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The Problem Of Evil And Religion

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
Posted in Religion by Joel Gross

My little brother Justin recently emailed me and started a discussion on religion and the problem of evil.  I thought my readers may find it useful or entertaining, so check it out:

7/17/09 Written @ 2:21 am

Joel,

I have been propelled to share truth with you. Because of all things a dream I had about you.

The gospel is truth The complete canon of scripture is truth. Yes, Jesus is truth. I know you know what the scripture says about His life, but I want you to know it is truth. I tell you this quite selfishly and yes with an agenda concerning you–my motivation is my love for you. If I did not love you I would not even dare to try and share with you concerning Jesus. But I must. It is now at this moment 2:21 AM and I am awake because of you and this dream I had concerning you. The dream is of importance only in that it has propelled me to share the gospel with you. Whether or not you will receive it is on you. You are responsible for yourself and your own choices. I know you hardened yourself & your heart most to God because you were most aware of what was happening when our parents abandoned us, but especially you. God is not our parents. He never wished for us to experience what happened to us & to you. Our parents are human as you & I and we must have pity on them, but you must not blame God any longer for what happened. It was not God’s fault or your fault. I doubt this will lead to your conversion but I do believe that as long as you have a breath to breathe and have not entered into eternity you still have the opportunity to turn from your ways and run to God. You are responsible for your choice, Deny Jesus & He will deny you before the Father, Accept Him and He will accept you before the Father. You have not ran to far or done too much to not be able for Jesus to forgive you or to save you. Jesus dying on the cross covers a multitude of sins, a lifetime of sin. Jesus wants to restore you, I implore you to make haste & seek truth. I dare not say this letter is God Himself speaking directly to you, but I dare say He is letting you know He got your attention and given you the opportunity for you to receive truth, to know truth, and maybe one day live truth. As you sat atop the mountain and saw the rolling hills and all that lay before you I hope you could see that all that is, was not by chance nor are u!

Joel, I love you–you are my brother–my flesh and blood is your flesh and blood. You are the first born and as much as I love you, God loves you more. Allow God/Jesus to reveal Himself to you–if you ask Him to–I pray He will. After all, what is the worst that could happen?

In Jesus & concern for you–my brother

Love. Justin

My reply to Justin’s email:

Justin,

The Problem of Evil

The Problem of Evil

Your love and concern for me are moving and much appreciated. However, you have some confusion about who I am. Mom and Dad had really nothing to do with me not being religious. The basic laws of logic, evidence, science, nature and economics did. The dogmatic mysticism of religious people does not make sense and actually heavily contradicts itself. The day I lost my fear of the threat of burning in hell was the first intellectually free day of my life. I realized that Christianity and its rules and threats and prejudices was created by hut-dwellers thousands of years ago in order to gain power over their fellow human beings. New religions continue to crop up constantly in much the same way Christianity originally did- look at the Mormons, Scientologists and other less-successful religions. If I thought Christianity had even a .01% chance of being correct, I would be a believer since the threats of eternity in hell are very scary. However, the problem of evil and many other direct theological contradictions in the Bible make it very obvious that Christianity doesn’t even have that much chance of being correct. There may be a god, but he certainly is not the Christian one.

More Problem of Evil

More Problem of Evil

You may have seen my prayer-helpers.com website and thought my knowledge in the truth was weakening, but that is not the case. That site is built to generate controversy & links so that I can promote other client websites. I do have legitimate Christians doing the praying though- I always deliver the best products to my customers and would never scam them.

Once again, thank you for your love, thought, and concern. I greatly appreciate having you as my little brother and am looking forward to meeting up with you sometime soon. I am going to take Josh camping & hiking if you want to come with us soon. I haven’t decided the exact date yet though.

Joel

Justin’s Reply:

