Apr
15

My Fight with a Catholic Priest

By

Critical thinking and organized religion have and will always clash, and my public knock-down drag-out in Oklahoma City with a Catholic Priest is a prime example. I didn’t go in looking for a fight, but when I openly challenged this man of the cloth with a critical thinking question he couldn’t answer, he attacked me and didn’t expect an equal response. Whether you’re a person of faith, an atheist or anywhere in between, it’s hard to dispute the fact that the problem with religious leaders and their doctrine is their unwillingness to undergo the scientific and critical thinking scrutiny that every other philosophy, industry, or ideology is subjected to. In short, it’s not only politically incorrect to publicly challenge 2,000 year old religious dogma, it’s social suicide. Especially in America. That’s where mental toughness kicks in and why I’m including it on this blog and in my upcoming book. Watch this short video I shot today in Oklahoma City and I’ll look forward to hearing what you have to say.  Steve Siebold   (2:30 )

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Comments

  1. Ida says:

    Hi Steve,

    I just watched your video blog and I must say that your question, “Where was God?” is a good question. You asked for us to respond what do we think without quoting scriptures. Well, what is think is based on my own personal experiences that alligned with scriptures. My personal quote is, “Our present circumstances does not change who God is.” I have gone through so many trouble, trails, and difficulties within my personal life that when I speak on the subject, people begin to say, “Please stop, I can’t take anymore.” If they have difficulty listening to what I had gone through, imagine what it was like for me to go through. God did not make Timmothy Macveigh blow hurt people. However, I do believe that God allowed it to happen and somehow it will work together for the good of the country. Let think together for a moment, “Since that incident happened, the security has grown.” What if God knew that something worth were going to happen and He allow Timmothy Macveigh to do what he did, so the security can be stronger in this country and prevent multi-millions of people from getting killed. Let look at this a different way, in the Holy Bible God allowed things to happen to get the attention of those who are walking in disobedience. I’m not saying that the children that were killed were disobedient, but how many people in the country was brought to their knees to seek God’s protection because of what happened. Again, lets look at this another way. There is a time and season for everyone to live or to die and it was just their time. Why would I say that? Well, part of my history is that I have came so very close to dying so many times that its not funny. Examples are as followed: Car accident-head on collision with a truck and my small sports car; stroke, heart attack, and seizures all brought on by an over-the-counter herbal supplement; As a teacher of the public school system I was put in a classroom that had mold and had an ashma attack that had taken more that 30 to 40% of my lung ability; As a child walking through a trail that I was told not to walk through, a snake was on one of the bushes ready to strike when I don’t know how I quickly grabbed his head and had thrown it to the other side of the field; I was hit in the head by a pickle jar and my head was slit opened and I had fallen out and bleeding from my brain; In the eighty, I missed a flight to New York, but had I not missed the flight I would have been part of the plain crash that year; I was one of 16,000 people in the United States that were affected by the Herbal Supplement called, “Ephedra” and more that 200 people lost their lives to that supplement. I can go on and on, but that was just to tell you a few. Nevertheless, I still hold this as my testimony, “My circumstances that I had gone through did not determine who God is.” It had not been my time to die, so I go on living as healthy as I could live. I have learned that dealth doesn’t have dominion over me, but God does and that is why I am still here. My circumstances can’t change me mine and doen’t have dominion over me and that is why I’m still here. I guess you can call it “Mental Toughness.” After all, I have been indirectly practacing what you have been preaching and it is a great lesson to learn.

    Ida

  2. Merida says:

    Hi Steve
    Have you read the book “Source Field Investigations”? Eye-opener. The research has been done and evidence is extraordinary:)
    Love your blog

  3. Merida says:

    There is a higher power that we call GOD but all of that is what the Native Americans call part of the Great Mystery. We were created out of chaos and there is no explanation for GOD that would ever be comprehended by the mind of man in its present state. What happened in Oklahoma on April 19th cannot be explained in a God sense due to man being hu-man (GOD-man) and creating his own destiny. Our limited belief system places us in God’s hands as a way of sedating and comforting those who feel out of control and need some sense of comfort in a chaotic world. Babies and children have no choice over the adult will that takes control away from them…however, like the animals that run to higher ground when a tsunami threatens I believe those babies, had they been able to exert their own free will that day, would have sensed the danger and headed away from it. As adults, we lose our inate ability to intuit because we become desensitized and unaware. This desensitization allows us to enter dangerous situations without thinking about what may happen and without giving credence to the intuitive moment that warns of impending chaos.

    • Steve says:

      Merida,
      You’ve made some extraordinary claims in this comment, but critical thinking demands that you substantiate them with extraordinary evidence. Do you have such evidence?

