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Thread: God: Narcissist or low on self esteem?

  1. #1 God: Narcissist or low on self esteem? 
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    Near as I can tell, God requires you to worship him and punishes you for not doing this by sending you straight to hell. You'd think that God, being perfect, would display modesty (assuming the anthropomorphized God, the one christianity loves so much). You'd assume that god would have great self esteem as well, having the power to do anything. However, if he needs our worship, it would impose some personality flaw.

    My brother, who has a masters in philosophy, suggests strongly that if you worship God, you inadvertantly and unavoidably accept that he isn't perfect based on the above criteria by the simple act of worship. So how can you worship him as perfect but still acknowledge these character flaws? Even if you deny the character flaws, you're still looking at hypocrisy. It's really a situation where worshipping God as perfect means you're a hypocrite.

    What do you guys think?


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    I think that what is good in humanity is irrational and therefore imperfect. Chief example being love. These goods don't stand up in debate framed by materialist values (science) but I put them on a pedestal and if I worship anything as a perfect end in itself, that of us is it. One could credit arbitrary old God for our perfect imperfection. It's not much of a stretch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    So how can you worship him as perfect but still acknowledge these character flaws? Even if you deny the character flaws, you're still looking at hypocrisy. It's really a situation where worshipping God as perfect means you're a hypocrite.
    I am actually in the middle of an essay that seeks to answer this very question. I started with this:

    The God of the Jews is a God of history. He made the heavens and earth, and he made man in his own image so that he could give man his greatest gift; a perfect relationship with God. Man was supposed to hang out in the Garden of Eden perfecting creation and developing a perfect relationship with God. Or at least that was the plan. Then Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and everything started to go downhill. After a while God got so disillusioned with the way everything was turning out that he decided to flood the whole place and just keep a few good folks and their family and some animals. So Noah and his family stuff everyone in a boat, but that doesnít work either and we soon arrive at the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel is everyone on earth gathered in one place to disobey God with a vengeance. By now God has had enough and he is on the point of wiping the whole thing out and starting over again when he notices Abram.

    Noticed anything about God so far? Well, for one thing, he isnít perfect. He didnít know that Adam and Eve would eat the apple, and when they did he broke his promise to make Adam die the same day. When things donít work he tries something else and when that doesnít work he tries something else again. How can a perfect God keep getting it so wrong?


    The answer (very briefly) is that he is not getting it wrong, he is teaching lessons. He permits man to keep making mistakes so that man will learn what is required.

    What this shows, in relation to your question, is that God's apparent imperfections are merely symbolic of your own mis-understanding. You want a perfect God who also has "wants", but fail to realise that a perfect God has no wants, or needs, or character, and therefore no character flaws; that's what "perfect" means.
    Everything the laws of the universe do not prohibit must finally happen.
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    Nice contrast. Cool crystal or sloppy smooch.
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    Indeed this is one of the typical views of God in Christianity that I completely reject.

    I reject the meglomaniacal God who creates human beings to worship Him. I do not believe in this jealous God obsessed with His right to our worship, or who created all the heavens and everything on earth in order to glorify Himself. It is laughable to accept this characterature where our purpose is to make Him look good and so not only is worshiping other things is a big no no, but we are really supposed to love and think of Him first and before anything else, all day long everyday. It is really too much.

    If it means anything to say that God is jealous, it has nothing to with any need of His but only to do with His concern for our well being that we should not prostitute ourselves by seeking that which is worth so much less and making ourselves so much less than what we can be. We can be like gods creating beauty, love and joy and there is no reason to sell out our integrity and self-respect for things that are ultimately meaningless.
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    I guess I'm more just referring to people who don't concur with relativism, taking things like the old (or new) testament quite literally and blindly worshipping, without questioning properties of God.