Dear Joel,
Here are some thoughts on the problem of evil in our world from a Biblical perspective.  As you know, the Bible says that God created man in his own image.  This does not mean we are God, but it does mean we are god-like in many ways.  We are not autonomous – we owe our existence to a transcendent Being – but we are god-like in that we think, act, and have emotions AND we are free moral agents.  That is, we are sovereign over our own choices – we freely choose.  God could have created a lesser being without free moral agency and thereby eliminated the possibility of evil by only allowing man to choose good.  But we would then not be the magnificent beings we are – we would be puppets, robots, more THING than PERSON.  Imagine being in love with someone.  Of course, you want them to love you back, but that love only has meaning if it is a CHOICE.  If someone loves you back not by choice but by some pre-programmed response – then whatever that response is, it isn’t really love, is it?  Without choice it’s just a mechanism – some kind of farce or sham.
So Joel – do you see how this is why God created free moral agents when he created man?  It’s all about love between God and man.  God wanted to create a being who could experience love.  (Note: He didn’t create man because He was lonely and needed someone to love him.  God, as Trinity, is autonomous and complete, experiencing perfect love and community as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.)  Instead, He created man out of His bounty, grace, lovingkindness, mercy, power, etc., as a demonstration of His glory.
So it was necessary for God, in creating this magnificent creature called man, to give him real choice – otherwise we would be something far less than we are.  And of course the result of choice is the possibility of moral evil, ipso facto.  You can’t have one without the other.  If man can choose to love God (moral good), he must also be able to choose to not love God (moral evil) or there’s no real choice, and this is why evil exists in the world.
But that’s not the whole story.  The thing about the Biblical world view – whether it’s about the nature of man, evil, the cosmos, whatever – is that it is the only world view that has sufficient answers - viz. – that thoroughly and sufficiently explains reality and the dilemma of man.  Regarding man, for example, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) showed how the Biblical view of man was the only sufficient view.  Throughout history various writers have either elevated or debased human nature.  For example, the contrasting ideas of Plato and Freud.  Plato argues that the highest form of human nature is reason, and that reason works to make our passions subservient in order to reach our true end.  Freud, by contrast, argues that reason is not supreme but is the handmaiden of passions. In fact, if it were not for reason directing passion to some measure of socially acceptable expression, passion would destroy our life and inevitably unravel civilization.
This contrast is exactly Pascal’s point.  Where, other than in the Christian faith, do we find a depiction of humanity that includes both sides of our nature and then instructs us on how to rise above our nature to find meaning and purpose?  This, according to Pascal, is the genius of Biblical truth about man, and evil.  Man is a magnificent ruin – made in God’s image, but fallen because of his own evil choices.  And because of his magnificence, he is also able to perpetrate enormous evil.  The two go hand in hand.
But it gets better.  Because the other thing about evil is that although it is real, and often times terrible, it doesn’t get the last word.  Look at Joseph for example.  (Genesis 37-50)  Joseph was attacked and sold into slavery by his envious brothers, then buried and forgotten for years in prison on false charges, based on the fact that he would not act immorally with Potiphar’s wife.  He suffered severely, and for years, because of his moral uprightness.  Surely that was evil.  YET, later on, after becoming the governor of all of Egypt, he could say to his brothers concerning their betrayal of him, “You intended to do evil to me, but God meant for it to achieve good.”
(Gen.50.20)  So God, in his love and grace and mercy, takes the evil we commit, and exploits it for good.  And Joseph, by the way, as well as any other believer who knows something of the love of God, has confidence in the invariably overriding intention of God for our good, with respect to all the evil and suffering that may befall us on life’s journey.  So Joseph could have peace and joy (rather than bitterness) through his trials and ordeals.  And this is what I’m learning Joel.  I can have this same peace and joy in the midst of life’s evils, when I get in touch with Jesus’ love for me.  It allows me to be sure – confident – of God’s intention for our good, and this enables me, like Joseph, to do what I know to be right.  This is something I’m just beginning to learn – but I’m learning it in a strong way, because I’m seeing Jesus’ love for me in a strong way.  And of course, Jesus Himself is the most profound example of how God exploits evil to accomplish good.  What greater evil could man have ever done than to crucify God’s own Son, who lived a perfect life, and never did anything but good to every person he ever met – who in fact, went to the cross and died to accomplish the greatest good for those very people who were crucifying him.  And it was Jesus’ very death that made it possible for our evil to be forgiven, and for our evil lives to change direction and march toward good.  God took the greatest evil, and used it to accomplish the most profound good.  That’s who this wonderful God is who is reaching out to you and longing for you to come back to him – not with threats of hell, but with open arms of love. Joel, my beloved brother, I know this is true, because I’ve experienced it myself.

in Love & Jesus towards you

Justin

Problem of Evil Solution

Problem of Evil Solution

Justin,

Thank you for your response.  My final thoughts in magical bullet point form:

  • You cannot use the Bible as evidence in a debate over the veracity of religion.
  • Just because aspects of Christianity sound nice don’t mean they are true.
  • According to Christian theology God is all powerful, all knowing, created everything and is completely righteous & good.  If God the first three are true, free will is an impossibility.  God knew every detail about us and every action that we would ever take from the beginning of time, correct?  If he changed or did not change something, we are still 100% his responsibility.  I know it’s hard to grasp intellectually, but even without a god true “free will” does not exist.  The laws of physics, biology and nature direct everything from gravity to the style of your hair.  Just because it doesn’t “feel” that way doesn’t mean its not true.
  • So God created us not because he needed our love, but because he wanted to brag?  You said, God created us as a “Demonstration of his glory”.  Who is he demonstrating to? What is the point?  It’s like me making a Microsoft Word file that says, “Joel Rules!” 50 times.  Kind of useless.
  • Zombie Jesus Demotivational Poster

    Zombie Jesus Demotivational Poster

JUSTIN”S UPDATE:

Thank you for your response to my response. These are not my final thoughts, but beginning of a dialogue (in bullet point form):

  • One can use the Bible to affirm the veracity of religion in this sense; if the message of the Bible gives better answers to man’s dilemma than any other world view then it is worth considering. But remember this is not a debate over the veracity of religion–it is a discussion about the problem of evil.
  • Your second point is just silly, certainly you would not accuse Blaise Pascal of presenting Christianity as something that just sounds nice. He was one of the great thinkers, mathematicians, and social commentators in all of history. He is not someone who can be treated in a cavalier manner.
  • Your argument of what is known as chemical and biological determinism (that there is no free will as everything is a result of “the laws of physics, biology, and nature direct everything from gravity to the style of your hair.”) is simply not true as it isn’t borne out by experience. If it is true, it means there is no real love, no moral motions, no creativity or originality, no appreciation of beauty. Yet, most people affirm that these things are real–and no one really lives as if determinism were true. We all live as if love we’re real–you would not shoot Bestemor in the head with a .357 magnum, not because of chemical or biological determinism, but because it is morally repugnant to you since you actually love her. People who claim to believe in this point of view live by cheating: They can’t live consistent with this world view since it is not true to real life. Another way to say it is if determinism is true you are no longer there: you are only an animal or a machine…and even you Joel are not an animal even though you live like one in some ways as I have in the past. Does this makes sense to you, Joel?
  • God did not create us because He needed our love, but He created us to give us the gift of Himself. If God is truly God then by definition there is nothing greater He can do than to allow us to experience Him. Because there is nothing greater or better than Him. That is what I mean by “demonstrating His Glory.”
  • Joel, you can agree or disagree with what I believe as you do; However, to make a mockery is ungentlemanly and I hope is beneath you to do from this point on with our discussion–even if you do mock it for the sake of provoking your blog’s readers to respond. I will not and have not made a mockery of you or your beliefs but will try in love to seriously dialogue these very important issues with you. I am referring to your final point on the Jewish Zombie. One of the most fully attested facts of ancient history is the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead in real space/time. There is more evidence for Jesus’ resurrection, both Biblical and extra Biblical, than for the fact that Caesar conquered Gaul. We can discuss this at length another time, but suffice it to say that this is the pivotal truth of the christian faith. The Bible itself, puts all it’s eggs in this one basket when it says that if Jesus is not raised we Christians are of all men most to be pitied, and our faith is in vain. ( 1 Corinthians 15:14-19) But apropos of your point–it is certainly not the case that any christian or any Biblical passage views the resurrected Jesus as a zombie. The men and women who actually encountered Jesus after His resurrection saw Him vibrantly & compellingly alive and well. Further, the forgiveness of sins is not the result of some telepathic interaction with God, but rather God’s gift to all who will, by faith (TRUST) receive that gift which was made possible when Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for sin that I so completely deserve, as He died on the cross in my place. (Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all.) Again, we can discuss in detail later, the moral necessity of a substitutionary propitiatory atonement, but lets begin by clearing up what the Biblical message really is, and not argue about some caricature of Christianity that you so disrespectfully and inaccurately have presented here. Again, I’m not arguing the veracity of religion. Rather I’m explaining the message of the Bible which you misunderstand & therefore misrepresent.

