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An Agnostic and Christian Discuss If God Is a Mythical Whimsy

Comments sometimes deserve their own article! The provocative and humorous ones have a story to tell. Each story is different.

When Comments Become Articles

A gentleman responded to an article I wrote dealing with the efficacy of the lives of Adam and Eve, and the existence of the Garden of Eden. The resultant written discussion offered an eye-opening perspective that the source of opposing views often comes about due to incorrect information or interpretation.

“What makes your interpretation more correct than mine?”

The question seems like a valid political posit based on a faux reverence to freedom of speech and religious belief of modern American doctrine. Instead of using reason to produce a philosophical understanding, it becomes a war of supposed equality. No matter how off-based a claim someone makes, rash emotion-based opinions in modern times seem to matter as much as reasoned opinions--in social media, at least.

Ultimately, equality in the ability to have an opinion exists, no matter how reasoned. Intellectual merit, fortunately, goes to those opinions formed based on overt thought and a willingness to change if further wisdom comes about to challenge long-held conclusions.

Of course, my opinion is going to matter more to me. I am writing the article. Our comments to each other, Brad the Agnostic (Brad the Ag) and Rodric the Theist (Rodist) hopefully provide a contemplative perspective.

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Brad the Ag:

The garden of Eden story is childish and shows the shallowness of the biblical God. Even according to the Bible, God failed with a third of the angels, and now He is going to test humans. The biblical God failed at everything.

Rodist:

I appreciate your comment. You, Brad the Ag, have the right to your views. I believe in the Eden Experience. It is beautiful and simple; yet, it is also complex and yielding. God did not fail with fallen angels. Those angels used that agency to rebel against a plan with which they did not agree.

Yes, God tests humans so that we can mature and become like He is. For those who do not seek to be as the Father, He prepared a place for them to serve as angels in His royal courts. He succeeded in allowing all humanity free agency.

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Brad the Ag: A Poem?

God has failed.

He failed with the Angels.

He failed with Adam and Eve.

He failed with Cain and Abel.

He failed with Moses.

He failed with the billions of humans, as the humans have not changed for the better before or after Jesus Christ.

This is from the fable you call the Bible.

Take away your Bible and you have no contact with God, I don't mean that you don't talk to Him, but He never responds.

All the natural disasters kill thousands and millions of people, and they call them acts of God. Also, I will bet that you cannot tell me how many angels are a third of the angels.

Rodist: God Succeeded

You are correct that I do not know the number of angels who did not follow God’s plan, but if you read the articles that I have written, you can see what I believe. I am a Christian, specifically, a Latter-day Saint, known also as a Mormon. As such, I believe in modern-day prophets, God speaks to prophets the same way today that He did back in Biblical times.

You are correct that we can speak to God because I speak to God daily. And honestly, He does speak to me. Rarely does He speak words in an audible voice, but mostly impressions or feelings of the Holy Spirit. God does live. I did not always know that, but I know it ever since I asked Him if He was there. It was the first time I ever heard God's voice and I have had a relationship with Him since.


Brad the Ag: Blind Obedience

That is your opinion, which is based on faith and not intelligence. There is no foundation for faith, as there has been no news from God for over two thousand years.

Growing up as a Catholic, I went to parochial school for my first seven years. I liked the ideas that I was taught; but, as I grew to maturity, I did my own thinking. We humans have high intelligence, but there is no intelligence needed to have blind faith. A dog has blind faith in its master, but dogs are not highly intelligent. A dog at least can see, and be guided by its master. We can’t!

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Rodist: Why Bad Things Happen

Unfortunately, in life, bad things happen. Having a complete understanding of the Plan of Salvation helps to put those bad things into an eternal perspective. Mortal life is not all that there is to experience. Life exists after death as it did before birth. Losing my grandmother, my daughter, and my mother came with crushing hurt, but I know that the Plan of Salvation allows us to meet again.

These terrible experiences in life occur, in my opinion, as the result of the Earth refusing to cooperate with humankind for rejecting God’s teachings. Humans alone, of all the creations of God, can think like Him. He cannot control us without robbing our agency.

