Yes. Ignorance is the problem. For most people. A few people are simply insane. No amount of knowledge will convince them to believe anything other than what they have deluded themselves into believing. They need psychological treatment before they can escape their delusion. But most people will believe what's true if they have enough information.
The required information comes in two respects: people must not only have more information, they must know how to reason from that information coherently (without fallacies or errors of thought). The latter is itself a body of information, namely information on how to reason coherently, how to prevent or detect and correct errors of thought, and why. It comes in the form of studying logic, psychology, and empirical method.
The human mind is actually built erroneously, it errs in a number of well-documented ways, which we can explain as byproducts of a blind process of evolution, but which we still must overcome by learning and developing the skills necessary to catch those errors and avoid or overcome them. Once we've done that, then we can start gathering more and more information (from science, history, and personal experience) to test the claims of different worldviews, and then, armed with those skills for avoiding error, we will be able to discern which worldview is most probably true.
The end result of this process will be the discovery that only atheistic naturalism has any credible probability of being true.
When you combine the answer above and the answer you gave to the question I've linked, three different conclusions can be reached - a) if we trust in Jesus we *will* be saved, (b) even if we trust in Jesus we *won't* be saved, or (c) if we trust in Jesus we *might* be saved.
So much for the "authoritative" word of god. What utter nonsense.
So again, where are you seeing a contradiction? Where did I say (B) or (C)?
1. Does god love every single human being individually? Your answer - no.
2. Does god want every single human being to go to heaven? Your answer - no.
3. Do humans have free will? Your answer - no.
4. Does god want everyone to be saved? Your answer - no.
To sum up, in your words, "...god wants (sic) to condemn many people to the everlasting fire", because...well, because he does what he wants and who are we to question him? What do you know, Dawkins was right! Your god IS a capriciously malevolent bully!
You said on this page that god has "...promised each of us that if we trust Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Christ's work in His substitutionary life and death in our place, we can be forgiven for our sins and given the undeserved gift of everlasting life".
Now unless you're employing some strange and bizarre usage of some or all of the words in that sentence (and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you were) then that means god is willing to bestow his grace on us. He has "...promised each of us". Yes?
So not only is god's grace *not* available to all of us, he specifically *wants* it that way.
Hence my points (a), (b) and (c) which derive from the tension between these two positions, which are irreconcilable and contradictory, and which suggest the complete impossibility of knowing who will or won't be saved, since god "...has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires". So who will be saved? Who can say for sure? It's all down to god's whim.
He offers a promise to absolutely every human that if they trust His Son they will be saved. He has designed some people to accept this offer (the "elect") and He has designed some people to reject this offer (the "reprobate"). The offer itself is made to everyone.
Now that the "contradiction" issue is resolved, let's look at your Dawkins comment. Is Shakespeare a bully because he made Romeo and Juliet kill themselves? Is Mark Twain a bully for making Huck Finn an orphan? Is George Lucas a bully because he caused Luke's hand to get cut off? If you aren't consistent with all creators across the board, you are engaging in the fallacy of special pleading. Why is our Creator a bully when Luke Skywalker's creator is not?
You've just backed yourself into the corner re: the contradiction. You'd be best off to just admit that it can't be both ways. We either have free will and can accept "the offer" independently of God, OR predestination as decided by God determines our fate. Your contradiction is most certainly NOT resolved.
And then you went on to compare God as the "Creator" to creators of fictional worlds and characters. There is absolutely nothing to be compared between the fate of utterly fictional characters and the supposed eternal fate of us as real, living objects of your god's creation. You've made an impossible stretch there.
I have not advocated (1) but rather thoroughly denounced it as completely unBiblical across this website.
Why resort to fighting straw men?
"...absolutely nothing to be compared..." They are created, we are created. They have a creator, we have a Creator. Lucas gave Jedis an everlasting existence, God gave humans an everlasting existence. "Absolutely nothing to be compared" -- seriously?
Why resort to special pleading?
Thank you for clarifying your belief in predestination. Your god is whimsical and cruel in creating real, living beings whom he intends from the moment of that creation to condemn to your idea of hell. Even more cruel is the idea that an offer is supposedly extended to them to avoid such an eternal fate, yet he renders them powerless to accept that offer.
I completely reject your assertion that there is any comparison between an author and his characters, and your god and his real, living created subjects (us.) I guess I'm guilty of "special pleading" here. Or something.
As a former Christian, now atheist, I had been intrigued when I found this website several years ago. Unfortunately, I now realize that the Christian viewpoint offered here offers nothing of substance, instead relying on silly, non-evidential philosophical meanderings. This post will be my last contribution here, and my last visit to this site. I'll now indulge my fascination with Christianity elsewhere.
Lie, lie and blatant lie. You advocated it in the answer you gave on this very page.
If you show me anywhere that I make such a claim I will happily change it, since such a claim would be both incorrect and logically incoherent.
But you need to quote it for me. Because apparently I am too foolish and ignorant to recognize such a statement of mine without it being made ultra-clear to me.
Thank you for your patience.
Do you yourself believe that we are created? If so, how is it irrational, unsound or nonsensical to compare two created things in ways in which they are similar? How is it irrational, unsound or nonsensical to compare two creators in ways in which they are similar?
Do you believe that we are not created? If not, then to be consistent, surely you also believe that every claim you make has no more rational justification than the claims of a magic 8-ball:
Rationality is by definition the exclusive domain of monotheists (who accept that there is a Creator). If you accept rationality then you accept that we are all created. If you reject the possibility of a Creator then you have rejected any possibility of rational justification for anything. Either way, you appear to be contradicting yourself.