18 thoughts on “The Problem Of Evil And Religion

  1. Wow, PWNED. I don’t want to sound insensitive here, but your brother sounds nuts. To each his own. The human brain, though, is absolutely coded to seek the mysterious and the unexplainable (hence your brother’s religion), so I don’t want to sit here and judge him, just as I won’t judge young men for ruthlessly chasing women, as their brains and their biology (and indeed society) instruct them to do so. I can’t ever fathom being in agreement with your brother, but surely we’ve had very different lives, grew up in different environments around different people, and have very different genetics as well. It’s amazing how different humans can turn out–especially the differences you two have on religion, seeing that you’re related!

  2. Joel, read “More Than A Carpenter”, by Josh McDowell. It provides logical, reasonable, and sensible proof, that the Bible is completely accurate, and that Jesus Christ is the resurrected Son of God. Tell me what your opinion on the book is, once you read it, or if you already have.

  3. Josh I really really hope you wake up one day. And if you do you will feel relieved and you will realize how brainwashed you are. Obviously its not your fault cause as Cameron says people have different genetics and grow up in different environments. But I suggest you do some serious reasearch into christinaty and religion in general before you say the things you do. Only reading the bible or pro-religion books will only further justify your misguided beliefs. You can start by reading easy books such as “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris or “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins. Obviously these books are very popular and maybe a little clitche but that doesnt mean they are useless books and they are a good start. If you read them with an OPEN mind and truly try to understand what they are saying you will at least be fascinated. Good luck to you and dont waste your youth on BS. Enjoy your life to the fullest cause you only have one and when its gone then its gone for ever.

  4. I agree with BR. Read some books and scientific articles other than the filth published by people desperately clinging to their ancient mythology.

  5. Both of the books mentioned by the estimable Rooster are presenting a world view or interpretation of a system of events/theories to create an argument. No different than the book mentioned by Josh. Simply put, it is difficult to disprove the existence of God without interpreting either ‘mythology’ or scientific fact in your preferred way to do so. Which is why religion is still viable and growing in the world.

  6. I disagree, Jordan. The books put forth by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris are actually based on scientific evidence that is readily available to anyone who wishes to investigate. Everything from biology to geology to astronomy clearly offers definitive evidence opposed to the existence of God. Unfortunately, most scientists don’t have a vested interest in disproving religion whereas Christians and other religious folks are desperate to prove that their lives aren’t based on a cheesy farce. Science is based on obvious facts and observations on the world around us; religion is sheer mythology built to instill fear, hate, and submission into people.

  7. wow, you keep bringing up the same subject over and over again, boring!!!!! new content!!!!!! im mean, really? wtf? as if there arn’t ten zillion other blogs debating religion

  8. I agree with Joel’s points. I do not see the logic in Justin’s points. Justin’s forth point seems contradictory, he says that God doesn’t need to be loved or worshiped, however it says that God created man so we can experience him and worship him. Seems to me that He needs to be worshiped by man if what Justin is true, in my opinion, so it seems contradictory. Justin’s first point says that the bible can be used to verify religion. Not true. It is like a book that I wrote verifies my opinions. Just because a book says it, no matter how highly regarded it is or how many people believe that it is true, DOES NOT make it so. Many people would like it to be true, however, people have to face the truth that most things in it are not true. I mean c’mon, a woman made from a man’s rib, people living past 900 years old, a man coming back from the dead? Just because it sounds nice or true, doesn’t make it true. I reckon that if there was a God, why would man write the book the religion is based on (i.e. the Bible)? Shouldn’t the God write the book, not his worshipers (or her worshipers if the God is a woman)? What I think is that if God were real, he would send down a message of some form to give a sign of what we should believe in, so there are no debates of what religion in right. In my view, religion is basically there to fill in the gaps that science can’t explain (yet).

  9. Interesting conversation. I was referred to this website from a friend of mine due to the fact that my brother and I have been having basically the same debate on facebook for the past couple of days. He responded to a video I posted on my wall entitled ‘Suzie’ which I got from ‘The Atheist Experience’ facebook page. I attached the same quote from Epicurus that I saw on this website. When Chris (my brother) failed to gain any ground in the debate, he resorted to personal attacks. When he did that, I stopped being so civil about refuting his religion and made comparisons to santa clause and fairytales. He then started peppering insults in his responses, something I still haven’t resorted to (and don’t plan to). I’m not really sure of everything he’s said yet, because frankly at this point I’m hardly paying any attention to him at all, and only responding every so often. Finally, he made the bold claim that he was “going to prove me wrong in due time!” and told me “in the meantime do us all a favor and save your blasphemous, godless heathen crap for a more appropriate venue”. After that, the short version of what I told him was something along the lines of; Despite the fact that the country is about 65-70% Christian, and all of these believers are so quick to believe (hook, line, and sinker) the slightest little shread of so called

