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Sep 27

Is God fair?

Imagine you are a professor and you are renowned for your fairness. You have always upheld this as a central virtue because you teach a class that is of vital importance to the students. Your grading of the students in this particular class is highly correlated with their acceptance into top-tier graduate schools. As such, you take it very seriously that everyone has a fair chance and a level playing field. Your class eventually becomes so popular that you are given multiple sections of the same class to teach. As part of your effort to be fair, you make every reasonable attempt to provide the same level of instruction across different sections. We wouldn’t expect you to have everything be exactly the same, but we would expect it to be the same within reasonable limits. For example, class discussions might steer you in different directions, but you wouldn’t give one section a comprehensive study guide and not do the same for the other sections.

Reflect on this for a moment and see if you agree that it sounds plausible. What I specifically want to know is whether the professor’s attempt to provide very similar instruction across the board is a necessary condition of his/her being fair with respect to the students. If the professor did not make such an attempt, and consequently there were great discrepancies in instruction, then the professor would not be fair. Do you agree? If so, then there seems to be a compelling problem for many major religions.

Let’s take Christianity as our example. The Christian God is surely considered to be completely fair, among other things. It would not be possible to even conceive of a fairer being. I think just about every Christian would accept this. But does God act in a way that is analogous to the professor? Consider every human to have ever existed to be different sections of the same class. And at the end of this class, there is a very significant consequence based on how we performed. Yet, God has arranged things in such a way that people are judged according to vastly different scenarios. Consider how you own life differs from that of a disciple of Jesus. According to Christianity, these disciples got to walk and talk with God himself every single day for years. They witnessed miracles, had access to special teaching, and were surely transformed by the mere presence of God. If that isn’t one hell of a study guide, I don’t know what is. Or perhaps we could consider the miraculous encounter of Paul on the road to Damascus. Or the many residents of Jerusalem who witnessed miracles of Jesus, including healing and even resurrection! Or we could go back further in the Bible and consider Adam and Eve walking with God in the Garden of Eden or Abraham, Moses and others having intimate relationships with God and receiving clear signs. Even if you are a somewhat liberal Christian and dismiss the latter stories as myths, you still have the former.

What do we have today? Well, we have a book that’s reliability is severely in question telling us about some (not all) of these events. Think back to the professor. Imagine he/she is a professor of history. For one section of the class, a time machine is built and they go back and witness the event in person. For all other sections of the class, the students are only given a book that seems very unreliable which gives seemingly sketchy accounts of the historical event. In fact, some people question to what extent the book describes a historical event at all. Are these different sections of the class in the same position? Surely they are not. But, if they are not, then the professor ceases to be fair.

The situation gets even worse when we look at other times and places in history. Imagine the vast difference between your ability to evaluate the claims of the Bible or other religions and the ability of a peasant living in the Middle Ages. Or imagine someone living in India during the time of the Buddha. They would have very good reasons to adopt the local religion gaining popularity and no reason at all to anticipate what religions are telling people thousands of miles away or in the future. It is simply inconceivable to me to try and maintain that God has placed these people in similar situations. And yet, we will all allegedly be judged according to the same standards. Such a God cannot be considered fair while maintaining anything like what we normally consider fair, as drawn out through the earlier thought experiment.

At this point, the common reply is to invoke some sort of response that uses God’s alleged middle knowledge. This will generally argue that God knows what each person will choose and that people who live in, say pre-Christ times, were placed there by God because they wouldn’t have accepted Christianity anyway. I don’t think that response is very successful here.

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3 comments

  1. no deposit casino bonus codes 2010

    I love it when folks get together and share thoughts. Great website,
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  2. Neil C Reinhardt

    Please Excuse the ALL CAPS in my Cut and Paste comment. It is something I sent to a Far Right Christian. And as some I sent it to are as old (or older) as I am who like me to use ALL CAPS so it is easier for them to read, I use them.

    (Besides my using them seem to piss off Liberals which I enjoy doing.)

    SO DAVID, YOUR God Has a Plan?

    REALLY?

    YOU MEAN THE SAME GOD YOU CHRISTIANS SAY IS CARING, KIND, INTELLIGENT, LOVING, COMPASSIONATE, A JUST, FAIR AS WELL AS ALL KNOWING AND ALL POWERFUL?

    THE SAME GOD WHO CREATED A WORLD FILLED WITH LANDSLIDES, FLOODS, WILD FIRES, VOLCANOES. EARTHQUAKES, TORNADOS, FLASH FLOODS, TSUNAMIS, BLIZZARDS AND WHICH GETS HIT WITH METEORS?

    A GOD WHO FILLED THIS WORLD WITH LIVING THINGS WHICH HAVE HUNT AND KILL OTHER LIVING THINGS SO THEY CAN LIVE?

    A GOD WHO CREATED GERMS AND THINGS WHOSE ONLY PURPOSE SEEM TO BE IS TO TORMENT OTHER LIVING THINGS?

    A LOVING, CARING, JUST, INTELLIGENT, COMPASSIONATE, FAIR, AN ALL KNOWING AND ALL POWERFUL GOD WHO CREATED HUMANS WHO BEAT, TORTURE, RAPE AND MURDER OTHER HUMANS FOR NO VALID REASON?

    THE FACTS ARE DAVID, YOU GOD IS MEAN, VINDICTIVE, CRUEL, VICIOUS AND TOTALLY INCOMPETENT!

    OF COURSE,

    THE TRUTH IS YOUR GOD IS NO MORE REAL THAN WERE THE GODS OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN, GREEKS, ROMANS. THE NORWEGIANS AND OF MANY, MANY OTHERS.

    THE FACTS ARE THE ONLY PLACE ANY, AND ALL GODS EXIST ARE IN THE MINDS OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN THEM.