    This question that I've asked in the OP often leads to a nice discussion about empirical qualities of God, be them emotional or physical. Do you think God actually has them? If he is to impact objects with empirical qualities, he himself must have empirical qualities of some sort, correct?
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  8. #7 Re: God: Narcissist or low on self esteem? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    My brother, who has a masters in philosophy, suggests strongly that if you worship God, you inadvertantly and unavoidably accept that he isn't perfect...
    It's a trap. We would like to think God perfect, though that is simply unnecessary. It is like inviting faith to give supporting evidence. Human nature falls into the trap.
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  9. #8 Re: God: Narcissist or low on self esteem? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Near as I can tell, God requires you to worship him and punishes you for not doing this by sending you straight to hell. You'd think that God, being perfect, would display modesty (assuming the anthropomorphized God, the one christianity loves so much). You'd assume that god would have great self esteem as well, having the power to do anything. However, if he needs our worship, it would impose some personality flaw.

    My brother, who has a masters in philosophy, suggests strongly that if you worship God, you inadvertantly and unavoidably accept that he isn't perfect based on the above criteria by the simple act of worship. So how can you worship him as perfect but still acknowledge these character flaws? Even if you deny the character flaws, you're still looking at hypocrisy. It's really a situation where worshipping God as perfect means you're a hypocrite.

    What do you guys think?
    hence the not uncommon suggestion that worship of god is only preliminary to developing spontaneous attraction to him
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I guess I'm more just referring to people who don't concur with relativism, taking things like the old (or new) testament quite literally and blindly worshipping, without questioning properties of God.
    I don't concur with relativism. So does that mean you are refering to me? LOL ...sigh...

    You really need to be careful with this kind of lumping people into black and white boxes, like presuming if you aren't a absolutist then you must be a relativist. I am pluralist which is neither. The pluralist seeks the proper balance between these two extremes, knowing that there are indeed many relative aspects to truth and morality but that somewhere underneath the superficial forms and appearances there really are some unchangeable truths. My usual example is to ask if you really think that torturing children to death can ever be an acceptible form of entertainment or is that just culturally relative?


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    This question that I've asked in the OP often leads to a nice discussion about empirical qualities of God, be them emotional or physical. Do you think God actually has them?
    No. God has qualities yes. But no they are not empirical. God and in fact everything that is spiritual is not in the least bit subject to empircal methods. God and His involvement in the world is not measurable. God and His work cannot be evaluated. God and His power cannot be manipulated.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    If he is to impact objects with empirical qualities, he himself must have empirical qualities of some sort, correct?
    Incorrect. That is a premise that is logically linked to the the perspective of a metaphysical naturalist. I understand and accept that you may indeed believe that this is the case, but now you must understand and accept that I do not believe that this is the case. The main reason that you cannot prove that your premise is holds, is because of the failure of physical determinism. Because of this, spiritual entities can have an impact on physical events without themselves being subject to the mathematical laws of nature which is only true of physical entities, and this means that they themselves will not be subject to empirical investigation. BUT this does mean that the impact of spiritual entities on the course of physical events must be restricted to the domain where physical determinism fails. We must remember that the physical universe is after all highly deterministic (even if not perfectly so).
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain


    No. God has qualities yes. But no they are not empirical. God and in fact everything that is spiritual is not in the least bit subject to empircal methods. God and His involvement in the world is not measurable. God and His work cannot be evaluated. God and His power cannot be manipulated.

    How convenient.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain


    No. God has qualities yes. But no they are not empirical. God and in fact everything that is spiritual is not in the least bit subject to empircal methods. God and His involvement in the world is not measurable. God and His work cannot be evaluated. God and His power cannot be manipulated.

    How convenient.
    Convenient for who?

    Convenient for those who want to shove their beliefs down other peoples throats? No wouldn't say so at all.

    Convenient for those would uphold religious liberty and tolerance defending the diversity of human thought? Yes I certainly think so.
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    if they aren't empirical, they aren't measurable and therefore you cannot be wrong. You're essentially saying "You don't understand and therefore are wrong". In what world isn't that convenient for the side trying to negate an inquisition?

