Why Don’t People Hold God To The Same Legal Standards As Humans?

Consider this. In making water as necessary for life, God could have ensured water is abundant and all clean. Did God bother to do this? No:

The World Health Organization says that every year more than 3.4 million people die as a result of water related diseases, making it the leading cause of disease and death around the world. Most of the victims are young children, the vast majority of whom die of illnesses caused by organisms that thrive in water sources contaminated by raw sewage.

A report published recently in the medical journal The Lancet concluded that poor water sanitation and a lack of safe drinking water take a greater human toll than war, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction combined.

According to an assessment commissioned by the United Nations, 4,000 children die each day as a result of diseases caused by ingestion of filthy water. The report says four out of every 10 people in the world, particularly those in Africa and Asia, do not have clean water to drink. see https://www.voanews.com/a/a-13-2005-03-17-voa34-67381152/274768.html

But, what if it would have been too difficult for God to make available lots of clean water? This doesn’t help, since surely God could have created a world without earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, childhood cancer, etc.

We often hear that God is to be thanked for all the good things in life, but never blamed for any of the bad stuff. This is not how Justice works. If God is not Evil, but merely Indifferent, how would we hold such an absentee landlord accountable if He was a human? According to the law:

In United States lawdepraved-heart murder, also known as depraved-indifference murder, is a type of murder where an individual acts with a “depraved indifference” to human life and where such act results in a death, despite that individual not explicitly intending to kill. In a depraved-heart murder, defendants commit an act even though they know their act runs an unusually high risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to a person. If the risk of death or bodily harm is great enough, ignoring it demonstrates a “depraved indifference” to human life and the resulting death is considered to have been committed with malice aforethought. In some states, depraved-heart killings constitute second-degree murder, while in others, the act would be charged with “wanton murder,” varying degrees of manslaughter, or third-degree murder. (Wiki)

It’s amazing how people respond to God in a way utterly foreign to how they would treat a human, such as hoping Jesus will come back and be a political dictator, or getting promoted to heaven for the special privilege of praising and feeding God’s ego constantly for all eternity!

What Is A God (s)

Bertrand Russell transparent bg.png
Bertrand Russell (Wiki)

It can be difficult to understand what a God is, since people understand the idea differently. In general, there is a spectrum of kinds of Gods that range from being really powerful, but basically like us (eg Thor), to the God of negative theology who is so different from us that we can’t say anything about IT, only what IT is not.

Armor clad and wearing a red cape, Thor is crouched, holding the handle of his hammer to the ground, and rock debris is being blasted away. In the background are four panels showing the faces of Jane, Loki, Odin, and Heimdall.
Thor (Wiki)

Should we believe in these gods? One problem is that there is no evidence any gods exist. You can’t pray to get God to show up and say hello in the middle of a football game. Similarly, there’s no evidence such gods interact with the world in any way, like making an amputee regrow a limb. The philosopher Bertrand Russell addressed the idea of believing in a God that we have no evidence for. We know this thought experiment as Russell’s Teapot (from Wiki):

Russell’s teapot is an analogy, formulated by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making empirically unfalsifiable claims, rather than shifting the burden of disproof to others.

Russell specifically applied his analogy in the context of religion. He wrote that if he were to assert, without offering proof, that a teapot, too small to be seen by telescopes, orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, he could not expect anyone to believe him solely because his assertion could not be proven wrong.

In 1958, Russell elaborated on the thought experiment:

I ought to call myself an agnostic; but, for all practical purposes, I am an atheist. I do not think the existence of the Christian God any more probable than the existence of the Gods of Olympus or Valhalla. To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely (Bertrand Russell).


Pastafarians Have Made the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Popular  in Europe - The Atlantic
The Flying Spaghetti Monster, God worshipped by Pasta-farians

What is a Prophet?

A prophet is someone or thing who predicts the future. For example, many think groundhogs on groundhog day can predict if we will have an early spring.