  10. Let’s take a look at evolution…Start with the “Big Bang”…A tiny ball of hydrogen atoms suddenly explodes for no apparent reason and then somehow forms matter which somehow bonds together to form planets that are very hot, but cooling…A couple billion years later a lightning bolt strikes a pool of mud and it forms Amino Acids which somehow formed bacterium of sorts that eventually became fish then reptiles, then dinosaurs and mammals, then us… How obsurd is evolution when you actually look at it? Also, we can cross reference the Bible to other documents and physical evidence to prove it’s accuracy. For example, during the 7 Day’s War against Palestine and Egypt, Israli forces surrounded a Palestinian unit via a mountain pass that was described in the Bible during a battle (again described in the Bible) against invading forces, when King Solomon and his Shield Bearer came around attackers in the very same valley using the very same pass. And how do you explain away the fact that there is no apparent cause for the Big Bang?

  11. Joel, Today was the first day that I read your posts. You show a knowledge of the Bible and an interest in Christianity, but your bias is not allowing you to view the Bible and Christianity with an open mind. I was raised in church, and I too rejected Jesus for many years. I kept a closed mind and took a biased approach to Jesus, but finally with a honest open minded study of the Bible I can only come to one conclusion that God is alive and His Son is Jesus. The current scientific theories of creation are just absurd. You speak of Biblical contradictions and untruths, but do not reference them. The Bible is filled with prophecy. A study of history reveals that ALL prophecies to date have come true. Even end time prophecies are starting to come true. You have mentioned a fear of hell, as you should. This will be the last day that I read your posts, but I will be praying for you. Your brother loves you, I just hope he can reach you.

  12. Religion, just a way of saying im scared of death. if you really believe that there is some all powerful force called god that made us and the world and everything then you must have some serious problem, its just a way to make money, have power over people, all it does is make people ignorant, make people thing there some special “GOD”like be ing, that decides what happens and what doesnt because we have a book written by animal shepperds durring the bronze age. all i can say is IDIOTIC, how can yo believe all this with the wonders in the universe, you can see evolution all around you, look out a telescope, go to a natural history museum, you would have to be a moron to think that its all part of some plan, did god kill the dionosaurs? i was told in school durring religios class that scientists faked dionosaurs, and that carbon dating is fake….and that the world is like 10000 years old or some idiotic thing…yeah im sure there is a god. does that mean elves are real? goblins? im not saying jesus wasnt a real man. but the son of god? i dont think so.

  13. this page is sick! i dont have time to finish reading all this crap. i think the author of this page is trying to put something to the readers mind. but only dumb person can believe all this trash. sorry but no matter what happens, my faith is sealed to God. questioning the evil happening in this world?thats what you called balance.i believe that this is not the world the we called,for me this is just temporary.like a training camp,if we pass,then we go to heaven.simple as that.if you have faith in god you dont question things beyond human knowledge.your like doomed!i hope you wake up one day.its a matter of faith bro.

  14. to Daniel Fisher: your topic is like “who comes first?egg or hen” your asking questions beyond human knowledge. even scientist answer things like that with their “best guess” .. your right about some people use religion to make money and control other people because even before Christ come to this planet it does happen.but in my own opinion, they did things like that because they’re at Gross Material body designed to commit sins, mistakes.. thats balance.. there are good guys and bad guys..you guys loose faith thats awful. god bless you all..