  4. RebelRenny says:

    I personally no longer believe in a god/God, although I did for 60 years. Your question was well-placed. Certainly as one who was in such close proximity. I find it amazing how Americans answer your question. It may be interesting to find out where people are from. I am a Canadian of Dutch descent. Not surprisingly I could be considered quite the combination of “mental toughness.” The Dutch are known for critical thinking and the Netherlands known as a safe haven for those of different and differing religious backgrounds.

    Personally I say to “where was God?” Nowhere. God is a figment of mankind’s imagination. And the gospel is solving a problem of its own making. And yes: “Critical thinking and organized religion have and will always clash…” I would add that it does not have to be organized religion.

  5. Bill says:

    I was going to buy your book, after reading and watching your videos it is obvious that your thinking is tainted by your liberal views.

    Your books may be great but I get enough liberal bias from the free mainstream media I will not pay for it nor support those that claim to think critically but spew left wing rhetoric.

    Critical thinking requires a neutral view, it cannot exist to the left or right.

  6. David Smith says:

    where was God? Right where He has always been – right in front of ALL who seek Him; and His Arms are wide open. He started preparing for that day, in Oklahoma City, before the world began. He sent His Son in preparation for that day. He sent Holy Spirit in preparation for that day! God had been positioning people in their hearts & lives & minds for the events of that day. God SAVED every single person that looked to Him on that day… and He did something more. He used that terrible day to bring even MORE people into His Kingdom. What the enemy intended for evil, God turned into ETERNAL good. WHERE was God that day? He was in the very center of the explosion that the devil had orchestrated…

  7. Fred says:

    Mike

    Think you’re right about religious donations exceeding (explicitly) atheistic contributions… for now at least.
    About my surprise:
    I was aware that America is very Christian 🙂 But this is a blog about crtical thinking right? Sure, having a religion has many advantages, emotional, social, etc, but it seems that, on average, religion occurs mostly in primitive societies and that it holds people back. So quite surprising to find it in the current superpower!
    China, Russia, Europe… all very secular. At least to the extent that you can publicly declare your atheism without fear.

  8. Fred says:

    @Mike Michelozzi (http://mentaltoughnessblog.com/my-fight-with-a-catholic-priest/comment-page-3/#comment-55490)

    Here’s the result of a 3-second Google search about atheists and their charity:

    http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist-Charities

    Many, many atheist charities are listed there. And it doesn’t even attempt to be an exhaustive list.

    On an unrelated note, as an atheist from a third-world country, I’m amazed to find so many religious responses from Americans. I can understand if the locals in my country have some backwards attitudes, but this is very surprising coming from a first-world country. And scary, considering you have 6000+ nukes.

  9. Tim says:

    It must first be understood that God is a mystery, and that human beings wrongly think that we are capable of knowing and understanding everything. By the way, this particular Catholic Priest may not have been prepared to answer your question as you may have wanted, but I can assure there are MANY very intelligent, enlightened priests that can. (Check out Father Robert Barron) Steve, it helps to think about this also – When Christ was dying a horrific death on the cross, two things were occuring. 1.) the most evil action that could ever take place – “deicide” the torture and death of God by his creatures. 2.) the greatest act of love that could ever take place – God giving himself up completely even unto death to demonstrate his love for us. The point is, that in the midst of unspeakable suffereing and tragedy, God is doing things that we will not know right away, or even on this side of death. The problem is that you want two things: 1.) answers about it right now, and 2.) a perfect world with NO suffereing. God is not interested in a perfect world now. Without evil and suffering, would we truly come to know and appreciate him? This is a terrible analogy, but I’m a musician. If I picked up my instrument and played it perfectly from day 1 with none of the blood, sweat, and tears that go along with learning to play music, I can assure you, that would be extremely unfulfulling. I think that God is more interested in our lives on the OTHER side of death…

  10. Jay Earley says:

    Steve, the question you asked is a typical one that comes from a person that believes that their is no God. That he and he only guides his own life. So there is no need for us to answer the question. To ask that question, you need to go inside of you to get the answer for if your a true believer in God you know that he could not stop that bad decision that was made by the guy that blew up that building.

  11. JoAnn says:

    God did not create ‘robots’ that automatically make the right choices, so there will be those who choose on the side of evil. This tragedy is a consequence of an evil choice.

