Phew, made it to number ten. I was initially excited to take on this list, but after attempting to exchange ideas with you, Barry, I’m pretty disappointed, and can only hope some onlookers were able to glean something of value, because so far I’m dubious that you have. See, you’ve had a knack for completely ignoring valid deductive arguments, by instead just stating that your view is that the premises are false, then sidestepping the validity of the conclusions of the premises assuming them to be true.

It isn’t raining in New York. If it isn’t raining in New York, then I won’t be carrying an umbrella. Therefore, I’m not carrying an umbrella.

That’s a valid deductive argument. You have to concede that the conclusion (I’m not carrying an umbrella) logically follows the premise (it’s raining in NY), unless you have found something invalid with the argument. Later and separately, you can argue against the initial premise (it’s raining in NY) if you think it is false.

But notice what you’ve done here, Barry. You set up a challenge to theists — people who by their definition believe in God — to answer questions you considered unanswerable. I answered them all and I’m confident any philosopher or logician who also understands classical Christian theology (even if they don’t subscribe to it) would agree that I’ve answered those questions while maintaining all doctrinal beliefs and holding to the laws of logic.

You’re welcome to argue against my premises — that God exists, that the Bible is the collective narratives telling the story of reality, and that Jesus is God’s Son and rose from the grave two-thousand years ago — as a new project, but I have sufficiently risen (no pun intended) to the challenge given here. Assuming theism is true (premise 1) then my answers to your questions, the conclusions of my premises, make sense and meet your challenges. I and your readers are fully aware that you think God and the vast majority of the Bible is fictional, so responding to my answers with simple regurgitated platitudes about heaven and hell being mythical completely miss the point of this exercise.

Learn to argue better, sir.

Now let’s finish this:

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” That’s a great line from The Usual Suspects. [Yep. Great film. Great ending.]… Satan has been referred to as The Great Deceiver (Revelation 13: 13 — 14 and Revelation 19:20). Seeing that’s the case, how do you know God is not Satan? Think it through. If Satan is The Great Deceiver, it means Satan could be pretending to be God! Right?

A few years ago I was having nearly-daily phone conversations with this college aged kid I knew back in NY. He knew I was a Christian and he started having these visions that he was convinced were the archangels Michael and Gabriel, and he wanted to get my help figuring it out. The trouble was, his descriptions of their behavior was not very.. angelic. There were visions of rape and power grabbing and entrapment. So I knew one of two things had to be going on (or a third thing: he was just making it all up). A) this was a psychological or physiological issue he was experiencing, and he needed professional medical help. You’ll be happy to know that I assumed this to be most likely and encouraged him to seek help. But in my worldview (look here for internal consistency, Barry; argue me later on whether my worldview is correct. Make sense?) it was also that this was some demonic thing happening, with the added trouble that he didn’t know enough about the biblical description of angels to know better that these were actually demons disguising themselves as angels of light (which Satan is said to do in scripture, given that he was once the prince of angels).

Now with this question you’ve taken a step into our world with your question. You’re conceding a premise for the sake of argument: that Satan exists. (What I think you might have done here if I hadn’t already called you on it above, would be to cry BS on any response I attempt to give because “Ha! Satan doesn’t exists so your answer won’t cut it!” I trust you won’t do that now.)

My reason for sharing the story above is to illustrate a real-life case where I think it is entirely possible for Satan to dupe certain uninformed persons into believing his work is that of God. I happen to think he does this quite a bit in circles like the charismatic movements — the Benny Hinns and Todd Whites of the world, maybe even churches like Hillsong, Elevation and Bethel, to a certain extent.

But tread lightlu, Barry, for to ascribe to the devil the work of the Son of God or the creative and life-giving work of the Father is a blasphemy that is condemned in scripture.

Mark 3

3:20 Now Jesus went home, and a crowd gathered so that they were not able to eat. 3:21 When his family heard this they went out to restrain him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” 3:22 The experts in the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and, “By the ruler of demons he casts out demons!” 3:23 So he called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? Mark 3:26 And if Satan rises against himself and is divided, he is not able to stand and his end has come. 3:27 But no one is able to enter a strong man’s house and steal his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can thoroughly plunder his house. 3:28 I tell you the truth, people will be forgiven for all sins, even all the blasphemies they utter. 3:29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin” 3:30 (because they said, “He has an unclean spirit”).

You’ve made one final attempt to cut out from under yourself the branch on which you’re standing. If Satan exists, God exists. For to have a biblical devil, or even just objective evil (which is the essence of Satan), you must necessarily have the Bible or even just objective good. And objective good must necessarily come from something extra-natural or super-natural, something outside of nature to define something to which nature is subservient — namely, the moral law.

If God exists, he must necessarily be the greatest possible good. How then can the question even be asked whether the greatest possible good is the devil under cover? It’s absurd.

Thanks for the wild ride, Barry! Hope to interlock with you again sometime when you’re ready to concede anytime logic has done its job.

One-time copywriter, now hobbywriting on ethics, values, religion, philosophy & truth, with a dash of humor. Views are my own (and others’, but not my employer)

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