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Brita
05-26-2010, 09:35 AM
So, I have been intensely questioning my faith the past few weeks, immersing myself in much atheist and agnostic literature. I figure, I have spent 25 years of my life devoted to studying Christianity from the inside, perhaps I should spend some time studying it from the outside. I found this little gem, and thought I would share.

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread(cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and
unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and SpecialEducation University of Virginia

(It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian :)

On a personal note: When I was 17 I read Judges 19: 22-29 and was completely traumatized (reader discretion is advised). I cried for an hour and never read the Old Testament again on my own. There is a lot of messed up sh!t in there, and a good portion of it is mandated by the unchanging, loving and Holy God. Deutoronomy 22: 28,29 freaked me out too. Malachi 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I do not change." It really has to make one wonder....

GonzoTheGreat
05-26-2010, 09:46 AM
Just do what everyone does: pick and choose the parts you like, declare the rest to be "allegorical" and then start gathering an army to fight those who disagree with you.

Anaiya Sedai
05-26-2010, 09:49 AM
Brita, I'm not sure I dare to reply with my opinion. :rolleyes:.

But I LOLed at that letter.

JSUCamel
05-26-2010, 09:49 AM
Just do what everyone does: pick and choose the parts you like, declare the rest to be "allegorical" and then start gathering an army to fight those who disagree with you.

This. After all, while the Bible may be the written word of God, it was written by fallible men. Not sure how that works, exactly...

Terez
05-26-2010, 09:50 AM
I read it anyway.

Didn't you seriously question your faith about a year ago? I never went through any faith crises so long as I considered myself to be a Christian; my loss of faith was more or less gradual, and happened mainly because I saw no problem with ditching church and keeping faith; it wasn't until I'd lost faith that I realized that ritual had been necessary to keep the faith alive.

Davian93
05-26-2010, 09:51 AM
One could argue that Leviticus and the Old Testament represent the first covenant (depending on how you count that is) with the Lord and that all of it was superceeded by Jesus making a second covenant with his sacrifice...the whole "blood of the lamb" connection between Jesus and Passover, etc etc.

Thus, Leviticus is interesting reading and little more than that.

One could argue...:)

yks 6nnetu hing
05-26-2010, 09:57 AM
I read it anyway too.

God - if he exists, is obviously unchangeable. it's humans that are stupid, also in writing down the revelations God has deigned to give them.

Therefore (to me) all religions are flawed and incorrect, which does not necessarily mean that there is no God or that God is evil or whatever it is that atheists claim.

GonzoTheGreat
05-26-2010, 10:08 AM
Atheists claim many things, some of them contradictory. Occasinally one single atheists may even make contradictory claims.

But basically the defining characteristic of an atheist is lack of belief in any gods.
So anyone claiming that God exists and is evil is not an atheist.

Terez
05-26-2010, 10:14 AM
Unless, of course, said atheist is using God's hypothetical existence as a rhetorical device.

GonzoTheGreat
05-26-2010, 10:17 AM
Then the atheist would be accepting the idea of that existence for the sake of the argument, not making the claim.
"Suppose God exists" versus "God exists".

yks 6nnetu hing
05-26-2010, 10:18 AM
Atheists claim many things, some of them contradictory. Occasinally one single atheists may even make contradictory claims.

But basically the defining characteristic of an atheist is lack of belief in any gods.
So anyone claiming that God exists and is evil is not an atheist.

I'm sorry, I didn't read past the bolded part.




Brita: to quote Little Miss Sunshine (in which this was in turn a quote of Proust): the best years, the ones in which you evolve most as a human being, are the suffering years.

I believe suffering in this case does not need ot mean only years... For most people as individuals (as well as us as a society) change is hard. It is hard to think about, and it is hard to do and sometimes changing back is even harder. But that doesn't mean that it's not worth it in the end.

JSUCamel
05-26-2010, 10:22 AM
Therefore (to me) all religions are flawed and incorrect.

This. I've said it in the past, but I'll say it again:

If God is truly as benevolent as the Christian faith teaches, then logically two things (a question and a thought) follow:

1) How can one be benevolent if one gives cryptic signs to people, and then condemns 5/6ths of the world's population (a rather conservative estimate) to eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth, simply because they didn't recognize the secret handshake?

2) Given the sheer number of religions out there, it is patently obvious that there is not one clear way to God. If there were, then there would only be a handful of religions (there are always those who resist anything, no matter how obvious).

So given both of those items, I posit that there are a few possibilities (and not limited to these):

1) God is not benevolent after all, in which case we're ******* because nobody can live up to the standards of Jesus or whomever.

2) God is not benevolent, and he really makes these cryptic signs to fuck with our heads, in which case those of us who "figure it out" get to be in his good graces and the rest of the world is sentenced to weeping and gnashing of teeth for eternity.

or 3) God is benevolent after all, but the method of worshiping him doesn't matter. Consider that all of the major religions have the same basic tenets: Love God and love your neighbor.

I can't reconcile the benevolent God the Christians teach with the belief that non-believers are sentenced to eternal weeping and gnashing of teeth. Just can't make that work out in my head. You can't be a benevolent person and then turn around and whip someone with whom you disagree with a rusty chain. That's not how it works.

So I choose to believe the third. It's general, it's vague, but then so is everything relating to God. I honestly believe that if one is a good person, does their best to be a good person, and treats others with love and respect, then they don't have anything to worry about.

The rest of it is just politics.

Now, of all the religions I've studied, I'm the biggest fan of Judaism and Buddhism, one of which is all about living life to the fullest and honoring the past (in the Jewish faith there isn't really a concept of an afterlife) and one is about achieving an internal balance and inner harmony and doesn't care what anyone else thinks.

I think if I were to ever (BIWIDNB forbid) have kids, I'd teach them Buddhist lines of thinking, which I find to be both practical and spiritually sound, but I probably wouldn't endorse any particular religion explicitly, because like yks, I believe they're all flawed and incorrect. Instead, I would push my kids to be the best people they can be, to know that they don't need a book to tell them the difference between right and wrong, and to love and respect their friends, family, and neighbors.

Ivhon
05-26-2010, 10:35 AM
My current conceptualization is that God is the Creator and therefore an Artist and inherently amoral. Morality is a human construct to preserve social existence. Creation, expression and beauty are constrained by morality, therefore a perfect Creator cannot be bound by morals or judgment. The purpose of the Creator is to create... As with any work of art, it is left to the audience (us) to interpret, judge and evaluate Creation.

Brita
05-26-2010, 11:02 AM
Didn't you seriously question your faith about a year ago?

I did, and I am so impressed that you remember! I decided hell wasn't real, and that created a quasi-peace for a while. But as you can see, it didn't last long. See, I started to think as my pastor, and 90% of all other Christian denominations, continued to preach hell "Why does God allow this gigantic lie to prolifertae, if hell is indeed a falsity?" And this line of thinking led me to question the hidden nature of God, and, well, it was all downhill from there.

Why is God hidden when the stakes are so high? And don't argue free will, because he wasn't hidden in the NT or to Paul. So we know that is an argument that has no grounds. Fact can be presented and still not take away our free will.

One could argue that Leviticus and the Old Testament represent the first covenant (depending on how you count that is) with the Lord and that all of it was superceeded by Jesus making a second covenant with his sacrifice...the whole "blood of the lamb" connection between Jesus and Passover, etc etc.

Thus, Leviticus is interesting reading and little more than that.

One could argue...:)

I knew this would be brought up as an explanation. That is why I specifically quoted Malachi 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I do not change." The OT is supposed to be God's blueprint for His society, and example of His truth. Well, read Deuteronomy 22 and tell me how that is any sort of advanced society. It isn't, by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, it is the implicit instructions laid out by God to be a "light to the world" to the heathen nations. Read it again. Right......

I know the arguments Dav, every single one of them. I have lived them my whole life.

Terez
05-26-2010, 11:07 AM
I did, and I am so impressed that you remember!
LOL, you obviously don't hang out in WoT discussion.

You know, experiences like yours are the whole reason why some Christians get so up-in-arms about Biblical literalism. They figure that if you can take one passage as metaphorical, it's a slippery slope to taking them all metaphorically. Same with discounting certain bits of the Bible in favor of others.

I knew this would be brought up as an explanation.
Probably because it always is. It's every Christian's favorite justification.

I know the arguments Dav, every single one of them. I have lived them my whole life.
This gives me an advantage sometimes in religion debates. Most atheists don't know them. They all have the atheist's annotated Bible bookmarked, but that doesn't give you the standard doctrinal justifications.

GonzoTheGreat
05-26-2010, 11:15 AM
Religion is not reasonable.
That leaves you with broadly speaking two options:
1. Reject all religion, since it's nonsensical anyways. That's my approach, and it works well for me.
2. Pick some religious approach you like, ignore the contradictions, and be happy with it. There are theists who manage this, but usually only if they acknowledge (at least to themselves) that their faith doesn't make sense. If they try to hide that from themselves, they will inevitably run into people who do point it out, and then they get angry.

Any attempt to make yourself believe that it makes sense after you've figured out that it doesn't isn't likely to succeed.
So you can keep some faith, but it isn't as straightforward as it used to be.

As for the claim that option 2 is inconsistent: while that is true, it may not be relevant. We can't be sure that existence itself is consistent, after all.

Brita
05-26-2010, 11:30 AM
LOL, you obviously don't hang out in WoT discussion.


Not nearly as much as I should, it is true :(

Any attempt to make yourself believe that it makes sense after you've figured out that it doesn't isn't likely to succeed.
So you can keep some faith, but it isn't as straightforward as it used to be.


Yes, there definitely is a fundamental change in my perception of life and meaning. I am leaning towards # 1 to be honest. I am not interested in deluding myself, I have no need for it.

I just want to give a shout out to my warder for being very kind and non-threatened. You have been fantastic in all our conversations, on and off line. And I appreciate all your input, even though I may push back with some intensity.

This is my de-conversion testimony, for any who are interested. Quite melodramatic, but I tend to be a bit melodramatic when the occasion arises.

April 29, 2010. The day I took a deep breath and googled "losing my faith". After many years of deep questions and frustrated doubts, I finally decided to look at it from the other side. I waited for so long, because deep down I knew what would happen. I knew I had been walking the tightrope for too long, and I was very close to falling. I had been for years. So I googled with a strange mix of trepidation, excitement and guilt. My search led me to this blog entry: http://myspeculation.blogspot.com/2006/04/losing-my-faith.html. It was like my thoughts had been put on the screen by magic. It was me! My hidden questions, my secret angst and anger. And in the comments section a visitor logged off with this phrase: "SM- who still feels watched, even while I type this, by the God that I used to know and canít stop talking to." I cried. I knew it was the beginning of the end, an end that had been forming for a very long time, and an end I had avoided with so much effort. I cried for the loss of innocent faith, for the loss of a friend that is always available, for the false promises that were vanishing as I wept. I cried for the loss of much comfort in my life, and for the breaking of a bond that holds my family together. I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning I woke up, and felt free. I felt like a thousand tonne wall had been lifted from my shoulders. I stared at the ceiling and marveled. My best friend, one of the lovliest people in the world, was not going to hell simply because she had been "born into sin" as all the rest of us had. My uncle was not rotting there now in eternal torment, simply because he was unable to reach out to God, which is impossible for us to do. All the people of earth have not been created for a strange and twisted experiment by a God who is in full control and had full knowledge of the consequences for His creation, even as He "lovingly" created them!

As I drove to work, I suddenly realized the plight of our tiny struggling church wasn't directly caused by my lack of faith. The empty pews weren't because I had not prayed often enough, read the Bible every morning and didn't visit someone every day to offer encouragement. The failure of my highschool Christian Group wasn't because my faith was faulty, despite my sleepless nights in prayer and pleading for a miraculous revival. In fact, I realized that the eternal fate of all who were around me did not depend directly on every action I took, or did not take. What an immense and profound relief.

As I spent my day at work, I would inexplicably smile as I realized that the ill tempered comment I had just made to my colleague was my own unseemly action. Not Satan and his demons buffeting me with unseen arrows. Not my all consuming battle against unseen forces. And most of all, not an action that may damn that poor girl to an eternal hell because I was a "bad witness". And I apologize with a genuine, uncontrived and unhindered apology. An apology for an action that was all mine and did not have eternal ramifications. A sense of true responsibility has started to develop, and it is lovely. Doing good simply for the sake of those around you, with no hidden agenda. What a beautiful concept!

All my questions: Why does God stay hidden when the stakes are so high? Why would he create sentient, feeling beings knowing he is creating most for an eternity of torment? Why do I see Christians around me, and they look no different than non-Christians? Why is my pastor still struggling with depression and control issues when he has completely dedicated his life go God for over 50 years? Where is the victory? We are supposed to be living supernatural lives, why don't I feel supernatural? Why, when I pray with heartfelt tears, for more faith, do I feel further away? These questions melt away as I read this website. All my questions have been asked. All my doubts have been felt by countless others. And there is peace on the other side.

What kept me on the tightrope for so long, the one thought that held me to Christianity for so many years was this: "When I pray, I feel Him. I feel Him there." But, on April 29, 2010, the thought occurred to me (and it was about time)that Muslims feel the same. Buddhists, Hindus, Aboriginal faith all derive an emotional connection from their beliefs. Why would mine be valid if I don't consider theirs valid? If this is all I am clinging to, it is a very flimsy "truth" to be basing my life on. And so, for the first time, I looked at the other side with open eyes.

More questions: Do I tell my kids? Do I tell my parents? My siblings? Thankfully my husband is not concerned with my sudden reversal of faith, the roots of Christianity do not go deeply for him. But my loved ones will, of course, fear for my eternal soul. And that is grief I do not wish to cause. My heart clenches just at the thought of it. These are questions to be answered at a much later date, I think.

I am very young in my de-conversion. I still find myself asking God for wisdom as I face a difficult co-worker. I still find myself reading into some random coincidence God's divine working. My lifetime within the Christian family was overwhelmingly positive. My leap away from faith was not out of injustice or anger at my Christian experience. My falling away was not to justify some big sin I am anxious to do. It just simply did not make sense, and I couldn't ignore that forever, no matter how hard I prayed. There will be loss for me. Yet the loss is far outweighed by the freedom I feel.

I do not know the day I "became a Christian", I was too young. But I don't think I will forget April 29, 2010. The day the weight of eternity was lifted.

Sei'taer
05-26-2010, 11:59 AM
You should have seen us in church on Sunday. Me, the hard-core semi agnostic/atheist. My wife, who doesn't really give a shit one way or the other, my cousin, who is a buddhist, my brother, who has an "understanding" with god and wore rubber shoes so when the lightning struck all of us, him included, he could laugh as he sat back and drank his nicely warmed and snuck-into-church 40 ounce coffee. It was a tough hour...but really really funny (nothing like watching a buddhist pretend to recite the lord's prayer).

JSUCamel
05-26-2010, 12:04 PM
What kept me on the tightrope for so long, the one thought that held me to Christianity for so many years was this: "When I pray, I feel Him. I feel Him there." But, on April 29, 2010, the thought occurred to me (and it was about time)that Muslims feel the same. Buddhists, Hindus, Aboriginal faith all derive an emotional connection from their beliefs. Why would mine be valid if I don't consider theirs valid? If this is all I am clinging to, it is a very flimsy "truth" to be basing my life on. And so, for the first time, I looked at the other side with open eyes.

I remember when I had this revelation as well, and it's the driving force behind my spiritual views. I don't discount any other religion and I certainly don't presume to think that my way is the only way, but the revelation I had did exactly for me what it did for you: lifted a weight off my shoulders.

I just do the best I can and trust that it's enough.

ShadowbaneX
05-26-2010, 01:05 PM
Hummm, I'm a person of little faith, and I read this...what happens now?

Hey Brita. Have you ever seen the Kevin Smith movie Dogma? Watching it now might give you new ways to enjoy it...and why don't I have you on my IM list? What do you use for an IM client? Oh, and this website (http://www.fstdt.com/Default.aspx) might also be of some laughs for you.

StrangePackage
05-26-2010, 01:24 PM
Faith isn't about reason. It's about faith.

Crises of faith can't be argued through or reasoned through. Don't try to have someone convince you through rational response.

Just ask yourself if your faith can lend you peace and make you happy when you need it to- rational or otherwise.

Brita
05-26-2010, 02:25 PM
Faith isn't about reason. It's about faith.

Crises of faith can't be argued through or reasoned through. Don't try to have someone convince you through rational response.

Just ask yourself if your faith can lend you peace and make you happy when you need it to- rational or otherwise.

Hmmm. This would be #2 that Gonzo suggested. This is my husband's take on the matter, btw.

To answer the question, I feel a lot more peace now than I did struggling under the weight of completely unrealistic expectations coupled with dire threats of eternal consequences. I have no problem with human existence ending at death, and I am a firm optomist. So I guess my answer is no.

And, if the Bible is true, why shouldn't it be about reason? Why wouldn't God make it reasonable and apparent? Why did He design a world in which reason and faith are forever separated? It doesn't make sense, and I can't pretend to believe it just to give me a false sense of peace and security. It's not in my nature.

Basel Gill
05-26-2010, 02:39 PM
I can't think of a person, Christian or otherwise, that hasn't had these same questions.

When I had a similar experience, I found that the more feedback I got, the more difficult it was to make some peace. It's a determination that you have to make within yourself, not for friends or family or appearances.

At present, it sounds like you are where you need to be and it may or may not stay that way. I hope you have been able to resolve your questions and are happy.

Brita
05-26-2010, 02:54 PM
When I had a similar experience, I found that the more feedback I got, the more difficult it was to make some peace. It's a determination that you have to make within yourself, not for friends or family or appearances.

At present, it sounds like you are where you need to be and it may or may not stay that way. I hope you have been able to resolve your questions and are happy.

You are right, I am actually quite at peace. The problem is, how do I be honest with my family? My staunch, Calvinist family? Christianity does not allow for dissention. All who dissent will be eternally tormented. So as much as I agree with your sentiment, Christianity makes it very difficult to live and let live.

Zaela Sedai
05-26-2010, 02:56 PM
Dogma is the BEST. Have you seen it Brita?

Basel Gill
05-26-2010, 03:00 PM
Dogma IS really good.

I have found the opposite. Live and let live comes easier when you are at peace with yourself. If your family was atheist and you were finding faith, would you let the fact that they were atheist stop you? You have to do what is good for you wherever it leads.

Davian93
05-26-2010, 03:00 PM
You are right, I am actually quite at peace. The problem is, how do I be honest with my family? My staunch, Calvinist family? Christianity does not allow for dissention. All who dissent will be eternally tormented. So as much as I agree with your sentiment, Christianity makes it very difficult to live and let live.

I would say this: If they're true Christians, they'll respect your opinion/decision and they won't judge you. If they do judge you, then they are complete hypocrites anyway and their opinion doesn't matter. As family, they should love you either way. I would, as a Christian, never judge someone else as its not my place to do so. Its that other 98% of "christians" that do that.

Basel Gill
05-26-2010, 03:07 PM
I would say this: If they're true Christians, they'll respect your opinion/decision and they won't judge you. If they do judge you, then they are complete hypocrites anyway and their opinion doesn't matter. As family, they should love you either way. I would, as a Christian, never judge someone else as its not my place to do so. Its that other 98% of "christians" that do that.

I am about to agree with Dav...if that isn't divine intervention then I don't know what is...haha.

My understanding has always been to treat people kindly and with respect. Show them love, etc. (don't always do well, but hey) and leave the judging to God if that is what I believe. IMO people have superimposed the idea that they know God's mind simply because they are believers. Only human arrogance can account for that. One of the biggest things in Christian doctrine is to be obedient to God's will and I'd wager that a majority do not do that very well, myself included and if I don't have my shit together, how in the hell can I claim moral superiority over another?

Brita
05-26-2010, 03:11 PM
I would say this: If they're true Christians, they'll respect your opinion/decision and they won't judge you. If they do judge you, then they are complete hypocrites anyway and their opinion doesn't matter. As family, they should love you either way. I would, as a Christian, never judge someone else as its not my place to do so. Its that other 98% of "christians" that do that.