    Or did I misunderstand?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    if they aren't empirical, they aren't measurable and therefore you cannot be wrong.
    Incorrect. non-sequiteur. The correct conclusion is: therefore you cannot determine whether they are right or wrong by emprical methods.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    You're essentially saying "You don't understand and therefore are wrong".
    LOL excuse me? You're essentially saying, "I am an imbecile."

    This sticking words in other peoples mouth seemed like a fun game, so I wanted to play too.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    In what world isn't that convenient for the side trying to negate an inquisition?
    In what world??? Let's leave your imagination out of this and look closely at your talk about "inquisitions." One of the reasons some countries have chosen to live by the principles of religious liberty and tolerance is because inquisitions by the tyrants and thought police who want to shove their beliefs down other people's throats is something that they are quite tired of.

    So lets go back to that question of convenience and ask whether you want things to be convenient for the practice of inquisitions or you want things to be convenient for those who love the diversity of human thought and want to uphold the principles of religious freedom and tolerance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    if they aren't empirical, they aren't measurable and therefore you cannot be wrong. You're essentially saying "You don't understand and therefore are wrong". In what world isn't that convenient for the side trying to negate an inquisition?

    Or did I misunderstand?
    You are essentially saying that empiricism has the monopoly on knowledge. Even to put aside the inherent (a)theistic ideas of your post, a vast majority of philosophers would disagree
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    if they aren't empirical, they aren't measurable and therefore you cannot be wrong .
    Incorrect. non-sequiteur. The correct conclusion is: therefore you cannot determine whether they are right or wrong by emprical methods.
    That's the exact same thing as I said with the exception of more arm waving.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    You're essentially saying "You don't understand and therefore are wrong".
    LOL excuse me? You're essentially saying, "I am an imbecile."
    Reread the sentence and ask yourself if that's really what I'm saying.



    FYI, I'm dating someone in the youth pastor program in a christian college; so obviously I'm not some tyrant about faith or anything. I'm not trying to be a bigot or a jackass, I'm trying to understand things a bit better is all. Approaching religion with a scienctific mind seems to draw some flak, but it's kinda funny that approaching science with a religious mind doesn't.


    Punar: I'm actually not. I'm saying that it has a monopoly on things we can measure, which give us knowledge.

    [/b]
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    if they aren't empirical, they aren't measurable and therefore you cannot be wrong .
    Incorrect. non-sequiteur. The correct conclusion is: therefore you cannot determine whether they are right or wrong by emprical methods.
    That's the exact same thing as I said with the exception of more arm waving.
    I understand. That you think they are the same would be consistent with a metaphysical naturalist of the strongest sort. Perhaps you are not even capable of understanding that some people do not accept the premises of such a worldview. If so, you have my sympathies.

    In any case, I am certainly beginning to wonder if you are capable of reflecting on the nature of the scientific enterprise, because of the way you have walled in your perception of reality.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Reread the sentence and ask yourself if that's really what I'm saying.
    Why should I read what you actually say when we are having so much fun with this game you have invented where we just pretend that the other person has said something completely different.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    FYI, I'm dating someone in the youth pastor program in a christian college; so obviously I'm not some tyrant about faith or anything. I'm not trying to be a bigot or a jackass, I'm trying to understand things a bit better is all; approaching religion with a scienctific mind seems to draw some flak, but it's kinda funny that approaching science with a religious mind doesn't.
    LOL

    Since we are sharing,

    FYI, I have the training to understand the nature of scientific inquiry quite well. My scientific field is physics. I completed my masters degree in physics at the University of Utah in 2004 after two phd projects fizzled out, and I lost interest. If you don't have a phd yet then perhaps you soon will (in a Biological science?). BUT I also have another very different sort of masters degree, from a theological seminary, THUS I also have the training to understand the nature of religious inquiry that is close to academic standards. NEVERTHELESS, whether I can possibly help you understanding things a bit better.... I really don't know. But I can try anyway.