  15. Joel, I read with interest your heartfelt discussion with Justin. I understand your love and concern for him. Anyone who is lost is a concern of Jesus and should be for all of us who follow the Lord. However, it is impossible to reason with someone who has taken the approach to Jesus and the Bible that Justin has taken. The Love that God has for this world and those who dwell upon it is as plain as the nose on all of our faces. The 66 books of the Bible are filled with one great long love story of how God loves the lost sinner. One of the problems with the church today is that in these last days before Jesus returns, Christians have began to coddle those who hate Jesus and His message. The hearts of people have grown colder and colder. Evil is widespread over the earth just as Jesus said that would happen just prior to His return. It is not a part of the Gospel that jesus gave us to share with the world that we should endure those who hate Jesus and His message. No place in the Bible do we find that Jesus spend any time trying to persuade those who hate Him or His message. This is God’s universe and his earth and He does not owe an apology to anyone for the condition of the world. Sin is man’s problem and the results of man’s sin are his responsibility. Justin is lost because he has chosen to be lost. He refuses to see the truth although it is plain and simple. He reject light because he wants to live in darkness. He remains in his sin unrepentant because that is his choice to do so. It is obvious to any logically thinking person that this universe is far to complex and beautiful to have ever happened by chance. Someone with incredible intelligence and ingenuity masterfully designed it, put it into place and holds it all together. The universe is wearing out, it is in a constant state of decay that occurred from it’s beginning. Because it had a beginning it is not eternal and therefore it has a first cause. That is, someone caused it to come into being. There is absolutely no chance that the universe happened by chance, the honest scientists acknowledge this truth in ever increasing numbers every year. The evidence for God existence and the fact that He loves us is probably the most logical and visually apparent truths in the universe. For anyone to deny these tenets is unreasonable and only shows that even when truth is apparent there will always be someone who denies it. Justin is a sinner just like all men, including myself. If he does not repent of his sins and accept Jesus sacrifice for his sins he will die eternally and be lost. That is his decision, the results of that decision will be his fault forever. We do not owe Justin a lengthy pleading to “Accept” jesus. in fact no where in the Bible does it encourage us to “accept” Jesus. The fact is that Jesus and what He has done is worthy of all praise, honor and appreciation. It is only logical to accept Him, anyone who has lived on the earth for any length of time knows that there is something terribly wrong with all of us morally. All of us have the inherent stain of imperfection, we see the results of this everyday on the earth, yet people continue to deny that the Bible is true and that sin is a reality. God has done everything that could be done to show us His love, despite us being lost and hopeless in our sin. Jesus came and took the penalty that all of us deserved for our sin even thought Jesus Himself had never committed any sin. If Justin can see Jesus hanging on the cross for him and not be compelled to repentance, if that kind of love does not move him, then nothing else will move him either. Your loving pleading will not move him. You articulate overtures at logic will not move him. Only an awareness that he is a lost and hopeless sinner will move Justin to repentance and in the direction of Jesus. Let us stop apologizing for the gospel. Until a person comes to the end of themselves they can never come to Jesus. I pray that Justin’s eyes and heart are opened to the truth of what Jesus has done. But if he does not repent, it will be his won fault, not God’s, who’s name is blessed forever. Pastor Rob Robinson The Word Mp3.com

  16. I find it amusing how the only ones who get highly upset and say they wont participate in the discussion, and say they wont read any further…. are christians! anyone else notice that christians are more judgmental and hateful than most others? they also tend to be more closed-minded and unwilling to think for themselves. I used to go to church on a regular basis… but recently realized that religion makes no sense. to be honest, it seems like more of a security blanket for folks to feel comforted when they cannot control their surroundings. i went to church my whole life and recently denounced my religion. i dont know what exists… all i know is that the christian god than the majority of the US worships has not given me any sign of existence despite the countless times my faith was questioned and the countless times ive asked for a sign of his existence. it seems to me that if someone were to honestly want to know the truth, they would look into both sides of the argument and make their own decision based off their own findings rather than blindly following the herd. if God were to reveal himself to me in the slightest way, I would gladly accept his existence and ask him to enter my life, and would gladly do as he wishes. however, despite my multiple prayers and requests for a sign of his listening or even his existence, ive received no indication of either. If the Bible is true and God is the all-loving creator that the Bible claims, why would he send non-believers and the disobedient to hell? that doesnt seem very loving to me. I dont have any kids, but I love everyone; and when I have kids, if they tell me they hate me or do not care about my existence, I’d want to know why and would do my absolute best to show them how much I love them and try to get them to return my love. I’m not attempting to claim I’m any better than anyone else, but I just think it sounds absurd to damn someone to hell for something they are unaware of or do not have proof of.

  17. your brother complicates it too much for you. you clearly have seperate ideas and although much of what he says may make sense it is too wordy and deep, which seems overwhelming and not worth your time. so ths is what i have to say joel, no one can absolutely know exactly what religion is correct or if God 100% exists, thats why faith even exists, so i am not arguing with the fact that it may not completely parallel facts proven by science. but there is just the same amount of doubt for your unbelief as there is for your brothers belief. if there wasnt, there would be no reason for you to feel the need to discuss it and argue about it. you are just as human as your brother, and either one of you could be wrong. simply put, you said the fires of hell are a scary thought, it may be better to be safe than sorry.

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