  12. Thank you Steve for opening up a channel in which we can all teach and learn from each other. I believe these souls made a contract collectively to serve a purpose and that is to teach the community and all those affected the intended lesson, whether it be tolerance, love, understanding,etc… God iis not made of fear, we have a choice to carry messages through fearful acts or loving deeds, and unfortunately that was an act based on fear. Each soul there had the same intention, and unfortunately the same outcome, but very separate journeys. So even if, as souls, we choose to leave a message and serve a purpose, we can choose to do it the way we “contracted” to do it, or our own way.Free will is present at all times. Our spirit leads us to places to fullfill certain missions. Life never ends, only our body does, so learning towards mastery is ongoing, and as spiritual beings we get excited to be part of an event that will teach and serve a greater purpose so that we remember who we are and grow closer to God. My intention is not to offend anyone, It is simply what I believe.

  13. Tim Seeley says:

    Wow, that is a good question. It is interesting to see the responses and the emotion attached. Steve, I would be interested to hear your thoughts. What is it you really think the reason could be that God could allow something to happen like 9-11?

    Here is my opinion. I believe that God is a just God and that he loves his children more than we can comprehend. I also believe that God is merciful and only wants what is best for his children. So how is it that God could allow something as horrific like 9-11 to happen to so many of his children?

    How could he allow the innocent to suffer if he truly is all powerful and could have easily stopped or prevented something like that from happening? I believe that we (all mankind) are here for a purpose, and that that purpose extends far beyond our temporary existence on this earth.

    The greatest gift that God has given us is the freedom to choose. I believe that God views this gift of agency as a crucial part of the test of life. This gift of agency is so important that he allows us to use our agency even if our decisions cause pain and suffering to others. God allows the innocent to suffer so that his judgments and punishment to the wicked will be just.

    God was there Steve on that dreadful day 9-11. He was there allowing his children to use the gift he gave them from the beginning. The gift of freedom to chose. But not without consequence, for the judgment day will come.

    In conclusion, life is not fair! it was not meant to be. It is through overcoming adversity that we are able to discover the Greatness within ourselves. WE must be ever mindful of our action and how they affect others. The judgment day will come and blessed with be those who have overcome. A sad day it will be for those who have used their agency in selfishness having no regard to those whom they have caused pain and suffering. Final point: It will all be made right in the end.

    If God has given us this gift of freedom and agency, why are so many in this country willing to give it away? That is my question to you.

  14. Christina says:

    Dear Steve, You are apparently not preaching to the choir
    here:) But thank you for asking the question. I wish more people would pose these questions: we need to question everything. Keep going – get that book done. !

    “In short, it’s not only politically incorrect to publicly challenge 2,000 year old religious dogma, it’s social suicide.” SS

    Too true. But I’d still ask you to dinner 🙂

    Eversince I was very young, a bit of radar has warned me off organized religion. As the wife of a war correspondent, I suppose we have a slightly different take on religion. I recommend you watch Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens on Youtube at the
    Intelligence debate in 2009. As for the Catholics, and all other
    religions who profess to be the one true religion, I can only wonder how many one true religions there are?

  15. Joe Coco says:

    Steve,
    Your written comments and your video podcast are inconsistent. In your written comments, you said you didn’t go into the health club looking for a fight, but it appears in your video that you, not the priest, were the aggressor; and in light of the circumstances, your comments appear inappropriate for the time. Secondly, you write the Catholic priest attacked you, yet in your video podcast, you say the priest didn’t know how to respond to you.
    Your comments aren’t critical thinking; they are emotional baiting. You pepper your comments with mental images of death and destruction, but that is not critical thinking; instead, it is emotional persuasion.
    Your question, “the problem of evil,” is the classic argument for God’s non-existence. People don’t argue about things that are readily evident. Instead, we tend to argue about things that require thought. Your post leads me to believe you think you are more capable of running the universe than God. Because you don’t understand why God allows evil, you make the bold non sequitur that God doesn’t have moral justification for allowing evil to take place.
    Your comments demonstrate a lack of critical thinking but an abundance of emotional sophistry. As I explained in my opening, your written and video comments are inconsistent, leading the reader/listener to question your credibility. Secondly, asking difficult questions isn’t nearly as impressive as answering them. Your comments attempt to cast doubt on God’s existence, but aside from asking, “Where was God?” you don’t offer any other support for your enthymeme*. Finally, you pepper your comments with words like, “blown to bits,” and “bedlam.” These adjectives are used to incite emotion, not critical thought.
    In spite of your attempts to persuade to the contrary, It is perfectly rational to believe God has sufficient reasons for allowing evil to exist. For example, it is rational to believe God created sentient creatures with whom He can enjoy an eternal, mutually loving relationship. Because God desires true love, His nature requires His sentient creation to have free will because genuine love is impossible without it. Assuming that since the beginning of man’s existence God wanted the greatest number of people to use their free will to choose eternity with Him over eternity without him, it is difficult to imagine a more rational (and moral)l way to create the universe than one we are currently experiencing. If a person rejects the notion of a God (worthy of our love and worship) based on evil’s existence alone, He is still left with the problem of evil. Your enthymeme* for the non-existence of a God worthy of your worship only removes God, not evil, and with all the other evidence for God’s existence from creation, fine tuning, mathematics, ontology, morality, divine revelation, history, and personal experience, the proof of God’s existence is certainly more compelling than your fallacious presentation of his non-existence.
    While it is true that some practitioners of organized religion have demonstrated poor critical thinking skills, the same indictment can be made against God’s opposers. Some of the greatest thinkers in our Western tradition have been Christian. Even today, Christian philosophers like William Lane Craig, Alvin Plantiga, and Dinesh D’Souza demonstrate quite convincingly that Christianity is not only rational, but the best explanation for the truth about our reality.
    While you appear to have some popular appeal, I recommend you work on your own critical thinking before rolling your anti-God arguments out to the the thinking masses.
    Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this discussion.