We have our free will. God invites us to voluntarily give our wills to Him because as a perfect Being, He knows best. Submitting to the divine, many will not make that choice. I submit by following God's teachings given through the holy prophets and Christ. My life is blessed, though still hard.

If we endure life well, all will be well with us in this life and the next iteration of life.

Brad the Ag: Manmade!

The Bibles were written by humans—men, actually—over a fifteen-hundred-year period. And, it was a human that put all the writings into the Bibles. The stories in the Bibles are written but they are stories created by men. From Genesis, you couldn't even know that the Earth revolved around the Sun!

If you believe the Bible, there was no heaven for Adam and Eve and their children. The Garden of Eden was their eternal paradise on Earth. Creating Eve by cloning makes women subservient to men, as was the tradition at the time that the Bibles were being written.

Rodist: Balance

Death, pain, suffering, misery, and hopelessness are a part of life that we must experience to understand living, peace, success, joy, and hope. Life is not meant to be ONLY a pleasant experience here. We would learn nothing if all we learned was how to have good times. Life is about progression to become like God.

Heaven for Adam and Eve is just as real as it will be for the last person born into mortality. It may appear that women lacked the equality God gives all humanity, but that has to do with agency, again. Even with the holy texts, God gives agency for good men and women to make mistakes. Men dominating women happened because most people did not allow the truths of heaven to fully manifest in their lives, only partially [added later for this article].

"Science fiction” is Equal to “Science” plus “Faith”..

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Brad the Ag: Fiction is Better than Faith.

How many billions of humans do you have to create before you realize that humans are failures, as much as were the angels? And if you already know the future, then stop the game. Because the game so far is a failure.

Why would humans do any better than did Adam and Eve? There was no difference that would make them more loyal or anything. Without making a change, it is fruitless to think that there would be a beneficial difference.

When Cain killed Abel, that should have stopped the game. Adam and Eve committed theft and disobedience, but Cain killed a person.

Even with God's help, Moses never got to the promised land—even after 40 years! The alleged tablets containing the Ten Commandments were easily broken by Moses.

The Jews were the chosen ones, but they didn't follow Jesus. The list goes on and on. If there is one God, then there should be one unified following. But there are religions that differ not because of what God wants, but what the humans that created the religions want. Finally, the Bibles are not self-authenticating; and God has chosen to be silent. So, the Bibles should stand alongside Aesop's Fables, and the story of Santa Claus.

Rodist: Open Your Mind!

Be skeptical, but be open to new ideas.

Your mind needs to be open to possibilities. I promise you, God will answer your petition if you put it towards Him.

My faith remains in a state of growth or decline. I did not always believe. Now, however, more than belief, I know Him. God is willing to help us get to where He is if we humbly listen.

Listen to him and make your own judgment based on that interaction. If you still hate Him after you speak to Him, fine. Don't give up just because what your Faith taught you to believe does not fit with your limited understanding of what you think life and the universe ought to be.

Brad the Ag: Who are You?

You didn't read a word of my comment. Millions of people die while praying and having others pray for them. Why do you think that you are so special that you have God's ear? Are you better than these people, are you more deserving than these people, what is it?

Rodist: Special? Yes!

I read your comment, and am no better than any other person. Yes, however, I am so special that I do have God's ear. Having God's ear is not unique to me. It is a privilege He offers all humans willing to speak to Him.

I understand that there is more to Life than what's happening NOW, this moment!

My health fails me right now and I live drawing disability, the dole. I'm not free of trials. I'm no better than the next person in value to God, who is the Father of us all.

What I have is an understanding that life has challenges. Some of us will seem to have more than others. God loves us all the same, with a plan for all the billions of people who have lived and will yet live on this planet.

There is no special secret to talking to God, only faith to open our mouths and be willing to listen and receive inspiration or revelation.

God did not fail, my friend. He simply allows us to have our agency to choose. He provided a plan for us to decide whether or not we accept Jesus Christ's atonement, starting from Adam to the last person born before the world fulfills its purpose for creation.