Some have even decided to replace the groundhog with a prophesying lobster:

Who was the most famous prophet in history? It was probably Jesus, who incorrectly predicted the end of the age/apocalypse would happen in the lifetimes of those hearing him preach,  Matthew 24:34Mark 13:30; and Luke 21:32. (oops)

For a great book for older kids about Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, see

Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium is a 1999 book by New Testament scholar Bart D. Ehrman. In it, he argues that Jesus of Nazareth was an apocalyptic preacher, i.e., his main message was that the end of history was near, that God would shortly intervene to overthrow evil and establish his rule on earth, and that Jesus and his disciples all believed these end time events would occur in their lifetimes. Ehrman also analyses New Testament passages such as Jesus’ supposed birth in Bethlehem of a virgin and finds them not historically credible. (Wiki)

Reading Strategies: What are the Gospels, Propaganda and Counter Propaganda?

If you are learning about Jesus, one question that comes up is what genre are the gospels that tell his story?

It’s often questioned what genre the gospels are, and the answer usually falls somewhere on the spectrum between ancient biography, and historical fiction.  In fact, the sense of the gospel is actually Ancient Propaganda, which is what Gospel means.

For example, Robert Price cites Randel Helms that:

The syncretic flavor of Mark is at once evident from his reproduction of a piece of Augustan imperial propaganda and his setting it beside a tailored scripture quote. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God” closely matches the formula found on a monument erected by the Provincial Assembly in Asia Minor (1st century BCE): “Whereas… Providence… has… brought our life to the peak of perfection in giving us Augustus Caesar… who, being sent to us and to our descendants as a savior…, and whereas… the birthday of the god has been for the whole world the beginning of the gospel (euaggelion) concerning him, let all reckon a new era beginning from the date of his birth.” (Helms, p. 24)

We also see this with ancient coins.  Michael P Theophilos comments:

Greek inscriptions on coinage contribute to lexicography. New Testament use of the word ΣΩΤΗΡOΣ (saviour) is an attempt to undermine an array of political propaganda within the Greco-Roman world (Lk 2:11; Acts 13:23; Phil 3:20 etc).

This problem is specifically outlined in the dense passage of Mark 15:10-15, a passage dis-closing the hidden vileness of the easily incited crowd, the hidden jealousy of the religious elite, and the utter lack of commitment to justice of crowd-placating Pilate, breaking Roman law, who releases Barrabas, a known killer of Romans, but who tortures and executes Jesus without a confession or having found that Jesus did anything wrong.


(1) When you are reading something with big and unusual words, what strategies can you use to understand the text?

(2) Imagine you have a brother or sister who is one year younger than you. Rewrite the above text so it would be easier for them to understand it.

(3) What is propaganda and what is it trying to do? Give some historical examples.

Education and Censorship

This is a recent post by Jeana Jorgensen, who studied folklore under Alan Dundes at the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to earn her PhD in folklore from Indiana University. She addresses the issue of censorship in education.

Also, consider this, because all religious people don’t look at this issue in the same way:


If questionable content makes a book a target, should the bible be banned for such things genocide, etc? Spoiler: Of course not!

How is Secular Web Kids different from parents immersing their children in the bible?

Our interest is in fostering critical and creative thinkers. We feel that the probable result of this will be secular kids. Still, if the end of that path is theism for some, then it is a theism that doesn’t hide from reason. A real unfairness “of religion-izing” young kids is that it’s especially hard, when they come to the Age of Reason, to “reason out of something” they didn’t “reason into” in the first place.

Christian apologist Randal Rauser recently shared on his blog that in 1997, secularist Nicholas Humphrey delivered the Oxford Amnesty Lecture which he titled “What shall we tell the children?” (Published in Social Research, 65 (1998), 777-805.) In the lecture, Humphrey warns against allowing parents to teach their children religious ideology:

“I am talking about moral and religious education. And especially the education a child receives at home, where parents are allowed – even expected – to determine for their children what counts as truth and falsehood, right and wrong. Children, I’ll argue, have a human right not to have their minds crippled by exposure to other people’s bad ideas – no matter who these other people are. Parents, correspondingly, have no god-given licence to enculturate their children in whatever ways they personally choose: no right to limit the horizons of their children’s knowledge, to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma and superstition, or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith. In short, children have a right not to have their minds addled by nonsense. And we as a society have a duty to protect them from it. So we should no more allow parents to teach their children to believe, for example, in the literal truth of the Bible, or that the planets rule their lives, than we should allow parents to knock their children’s teeth out or lock them in a dungeon.” (here: https://randalrauser.com/2022/02/the-danger-of-the-secular-ideologue/ )

I feel children should be taught at school a wide variety of religious belief systems, and also secularism, because what matters is that truth should win out fair and square.