    Joe Coco

    *Enthymeme-1. an incomplete syllogism, in which one or more premises are unexpressed as their truth is considered to be self-evident .
    2. any argument some of whose premises are omitted as obvious.

  16. Orlando Bonfiglio says:

    Steve, The first thing that I will say is “The concept of “what God is”, is limited by what the mind of man can comprehend.
    Humankind has defined the power of creation since the dawn of humans, as a self aware species. I will not even pretend to understand the guidelines of our universe. I do understand that everything is gradient. We have extreme temperatures, ie. absolute zero, as opposed to the temperature at the core of a star. The spectrum of light exists from one exteme to the other, and so on. There is near and there is far. There are also degrees of good and evil. Can any of us have the answer to the events which occur around us. I think not.
    As for your priest, I must conclude that the situation is similar to being cast adrift in a life boat in the middle of the ocean.
    You have no choice but to place your unwavering faith in the absolute integrity that you believe that the boat possesses. Otherwise you must expect to perish.
    All that the priest believes is contained in his religion and its constructs. It must be protected at all costs. It is all that is existence.
    Mankind expects that every event that occurs is choreographed. Therefore it follows that something greater than us is responsible. How can we know either way?

  17. Ron says:

    Faith leads me to believe that when horrible things like the OKC bombing takes place, God has his own way of handling it. None of us fully understand why those types of things happen, but we place our faith in our belief that we have a loving God and that he will somehow comfort those involved. But, that’s just my own personal belief. I also believe that God watches those types of things in horror, just like we do. God made men to own a free will. This includes a free will to do evil things as well as good things such as the OKC bombing. If God made us without free will we would be like mindless robots. He purposefully made us that way so we would love him because we want to, not because we have to.

  18. Mike Jacobi says:

    Here are a few more thoughts:
    For the last thousands of years, almost all wars and military conflicts were inspired by opposing religious beliefs. Even the founding of America was for religious freedom, which was not available in Europe. Why do we have to have some many different religions and so many different Gods, if there is one Creator? If God is so all-powerful and if he can control most things on earth, why does an oak tree need thousands of acorns each year? Why does it not grow one acorn and then one squirrel will bury that acorn at the exact right spot to make a new tree grow? Why, if he is an all forgiving God, do we need to have Hell? But then maybe we really don’t need Hell: I think a good argument could be made, that Earth and living on Earth is pretty close to Hell. Look around you, and how much conflict, both small and big, do you see around you daily? Have you ever had a day were you were neither involved in a conflict yourself or saw others fighting? It is such a daily occurrence, that it is accepted as being part of “life”. Does that hold up to Critical Thinking? Why are we not willing to tolerate somebody’s different religion? Why do Christians go around the Globe and distribute bibles? Why do the Muslims in Germany do the same with the Koran right now? Why do governments (and in the Middle Ages kings) feel they have to tell you which religion you must be part of? Why could evolution not also have been created by God to achieve diversity of life? Why do we argue that creatism and evolution are opposing ideas, when they actually are complimentary?
    These are just some critical questions around religion, there are many more. Every single one can be explained away by your personal “belief”, but NOT by unemotional critical thinking.

  19. Sandy says:

    Steve God was watching in horror as it was happening, his heart was breaking for all those who suffered.He gives each of us the freedom to make the decisions which impact others in a positive or negative way.

    This is a choice that only each of us make and we can’t blame God for that.

    When we are motivated by hate in our hearts we do destructive things to others which causes pain and suffering.

    When we are motivated by love we bring happiness in the lives of those around us.

    These are simple explanations, but I believe that’s how it is when we really think about it.

