriptures is correct? It’s a pretty simple request and a Christian should have no hesitation in going to God with anything. Let alone a request for confirmation on interpretation. Why do you keep saying ‘No’ to this.

          8. First, I haven’t said “no” to anything. And second, my answer is “yes” – I have prayed to God over this issue. I make a point of doing that with every post.

            Third, let’s get back to the heart of this discussion. 1) You claimed that my post depicted God in a harsh and innaccurate light. 2) I disagreed, and even gave to scripture proofs to back my position up. 3) You dimissed them; you said what I was describing was “cold.”

            So now, I ask you: do you disagree with scripture? If so, why?

          9. I disagree with your interpretation of it. As for why? Because the Bible is NOT my God. My God is the God of Abraham who’s son, Yeshua was scourged for my transgressions and died so that I might have grace, power and authority in the eyes of God. Whereas you quote the law and take it at face value, I believe you have to ask the Lord to interpret the law for you. That is why we disagree.

            God speed.

          10. My interpretation is that you CAN question God all you want. AND he will answer. He loves his children. He WANTS to talk to them. Even if that is explaining himself to them. God is humble. He also has no dignity which is why he has no concern for yours.

          11. Well since I don’t serve the Bible, yeah.
            Have you asked God about the book of Job? It is a good story.

          12. Let me get this straight. You think that you spouting what some man in pulpit told you because some other man in pulpit told him, and so on, is somehow, “The Truth?”
            Far out.

          13. Bravo on avoiding the question. And for the record, my arguments are based on what I’ve read for myself in scripture. You haven’t backed up your statements once.

            I’ll ask again: you feel you can simply ignore the plain meaning of the text because God has told you it means something different?

            Give me a straight answer this time, please.

          14. I was pretty sure my sarcasm in my last response covered this. Sorry. Yeah. I don’t believe for one second that the Bible is the infallible word of God. Yeshua is the infallible word of God. So you can put together whatever verses you want in whatever order you want and that is your business and I have no problem with that. UNTIL, you start telling atheists, MY GOD is not to be questioned. He would LOOOOOVE for them to question him. He’d like any contact from them he can get. He just doesn’t have the kind of pride your scriptures say he does.

          15. I don’t believe for one second that the Bible is the infallible word of God.

            As I suspected. I’m not sure what you’d do with 2 Tim. 3:16, then: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Oh, wait… you probably disagree with that, too.

            Sounds like the Bible isn’t much use to us, then. In which case, why should I believe in Yeshua? I couldn’t even be sure anything He said or did was true. All that stuff about salvation and sin might be hogwash. Not to be believed – “not for a second.”

          16. Nothing I said disagreed with what Paul said in second Timothy.

            As for you believing? Well this thread was really for the atheists and agnostics still reading along with us.

            Take your victories where you can kid. God bless:)

          17. Nothing I said disagreed with what Paul said in second Timothy.

            If you truly believe that, then you’re not reading what the verse actually says. (Another re-interpretation, perhaps?)

            You said you didn’t believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God. But Paul says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…”

            So I take it you believe scripture is inspired, but still fallible? That would make God fallible. In which case, He’s not much of a God, is He?

          18. So the Bible has to be infallible because it was “inspired” by God. And because it was “inspired” by God if it’s not infallible then God isn’t either.

            Are you SURE you don’t worship the Bible?

          19. OK. I’m going to hope,and pray, I do not sound condescending here because that is not my intent.

            http://www.thefreedictionary.com/inspired
            1. aroused or guided by or as if aroused or guided by divine inspiration.
            2. extremely accurate or apt but based on intuition rather than knowledge or logical deduction.

            Neither of those means perfect and without error. And the Bible doesn’t need to be perfect and without error. It IS an inspired book but that does not mean you can shove verses together and expect to have truth.

            Also, nowhere in the Bible does it say it is infallible. That verse in Timothy is the closest it comes to it and even that doesn’t mean it is perfect.

            So that’s what I think from meditating and communing with God. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect either. But it does explain why I keep asking you, have you talked to God about this. NOT asked him for stuff or prayed for good things. Have you asked God if the Bible is infallible?

          20. That’s just the thing, though: if the Bible is imperfect, then how can I know when it’s being truthful and when it’s not? I can’t entirely trust it. So Jesus’ words about salvation and eternal life are just as suspect as that passage in Job.