It's not about whether they love me or not, it's that they do love me. It will break their heart because they truly will believe I am damning myself to hell. They will pray, my mom will cry (not in front of me, but she will cry), my dad will mourn in his stoic way and everytime they see me, it will be tinged with sorrow. It makes me want to cry right now, imagining the hurt my family will feel.

If your family was atheist and you were finding faith, would you let the fact that they were atheist stop you?

If my family was atheist, they wouldn't be worried about my eternal soul. There's a big difference. But I know what you are saying, and I appreciate the encouragement.

Oh, and apparently, I have to rent Dogma :D

Nazbaque
05-26-2010, 03:19 PM
You know it's kind of funny how all things people believe in have two things in common:

1) The Truth makes Sense

2) If I figure out what Sense is, I will know the Truth

Granted some attempts are rather better than others but every single belief goes about it in the wrong direction. One should first find the Turth and then seek Sense, but we all insist on trying to do it the other way around.

The one thing every single human believes in is Sense.

Sei'taer
05-26-2010, 03:59 PM
One should first find the Turth and then seek Sense, but we all insist on trying to do it the other way around.

The one thing every single human believes in is Sense.

Turth is a bad mammajamma.

I just told my parents I didn't want to go anymore. It's funny that they still ask me to go to church when I'm there and I always refuse. It got to the point that I just quit bringing any clothes that were even close to passing for acceptable to wear to church. I'm just not interested. I hated it when I was a kid and I still hate it. There is nothing there for me. I don't have to have any other excuse than that. It's early, I don't like it, I don't want to go. 'Nuff said.

Yellowbeard
05-26-2010, 04:09 PM
JMHO - but I think that one needs to remember the cultural/social background of the bible. I guess I've always gotten the impression that life in those societies and in those times was pretty harsh from a cultural perspective. It seems to me that the bible tried to give direction on how to morally navigate specific issues that came up in the culture of the time. When compared to the culture of the time, the bible actually presents "taking the high road" within the context of how the high road of the culture at the time was defined.

I think if God were to divinely inspire some other person in modern times to write something similar for our own times, it wouldn't mention slavery, but it might address abortion, etc., and other things that we struggle with today.

There are specific things that just aren't relevant in the bible anymore, such as laws governing treatment of slaves, because those things aren't part of accepted culture now. They were then, and hence why there were rules setup for it.

And yeah, the general message of "Love God and Love your neighbors" is pretty much it in a general sense.

Ivhon
05-26-2010, 04:14 PM
YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TURTH!!!
We live in a wrold that has wlals. And those wlals are garded by men with snugs. Whoas gonna do it? YOU? You dont want the turth, begauze deep down you wnat me on that wlal. You NEDE me on that wlal!

Firseal
05-26-2010, 04:27 PM
This. After all, while the Bible may be the written word of God, it was written by fallible men. Not sure how that works, exactly...

Worse dear. It fell into the hands of human editors.

Anyhow, I've said it before. I say it again. Any faith you have must be your own. Anyone telling you what to believe, anyone forcing you to their choice, their point of view, anyone trying to tell you what God wants and you better obey or else - they're the worst kind of tyrants. Because they want to mold you into something you are not and do not want to be, and that amongst the most intimate of violations.

Your faith must be your own.
Choosen, considered, critiqued and defended.
You can ask others to be guides, teachers. You can listen to their words. But any revealed truths you are told are so sacred they cannot be challenged or discussed? Those are usually falsehoods no one dare confront for fear of what that confrontation would mean to their own beliefs.

No one wants to lose their faith, and those who cannot bear to take a good, hard look at what they believe, and why, tend to defend their right to believe blindly with the zeal and bitterness of a caged and wounded jaguar.

To add to your reading list: 'Inferno' by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Just for kicks and giggles, a Sci-Fi look at Hell and Eternal Damnation.

DahLliA
05-26-2010, 07:42 PM
sinfest has a nice view on god methinks: http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=124

also. why the bible is f'ed up: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1590#comic

JSUCamel
05-26-2010, 07:51 PM
sinfest has a nice view on god methinks: http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=124

also. why the bible is f'ed up: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1590#comic

I <3 sinfest

Brita
05-26-2010, 07:58 PM
Thanks everyone, for your comments. They have all been really helpful and genuine.

I was visiting a website called exchristian. It was great for an instant group of people going through the same process I am. But I have found it to be a little too angry and too harsh. So I wrote a rant called "5 reasons I'm glad I was a christian" yesterday, because my split with the faith has been amicable. Well, the "webmaster" has not posted it yet. If he doesn't post it, I won't be sticking around. I'm not interested in a censored website that calls itself a place for "freethinkers". But for the short term, it was just what I needed, to know I'm not alone.

But now I'm back here, and it feels like home :)

Davian93
05-26-2010, 08:08 PM
Thanks everyone, for your comments. They have all been really helpful and genuine.

I was visiting a website called exchristian. It was great for an instant group of people going through the same process I am. But I have found it to be a little too angry and too harsh. So I wrote a rant called "5 reasons I'm glad I was a christian" yesterday, because my split with the faith has been amicable. Well, the "webmaster" has not posted it yet. If he doesn't post it, I won't be sticking around. I'm not interested in a censored website that calls itself a place for "freethinkers". But for the short term, it was just what I needed, to know I'm not alone.

But now I'm back here, and it feels like home :)

~sniff~

There's too much dust in here.

~sniff, sniff~

Great Lord of the Dark
05-26-2010, 09:26 PM
If you're looking at studying faith from the outside, try reading the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. There's lots of thought-provoking stuff in there.

You might also try loitering around some skeptic websites. You'll see how all conspiracy/religions/medicalcures follow the same pattern of ignorance and deception. Then you'll really be depressed and believe in nothing. Then you can accept the faults of religion (don't worry, they want you back) or keep with the hedonistic atheist lifestyle.

As social fabric, religion seems ok, as an explanation of how things work, it is kind of mushy.

Was it here I first heard the phrase "Once they control what you eat and who you bleep, they've got you."? Applies to environmentalists too.:D

JSUCamel
05-26-2010, 09:31 PM
As social fabric, religion seems ok, as an explanation of how things work, it is kind of mushy.

This. I tend to think of churches as... poor man's country clubs, I guess you could say. I go to church every once in awhile, and I go to synagogue with my mother every once in awhile, and I usually enjoy it, because it's not so much a spiritual thing for me (I can pray or meditate on my own), but it's a social thing. It's also a situation where a bunch of people can come together in a positive manner and share something they all have in common.

ShadowbaneX
05-26-2010, 09:32 PM
GL, I've missed you. Where the hell have you been?

bowlwoman
05-26-2010, 09:33 PM
Oh, and apparently, I have to rent Dogma :D

Yes, you do. :)

I don't have a whole lot to add to the discussion, except to state that I have been thinking and rethinking and analyzing and over-analyzing my faith for years now. I'm still not sure exactly what I believe, but I find myself thinking about it more now that I have two young kids. Until I get my shit straightened out, I feel like it's going to be an uphill battle trying to figure out what to teach them. I wasn't raised as a hardcore fundamentalist Christian, but I'm from an area that is quite conservative Christian. Sei'taer knows from whence I speak. :)

Hubby leans more toward Buddhism and Eastern philosophies. He and I flirt around with going to a Unitarian-Universalist church, and if we do decide to get our asses up early on a Sunday morning, that's where we'll go. The specific congregation we're looking at is only 10% Christian, and the people there are many many shades of religion, ranging from Pantheistic to Jewish to Christian to Pagan to Atheist. If you feel like you want to still be part of a fellowship community that doesn't judge and have a UU church in your area, might not be a bad idea to check it out. Just my $.02.

Brita
05-26-2010, 09:49 PM
Hubby and I flirt around with going to a Unitarian-Universalist church, and if we do decide to get our asses up early on a Sunday morning, that's where we'll go. The specific congregation we're looking at is only 10% Christian, and the people there are many many shades of religion, ranging from Pantheistic to Jewish to Christian to Pagan to Atheist. If you feel like you want to still be part of a fellowship community that doesn't judge and have a UU church in your area, might not be a bad idea to check it out. Just my $.02

You know, I met with an old fling a while ago, and he said the strangest thing. He said "You are intense! I never realized". I thought, at the time, no I most certainly am not! But now, I think I know what he means. At the moment I feel I can't just do this in a wishy-washy way. I either believe it or I don't. That being said, I also realize the pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other, so when this settles down I may come to a middle ground where this solution may be perfect.

And kids- oh man...my kids are nicely indoctrinated thanks to me. The only thing I know for sure is that now is not the time to say anything to them about my struggle, because I am still in a state of flux, and probably will be for a while. But I will always strive to be honest with my kids, so one day I will talk to them about this, however it turns out.

If you're looking at studying faith from the outside, try reading the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. There's lots of thought-provoking stuff in there.

Yep, this is definitely on my list, as is Godless by Dan Barker. I think Godless will be first, because I think it will be gentler. :o

Belazamon
05-26-2010, 10:04 PM
You are right, I am actually quite at peace. The problem is, how do I be honest with my family? My staunch, Calvinist family? Christianity does not allow for dissention. All who dissent will be eternally tormented. So as much as I agree with your sentiment, Christianity makes it very difficult to live and let live.
I know exactly what you mean, though (thankfully) to a much lesser extent. I have to admit I'm not really sure where my dad stands on matters of faith - one of those questions I've been meaning to ask, actually - but my mother and my sister are both very big church-goers, though luckily not the "you're going to hell!" variety. Honestly, we just... don't talk about it. I'm pretty sure they just think I don't believe in the Church, but it's not something I've ever become comfortable talking to them about.

I just told my parents I didn't want to go anymore. It's funny that they still ask me to go to church when I'm there and I always refuse. It got to the point that I just quit bringing any clothes that were even close to passing for acceptable to wear to church.
Been there, done that. Actually I'll still go with my mother on Christmas Eve, because I'm still quite fond of the ritual, but every other day it's just "no thanks, I'll sleep in."

Terez
05-26-2010, 11:03 PM
It's not about whether they love me or not, it's that they do love me. It will break their heart because they truly will believe I am damning myself to hell. They will pray, my mom will cry (not in front of me, but she will cry), my dad will mourn in his stoic way and everytime they see me, it will be tinged with sorrow. It makes me want to cry right now, imagining the hurt my family will feel.
I am still going through this with my dad, in a way. He and my stepmom tell me that they're praying for me all the time. Incidentally, I needed a place to stay this summer. I asked dad, and stepmom says no cause she doesn't want me there. Fortunately, my piano teacher (an atheist Jew, btw) let me stay at her house for the summer. Upon hearing the news, my stepmom claimed that the arrangement came through because they were praying for me.

Needless to say, this kind of shit makes me want to slap the fuck out of her.

Uno
05-26-2010, 11:45 PM
Well, dash it, but no cute Christian girls went out of their way to show me any love when I was a young and unattached. Understandable enough, of course, but I thought it was supposed to be a universal thing.

I don't see why religion has to make that much sense, though. Making sense is not a requirement for social and cultural institutions. They only have to serve a more or less desired function.

ShadowbaneX
05-26-2010, 11:47 PM
You know, I met with an old fling a while ago, and he said the strangest thing. He said "You are intense! I never realized". I thought, at the time, no I most certainly am not! But now, I think I know what he means. At the moment I feel I can't just do this in a wishy-washy way. I either believe it or I don't. That being said, I also realize the pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other, so when this settles down I may come to a middle ground where this solution may be perfect.

And kids- oh man...my kids are nicely indoctrinated thanks to me. The only thing I know for sure is that now is not the time to say anything to them about my struggle, because I am still in a state of flux, and probably will be for a while. But I will always strive to be honest with my kids, so one day I will talk to them about this, however it turns out.

There's a saying that I know of "there are none quite so zealous as the newly converted," and I guess the same applies even in those that convert away from religion.

Depending on the kids age you might be surprised as to how well they react. If they're teens they might already be rebelling, although with your "nicely indoctrinated" statement I'm guessing they're a little younger then that. I wish you the best in this time Brita. If you want my rather warped view on things, send me a PM and I'd be happy to share my warped agnostic/atheist views with you.

reTaardad
05-27-2010, 12:13 AM
One could argue that Leviticus and the Old Testament represent the first covenant (depending on how you count that is) with the Lord and that all of it was superceeded by Jesus making a second covenant with his sacrifice...the whole "blood of the lamb" connection between Jesus and Passover, etc etc.
Except for:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:17-19

"...it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail."
Luke 16:17

"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation."
2 Peter 1:20

I think Jesus and the Apostles were pretty specific that Jesus' teachings supposedly went hand-in-hand with Mosaic Law. Thankfully, Western philosophy had taken root in Europe and the Pentateuch lost its relevance in Christianity. Otherwise, I honestly believe that a modern Christian society wouldn't be far from those governed by shariah law.

By the way, if you like to see atheist commentary on the bible (which I do), check out Evil Bible (http://www.evilbible.com/) and Skeptic's Annotated Bible (http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/).

ShadowbaneX
05-27-2010, 12:18 AM
It's just the way they view the world Terez. I completely agree though, little angers me more then being called a "good" Christian when I was only acting out of the kindness of my heart.

From their point of view though, all good in the world comes from God, and their prayers influenced God to help you...which is even more pompous because if all of this is supposedly done according to God's plan, then their prayers shouldn't have had any affect on the situation.

Looking at the Fundies Say the Darndest Things website, you hope that most of the posts in there are just people trolling Christian websites, but every now and then, you start to realize that these people have the world view that Goodness and Kindness only comes from Christianity.

Something good happens to someone, it's God's Will. Kindness, goodness, charity, that's all God. Even if people of other religions act that way, it's still God, only the heathens refuse to accept that it's God that's telling them to do that. Any argument that an atheist makes is groundless because it does not have Divine Authority to back it up.

They cannot understand how an atheist, without the teachings of God to follow, doesn't just degenerate into a wallowing, dirty rapist and murderer. It's as if these people cannot fathom that empathy and general human understanding cannot exist without believing in God. I truly feel pity for them that they are so ignorant about the rest of humanity.

Mort
05-27-2010, 01:54 AM
If you're looking at studying faith from the outside, try reading the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. There's lots of thought-provoking stuff in there.



I don't find Dawkins to be to be very controversial in the same sense that others might, who are christian, or of any religion for that matter. A heads up are in order though. Dawkins can be pretty harsh. He isn't just saying "Religion is silly, let's stop believing". He's saying: "Religion is wrong, and we should all point and laugh (and maybe worse) at those who have faith.

Could probably be an interesting read if you are curious, but know that he is an extreme atheist, a view not shared by many atheists/agnostics.

Firseal
05-27-2010, 01:59 AM
"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation."
2 Peter 1:20

I love that one. Especially when historians have more or less figured out that several 'propecies' in the bible were explicitly written after the fact.

I believe in God. The bible, staunchly less so. Something that's seen two and a half (if you believe some scholars) to three thousand (if you believe others, and the majority of the religious) years of being written, rewritten, argued over, deleted, translated, retranslated, edited, and manipulated by more hundred and twenty generations of people (after, of course, centuries existing in some forms of oral history which while a more formidable recording media than most modern folk think, is still very open to corruption and misinterpretation). The bible is a book. Yes, it calls itself holy and a copy of a book in heaven. That's called copyrighting nowadays. Does the bible say good things? Yes. Does it say batshaite crazy things? All over the damn place.

This is the problem with revealed truth being accepted by the religious as an absolute. Tell someone that a statement is true because you said so, and like as not you get laughed in the face of. Tell them God says it is so, and you can get some of them to believe anything. Literally anything. Flat-earthers and Creation Scientists don't just spring from rocks. (No matter what the rest of humanity wishes to believe, more's the pity) They were handed a bible, and taught to regard it as an unmitigated truth not open to conversation or change.

Which is why everyone from Nietzsche to Thomas Aquinas wants to slap you in the fact and say, "Think about it."

Or, even better. Darwin studied to be a priest, and I am pretty sure he never lost his faith.

Because just as an unexamined life is not worth living, a faith you've never challenged is a falsehood.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-27-2010, 03:00 AM
Yes, there definitely is a fundamental change in my perception of life and meaning. I am leaning towards # 1 to be honest. I am not interested in deluding myself, I have no need for it.
this. See, because if God really exists, he'll know that you've been lying to him and to yourself, and to everyone around you. A lie is a sin, so therefore it would probably please God a lot more if you were really really honest. Even if it means that you doubt his existence.

This, by the way, is also one of the reasons why I don't go inside a church if at all socially acceptable. Because it is a place of worship for the god that I do not believe in, so to me it feels like I'm metaphorically spitting in God's face and trampling al oveer the people who genuinely believe in whatever it is they believe.

You said you were a Protestant. well, most protestants believbe that faith should come from within a person, not from peer pressure or from what other people (=priests) tell them. A person needs to read the Bible for themselves, needs to think about faith, the Universe and everything - and, ideally, come to the understanding that their religion is true. But if you have done all these things that Protestantism stands for and you come to a different conclusion than your religion advocates then it is not you that is wrong, period. It just means that your understanding of how the world is put together differes from how your religion sees it. So logically speaking, you've done nothing wrong.

I was visiting a website called exchristian. It was great for an instant group of people going through the same process I am. But I have found it to be a little too angry and too harsh. So I wrote a rant called "5 reasons I'm glad I was a christian" yesterday, because my split with the faith has been amicable. Well, the "webmaster" has not posted it yet. If he doesn't post it, I won't be sticking around. I'm not interested in a censored website that calls itself a place for "freethinkers". But for the short term, it was just what I needed, to know I'm not alone.

people like these annoy me. Although, to be honest I can be like that too when it comes to any discussion about communism. I do try to curb myself but it's not always easy.

GonzoTheGreat
05-27-2010, 03:11 AM
I don't see why religion has to make that much sense, though. Making sense is not a requirement for social and cultural institutions. They only have to serve a more or less desired function.The problem of a lot of religions is that they claim to be (or have, whatever) The Truth.
And being The Truth while at the same time being obvious nonsense isn't really all that convincing. So they try to show that they do make sense, and that's when things go wrong for them.

Or, even better. Darwin studied to be a priest, and I am pretty sure he never lost his faith.Yes, he did. When he lost his favorite daughter. His wife remained a firmly convinced Christian, and it was almost certainly for her sake that he kept quiet on religious matters.

Uno
05-27-2010, 04:22 AM
The problem of a lot of religions is that they claim to be (or have, whatever) The Truth.
And being The Truth while at the same time being obvious nonsense isn't really all that convincing. So they try to show that they do make sense, and that's when things go wrong for them.

Many institutions, ideas, and ideologies claim to be true in one way or another, but they generally aren't in any objective sense. To me, that's usually fine, as they don't have to be. Social illusions play any important role in any society, and to me adherence to abstract truths does therefore not play an important role in how I evaluate organizations or ideologies. Merely claiming possession of the truth is not necessarily bad in itself.

GonzoTheGreat
05-27-2010, 05:24 AM
Many institutions, ideas, and ideologies claim to be true in one way or another, but they generally aren't in any objective sense. To me, that's usually fine, as they don't have to be. Social illusions play any important role in any society, and to me adherence to abstract truths does therefore not play an important role in how I evaluate organizations or ideologies. Merely claiming possession of the truth is not necessarily bad in itself.No, but the problem is that they think they are in possession of the Absolute Totally Unchangeable And Irrefutable Truth. Then, when someone refutes their beliefs by pointing out some inconvenient facts, things tend to get ugly.

Oh, I missed this one previously:
They cannot understand how an atheist, without the teachings of God to follow, doesn't just degenerate into a wallowing, dirty rapist and murderer. It's as if these people cannot fathom that empathy and general human understanding cannot exist without believing in God. I truly feel pity for them that they are so ignorant about the rest of humanity.While what they say is not true for atheists, it may be true for them. Considering the fact that they apparently can't be moral without their faith, it may be a good thing that they aren't atheists.