  20. Susan Burke says:

    Steve – thanks for your reply, but I’ll admit I’m confused and could use a little guidance. Seems to me that the only thing we can call fact is one for which we have hard evidence. So, unless I have hard evidence one way or the other that God either does or does not exist, doesn’t that make either belief a truth rather than a fact?

    I don’t know that I can agree that this was God’s “inaction.” SInce I can’t ask Him (which neither proves nor disproves his existence), I don’t know that it’s not part of some larger plan. In my later post, I stated that I don’t think we (humans) can learn and grow without adversity and pain. And, I think (believe, guess?) that we’re here to learn something (I hope that is the case – yes, I’m looking for meaning as to why we’re here – I’d rather not accept that we have no purpose being creatures with such strong ability for introspection – I certainly hope there is a higher purpose, which, of course, is probably proving your point precisely). Earth isn’t Heaven, so bad things will happen. Assuming God exists, He couldn’t make Earth utopia or it would be Heaven. Why would we strive to be something more? Wouldn’t we then just be content to live in status quo?

  21. Thomas Turbyne says:

    Hi Steve, Just went over several of these very interesting comments. So many points of view.

    My point of view comes from 30 years of practice with the
    SGI (Soka Gakai International)., a lay buddhist organization.

    Although it may seem cruel…the event at Oklahoma City was a
    manifestation of karmic causes from all the people gathered
    there on that fateful day. To accept this requires a belief in the interconnection of all things and the law of cause n effect
    being brought forth into this lifetime.

    Thanks for this opportunity to share.with others.

    Thanks Thomas Turbyne

  22. Vincent Leuzy says:

    Hi Steve,
    I think that whether it is the Oklahoma bombing of 1995, Norway’s latest mass murder trial, the brutal murder yesterday of Raymond Taavel, a well known gay activist in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or Pope Pius XII ( second in command after ’’God’’ on earth…) stance during the holocaust , God, as to ‘’where is God ‘’ in such instances, is definitely a question mark in the mind of many I imagine…It has been a question in the past and will continue to be one today and tomorrow …It is no longer one in mine as I feel that it is a limiting question that is no longer looking in the right direction…I have gone passed the organized religious circuses of this world within which a lot of self serving rational and ‘’justified’’ violence resides, to ponder in my own way the three question that define us as individuals ‘’Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? ‘’ …of the three questions the middle one, I feel, must become our guide to question not only’’ what’’ we are but also ‘’who’’ we are…’’Who’’ as so territorial, small minded and violence thirsty, so afraid to speak up for fear of rejection, reprisals or condemnation and in need of growing up….

    Life is such an extraordinary journey, do we really need to lay it at the altar of some organized ‘’human beliefs’’ and ‘’surrender it’’ to our ‘’leaders’’ or do we owe it to ourselves to live it to the fullest while accepting in mind as well as in deeds the one of others through proper exchange of ideas and total respect …Utopia on one hand and the Yin and Yang on the other which seem to exist in everything, ourselves included…how easily swayed we become, in a sense, once entering what becomes ‘’our religion or faith’’….The crusades of yesterday are still going on today led by a lot of lunatics under the premise of holding the ‘’truth’’ …reasons for violence in all kinds of denominations are a plenty ……. I am for open intellectual space and open-mindedness…Isn’t it time to educate ourselves and meet in spirit under the ‘’spirituality banner’’ that seems to take hold, to discuss the foundations of a cosmic conscience devoid of any ‘’ownership’’ other than a collective one ‘’One planet, one roof, one gaze ‘’ to pounder ’’ where we are coming from and where we are going’’ …?

  23. Mark says:

    Steve,

    You asked us to post what we think. I believe God is in control of all things and all events. Our earthly minds will never be able to comprehend his power and glory and the reasons things happen to people. Can you comprehend his Creation? Can you comprehend the millions of life forms? Can you comprehend the perfection in the Earth’s creation and how it rotates and how everything works in perfect harmony? Can you comprehend the human body and the way it functions? Can you comprehend the complexities of your eyes? No one can possible understand these things. So why did that bombing occur? I have no idea why that specific tragedy occurred. I believe the answer is FAITH. We will never know why it happened. Having Faith in Him and knowing He had a reason for it is the answer. He wants us to trust him. That’s what faith is all about.

