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Omnipotence in Question

God is omnipotent… or so we are told.

Dictionary.com defines “omnipotent” as:

1. almighty or infinite in power, as God.
2. having very great or unlimited authority or power.

I’m going to go with the first definition since this is the one that would undoubtedly apply to “God” of Christianity and Catholicism and to “Allah” in Islam. I’ve never heard a religious person say that their god has only limited power, so I think it’s a fair assumption that the first definition is applicable.

The question is often posed to theists, “If God (from here on, also meaning Allah) is all-powerful, why is there disease (or imperfection or evil or disbelief, etc)?” The answer invariably boils down to a “free will” argument. Summarized, God created everything in a state of perfection, but gave man free will to choose his own actions. Man then chose the “wrong” path (eating the apple) and that was pretty much the end of perfection. After that, we basically drove off the genetic cliff which explains why some people wear glasses, some get cancer, some need braces, etc.

(I’m going to leave aside the argument that perhaps Adam wasn’t perfect if he was capable of choosing the wrong path, therefore God didn’t make a perfect creation, therefore God isn’t perfect… or omnipotent.)

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Attempted “Logic” Fails

On the website CantonRep.com, Ron L. Dalpiaz wrote a letter to the editor about the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Imagine No Religion” billboard in Canton, Ohio. The letter appeared on December 18th, 2008.

Mr. Dalpiaz evidently does not approve of the billboard, nor does he approve or agree with the FFRF’s Annie Laurie Gaylor’s comments about religion. That’s understandable. I don’t always agree with everything she says, either, even though I’m a FFRF member. One of the wonderful things about this country (the USA) is our freedom to disagree and express our disagreement. The First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees that.

In that light, I would like to point out the logical failings of Mr. Dalpiaz’s statements and show that, in numerous cases, his statements are the exact opposite of what is actually true. Sadly, I see this kind of illogical rhetoric all the time and it’s frustrating to say the least.

Here’s the letter (quoted) along with my comments.

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The Santa Dilemma

I just ran across this entry in the Atheist Nexus blog and thought I’d pass it along. Many atheist parents struggle with the whether or not to promote the idea of Santa Claus to their children because of the obvious parallel to the idea of a god. Dale McGowan wrote this entry about Santa Claus being the “Ultimate Dry Run” for developing an inquisitive and skeptical mind in a child.

Santa Claus – The Ultimate Dry Run

I think this is a wonderful story about drawing out the inate rationality and inquisitiveness of a child without preaching to him or making declarative statements.

The Ten Commandments: Why most of them aren’t even good suggestions (Part 2)

The source for the following essay is Deuteronomy 5:6-5:21.

Well, here we are with commandment two.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

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The Meaning of Life

One question (or statement, depending on who’s speaking) I come across on occasion is how life can have any real meaning if I don’t believe in a divine creator. In other words, there’s a claim that if you don’t devote your life to serving “God,” your life can’t possibly be meaningful.

I was pondering posting my thoughts on this when I found the following post by Alonzo Fyfe of The Atheist Ethicist and thought I’d put off posting my own thoughts for now and share Alonzo’s wonderful metaphor. It gently and gracefully addresses the issue and shows a great difference between “meaning via religion” and  meaning via life.”

Here’s the link: The Meaning of Life

Enjoy!

Founded as a Christian Nation? No.

One of the common claims that tends to irk me more than some others is the claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation or based on Christian principles. This misconception has been refuted a multitude of times, but the refutations always seem to fall on the deaf ears of self-righteous, Christian ignorance.

The claim is usually made during political discussions, but the intellectual morose of the argument is evident regardless of context. I most frequently hear the statement from people who don’t have the information required to back up the claim and who refuse to acknowledge any evidence that threatens to penetrate their self-imposed cocoon of ignorance. For good reason, it seems, since if they did choose to acknowledge the evidence, their claim would be simply invalidated.

Looking at the text that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America used makes it unquestionably evident that a “Christian Nation” was not what they intended to create.

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The Ten Commandments: Why most of them aren’t even good suggestions (Part 1)

The source for the following essays is Deuteronomy 5:6-5:21.

How many times has the debate on religion begun, only to end in short order with the religious apologist arguing that what you say may or may not be true but you can’t argue that the TEN COMMANDMENTS weren’t a great contribution to out collective civility.

Wrong. I can. Lets take them one at a time. Over the next ten weeks I’m going to be discussing one commandment per week. Here goes.

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

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Hitchens Debates Boteach

Christopher Hitchens is great in this debate with Rabbi Boteach about the (non)existence of God. He argues his point while Boteach spends 98% of his time trying to discredit Hitchens and evolution rather than answering the questions or addressing the topic.