            I’m going to wrap this discussion up, since it’s gone far beyond what the original post covered. I understand where you’re coming from now, and it’s plain that we part ways over a pretty fundemental issue. That being the case, I don’t think we can find much (if any) common ground at this point.

            Adios! :)

        2. I’ve been reading the exchange between you two. It keeps getting better and better, in a progressively humorous kind of way.

          ~~~

          Anyway, to weigh in here. You guys know that right from the outset Christians didn’t see eye-to-eye on many things. It’s right there in the Bible. (Also on my site http://ajourneythroughthenewtestament.wordpress.com/ )

          That’s right folks. If you want to have a good Christian knife-wielding debate, come on over and take your best shot. ;)

  10. Excellent post, and I agree. I don’t, however, argue God, in any way shape or form, with anyone. I am quite busy working on my own relationship with Him, and encouraging others to do likewise, and don’t concern my self with others and their personal relationship–or lack thereof–with Him.
    I followed “chief of least” over here, and enjoyed the visit. Keep up the good work!
    http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/money-is-not-evil-april-18/

  11. rowanphillips, I find you argumentative and insincere. there is also one major flaw in your argument: you assume that you, or I, or anyone else in all of humanity is ‘innocent’. We are not. This is not to say that our lives are not valuable; quite the contrary, human life is God’s greatest creation. But we are not innocent and are thus not deserving of the ‘fairness’ you seem you think you deserve simply for existing.

      1. What about Christopher Hitchens’ contention that he doesn’t acknowledge anyone’s right to own him. Some day, we’ll have to discuss his and Wilson’s debate. They were friends, you know.

  12. Reading this as a reblog from Chief. Very good post and I totally agree. I find more and more Christians arguing the Gospel, Jesus Christ, God, etc. I’m with charlesmasburn’s previous comment. The Word tells us that people chose not to believe the truth and accept the Word of God as infallible because~~their eyes are blinded, they have not the ears the hear, and their hearts are hardened.
    It’s not our responsibility to “make” then see the light! That’s up to the Holy Spirit–not some back-and-forth volleying of words.
    ~streim~
    Find your writings very good Ink Slinger! Right on the mark! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks for commenting! :) I appreciate a good debate, and think it is important to be able to articulate what you believe and why you believe it. At the same time (as you pointed out), argumentation alone will nothing on this issue. I wrote in an earlier post:

      “It’s not an intellectual problem, it’s a heart issue… The heart of an atheist (and of every sinner, for that matter) cannot be changed through hardcore reasoning and clever rhetoric alone; true, God may choose to use those as tools, but ultimately, only the light of His grace can open the eyes of the blind and give sight to the sightless.”

      Blessings!

  13. Romans 11:33-3433 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[a] knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
    God is God and we are not.

  14. “God is not on trial here, Mr. Harris. He never was. He doesn’t answer to you, or to me, or to anyone or anything. He wouldn’t be God if He did.”

    Well, he certainly wouldn’t be the God with whom we are familiar.

      1. I see you made it by my site. I’m impressed that you took the time to check it out. So far, you’re the first person to have the curiosity to make it past the home page. Did my review of the movie “Abraham” surprise you? It’s a pretty good movie, in any case.

        1. As a rule, I try to check out my commenters’ blogs (if they have one), since I’m always curious to who’s who. :)

          I read your review of Abraham, yes. Very interesting. I haven’t seen the film myself, so I can’t comment on it, but I may look it up sometime.

          1. I placed the link to the entire movie below the poster. I also think highly of a movie called Genesis, it also has a link to the entire film.

            I’m beginning an academic study, independently on my site, A Journey Through the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The links to all my sites are along the right-hand side of my sites. You can go through the material anyway you’d like, if you’re interested.

            I’m going through it thoroughly and I’m using The Jewish Study Bible — the same one they use in major universities and Divinity colleges.

            So long for now.

      2. “Well, he certainly wouldn’t be the God with whom we are familiar.”

        I’ve gone over the responses to your article and people overwhelmingly agree with you. I thought I’d point out that the above comment was intended as a wise crack.

        I also just noticed that you’re only sixteen. You seem pretty angry for someone that young.

        Anyway, I just wrote a post inspired by this one. Hope you like it.

        Peace.

        1. I thought I’d point out that the above comment was intended as a wise crack.

          Ummm… okay. I’m a little confused, then. :) Do you agree or disagree with what I wrote?

          I also just noticed that you’re only sixteen. You seem pretty angry for someone that young.