  24. This question has been asked hundreds of times by thinkers, potstirers (sp) and seekers. Of Cource there is no definitive answer. For there to be a “right” answer would require “proof”. That is not possible. Even by an “agnostic” or Athiest, the Darwin Theory still has holes.
    So it is tantilizing to think of what any individual thinks, believes, and challenges those thinking process’s.
    My response with how I choose to live my life is “GOD”,(however “he” or “it” is defined). Created (through evolution, scientific measures or from Mud and water). a conscious “ness” where we have the POWER to choose, attitudes, behaviors, feelings, beliefs, ect. We are all affected by this “FREE” “WILL”. If “GOD” were to intervein against harm, he would circumvent the free will of the harm doer. Then he would become the Judge/ jurry for every person.
    I believe that is contrary to the fundamental creation of his greatest treasure “FREEDOM”!
    With Freedom comes the opportunity and Choice to do harm, be affected by harm, to heal to affect healing!
    With out both sides there truely is no CHOICE

  25. Phil Edwards says:

    My opinion with tragedies such as this is always that God gave us free will. Just as this man wants the free will to question where God was in anger. If God was to take control everytime someone made a decision to do a bad thing then he would not really be giving us free will. It was not God setting the bomb off but a man deciding to follow an evil idea. Tragedies of other kinds will still always happen when the planet changes but God also gave us the ability to observe and learn where we should live and if it is safe. If governments are corrupt and not allowing us to move or not giving us warnings that makes it once again often a man made problem created by greedy clinging to wealth and rights over land and food and minerals and country boundaries etc. I could go on but I think you get the point that most tragedies could be avoided this day and age if there was no greed and corruption. Most of us are all guilty of this in one way or another because we want to provide for our own loved ones also.

  26. Koki says:

    With all due respect to religion’s role in the history of mankind, most of these posts are nothing more than articulate rationalizations of why we continue to believe in God despite the terrible things that happen in this world. Theism is wonderful if it works for you. Non-believers should not bear any lesser status or respect. So that this forum offers a well- rounded reading list, any rational critical thinker may be interested in this short list:
    “On the Origin of Species” – Charles Darwin
    “Ever Since Darwin” – Stephen Jay Gould
    “Civilization” – Roger Osbourne

  27. K says:

    Hi Steve, this is my first contribution . . . fan of your books. They have helped me rejuvinate some long lost (but awesome) habits in my life.

    Overall, I found this video very interesting and was ready in a heartbeat to fire back my own opinions on the subject. After a little reflection, though, I sense that this entire conversation is a diversion away from mental toughness in general. Based on the material I’ve read from you, it seems as though faith and mental toughness go hand-in-hand. It doesn’t matter what my faith is, what’s important is that I am mentally tough in my own personal beliefs. My beliefs are mine and yours are yours. The great thing is that we all get to learn about the multitude of choices and pick. To challenge rather than simply ask about the beliefs of others is (quite frankly) small minded and to allow onself to be drawn into such a conversation is the same. There is a saying that comes to mind that seems to apply here . . .

    “People who want to tell you about their religion usually are not too interested in hearing about yours.”

    Anyway, hope I didn’t offend anyone too badly. Still an ineresting conversation. Hope more good things come!

  28. Chuck says:

    Steve,

    Where was God when this tragedy occurred? The same place he was when the tragedy of His own son’s death occurred!

    • Steve says:

      Chuck,
      Here’s another critical thinking question: why would an all powerful god have to slaughter his own son? To whom was he appealing? Himself?
      Not only does it make no sense, it’s the work of a psychpathic personality…or a fairy tale designed to frieghten the masses into compliance. (and it’s worked for 2,000 years)
      The fact is animal and even human sacrifice was acceptable during the 1st century. This is another indication that this story was written by men minus any supernatural influence.
      These people were barbarians who believed in sea monsters and a host of other nonsense. It’s about time the world starts scrutinizing these stories and calling them out for what they appear to be. Your thoughts?

  29. Randy S. says:

    Received this email today – enjoy!

    Professor : You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?

    Student : Yes, sir.

    Professor: So, you believe in GOD ?

    Student : Absolutely, sir.

    Professor : Is GOD good ?

    Student : Sure.

    Professor: Is GOD all powerful ?

    Student : Yes.

    Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?

    (Student was silent.)

    Professor: You can’t answer, can you ? Let’s start again, young fella. Is GOD good?

    Student : Yes.

    Professor: Is satan good ?

    Student : No.

    Professor: Where does satan come from ?

    Student : From … GOD …

    Professor: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?

    Student : Yes.

    Professor: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?

    Student : Yes.

    Professor: So who created evil ?

    (Student did not answer.)

    Professor: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?

    Student : Yes, sir.

    Professor: So, who created them ?

    (Student had no answer.)

    Professor: Science says you have 5 Senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son, have you ever seen GOD?

    Student : No, sir.

    Professor: Tell us if you have ever heard your GOD?

    Student : No , sir.

    Professor: Have you ever felt your GOD, tasted your GOD, smelt your GOD? Have you ever had any sensory perception of GOD for that matter?