    Science and religion are indeed very different and you when understand those differences it makes perfect sense that they cannot meet on an equal basis in any straight forward way. For example science is defined by a very clear methodology and as a result it is incapable of taking any religious discoveries or truths into account as part of its investigative process. But religion being defined in quite a different manner is perfectly capable of taking scientific discoveries and truths into account as part of its investigative process. Science really cannot even speak to religious questions without ceasing to be science, but religion is not restricted in this manner at all. Religion can talk about electrons, lagrangians, chemical potentials and anything else as religious objects without ceasing to be religion.

    What is really funny to me in this particular discussion is that I am usually explaining this to the religous person who is fustrated that a person in a scientific mode of thought will not take their religious truths seriously because they don't understand why this is impossible. It really tickles me to see the sort of complementary blindness that can exist on the other side of this divide.
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    Oh, I just thought you were getting a bit upset or thinking I was trying to be a cock, which simply isn't the case, so I wanted to illustrate that I'm not against religion or anything.

    I think there's some miscommunication going on here. I don't fully understand religion, but I have a scientifically oriented mind. So, I am trying (perhaps fruitlessly, since they are quite different) to approach religion with a scientific approach. I don't intend to end up believing in things, just trying to understand better the parameters upon which some types of faith are upheld.

    I guess I'm really trying to see eye to eye with those that use religion to horn in on science- those that use the bible to discredit evolution, for example. Those that replace scientific thought with belief or those that believe that creation is an alternative view, despite various demonstrated evidences, to evolution. I think they should be completely seperate, but if religion is being peddled as a scientific idea then I would like to try to add impiricies to it. Is that even possible?

    By the by, if you cannot be demonstrated to be right or wrong in your opinion or world view, it's the exact same thing as not being able to be wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I think there's some miscommunication going on here. I don't fully understand religion, but I have a scientifically oriented mind. So, I am trying (perhaps fruitlessly, since they are quite different) to approach religion with a scientific approach. I don't intend to end up believing in things, just trying to understand better the parameters upon which some types of faith are upheld.
    I think a scientific approach (in the strictest possible sense) to religion is practically a contradiction in terms, and what you really want is probably anthropology.

    But to the question of whether a scientifically oriented mind can find meaning and value in religion, I can certainly answer with an affirmative, but I would not say that it is easy. I think that existentialism which I can say had become as much a part of my thinking as science, probably had something to do with my ability to do this. For that reason I don't know if my point of contact through which this ocurred will be of any help to you, but I will share it and you can make of it what you will. I first found meaning for the word "God" in an equivalence between a faith in God and a faith that life is worth living. What this means is, that you cannot have a faith in God without a faith that life is worth living and more importantly that if you have a faith that life is worth living, then in some sense, no matter what words you might use for it, or what you might call the object of your faith, you essentially have a faith in God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I guess I'm really trying to see eye to eye with those that use religion to horn in on science- those that use the bible to discredit evolution, for example.
    See eye to eye??? good lord! I cannot be of any help there since I think that we can draw no other conclusion that these people simply do not want a scientific explanation for the origin of life and the species but want theology and their religion to be the only explanation. In their pursuit of this wishful thinking there is little that they will not do.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Those that replace scientific thought with belief or those that believe that creation is an alternative view, despite various demonstrated evidences, to evolution. I think they should be completely seperate, but if religion is being peddled as a scientific idea then I would like to try to add impiricies to it. Is that even possible?
    "peddled as a scientific idea"? only on the basis of a huge amount of ignorance and self-delusion. No I do not believe it is possible.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    By the by, if you cannot be demonstrated to be right or wrong in your opinion or world view, it's the exact same thing as not being able to be wrong.
    Ahhh... now this time you left out the term "empirical", which leave me free to specify the methodology of my choice. LOL One typical methodology that is used in religion for example is to look at what is said in the Scriptures. And thus the premise of this methodology is that if you can find something in scriptures which support or contradicts a claim then that would demonstrate that the claim is right or wrong, respectively.

