Wednesday, 13 August 2014

I told you so

I get told that I should start believing now. I need to believe in order to avoid hell. I need to believe before it's too late! 

Not all, but a lot of people who tell me this tell me that their version of the god myth has sent them to me (of course they call their version of the god myth God). It reminds me a little of a story I once heard. I've found it called the Parable of the Flood, the Drowning Man, The Parable of the Three Boats and a few other names. 

It goes like this:
A man was trapped in his house during a flood. He began praying to God to rescue him. He had a vision in his head of God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety. The water started to rise in his house. His neighbour urged him to leave and offered him a ride to safety. The man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me.” The neighbour drove off in his pick-up truck.

The man continued to pray and hold on to his vision. As the water began rising in his house, he had to climb up to the roof. A boat came by with some people heading for safe ground. They yelled at the man to grab a rope they were ready to throw and take him to safety. He told them that he was waiting for God to save him. They shook their heads and moved on.

The man continued to pray, believing with all his heart that he would be saved by God. The flood waters continued to rise. A helicopter flew by and a voice came over a loudspeaker offering to lower a ladder and take him off the roof. The man waved the helicopter away, shouting back that he was waiting for God to save him. The helicopter left. The flooding water came over the roof and caught him up and swept him away. He drowned.


When he reached heaven and asked, “God, why did you not save me? I believed in you with all my heart. Why did you let me drown?” God replied, “I sent you a pick-up truck, a boat and a helicopter and you refused all of them. What else could I possibly do for you?”

There are a few versions of this on the web. I found this one here and left a comment here.

What my comment says is that an omniscient god would have known that the man would refuse help from the pick-up truck, the boat, and the helicopter. 

Why would an omniscient god send methods of rescue he knew in advance would be rejected?

The god of this parable would have known what form of rescue the trapped man would require to believe that the rescuer was god or a representative of. But he chooses to not send that form of rescue and to send three rescuers he knows will be rejected. 

This is how I feel when people on twitter tell me they've been sent by their god to convince me their god is real. He must know in advance that they will fail just as he knew the attempted rescuers would fail. 

So if this god is real and is really sending these people why does he choose people he knows, in advance, I won't find convincing? 

I said in my comment to the above story, it seems the god of this story had no intention of saving the trapped man. Likewise, if he is real and sending these people to me as they claim, it seems he has no real intention of having me believe. 

Sending rescuers that will be ignored or people that I won't find convincing is not the way one would expect an omniscient god to act. 

Am I really expected to believe an omniscient being capable of literally anything would behave in such a manner? Would an omniscient god really waste the time of the devout by having them talk to me when he knows they will not convince me of his existence whilst knowing what is required to actually convince me he's real? 

To me the only reason to do it like this is so if I actually do get to heaven and face god he can say "I told you so" which is, of course, a ludicrous proposition. The conclusion, obviously, is that just like the trapped man, the pick-up truck driver, the people in the boat and the pilot of the helicopter, the god behind these claims is fictional. 

19 comments:

  1. The story, of the drowning man, reminds me of all the times that I prayed as a devout believer for god to save me, first from my mom, & next from my ex-husband. It wasn't until I saved myself, that I realized god wasn't coming. I still believed for a long time after that, but it was a habit by then; & I wanted to understand why god didn't help abused children so I continued to study. Fortunately, unlike the man in the story; I found support & didn't drown. I've never found an acceptable answer(theists have offered me many answers) for any god allowing children to be abused. : )

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    1. Same situation with me too. After 30 years of praying "he" didn't make me straight. And when my father was on his deathbed, my entire family prayed for him. As he was an elder in the local church, our minister asked the whole congregation to pray. And nothing happened.

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    2. First, I would like to start off by saying that God is a God that gives you a choice. God knew that Eve would eat the apple from the tree even though she was told not to but ate it anyway, even though she had been warned. You expect God to not give you choices but if he wanted to he could make us obey everything he says but instead offers us the freedom that we don't deserve. Matthew 7 versus 24-27 says, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." Where did your foundations lie?! Where do your foundations lie?! Do not be like Job (character in the bible) who was tested and lost all that he owned and chose to speak words against the God who gave him all that he owned in the first place. The God that blessed him and chose to let him prosper in all that he did. And even though he lost his wife, kids, servants, and great fortune, he returned to God and had a bigger house twice as many servants, twice as many kids, and a beautiful wife. If you knew who God was at any point of your life than you know what I’m talking about. Don’t turn against the God that came to Earth to forgive you of your sins and chose to be stuck up on a cross with nails in his wrist and feet. If your car broke down in the middle of the rode and someone offered to help you would you let them and wait until they leave to speak words of hatefulness towards them. If not than why would you do it to such a loving and caring God. You can choose to look at any horrible thing that is happening in the word and ask why God hasn’t chosen to fix it, but you are also choosing not to see all the beautiful things he has created and all the glorious/magnificent things he’s also done. If you still think I’m wrong than I guess I can’t do anything about that, but if you might have the slightest chance of wanting to believe what I’m saying than there’s a beautiful book that I recommend you read that will answer all your questions called the Bible. If you’re not sure what to believe then I want you to know that I’m only 13 and it’s God who put these words of fire in me. A flame and desire to love and want you to go to heaven even though you speak words of distaste against the God I believe. Thank You.

