I Have No Soul

I have several problems with the concept of a soul (or spirit, or whatever you may choose to call it). Aside from the argument for lack of evidence, there are issues facing a person who claims that humans have souls that are created by God and that outlive the body on a separate, spiritual plane of existence. I’ll outline these issues as follows:

IF I HAVE A SOUL, WHY DO I NEED A BODY?

This first question stems from the idea that God creates human souls (I’m not sure when) and implants them or attaches them to the fertilized egg at conception so that the bundle of cells becomes a viable human. Never mind that 25% of these “viable humans” will be naturally aborted or miscarried without intervention from humans. What I don’t get is this: God’s ultimate plan for everybody is that their souls reside in Heaven with Him eternally and that we are all happy, healthy, and free of sin. So…why do I need a body? If my soul would be happy in Heaven then why can we not forego all of the formality, suffering, and nonsense and just get right to the end goal? If God cares nothing at all for my body and only wants my soul, then He should have just created my soul in Heaven directly. It’s reasonable, it’s simple, it’s loving, and it accomplishes the goal with zero room for error.

WHERE WAS MY SOUL BEFORE I WAS BORN?

Since we’re assuming that God creates souls, but don’t know when He does it, we might assume that He created my soul a long time ago and was waiting for my parents to find each other and conceive the body into which He would ultimately place my soul. This begs the question(s): how long was my soul around before it was joined to my body, and where was it? If my soul was in heaven with God waiting to be transplanted, then I find it particularly disturbing and despicable that He wouldn’t have just left me there. After all, Heaven is where He wants me to end up, isn’t it?

If my soul was not in Heaven with God, then where was it? What other existential plane is there on which my soul may have sat in wait for a body? The flip side to this question relies on the idea that souls don’t exist prior to being joined with a body and that God creates them at the point of conception (kind of a chicken-and-egg argument, in my opinion). This brings us to my next question.

WHEN DOES GOD CREATE SOULS?

If, statistically, 25% of all pregnancies end in natural abortion or miscarriage then we have to question when, exactly, God is creating these souls. Is there a period of time during which the bundle of cells is under observation and in a probationary period before God deems them worthy of being joined to a soul? If not, and God joins the soul immediately at the time of conception, then why does He deem some souls lucky enough not to have to undergo the suffering of mortality and get a “Go Straight to heaven” card? Is He showing favoritism, or is He just shooting dice with these souls and they happen to hit the jackpot? If these souls were destined to end up in Heaven without having to struggle through life, then why did He bother with their conception (obviously wasted energy and resources for nothing) and bonding of their souls at all? He would have already known where they were going, because they never got to exercise their free will (a central tenet of religions which I find incredibly contradictory).

WHY IS GOD STILL CREATING SOULS?

God presumably knew prior to creating the first human soul that He would have to mourn their poor decisions, deal with sin, and eventually sacrifice His son for their forgiveness. The question then arises: why did God – angry at Adam and Eve for sinning – command them to go out and make more sinners?! To whom does that make any sense at all? Not to me. So perhaps my biggest question is why God is even creating souls at all. If I were in charge, I would have just let the two sinners die, send their souls wherever they needed to go, and call it good enough – an experiment that turned out poorly and from which I can learn a valuable lesson.

WHY DOES MY SOUL NOT DEFINE ME?

If we have non-corporeal souls that outlive us, then whatever defines who we are should be contained in that soul. That is to say, our personality, our compassion, our jealousy and anger and greed should not simply be a product of chemical reactions in our physical brains, but should transcend our bodies on the spiritual plane. If we have these souls, then they would not be affected by drugs, social pressures, local culture, or trauma. Regardless of what was happening to our bodies, we should always be exactly what our soul defines us to be. We know this isn’t the case. Brain trauma sometimes causes an irreversible shift in a person’s personality to the point where – behaviorally – they would be unrecognizable even to their own family. Drugs cause personality shifts and behavioral changes where people will do things and say things they would otherwise never do or say. It can be argued that moving to a different geographical location or immersing oneself in a different culture causes fundamental shifts in behavior and personality as well. We tend to change ourselves to suit our surroundings if we are unable to change our surroundings to suit ourselves.

How could this happen if we have an immortal soul? I don’t think it could, and I have yet to come across an argument convincing me that this question isn’t valid.

IF I HAVE A SOUL, WHY DO I NEED A BRAIN?

Even if my soul doesn’t define my personality, then it is said that it is what gives me life. Religious people often claim that our brains are so complex and amazing, it couldn’t possibly be reduced simply to electrical impulses and chemical reactions – an argument from incredulity. But why, if I have an immortal soul that gives me life, do I need a brain? Why doesn’t my soul do that work? Why isn’t my soul more actively and apparently involved in my living process? This may be the weakest of my problems with the soul concept, but it’s still a problem.

IF ANIMALS HAVE NO SOULS, HOW DO THEY LIVE?

It is commonly accepted and stated as fact in religious circles that only humans bear a soul. Animals don’t have souls and they don’t go to Heaven or Hell. It seems odd then that animals have identical living processes to humans – that is, brains, hearts, digestive systems, etc. Why do we look the same as animals on the inside if we’re so much different? Why are we made up of exactly the same material? This makes absolutely no sense. If humans have souls, then animals must also have souls because we can find no fundamental difference between animals and humans (who, as we all know, are still animals). I find it frustrating to think that any religious person could hold to this idea and even go so far as to construct some type of elaborate defense of this position that defies all logic and reason.

I HAVE NO SOUL.

Given that these questions are never answered, I have to operate under the assumption that I have no immortal soul. As such, I am not in any terrible danger of ending up in Hell and I have no reason to make myself subservient to an oppressive deity on the off-chance I might make it to Heaven. Instead, I’ll act as though this life is the only one I get; that I should be kind to my fellow humans in the hopes that it will propagate to all and we’ll live in peace; that my happiness here on Earth is my ultimate goal, so long as I don’t harm others in my attempts to attain it; that I should not waste a single moment of my life bowing and scraping to an invisible person who doesn’t care about my mortal existence anyway. I’ll just be the best human I can be. Is that so bad?

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39 Comments

  1. @striemmy – I have. You can see all of my reasoning in this post regarding the difficulties in resolving these issues. Now, as far as when god creates the soul, where they are prior to being born, and how the soul attaches to the body…are there answers for that? 

  2. @CoderHead – Sort of. In at least one instance you made several unsupported assumptions and created a self-defeating argument. Where was my soul before I was born? I have a great answer for why god would not permit a soul to stay in heaven. Angels are not permitted free will but humans are. If god is a deity of his word, and he’s supposed to be, then all humans are to be permitted free will. If that free will is issued the moment they are conceived then all souls must be attached to bodies (if that is the process) and must exist for some time after conception. There’s a lot to work with here that I see untouched. 

    As far as attachment, it would require a definite corporeal realization of a soul, which would come with several questions. Among them, why can’t we see a soul on a microscope, where does the soul attach, is the soul in the coffin when we die, etc. What if the soul was composed of dark matter and is already intrinsically linked to us as we’re composed of matter? I’m not suggesting that but I’m saying that you can’t rule out that a solution exists just because it hasn’t occurred yet. 

  3.  God’s ultimate plan for everybody is that their souls reside in Heaven.
    The bible says that we will also have new immortal resurrected bodies in heaven. I believe our souls came into existence at conception. We don’t know whether aborted babies automatically go to heaven, There’s two other possibilities. One is that God still allows them the chance to hear the gospel and to receive or reject it, The other is that since God would be all knowing, then he knows whether or not they would have believed if they were born and lived on the earth.
    @striemmy –  Angels are not permitted free will but humans are.
    Why do you say that? The bible says that Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels decided to rebel against God.

  4. @musterion99 – That’s a great question. It’s also unanswerable as the insurrectino of heaven isn’t given in enough detail to determine whether the actual actions lucifer undertook were of his free will. For example, would a merciful and loving god, seeing the seeds of envy, hatred and rebelliousness grow in the hearts of his creations, bind them into eternity of servitude, which would amount to torment, or allow them to rebel?