    In more generality, a statement of belief is generally a statement about reality and so if reality contradicts that belief then the belief is shown to be false. Now to you, this probably sound identical to your own statement. But it is not, because again, the word "empirical" is not used, and thus methods of modern science are not presumed. There are some questions involved here about the basic nature of reality. Is it in fact objective (independent of the observer), completely, mostly, partly, scarcely or not at all -- ranging from objective realism to solipsism. The answer to this greatly effect the sort of methodology that might or might not be reliable measure of truth.
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    Heh, that last post made my opinion of you do a 180. I went from thinking you were kind of a douche to thinking I have something to learn from you. I'll continue to watch your posts as my free time and interest in the specific topic allows.

    Faith is something that I do not understand. I've been compared with TV personality "House" more than once- I'm kind of an asshole that needs to understand things on my own terms that I don't and maybe can't understand. So I'm trying to understand this but kind of go about it in the wrong way. I'm thrilled to see the moderator of this particular forum understands the seperation of science from faith...and as such, I think I should hereby say that the discussion my OP presented will probably wind up as a higher theological question, which I am not at all equipped to understand both religiously and educationally. As such, this so often turns into a "does god exist" debate and lead to the scientific people claiming ignorance and the faithful claiming ignorance as well...

    Any chance for a lock? Great discussion though!

    Edit: academia isn't for me, oddly. I like my consulting job- bigger budgets and less academic accountability. Plus I hate the petty bickering that happens in the academic forums. So, for now, just the B.Sc. for me. Though I was once mistaken, at the age of 22, for a Ph.D. and that fellow tracked me down to my private work address just to ask for my 'research', but it was a casual talk and never presented as my own work!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Heh, that last post made my opinion of you do a 180. I went from thinking you were kind of a douche to thinking I have something to learn from you. I'll continue to watch your posts as my free time and interest in the specific topic allows.
    Yeah I can come on strong at times, and from such a left field as it were that it confuses people. It not intentional. Some people use this tactic intentionally in what I call a tank strategy: carefully hiding any info about themselves so they are free to assassinate other people without any possibility of retaliation. Then they can laugh at your fumbling attempts to figure out what makes them tick. But as you can see I am an open book, hiding nothing, and so I am really just honestly unique.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Faith is something that I do not understand. I've been compared with TV personality "House" more than once- I'm kind of an asshole that needs to understand things on my own terms that I don't and maybe can't understand.
    Welcome to club, because boy can I relate to that. Ok so I am not as extreme as you BUT relative to the people I go to church with, I can be very much that kind of asshole too. Also people with fixed ideas of what Christianity is all about do not get along with me very well at all, whether they believe in those fixed ideas or not (strangely enough).


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    So I'm trying to understand this but kind of go about it in the wrong way.
    Who can say what is the wrong way??? Ok so my own obstinate methodology has made the process of becoming as much of a Christian that I am take more than 25 years. So I am a slow learner when it comes to that sphere. But I came through it with other advantages I think. AND I have utter contempt for those who make Christianity into something that can only fit a certain type of people ---- ok maybe that is a little strong, so lets just say that I go at such people with a very big crowbar (mentally speaking).


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I'm thrilled to see the moderator of this particular forum understands the seperation of science from faith...and as such, I think I should hereby say that the discussion my OP presented will probably wind up as a higher theological question, which I am not at all equipped to understand both religiously and educationally. As such, this so often turns into a "does god exist" debate and lead to the scientific people claiming ignorance and the faithful claiming ignorance as well...