One Armed Gimp
05-27-2010, 09:27 AM
Christianity does not allow for dissention. All who dissent will be eternally tormented. So as much as I agree with your sentiment, Christianity makes it very difficult to live and let live.

That maybe true from some denominations, but not all. Most Catholics don't see it that way. You live a good life, that's all you need to do.

And as was touched upon briefly, Dawkins isn't that good. There are much more convincing and deeper thinking atheists out there.

JSUCamel
05-27-2010, 09:43 AM
That maybe true from some denominations, but not all. Most Catholics don't see it that way. You live a good life, that's all you need to do.

And as was touched upon briefly, Dawkins isn't that good. There are much more convincing and deeper thinking atheists out there.

I'm not sure reading an atheist book is a great idea, because if one gets around to writing a book, it's usually because he has some sort of pent up anger or whatever regarding it. I certainly got that impression reading one of Dawkin's books.

Instead I recommend reading "The Universe in a Single Atom" by the Dalai Lama. It's a relatively short book but it very easily reconciles science and spirituality, and it makes more than a few points in favor of the viewpoints Brita has expressed already. Good stuff. I highly recommend it.

Brita
05-27-2010, 11:03 AM
That maybe true from some denominations, but not all. Most Catholics don't see it that way. You live a good life, that's all you need to do.


Right- good point. I guess I should clarify that the brand of Christianity I am dissenting from is the "Repent or hell-bent!" brand. It is what my family believes.

Instead I recommend reading "The Universe in a Single Atom" by the Dalai Lama. It's a relatively short book but it very easily reconciles science and spirituality, and it makes more than a few points in favor of the viewpoints Brita has expressed already. Good stuff. I highly recommend it.

Thanks Camel! I will definitely find a copy. You guys have all been so helpful :)

Davian93
05-27-2010, 11:16 AM
Buddhism is a very good philosophy to get into/study. I studied it (yes me) for several years back in the day and many will tell you its possible to be a practicing Buddhist and still believe in Christ/God as its more of a life philosophy than Buddhist claiming any sort of divinity.

Any study of Buddhist ideas is a good thing.

One Armed Gimp
05-27-2010, 11:27 AM
Buddhism is a very good philosophy to get into/study. I studied it (yes me) for several years back in the day and many will tell you its possible to be a practicing Buddhist and still believe in Christ/God as its more of a life philosophy than Buddhist claiming any sort of divinity.

Any study of Buddhist ideas is a good thing.

Funny, I actually did the same thing after taking my first World Religion class in high school. Buddhism has an amazingly rich yet simplistic "belief system".

JSU - I tend to agree with you on the atheists being angry when they write, many of them come across that way. Their goal is not to reconcile science and religious beliefs, but purely bash religious beliefs. That's the second time that book as been suggested to me, I think I will have to grab it.

Ivhon
05-27-2010, 11:30 AM
Funny, I actually did the same thing after taking my first World Religion class in high school. Buddhism has an amazingly rich yet simplistic "belief system".

JSU - I tend to agree with you on the atheists being angry when they write, many of them come across that way. Their goal is not to reconcile science and religious beliefs, but purely bash religious beliefs. That's the second time that book as been suggested to me, I think I will have to grab it.

Atheism is a religion that is quickly becoming as dogmatic as any other.

GonzoTheGreat
05-27-2010, 11:36 AM
Of course, a (significant) detail is that no two atheists can agree on what those dogmas actually are. So the chances of them successfully setting up persecution of believers are rather slim.
Unless it gets hitched to some "love every one, and be good to each other" communist doctrines, of course. They tend to be quite good at organising.

Brita
05-27-2010, 12:18 PM
You know, experiences like yours are the whole reason why some Christians get so up-in-arms about Biblical literalism. They figure that if you can take one passage as metaphorical, it's a slippery slope to taking them all metaphorically. Same with discounting certain bits of the Bible in favor of others.

I was re-reading this thread, and this popped out at me.

Hell is not a biblically solid doctrine at all actually. And there is very strong Biblical evidence for annihalation. So I was still, even at this point, trying to keep my hope in the literal interpretation of the bible intact.

But once I decided that eternal hell did not exist (even within biblical context), two things happened:
1) I wondered why God would let such a lie continue for so long, and I began to question the hidden nature of God (as I already mentioned)
2) The fear of eternal damnation disappeared, and I felt free to investigate my doubts and questions further without being completely terrified.

jason wolfbrother
05-27-2010, 12:32 PM
I took a religion class at my junior college over two semesters. The first was Western Religion, focusing on Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The second was Eastern Religion, focusing on Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Shinto.


One thing that I found interesting that the professor said was this.

According to some scholars there is a big debate on where Jesus was between 6 (speaking at the temple to the elders) and 30 (when he began his own teaching). Some have suggested that he went East to study with the three Wise Guys that had showed up for his birth bearing gifts. And that he studied Buddhism and other religions for ideas and thoughts.

Just a thought.

the silent speaker
05-27-2010, 01:48 PM
The letter exchange at the start of the thread is amusing as long as I suspend my disbelief that the both of them aren't complete ignoramuses about what the Bible actually says. I don't blame them so much for not knowing but there is the persistent assumption of people who expound on this kind of topic that they do know -- and usually the people who do the most expounding are the ones who know the least. The Bible was written two to three thousand years ago or thereabouts, and it is, among all the other things that it is, a work of poetry; and like any work of poetry, it uses figures of speech, metaphor, parable, reference, and all the other literary devices we're accustomed to seeing (and unaccustomed to seeing but people 2500 years ago would have expected to find). To assume you know what it says, just because you've read a passage -- much less if what you've read is a translation of a passage -- is a mistake.

Brita mentioned Judges 19. Would it de-traumatize you a little bit if I told you I didn't think anybody involved in that mess was supposed to be taken sympathetically, with the possible exception of the concubine? As a small note, the first word of the chapter is one which is sometimes used as a literary hook to presage sorrowful events recorded... and it appears twice in the first verse.

Somebody else mentioned prophecies that "historians determined were written after the fact". I'm curious on what basis that kind of determination can be made, since the obvious "it fit historical events too well" is circular and rather misses the point of the very definition of prophecy.

As to the question of why would God allow a lie to be perpetrated, the short answer is, because free will is that important, and if it were to be shut off in any way, the search for truth would be impossibly impeded; therefore God says, "If someone wishes to err, let him err." I'm afraid the long answer is a series of paragraphs the first letters of which form this post, so you'll have to settle for the short answer. :)

Neilbert
05-27-2010, 01:56 PM
Atheism is a religion that is quickly becoming as dogmatic as any other.

Bullshit. (http://www.intelligencesquared.com/iq2-video/2009/atheism-is-the-new-fundamentalism)

JSU - I tend to agree with you on the atheists being angry when they write, many of them come across that way. Their goal is not to reconcile science and religious beliefs, but purely bash religious beliefs. That's the second time that book as been suggested to me, I think I will have to grab it.

Who gives a shit about reconciling science and religious beliefs? Why would this ever be important in any way shape or form to someone who wasn't already religious?

The whole point of science is that it is about verifiable truth. Science and religion can't be reconciled. It is an impossibility. They are two entirely separate world views, which are capable of existing within a single person.

As to the question of why would God allow a lie to be perpetrated, the short answer is, because free will is that important, and if it were to be shut off in any way, the search for truth would be impossibly impeded; therefore God says, "If someone wishes to err, let him err." I'm afraid the long answer is a series of paragraphs the first letters of which form this post, so you'll have to settle for the short answer.

So people should be free to seek their own truth without some institution stifling their own creative thought?

Cus that's atheism.

JSUCamel
05-27-2010, 01:58 PM
But once I decided that eternal hell did not exist (even within biblical context), two things happened:
1) I wondered why God would let such a lie continue for so long, and I began to question the hidden nature of God (as I already mentioned)
2) The fear of eternal damnation disappeared, and I felt free to investigate my doubts and questions further without being completely terrified.

You'll notice in my posts that I referenced an eternity of "weeping and gnashing of teeth", which is (at least in my translations) what Jesus says. The concept of Hell as pop culture currently defines it, afaik, didn't really originate until the Puritans in the 1700s, particularly with fire and brimstone preachers like Jonathan Edwards (see: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinners_in_the_Hands_of_an_Angry_God)) and with Dante's Inferno.

I'm personally of the oblivion variety (i.e. I believe there's no afterlife, or if there is, it doesn't matter in this life). And I'm okay with that.

Neilbert
05-27-2010, 02:06 PM
I don't have a whole lot to add to the discussion, except to state that I have been thinking and rethinking and analyzing and over-analyzing my faith for years now. I'm still not sure exactly what I believe, but I find myself thinking about it more now that I have two young kids. Until I get my shit straightened out, I feel like it's going to be an uphill battle trying to figure out what to teach them.

Plant stuff. Spend Sunday morning gardening with the fam. You will be a better person for it and so will your children. Healthier too.

Belazamon
05-27-2010, 02:29 PM
Atheism is a religion that is quickly becoming as dogmatic as any other.
When are the services held? I gotta get in on this.

Sinistrum
05-27-2010, 03:21 PM
Atheism is a religion that is quickly becoming as dogmatic as any other.

This is true in a lot of cases, in large part because of the antipathy a lot of atheists seem to have toward religion. A lot of that is well deserved, however, I think there is a certain amount of irony in them engaging in the exact same behaviors that end up pissing them off when religious people do it (acting superior, attacking, attempts to convert to their way of thinking, shoving their beliefs in the faces of others).

Brita
05-27-2010, 03:37 PM
The letter exchange at the start of the thread is amusing as long as I suspend my disbelief that the both of them aren't complete ignoramuses about what the Bible actually says. I don't blame them so much for not knowing but there is the persistent assumption of people who expound on this kind of topic that they do know -- and usually the people who do the most expounding are the ones who know the least. The Bible was written two to three thousand years ago or thereabouts, and it is, among all the other things that it is, a work of poetry; and like any work of poetry, it uses figures of speech, metaphor, parable, reference, and all the other literary devices we're accustomed to seeing (and unaccustomed to seeing but people 2500 years ago would have expected to find). To assume you know what it says, just because you've read a passage -- much less if what you've read is a translation of a passage -- is a mistake.

So, The Law is just poetry? Tell that to the people who have been killed for their disobedience. Or the daughters sold into slavery, or the woman forced to marry her rapist after said rapist pays off her father. I am sure they would find it all very peotic if they were only around to understand that is was just a fiure of speech and not meant to be taken literally.

Brita mentioned Judges 19. Would it de-traumatize you a little bit if I told you I didn't think anybody involved in that mess was supposed to be taken sympathetically, with the possible exception of the concubine? As a small note, the first word of the chapter is one which is sometimes used as a literary hook to presage sorrowful events recorded... and it appears twice in the first verse.

Honestly, I can't even look at that passage without feeling sick, literally. So I very well could have it out of context. But the fact is, women were possessions. Lot also offered his virgin daughters to the mob, so as not to disgrace the strangers in his home. Thankfully God decided to intervene that time. Poor concubine though, I guess her faith wasn't strong enough to save her from the horror. Seems to be a pretty common "out" for the men of that time. It all goes to the general horridness found in the OT, especially if you happened to be born without a Y chromosome.

Somebody else mentioned prophecies that "historians determined were written after the fact". I'm curious on what basis that kind of determination can be made, since the obvious "it fit historical events too well" is circular and rather misses the point of the very definition of prophecy.

As to the question of why would God allow a lie to be perpetrated, the short answer is, because free will is that important, and if it were to be shut off in any way, the search for truth would be impossibly impeded; therefore God says, "If someone wishes to err, let him err." I'm afraid the long answer is a series of paragraphs the first letters of which form this post, so you'll have to settle for the short answer. :)

Nope, not buying the "free will" argument. Partly because I grew up in a Calvinist home- so I am sure you know what that means. But also because it makes no sense ethically.

We are born into sin. Psalm 512:5 and Eph 2:2
Our hearts are wicked and deceived from the very start. Jer 17:9
We are blind, and fumble around in darkness. Mark 4:11,12
Depending on your doctrine, we can or cannot seek God on our own.
(But apparently free will is everything, can't find a verse for this actually).
Then, when we aren't called, or we can't manage to find a hidden God because we are blind and wicked, it is our fault.
This inability to rise above the circumstances we were born into earns us eternal damnation and torment.

And the kicker- the almighty, sovereign God of Love planned it this way, knowing from the beginning this is how it would all pan out. He created us against our will, to enact a plan we had no part in, but it is all about free-will, apparently.

"This is My plan, this is what you can do (nothing Philippians), and you bear all the reponsibility and I bear none."

Ivhon
05-27-2010, 03:45 PM
This is true in a lot of cases, in large part because of the antipathy a lot of atheists seem to have toward religion. A lot of that is well deserved, however, I think there is a certain amount of irony in them engaging in the exact same behaviors that end up pissing them off when religious people do it (acting superior, attacking, attempts to convert to their way of thinking, shoving their beliefs in the faces of others).

This is exactly what I meant.

and Im atheist, if anything.

Terez
05-27-2010, 04:30 PM
You should have seen us in church on Sunday. Me, the hard-core semi agnostic/atheist. My wife, who doesn't really give a shit one way or the other, my cousin, who is a buddhist, my brother, who has an "understanding" with god and wore rubber shoes so when the lightning struck all of us, him included, he could laugh as he sat back and drank his nicely warmed and snuck-into-church 40 ounce coffee. It was a tough hour...but really really funny (nothing like watching a buddhist pretend to recite the lord's prayer).
I went to church with Gonzo. I win. I had to convince him not to take communion; he seemed rather worried about offending them.

the silent speaker
05-27-2010, 04:49 PM
So, The Law is just poetry?
No not "just" poetry. But poetry *also*.
Tell that to the people who have been killed for their disobedience.
If you mean contemporarily, I am not required to assume that the killers know the law they claim to be appying, and indeed I assume that they do not.
Lot also offered his virgin daughters to the mob, so as not to disgrace the strangers in his home. Thankfully God decided to intervene that time.
Lot was no sort of saint. Lot was saved because he passed the exacting standard of "not a Sodomite".
Poor concubine though, I guess her faith wasn't strong enough to save her from the horror.
If God intervened every time something terrible happened to a person of faith, we would never know, and we would be asking the exact same questions we are now. Sodom was destroyed in a way that would make any onlooker say, the wrath of God did this, and therefore it is more appropriate that individual merit (if such it can be called in the case of a 'mere' pedophile) be taken into account in saving what indivduals may yet be salvaged; Judges 19 does not compare, so there is no necessity for miraculous intervention.
Nope, not buying the "free will" argument. ...
As a Jew, I cannot respond to this paragraph because of fundamental assumptions about the nature of man's relationship with God (and vice versa), and the consequences thereof, that are not shared. All I will say is that "free will" does not necessarily mean "everything and anything is possible at all times"; that is randomness, and it is the triangular opposite of free will. (Picture a triangle with randomness at one corner, predestination at another, and free will at a third. Each is the opposite of both the other two.) There is no free will without some structure.

Sinistrum
05-27-2010, 05:56 PM
We are born into sin. Psalm 512:5 and Eph 2:2
Our hearts are wicked and deceived from the very start. Jer 17:9
We are blind, and fumble around in darkness. Mark 4:11,12
Depending on your doctrine, we can or cannot seek God on our own.
(But apparently free will is everything, can't find a verse for this actually).
Then, when we aren't called, or we can't manage to find a hidden God because we are blind and wicked, it is our fault.
This inability to rise above the circumstances we were born into earns us eternal damnation and torment.

And the kicker- the almighty, sovereign God of Love planned it this way, knowing from the beginning this is how it would all pan out. He created us against our will, to enact a plan we had no part in, but it is all about free-will, apparently.

"This is My plan, this is what you can do (nothing Philippians), and you bear all the reponsibility and I bear none."

This right here illustrates the major contradictions between four of the key beliefs about the nature of god. 1. That it is all knowing 2. That it is all powerful 3. That it is good and loves us and 4. That it created us with the capacity for free will. Reality and logic do not bear out all four being true at the same time.

One Armed Gimp
05-27-2010, 07:19 PM
The whole point of science is that it is about verifiable truth. Science and religion can't be reconciled. It is an impossibility. They are two entirely separate world views, which are capable of existing within a single person.

Not sure I am following you, but I think you meant to say that they are incapable and not capable.

Religion does not negate science nor does science negate religion. The two can co-exist.

And if science is about verifiable truth, then how come so much of science is theory?

One Armed Gimp
05-27-2010, 07:26 PM
This right here illustrates the major contradictions between four of the key beliefs about the nature of god. 1. That it is all knowing 2. That it is all powerful 3. That it is good and loves us and 4. That it created us with the capacity for free will. Reality and logic do not bear out all four being true at the same time.

I'm going to change that a bit. If some one can logically show me how these four statements can not co-exist:

1. God is Omniscient
2. God is Omnipotent
3. God is All Loving
4. God created Man with free will.

Do that and....I don't know, I'll send you a plate of cookies, or a really good beer.

tworiverswoman
05-27-2010, 07:29 PM
SBX, I need to find some kind of curse that works on an agnostic, for you pointing me at FSTDT (http://www.fstdt.com/Top100.aspx?archive=1)

Holy crap! What a bunch of ...

I wanted to post a few prime examples, but my eyes are bleeding.

Brita, I applaud your courage and belief in your own ability to CHOOSE to question your own indoctrination. It sounds like it was pretty thorough. The trick now is to keep your balance. Getting angry over the belief structure you grew up with is going to slap you in the back of the head every once in a while until your pendulum settles again.

You've cast yourself out on the unbounded sea with no map-posts to help you. Count on your friends. :)

I understand your heartache over explaining this to the people who love you - it's not going to be fun.

Larry Niven's Inferno is a really good read. It references Dante's original story without copying it. Short plot - a science fiction author dies and wakes up in "hell." Maybe. Or maybe it's "Infernoland," an amusement park for aliens. Or something. It's funny in spots, horrific in spots, and does at least offer a TENTATIVE justification for the concept of hell, though I can't agree with it. I first read this book many MANY years ago and recently repurchased a hard-back copy from my book club. Just finished re-reading it last week, in fact.

Good luck to you. :)

Seeker
05-27-2010, 07:39 PM
I'm going to change that a bit. If some one can logically show me how these four statements can not co-exist:

1. God is Omniscient
2. God is Omnipotent
3. God is All Loving
4. God created Man with free will.

Do that and....I don't know, I'll send you a plate of cookies, or a really good beer.

The first two contradict each other. Suppose God decides that today he's going to eat breakfast, just to experience it. He then decides he's going to drink orange juice with his breakfast.

Can he change his mind to have apple juice instead?

If yes, he's not all knowing. (It's not changing your mind if you already know you're going to change your mind).

If no, he's not all powerful.

No being can be simultaneously omniscient and omnipotent.

One Armed Gimp
05-27-2010, 07:54 PM
The first two contradict each other. Suppose God decides that today he's going to eat breakfast, just to experience it. He then decides he's going to drink orange juice with his breakfast.

Can he change his mind to have apple juice instead?

If yes, he's not all knowing. (It's not changing your mind if you already know you're going to change your mind).

If no, he's not all powerful.

No being can be simultaneously omniscient and omnipotent.

First off, you're trying to describe the "God" in this scenario with human characteristics, that usually doesn't work out so well.

Knowing whats going to to happen does not take away the ability to make a choice, even if you already know what that choice is going to be.

I expected the mountain question first.

Sinistrum
05-27-2010, 07:59 PM
I'm going to change that a bit. If some one can logically show me how these four statements can not co-exist:

1. God is Omniscient
2. God is Omnipotent
3. God is All Loving
4. God created Man with free will.

Do that and....I don't know, I'll send you a plate of cookies, or a really good beer.