  5. @striemmy – Sorry it took me so long to respond. I think I have to take exception at your statement that the only way to allow a soul free will is to attach it to a body. Why? If a soul is an independent being, then god could give the soul the choice to stay in Heaven, go to Earth, or head straight to Hell. Actually, that would be even better an implementation of free will than the current system because I currently don’t have a choice at all (that is, no free will) as to whether I’m born, whether I live on Earth, or whether I even have to be a human (maybe I want to be a dolphin).

    I also disagree that angels don’t have free will (even though I don’t believe in angels). If Lucifer and his followers could decide to leave Heaven then that already counters your point. If they didn’t choose to leave Heaven then god is malicious in that he purposely created his opposition when there was none so that humans could be tempted and tormented and fall from grace. Which is it? They either decided to leave or god made an enemy for himself on purpose.

    Also, don’t you ever wonder why Lucifer left? Perhaps he saw how incompetent god was and got sick of it. God kills and tortures exponentially more people in the Bible than Lucifer. Maybe you’re worshiping the wrong guy. What do you think?

  6. @CoderHead – Quite alright. Well, I was under the understanding that angels have no free will (as I’ll return to later). To be a human you have to at least be conceived, that everyone agrees on, so whether you exist in another form prior to that (sperm, egg, soul) you aren’t entitled to whatever a human being may be entitled to until at least that moment in the process, hence my commentary. You also don’t have the free will to stop accelerating after jumping off the ledge of a building. I’m pretty sure free will governs our actions and not the rules of the universe. Babies must be born, or not but that deals with medical science and the choices and/or genetic inclinations of the mother and father, not the child. Even so, how would you know to make a choice? As I’ll state later, you cannot have one end of a spectrum exist without another and have meaning. To a fetus the womb is the entire world and they are all that is in it. What would your choice be? TO leave the world? How would you even know that was possible? There is no context for that choice to be made in. 

    Making a decision and performing an action are two different things. Say that God, considering that he is omnipotent and omniscient, had that as a part of his plan. You can lay cheese on the outside of a cage with a mouse trapped inside and the mouse may decide to get the cheese but can it do anything about that decision until you free it? I don’t believe that’s malicious. A lifetime devoid of one end of the spectrum nullifies the meaningfulness of the other. Without temptation there can be no salvation. Without wrong there can be no right. Without mistakes and ignoracne there can be no wisdom and intelligence. There is no satisfaction so great as that of obstacles overcome, lessons learned and memories gained. Moreover, it is never stated that lucifer was even approaching omnipotence or omniscience, which he would need to be considered a rival to the deity. In light of those assumptions about the nature of god (which is coming from the same source material that everything else is) it is unlikely that god isn’t keeping satan aronud as part of the plan. The only way that this wouldn’t be the case is if there were some silly paradox like him being unable to directly destroy any creation of his own (like simply zapping someone out of existence), because it would constitute him breaking his word or something to that extent and as angels have no corporeal form he wouldn’t be able to send a natural disaster to end them or something else like that. I did some reading and apparently there is no direct passage about whether or not angels have free will. However, let’s assume that they do if only to satisfy the situation of the insurrection of heaven with the simplest explanation. The question then arises, is a human soul an angel when it’s still in heaven? Something in me doubts that.  
    Lol I never wonder. Lucifer wanted the throne. God kills more people than lucifer because lucifer doesn’t kill. However, he doesn’t torture more people than lucifer, as he doesn’t torture and even if he did, it’s unlikely that the amount of people that he has would come close to the amount of people that would have landed in hell by the bible’s historical conclusion. I don’t worship anyone. 

  7. @striemmy – You’re arguing that only humans have free will, and I’m arguing that it’s not the human body that has free will, but the soul. Since you’re only here for a short time before your soul goes to Heaven/Hell, it’s reasonable to say that god only cares about your soul, and not your human body. Therefore it’s also reasonable to assume that prior to being joined to a human body your human soul ought to have free will and be given the choice. We don’t get any such choice, so god is violating us and dooming us from the start.

    “You also don’t have the free will to stop accelerating after jumping off the ledge of a building.”

    You have the free will not to jump off the building. I hope that wasn’t a serious argument. Nobody is arguing for free will against the fundamental laws of nature.

    “Even so, how would you know to make a choice?”

    How do you know to make a choice now? Are you saying that choice is merely a product of brain chemistry? If so, then after you die and your soul goes to Heaven you are completely stripped of your free will. That means for eternity you will be a mindless zombie doing whatever god makes you do. Sounds like a great way to spend forever…

    “There is no context for that choice to be made in.”

    Right, but only because god creates you ignorant. That’s one of my points of contention with god. If he loves you so much then why not imbue you the ability to make an informed decision and exercise your free will from the very start?

    “You can lay cheese on the outside of a cage with a mouse trapped inside and the mouse may decide to get the cheese but can it do anything about that decision until you free it?”

    If you trapped a mouse in a cage and put a block of cheese just out of its reach it would be malicious. It would be even more malicious if you claimed beforehand that you really, really wanted that mouse to have that cheese because you loved it. I’m not even sure how that relates to the topic of a soul, though. Are we saying the mouse is our soul and Heaven is the cheese?

    Back on the subject of Lucifer, I see the possibilities thus:

        1. God didn’t create Lucifer. Lucifer is just as powerful as god and that’s why god hasn’t been able to destroy him.
        2. God is using Lucifer as a scapegoat for his own shortcomings and has deceived the world into believing that it’s all Lucifer’s fault.
        3. God is constrained to a timetable set long ago from which he is powerless to deviate (I don’t know why this would be or who set it) and that’s why he hasn’t destroyed Lucifer yet.
        4. Both god and Lucifer are identically nonexistent (my money’s on this one).

  8. @CoderHead – I don’t find that to be the case. I think, that if the joining process actually exists (as opposed to no souls or souls created at the point of conception) that it exists for a reason and I can think of plenty off the cuff that would satisfy a need to be joined to a human body before returning to heaven, thus engendering the need for the process in the first place. Anyway, there are many examples in the bible of God giving an explicit choice to a human being to perform a task or set of tasks or to ignore him but not one instance of him giving an angel a choice rather than an order. This demonstrates either an incomplete telling of the story of the bible or a clear deliniation between the rights and expectations of souls and the rights and expectations of humanity. 

    Actually, you were. In what way is a fetus able to “have a choice at all as to whether [it’s] born, whether [it] live[s] on Earth, or whether [it] even [has] to be a human”? A fetus has no more control over at least one of those than anyone else on the entirety of the planet. Genetically, even if the fetus never comes to term it must be human. It may never reach the stage of maturity to be considered a human but it is still human material. It cannot will itself to become a pig and neither can modern geneticsts. As far as living on earth, we have no colonies on other worlds yet and “nobody is arguing for free will against the fundamental lasws of nature” so obviously a person can’t live in space without any atmosphere or a planet with an atmosphere that can’t support human life. FInally, of course the infant has no choice about whether they want to be born or not, no more than you can stop yourself from plummetting to the first floor after taking that plunge off the roof. Hence, my analogy. Forces that you have no control over are, to you in this context, as remote as fundamental laws of nature. Although, one would argue that a baby being born is a fundamental law of nature.
    Actually, I’m saying choice is strictly a product of experience. If you’ve never had anything but vanilla ice cream and have never known that any other ice cream exists you may complain about how mundane it becomes as life progresses but you will continue to choose it. When you know more, you have the ability to do more. Maybe that is the case. Perhaps those that believe will be zombies in paradise. The question then becomes whether you’d rather be a zombie burning for eternity or a zombie in paradise, since you can’t take your body to either place, as I understand it. 
    The ability to make an informed decision and the possession of free will are completely different concept. Part of what creates a person is what they expereince and learn over a lifetime. In doing that he would give us no freedom in how our life would proceed or who we would choose to become. 
    The mouse example was relating to the insurrection of heaven and your claim that it had to have been free will being exercised. You stated that it must and I, that it mustn’t necessarily. Action does not demonstrate free will necessarily. The mouse isn’t getting the cheese but it has free will to an extent, no? 
    I see your possibilities as limited and your characterization of god as impotent or emotionally immature. I don’t find that consistent with the source material we’re working with on this discussion and I’d appreciate if you looked for a solution inside the frame work before inventing new stuff to make your ideas fit. That’s generally how creationists get in trouble with scientists, isnt’ it?