    Any chance for a lock? Great discussion though!
    lock? you mean put a lock on the thread? well I don't know about that. I would have to ask if that is appropriate.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Edit: academia isn't for me, oddly. I like my consulting job- bigger budgets and less academic accountability. Plus I hate the petty bickering that happens in the academic forums. So, for now, just the B.Sc. for me. Though I was once mistaken, at the age of 22, for a Ph.D. and that fellow tracked me down to my private work address just to ask for my 'research', but it was a casual talk and never presented as my own work!
    Yes you had me fooled too. Your metaphysical naturalist approach was so extreme I thought you had be someone who ate drank and breathed science 24/7. I am pretty good at detecting the tell-tales of the this type of atheist who thinks that being an atheist makes them a scientist. And with a little more info I can see why I had a difficult time placing you.
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    <moderator: I am locking this thread, pending a decision on whether this is permissible>

    <moderator: I am unlocking this thread, in response to a request>

    Some respected members of this forum would like to continue this discussion for they see in you a refreshing new perspective. You are of course free not to participate if you don't want, but I think you will be disappointing some really good people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Some respected members of this forum would like to continue this discussion for they see in you a refreshing new perspective. You are of course free not to participate if you don't want, but I think you will be disappointing some really good people.
    Flattery, sir, will get you nowhere. Actually I think it just did.

    My brother, the philosopher, suggests that things without empirical qualities CAN impact things with empirical qualities. For example, the design of a beer bottle. It clearly shapes the bottle, making it adequate for it's purposes. It can be drawn on paper, it can be demonstrated, transfered and observed- but yet, the actual DESIGN is elusive to pin down. I myself couldn't quite do this.

    However, I would say that this arguement allows for a rather limited ability to impact said objects. For example, while the design calls for clear glass it will still be silica based Si02 (or glass). It will have properties of the type of glass the design has, but the design itself cannot change these properties; only the type of glass. So while it shapes, controls and guides the materials to the finish line, it is bound by the original empirical qualities that are started with.

    Opinion?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    My brother, the philosopher, suggests that things without empirical qualities CAN impact things with empirical qualities. For example, the design of a beer bottle. It clearly shapes the bottle, making it adequate for it's purposes. It can be drawn on paper, it can be demonstrated, transfered and observed- but yet, the actual DESIGN is elusive to pin down. I myself couldn't quite do this.

    However, I would say that this arguement allows for a rather limited ability to impact said objects. For example, while the design calls for clear glass it will still be silica based Si02 (or glass). It will have properties of the type of glass the design has, but the design itself cannot change these properties; only the type of glass. So while it shapes, controls and guides the materials to the finish line, it is bound by the original empirical qualities that are started with.

    Opinion?
    Yes that is a good analogy. The window through which the non-physical or spiritual can effect the physical would have to be extremely subtle, limited to the degree that quantum events (wave collapse or decoherence whatever) can tip the direction of events in one way or another. I certainly think that the classical ideas such as dualism which see the mind as a non-physical entity controlling the body like puppeteer controls a puppet cannot work at all. Thus you will see me arguing for a completely physical mind, and that the role of the non-physical or spirit must much more subtle.

    For more a more careful step by step explanation of my take on the mind-body problem you can read:

    http://www.astahost.com/Mind-body-Problem-t17057.html
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    I'm about 99% sure you don't follow the 'all powerful' God model. I think that because we cannot study God directly, if he is real, we are obligated to conform him to the World we see around us, at least until new data is found. Is this reasonable?

    I guess it's like removing the faith from religion...without that though, there really isn't much point of just not going completely atheist is there?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I'm about 99% sure you don't follow the 'all powerful' God model.
    Sure I do.... infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and like all spiritual things He is outside of the physical measures of time and space. However, I find that my understanding of these things may be slightly different than the average Christian, frankly because I have actually thought them through. First, omnipotence and omniscience are not independent attributes but linked for power requires knowledge and knowledge requires power. Both are necessarily utilized in actions. And so just as omnipotence means that God can do whatever logically consistent thing that He wills to do, God also can know whatever logically consistent thing that He wills to know.

    God has unlimited power and knowledge by nature, much as we have arms and legs, but God is not defined by them and can therefore discard them. The greatest and most important power that anyone can have is a power over oneself, and therefore it is absurd to say that God cannot do something because it contradicts one of these attributes. Therefore God CAN take risks, make sacrifices, and limit Himself in power and knowledge to do such things as give someone privacy. Indeed this is essential for God to even be able to create something other than Himself, because to do that IS to limit Himself because by making something other than Himself, He thereby limits the bounds of Himself to exclude the thing that He creates. If He creates an unbreakable wall, He forfeits the ability to create an unstoppable force.