Easy, a loving god cannot be all powerful because of the existence of pain, suffering, and evil. An all powerful god could easily create a universe where pain and suffering is not necessary in order for humankind to grow and learn or exercise a concept of free will. The very fact that it doesn't either means that it can't or that it doesn't care to.

An omniscient god cannot create man with free will. It would know the fate of every single man and woman even before their creation. It would know every single choice they would choose to make before they are even capable of making them, thereby denying the impact of those choices. An all knowing creator cannot help but know every single impact of every single characteristic of every single person upon their choices before they are even created. Such knowledge makes our choices a sham in terms of their impact on our souls. God not only knew that we would make the, but specifically designed us to make them that way. It couldn't help but not with the knowledge it possessed at the moment of each of our creations. Therefore, it either can't know our choices or free will doesn't exist.

An all powerful god cannot encompass the idea of free will in another. The very idea of free will includes the idea that we have the power of choice to the exclusion of outside influences. This must naturally includes god. So either god is all powerful, and therefore has absolute power over our mind, body and soul, or we have the will to deny him, and therefore he is not all powerful.

A loving god would not have created this reality's concept of free will. Free will, as defined by most religions, is essentially the choice between good and evil. Because god created this choice, it is omnscient, and it has perfect knowledge of how everyone in the world will choose all of the time, the choice is essentially a trap. It is god dangling out temptation with complete foreknowledge of how you are going to choose. Those who love you don't attempt to trick you by laying traps to get you do wrong, and thereby justify their scorn and damnation. They also don't specifically design you to fall into those traps. Therefore, either free will exists, or god does not love us.

An omniscient god cannot be a loving god. If god is omniscient then it knows every single wrong you will do and every single ounce of pain you will suffer throughout your entire life. Given that, there is no way it can create you without specifically condemning you to commit sin or to suffer before before you are even born. That knowledge is an implicit part of god creating you. Something that loves you would not specifically condemn you to do wrong or suffer. Therefore god either god is omniscient or god does not love you.

An all knowing god cannot be omnipotent. Perfect knowledge implies that god cannot know something. If god cannot know something, then it, for all intents and purposes, it does not have the power to be ignorant. An all powerful being cannot, by definition, lack the power to do anything. Therefore, god cannot either be all powerful or all knowing.

One Armed Gimp
05-27-2010, 08:32 PM
Easy, a loving god cannot be all powerful because of the existence of pain, suffering, and evil. An all powerful god could easily create a universe where pain and suffering is not necessary in order for humankind to grow and learn or exercise a concept of free will. The very fact that it doesn't either means that it can't or that it doesn't care to.

Creating a world free of pain and evil means creating a world in which I can not choose to perform those evil acts. While an all powerful God could create such a world, and All Loving God would not, it would be slavery, not free will.

An omniscient god cannot create man with free will. It would know the fate of every single man and woman even before their creation. It would know every single choice they would choose to make before they are even capable of making them, thereby denying the impact of those choices. An all knowing creator cannot help but know every single impact of every single characteristic of every single person upon their choices before they are even created. Such knowledge makes our choices a sham in terms of their impact on our souls. God not only knew that we would make the, but specifically designed us to make them that way. It couldn't help but not with the knowledge it possessed at the moment of each of our creations. Therefore, it either can't know our choices or free will doesn't exist.

Just because an Omniscient God knows the choices that will be made, does not mean the choice is not ours to make. There is a difference between knowing what someone will do and forcing your will upon them.

An all powerful god cannot encompass the idea of free will in another. The very idea of free will includes the idea that we have the power of choice to the exclusion of outside influences. This must naturally includes god. So either god is all powerful, and therefore has absolute power over our mind, body and soul, or we have the will to deny him, and therefore he is not all powerful.

Omnipotent does not mean he forces his will upon us. I have the power to force my son to do many things, but I do not exercise that power. A God can be Omnipotent with out the need to exercise that power.

A loving god would not have created this reality's concept of free will. Free will, as defined by most religions, is essentially the choice between good and evil. Because god created this choice, it is omnscient, and it has perfect knowledge of how everyone in the world will choose all of the time, the choice is essentially a trap. It is god dangling out temptation with complete foreknowledge of how you are going to choose. Those who love you don't attempt to trick you by laying traps to get you do wrong, and thereby justify their scorn and damnation. They also don't specifically design you to fall into those traps. Therefore, either free will exists, or god does not love us.

You are accusing God of tempting us. That is not in those 4 statements, nor can it be proven that he does tempt us. Again, any control exerted over us would negate free will and God's love. I allow my son to do things I know will hurt him, not because I do not know he will get hurt or that I do not have the power to stop him from getting hurt, but because there are some things he needs to learn on his own.

An omniscient god cannot be a loving god. If god is omniscient then it knows every single wrong you will do and every single ounce of pain you will suffer throughout your entire life. Given that, there is no way it can create you without specifically condemning you to commit sin or to suffer before before you are even born. That knowledge is an implicit part of god creating you. Something that loves you would not specifically condemn you to do wrong or suffer. Therefore god either god is omniscient or god does not love you.

Creating us without free will would be unloving. We make those choices, not him.

An all knowing god cannot be omnipotent. Perfect knowledge implies that god cannot know something. If god cannot know something, then it, for all intents and purposes, it does not have the power to be ignorant. An all powerful being cannot, by definition, lack the power to do anything. Therefore, god cannot either be all powerful or all knowing.

That makes no sense. Omniscience, or "perfect knowledge", would not imply that God does not know something.

FWIW, I am not trying to force what I say on anyone or "prove that God exists" or make judgements or anything like that. I actually like being challenged on my faith. Untested faith is unproven faith.

tworiverswoman
05-27-2010, 08:34 PM
I just want to know why humans NEED their god to be Omni-potent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. Someone once replied, "Well, he's not much of a god if he ISN'T!"

Like it isn't ENOUGH of a job description to have created an infinite universe...?



(Oh, just a reminder than I'm an atheist with agnostic uncertainty)

One Armed Gimp
05-27-2010, 08:42 PM
I just want to know why humans NEED their god to be Omni-potent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. Someone once replied, "Well, he's not much of a god if he ISN'T!"

Like it isn't ENOUGH of a job description to have created an infinite universe...?



(Oh, just a reminder than I'm an atheist with agnostic uncertainty)

I think most the first two mostly come from the belief that he did create the universe, whatever form it maybe in.

If that is the case, and say this is the only, and possibly infinite, universe. Then God is Omnipotent because he created it, is not restrained by it and can break its physical laws. Also, because of this, God would reside outside of the universe and time, he could see all of time and thus be Omniscient.

And seriously, what good would a God be if he were not Omnibenevolent and gave us all kinds of goodies :p

Great Lord of the Dark
05-27-2010, 09:09 PM
I don't think there is an official atheist prayer, but it should be something along the lines of "Screw you, I can think for myself". Just repeat whenever the 'rules' come up. And that's why there can never be an organized atheist religion, we are like unherdable cats.

As for the Dawkins book, I found the scientific theories on where morality derives from interesting, and not the sort of thing other atheist hate-mongers might be even slightly conversant in.

Kimon
05-27-2010, 09:13 PM
I think most the first two mostly come from the belief that he did create the universe, whatever form it maybe in.

If that is the case, and say this is the only, and possibly infinite, universe. Then God is Omnipotent because he created it, is not restrained by it and can break its physical laws. Also, because of this, God would reside outside of the universe and time, he could see all of time and thus be Omniscient.

And seriously, what good would a God be if he were not Omnibenevolent and gave us all kinds of goodies :p

It is this omnibenevolent issue that raises a problem, in that it creates a disparity in temperament between what God seems to be like in the Old Testament, compared to what he is like in the New. In the Old Testament, he is not omnibenevolent. He demands obedience, even when obedience requires agreeing to do horrible things (like sacrificing your children...), or enduring horrible things (like slavery in Egypt and Babylon), and refusal comes with a promise of retribution. So the God of the Old Testament is a typical god (which is to say like the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Middle Eastern gods)- worship me or I'll make you pay. The God of the New Testament seems like an entirely different person in terms of personality. The only way to reconcile the two as being the same is to take a leap of logic that likely would make many Christians quite mad- perhaps Christ was just another test of the faith of the Jews, and their passing the test earns them rewards only in the afterlife, but in the present they have to endure constant and unending hostility...

Another option of course is to say that both the Old Testament and the New are merely works of fiction, written by men, and that if a god, or even the God, exists, that it is hubris to claim to know his mind and his motivations.

Sinistrum
05-27-2010, 09:22 PM
Creating a world free of pain and evil means creating a world in which I can not choose to perform those evil acts. While an all powerful God could create such a world, and All Loving God would not, it would be slavery, not free will.

This answer is viewed through the prism of your limited perception as a human and through the lens of the rules as they are currently constructed. Your definition of "slave" and "free will" are correct as to reality as it currently stands. But you forget that god is all powerful. He therefore he has the power to change the rules of reality, alter the definitions of things such as "free will", and seemingly do the impossible or contradictory (at least impossible to our limited perception under our current reality). The rules of our reality don't apply to it. As such, it has the power to eliminate pain and evil but preserve free will. What that new choice would be, I don't know. I'm not a god nor do I have the perception of one. But just because you or I cannot perceive of a world like that doesn't mean an all powerful god cannot create it.

Just because an Omniscient God knows the choices that will be made, does not mean the choice is not ours to make. There is a difference between knowing what someone will do and forcing your will upon them.

But it can't help but force its will on us. It has to in order to create us. Its knows the characteristics and flaws that will lead us to pain and pleasure before we ever experience each. It has to make a conscious choice to include or exclude them at the moment of our conception and thereby choose how those characteristics will impact us over the span of our lives. Perfect knowledge can mean nothing else.

Omnipotent does not mean he forces his will upon us. I have the power to force my son to do many things, but I do not exercise that power. A God can be Omnipotent with out the need to exercise that power.

Ah but you forget, free will, if it is truely of the nature as religion defines it, must include the ability to defy god against god's wishes. True free will as defined by dogma means that even if god doesn't want us to do something, and actively attempts to stop us, we should be able to do it anyways. An all powerful god cannot exist with a concept that allows for an inferior creature to deny his will. Otherwise, we are essentially just puppets.

Furthermore, if god can override our free will, then that is just a further admission that god deliberate condemns people to suffering and damnation. A god who has the power to stop people from doing evil or experiencing pain and chooses not to is making a deliberate choice to allow such things to exist. That doesn't seem very loving to me.

You are accusing God of tempting us. That is not in those 4 statements, nor can it be proven that he does tempt us.

Yes it is. It falls under #3, or rather, is the antithesis of #3. And I sure can prove it. Take for example, the tale of Adam and Eve. God is all powerful and create them, the Garden, and even the snake. It's all knowing so it knew how each one of those things would interact with each other, up to and including the snake's temptation and man's fall, even before any of it was created. With that knowledge in mind, it still choose (for the sake of argument) to create everything in the Garden exactly as it was described in Genesis, and thereby allowed it all to play out thus. Doing something with foreknowledge of its consequences is the very definition of intent. It intended man to fall from the garden of eden ever before he created them. That, my friend, is a set up for a fall, something someone who loves you would not do.

Again, any control exerted over us would negate free will and God's love.

Ah, but god's all powerful. It can come up with a concept of free will that encompasses his guidance.

I allow my son to do things I know will hurt him, not because I do not know he will get hurt or that I do not have the power to stop him from getting hurt, but because there are some things he needs to learn on his own.

This once again is viewed through the prism of human perception and reality as it is currently constructed. An all powerful god is not bound by such things.

That makes no sense. Omniscience, or "perfect knowledge", would not imply that God does not know something.

I choose my words poorly. What I meant to say is that a god with perfect knowledge does not have the power to be ignorant. Ignorance and omniscience are mutually exclusive to each other. An all powerful god would have the power to be ignorant if it so chooses. Therefore either it doesn't have the power to be ignorant and therefore is not all powerful or it does have the power to be ignorant and therefore is not all knowing.

StrangePackage
05-27-2010, 09:35 PM
Damnit people, some of you other folk say good things so that I can rep you, and then go back and rep the Lizard for this surgical logical assault.

People, faith and logic cannot be reconciled. That doesn't mean they can't co-exist. They most certainly can, and do in many instances. They simply cannot occupy the same space. People have to make a choice as to which virtue- faith or logic- will occupy which place in their life.

Brita
05-27-2010, 09:46 PM
And why is he hidden? Why doesn't he make himself obvious, scientifically observable, that he is god. Adam and Eve had the privilege. Paul had the privilege. Jesus' disciples and followers had the privilege. Muhammad had the privilege, Joseph Smith had the privilege. Whatever religion you choose, god is hidden to all but a very select few. Showing himself (and the true path while he's at it) in a measurable way would not take away free will, but it sure would offer a chance at some real responsibility for our actions, since we would then have no excuse at all. But as it is, he is coy and we are screwed....eternally.

Kimon
05-27-2010, 09:56 PM
And why is he hidden? Why doesn't he make himself obvious, scientifically observable, that he is god. Adam and Eve had the privilege. Paul had the privilege. Jesus' disciples and followers had the privilege. Muhammad had the privilege, Joseph Smith had the privilege. Whatever religion you choose, god is hidden to all but a very select few. Showing himself (and the true path while he's at it) in a measurable way would not take away free will, but it sure would offer a chance at some real responsibility for our actions, since we would then have no excuse at all. But as it is, he is coy and we are screwed....eternally.

I've always thought that this was one of the most beautiful, and philosophical, of the passages written by Jordan:

The Creator had made the world and then left humankind to make of it what they would, a heaven or the Pit of Doom by their choosing. The Creator had made many worlds, watched each flower or die, and gone on to make endless worlds beyond. A gardener did not weep for each blossom that fell.

JSUCamel
05-27-2010, 09:58 PM
People, faith and logic cannot be reconciled. That doesn't mean they can't co-exist. They most certainly can, and do in many instances. They simply cannot occupy the same space. People have to make a choice as to which virtue- faith or logic- will occupy which place in their life.


I disagree. Like Brita said, God created this logical, reason-based universe. Why should His existence be non-logical?

Second, in that book I suggested earlier, the Dalai Lama remarks about a scientist somewhere (I forget his name) that basically said this: a scientific theory MUST have a condition under which it would be false.

In other words, a scientific theory would be "The child of a brunette mother and a redhead father will never inherit genes to grow green hair." This is a SCIENTIFIC theory because there is a condition under which it could be proven false: if someone has a brunette mother and a redhead father and is born and begins growing green hair, then the theory is false.

The scientist argued that there are questions to which science can't answer -- such as "Does God exist?". The theory "The God of Abraham and Isaac exists as recorded in the Old Testament" is NOT a scientific theory -- there's no test that can provide a negative outcome.

Note that a test that could provide a negative outcome does not have to actually have a producible result. For instance, the theory "A man cannot survive unshielded on the surface of the sun" is a scientific theory, because all we need to prove it false is to have a man actually survive on the surface of the sun unshielded. Will that ever happen? No, of course not.

Anyway, the Dalai Lama asserts that there are some questions that simply cannot be faced or answered by science -- there's just no test that can prove them right or wrong, or even to degrees of accuracy. It is these cases that science should pretty much say "That's not our problem" and work on things that are, in fact, scientific theories. The problem is that if they do that, then they lose credibility, because "science is supposed to have an answer to everything" (which isn't true).

Sinistrum
05-27-2010, 10:04 PM
I disagree. Like Brita said, God created this logical, reason-based universe. Why should His existence be non-logical?

Ah but there is the rub. God is only illogical when humans start ascribing characteristics to him such as omnipotent, loving, or creating us with free will.

Anyway, the Dalai Lama asserts that there are some questions that simply cannot be faced or answered by science -- there's just no test that can prove them right or wrong, or even to degrees of accuracy.

This assumes that we will forever remain at our current intellectual capacity or that science can only progress so far. You can make neither assumption in a universe of infinite possibility. The easy alternative to point out is that for those questions that the Dalai Lama proports science cannot answer, the reason for that is that we have yet to progess sufficiently intellectually and/or scientifically to grasp them.

JSUCamel
05-27-2010, 10:24 PM
Also:

http://www.omgsoysauce.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/36-different-looks-at-common-things-funny.jpg

ShadowbaneX
05-27-2010, 10:27 PM
SBX, I need to find some kind of curse that works on an agnostic, for you pointing me at FSTDT (http://www.fstdt.com/Top100.aspx?archive=1)

Holy crap! What a bunch of ...

I wanted to post a few prime examples, but my eyes are bleeding.

Scary isn't it? I just choose to believe that the top 100 are mostly trolls trying to get a rise out of people, because if there actually people that...blinded out there I'm very, very afraid for the world.

Birgitte
05-27-2010, 10:35 PM
I particularly like the first one, SBX. "I was talking to an angel in McDonald's."

Brita
05-27-2010, 10:42 PM
I like the breakdown of the morally superior penis of God. That made me laugh.

The post about correcting children was really sad though, and made me want to cry. I can't read to much of this BS, I'm too sensitive I think.

JSUCamel
05-27-2010, 10:45 PM
I wanted to post a few prime examples, but my eyes are bleeding.

ooh ooh, let me try...

Quote# 69825

Yes sex at six can cause psychological damage. But thats only in rare occasions. Most girls are fine. Thats a scientific fact.

ahmed2010, FFI 120 Comments [1/24/2010 2:39:07 AM]
Fundie Index: 207
Submitted By: ixolite

Quote# 72273

Let's suppose I say 2+2=5 and you say 2+2=4. Are you right, or am I right? You'll say that you're right, right? But if evolution is true, suppose it's just that the chemicals that evolved into MY brain, did not evolve the same as the chemicals that evolved into YOUR brain, and we just understand the world differently. Who are YOU to say I'm wrong about ANYTHING? Once again, evolution leads to STUPIDITY, because if your brain is just a bunch of evolved chemicals, then nothing has any meaning in the end. It's just the way your chemicals happen to perceive things, and mine perceive things differently. SO MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS and leave me alone!

John Verderame, Evolution is Stupid 101 Comments [4/18/2010 10:43:11 AM]
Fundie Index: 130

Quote# 71305

My concern for level of pain of rape would be greater if it weren't for the fact that most American women deserve to raped because they oppose prostitution as a sexual outlet for men. Since they deserve to raped, I cannot concern myself with the pain rape causes them.

fschmidt, love-shy.com 116 Comments [3/4/2010 12:31:20 AM]
Fundie Index: 253
Submitted By: David

Quote# 62489

[Question about the logic in light being created on the first day, but the sun being created on the fourth.]

The sun isn't the only source of light you know? Think of a cloudly day, there's light coming from somewhere.

fancier_rmv04, Yahoo! Answers 151 Comments [5/20/2009 3:01:04 PM]
Fundie Index: 192

Quote# 70784

The very first human intercourse was a rape, women have a hymen. Every intercourse after that is still a "rape" because women still have hymens. Women are not supposed to be poked by men, they were all lesbians until one day a freak of nature was born and he got saddled with "God". All men are women first when they develop in the womb, they just have overgrown clits. Female ejaculation contains trace amounts of semen and that's how the ancient female reproductive system reproduced before men "raped" them.

In essence, all sex is rape. Am I going to complain? No, I have a gun to shoot down any "rapist" that enters my home.

Bricktop, AWE 90 Comments [2/19/2010 1:56:51 AM]
Fundie Index: 174
Submitted By: ixolite

Quote# 65081

if evolution was real humans, and animals alike would not need reproductive organs.

James, Yahoo answers 112 Comments [8/25/2009 9:19:28 AM]
Fundie Index: 162
Submitted By: Mithcoriel

Quote# 65852

[Pro-abstinence blog]

When you play with fire, there is a 50/50 chance something will go wrong, and nine times out of ten it does.

June Swenson, Abstinence 126 Comments [9/21/2009 8:26:16 AM]
Fundie Index: 155
Submitted By: Tiger

Quote# 64976

Forcing a wife to have sex is not rape as her body already belongs to her husband.

nick, Y!A 127 Comments [8/19/2009 5:23:01 PM]
Fundie Index: 153

And my favorite:

Quote# 72755

I've seen the Lord do some things to demons that I could not have thought of - like cutting the tongue out of a lying spirit and sending it back to me. It took some time to figure out what had happened because it reappeared speaking in sign language.