  9. @striemmy – I’d be interested to hear your reasons why a soul would need to be joined to a body before it can go to heaven. I’d also like to know if you have any basis for them other than personal speculation, which is what you’ve called me out on in my last post.

    I think you’re misunderstanding my argument here. I’m not arguing that a fetus ought to have a choice as to whether or not it exits the womb; I’m arguing that the soul ought to have a choice as to whether or not it becomes enjoined to a body. I’m arguing for an informed consent scenario prior to a sperm and an egg ever meeting. Ultimately the only thing that will remain is the soul, so the soul – and not the body – should be the thing imbued with free will. Therefore, it matters not whether a fetus can choose to leave the womb or choose to be a pig instead of a human. It only matters that god performs an action on each soul without consent, without choice, and without free will.

    And no, the mouse has no free will because you’ve taken it away by placing the mouse in a cage. If the mouse were able to exercise free will, do you think it’d stay in the cage and stare at the cheese?

    Would I rather be a zombie burning forever or a zombie in paradise? What an odd question! I’d rather not be a zombie at all, if you don’t mind. And if my non-corporeal zombie soul gets ripped away from my body (which contains my nerves), how would I be able to experience the sensation of burning? That’s nonsense.

    The problem with my speculation running afoul of the source material is that the source material is incredibly vague on this subject. We have no idea of the mechanics of souls, the rebellion in heaven, or the specifics of the afterlife. If it were important (and indeed all Abrahamic religions’ doctrine is set on the foundation of the afterlife) then it should be clarified. Wouldn’t you agree? As much as you don’t agree with my points because they’re mere personal opinion, nothing you come up with will be any better because your source material doesn’t tell you anything that I don’t already know.

  10. @CoderHead – Romans 2:6-8 How can he judge a soul that has participated in no experiences, taken no actions, made no choices? 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 How would a soul who has never had a physical form accomplish this? Not going to go line for line with this one but it paints a picture, to me, of a proving ground, or of no soul coming into existence prior to conception. One or the other. 

    Does your soul think thoughts or is the function of electrical activity in your brain? In which are your choices made? You’re arguing logistics instead of citing material. If god needs a cisco engineer I’m sure he’ll cook one up to handle his soul networking issues but as yet, I’m inclined to believe things are fine whatever way they are. So, that said, like I said before the verses cited god giving and referencing many times the free will of man and never of angels or just the soul of man, though it does speak of the soul bearing the brunt of man’s actions. Beyond that, it would be impossible not to perform an action without each souls consent in that they all have to be created and it’s paradoxical, to say the least, that a thing should have a say in whether or not it exists before it’s created (and again, with no defining context for that or any other choice). That aside, you’re arguing a state of existence (one you don’t believe in might I add) that you extrapolated from nothingness and which I believe has thoroughly fallen apart. For the record, unborn babies don’t hit the jackpot, they hit limbo.
    Perhaps. Imagine that the cheese is suspended 300 feet in the air in the middle of a barren land. The mouse isn’t in a cage. The mouse has free will but cannot obtain the cheese without assistance, again. Now what?
    You mean to tell me that the sensation of burning is wholly contingent upon having nerve endings? Hogwash. That’s not even true on THIS plane of existence. Who said anything about feeling? Actually, the original text just says that your soul will die. You will cease to exist instead of being granted eternal life. 
    I wouldn’t agree. clarification is not a necessary pre-requisite to following directives. If something is important enough clarification becomes a mere formality; the buttress of the illusion of a choice. In fact, none of those things are relevant to the purpose of the source material or following the directives therein, so why would it be included? It would be like including the name of the inventor of a piece included in your stereo system in the instructions on how to assemble it. It would be a fun fact but completely irrelevant to the task at hand. Moreover, who is to say that that isn’t specific for the time in question?

  11. @striemmy – My point was that if god were creating souls and not attaching them to physical bodies, then judgment would be wholly unnecessary. Let me put it this way: god doesn’t give you a choice as to whether or not your soul is created, he just does it. Presumably, his goal in creating you is to have you in heaven with him eternally. Instead of creating your soul in heaven where you can be with him eternally (the goal), he shoves you into existence in a physical body on Earth where you can use your brain (that he created) to reject him, causing your own eternal damnation to hell. Why not reduce it to the fewest number of moving parts? You say without bodies we couldn’t be tested for judgment but I’m saying there’s no reason to require judgment in the first place. The answer is so simple a child could think of it: either don’t create souls at all (because you already know they’re going to turn into sinners) or just create them in heaven.

    I can’t answer your question as to the soul’s purpose. I’d like to get your take on it. And I can’t cite material because the Bible doesn’t say what the purpose of the soul is. From my readings, the word “soul” seems to be used as a literary device to signify any sort of interaction with god.

    From where do you propose limbo for unborn babies? It’s not in the Bible (your source material, right?).

    If the mouse is not confined to a cage, then the mouse has free will and the cheese is completely irrelevant…except it would seem that you’ve still stripped an essential liberty away from the mouse by placing it in an alien environment purposely devoid of food and water. That makes you malicious. I’m sorry, but this mouse scenario isn’t getting any better.

    I’m confused by this contradiction. First you say this:

    “The question then becomes whether you’d rather be a zombie burning for eternity”

    And then you say this:

    “Who said anything about feeling? Actually, the original text just says that your soul will die. You will cease to exist instead of being granted eternal life.”

    Which is it? Are you going to burn or are you going to just stop existing?

    Clarification is necessary when you’ll risk eternal punishment for your choice. You may not care about the inventor of your stereo system, but that doesn’t have eternal consequences, does it? Would you argue with me if I said that if god exists as described in the Bible, then the decision to accept or reject salvation is the single most important decision one could ever make in their entire lifetime? If that’s the case, then how could you be expected to make that decision without complete information? Are you supposed to simply “follow directives” and not think about it at all? If that’s what’s expected, then why even have free will?

    What do you mean by, “who is to say that that isn’t specific for the time in question?”

  12. @CoderHead – You’re reverse engineering rather than building forward. Heaven wasn’t the goal, eden was. Eden spun wild askew of specs and a few big os upgrades later, here we are. The reason to require judgment is original sin, if I’m not mistaken. Or stick to your word like an all powerful being is supposed to. 

    I generally don’t deal in raw opinion. 
    The source material doesn’t speak on the matter explicitly, so far as I understand it, so we defer to the next best thing. The classic interpreters of the bible, the theologians. As far as I know they subdivided the concept of hell into hell, purgatory and both limbos. 
    The point of the barren land is that there is no way to get 300 feet in the air. Not malicious. You’re avoiding the example now. 
    Not a contradiction. I revised your first simile into a more accurate choice between two options and then took it back to source material when you nitpicked my revision. No contradiction, revision. 
    I’d disagree. Especially considering that you’ve imagined heaven as zombieland I would say that that choice is rather trivial. Free will is overrated. I wonder how money young martial arts students have found themselves dead because they asked why when they should have just followed instruction. How many soldiers? There are such things as best practice and there’s a value to accepting without questioning that is lost on a world softened to the art of discipline. What part of following directives has to do with interfering with free will? You can choose not to, so you still have free will. You also have free will at the gun range with your friends to play around in their line of fire and on the way plummeting to earth from skydiving you totally have the free will to not pull the cord and instead enjoy the ride that much longer. 
    I mean that in the time when the bible was written maybe that was considered specific. It predates the scientific method doesn’t it? I dunno if it predates greek logic. 

  13. @striemmy – OK, then if Eden was the goal there’s still a simple solution even a child can think of: don’t create a tree that will cause the demise of humans right smack dab in the middle of their home and then give a deceitful talking serpent free reign to mess with their minds. Seriously. Maybe I’m reverse engineering it, but I didn’t exactly have the luxury of being consulted during creation, did I?

    So since god didn’t think to be specific enough for us (and hasn’t bothered to revise his “perfect” text) we have to listen to other humans to decipher what he was actually trying to say? Come on, that’s the best god can do? How are you ever to know which theologian is correct when they can’t even agree?

    You’re confusing me. You just said there’s no hell, your soul just dies. Now you say this:

    “As far as I know they subdivided the concept of hell into hell, purgatory and both limbos.”
    I’m actually confused as to what you believe now. It’s difficult to even follow this conversation anymore.