          Seventeen, actually; I forgot to edit my profile. :) As for being angry – I *was* angered by Mr. Harris’ words, though to be honest, I was more grieved than anything.

          But as John Calvin quipped, ” A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”

          1. There are a lot of religious folk who I’d quote. John Calvin isn’t one of them. Any man who’d go along with burning a man alive is someone can . . .

            No, I don’t agree with your article. You should welcome that. It’s not good to only hear people who agree with you. But the disagreement doesn’t really matter (at least to me). What matters to me is the exchange of ideas — even ones that I don’t agree with, or which I at the moment do not accept.

          2. There are a lot of religious folk who I’d quote. John Calvin isn’t one of them. Any man who’d go along with burning a man alive is someone can . . .

            Calvin certainly isn’t perfect, and I have my reservations with him too, but in all fairness to him, he didn’t approve of burning a man to death. While Calvin did agree with the sentence of death, something that every other country had already threatened Servetus with, he pleaded with the council of Geneva not to burn Servetus. Unfortunately, Calvin was *not* the political leader of Geneva, and so could not change the council’s decision to burn Servetus.

            Just checked your blog out by the way, very nice. :)

          3. Ahh. I see I have been badly informed about Mr. Calvin.

            I’m pleased you like the site, Lady Amy. I did put a lot of work into them, so the occasional pat on the back is encouraging. :)

          4. “I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”

            No you wouldn’t. If you commented every time that happened, you’d be busy All. The. Time. Pick your battles. I also find it’s useful to have a role model. I’m a lot older than you are and it’s useful for me. Mine is Christopher Hitchens, for a lot of reasons. I think there are a lot of things about him that a believer could adopt, in terms of intelligent and thoughtful replies. (What amazes me most is that I always learn something from reading his writing.) In fact, I try to emulate his writing style. It’s actually made me a better writer.

          5. I have picked my battles, and this was one of them. I don’t blog or comment about every attack on Christianity, but in this case, I felt led to respond to Mr. Harris. And I would be a coward if I knew I should speak up and didn’t.

            I, too, have role models, people from which I have learned (and still learn) a great deal: my Dad, my Pastor, Douglas Wilson, J.C. Ryle, and Carl Trueman, to name just a few.

  15. FUCK YOU CHRISTIAN POSTER! no argument, no reply to Harris, just a cowardly copout. Restating the very self contradictory claims which make people disbelieve in the moronic God’s ‘goodness’ and slapping on ‘maybe he can be all these things’ (even as logically, and looking at his actions in the bible and looking at the state of the world, he cant be) while not actually “arguing” for how he could be any of these things is a copout. the only ‘argument’ i see is “well if god’s ways are too mysterious for humans to understand then Sam’s analysis cant be right”.
    counterargument: until and unless you can explain that such a god exists and has these mysterious ways, Sam’s argument holds and your god isn’t any better than the invisible purple unicorn. but oh wait, if he did have ways beyond those of mortals than how the fuck can YOU CLAIM TO KNOW THEM and know that harris cant comprehend them, seeing as your human yourself you loathsome cockroach!

    yes indeed, God works in mysterious ways, and so do psychopaths.

    1. No. No. No. Your doctor did *not* tell you to break the tablets in half. The instructions were to double the dose. These details are important.

      Good luck, and get well soon.

  16. Hello, Ink Slinger,

    You say, “Who are you, Sam Harris, to reply against God? Who are you to call Him to account?” and “Maybe He is, in fact, working all things (yes, Mr. Harris, even catastrophes) for His glory.”

    The bible says that we are made in God’s image. Obviously, this would have nothing to do with our physical appearance, but rather our spiritual one. The bible also say that we have the knowledge of good and evil, being able to discern which is which. The bible also say that we are given dominion over the things of the earth: animals, plants, and so forth. But we are not, as far as I know, given the right to have dominion over each other.

    Now, I don’t happen to believe the bible, but you do. So, there is a necessity on your part to adhere to it, right? As an agent who has free will, Sam Harris is within his rights to question God’s exist–and in deed–his character. Since we are made in God’s image and we know the difference between good and evil, we can be appalled at the idea of megalomania. Torturing someone, “for his glory” is something that an evil person would do. Not questioning things is something that an autonomous being, such as a human being, Sam Harris for instance, has not only the capacity to do but the built-in instinct to do. It’s what makes us human. If we are merely robots without any rights and simply unthinking slaves, we cannot have free will, for that is what places us above the lesser primates and all other animals.

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