RichVA, Ministering Deliverance 78 Comments [5/6/2010 12:16:21 PM]
Fundie Index: 145
Submitted By: Blago

JSUCamel
05-27-2010, 10:48 PM
I like the breakdown of the morally superior penis of God. That made me laugh.

The post about correcting children was really sad though, and made me want to cry. I can't read to much of this BS, I'm too sensitive I think.

It hurts my soul to know that there are people who say these kinds of things, and it kills me that some of them even believe it. One of my best friends in college believed that dinosaurs never lived and that the fossils were put in the ground by God. He even had a six disc DVD "documentary" that explained the whole thing. It was horrible.

Belazamon
05-28-2010, 01:10 AM
And if science is about verifiable truth, then how come so much of science is theory?
I'm really, really hoping this is a sarcastic question...

Matoyak
05-28-2010, 01:42 AM
Augh. Augh augh augh. Jesu Cristo, Camel, that's... yeesh.

Wow. Just...wow.

~head, meet desk~

Terez
05-28-2010, 01:44 AM
I've always thought that this was one of the most beautiful, and philosophical, of the passages written by Jordan:
I agree. Explains why I have a thing for Ishamael.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-28-2010, 02:17 AM
I went to church with Gonzo. I win. I had to convince him not to take communion; he seemed rather worried about offending them. Yes. you win.

And why is he hidden? Why doesn't he make himself obvious, scientifically observable, that he is god. Adam and Eve had the privilege. Paul had the privilege. Jesus' disciples and followers had the privilege. Muhammad had the privilege, Joseph Smith had the privilege. Whatever religion you choose, god is hidden to all but a very select few. Showing himself (and the true path while he's at it) in a measurable way would not take away free will, but it sure would offer a chance at some real responsibility for our actions, since we would then have no excuse at all. But as it is, he is coy and we are screwed....eternally. that's because "If you're talking to God, people call it prayer, if God is talking to you, most people will call it scitzophrenia"

There is a very fine line - nowadays I'm not even sure there is a line - between true profound religious enlightenment and clinically insane.

JSUCamel
05-28-2010, 02:40 AM
And if science is about verifiable truth, then how come so much of science is theory?

uh... is this a serious question?

GonzoTheGreat
05-28-2010, 03:12 AM
Creating a world free of pain and evil means creating a world in which I can not choose to perform those evil acts. While an all powerful God could create such a world, and All Loving God would not, it would be slavery, not free will.I often suggest that God could have created a world in which we could hurt ourselves, if we made mistakes, but could not hurt others without their consent. That would indeed mean that you can't decide to rape any toddlers. Are you really happy that that possibility is open to you, and would you feel enslaved if child rape were impossible?

We do live in a world where we can't fly simply by flapping our arms. Am I a slave because of that limitation on my free will, and if not, why not?
Please note that your answer here will be applied to my suggestion of making the world so that we can't interfere with the free will of others.

Anyway, the Dalai Lama asserts that there are some questions that simply cannot be faced or answered by science -- there's just no test that can prove them right or wrong, or even to degrees of accuracy. It is these cases that science should pretty much say "That's not our problem" and work on things that are, in fact, scientific theories. The problem is that if they do that, then they lose credibility, because "science is supposed to have an answer to everything" (which isn't true).Science does acknowledge that there are questions which are outside its purview.

The problem is that they are also outside the range of all other approaches, at least if you want a dependable answer.
If you are willing to accept an answer simply on the grounds that someone likes that specific claim, then religion will do well. But if you want an answer where you can get some sort of guarantee of accuracy, then science is the only way to go, and if that doesn't work then no answer can be found.

One Armed Gimp
05-28-2010, 05:03 AM
This answer is viewed through the prism of your limited perception as a human and through the lens of the rules as they are currently constructed. Your definition of "slave" and "free will" are correct as to reality as it currently stands. But you forget that god is all powerful. He therefore he has the power to change the rules of reality, alter the definitions of things such as "free will", and seemingly do the impossible or contradictory (at least impossible to our limited perception under our current reality). The rules of our reality don't apply to it. As such, it has the power to eliminate pain and evil but preserve free will. What that new choice would be, I don't know. I'm not a god nor do I have the perception of one. But just because you or I cannot perceive of a world like that doesn't mean an all powerful god cannot create it.

Thats bogus. You're trying to say that the definition of the Free Will can be changed as it applies to the statement. Free Will as we know it as a concept would exist in any world created. Would an Omnipotent God have the power to create such a world, one where man took free will to mean something else, yes, but that is not what we are debating. I thought it obvious that those statements should be taken in the context of the universe as we know it. To try and debate hypothetical realities would be pointless.

But it can't help but force its will on us. It has to in order to create us. Its knows the characteristics and flaws that will lead us to pain and pleasure before we ever experience each. It has to make a conscious choice to include or exclude them at the moment of our conception and thereby choose how those characteristics will impact us over the span of our lives. Perfect knowledge can mean nothing else.

God's Omniscience does not take away our power of free will and choice. God chooses to make us, he know whats going to happen. How does that mean God then imposes his will on us?

Ah but you forget, free will, if it is truely of the nature as religion defines it, must include the ability to defy god against god's wishes. True free will as defined by dogma means that even if god doesn't want us to do something, and actively attempts to stop us, we should be able to do it anyways. An all powerful god cannot exist with a concept that allows for an inferior creature to deny his will. Otherwise, we are essentially just puppets.

Seriously? Free Will implies only the ability to make a choice not the ability to perform said choice. I have the Free Will to choose to jump off a building and live, doesn't mean it will work out that way. People have the choice to defy God. God's Omnipotence is not negated by not intervening and stopping someone from defying him.

Furthermore, if god can override our free will, then that is just a further admission that god deliberate condemns people to suffering and damnation. A god who has the power to stop people from doing evil or experiencing pain and chooses not to is making a deliberate choice to allow such things to exist. That doesn't seem very loving to me.

I have the power to wrap my son in bubble wrap to protect him, but I don't. That doesn't mean I don't love him. Love does not mean forcibly containing something within a "safe box" to protect it.

Yes it is. It falls under #3, or rather, is the antithesis of #3. And I sure can prove it. Take for example, the tale of Adam and Eve. God is all powerful and create them, the Garden, and even the snake. It's all knowing so it knew how each one of those things would interact with each other, up to and including the snake's temptation and man's fall, even before any of it was created. With that knowledge in mind, it still choose (for the sake of argument) to create everything in the Garden exactly as it was described in Genesis, and thereby allowed it all to play out thus. Doing something with foreknowledge of its consequences is the very definition of intent. It intended man to fall from the garden of eden ever before he created them. That, my friend, is a set up for a fall, something someone who loves you would not do.

You are implying that the Bible is 100% truth and accurate, again not in those statements. I am not trying to debate a God that fits all the stories in the Bible and those statements. FTR, I do not take the Bible literally.

Ah, but god's all powerful. It can come up with a concept of free will that encompasses his guidance.

So what, the concept of Free Will as we know it is what is up for debate, not a hypothetical.

I choose my words poorly. What I meant to say is that a god with perfect knowledge does not have the power to be ignorant. Ignorance and omniscience are mutually exclusive to each other. An all powerful god would have the power to be ignorant if it so chooses. Therefore either it doesn't have the power to be ignorant and therefore is not all powerful or it does have the power to be ignorant and therefore is not all knowing.

You are again equating having the power to do something with the use of it. I suppose God could make himself ignorant, and were God to do that I think he would basically have to demote himself.

I'm really, really hoping this is a sarcastic question...

Well, yes, and no. I did want to make sure that he did see not all science as 100% verified truth. There are plenty of things that we teach in science that could be incorrect but are sciences currently best explanations.

We do live in a world where we can't fly simply by flapping our arms. Am I a slave because of that limitation on my free will, and if not, why not?
Please note that your answer here will be applied to my suggestion of making the world so that we can't interfere with the free will of others.

That is not a limitation on your free will, merely your physical ability.

GonzoTheGreat
05-28-2010, 05:13 AM
That is not a limitation on your free will, merely your physical ability.But the same would be true if we were physically incapable of hurting others against their will.

Note that my scheme for world creation would allow people to hold boxing matches, where two consenting people beat each other up, but it would make it impossible for a mugger to beat up an intended victim.

What you are saying seems to boil down to "if the world were different than it is, then it wouldn't be the same, so it can't be different". That's not a very strong argument when discussing hypotheticals (as basically all discussions do).

One Armed Gimp
05-28-2010, 05:48 AM
But the same would be true if we were physically incapable of hurting others against their will.

Note that my scheme for world creation would allow people to hold boxing matches, where two consenting people beat each other up, but it would make it impossible for a mugger to beat up an intended victim.

What you are saying seems to boil down to "if the world were different than it is, then it wouldn't be the same, so it can't be different". That's not a very strong argument when discussing hypotheticals (as basically all discussions do).

I'm not sure how you are gathering that I am saying that. Debating what would be in a hypothetical world is pointless. An Omnipotent God would have the power to create such a world. But God would also know, even if we did not, that he was restricting our free will.

Taken alone, without any worldly context to put them in, and using only our understanding of the words as they are, can you can prove that those statements can not coexist. If so, then the question is, are those statements consistent in our context. All these arguments seem to hinge on the belief that there is a better way to create the universe and/or world. We can not know this. We can only assume that if there is a God that meets these 4 criteria, the universe as we know it was created as the best option.

GonzoTheGreat
05-28-2010, 06:25 AM
I'm not sure how you are gathering that I am saying that. Debating what would be in a hypothetical world is pointless. An Omnipotent God would have the power to create such a world. But God would also know, even if we did not, that he was restricting our free will.But I also consider the "not being able to fly" a restriction of our free will. Thus the question is not "should our free will be restricted", but rather "how should our free will be restricted".

Put like that, "you are not allowed to fly, but you may torture others to death" isn't really a good moral design. Perhaps there are practical reasons not to enable flight, that might be possible. But I've never heard a convincing practical necessity for allowing violence against others.
I simply do not see why God should be held to a lower standard than the one we apply to our secular authority. A country where atrocities are not considered against the law is considered flawed by us. Why shouldn't the same* standard also be used to what you see as a higher authority?

* Some people (including me) might even argue that the higher the authority, the higher the standard of morality they have to meet. But that's not even what I am asking for here.

DahLliA
05-28-2010, 06:31 AM
Quote# 65191

im christian
if we came from apes
how come were not hairy and have a big mouth
and did we end up looking like we do know
and besides
there isnt any serious proof of apes
they showd a video saying an ape was wondering around in the forest
that thing looked exactly like a costume that i had saw at a store
know one ever cought an ape

luv4cs, Answerbag 152 Comments [9/1/2009 6:41:30 PM]
Fundie Index: 272
Submitted By: Grace

seriously...

as for free will. this pretty much sums up my view: http://www.physorg.com/news186830615.html

it's not something I think about alot(yeah. the poor alot thinks too)though, because it's actually a quite depressing way to view life IMO :p

Davian93
05-28-2010, 07:17 AM
And why is he hidden? Why doesn't he make himself obvious, scientifically observable, that he is god. Adam and Eve had the privilege. Paul had the privilege. Jesus' disciples and followers had the privilege. Muhammad had the privilege, Joseph Smith had the privilege. Whatever religion you choose, god is hidden to all but a very select few. Showing himself (and the true path while he's at it) in a measurable way would not take away free will, but it sure would offer a chance at some real responsibility for our actions, since we would then have no excuse at all. But as it is, he is coy and we are screwed....eternally.

Because then it wouldn't be a matter of Faith.

JSUCamel
05-28-2010, 07:50 AM
Because then it wouldn't be a matter of Faith.

Well, that's her point. Moses didn't have to take it on Faith -- he could talk to God directly. Same goes for Elijah, for Paul, for Muhammed, for Joseph Smith, and for any number of other prophets and holy men in our respective religions. They didn't have to take it on Faith -- they could talk to God directly, and He talked to them directly. And "taking it on faith" doesn't stand up when the rest of the world is so logical and reason-based. Like Brita said, why would he remain hidden?

Davian93
05-28-2010, 08:13 AM
Well, that's her point. Moses didn't have to take it on Faith -- he could talk to God directly. Same goes for Elijah, for Paul, for Muhammed, for Joseph Smith, and for any number of other prophets and holy men in our respective religions. They didn't have to take it on Faith -- they could talk to God directly, and He talked to them directly. And "taking it on faith" doesn't stand up when the rest of the world is so logical and reason-based. Like Brita said, why would he remain hidden?

Geez...He said He'd return...its just been hectic of late.

Sei'taer
05-28-2010, 08:19 AM
Geez...He said He'd return...its just been hectic of late.

He needs to get a wiggle on...just sayin'. (http://www.antichristidentity.com/Obama-New-World-Order8.htm)

Ivhon
05-28-2010, 08:53 AM
He needs to get a wiggle on...just sayin'. (http://www.antichristidentity.com/Obama-New-World-Order8.htm)

OMG!1!!1! I HAVE to buy that!!

Brita
05-28-2010, 08:55 AM
seriously...

as for free will. this pretty much sums up my view: http://www.physorg.com/news186830615.html

it's not something I think about alot(yeah. the poor alot thinks too)though, because it's actually a quite depressing way to view life IMO :p

Very interesting- but once again cannot be proven false. Because we cannot go back and make a different decision, this scientist can never be proven to be wrong. Basically, I looked at two different jobs. I agonized for weeks over which one to choose. When I made my choice, it was done. This scientist will say that choice was inevitable, fuelled by nothing more than the "bag of chemicals" in my brain. Well fine. But why wouldn't our unconcious mind still be considered free will? It is a bag of chemicals being influenced by genes and outside factors to make a decision- but just because we may have unconciously made the decision before we actually consciously know were aware of it- the fact remains that we made a decision. Reality tells me I make decisions. It is up to science to prove I don't, and I can't see how that is possible. Even if we discover the exact biology and mechanism of every decision, it is still a decision.

Ivhon
05-28-2010, 09:08 AM
Very interesting- but once again cannot be proven false. Because we cannot go back and make a different decision, this scientist can never be proven to be wrong. Basically, I looked at two different jobs. I agonized for weeks over which one to choose. When I made my choice, it was done. This scientist will say that choice was inevitable, fuelled by nothing more than the "bag of chemicals" in my brain. Well fine. But why wouldn't our unconcious mind still be considered free will? It is a bag of chemicals being influenced by genes and outside factors to make a decision- but just because we may have unconciously made the decision before we actually consciously know were aware of it- the fact remains that we made a decision. Reality tells me I make decisions. It is up to science to prove I don't, and I can't see how that is possible. Even if we discover the exact biology and mechanism of every decision, it is still a decision.

I had a raised eyebrow reading that, as well. Another attempt at pure-positivist medical model behaviorists to assert dominance. And as Brita says, it quite conveniently can't be disproven.

EDIT: Removed a potentially provocative statement. This thread has been great and amazingly civil.

JSUCamel
05-28-2010, 09:08 AM
But why wouldn't our unconcious mind still be considered free will?

This (http://www.outsidecontext.com/2010/04/21/what-is-consciousness-is-it-the-self-is-it-me-basho-argues-no/) is a fascinating article by a philosopher on the definition of consciousness (versus the "bag of chemicals" called the brain).

yks 6nnetu hing
05-28-2010, 09:14 AM
Very interesting- but once again cannot be proven false. Because we cannot go back and make a different decision, this scientist can never be proven to be wrong. Basically, I looked at two different jobs. I agonized for weeks over which one to choose. When I made my choice, it was done. This scientist will say that choice was inevitable, fuelled by nothing more than the "bag of chemicals" in my brain. Well fine. But why wouldn't our unconcious mind still be considered free will? It is a bag of chemicals being influenced by genes and outside factors to make a decision- but just because we may have unconciously made the decision before we actually consciously know were aware of it- the fact remains that we made a decision. Reality tells me I make decisions. It is up to science to prove I don't, and I can't see how that is possible. Even if we discover the exact biology and mechanism of every decision, it is still a decision.

I very much agree with you. If a person was in a situation where his/her choice of action was extremely predictable, say being held at gunpoint or running in a race, that person still has a choice. Obviously, the vast majority of the options would be illogical or physically impossible so therefore highly unlikely. But they are there.

GonzoTheGreat
05-28-2010, 09:26 AM
I very much agree with you. If a person was in a situation where his/her choice of action was extremely predictable, say being held at gunpoint or running in a race, that person still has a choice. Obviously, the vast majority of the options would be illogical or physically impossible so therefore highly unlikely. But they are there.Somehow, hardly any judge buys that when the bank robber says "they gave me the money of their own choice".

JSUCamel
05-28-2010, 09:31 AM
I very much agree with you. If a person was in a situation where his/her choice of action was extremely predictable, say being held at gunpoint or running in a race, that person still has a choice. Obviously, the vast majority of the options would be illogical or physically impossible so therefore highly unlikely. But they are there.

Is it really still a decision? Read that link I posted. I think you'll have a better understanding of it than most, yks.

Neilbert
05-28-2010, 09:54 AM
Damnit people, some of you other folk say good things so that I can rep you, and then go back and rep the Lizard for this surgical logical assault.

I never thought the words "You must spread some rep around before giving some to Sinistrum" would actually make me sad...

Sinistrum
05-28-2010, 09:59 AM
You're trying to say that the definition of the Free Will can be changed as it applies to the statement.

Correct. For the reason why it can be changed, see: God = omnipotent.

Free Will as we know it as a concept would exist in any world created.

Wrong! An omnipotent god created the very definition of free will as you and I know it. An omnipotent god therefore has the power to change it to suit its designs.

Would an Omnipotent God have the power to create such a world, one where man took free will to mean something else, yes, but that is not what we are debating. I thought it obvious that those statements should be taken in the context of the universe as we know it. To try and debate hypothetical realities would be pointless.

Uh, no its not pointless. Hypothetical realities are the very heart of the contradiction between omnipotence and a loving god. It is precisely what we are debating. The fact that god has not created one of these hypothetical realities where the definition of free will is different, and has instead stayed with this one, is precisely the reason why the idea of a loving god contradicts it being omnipotent. It has the power to eliminate evil, pain, and suffering but preserve free will by creating one of these hypothetical realities for us, and yet continues to choose not to. That is not loving.

God's Omniscience does not take away our power of free will and choice. God chooses to make us, he know whats going to happen. How does that mean God then imposes his will on us?

Because the act of creation is an act of imposition of will. Our creation is its choice. Every single feature we have is its choice. Every single character flaw included in us that leads to suffering and evil is its choice. And it knows exactly everything that those flaws that it included would do to us throughout our entire lives before it makes the decision to create us. It is responsible for all of it. To say otherwise would be like for you to program a robot to kill people, let it loose so it can, and then say "well it still had the choice so its not my fault" afterward. The bottom line is no it didn't because you created it with a specific characteristic that you knew would lead to dead people.

Seriously? Free Will implies only the ability to make a choice not the ability to perform said choice. I have the Free Will to choose to jump off a building and live, doesn't mean it will work out that way. People have the choice to defy God. God's Omnipotence is not negated by not intervening and stopping someone from defying him.

That's not true at all. Lets say god decides to get off its ass and declare "you must love me." Lets say I choose not to, this pisses god of, and it decides to do something about it, like eliminating my existence with a thought or invading my mind to change it. Do you think my free will would allow me the power to deny either of those actions? And if not, how, precisely, is that "free will" then?

I have the power to wrap my son in bubble wrap to protect him, but I don't. That doesn't mean I don't love him. Love does not mean forcibly containing something within a "safe box" to protect it.