    So for example God can create a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it. Doing so does not contradict His omnipotence for this very act of creation is an expression of His omnipotence, which will always limit Himself in one way or another. Likewise God can create beings with free will, choosing not to know what they will choose in a free will choice before they do so.

    And SO, I believe in the God that counted power and knowledge as being of so little account, that for the sake of love He became a helpless infant, to grow and dwell among us.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I think that because we cannot study God directly, if he is real, we are obligated to conform him to the World we see around us, at least until new data is found. Is this reasonable?
    No we cannot study God directly. We can only study what He has created, and what that is most likely to reveal (besides hinting at vast power and knowledge) is His purpose for creating it, for naturally one creates a thing with what is required to fulfill the purpose for which it is created. Try to imagine an non humanoid alien finding a violin and trying to deduce something about the being that created it.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I guess it's like removing the faith from religion...without that though, there really isn't much point of just not going completely atheist is there?
    Well religion is founded on the idea that God communicates with man in some way, without that there would indeed not be much point in religion.

    If God exists and God did not want there to be any atheists then He certainly could do something to make the atheist position far less reasonable than it is. We must not insist that He could eliminate atheism altogether for people can be incredibly blind, stubborn and even delusional - just consider the Flat Earth society. However, it is my conviction that a belief in God is not of universal benefit to all people. Not only can it play a part in some people's psychopathology, but some people can be much more effective in life without having some great big fat scapegoat "in the sky".
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    being a big fat scapegoat in the sky is exactly what he is to some people. Those that accept they have cancer because it's God's will is one great example of that. It's ony way to deal with it without necessarily having to directly face what's going on.

    You did basically agree with my basic sentiment of God having a discrete power, like in my bottle and design example, but then you say he has ultimate power. Are you saying he CAN do whatever he wants but he knows so much that he doesn't? What about in creation?

    How, in your estimation, do you suggest that God communicates with us?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    being a big fat scapegoat in the sky is exactly what he is to some people. Those that accept they have cancer because it's God's will is one great example of that. It's ony way to deal with it without necessarily having to directly face what's going on.
    Well I think that it is a pretty common theory in psychology that psychopathologies are quite often constructed by the mind as coping mechanism to deal with tramatic experiences. We can always hope that once it has served its purpose, and the cause of trauma are ended, that people will be able to discard these coping mechanisms and adopt a more healthy outlook on life. But some need a great deal of time and help to do so.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    You did basically agree with my basic sentiment of God having a discrete power, like in my bottle and design example, but then you say he has ultimate power.
    Ah yes I see what you mean. But think on it. This is entirely consistent with what I have just explained. God created the universe and therefore He created the very limitations you are talking about in your example and that I am talking about in the relationship between physical and spiritual.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Are you saying he CAN do whatever he wants but he knows so much that he doesn't?
    Ah yes the ultimate impotence of power. It depends on what you want to accomplish. For some things power and knowledge is all you need. But for other things, they are of no help at all. Consider human relationships and particularly the task of parenthood: the use of power is all too likely to either crush the other persons spirit or push them into rebellion, and the use of superior knowledge will only seem that much more oppressive and manipulative.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    What about in creation?
    SO, consider what a being like God would consider worth creating. Would He create what is trivial or would He create what would be challenge for Him. But if He is all powerful and all knowing, would anything with mere technical challenges be anything but trivial to Him?

    As I see it, the real challenge was to create something truly other than Himself. Anything He envisions, He can make a reality but what will that thing He creates do? If it simply acts according to His will then how is this different from a dream and so how is it truly other than simply an extension of Himself? I beleive the answer is automation. God can create something with built in rules so that rather than being directly controled by His will, it will be automatically guided these rules within them. That would be analogous to the creation of a machine like a computer wouldn't it? The result still must be no more or less that exactly what He created it to be and so in that sense still be very much a product of His will alone.