    I’m not avoiding the mouse scenario. I simply don’t understand the parallel you’re drawing. What are you expecting the mouse to do? Ask you for help? Give up on ever getting the cheese and just die of starvation?

    LOL @ “Free will is overrated.” Following directives without question isn’t always the best choice. Consider the open field tactics during the revolutionary war era. What happened when the British soldiers (some against their better judgment, I’d guess) lined up in traditional battle rows, only to be cut to pieces by the Continental militia who were hiding behind trees and flanking them? In this scenario would it have been in the British soldiers’ best interest to second-guess the directives being given? And how about the militia? They didn’t accept convention and just go with what they had been told or shown. They went completely against all conventional wisdom and dealt staggering blows to the “directive-followers.”

    Following directives without question is not a virtue, and I’ll argue that to my dying day.

  14. @CoderHead – You’re assuming that constitutes a problem. I’m failing to see how anything could constitute a problem for an omnipotent and omniscient being. 

    Well, no, creating literature isn’t like creating an organism. Words won’t mutate and divide and grow divergeant strains (on their own) as survival demands it of them. The bible is no more going to change for society and its needs than shakespeare is. The point, if I’m on the money, of the bible was to spread christianity wide and far. What if it was written for this time? It couldn’t possibly have been written for all times, not even with an omniscient god who allows free will. There’s too much margin for error in one knowing one’s own future, which some of it would have to be relevant to the present therefore letting that information leak into the past. It’s a logistics nightmare. Who said theologians don’t agree?
    I didn’t say there’s no hell. You must pay very precise attention. I said the text says that your soul dies. That was to revise the dichotomy between being a zombie burning for eternity and being a zombie in paradise, which was a revision of your being a zombie in heaven without free will query. 
    Oh, I haven’t stated much of what I beleive as yet. 
    The parallel is that choice and action are not instrincly linked. Free will and action are not intrinsically linked. This was the conversation thread from the insurrection of heaven on all the way down.
    I never said it was the best choice but in a culture saturated with self-direction nonsense people ought to remember that the way our vast resevoirs of human knowledge and culture and civilization were built upon the principle of ‘follow me, I know the way’.
    And now we have America, the bold, the beautiful, and the horribly financially crippled and politically corrupt. I’m not entirely certain this was the best example to run with. 
    The inability to do so is a hindrance in the worst possible way. Your best thinking, even with a mensa IQ, isn’t necessarily going to get you what you want or need. Consider that logically and get back to me about it. 

  15. @striemmy – All along I’ve been agreeing with you that nothing should be a problem for an omnipotent and omniscient being. Yet here we are talking about an ancient text that is supposed to have been god’s chosen method of communicating with us and he couldn’t foresee the need for revisions to keep up with the times? Or perhaps a more thorough documentation in the first place? He’s supposed to be the greatest, most perfect being within and without the universe but he can’t say something unambiguous that everybody can understand? You say it’s a logistical nightmare…but there’s nothing an omnipotent and omniscient god cannot do, or you couldn’t call him omni-anything. I simply cannot buy into that – especially if his purpose for having the Bible written was to demonstrate his wisdom and love to all of us for all time (and not just for first-century Middle-Easterners).

    You keep comparing god’s material to that of humans, and I hope you realize the irony in that. The works of Shakespeare provide entertainment and (somewhat) history in a human context and we know they were written by a human. Nobody suspects otherwise or bases their choices in life on Shakespeare. The Bible, however, is supposed to be the inspired word of god, not a fictional work by a human playwright. The contents of the Bible supposedly hold the key to eternal bliss or eternal punishment. When you compare the Bible to poetry or fiction, it only reinforces my feeling that even those who believe the Bible know it’s all man-made.

    You said the soul dies. Then you said that there’s a place called hell. The soul outlives the body but if it dies then it cannot, by definition, exist anymore. If it doesn’t exist then it cannot be in a place called hell. If there are no souls in hell, then hell has no purpose (unless its sole purpose is to house Lucifer and his fallen angels). So please clarify: is there an actual place called hell and do human souls go there to be punished for rejecting Christ’s salvation?

    Please don’t try to tell me that all theologians agree on subjects like the soul or hell. You know it’s not true. Which theologians do you hold as authoritative on these subjects and why?

    “Your best thinking, even with a mensa IQ, isn’t necessarily going to get you what you want or need.”

    Care to explain? My thoughts drive my actions and the only way I can get what I want or need is to think it and then do it. What is the alternative?

  16. @CoderHead – It’s a logistical nightmare because of us, his creations with the free will and not because of any particular limitations of his. I think the closest he gets to conveying messages universally is in parables, and even then many people fail to catch them, for their own ignorance or lack of creativity. The ‘problem’ is us. You read something and I read something and we come away with two different things by choice not by definition of the words or fault of the copy. And beyond the fact that language mutates and evolves, by action of humanity, leaving things without modern meaning or understanding, I’d say it’s doing a pretty effective job. Christianity alone accounts for about a third of the world’s population. All of the abrahamic religons (which can all be said to have been sourced from the same material) account for half the world’s population. I think that’s preposterous. Ambiguity is, in fact, the only way to effectively convey a message to as massive a population as the human race, ie parables. Why do you think Buddhism spread so far and so fast?  Moreover, and again, why do you think this presents a problem? I think the complexities of the issue lend themselves well to a situation where not everyone is going to make it. Giving a child, which is the closest comparison available, everything does not make them a competent adult. The obstacles and dilemmas we face in life define us as human beings and give us the strength and confidence to go out into the world and do great things. Coddling anyone, spiritually, physically, educationally, creates weakness and fosters dependency. Is that where you’d like humanity to go? in the toilet like so many spoiled human products of birds that don’t allow the young to leave the nest and fly?

    Strawman. You went for the analogy instead of the meat of my argument. What am I going to compare it to instead? Comparisons and analogies and similes exist to link ideas to make ideas that are difficult to grasp easier, as our brain assimilates information only in the form of relation and comparison to existing information and informational frameworks. Therefore, if you keep asking for explanation, how else am I to give it to you? Whether the word is of god or not it would still need a medium to be mass distributed and studied and a form which would be protected from intentional bastardization. Language and in particular, writing, perform that task very well. It’s easier to contest a clear bastardization of a biblical passage than it is to notice someone twisting a relayed verbal message or interpreting a vision. Language is a near-universal connector and I’m pretty sure that the concepts involved are incomprehensible in math, so that’s out of the question as a medium for the message. You’re making assumptions that are beyond the possible scope of your, or any human’s, understanding. You are insisting that there is a better way. That’s like insisting that there is a better way with evolution that would demonstrate the active work of a deity and a perfect process. Where are these ideas coming from? Have you seen something I haven’t? Have you seen a more perfect evolution? More to the point, have you seen a better transmission medium that retains consistency with how the system of humanity operates? If you have nothing better how can you suggest something better? If you have nothing better how would you know it’s possible? And when you voice your feelings as though relevant to the argument I question your logic. 

    I was hoping you’d pick up on it on your own but I think it’s sort of revealing, the things you choose to freely associate and the conclusions you draw when given the premises. No, I won’t clarify. I’ll give you one more chance to correctly exercise logic. The soul leaves the body when you die. The soul can go to a place called hell. There is fire and souls burn in hell (and originally I said forever but revised my statement on the matter). The soul dies. You are to tell me that you see no possible logical sequence of events that makes sense to you in that? Sincerely? Actually, isn’t the punishment not recieving eternal life in the glory of god’s radiance or something to that effect?

    I didn’t say all and neither did you. Don’t strawman me. All scientists don’t agree either. The debate and comparison of evidence advances one debate as much as it advances the next so whether they all agree or not is not a relevant point. The point is whether the premises and supporting evidence raised in the debate are relevant, not the people bringing them to the table. Reason takes precendence over individual considerations. 

    The alternative is to listen to someone else. Again, I was hoping you’d pick up on that. Starting from scratch using only your thinking and not relying on anyone else’s work you could never get from Copernicus to Einstein. You couldn’t get from Wright brothers to Delta airlines. You couldn’t even get from stone attached to stick to katana on the power of your own solitary thought. At least, not in a single human lifetime. Your best thinking isn’t good enough. You don’t know enough for it to be and often, especially with certain learning types, it’s far more useful to follow and learn than to hypothesize and attempt. Masters of any given field or craft hypothesize and attempt, only because they have no one left to follow. As I said before, there is a such thing as best practice and there’s a value to accepting without questioning. Is there also value to accepting while questioning? Sure, though frankly I think that often times it wastes valuable time and resources. How much further would humanity have come if just 50% of the time people, in science, in engineering, in technology, in social science, hadn’t wasted time saying why? Not 100% of the time because inquiry is necessary to troubleshoot, to perfect, to improve and for inspiring creative and out-of-the-box thoughts but 50% could have gone a long way and still can. The power of yes, as it were. 