Once again, this is being stated as viewed through the prism of our current reality and perception. God's love can mean whatever it wants to. It is all powerful. It, thus far, has choosen to express that love by inflicting endless amounts of pain, suffering, and evil upon this universe and its inhabitants. Furthermore, as to the definition of love currently in existence, if your son was about to be needlessly injured by another person, and you had the power to stop it from happening, I'm guessing you would. God sits by and lets needless suffering happen every second of existence.

You are implying that the Bible is 100% truth and accurate, again not in those statements. I am not trying to debate a God that fits all the stories in the Bible and those statements. FTR, I do not take the Bible literally.

Uh, neither do I, nor was I arguing as if you do. My use of the Garden of Eden parabole was merely an example to illustrate my larger point that god, because of its foreknowledge of everything every person will do before they are ever created, sets people up to fail by including flaws in them at the moment of their creation that it knows will lead to their downfall and destruction.

You are again equating having the power to do something with the use of it. I suppose God could make himself ignorant, and were God to do that I think he would basically have to demote himself.

So the only way god could make itself ignorant is to reduce itself. You mean god couldn't make himself ignorant and remain itself, with all powers intact? Sounds to me like you're saying god can't do something. That doesn't sound very omnipotent to me. ;)

Basel Gill
05-28-2010, 10:01 AM
This thread has really gotten deep. Back in the day I would have really gotten enmeshed in a discussion like this over a few beers and a "bowl". Unfortunately, my poor brain can't handle that kind of trauma anymore...bummer.

To the point, I don't have any deep thoughts or high philosophy to add, but I am reminded of an old movie with George Burns called "Oh, God" co-starring John Denver.

I always loved his portrayal of God as kind of a shriveled old grandfather, with a little sage wisdom and few tricks. There was also a sequel called "Oh, God Book II" this time with a little girl. She asks "God", "How do you let bad things happen?" and I always thought the answer was profoundly simple. The basic reason was that it just cannot exist. There is no up without down, no in without out, top without a bottom, etc. As "God" he says I just couldn't figure out how to make "good" without "bad".

And seriously, would "good" mean anything without something to contrast it to? How would you appreciate a person of character and conscience if there were not the choice to be someone of poor character?

It's like most good stories to me, that the base issue is the "struggle" for lack of a better term. The end result may not change, but your choice of how to meet that struggle is the defining human characteristic.

Not too much different than our favorite fantasy series here. I mean, the Wheel may just churn out another Tarmon Gaidon in seven ages, but that doesn't mean we want our characters in the here and now to just give up do we?

I don't think there is any way to reconcile logic and faith, but I think it is entirely possible for them to co-exist.

Did all that make sense or just ramble?:confused:

Sinistrum
05-28-2010, 10:08 AM
I always loved his portrayal of God as kind of a shriveled old grandfather, with a little sage wisdom and few tricks. There was also a sequel called "Oh, God Book II" this time with a little girl. She asks "God", "How do you let bad things happen?" and I always thought the answer was profoundly simple. The basic reason was that it just cannot exist. There is no up without down, no in without out, top without a bottom, etc. As "God" he says I just couldn't figure out how to make "good" without "bad".

And seriously, would "good" mean anything without something to contrast it to? How would you appreciate a person of character and conscience if there were not the choice to be someone of poor character?

It's like most good stories to me, that the base issue is the "struggle" for lack of a better term. The end result may not change, but your choice of how to meet that struggle is the defining human characteristic.

Not too much different than our favorite fantasy series here. I mean, the Wheel may just churn out another Tarmon Gaidon in seven ages, but that doesn't mean we want our characters in the here and now to just give up do we?

This is once again viewed through the lens of our current reality and perception, and all of the accompanying definitions. God made "good","bad", "struggle", "up", "down" etc. mean whatever it wanted. It made the specific choice to balance many of those as opposites against each other instead of free floating ideas or pairing them with other possible "opposites." Hell, god made the very idea of opposites as a means to define concepts. And since it is omnipotent, he could defined all these things in an infinite number of ways aside from what they currently are, and most certainly would be able to figure out a way to do something like create "good" without "evil."

Neilbert
05-28-2010, 10:09 AM
Not sure I am following you, but I think you meant to say that they are incapable and not capable.

Religion does not negate science nor does science negate religion. The two can co-exist.

Yes, that is what I said. Here's a tip, whenever you "think I meant to say" 99% of the time you are just making stuff up and completely misrepresenting my ideas.

A scientist can be a person of faith, but faith is not science and science is not faith.

And if science is about verifiable truth, then how come so much of science is theory?

This is such a dumb question I'm really at a loss how to respond to it. Science is theory (and I really suspect you don't understand the scientific definition of theory, it isn't an idea) because scientists accept that logically an idea can not be proven, only disproven. You can find overwhelming evidence for something, but the possibility always remains that human understanding and perception are limited and there are unknown variables at work.

If we were using scientific language this place would be called hypothesisland, but it really doesn't roll off the tongue.

GonzoTheGreat
05-28-2010, 10:29 AM
If we were using scientific language this place would be called hypothesisland, but it really doesn't roll off the tongue.That's actually one of the rare cases where German may be better sounding. :p
Hypothesenland would sound reasonable, especially with the different pronounciation of the Ypsilon they have.

Basel Gill
05-28-2010, 10:30 AM
This is once again viewed through the lens of our current reality and perception, and all of the accompanying definitions. God made "good","bad", "struggle", "up", "down" etc. mean whatever it wanted. It made the specific choice to balance many of those as opposites against each other instead of free floating ideas or pairing them with other possible "opposites." Hell, god made the very idea of opposites as a means to define concepts. And since it is omnipotent, he could defined all these things in an infinite number of ways aside from what they currently are, and most certainly would be able to figure out a way to do something like create "good" without "evil."


I guess I have always been the kind to just deal with things as they are not as they could have been. To be honest, I don't know that I have the energy or inclination to philosophise about what God could have done differently or speculate on motivations. Sometimes when enough things build up in life (the one we recognize as reality), the abstract questions just lose their meaning and appeal and more base, survival like issues take precedence. However, that is just me and that doesn't mean I'm right.

I guess I always found some comfort in that image of God and I always loved George Burns.

Brita
05-28-2010, 10:37 AM
Uh, no its not pointless. Hypothetical realities are the very heart of the contradiction between omnipotence and a loving god. It is precisely what we are debating. The fact that god has not created one of these hypothetical realities where the definition of free will is different, and has instead stayed with this one, is precisely the reason why the idea of a loving god contradicts it being omnipotent. It has the power to eliminate evil, pain, and suffering but preserve free will by creating one of these hypothetical realities for us, and yet continues to choose not to. That is not loving.


Exaclty! Ex.act.ly! According to the bible, this is how he planned it, planned it!, and the whole thing seems pretty underhanded to me.

Basel Gill
05-28-2010, 10:49 AM
To the point of the existance of "bad" or "difficult" things, I am also reminded of a story I heard WAYYYY back in school sometime, maybe even kindergarten.

A young boy was playing in his yard and came up on a butterfly struggling to get out of its cacoon. He watched it for awhile and it seemed to be having a very hard time getting out. It was fluttering its wings and squirming and seemed like it would never make it. The boy, thinking he was doing something good, helped the butterfly get out of the cacoon. The butterfly fell to the ground and was unable to fly. Despite the boy's attempt to throw it into the air or set it on a branch, it died. He asked his science teacher the next day why this happened and the teacher explained that the struggle to get out of the cacoon was necessary for its survival. The fluttering of the wings and squirming is what helped the wings dry out from being wrapped up so long and enabled it to live.

FWIW...

Davian93
05-28-2010, 10:50 AM
This is the best thread we've had in a long time on TL. Thank you Brita!:)

GonzoTheGreat
05-28-2010, 11:06 AM
A young boy was playing in his yard and came up on a butterfly struggling to get out of its cacoon. He watched it for awhile and it seemed to be having a very hard time getting out. It was fluttering its wings and squirming and seemed like it would never make it. The boy, thinking he was doing something good, helped the butterfly get out of the cacoon. The butterfly fell to the ground and was unable to fly. Despite the boy's attempt to throw it into the air or set it on a branch, it died. He asked his science teacher the next day why this happened and the teacher explained that the struggle to get out of the cacoon was necessary for its survival. The fluttering of the wings and squirming is what helped the wings dry out from being wrapped up so long and enabled it to live.A story which seems to be based on the assumption that God is not capable of creating full grown and functional butterflies. Which, I have to say, is an assumption that's not compatible with Genesis. Of course, if you view that as just an interesting fairy tale, there's no problem at all. Apart from the remaining inability of God to make working butterflies, of course.

Basel Gill
05-28-2010, 11:09 AM
One could argue that he just likes variety. I mean a good stout or porter is my favorite beer, but sometimes you just got to have an IPA. Anyway...

Brita
05-28-2010, 11:11 AM
This is the best thread we've had in a long time on TL. Thank you Brita!:)

Awww- you're so kind. It is really thanks to everyone who has posted and the respectful presentation of feedback, thoughts and discussion points. I can tell that there is a real effort to stay "above the belt" in this thread, and I really appreciate it. Religion and associated philosophy are such thorny topics, but the dialogue we are having here is the best kind. Open, thoughtful and courteous.

All our "chemical bags" must be reacting in a very positive way.

One Armed Gimp
05-28-2010, 12:35 PM
Correct. For the reason why it can be changed, see: God = omnipotent.

Wrong! An omnipotent god created the very definition of free will as you and I know it. An omnipotent god therefore has the power to change it to suit its designs.

Human definitions of the word can change, that is not the point. The concept would remain the same. Even if the concept only resided in the "mind" of God. You could just as easily argue that we may be restricted in some way unbeknown to
us. The challenge remains the same: given the concept of free will as we understand it, can the statements stand or not.

That's not true at all. Lets say god decides to get off its ass and declare "you must love me." Lets say I choose not to, this pisses god of, and it decides to do something about it, like eliminating my existence with a thought or invading my mind to change it. Do you think my free will would allow me the power to deny either of those actions? And if not, how, precisely, is that "free will" then?

Free will only gives you power over choice not outcome. Why do people keep thinking that free will involves out come and overcoming physical limitations such as not being able to fly? In your example you exercised your free will by denying God. If God is Omnipotent you would not be able to withstand his wrath.

That is like asking if my son loses free will if I tell him not to do something, like touch the stove, he goes to do it anyway and I go to stop him. Does his free will grant him the power to withstand me stopping him? Of course not, because free will is not involved in that, only in the choice he made to defy me.

Once again, this is being stated as viewed through the prism of our current reality and perception. God's love can mean whatever it wants to. It is all powerful. It, thus far, has choosen to express that love by inflicting endless amounts of pain, suffering, and evil upon this universe and its inhabitants. Furthermore, as to the definition of love currently in existence, if your son was about to be needlessly injured by another person, and you had the power to stop it from happening, I'm guessing you would. God sits by and lets needless suffering happen every second of existence.

I know this is going to sound dick but, saying its needless suffering is also done through our paradigm, what we see as needless may not be.

Sorry, I know that's not all your points but I am at work so I am picking the quickest responses right now, but I will get to the others, especially the one the end which is more of what I was hoping to get to.

Basically: Does an Omnipotent God have the power to make himself ignorant, there by losing his Omniscience and yet remain a God?

Davian93
05-28-2010, 12:43 PM
Most of you are ignoring the role that satan plays in all of this. Tossing God up there and then saying "well, THIS isn't perfect" or "THIS bad thing happened" without mentioning the other side of the coin is a bit silly.

It ignores a very important part of the equation.

the silent speaker
05-28-2010, 12:50 PM
And why is he hidden? Why doesn't he make himself obvious, scientifically observable, that he is god. Adam and Eve had the privilege. Paul had the privilege. Jesus' disciples and followers had the privilege. Muhammad had the privilege, Joseph Smith had the privilege. Whatever religion you choose, god is hidden to all but a very select few. Showing himself (and the true path while he's at it) in a measurable way would not take away free will, but it sure would offer a chance at some real responsibility for our actions, since we would then have no excuse at all.
An interesting hypothesis, but the previous several thousand years of human experience suggest that it is false. The human ability to rationalize is a magnificent thing. (And no Sini, it can't be taken away wihout also taking away the human ability to reason. They are each other's flip side, and separating them would be creating something for nothing. On the rule of "nothing for nothing" the whole universe rests.)

Moreover, granting that true prophets have had observational experience of God, doesn't that contradict your entire premise that God doesn't make himself scientifically observable? I'm not troubled by the fact that I personally have not experienced prophecy, because I haven't experienced the experiments of cutting-edge quantum physics either, but I can take the scientists who say they did them at their word. So if you believe that someone is verifiably prophetic and he (or she; there were female prophets) says God has talked to him, why the objection of "but why not me"?

Finally, what you are asking breaks down when you look at it closely. Suppose God were to manifest to you tomorrow. Fat lot of good that does today, and fat lot of good that does me. And the day after tomorrow, unless God manifested again, you're left not with a manifestation but with your memory of a manifestation, and if you think you wouldn't be questioning its accuracy in terms of how accurate your memory is compared with what you really experenced then and how much you really experienced what it seemed like you experienced, etc., etc., etc., well, can I interest you in a lovely bridge?

So what you wind up with is a world where everybody is constantly impressed with a sense of God manifested to them all the time. That's free will to you? That seems like way more a gunpointy world than what we have now.

Brita
05-28-2010, 01:17 PM
Moreover, granting that true prophets have had observational experience of God, doesn't that contradict your entire premise that God doesn't make himself scientifically observable? I'm not troubled by the fact that I personally have not experienced prophecy, because I haven't experienced the experiments of cutting-edge quantum physics either, but I can take the scientists who say they did them at their word. So if you believe that someone is verifiably prophetic and he (or she; there were female prophets) says God has talked to him, why the objection of "but why not me"?

Because quantum physics can be studied and the results can be reproduced. Prophets and prophecy can't and is completely subjective.

Finally, what you are asking breaks down when you look at it closely. Suppose God were to manifest to you tomorrow. Fat lot of good that does today, and fat lot of good that does me. And the day after tomorrow, unless God manifested again, you're left not with a manifestation but with your memory of a manifestation, and if you think you wouldn't be questioning its accuracy in terms of how accurate your memory is compared with what you really experenced then and how much you really experienced what it seemed like you experienced, etc., etc., etc., well, can I interest you in a lovely bridge?

I can't speak for others here, but I am talking about observable, scientific evidence that God exists. Not subjective personal experience. (although granted, most of the bliblical examples I gave were objective, personal experiences). Why aren't there supernatural miracles happening all the time? Why hasn't someone tossed a mountain into the sea or raised the dead? Why can't we measure God? He certainly could make this possible. If there are no eternal ramifications for not finding God, then it is totally his perogative to remain hidden, and I'm cool with that. But if our eternal soul depend on finding him, then this game of hide-and-seek is twisted to say the least.

So what you wind up with is a world where everybody is constantly impressed with a sense of God manifested to them all the time. That's free will to you? That seems like way more a gunpointy world than what we have now.

Why would God making his existence obvious remove free will? Sounds like your definition of free will is: Free Will is only possible if we only have partial clues and foggy ideas. If we have facts, free will is negated. That is ridiculous. If God made himself fact- provable and easily recognizable, how does this negate free will? It makes no sense to me, except that I will grant it would make it a hell of a lot easier to know the truth. I guess having the truth revealed clearly is a loss of free will? I don't buy it.

Brita
05-28-2010, 01:26 PM
Most of you are ignoring the role that satan plays in all of this. Tossing God up there and then saying "well, THIS isn't perfect" or "THIS bad thing happened" without mentioning the other side of the coin is a bit silly.

It ignores a very important part of the equation.

God knew, before he created us, that satan would rule the earth for a very long time. God knew the terrible horrors satan would inflict on us, how he would deceive us, damn us and then spend eternity in torment with us. He knew this and yet created us anyway.

God can defeat satan. He his mightier than satan, and will be victorious. Why didn't he do it from the beginning? Why did he allow satan to tempt Eve? Because he chose to allow it. Everything satan does is by the express permission of God, because God could stop him, and could have stopped him, at any time, including before it all began.

God's own claim of being all powerful and his claim of being love means he could stop all of this at any time, but chooses not to. And yet, we bear all of the responsibility. We bear the responsibility of being created, being deceived from birth and being shackled by a force far greater than ourselves. Yet God owes us nothing apparently, and bears no responsibility for any of it. It is only his mercy and love for us degenerate sinners that he even gives us a second thought. :rolleyes:

DahLliA
05-28-2010, 01:28 PM
This (http://www.outsidecontext.com/2010/04/21/what-is-consciousness-is-it-the-self-is-it-me-basho-argues-no/) is a fascinating article by a philosopher on the definition of consciousness (versus the "bag of chemicals" called the brain).

I don't really see where your article disagrees with the one I posted. both say the brain is a biological computer which takes input and produces a reaction.

another thing I've been thinking about for a while is that assuming you have a computer with infinite memory and processing ability you can basically predict the entire life of the universe if you know 3 things:
1-the position of every particle and atom in existence
2-the speed of each one
3-the direction of each one

assuming you know these 3 things at the moment after the big bang it's simply a matter of calculating where things will collide and what will happen to them.

but what about life and it's (fake) randomness? well. if the brain of any animal(including us) is simply a computer that processes input and produces output. and you know the position of everything in the universe at any given moment it's simply a matter of treating any living organism as a sub-routine of the universe. and tada. run the program and you'll figure out how everything will happen.

and that's pretty much it until someone comes up with a quantifiable(sp?) soul or something like that.

such a sad way to view life I know :p

Davian93
05-28-2010, 02:08 PM
God knew, before he created us, that satan would rule the earth for a very long time. God knew the terrible horrors satan would inflict on us, how he would deceive us, damn us and then spend eternity in torment with us. He knew this and yet created us anyway.

God can defeat satan. He his mightier than satan, and will be victorious. Why didn't he do it from the beginning? Why did he allow satan to tempt Eve? Because he chose to allow it. Everything satan does is by the express permission of God, because God could stop him, and could have stopped him, at any time, including before it all began.

God's own claim of being all powerful and his claim of being love means he could stop all of this at any time, but chooses not to. And yet, we bear all of the responsibility. We bear the responsibility of being created, being deceived from birth and being shackled by a force far greater than ourselves. Yet God owes us nothing apparently, and bears no responsibility for any of it. It is only his mercy and love for us degenerate sinners that he even gives us a second thought. :rolleyes:


Its all a test, dear. If Eve hadn't eaten that piece of fruit, we'd all be fine. So basically, its all a woman's fault...as most things are. ;)

~ducks~

:cool:

ShadowbaneX
05-28-2010, 02:16 PM
the best joke of all about that Dave is that the Church used just that logic to put down women for centuries.

Davian93
05-28-2010, 02:19 PM
the best joke of all about that Dave is that the Church used just that logic to put down women for centuries.

And there are still reminants of it going on in Catholicism. Hell, Baptists still routinely use that passage and many others (THANKS PAUL!) to bash women.

Kimon
05-28-2010, 02:38 PM
Free will only gives you power over choice not outcome. Why do people keep thinking that free will involves out come and overcoming physical limitations such as not being able to fly? In your example you exercised your free will by denying God. If God is Omnipotent you would not be able to withstand his wrath.

That is like asking if my son loses free will if I tell him not to do something, like touch the stove, he goes to do it anyway and I go to stop him. Does his free will grant him the power to withstand me stopping him? Of course not, because free will is not involved in that, only in the choice he made to defy me.




It might keep things more simplistic simply to contrast the concepts of free will with predestination. The main dilemma, is that if God is truly omniscient, then he knows all that has happened, and all that will happen. Thus, even if we carry a perception that we are acting with free will, that nonetheless, God, being omniscient, already knows what we will do. If that is the case, can we claim to be acting freely, or are our actions then predetermined, as if God has written out the script of our life in advance. However, omniscience could still provide for a possibility that would, presumably, allow free will. Perhaps, in his omniscience, God has not one, linear script, that is our fate, but contains the knowledge of all the possible variations of what our life would be like, dependent upon the various possible choices we might make- sort of like a choose your own adventure, god edition.