    AND IN SPITE OF HOW MANY, OR HOW STRONGLY ANY OF YOU MANY “BELIEVERS” BELIEVE, NO GODS EXIST IN THE REAL WORLD!

    SO GO AHEAD, WASTE YOUR TIME AND ENERGY PRAYING TO YOUR MAKE BELIEVE AND NON-EXISTENT GODS!

    LAST, SOME DAY, IN THE NOT TOO DISTENT FUTURE, YOUR RELIGION & YOUR GOD WILL BE CONSIDERED TO BE ANOTHER CHILDISH MYTH JUST LIKE ALL THOSE OTHER GODS AND RELIGIONS OF THE PAST.

    NEIL

  3. Uriah Cheated

    I was a christian since childhood and had a very sad life since i was born, i tried to be a good christian and do the right things, im not perfect but i did my best. I need some help to understand some facts. Im a very sick person with a life threatening condition, i work a lot sometimes more than 12 hours day plus weekends, my efforts are to fullfill the command of Christ in 1 Timothy 5.8 and for it I gave all and sink on debth. My job is far many miles from my home and i travel every day, on few years i had many oportunities given from satan to eat forbidden meat, many womans asked for sex but I refused for love of God, its on the following list:

    1st quarter the coworker AA wanted cheat her fiancee with me, she was very pretty – i refused

    2nd quarter the coworker AB wanted cheat her fiancee with me too, she was very pretty too – i refused

    4th quarter a married woman that travel with me on the same bus everyday wanted cheat her husband and offer herself to me on scandalous way she was really actrative – i refused, she got ashamed and asked me to forgive

    7th quarter another woman on bus that travel with me on the same bus everyday wanted cheat her boyfriend offer herself to me on scandalous way too she was really actrative – i refused too

    11th quarter another woman on another bus that travel with me on the same bus everyday wanted cheat her fiancee offer herself to me she was really actrative – i refused too

    11th quarter another woman on another bus that travel with me on the same bus everyday wanted cheat her boyfriend offer herself to me she was really easy – i refused too

    15th quarter one day i losted bus and a woman on metro wanted cheat the boyfriend, she begged to stay with she, she was amazing pretty – i refused too

    16th quarter the coworker AC wanted cheat on husband and told me a lot of bad things about her lazy husband – i refused too

    16th quarter the coworker AD wanted cheat on husband telling me to have sex whith she on a desert place inside our workplace – i refused too

    18th quarter the coworker AE wanted cheat on husband, she waited until I be alone on office and got naked – i refused too

    Im telling about only woman wanting cheating but there is other i refused for not being christian womans.

    All above can make someone think i havent libido and that was easy, believe me, wasnt, my libido make my blood boil inside my veins.

    Some months before the 16st quarter above i started a relationship with my loved one, that time she already had an infectious contagious incurable condition and bone deformities by birth on all her flat body but i never had a prejudice about it, instead i give all love i was able, she always told me how i was romantic and sweet with she.

    She insisted 3 months calling me almost every day, i told so many times about my life threatening condition and the command of Christ in 1 Timothy 5.8 that make me without funds to buy a candy but she told me many times she dont care and wanted me, i loved she so much and she was a christian woman then God approves it.

    I agree with she to wait until our marriage and worked harder to find a way to marry she, i havent enough to a bonbon box but doing all at my reach to marry and be a good husband, i dreamed a lot with our little future daughter, i dreamed on give my love all life to she.

    She was a CHEATER, and very agressive, i was always sweet, she called me so many times dog, she told me that she desired the other male members of the church and look to all of then, she told me was rubbing her buttocks on coworkers, told me about mens asking she to have sex on elevator, she never allowed me to toutch she, she one day called me on my job by the early morning to tell me was talking all night with another men of church and was curious about his taste, wanted try it and told me the worst things possible, humiliate me, i blood a lot that day, my body reacted, i losted the little health i had, since that day im a dead one, my heart still beats and i still breath but im really dead, i know its hard to belief but trust me, the physical death to someone on my condition is a bless.

    I spent my money to fullfill Christ commandment and not in a brothel, so many times my corworkers invited me, they are so happy with they wifes and sons, im alone, dishonored, sad, sick, dead and ashamed, some of coworkers listened all while i was on phone and laughted at me asking me if i went to church to be betrayed, my cowork told me i was better married with a brothel prostitute than with a church woman, told me that prostitutes are more loyal, told me to stop being a dumb and enjoy life on brothels, asked me if God is worth of being served, told me he workship satan and never was cheated by his cheated wife, i remembered Job on that time, on bible God reward Job with much more than he had but i think ton of gold today cant make me happy, nothing can, nothing than my physical dead and God revenge, Deuteronomy 32:35, are worth to me, its only things i still dream on this life. She is from Christian Congregation and there people believe on prophecy, a “prophet” threatened me with death from pulpit in favor of she, everyone inside church know what she did and everyone was at her side, everyone protect she and another well know wicked persons, there one married “profet” caught many times on bed with other mans and everyone almost workship he. Satan wanted feed me many times with juice and forbidden meat but i refused, then God rewarded me with a dry, deformed, infected and treacherous bone that was my loved fiancee. I never will trust nobody on my life.

    My question is: Why im sick, disonored, dead inside, alone, poor, thinking about suicide all the time, years with insomnia, tormentad by satan that ask me every second if all that effort was worth while she is heath, honored, alive, with her husband and progressing ? Today i losted hope on God justice and just ask to die but God refuse to kill me, he want to have joy looking to me while im sick, disonored, dead inside, alone, poor, thinking about suicide all the time, years with insomnia, tormentad by satan that ask me every second if all that effort was worth.

    God denied me even peace to die.

    I wrote on a christian forum before but some christians like censorship.

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