    Student : No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.

    Professor: Yet you still believe in Him?

    Student : Yes.

    Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

    Student : Nothing. I only have my faith.

    Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem Science has.

    Student : Professor, is there such a thing as heat?

    Professor: Yes.

    Student : And is there such a thing as cold?

    Professor: Yes.

    Student : No, sir. There isn’t.

    (The lecture theater became very quiet with this turn of events.)

    Student : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.

    (There was pin-drop silence in the lecture theater.)

    Student : What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?

    Professor: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?

    Student : You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light. But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it is, well you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?

    Professor: So what is the point you are making, young man ?

    Student : Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.

    Professor: Flawed ? Can you explain how?

    Student : Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good GOD and a bad GOD. You are viewing the concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, Science can’t even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.

    Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?

    Professor: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

    Student : Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

    (The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument was going.)

    Student : Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

    (The class was in uproar.)

    Student : Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?

    (The class broke out into laughter. )

    Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

    (The room was silent. The Professor stared at the student, his face unfathomable.)

    Professor: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.

    Student : That is it sir … Exactly ! The link between man & GOD is FAITH. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

    P.S.

    I believe you have enjoyed the conversation. And if so, you’ll probably want your friends / colleagues to enjoy the same, won’t you?

    Forward this to increase their knowledge … or FAITH.

    By the way, that student was EINSTEIN.

  30. Bert says:

    Steve,

    You asked basically, Why God let the children die in OKC? What you left out was if he is a moral God, why would he allow murder to happen? The age-old problem of evil question.

    I hope it is not ironic that you weep for the 19 children murdered by the terrorists. What about the roughly 3,500 children aborted in this country alone – every day. If your moral outrage is so inflamed at 19, then you must be apoplectic over US abortions alone.

    Turning to your question: You claim your question is fair, and I will reinterpret this I hope fairly. You want to know why God did not intervene in a clearly morally depraved act?

    First I am hoping your story is not apocryphal. And it is sad the Priest had such a weak answer.

    Of course since you claim to “know what the Bible says”. You know that all of Adam’s descendants are in a fallen state. And that as a result we are subject to the thorns and thistles of life (natural evil). And also because of the fall we are subject to moral evil, as that is part of the fallen condition we are in.

    So a truly critical thinker always gets better answers when he asks the most foundational questions first. So your better questions are:

    1. What condition is man in that both natural and moral evil can
    exist? (Fallen from God’s grace)

    2. Has God given us any mercy from that condition?
    (Yes, Jesus living a morally pure life and making the atoning
    sacrifice to pay the debt of our sins on the cross.)

    3. Will God intervene when we are about to do moral evil?
    (No, for the free will reason and for the reason that to
    intervene here but not there would make his perfect justice
    arbitrary.)

    4. Will God intervene when an act of natural evil is about to
    happen? (Same answer as #3)

    God does have a plan, and he is perfect in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.

    I pray I have done justice to God’s actual positions on the matters you bring up.

  31. Ward D Lyon says:

    All great answers and insight. Nothing I can add except I do know that on Sunday, April 8th he was watching The Masters!

    WD Lyon

  32. Reg Durham says:

    Hi Steve,
    Your assumption seems to be that my finite mind is capable of understanding what I believe to be the infinite mind of GOD. JOB had the same questions you propose and was shown that GOD is wise and all powerful.

    I take my lack of understanding as evidence of my mind’s limitations, not GOD’s. While I may grieve over the loss of children and adults created by the act of destruction, I have no inherent understanding of the future consequences of the lives taken be those consequences for good or ill.

    And while GOD created the cherubim that wanted to be greater than GOD and wound up doing the Satan, apparently GOD’s discussions with Satan and his allowing and disallowing Satan’s actions transpire at a level outside my finite capacity to comprehend.
    Reg

  33. Susan Burke says:

    Steve,
    How would we ever learn anything if there wasn’t adversity? Without challenges, we cannot learn and grow. My personal opinion, which is just that… an opinion… is that God is always giving us opportunities to learn love and abundance. And, sometimes, the way to be given those opportunities is, unfortunately, through misery. This is what can make or the human spirit – depending on how we choose to respond to it.

    Steve, I’m interested in your comment “If you have evidence that proves money or anything else comes from God or any other supernatural force, I’d love to hear it. Until then, I’ll keep working hard and counting on myself, and I’d suggest anyone who wants to be wealthy do the same.”

    I get that the critical thinking question you posed it designed to challenge us to think devoid of emotion and judgement and come at this from pure logic, yet, by your own admission, you, yourself believe in some sort of “source.”