  17. @striemmy – “Coddling anyone, spiritually, physically, educationally, creates weakness and fosters dependency. Is that where you’d like humanity to go?”

    You’re saying that god doesn’t want us to be dependent on him? That’s the opposite of everything I’ve been told. Of course that’s not where I want humanity to go. Why do you think I speak out about religion, which fosters dependency and stifles individual thought?

    I made no straw man. What I’m saying is that you cannot make a comparison between a known work of fiction like Shakespeare and a supposedly divine book like the Bible. You can’t do it because the Bible makes a very unique claim about its truth and about the consequences of not believing in it that you’ll not find in any works of fiction. You absolutely have to hold the Bible to a higher standard than man-made literature if you are claiming that it’s the word of a god.

    Please read the sentence you wrote:
    “The soul leaves the body when you die. The soul can go to a place called hell. There is fire and souls burn in hell (and originally I said forever but revised my statement on the matter). The soul dies. You are to tell me that you see no possible logical sequence of events that makes sense to you in that? Sincerely? Actually, isn’t the punishment not recieving eternal life in the glory of god’s radiance or something to that effect?
    You see why I’m confused? You keep revising your statements and then coming back at me as though I’m putting words in your mouth. You’re arguing with ambiguity and it’s not helping me see your point. The phrase “something to that effect” is akin to “I don’t know.” So why are you trying to talk down to me as though you have more knowledge on this subject than I? You’re just as confused.

    To which theologians do you subscribe and view as having authority? I’m actually asking (as I did before) so that I can read up and understand your starting point. Can you throw some names out there?

    “How much further would humanity have come if just 50% of the time people, in science, in engineering, in technology, in social science, hadn’t wasted time saying why? “

    Do you honestly think we got as far as we have by not asking, “why?” No scientific advance has ever been produced by going with conventional wisdom (or utilizing the “power of yes,” as you put it). None. If you can think of one, I’d love to hear it. Inquiry is the basis of all knowledge.

  18. @CoderHead – If you’ve heard that he wants us to be dependant on him for eternal life, then you heard right, because (for the purposes of discussing christianity) he’s the only source for it. if you heard anything else, then obviously not so much as atheists prove quite efficiently on a daily basis all over the world. Religion doesn’t foster dependency or stifle individual thought. Religious institituions however may sometimes foster dependency but I think that often that is because of their belief that people need spiritual guidance, whether they know it or not. It achieves their purpose often to do that. Religious leaders may stifle independant thought. Do not hold the entire body of religion to account for individual actions. Don’t seek to rectify something which isn’t responsible for the issue. Stifling of intelligence happens even in academia. 
    The standards of the mediums are equivalent. The content is not. Is that difficult to grasp? You absolutely have to understand that the bible is an item of a class (books) and that that is the basis on which I compare it. Would you like me to compare it to the quran instead? The argument remains the same. How about the torah? The argument remains the same. The principles that I described are no less or more active based on content. They are the limitatinos of the media that we have created. There kinda isn’t anything else to that. 
    Dude, it couldn’t be any clearer. How is the sequence of events that proceeds the question I ask not constituting not recieving eternal life in the glory of god’s radiance? If you’re confused don’t blame it on the wording. If I say that I do a crime and I go to jail and they shank people in jail and I die in jail then my punishment is not being able to go to mcdonald’s then technically, so long as there is no mcdonald’s in jail, I’m correct! The only way you could possibly call what I’m saying confusing is if you think there are some exclusive disjunctinos there that aren’t in fact exclusive. For example, either I burnin hell or my soul dies would be one but I just laid the sequence of events out in such a way that you cannot refute that it makes sense that it wouldn’t be an exclusive disjunction. 
    I’ll throw names out when I’m done with my pizza.
    Oh that’s easy. Did they recreate the wheel when they invented the car? Did they reinvent the pipe when they invented the water treatment systems for the city? Did they reinvent the transformer when they designed hydroelectric dams? The answer simply put is no. Advancement through repurposing, innovating and adding on to existing ideass is the bulk of all scientific and technological advancement between breakthroughs. At some point in the process there must be some level of acceptance/ assumption so that they aren’t recreating all of modern science to run a single experiment or create a single product. Also, not to burst your bubble, but I stated that it is necessary to ask why for the sake of advancement. I also stated that it isn’t necessary to say it all the time. Don’t strawman me. 

  19. @striemmy – It doesn’t matter if the Bible shares the same classification as other books. Yes, the Bible is a book. However, in addition to it being a book it is said to be the word of a god. If that’s the case, then it ceases to be just “a book” and is reclassified “god’s word.” Only holy texts belong to this category so comparing them to Shakespeare is comparing apples to oranges. The fact that the Bible happens to be in written form has no bearing on its claim to be the word of a god. So even if you do compare it to the Qu’ran or the Torah my objection doesn’t change in that a perfect god (not men, and certainly not me) would have a perfect way to relate his perfect word to his intended, imperfect audience. If the text needs translation or apologetics in order to make sense to the current audience then it’s not perfect. What I’m saying is that the written word obviously wasn’t the right choice for all of the obvious reasons, even within the context of this discussion.

    So now you’re saying that I’m wrong to be confused about your definition of a non-believer’s afterlife because you’ve clearly given it to me a piece at a time and I should have just made the proper inference? Wonderful. So let me see if I’ve got all of the pieces now: your soul is only eternal if you’re a believer, in which case you go to Heaven and live with god in paradise forever. If you’re a non-believer then your soul goes to Hell where it’s punished in “flames” for an unspecified but finite period of time before it’s destroyed and loses any chance whatsoever to bask in god’s glory. At that point, a non-believer simply ceases to exist altogether. Is that correct? If not, can you see how I’m getting this from what you’ve said?

    Look, if I’m wrong about what you’re saying then the very least you could do is to come right out and say exactly what you believe it to be without avoiding an actual explanation by telling me I’m just not getting it. I’m actually trying to understand what you’re saying.

    You realize that wheels have gone through various progressions from stone to iron to steel to aluminum and rubber, right? Did the round shape of the wheel change? No, but the “reinvention” of each of these types of wheels led to faster production, lighter weight, increased strength, better shock absorption, etc. All of this because people continually asked, “Why?” Yes, of course we build off of existing knowledge! It would be stupid not to because we each only get to spend about 80 years on this Earth gaining and implementing that knowledge.

    You have no clue what a straw man is. I am not constructing an argument based on a false interpretation of your points and then deconstructing it as though it’s actually what you said. It sounds like you’re running with a persecution complex here. You said (and I quote):

    How much further would humanity have come if just 50% of the time people, in science, in engineering, in technology, in social science, hadn’t wasted time saying why?

    My response was that there is absolutely no reason to believe for a second that we’d be more advanced right now if everyone just stuck to conventional wisdom and didn’t question the status quo. In fact, we’d still be in the dark ages. “Wasted time” is your phrase, not something I injected into it to make you look bad. Here, let me illustrate:

    Conventional wisdom: The best way to get from point “A” to point “B” is to walk.

    “Power of Yes”
    : OK, then we walk!

    “Self-Directed Nonsense”
    (your words): Animals walk and run faster than we do. Why can’t we harness that power and use it to get there faster than walking?

    Make sense now? Your premise is false because you’re assuming a starting point after the (presumably best) form has already been created. What about before that? Are you saying there’s no new knowledge involved in the invention of the very first wheel? Somebody had to come up with that on their own.