People deciding not to follow His commands is not a failure on God's part; it is a success. Again, it means we make choices to determine our eternal fates as God desires us to do.

Life was never about everybody having the same outcome. It is about everyone who wants an outcome, heavenly or earthly, to have the same chance to get it regardless of our stations in life.

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Thoughts

With that, the conversation ended—me thinking that Brad the Ag refused to open his mind to possibilities of hope and understanding; and him thinking I had closed my mind to reason and logic.

The exchange revealed a level of disappointment in Brad the Ag’s faith-tradition standing up to the scrutiny of his doubt. Because the psychological wounds exist, Brad the Ag would not allow religion that intimate access to his faith in case, again, his beliefs prove nothing more than the fable he declared belief in God and Scripture appeared to be to him.

At odds, I invited him to try God again and he invited me to realize that God and Scripture are a waste of intellectual exertion since he considers all faith blind.

Faith in God does not have to be blind or based in assumption. Jesus Christ teaches through the Prophet Moroni, “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” [Moroni 10:4-5]

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© 2019 Rodric Anthony Johnson

Comments

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on September 14, 2019:

Jason, thanks for clarifying if not for me, for those who read the comments you have written. I assumed that when you read the article you were pointing out what you thought made the exchange nothing but words tossed in the air at disagreeing parties.

I wrote words that caused Brad the Ag to reply. It was not really and discussion, but it was an invitation for someone to either agree or disagree with what I had written.

You, Jason, are correct that faith does not equal correct. You comment intrigued me so that I plan to write more articles to answer some of the assertions that you made to prove your point here.

1. The writing of the Book of Mormon, too, is littered with historical problems

2. Joseph Smith claiming it was "the most correct of any book on earth"

3. Scientists, archeologists, and historians proved over and over again that many of the claims made in the Book of Mormon are just plain wrong.

4. Jesus engaged, embraced, challenged, listened, and talked to just about anyone, even those that disagreed with him.

5. Your faith does not automatically mean you are right.

I tend to take comments that people make and write about them in hubs, which I will do about the last to first of the points I snatched from your comment first.

I like your comments. They are a wealth of material because you write things that encourage conversation, dialogue.

You wrote, "There needs to be an attitude of humility and openness when engaging in discussion, and it is really hard to do that when one side is clearly cemented into the ground and is unwilling to break themselves free."

It makes for a good debate, but religion is not just an exchange of ideas with the best ones coming off conquerer. It is much much deeper than that. I believe faiths are equal under the law and should be!

I disagree with you that "your faith does not automatically mean you are right." I know that it is an understood 'your" meaning insert whichever person in the place of 'your.'

I wrote a hub about it.

Jason Reid Capp from Myrtle Beach, SC USA on September 14, 2019:

I understand that the spiritual side of religion cannot be proven with logic and reasoning, but the history of religion and the creation of its various forms can easily be read, studied, and understood.

Things like how the early church split is common knowledge. The way the Bible was compiled, especially the New Testament writings, has a very sketchy and political history behind it. The writing of the Book of Mormon, too, is littered with historical problems, and Joseph Smith claiming it was "the most correct of any book on earth" just allowed for more insults as scientists, archeologists, and historians proved over and over again that many of the claims made in the Book of Mormon are just plain wrong.

This is why it is so hard to accept much of what the church is today in all of its variants. Majority of its additions are not Christ-like, and they follow the way and thinking of corrupt individuals and not the very man that the Christian religion is based on.

This is why so many skeptics have a hard time just accepting "faith and beliefs" as an answer. It does not seem like a person who says that is really willing to listen to other points of view, and again, it is also not very Christ-like. Jesus engaged, embraced, challenged, listened, and talked to just about anyone, even those that disagreed with him.

There needs to be an attitude of humility and openness when engaging in discussion, and it is really hard to do that when one side is clearly cemented into the ground and is unwilling to break themselves free.

I hope that helps you better understand where I am coming from. Once again, it is not an attack on your faith, but an invitation to understand and know that your faith does not automatically mean you are right.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on September 12, 2019:

Thanks, Pamela! I think there is some hurt feeling in the process of Brad's life somewhere. He is no longer on Hubpages, but we associated. I am sad he no longer is here.