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  2. There's a reason that faith without works is dead - because faith and prayer accomplish nothing.

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    1. If you really believe, as I did for a long time, I think praying does make you feel better. Or helps to calm you down before an exam and focus better. Now I realise that it was just the placebo effect and I did all of the feeling better/calm and focussing for myself :)

      I think the same placebo effect helps religious sports stars if they pray before a match, unfortunately making it very difficult for them to stop believing in the rubbish.

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  3. Still curious as to why god sent that flood.

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  4. As I've said before: To even get me to believe in a God, you must do two things:
    1. Empirically prove to me that your God exists.
    2. Prove to me WHY he deserves the love and worship that you give him.

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  5. Another great write-up. I like how much you're able to get across with so few words- something I'm trying to figure out.
    Keep up the great work!

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  6. I thought I would return the favor and come by your blog to read and appreciate your views about matters of God. I find it interesting to see other views - not so much to argue or change one's mind, but to learn and stay accountable.

    As far as this particular post, yes I see your point, but I think it is missing the point of the parable. This isn't a news account, but a little parable to show that people should stay open to God's methods of dealing with their lives and not be fixed on their own expectations of God. You can argue that it is a bad parable because some of the tertiary matter is distracting, but it is a parable nonetheless.

    I'm not sure about these people that were supposedly sent to you by God to save you. That sounds like nonsense to me. I think you are on the path that you were destined to walk. No one knows how straight or how many turns are on it.

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  7. By the way, I did notice that at least a couple of your readers fit the Ostrich Paradigm. Just an observation. ;)

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  8. I came to this blog looking for that parable, but your comments captured me. When MrOzAtheist points out that God should have known better than to send something the trapped man wouldn't choose, I must ask why a trapped man possessed of logical thought would refuse help that was so rational and reasonable? Didn't he need rescuing, and weren't they offering what he needed? There was no offer of some crazy mode of rescue, such as a close-swimming alligator, which would spark skepticism--logical help was sent. God gives us a will. He lets us choose. What we choose is not his fault. Yes, he may know what we will choose, but if we choose against something rational and reasonable, how does that put God at fault? We are presented every day with choices. Of course he wants people to choose what is good, and right, and loving and kind, but he does not force us to. Another Atheist, when child abusers choose to abuse, it is their choice, not his fault. Why he doesn't strike them with lightning, I do not know. But I also know if he gave any of us the punishment we deserved every time we disobeyed him, lying, cheating, stealing, selfishness, etc., none of us would be alive, since the punishment for any sin is death. There will come a recompense, however. And what is our purpose to be on this earth if not to do something about the evils we see? David Norbot, the reason he is worthy of the love and devotion is because seeing that we would pay with our life for even one bad choice since one infraction deserves death, he loved us enough to send Jesus his son, who took the penalty of all our infractions by dying in our place, then conquered death by rising again. Praise God, he provided a way to have peace with him. What you believe is your choice, but the rescue is logical and rational. 1-800-need-him if you choose to find out more.


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    1. One of the big differences between atheists and theists - every theist I know must necessarily make excuses for their god allowing children to be abused.

      I find "Yes, my god sits back and does nothing while children are abused, but I'm sure he has good reason" to be most distasteful.

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    2. God sent us to help each other. Rescue any children lately?

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  9. The problem with the free-will defense, is that it can't be reconciled with Omniscience. Before anyone was born, (including OzAtheist and the man in the parable) the Xtian God knew every choice that person would make. You don't have Free Will in this case. If the Xtian god knows I will have sushi for lunch today, I can't choose anything else instead. All we do is act out the lines we were given at birth. That's not free will.

    We were all born with the Xtian god already knowing if we would make it to heaven or hell. There's not a single decision you can make differently to change that. The whole 'praying man' parable is a really an exercise in futility. There was no way the man could make any decisions to the one he made to refuse aid. His lines were preordained. He has zero free will.

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  10. You are forgetting about free will. God will not force or cajole a person into acting on his will. The parable is about the fact that the man was given every chance and opportunity to act. He could have at any point used those opportunities to save himself. Yet he did not do so.

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