  20. @CoderHead – That’s completely incorrect and again I challenge you to a more perfect solution. I’m absolutely through with hearing of more perfect solutions when you can’t think of any. If there aren’t any better then you cannot work with an ASSUMPTION of perfection beyond what already exists. One of the high ranking definitions of perfection is excellence or completion beyond practical or theoretical improvement. You cannot make such claims without anything to back it up. Writing is a method of transmission of information between humans. Talking, art, physical gestures as seen, and physical gestures as felt are also methods of intentional communication. Of all of these available methods of communication (at the time of the bible and still available today), which is the least likely to have the meaning or intent or message bastardized when being delivered from one person to another? Which one of these is least likely to be wildly misinterpreted? Why one of these is most likely to be able to encapsulate complex concepts and, the recipient failing to understand initially, allow them to be revisited indefinitely? I think your criticism is wildly inaccurate. While an omniscient being may know that language shifts will occur and how they will occur and which words will be lost and which will be gained, it’s altogether possible that it isn’t altogether possible that it could have accurately been transmitted from the start AND maintained its readability, quotability and printability. You’re arguing for the omnipotence and omniscience and ignoring free will. Humans came up with the medium. Humans came up with the languages. It doesn’t matter how perfect it was. A perfect dance  captured on a video camera and uploaded to youtube in a low resolution and played on a computer with internet that cuts out in the middle is imperfect. I have yet to see you build a case for a better solution, and yes, it is your responsibility as you’re the person making the positive assertion. Your assertion is that there is a more perfect option. Get to talking. 

    Yes, that is what I was saying in my last response. That said, my last response was just a knee-jerk reaction to you criticizing the inference. Having clarified that, I’ll return to the last iteration of my revision which stated that souls cease to exist if they don’t go to heaven. It is actually unclear whether they go to hell or burn. I just wanted to make sure that I know that you know that what I was saying made sense, whether you put it together in sequence or not. You’re wrong for making it intentionally difficult to explain and asking questions which you already had the answers for/ trying to call me out for nothing. Not one single explanation bit that I gave in any possible way, individually or in groupings, constituted an afterlife for a non-believer that involved basking eternally in the glory of god’s radiance. Not a single one. Nor could, even for someone not well versed in the bible, “something to [the] effect” of recieving eternal life in the glory of god’s radiance even beigin  to have an intersection with the idea of someone going to hell. So, therefore, pretty much any punishment that does not constitute going to heaven can be phrased as “not recieving eternal life in the glory of god’s radiance or something to that effect” because it is! It’s a frickin tautology. That’s why you’re wrong. Don’t bash me for serving up much deserved criticism. Oh, and just for the sake of clarity, the phrase “something to that effect” is also used when someone doesn’t want to take the time necessary to break down a concept that is beyond the scope of knowledge or understanding of the person they’re talking to.

    I broke it down into premises. You’ve got to be kidding me. Is there something easier on the eyes for the transmission of single pieces of straight-forward information than laying out premises in formal logic? If so, you have to inform logicians all over the planet of this development. 

    I think it’s inappropriate that you singled out one of my examples and didn’t acknowledge all of them despite your claim that all knowledge is based on inquiry. Where’s the history of pipes? Where’s the history of transformers? You singled out the one that served your argument and failed to, in any shape or form, discuss the ones that pose an actual problem to your idea. They didn’t reinvent the pipe to build water treatment facilities or sewage systems. They reinvented the pipe when someone thought of something better but when the first of these systems were built (whether we’re going back as far as rome or not) they did not reinvent pipes to make them. I dare say the aqueduct wasn’t even a novel idea. The romans picked up an agricultural trick from the egyptians and some engineering tricks from the greeks and they were off! They didn’t even have to ask why. They simply had to combine aomw pieces of common knowledge. People need water. Water has to come from a standing or running source in nature. Pipes carry water well. Eureka? No. All of this because using conventional knowledge in combination is how society often works. All of this because asking “why” takes you leaps and bounds and saying “yes” keeps the world turning in between. 

    Actually, I’m entirely clear on what a strawman is and that’s precisely what you did. 


    “How much farther would humanity have come if just 50% of the time people… hadn’t wasted time saying why?”“Do you honestly think we got as far as we have by not asking, ‘why?'”

    The problem with that is the wording. You see the question implies that I either do think that we’ve come this far by not asking why or that we could have come this far by not asking why, which sounds a lot more like 100% of the time than the 50% I stated. Look how easy it was for you to then continue and say:


    “No scientific advance has ever been produced by going with conventional wisdom (or utilizing the “power of yes,” as you put it). None. If you can think of one, I’d love to hear it. Inquiry is the basis of all knowledge.”

    I actually stated 2 that you failed to knock down. I’ll give you the wheel. And now we bring the train back around to the starting point:


    “You have no clue what a straw man is. I am not constructing an argument based on a false interpretation of your points and then deconstructing it as though it’s actually what you said.

    Of course you followed that with a second iteration of your first response:


    “My response was that there is absolutely no reason to believe for a second that we’d be more advanced right now if everyone just stuck to conventional wisdom and didn’t question the status quo.”

    The quotes tell a different tale. The quotes say that you misrepresented my argument and then proceeded to knock down that misrepresentation with ease. “In fact,” the quotes say that you didn’t respond to my actual statement at all. I’d like to see you refute that. 

    It does make sense, which is why I placed the limiter of 50% there in the first place. I have to start at that point or we fall into a pit of infinite regression, each idea having had other ideas which supported it. I’m saying no new knowledge was necessarily involved. What are the chances of an early human finding a round, flat rock and seeing it roll? The wheel is too simple and too often occurring in nature in imperfect forms for it to be chalked up to human brilliance alone. Your premise is false because you fail utterly to account for the constant redefinition of conventional knowledge as new inquiries are made (which is why I placed the limited of 50% there in the first place!!!) and the fact that logical assessment of conventional knowledge often yields improvements without inquiry. Observations become premises and the conclusions of the arguments that they construct become improvements without any why involved along the way. There doesn’t need to be an inquiry to blindly and universally apply one piece of conventional knowledge and evaluate the results. And, inquiry is not the basis for all knowledge. Inquiry relies on the process I’ve just outlined to yield answers. Observation, documentation (whether real or imagined) and clean logical thinking are the basis for all knowledge. Inquiry is a stepping stone that may or may not be utilized.  

  21. @striemmy – “I’m absolutely through with hearing of more perfect solutions when you can’t think of any.”

    First of all, I’m not claiming to be a perfect (you do know what “perfect” means, right?), all-knowing being. Therefore, it is not incumbent on me to think of a perfect method of transmitting knowledge. I’ve already shown you that the written word is fundamentally flawed, regardless of how good the intended message is. If you want further evidence, I could pick one of my religious friends and have them interpret a Bible verse while you and I do the same. What do you think the chances are that the three of us will come up with the same interpretation? Be honest.

    “Writing is a method of transmission of information between humans.”

    Correct. Writing does not have to be the method for a god. Remember, god is supposed to be unlimited and perfect. Believers claim to speak to and hear god and prophets claim to speak for god but the believers don’t agree (there are 30,000 sects of Christianity alone) and the prophets’ messages aren’t consistent. Is that the best a god can do?

    “Which one of these is least likely to be wildly misinterpreted?”

    Obviously not the written word! Are you actually suggesting that?

    OK, in the interest of satisfying your above question:
    Why can’t god visit each of us in an identical vision – at, oh, let’s say 12 years old to be consistent – and tell each of us in our native tongue that he is our father and he loves us and that he wants us to be good to each other and accept his gift of salvation so we can live in Heaven with him? That doesn’t undermine free will, it’s definitive, personal, and is an experience that can be shared and verified between every person on the planet. If you compared the vision given to a child in India it would be identical to the vision of a child in Brazil or Canada. Each person has the opportunity to accept the vision as truth and be saved or reject the message as a delusion and go to Hell. Is that more perfect than a book full of parables and magical stories? Again, be honest.

    “I’ll return to the last iteration of my revision which stated that souls cease to exist if they don’t go to heaven. It is actually unclear whether they go to hell or burn.”

    So…you don’t see what you’re doing here? You keep revising it and you’ve just done it again. Do souls burn or not? If so, for how long before they’re destroyed? If not, then are you still saying there’s an actual place called Hell? If so, and souls are simply destroyed, what’s the purpose of this place called Hell?

    Look, I don’t mind keeping this debate going with you, but you’re going to have to stop making stuff up off the cuff. You’ve just admitted yourself that your responses have been “knee-jerk reactions” to my questions. Instead of going that route, why not do some research and provide an informed answer. I’m sure that would be helpful to the both of us, since I’m getting the impression you don’t even know what you believe yourself.