Linus Quotes — — paraphrasing Patricia C. Hodgell, Seeker's...
The writer of the above Charlie Brown comic was devoutly religious, by the way: Charles Schulz


Think about what has been presented above in this post and consider whether perhaps BRAINWASHING is a hidden issue here? As a follow up question, historically, why has shaping young minds to be copies of themselves been so important to some adults (eg fanatic cults, the Hitler Youth, etc)?

Warm up puzzles for a class on Critical Thinking

These have been shared by philosopher Garrett Pendergraft

1 The Bridge Riddle

2 Coming and Going

In 1978 the Chronicle of Higher Education mentioned an old exam question:

Q. How far can a dog run into the woods?

A. Halfway. The rest of the time he is running out.

Harvard’s Richard E. Baym wrote in to take issue with the answer:

The correct answer is ‘All the way’. Certainly we understand that the dog is running ‘in’ only until he reaches the middle of the forest, but this is in fact, all the way in. If the dog ran only half ‘in’, he would not yet be at the middle. Indeed if the dog ran halfway in and then ran halfway out, he would still be in the woods.

The editors noted, “It occurs to us that the dog’s continued presence there would be useful, in case something happens to that tree that we’ve been hearing about since high school physics — the one that falls when no one is in the forest and since there is no eardum to register sound waves, makes no noise. You know what a fine sense of hearing a dog has. Let him run halfway in (or as Mr. Baym argues, all the way), settle there, and keep an ear cocked for that tree.”

(from Robert L. Weber, ed., Science With a Smile, 1992.)

3 Penniless Pilgrim

4 The River Crossing

5 Fun With Venn Diagrams


A charming puzzle from Crux Mathematicorum, December 2004:

If all plinks are plonks and some plunks are plinks, which of these statements must be true?

X: All plinks are plunks.
Y: Some plonks are plunks.
Z: Some plinks are not plunks.


euphony puzzle

6 The Troll’s Paradox Puzzle:

7 The Jail Break Riddle

8. Prisoner Hat Riddle

9. Wizard Standoff Riddle

10 The Temple Riddle

11 The Pirate Riddle

12 The Dark Coin Riddle

13 Which Box Has The Gold?

Which box has the gold?

14 The Giant Iron Riddle

Background Information For Teachers On The Cosmological Argument

The cosmological argument basically says something like: I have parents, and my parents had parents, and so on in time back to the beginning of the universe, asking how the materials that made up The Big Bang got there in the first place? The theist says we must posit God as creator to start the chain of causes. In fact, this theistic answer is a God of the Gaps fallacy, like the ancient Greeks not knowing why the sun went across the sky so they imagined the God Helios driving the sun across the sky. There is a gap in scientific knowledge regarding a precise scientific consensus about the very beginning of our universe, but as scientific and mathematical knowledge grows we can see we are certainly not at the point where a reasonable answer is that fairies created the universe. Here is an important video explaining why:


1. Seeing the hidden picture. You can see the old man, but can you see the hidden picture?

The old man and the two lovers - father time | Optical illusions pictures,  Cool optical illusions, Optical illusion paintings
source: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/239887117623635079/?amp_client_id=CLIENT_ID(_)&mweb_unauth_id=%7B%7Bdefault.session%7D%7D&simplified=true

2. Putting together a puzzle without knowing what the picture on the front of the box is:

Hands of an elderly lady solving a jigsaw puzzle
source: https://www.jigsawpuzzlequeen.com/are-jigsaw-puzzles-a-waste-of-time/