    Mental Toughness Secret number 11: “The World Class Connects to the Source Through Gratitude… Champions know the ultimate creative force is located somewhere beyond our everyday consciousness, and they must tap into this source to generate their best ideas. The secular sometimes refer to this source as the unconscious mind. The spiritual often call it God. Whatever label their belief warrants, few deny the power of the source, whatever its point of origin.”

    Mental Toughness Secret number 72: “The World Class Operates from Love and Abundance… Amateur performers believe their success is primarily their own doing. They believe in the self-made man/woman theory. The world class is aware that all good things come from the spirit of love. They know love is the natural order of the universe, and that ego and self-pride have been created by man over the centuries to cover a fragile self-image.”

    Mental Toughness Secret number 158: “Champions Live by the Law of Attraction… Whatever your belief, the one thing all though leaders seem to agree on is this: the law of attraction exists and manifests our dominant thoughts on the physical plane.”

    Do you have hard evidence of any of these?

  34. Susan Burke says:

    Steve,
    How would we ever learn anything if there wasn’t adversity? Without challenges, we cannot learn and grow. My personal opinion, which is just that… an opinion… is that God is always giving us opportunities to learn love and abundance. And, sometimes, the way to be given those opportunities is, unfortunately, through misery. This is what can make or

    Steve, I’m interested in your comment “If you have evidence that proves money or anything else comes from God or any other supernatural force, I’d love to hear it. Until then, I’ll keep working hard and counting on myself, and I’d suggest anyone who wants to be wealthy do the same.”

    I get that the critical thinking question you posed it designed to challenge us to think devoid of emotion and judgement and come at this from pure logic, yet, by your own admission, you, yourself believe in some sort of “source.”

    Mental Toughness Secret number 11: “The World Class Connects to the Source Through Gratitude… Champions know the ultimate creative force is located somewhere beyond our everyday consciousness, and they must tap into this source to generate their best ideas. The secular sometimes refer to this source as the unconscious mind. The spiritual often call it God. Whatever label their belief warrants, few deny the power of the source, whatever its point of origin.”

    Mental Toughness Secret number 72: “The World Class Operates from Love and Abundance… Amateur performers believe their success is primarily their own doing. They believe in the self-made man/woman theory. The world class is aware that all good things come from the spirit of love. They know love is the natural order of the universe, and that ego and self-pride have been created by man over the centuries to cover a fragile self-image.”

    Mental Toughness Secret number 158: “Champions Live by the Law of Attraction… Whatever your belief, the one thing all though leaders seem to agree on is this: the law of attraction exists and manifests our dominant thoughts on the physical plane.”

    Do you have hard evidence of any of these?

  35. RONALD JOHN ELLIS says:

    The subject of gods is aesthetic. It’s like viewing artwork and finding that you are moved to emotion based on your internal wishes and intellectual experiences and training.

    Apply the tests to Steve’s question.

    http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/strategy-list-35-dimensions-of-critical-thought/466

  36. Max Weiman says:

    Steve,

    You seem to be mistaking God for Superman. Why do you assume it His job to save people in peril? He loves us and is involved in our lives, but He’s also infinite. A critical thinker when trying to grasp as grand and difficult as the infinite should be more prudent.

    Suffering in the world is part of the fabric of creation the Almighty has created. It is there for a reason. But the explanation is not a sound bite. You demand the most difficult of all questions be put in a nutshell, but it can’t. Logic and ideas are not always able to be put into nice catch phrases.

    Don’t just be a critical thinker. Be a deep thinker. This question, which is certainly a valid question, has answers. Will you be satisfied by them? Maybe. Maybe not. But they aren’t sound bites. They are deep answers to a deep question that take time and thought.

    A loving doctor might amputate. A loving physical trainer might put you through the ringer. A loving parent might spank. A loving teacher might ask uncomfortable questions. Causing pain is sometimes loving.

    Ah but how could killing children be loving? A child won’t understand how an amputation could save a life. And the difference between the brain of a child and an adult is measurable. The difference between an adult brain and God’s “brain” is more than double that, ten times or a hundred times that difference. Its infinite.

    • Steve says:

      Max,
      Thanks for your comments. What about an all-powerful God is unlike Superman? (minus the kryptonite) Christians claim their God is capable of anything, yet if he exists he continues to allow misery and human suffering among the children he claims to love. If this is love, I’d hate to see him upset! You challenge me to be a deep thinker yet this question does not require it. If God exists and loves us, he should have stopped human suffering and misery from day one. Thats common sense. Worshipping a God that has the power to end human suffering yet refuses to do it can only be done out of fear. Either that or the atheists are correct in that all of this is a fairy tale. I don’t know. Your thoughts?