After my daughter died, I found any and every reason to hate God. I remember He tried to answer my prayer once when I was hurting by sending me peace through the Spirit. I rebuffed it and told Him to stop trying to comfort me. I wanted to be miserable. He did not force His love on me. He waited until I listened. Of course, apologized for telling Him to go away.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 12, 2019:

I think you wrote an excellent rebuttal! I am a Christian, and I do not pick apart every little sentence in the Bible to try and disprove my faith. I have seen God work in my life so my belief is steady. I think you did well Rodric.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on September 11, 2019:

Hi Charlie. I am glad one of my articles merited any attention from you. To clarify, I am a Saint, follower of Christ who believes in the efficacy of the testimonies contained in both the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the Holy Bible, and other Scripture.

There are no facts in regard to religion that can be proven, only faith. God is the source of truth, so all teachings can be tested by asking Him. He is not dead nor does He sleep.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on September 11, 2019:

Jason, thanks for reading. You are correct in your observation that I did not directly answer each of the points Brad the Ag made about God or religion. I had hoped that the things that I did write would hint at him discovering answers for himself. I am not big on proving religion or God. I grew weary of that long ago since, as you agree, cannot be done with the tools we have.

Maybe I am closed to logic and reason. I want to say I am not, but I have a relationship with God that is not based on objective logic and reason, but how I feel about God. I assume most people who believe in a supreme being do so either due to feelings or tradition.

Also, Jason, I planned that other articles will come out of this conversation because I did not discuss all that Brad the Ag wrote about. He made some interesting observations that I am inclined to explore.

Religion is not based in facts or proofs, but faith and beliefs. There is no proof that any person can give that God is real, again, as you agree other than anecdotal or scriptural claims (which are still anecdotal).

Brad the Ag experienced a trauma in his life that caused him to believe the way he does. I experience a connection to God that causes me to believe the way I do and respond the way I did so long ago (The conversation is over six years old).

I am different now in that I admit I have no leg to stand on with faith other than my own testimony of my dealings with God. I, however, have strong belief in God and His plan for each of us to be happy. I also strongly believe that each person can independent of me seek God and find Him as I did.

My words cannot convert anyone to my religion, I have discovered. Like leading a horse to water, I can show people where I found a source of life, but it is up to them to take it and apply the principles to see if it will improve and edify them.

I plan to write about how God can be all-knowing and perfect in light of the verses you shared from the Bible.

charlie from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans on September 10, 2019:

a comment or any other article not based on fact is a waste of time. Satan was created by God as the spoiler, He was never an angel. Jason you are correct roderic is always trying to twist scripture or others beliefs to fit his mormon false doctrines and has no desire to learn truth

Jason Reid Capp from Myrtle Beach, SC USA on September 10, 2019:

"With that, the conversation ended—me thinking that Brad the Ag refused to open his mind to possibilities of hope and understanding; and him thinking I had closed my mind to reason and logic."

Was it his thinking or were you genuinely closed to reason and logic? The conversation was hard to read at times, because many of Brad the Ag's points were neglected, very valid points as well.

I would even add another point to the "God has failed" point, and that is God saying himself in Genesis 6:6 that he regretted making mankind. He also said again in 1 Samuel 5:11 that he regretted making Saul king. Regret is a feeling of disappointment over something you failed to do, and here we see in scripture itself that God admittedly made mistakes. What does that mean, exactly? How can a being be both perfect and with flaws? That doesn't compute.

On top of that, the use of scripture to support claims made by scripture is just circular reasoning, which is a common fallacy within Christianity. Claims like "God is omnipotent because the Bible says so" is like me saying "Big foot is real because some guy in the woods told me so." There is no merit for either, because you can't prove either as being true or not. It is simply taking a leap of faith in something that can't truly be proven, and that is a harsh reality about the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

I am not attacking faith or spirituality with this comment, but I am saying that a conversation needs to truly be open on both sides for it to really achieve anything. Based on what you shared here, it sounds like neither you or Brad the Ag were open for much of anything.

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