    “Not one single explanation bit that I gave in any possible way, individually or in groupings, constituted an afterlife for a non-believer that involved basking eternally in the glory of god’s radiance.”

    I challenge you to find a single instance where I misunderstood you in this way. I would never suggest that a non-believer would “bask in the glory of god’s radiance” because my upbringing in the church made it clear to me that god doesn’t want them anywhere near him. If you’re under some kind of misconception that I was even remotely suggesting this, then I’d like to clear that up for you now. My question was whether or not there is a difference between the soul of a believer and the soul of a non-believer with regard to its duration. My exact question was: is your soul eternal if you’re a believer but finite if you’re a non-believer? I’m questioning the mechanics of this proposition.

    “I broke it down into premises.”

    No you didn’t, and I’ll show you why:

    You said: “Perhaps those that believe will be zombies in paradise. The question then becomes whether you’d rather be a zombie burning for eternity or a zombie in paradise, since you can’t take your body to either place, as I understand it.”
    This was in response to me asking if your free will is taken away when you go to Heaven. I used the term “zombie” but I didn’t bring up burning for eternity as the alternative in this case. You did.

    You said: “Who said anything about feeling? Actually, the original text just says that your soul will die. You will cease to exist instead of being granted eternal life.”
    This was in response to me asking about a non-corporeal soul experiencing burning and it’s your first “revision.”

    You said: “As far as I know they subdivided the concept of hell into hell, purgatory and both limbos.”
    This logically begs the question: if your soul ceases to exist (and you’ve said this without qualification, that you cease to exist instead of being granted eternal life) then why would there be a Hell or purgatory or limbo?

    You said: “The soul leaves the body when you die. The soul can go to a place called hell. There is fire and souls burn in hell (and originally I said forever but revised my statement on the matter). The soul dies. You are to tell me that you see no possible logical sequence of events that makes sense to you in that? Sincerely? Actually, isn’t the punishment not recieving eternal life in the glory of god’s radiance or something to that effect?”
    Now you actually are clarifying your position a bit more but still telling me that between the last time you commented and this time, you’ve changed your mind on the “forever” part. A reasonable person would hold this comment suspect because it drips with uncertainty. By the end of your clarification you’re asking me whether or not the punishment works a certain way. If you asked someone for directions to a business and they said, “Well, isn’t it off of route 12 or something like that?” would you view them as a reliable source of information? I think not.

    You said: “For example, either I burnin hell or my soul dies would be one but I just laid the sequence of events out in such a way that you cannot refute that it makes sense that it wouldn’t be an exclusive disjunction.”
    Now you’re likening Hell to a prison death sentence where you’ll be housed in Hell and burning prior to being extinguished and ceasing to exist.

    If that’s your final stance that’s cool but you need to back it up with your “source material.” What scripture supports this?

    “I think it’s inappropriate that you singled out one of my examples and didn’t acknowledge all of them despite your claim that all knowledge is based on inquiry.”

    Are you serious? I addressed every single one of your examples when I said this: “Your premise is false because you’re assuming a starting point after the (presumably best) form has already been created.” What you’re failing to grasp is that at one point there were no wheels, no pipes, no cars, no sewage plants. Do you not get that?

    Yes, water flows from a source in nature. At one point, humans built their cities and settlements around that source of water because they didn’t know how to transport it. Finally, someone asked, “Why can’t we make the water come to us?” It wasn’t an overnight process, but eventually someone (or someones) came up with the crude design of what would later become a “water pipe.” If you don’t understand this concept, then I’m finished talking to you. You are, at this point, being intentionally dense in order to make it seem like I’m avoiding answering your questions, which I’m quite obviously not. I’ve answered them all – without “revisions” and vague illustrations.

    Have a good one.

  22. @CoderHead – Actually, it is. You’re suggesting that this one isn’t the most perfect one. You do realize what method of communication we’re exercising at this very moment, don’t you? This is the primary method of communication selected by almost everyone on the planet for almost anything that needs done over distances long and small. Need to order a stereo from taiwan? E-mail. Want to communicate with your aunt in ohio? Letter. Want to talk to your sweetheart in math class? Note. Want to talk to your friend who’s driving to your house right now? Text message. Aside from speech, what other medium reaches as many people as frequently? If your friend is a biblical scholar and so are you and I and we interpret the verse in context with the rest of it I think the chances are very good that we’ll end up with the same interpretation, provided it’s not a parable. I say that only because parables aren’t straight forward. They’re meant to make one think and include layers upon layers of meaning that would not be immediately apparent to everyone. 

    That was a horrible example. I just ran through a whole list of reasons why writing is superior to speech, including an alusion to the telephone game, and you bring an example about speech in and try to foist it into relevance. But while it’s on the table, assuming he did talk to any one of these so-called prophets, you see how well that worked out as opposed to the written word. You know what the problem is with spheres? They roll whenever I want them to be at rest. That’s not perfect. You should design a perfect sphere that won’t roll when I leave it on a hill. That’s sorta what you’re demanding. Beyond that, you’re assuming that everything that is being misinterpreted is material that necessarily must be interpreted correctly. For example, what if every idea that’s ever been misinterpreted was part of 90% of the bible that’s irrelevant for the sake of going to heaven? What if onyl 10% needed to be gotten right and adhered to and that no one had, as yet, gotten that wrong? Even people put protections in place of that nature. cars are now made of lighter, more easily broken materials so that the heavy metal doesnt’ fold in and crush the 10% of the weight (the person) that is most important. Sure, the car is totaled but who cares about the car in comparison?  Moreover, you keep failing to take into account the other factors which must limit the choices god makes. 1) What’s in the best interest of humanity in the context of getting into heaven? 2) What can be given to them that wouldn’t violate their free will? 3) How will whatever is given to them change over time and will what needs to reach them continue to do so? It’s okay for you to forget and to dissect and attack only one aspect without accounting for others but only because you’re not the one accountable for the affects of that sort of thinking on the whole equation. 
    I suppose the phrase “least likely” means nothing to you.
    LOL that’s horrendous. That’s how people get brutally murdered in righteous anger. For example, let’s say he forgets to mention that he visits everyone else personally (I’ll get the to alternative momentarily). Now there’s a question of who he’s really talking to. Obviously not to you, he talked to me! Your words are blasphemy and if god really meant it then he won’t mind me lopping your head off for pissing me off. After all, he wants me to go to heaven, right? So, let’s suppose he does mention that he said the same thing to everyone else. Okay, but he said it in your language. Now there’s dispute about who he was really talking to and what constitutes a person. Well, I’m from a nation that speaks spanish and if anyone is not from such a nation then he wasn’t talking to them. Let’s send them to their god with these high powered explosives. Then you have to leave room for imbellishment and interpretation, since some people won’t take it literally and some will take it uber literally. By the way, you just included speech, not just vision, and we know very well the limitations of both. I would argue that that is a lot less perfect. There’s no context and no further wisdom. There are no governing principles or lessons. There are no consequences. There’s no information there and if all of that were to be included that person would 1) not remember everything 2) not remember it all correctly, as is what happens with visions due to the limited nature of our memories 3) not be able to communicate it accurately to another person 4) be comatose for an incredibly long period of time 5) probably have nightmares about a lot of the stuff that went on in the bible.. the list of potential consequences go on and on and on. You be honest with yourself about finding a more perfect solution than a book for the transmission of knowledge indefinitely into the future.
    Don’t take what I said out of context. I explained everything that I did there and none of it was in the interest of dishonesty. You said that what I said, in totality, didn’t make sense and I smashed that nonsense to tiny little bits with the argument in totality as though it was and then resumed my actual stance. I did not revise my view but merely illustrated that my points were non-contradictory and made sense, even if you lined them all up in a row, which was not my intention. I also explained exactly why I did that. Don’t be a dick. Let’s not go down this road again. 