Verin Mathwin
05-28-2010, 02:38 PM
Paul actually put the blame on Adam not Eve. Look at Romans 5

One Armed Gimp
05-28-2010, 02:44 PM
I don't really see where your article disagrees with the one I posted. both say the brain is a biological computer which takes input and produces a reaction.

another thing I've been thinking about for a while is that assuming you have a computer with infinite memory and processing ability you can basically predict the entire life of the universe if you know 3 things:
1-the position of every particle and atom in existence
2-the speed of each one
3-the direction of each one

assuming you know these 3 things at the moment after the big bang it's simply a matter of calculating where things will collide and what will happen to them.

but what about life and it's (fake) randomness? well. if the brain of any animal(including us) is simply a computer that processes input and produces output. and you know the position of everything in the universe at any given moment it's simply a matter of treating any living organism as a sub-routine of the universe. and tada. run the program and you'll figure out how everything will happen.

and that's pretty much it until someone comes up with a quantifiable(sp?) soul or something like that.

such a sad way to view life I know :p

Laplace's Demon. The Theory of Everything only holds up when discounting Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. But I have wondered if that can be gotten around in some way. Then again maybe each answer really does lead to more questions. Maybe it is turtle's all the way down.

See Neilbert, I know my science/physics theory.

One Armed Gimp
05-28-2010, 02:46 PM
Paul actually put the blame on Adam not Eve. Look at Romans 5

That is such crap, any woman will tell you that no man ever ate from "The Tree of Knowledge" :p

Davian93
05-28-2010, 02:48 PM
Paul actually put the blame on Adam not Eve. Look at Romans 5

Yeah, I know. I wasn't tying the two segments together (Garden of Eden and Paul).

ShadowbaneX
05-28-2010, 03:08 PM
Warning includes foul language & Joe Pesci, but topically relevant. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo)

Neilbert
05-28-2010, 04:45 PM
another thing I've been thinking about for a while is that assuming you have a computer with infinite memory and processing ability you can basically predict the entire life of the universe if you know 3 things:
1-the position of every particle and atom in existence
2-the speed of each one
3-the direction of each one

Nobody has any clue what the Universe was like at the moment of the big bang. I hear things like "unknown radically different set of physical laws", which would indicate to me that the concepts of speed position particle atom direction etc might not even apply.

It's the hitchhiker's guide thing. The answer is useless if you don't know the question.

Neilbert
05-28-2010, 04:52 PM
See Neilbert, I know my science/physics theory.

Oh thank god you were being sarcastic.

Most of you are ignoring the role that satan plays in all of this. Tossing God up there and then saying "well, THIS isn't perfect" or "THIS bad thing happened" without mentioning the other side of the coin is a bit silly.

This isn't WOT dude, Satan is god's servant/creation.

DahLliA
05-28-2010, 06:38 PM
Laplace's Demon. The Theory of Everything only holds up when discounting Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. But I have wondered if that can be gotten around in some way. Then again maybe each answer really does lead to more questions. Maybe it is turtle's all the way down.

See Neilbert, I know my science/physics theory.

yeah. my roomie crushed my theory by reciting most of the uncertainty principle :p

that there is chaos in the universe doesn't prove free will though. and I still stand fast on the brain being a computer. and unless someone shows me a soul-in-a-jar I'll blame my brain's faulty wiring for my shortcomings ;)

tworiverswoman
05-28-2010, 07:34 PM
Seriously? Free Will implies only the ability to make a choice not the ability to perform said choice. I have the Free Will to choose to jump off a building and live, doesn't mean it will work out that way. People have the choice to defy God. God's Omnipotence is not negated by not intervening and stopping someone from defying him.

That's not true at all. Lets say god decides to get off its ass and declare "you must love me." Lets say I choose not to, this pisses god of, and it decides to do something about it, like eliminating my existence with a thought or invading my mind to change it. Do you think my free will would allow me the power to deny either of those actions? And if not, how, precisely, is that "free will" then? Sini, why do you think YOUR "free will" should have any power over someone else's actions? YOUR ability to choose in your example has not been prevented. There's just an unplesant consequence ahead should you choose... poorly. ;)

FWIW, I'm on your side in this debate with OAG, but you need better arguments, please. This one isn't a good one.

Gimp, I'm not good at debates but it has always been "intuitively obvious" to me that these four criteria CANNOT co-exist in one being. And that question I asked earlier is actually important to me. WHY is it so important that "GOD" be all four things. Where does this concept even COME from?

If the universe WAS created (a concept I can neither prove nor disprove -- and stating that SOMETHING had to create it just pushes it backwards one step -- if the universe HAD TO be created, doesn't that mean that the creator ALSO "had to" be created? And so on? Turtles all the way down, by that argument...) why is it assumed that the creator was incapable of error? What justifies the belief that he/she/it "knows everything" (and standing "outside" the universe to create it doesn't give this power, sorry). Creating something may mean you also have the power to destroy it, but OMNIPOTENT means far more than that. All loving? Must be some form of "Tough Love," then. Which is to say he/she/it may be interested in HUMANITY - but not in individual HUMANS. Prayer is vanity, nothing else. (God is going to change the way the universe is programmed JUST FOR ME!)

God with a Capital "G" as opposed to all the small gods humans used to believe in. Is it just a case of posturing? "My god can beat your god up!" "Well, MY god is PRETTIER than yours!" "Oh yeah? My god drives a MERCEDES!" "My god is ALL KNOWING!" "My god is ALL POWERFUL!" "My god LOVES me!" "Well, well, well... MY god gives me FREE WILL!!!" I'm sorry, but it all sounds like nonsense to me. The Omni-xxx just isn't NECESSARY if your greatest "proof" of the existence of God is the existence of the universe.

The god described in the Old Testament was a petty, bullying, egotistical, bad-tempered tyrant. Vicious, cruel, and uncaring. He was PROPITIATED, not worshipped. The god of the NEW Testament doesn't share very many points of contact. Yet both books are bundled together like a matched team of horses.

The letter that started this thread made a valid point. Even people who claim to believe in the Bible LITERALLY still ignore large chunks of it that just don't work. But mesh with a personal prejudice and it's Bible-thumping time, "The Good Book says it, so it MUST be so!"

Erm... I think that's enough for now...

One Armed Gimp
05-28-2010, 09:20 PM
...And that question I asked earlier is actually important to me. WHY is it so important that "GOD" be all four things. Where does this concept even COME from?...

Well, as for the concept of those 4, I think you hit some of it pretty well, I think a good portion of the belief came up as posturing.

As for the 4 statements being necessary. I think many people want them to be true. This way any short comings, mistakes, etc can be rationalized and dealt with. It makes life easy to put your worries on God and just continue on "knowing" that God is Omnipotent and can handle anything. I do think some of it comes from the belief that God created the universe, as I said before. In our context, our universe, any creator can reasonably be assumed to be Omnipotent, and Omniscient, but again, only for our universe.

Are the 4 statements necessary in defining a God/Creator? Of course not. The only two I would say I am relatively sure of in my belief would be Omnipotence and Omniscience, and that I apply to whatever being, if one exists, that created, well... everything, whatever that may be. I do believe we have free will, obviously that is in the context of our reality. An All Loving God....definitely not necessary, especially in the manner Christianity propagates. I view the love aspect many times as an Artist which, much like RJ's gardener, goes from one project to the next. While he may love his creation, the artist allows it to be what it is.


The letter that started this thread made a valid point. Even people who claim to believe in the Bible LITERALLY still ignore large chunks of it that just don't work. But mesh with a personal prejudice and it's Bible-thumping time, "The Good Book says it, so it MUST be so!"

I often wonder how those who take the Bible literally can even keep their faith. Actually, those Bible-thumping literalist are some of my favorite people to debate.

Brita
05-28-2010, 09:31 PM
Yes, I guess I have to remember that I am specifically railing against the Christian idea of God, not an idea of God in general. It is the Christian God that makes no sense to me.

Sinistrum
05-28-2010, 10:02 PM
Human definitions of the word can change, that is not the point. The concept would remain the same.

And my point is that because god is omnipotent, it doesn't have to remain the same. He can redefine it for us with the blink of his godly eye lashes. And yet he doesn't.

Free will only gives you power over choice not outcome. Why do people keep thinking that free will involves out come and overcoming physical limitations such as not being able to fly? In your example you exercised your free will by denying God. If God is Omnipotent you would not be able to withstand his wrath.

Ok, ignore the smiting bit and consider the part where I said god invades my mind to change it. Do you deny that god has the power to do that? And isn't there a difference between thought and action? My example never really encompassed any action. It dealt entirely with thoughts and feelings inside my head. If god can come in with his infinite might, and override all of that, then I don't really have free will. It is the illusion of free will contigent upon his sufferance of what I think.

I know this is going to sound dick but, saying its needless suffering is also done through our paradigm, what we see as needless may not be.

Any suffering that someone has the power to stop but does not and serves no benefit is entirely needless. If there is a problem with that perception, I suggest you take it up with the entity that supposedly gave it to me when it created me. ;)

Most of you are ignoring the role that satan plays in all of this. Tossing God up there and then saying "well, THIS isn't perfect" or "THIS bad thing happened" without mentioning the other side of the coin is a bit silly.

It ignores a very important part of the equation.

Not really. Brita kind of touched on it, but its a hell of a lot simpler than where she was going. Satan doesn't enter into the equation, because simply put, god created satan. Not only that, but it created satan with perfect knowledge of everything satan was going to do before satan was ever created. It set satan loose upon the world and is therefore responsible for everything satan has done. Ergo, satan really isn't worth mentioning because even he all comes back to god.

(And no Sini, it can't be taken away wihout also taking away the human ability to reason. They are each other's flip side, and separating them would be creating something for nothing. On the rule of "nothing for nothing" the whole universe rests.)

Once again, this is being presented (and therefore is true) through the prism of our current reality and its current rules. I've hammered this point home time a thousand times. If god is omnipotent, it can change the rules of our reality ad nauseum any time it wants to to acheive any effect it wants. So an all powerful god could create rules where you can get something for nothing if it really wanted to.

Bryan Blaire
05-28-2010, 10:18 PM
My personal philosophy with regards to being a Christian is that even ministers and bishops and Popes can all sit around debating the mysteries of the faith and never get anywhere, because we ALL (even literalists) will end up with different ideas from reading the same passages, and even bishops I've met don't have a coherent view of the full Bible.

That said, for me, it comes down to the concept of personal choice to make personal sacrifices for others, and it doesn't matter the greatness of it, as each can (and to me, should) according to their means or abilities. No act makes you more or less holy or better or worthy than any other. However, deliberately choosing not to when you can is when you get into issues (internally, with God, however you want to define it), and being forced to do something by someone or something else (such as a governmental body) is meaningless. That's what I get from reading the Bible that I think means a damn thing about being a Christian (yes, I choose a part of the Bible to base my faith on and could care less what anyone else thinks, it is my faith, it doesn't have to be yours).

YMMV.

tworiverswoman
05-28-2010, 11:26 PM
Ok, ignore the smiting bit and consider the part where I said god invades my mind to change it. Do you deny that god has the power to do that? And isn't there a difference between thought and action? My example never really encompassed any action. It dealt entirely with thoughts and feelings inside my head. If god can come in with his infinite might, and override all of that, then I don't really have free will. It is the illusion of free will contigent upon his sufferance of what I think.But there's a logic flaw in this argument. According to the original set of specs, God chose to create man with the freedom to make his own decisions, even though God knew in advance what every man in history would choose to do. ~shakes head~ If God chose to give you free will in the first place, there's no justification for positing that his ability to cheat voids that choice. You choose, every day, NOT to run people down with your car. The fact that you might change your mind doesn't make you a danger on the highway. (I hope ;) )

Gimp asked you for a well-reasoned argument why this option was incompatible with the other three. Or rather, why the four stipulations were incompatible.

Saying that God could change his mind doesn't address the request in the slightest. Saying that God could have created a DIFFERENT kind of universe ignores the question.

I don't believe in an omni-xxx god. I believe I have free will, and I have only a surface comprehension of either Dahl's link or Camel's. They're interesting, and Camel's doesn't raise my hackles like Dahl's, but I think both of them miss the boat. Showing me how I can catch a ball in mid-air without needing to think about it doesn't address the fact that I DO think (sometimes, at least). Maybe it's all just electronic switches in my gray matter flipping open and closed. If so, then you can forget about the afterlife. But self-awareness sure FEELS like something more significant than a sack of protoplasm.

Gimp... if God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnibenevolent -- why does h(it) exist anymore? What is the REASON for h(its) continued existence? Nothing will surprise, nothing will challenge, living matter gets boringly repetitive after a few billion years... Not an existence that sounds desirable.

Seeker
05-28-2010, 11:28 PM
Hey, Brita!

Barb linked me to this thread and I totally feel for your plight, having gone through this myself. I haven't read what everybody else has posted and I'm not really going to address their points as I don't think a debate about the nature/existence of god is going to help you right now.

I realize that I've already posted in this thread, but that's because Barb linked me to what's his newb's logical challenge and asked me to say something about it. I really didn't know what this thread was about. Okay, so a couple of things.

First of all, I don't know what anybody else has told you but avoid any books by Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great) and Sam Harris. (The End of Faith) These are not helpful books for anyone who is going through a spiritual crisis and - in my estimation - they're not even well written. And that's not a critique of the authors' writing styles but of their logic.

One author you do wanna check out is Christopher Hedges. You probably haven't heard of him. That's because reasonable, moderate viewpoints usually don't attract a lot of attention. Hedges has two books, one that critically analyzes extreme theism and the other that critically analyzes extreme atheism. He documents the problems inherent in both of these position. Hedges is not going to tell you what you should believe when it comes to God. Ultimately, he believes that this is a question each person has to answer on his own. Hedges believes - as a practising theologian - that God loves all his children for what they DO not what they believe.

I, myself, am - for the most part - an atheist. But even though I may disagree with Hedges theologically, I can tell you that he can share some wisdom from several religious faiths that is still applicable to the lives of atheists.

The two books are:

American Fascists: The Rise of the Christian Right

and


I don't Believe in Atheists (alternate title, When Atheism Becomes Religion)

Now, a few thoughts that I myself can offer to help you in this troubling time. These a few questions I've asked myself over the years.


1) Does the fact that I've stopped believing in the god my parents taught me about mean that I have to give up on the concept of god altogether?

2) Does there have to be a god for there to be an after-life?

3) Could the concept of god be transcendental - beyond human perception?

4) If yes to 3, does that mean that the exact details of WHAT you believe are less important than the attempt to find spiritual excellence? (Or, to put more simply, is it more about what's in your heart than what kind of prayers you say?)

5) Could there be a god (or perhaps a Creator) who doesn't WANT us to believe in him?

6) Could religious stories be interpreted another way?

7) Given just how LARGE the universe is, do we dare presume that our particular species is in some way "chosen?" If there is a "god" then doesn't she love ALL her creatures equally?

8) Of all the possible religions, can I in good conscience decide that any ONE religion is THE religion?

9) If "no" to 8, then surely we must be judged by some other standard than the faith we belong to.

10) Can a creature that is capable of love ACTUALLY design a prison of infinite suffering?

11) Does infinite suffering serve any purpose other than sadism?

12) If there is a god, shouldn't he be above human failing? For instance, would god really be "a jealous god?" Would a creature that is capable of creating a universe this BIG really be so vain as to care if one little person, one one tiny dust-mite of a planet thinks of him?

13) Does God really have human features? Given the liklihood of life in the cosmos, doesn't she have to be the god of the space-bugs too?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. If you ask me, I'll tell you it's the soul-searching that matters. Asking these questions makes you step beyond simple human perceptions and that can be a truly spiritual experience. I know it's an emotionally trying time for you, but try to ENJOY this experience.

Think of yourself like a butterfly emerging from her cocoon. You're about to become the person you were always destined to be. And though I'm no expert on the subject, I would say that if there is a god, he/she loves you for the goodness in your heart and embraces the journey you're going through.

Good luck and we'll always be here if you need us.

Neilbert
05-28-2010, 11:41 PM
Try this one. Does belief in a God actually get me anything that I can't get somewhere else?

Does entertaining the concept of a god enrich my life? How?

I find it a bit incredulous when people label atheism as extremism when they refuse to entertain the notion that the entire concept of god might be unhelpful and useless or even harmful.

GonzoTheGreat
05-29-2010, 03:13 AM
Yes, I guess I have to remember that I am specifically railing against the Christian idea of God, not an idea of God in general. It is the Christian God that makes no sense to me.The other ideas don't make sense either, if you zoom in on them a bit more. But if you don't know more than perhaps just a few sound bites, the contradictions aren't very noticeable.

Free will only gives you power over choice not outcome. Why do people keep thinking that free will involves out come and overcoming physical limitations such as not being able to fly?Because whenever I suggest a situation in which the outcome, but not the choice, would be removed, I am told that would interfere with our free will.

Before I mentioned the "I can't fly" case here, I had given the possibility that reality could have been made in such a way that we could not hurt each other without the other's consent. That would not necessarily stop us from wanting to hurt them, so it should not interfere with our free will, if what you just said is correct. But it would prevent the outcome, namely others actually getting hurt. In the real world, the one we live in, it is obviously the case that the outcome is not prevented, and that acting on the wish to harm others is eminently possible.

One Armed Gimp
05-29-2010, 05:06 AM
Before I mentioned the "I can't fly" case here, I had given the possibility that reality could have been made in such a way that we could not hurt each other without the other's consent. That would not necessarily stop us from wanting to hurt them, so it should not interfere with our free will, if what you just said is correct. But it would prevent the outcome, namely others actually getting hurt. In the real world, the one we live in, it is obviously the case that the outcome is not prevented, and that acting on the wish to harm others is eminently possible.

That's great we can't harm others. Fantastic. What's to stop someone from raping another? The person they rape won't get hurt. Is it even a crime at that point? Could assaulting someone be a crime? Would the laws of physics be altered in such a way that a weapon fired in defense would work to stop an attacker but one fired in an assault would not? For that matter, why defend yourself, an assault won't hurt right? Would God setup a reverse harming mechanism where the act of violence only harms the attacker? Because we do not know the consequences of any possible other realities we can not determine if they are really better alternatives.

You are basically saying, hey, I know a better a way that God could have used and he didn't so he is not All Loving. I am not sure how you think that is a logical argument.

GonzoTheGreat
05-29-2010, 05:20 AM
That's great we can't harm others. Fantastic. What's to stop someone from raping another?What I mean is that that would be physically impossible. Just as it is now physically impossible for me to fly by flapping my arms.

You are basically saying, hey, I know a better a way that God could have used and he didn't so he is not All Loving.What I am basically saying is that chose not to protect us from each other.

Suppose that I notice that someone is about to rape someone else. Suppose further that I know that I could stop it with no danger to me at all. Suppose finally that I chose to do nothing, so as not to interfere with the free will of the rapist. Then the general consensus would be that I had been wrong, that I should have done something.
Now suppose that instead of me, it is God. He, obviously, notices it, since He is supposed to know and notice everything. He, obviously, is capable of stopping it (in a variety of ways, depending on what kind of miracle He prefers for that case). He is obviously not in any danger of being killed Himself by the would be rapist. Yet He chooses to simply sit back and watch, listen to the sounds and (possibly) sip a drink while it is going on. Yet the believers say that He is entirely correct in not interfering.
I am not sure how you think that is a logical argument.The conclusion need not be that He is not all loving. It is also possible that He is impotent. Or perhaps He is not omniscient, and He simply has no clue at all what is going on. Or perhaps He's simply incompetent, and botches all His attempts at stopping such things.
Or, alternatively, He does not exist at all, though this would include the "not being all loving", I guess*.

* Pretty hard to say, really. The properties of the empty set are ill defined.

Neilbert
05-29-2010, 07:55 AM
That's great we can't harm others. Fantastic. What's to stop someone from raping another? The person they rape won't get hurt.

:confused::confused:
WTF?