So when you said that we "can" be forgiven for our sins, what you actually meant was that we "might" be forgiven, but only if we're one of the lucky ones that your god has apparently designed to be able to accept this gracious offer and to hell with the rest, literally? But of course you couldn't say that at that point because to make your point you had to *pretend* you were talking about the happy-clappy loving forgiving god, not the jaw-droppingly callous one.
It's funny how you play fast and loose with semantics when it suits you, Tim. If that's not intellectual dishonesty, I don't know what is.
What you DO NOT mean is that their will is uncaused. Because that would be nuts.
For their will to be uncaused, that would mean it either never began to exist, and is eternal, or else it did begin to exist... well... without cause. Nothing caused it to exist. It just spontaneously appeared ex nihilo completely without cause. Which would mean it did not have any of the same causes that you have, like your parents, grandparents, your experiences, etc. For it to not have any of the same causes that you have, it must not be caused by you! This is to say that your will, if it is uncaused, is not yours at all!
How absurd is that?!?
No one means that their will is uncaused when they say that they "can" do something. Not even you.
When I say that a person "can" be forgiven, I mean exactly the same thing. They "can" be forgiven, if they are willing. What I DO NOT mean is that God did not cause their will. Further, I state very clearly in my answer that we are "created beings". As created beings, our wills are... well... created.
There is no pretense here. Frankly, I see absolutely no way to read what I've written, take it at face value, and come to the conclusion that I am claiming that God did not create our wills. I'm honestly astounded that anyone has come to the conclusion that that is exactly what I've said.
I don't doubt that you guys actually read it that way -- I just cannot for the life of me fathom why.
What if they're not willing because they've been designed/created by god to be reprobate and go to hell? Or can you be willing but be reprobate at the same time? Or if you're reprobate, is it impossible to be willing?
Then they aren't willing.
"Or can you be willing but be reprobate at the same time?"
Ultimately, no. Note that here you are using the word "can" differently than I used it above.
"Or if you're reprobate, is it impossible to be willing?"
Ultimately, that is correct. I say ultimately because there is disagreement among Christians as to whether it's possible for a person to accept Christ, then turn away from Him. But in the end, if God has designed someone to not be finally forgiven, He will affect this by means of their lack of willingness.
"...there is disagreement among Christians as to whether it's possible for a person to accept Christ, then turn away from Him",
with what you wrote in answer to a previous question,
"...everyone, Christian or otherwise, agrees on the basics of what the Bible teaches at the most fundamental level".
I don't think it would be actually possible for you to be more wrong, as I've pointed out many many times before.
God has not given us, in scripture, an absolute way for humans to prove exactly who is elect or reprobate. This is why we preach to all people (Mark 16:15; John 3:16; Acts 17:30, 22:15; 1 Corinthians 9:22; 1 Timothy 2:4). However, in scripture God has provided Christians with discernible evidence regarding who is part of Christ's body (Matthew 7:16, 7:20; Luke 6:44; Galatians 5:22-23; John 13:35). But evidence and absolute proof are not the same thing.
We can know evidentially whether we ourselves are in the body of Christ by whether or not we have confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord, believed in our heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-11); are personally devoted to Christ and are actively following Christ (John 14:15, 14:23); love our brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 4:20) and exhibit fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Christians ought to continually examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Christians are divided on that issue. I tend to think that no one actually believes that they are elect unless they truly are (1 John 5:13; 2 Corinthians 13:5).
"How can you be sure?"
God. Also, read 1 John and my other comments above for some tests one can take.
"Could you be wrong?"
Often and regularly. But not about this.
As I explained, scripture provides person A with ways to evidentially discern whether or not person B is right with God, and therefore, elect. It gives us no ways to discern who is reprobate, apart from hearing what they say and seeing what they do as they lay dying.
As I also explained, scripture provides person A with many additional ways to discern whether or not person A himself is right with God, and therefore elect.
However, scripture is not the only way that God communicates with people -- God also speaks to people in other ways. Many Christians have been given direct revelation from Him. I know that I am right with God in much the same way that many other Christians know that they themselves are, because of direct revelation. The evidential tests provided in scripture confirm this direct, divine, revelatory information.
I'll pray for God to open your eyes (1 Corinthians 2:14).
In light of the fact that your worldview appears to be contradictory (you appeal to reason as the final arbiter while denying the only possible reason for doing so), you ought to consider changing worldviews to one that is by definition reasonable -- one that posits reason behind all created things.
If you trust in Christ, He will save you, and you can be made right with the God you have not obeyed.
Oh and another thing - you wrote "...you can be made right with the God you have not obeyed". Um...no, I can't, not if your god has already predestined me to be reprobate and go to hell.
You are defining "ignorance" as "the belief that the God of Israel is real", so I'll use your definition.
1) if "the belief that the God of Israel is real" is the problem why isnt the "problem" "getting better" as the percent of the US population that isnt "ignorant" grows?
2) if "the belief that the God of Israel is real" is the problem, why are the most repressive governments run by people who are NOT ignorant according to your definition (they lack the belief that the God of Israel is real, so therefor by your definition are NOT ignorant).
3) if "the belief that the God of Israel is real" is the problem, why are most charitable organizations world wide run by "ignorant" people (by your definition). Google "atheist charitable organizations", lol.
your position is self refuting.