    No, I’ll say it again. Don’t strawman me, bro. I said that that one response was knee jerk. Don’t misquote me. Go back up and look if you’re not certain as to what I said. I have a little button on my mouse that allows me to scroll up and down on the page and even if you don’t you can bring your little cursor over to the side and scroll up long enough to read and come back to down to write accurately. Don’t you dare misquote me. Also, you’re contradicting yourself now. You don’t want me to revise things but you want me to do research and provide an informed answer. Hey, here’s a thought. Pick up a bible yourself. An informed answer before someone ignorant is no better than a bs answer. not saying I’m giving bs answers but it makes my point nonetheless. Look, I don’t mind keeping this debate going on with you, but you’re going to have to stop misquoting me and actually start reading what I’m saying. Oh, I’m also taking note that the one time you didn’t seem quote-happy in this response was the one instance where you blatantly misquoted me. Convenient, ain’t it?
    So you’re telling me that I didn’t break it down into premises the last time? I’m not acknowledging that lie. You cannot say that I did not break it down into premises because that means that it never occured. You literally quoted one of the instances where I did. Stab yourself in the foot why don’t you?
    Yep, I responded to an analogy with an analogy to flesh out the point that being a zombie devoid of free will in paradise still trumps being a zombie devoid of free will anywhere else, including hell. 
    Yep, I then pulled an actual example from the actual text and revised my statement, saying “actually”.
    Yep, you’re right, I did say that the theologians came to that conclusion because that is historically accurate and yep, that isn’t contradictory to the statement that immediately proceeds it.
    Yep, that was my knee-jerk reaction and I BROKE IT DOWN INTO PREMISES and noticeably stated where my revision was to reflect the consistency of a unified argument, and yep, it isn’t contradictory with the last 2, which were not analogies. Yep, you’re correct about that one, buddy. Feeling accomplished yet? I hope not. I reviewed the subject matter after my FIRST comment. I immediately gave you my stance and you continued to reference the first comment as though it was canon. Certitude about something irrelevant is, by virtue of its relationship, irrelevant. I didn’t ask you anything. I put forth a rhetorical question and you took it the wrong way and the question related to what consituted a more immediate danger (and therefore greater or more true punishement), burning in hell and ceasing to exist or dying and being unable to go to heaven. Moreover, I clarified exactly what was meant by “or something to that effect” as a literary device and not to be taken literally. It’s nice that you didn’t quote that though. Convenient, ain’t it? Oh, sorry. Don’t answer that. That’s a rhetorical question too. I’m not actually asking you.
    Actually, at that point I was pointing out that the previous comment had premises that were non-contradictory unless you made an incredible jump of lateral (and not logical) thinking and deemed that each pair consisted of an exclusive disjunction. Nice to see good clean logic taken out of context though. 
    I already stated that the entire grouping wasn’t my stance, final or otherwise, in the last comment and that it was a knee jerk reaction which I had to follow up to back up the form of my logic. I like how you find what you like in what I say and respond to that and seemingly ignore whole chunks of what I say. For example 
    “That said, my last response was just a knee-jerk reaction to you criticizing the inference.”
    Convenient, ain’t it? Oh gosh. I simply must stop doing that since apparently rehtorical questions don’t go over too well with you. 

    First things first, you’re assuming that a why proceeded every one of those. Naturally, that’s not possible. It’s not possible that someone didn’t just see something work and emulate it without asking why, even if it only happened once (though that’s obviously not the truth). It happens to this day and there’s no reason why the earliest iteration of things weren’t exercises in mimicry. Do apes ask why? Are apes tool builders? Were tools the basis for most if not all of our advancements? Hmmm.. sounding rather specious already and we’re only at the earliest possible iterations. So, already an uncertain but definitely present percentage of all advancement is mimicry, even if it’s only at the beginning of human history. What about random deviation? Something strange or unexpected happens, like a hockey stick that gets bent by accident (sounds a lot like history, doesn’t it?), and someone used a tool that was unlike any other tool and found that it worked better and continued to use it and then others, in the interest of superior performance, mimicked without any necessary questioning. Well, let’s knock that percentage off of the total of historical innovations and discoveries as well. What else? How about ancient people that washed their clothes at a certain part of the river because they found they got cleaner that way? Or are you unfamiliar with the invention of soap? Looking shakier by the moment. What you’re failing to get is that your argument is flawed from the very beginning of the subject we’re discussing and that everything you discuss is fruit of the poisonous tree. 
    What defines common knowledge? I already showed you the flaws in that iteration of your argument. I don’t know why you’d repeat it. Acknowledge the flaws and get back to me or we can just drop this topic. It’s all quite the same to me. However, don’t respond to me stating, directly or indirectly, that nothing I’ve said was relevant or impacting on the integrity of your argument because that’s bs and you know it. 
    Oh man.. it’s almost like you dropped that entire strawman nonsense. It’s as if you know you got caught out there and don’t want to acknowledge it. Gosh golly. =)

  23. @striemmy – Claim victory if you want. I have no desire to respond to that massive wall of word vomit. If you want an example of why the written word isn’t the perfect form for the word of a deity, then you’d do well to read through this conversation and see just how well each of us were able to convey our exact meaning. I hope the rest of your day goes well.

  24. @CoderHead – I don’t recall being of the same geographic and cultural background and understanding as you. Or experimentation magically and suddenly doesn’t require accountability for variables. Magical visions work much better though. bravo. 

  25. @striemmy – No, it’s not clear because several religions make that exact claim with the exact same amount of evidence. Of course there’s only one true god, and his name is Allah. No, wait, it’s Jehovah. No, it’s Vishnu. Or is it Shangdi? I can’t remember.

  26. @CoderHead – What’s funny is that you just substantiated the point. That message is 100% clear. The context, which must be provided with text other than the message i just provided, is what may or may not cause issue. Thank you. 

  27. @striemmy – OK, you’re welcome, I guess. Even though I said the message is 100% unclear. Throwing the Bible in the mix to substantiate that particular message wouldn’t do anything to help.

  28. @CoderHead – The message that there is one true god, without any context (which you added) is clear. It’s received by every member of every religion that holds the deities that you listed as their own. It’s even received, though not accepted, by other people who understand the beliefs of those religions. The context may be unclear but the message that I said “There is but one true god” is perfectly clear. Nice try to cheat me though.

  29. @striemmy – That message without any context is 100% pure unfiltered crap. To claim that anybody would accept it as clear without being given context is nonsense. What about polytheistic religions? What about nature-worshipers? You walk up to a random person on the street and say, “There is but one true god” and they’ll ask you which one you’re talking about. Either that or they’ll just project their own personal beliefs onto the statement and assume you’re talking about their god. Context, at least in this case, is necessary for clarity.

    “Cheat you?” You seriously do have some kind of persecution complex, don’t you?

  30. @CoderHead – It’s great that it doesn’t appear in any of those religions without context then, isn’t it? Who said anything about acceptance? I just asked if it was clear. 

    You seriously have some kind of issue with going off on tangents. Either that or you just don’t know when I’m asking a rhetorical question or not so you answer questions that don’t need them and ignore the ones that do. =)

  31. @striemmy – Who said anything about acceptance? I was talking about clarity the whole time.

    You said (and I’m quoting you directly so you don’t think I’m putting words in your mouth or creating a straw man): “The message that there is one true god, without any context (which you added) is clear.”

    At this point I’m going under the assumption that you’re a troll and ending this conversation now.

  32. @CoderHead – If I were you, I wouldn’t talk to this striemmy douche. He’s a pseudo-intellectual, a snake-oil salesman, a crafty word-twister, and annoying beyond belief. He’s a master of sophistry.  To boot, he loves himself WAY too much. I can almost picture him standing in front of the mirror, complimenting himself. LOL!  I blocked him a while ago. I tend to avoid annoying, buzzing insects.

  33. @In_Reason_I_Trust – At first it seemed like he actually had something interesting to say and it was making me think. After a while it became clear he wasn’t actually interested in having an intellectual discussion and just wanted to show me how many circles he could run around himself, as though it would impress me. I’m finished with his antics.

  34. @CoderHead – [At first it seemed like he actually had something interesting to say and it was making me think]

    That’s EXACTLY what sophistry is! His drivel sounds good and thoughtful, but it’s ultimately nothing but a facade of fancy words and apparent complexity. The actual substance of what he says (if any) is murky at best, or downright incoherent.
    No matter how you slice it, it’s all crap that’s been sprayed with Lysol to hide the stench. I’ve known a few like that, and I always keep them away from me. I got no interest in playing a game that’s been rigged and based on deception.

    YAY! You deleted his comment! Awesome.