Would the laws of physics be altered in such a way that a weapon fired in defense would work to stop an attacker but one fired in an assault would not?

If harming someone else is impossible then how would there ever possibly be a need for self defense?

JSUCamel
05-29-2010, 08:48 AM
In our context, our universe, any creator can reasonably be assumed to be Omnipotent, and Omniscient, but again, only for our universe.

I asked my pastor about this in college, and his response was that "God knows everything that is knowable." I think this stance also addresses the free will aspect.

Brita
05-29-2010, 10:25 AM
Thank you!

Sinistrum
05-29-2010, 10:51 AM
But there's a logic flaw in this argument. According to the original set of specs, God chose to create man with the freedom to make his own decisions, even though God knew in advance what every man in history would choose to do. ~shakes head~ If God chose to give you free will in the first place, there's no justification for positing that his ability to cheat voids that choice. You choose, every day, NOT to run people down with your car. The fact that you might change your mind doesn't make you a danger on the highway. (I hope )

Gimp asked you for a well-reasoned argument why this option was incompatible with the other three. Or rather, why the four stipulations were incompatible.

Saying that God could change his mind doesn't address the request in the slightest. Saying that God could have created a DIFFERENT kind of universe ignores the question.

Sigh, Tru, you are missing the point of my argument. Its not about merely saying "well god could change its mind about free will." The very idea of free will, to me, precludes the possibility of god changing its mind at all. Otherwise, its not really free, because there is always the threat hanging over our heads that god could change his mind. To address your car example, its not about me changing my mind to not run down people. In that respect, your analogy is flawed as to my argument. A better fitted analogy would be like if I had a chip in my head that someone else could trigger while I'm driving that would then force me to run down other people. The other person might not decide to trigger the chip ever, but the fact remains that my action of refraining from running down people, is at least in part, dependent upon him not doing it and not my own choice. That is not free will.

Uno
05-29-2010, 12:35 PM
Interesting debate, but personally I don't find attempts to prove the existence or non-existence of God from the standpoint of logic very convincing one way or the other. If the movitations, thoughts, and ideas (assuming that these are terms that even apply) of a being so far beyond humans in mental capacity that he can create everything by sheer will are hard to grasp, well, that's not very surprising. Logic is just a human construct with some utility when it comes to understanding the material world in which we find ourselves, but it may not apply outside of it.

My reasons for not believing in the existence of deities have nothing at all to do with ethics or logic. I wouldn't expect them to be ethical or logical in ways even recognizable to us.

Neilbert
05-29-2010, 01:32 PM
Pretty much that.

For me it began with:

Teach/Deacon/Priest: Well God wants you do do ________.
Me: Then Mr. All Powerful and everpresent can tell me himself, cus that doesn't make a lick of sense to me and I'm not about to take your word for it.

Followed by the realization that if there is a "God" then "God" could easily be so far beyond human understanding and comprehension that it might well be completely futile to even try to understand.

And then the realization that if this guy is so compassionate and understanding and good he will no doubt understand my deciding not to have faith or really care about his existence, and a god that would punish me for such failings is pretty much an asshole I wouldn't want to worship anyways.

One that really stuck out to me was being told about the rhythm method of birth control being the only acceptable method of birth control because there's still a chance of conception.

Except that condoms are at best like 98% successful, so its not actually a matter of there being a "chance" of conception rather you determining, very precisely, how much of a risk I should take with sex. Pretty much blatantly trying to self justify not living in an entirely sexless marriage while maintaining the inane belief that sex is only for procreation.

Yeah, God gave me the ability to think for myself, he just doesn't want me to use it, he'd rather I just listen to you.

Sinistrum
05-29-2010, 09:41 PM
Oh don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to disprove the existence of god. What I have a problem with is the dogmatic concepts of god that most organized religions have of it that end up being extremely convenient to the leaders of said religion when it comes to heaping power, prestige, and material gains on them.

the silent speaker
05-29-2010, 11:11 PM
Because quantum physics can be studied and the results can be reproduced.

Not unless you have a cyclotron. I don't have a cyclotron. Do you have a cyclotron?
Why aren't there supernatural miracles happening all the time?
But they do. We call them "nature".
Why would God making his existence obvious remove free will?
Because if God, and by extension Whose power over the universe, is perpetually right there, right over your shoulder, but no no, go on and eat the cheeseburger and stain your immortal soul* if it really means that much to you... when you put down the cheeseburger, how is that uncoerced? Even if it's not made physically impossible to disobey, that feels awfully like having a gun to your head to me.

Besides, full awareness of God would squoosh your brain to delicious delicious goop -- what with the infinite thing, whereas you're not -- so a certain amount of limitation is necessary to allow people to not be all dead all over the place. Just enough to avoid the squooshing would leave you an automaton, physically incapable of disobedience, because by definition all you can do is stay alive and be aware of God; and any more withdrawal from your consciousness could well leave you with the exact same questions you have now about the implications of the freedom allotted you.

*Pretend you're Jewish for purposes of this argument.

GonzoTheGreat
05-30-2010, 03:48 AM
Not unless you have a cyclotron. I don't have a cyclotron. Do you have a cyclotron?You don't need a cyclotron for all quantum mechanical effects. Actually, there are some such effects which would be rather hard to detect with a cyclotron.

Here's an experiment you can (probably*) do for yourself:
Buy a balloon filled with Helium (can be a fairly small one, so it need not be expensive). When you buy it, the balloon should be lighter than the air it displaces, so that it has a tendency to float away. Prevent this by tying the string that is attached to it to some convenient chair or something like that. Just wait. Eventually (in a day or so, perhaps two), as a result of quantum tunneling, so much Helium will have escaped that the balloon is no longer lighter than air.
That same phenomenon also puts an upper limit on the lifetime of a lot of satellites: they often have Helium cooling, but that only works as long as they have Helium. Once too much of it has been lost as a result of the tunneling effect, the cooling system ceases functioning. With a cyclotron you can then simply refill it, with a satellite in geo stationary orbit that is less practical#.

* I wouldn't really know the closest sales point to my own home.

# Technically perfectly possible, but so expensive that it generally isn't done.

Sinistrum
05-30-2010, 11:02 AM
But they do. We call them "nature".

I think you're a little confused as to the definition of "supernatural." Those are typically things that defy nature, not conform with it.

Because if God, and by extension Whose power over the universe, is perpetually right there, right over your shoulder, but no no, go on and eat the cheeseburger and stain your immortal soul* if it really means that much to you... when you put down the cheeseburger, how is that uncoerced? Even if it's not made physically impossible to disobey, that feels awfully like having a gun to your head to me.

And threats of smiting and/or eternal damnation that are common in most religions aren't a gun being held to your head?

Besides, full awareness of God would squoosh your brain to delicious delicious goop -- what with the infinite thing, whereas you're not -- so a certain amount of limitation is necessary to allow people to not be all dead all over the place. Just enough to avoid the squooshing would leave you an automaton, physically incapable of disobedience, because by definition all you can do is stay alive and be aware of God; and any more withdrawal from your consciousness could well leave you with the exact same questions you have now about the implications of the freedom allotted you.

Uh oh! Sounds like someone is putting limitations on god's power. I'm pretty sure an all powerful god would have no problem making us aware of him without imploding our brains or turning us into automatons.

GonzoTheGreat
05-30-2010, 11:11 AM
Uh oh! Sounds like someone is putting limitations on god's power. I'm pretty sure an all powerful god would have no problem making us aware of him without imploding our brains or turning us into automatons.I dunno. The Illuminati haven't come into the open either, have they?

Sinistrum
05-30-2010, 11:21 AM
I dunno. The Illuminati haven't come into the open either, have they?

Are you suggesting the Illuminati are gods? :p

Neilbert
05-30-2010, 01:45 PM
Oh don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to disprove the existence of god. What I have a problem with is the dogmatic concepts of god that most organized religions have of it that end up being extremely convenient to the leaders of said religion when it comes to heaping power, prestige, and material gains on them.

Exactly. Trying to prove/disprove god is just mental masturbation.

the silent speaker
05-30-2010, 03:32 PM
You don't need a cyclotron for all quantum mechanical effects.
Gonzo: You are here. My point is way over there.
I think you're a little confused as to the definition of "supernatural." Those are typically things that defy nature, not conform with it.
Sini: I think you're a little confused as to the definition of "nature". It is the set of things that we see happening frequently and therefore categorize. If water turning into wine were to happen frequently, we would remove it from the category "supernatural" ipso facto, with a category custom-designed to fit.
I'm pretty sure an all powerful god would have no problem making us aware of him without imploding our brains or turning us into automatons.
Seems you have some problems with "infinity", too.
Exactly. Trying to prove/disprove god is just mental masturbation.
This I agree with in full. But did you know that the average penis attempts to prove/disprove God every seven seconds?

Nazbaque
05-30-2010, 07:20 PM
Seems you have some problems with "infinity", too.
I believe TSS that you are the one having problems with the concept of infinity. You see infinity fits into very small places indeed. How many numbers are between 0 and 1? Infinite. A single second contains an infinity of moments. An inch an infinity of points.

Sinistrum
05-30-2010, 09:21 PM
Sini: I think you're a little confused as to the definition of "nature". It is the set of things that we see happening frequently and therefore categorize. If water turning into wine were to happen frequently, we would remove it from the category "supernatural" ipso facto, with a category custom-designed to fit.

Yeah but hey, guess what, turning water into wine doesn't happen too frequently. In point of fact, if the bible is to be taken at face value, it hasn't happened in about...oh... 2000 years. Hence we came up with the term, supernatural, to describe events such as that.

Seems you have some problems with "infinity", too.

So are you saying an all powerful god is incapable of relating to us in any meaningful way?

jason wolfbrother
05-30-2010, 10:47 PM
A man was talking to God. "So God to you a million years is like a second correct?" God replied, "Yes that is correct." Then the man said, "And a million dollars would be like a couple of bucks correct?" "Correct."


"So God could I borrow a couple of bucks?"

"Sure just a second."



There are only two things I'm certain of in this life.

1. There is a God
2. I am not It

One other point that I haven't seen addressed yet.

Science is great for answering what is happening, how it happens, where it happens, and when it happened. But science has yet to come up with any answer as to Why it happens. Until it does man will still turn to faith and religion for those answers.

the silent speaker
05-30-2010, 11:51 PM
In point of fact, if the bible is to be taken at face value, it hasn't happened in about...oh... 2000 years. Hence we came up with the term, supernatural, to describe events such as that.
Yes, but the question "why doesn't the supernatural happen more frequently?" has no meaning. Supernatural things that happen more frquently get renamed.

tworiverswoman
05-31-2010, 01:08 AM
Besides, full awareness of God would squoosh your brain to delicious delicious goop -- what with the infinite thing, whereas you're not -- so a certain amount of limitation is necessary to allow people to not be all dead all over the place. Just enough to avoid the squooshing would leave you an automaton, physically incapable of disobedience, because by definition all you can do is stay alive and be aware of God; and any more withdrawal from your consciousness could well leave you with the exact same questions you have now about the implications of the freedom allotted you. So, the god that appeared to Moses and Elijah and so forth was lying about being God, then?

If so... the implications about the Bible are pretty damn enormous. If not, then your argument rather evaporates.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-31-2010, 02:27 AM
Is it really still a decision? Read that link I posted. I think you'll have a better understanding of it than most, yks.

yes it is a decision. Say we have the example of a bank hold-up. Now, the person being held up most probably will want to give the robber the money. say 80% probably. If they're female and/or have kids then 90% probably. Most people will act in a way that guarantees self-preservation, and in this example the best way to stay alive is to do exactly what the man (or woman) with the gun tells you to do.

But that does not mean that other options are not feasible. Like trying to grapple for the gun, running away screaming in panic or bursting out singing the anthem.

As long as a person is alive, they have a choice. It might not always be conscious but it is always there. The alternative to any act one doesn't want to do is always to choose to die. There are usually also other options which might be preferable but as long as death is possible (=you're not dead already) you have a choice.

Of course, there are situations where choice is physically impossible... such as when one is about to die in a car crash or when one is locked up (in a mental institution) in a straight jacket in a room with padded walls, floors and ceiling.

Nazbaque
05-31-2010, 03:28 AM
Science is great for answering what is happening, how it happens, where it happens, and when it happened. But science has yet to come up with any answer as to Why it happens. Until it does man will still turn to faith and religion for those answers.
You're assuming there is a why. There might not be.

GonzoTheGreat
05-31-2010, 04:16 AM
Science is great for answering what is happening, how it happens, where it happens, and when it happened. But science has yet to come up with any answer as to Why it happens. Until it does man will still turn to faith and religion for those answers.The question is: why would religion be any more dependable in coming up with trustworthy answers than, say, taking random lines from Britney Spears songs?

I admit that people will turn to religion for those answers. I just fail to see why anyone would actually believe the answers they get in that way.

Edited to add, taking Nazbaque's reply into account too:

There are at least three possibilities competing here:
1. A religion tells you that they have the answers, if you send them money then you will be allowed to share in them. Optionally, you may also get permission to now and then say "Halleluja!"
2. The answers can be found by gambling correctly, possibly on a religion, possibly on the Britney Spears songs I mentioned, possibly in yet another way.
3. There are no answers.

Given those options (and any others you may care to come up with), why pick one and not the other?
The answer seems to be twofold: either because you've been taught to pick that one by your parents (which simply removes the problem one generation) or one of them makes you feel more comfortable than the others.

I propose an alternative, which is related to but not the same as number three:
Since we do not have any valid reason to think there are answers, we should not assume that such answers exist. This does not preclude the possibity of some day figuring out a way of answering the questions after all, but it does mean you shouldn't just gamble and then believe the result.

Neilbert
05-31-2010, 05:21 AM
Yes, but the question "why doesn't the supernatural happen more frequently?" has no meaning. Supernatural things that happen more frquently get renamed.

That's not how it works.
Really, this is almost as bad as asking why science is all theory.

tworiverswoman
05-31-2010, 05:30 AM
Extending a bit Gonzo and Naz's question, I think most atheists and agnostics (me, at a minimum) wonder why people who have a religious faith believe SPECIFICALLY what they believe, even or especially the ones who can't even articulate WHAT they believe.

Why do you believe in an anthropomorphic deity? Why do you believe he loves humans? (Face it, as a race we have a few ... unlovely aspects)

Why do you believe the incredible VARIETY of what you all believe, and then so many of you claim to know The Truth.

Logic may not have any answers to the "why" of the universe, but it would be nice if YOU could explain the above.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-31-2010, 05:35 AM
There are only two things I'm certain of in this life.

1. There is a God
2. I am not It

if you know for certain that you are not God then how do you know for certain that there is a god? Your 2 certainties cancel each other out.

Belief, now that's another concept entirely.

me, I'm fairly certain I will die eventually. Everything else is pretty much up to... er... life. Unless, of course, someone invents something that will make me immortal, but in all seriousness I REALLY don't think that will happen.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-31-2010, 06:09 AM
Yeah but hey, guess what, turning water into wine doesn't happen too frequently. In point of fact, if the bible is to be taken at face value, it hasn't happened in about...oh... 2000 years. Hence we came up with the term, supernatural, to describe events such as that.

just to be nitpicky: wine is mostly consisted of water. In fact, you can't make wine without good old H2O, if I remember my chemistry classes correcty, pure alcohol tends to vapourise rather quickly and alcohol is the main definition of wine (otherwise we'd just call it grape juice)... Water into wine is actually a rather common process, however, water into wine in -for lack of a better time measurement- the blink of an eye, as is described in the Bible, now THAT does not happen very often at all.

Neilbert
05-31-2010, 06:21 AM
Try turning only water into wine. Good luck.

yks 6nnetu hing
05-31-2010, 07:02 AM
Try turning only water into wine. Good luck.

hehe, good point.

But that's basic chemistry. For those who believe in it Divine Intervention, like I pointed out, overrides basic chemistry in both time and consistency of elements it takes to make wine.

the silent speaker
05-31-2010, 02:17 PM
So, the god that appeared to Moses and Elijah and so forth was lying about being God, then?
I said "full comprehension". Prophets tended to be in dream-state or similar when actually prophesying, which doubtless buffered them greatly. And as it is there was often a very, very thin line between prophecy and insanity, which I think tends to support my contention.

JSUCamel
05-31-2010, 08:51 PM
I said "full comprehension". Prophets tended to be in dream-state or similar when actually prophesying, which doubtless buffered them greatly. And as it is there was often a very, very thin line between prophecy and insanity, which I think tends to support my contention.

If the line is so very, very thin, how do you know Elijah wasn't simply insane? Or Jonah? I mean, who gets eaten by a whale and survives, besides Gepetto... I mean, seriously...

the silent speaker
05-31-2010, 09:12 PM
A very good question. A history of the things you say coming true helps.

And I'm not altogether sure some of the prophets weren't what we would call clinically insane -- even though they were true prophets. It's very tempting to read King Saul as getting paranoid schizophrenia as a result of one flash of prophecy.

JSUCamel
05-31-2010, 10:33 PM
A very good question. A history of the things you say coming true helps.

And I'm not altogether sure some of the prophets weren't what we would call clinically insane -- even though they were true prophets. It's very tempting to read King Saul as getting paranoid schizophrenia as a result of one flash of prophecy.

I dunno. Just because I say something and it comes true doesn't mean I'm a prophet of God, it just means that a) I'm observant, b) I've got inside intel, or c) I'm lucky. Watch the TV show "Psych" for more info. When you read history, you not only have to think about what is reported, but you also should consider what wasn't reported -- how many so-called prophets tried to predict future events? And how many of those were wrong versus how many were right? When you imagine that 10,000 people predicted something, and 1 person out of that 10,000 was correct -- is that divine intervention, is that luck, or is there something else at play?

If a million people buy a lottery ticket, and one of them is a winner, and that person claims God gave her the numbers to pick, is that person a prophet, or were they just lucky? And remember you still have 999,999 losers.

I don't think predicting the future is indicative of prophet-ness. In fact, I'm not convinced there is such thing as prophecy as we think of it (the way Elijah, Jonah, Mohammed, and Joe Smith would be considered prophets).

GonzoTheGreat
06-01-2010, 02:41 AM
When you read history, you not only have to think about what is reported, but you also should consider what wasn't reported -- how many so-called prophets tried to predict future events?And at least as important: when was it reported? As the weathermen on the television figured out a while ago, predicting today's weather correctly in the evening news is a lot easier than getting tomorrow's weather right, so now they spend half their time talking about how the weather has been, which everyone could see for themselves anyway.

In the case of the Biblical prophecies, we can't determine whether they were made before or after the events they supposedly describe. That, combined with the fact that some interpretation is always required to tie them to the events, makes them unbelievable.

Or, to put it another way: it seems that the rate of 'true' prophecy goes down as the literacy rate goes up. That suggests that when predictions actually get written down so that they can be checked later, it turns out that they do not come true. But in the cases where no one remembers precisely what had been predicted, it just so happens that a formulation can be found which matches events.

Terez
06-01-2010, 02:58 AM
I think we should probably look to each other for the 'why', rather than to imaginary beings and delusions of immortality. But that's just me.

Nazbaque
06-01-2010, 05:35 AM
*Looks at Terez*

*Looks at Gonzo*

*Looks at Camel*

*mutters* why indeed?

DahLliA
06-01-2010, 05:41 AM
*Looks at Terez*

*Looks at Gonzo*

*Looks at Camel*

*mutters* why indeed?

because we can !

GonzoTheGreat
06-01-2010, 06:03 AM
*mutters* why indeed?Consider the actual question: "To be, or not to be?"
There'll be plenty of time later on for not being, so why not be now that you still can? That's why. Simple, isn't it?

One Armed Gimp
06-01-2010, 10:12 AM
I think we should probably look to each other for the 'why', rather than to imaginary beings and delusions of immortality. But that's just me.

To many people definitely look to "outside sources" for answers to questions that we should be looking at ourselves for.

Sorry about bailing on the on the debate this weekend, got pretty busy