    So it is my idea that the next step in the use of automation to create something independent of Himself, is to create that which does not merely act according to independent rules, but actually exists according to independent rules. And it is for this reason that I believe God created the physical universe - for consider that as physicist that is exactly what I see the physical universe to be - just as set of mathematical rules and relationships that governs the behavior, events and interactions of all of its parts.

    But in the science of chaotic dynamics, I can see how these rules have been designed so that in the right circumstances they can give rise to a phenomenon of spontaneously self-organizing dynamic structures with potentially the capacity for a developmental response to environmental stimulus -- in other words, life. The very existence of these living organisms would be founded on these mathematical laws of the physical universe and thus always in some basic way independent of God's will. The result is that God's creation of living things must always be limited to external simulus which he can arrange, which is a role much more like a teacher than a designer.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    How, in your estimation, do you suggest that God communicates with us?
    Well the point is that every religion posits some sort of contact with the divine (or ultimate reality) for otherwise they would have no reason or basis to exist. For most religions this is some sort of revelation recorded in scripture, for others like Buddhism it is an experience of enlightenment by which the Buddha makes Himself aware of the ultimate nature of reality (the vision quests of the Native American religions, along with many other pagan religions, could also be considered to be of this latter type).
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    So it us up to us to do the communicating via a religion? Like if we don't reach out, the message isn't being heard? That's the part on our end, but how does God actually do his part of the communicating? Remember, it takes two to tango.

    The limitations I speak of are on God himself; the design of the bottle has no impact on the physical qualities of the glass, other than saying what kind of glass is needed. It cannot change what the glass physically is though. Are you saying that God imposed limitations on himself? If so, that presents a paradox within the all powerful ideaology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    So it us up to us to do the communicating via a religion? Like if we don't reach out, the message isn't being heard? That's the part on our end, but how does God actually do his part of the communicating? Remember, it takes two to tango.
    Well frankly it is a bit like seeing shapes in the clouds. For the skeptic it is just a meaningless random coincidence but for the religious person it is arranged by God as a personal message (or not so personal message) -- does that help?

    I sure that seems pretty lame to you, but then something with no empirical content would necessarily seem pretty lame to you - comprende?

    You must wonder how I can take this serioulsy. You see I stand on the edge here peering into both worlds and so I know how very well how the religous reality appears to the skeptic and I would not try to deny it. BUT when you try to establish rational justification for the skeptic's dismissal of the religious perception you must adopt premises which cannot be proven. And it is my judgement that when you examine the built in flaws of the observer oriented methodology of science, these premises begin to appear just as lame to me as as the religious perception appears to the skeptic.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    The limitations I speak of are on God himself; the design of the bottle has no impact on the physical qualities of the glass, other than saying what kind of glass is needed. It cannot change what the glass physically is though. Are you saying that God imposed limitations on himself? If so, that presents a paradox within the all powerful ideaology.
    I don't think so. As I explained in the post explaining my view on omnipotence and that sort of thing, I think that many ways of excercising of power has some sort of implied self limitation. It is saying that God is incapable of limiting Himself that renders Himself impotent and is thus give you a contradictory and meaningless understanding of omnipotence. To have no power of oneself is the greatest sort of helplessness. So I say that instead of putting such restrictions on God like not being able to make unbreakable walls because they logically limit His own power, I say that He can do such things and that instead of contradicting His omnipotence they are expressions of His omnipotence because after all, if He creates them then exist because it was His will that they exist. It is not like He is not going to think things through and plan ahead so that His actions will be a mistake.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    I don't think so. As I explained in the post explaining my view on omnipotence and that sort of thing, I think that many ways of excercising of power has some sort of implied self limitation. It is saying that God is incapable of limiting Himself that renders Himself impotent and is thus give you a contradictory and meaningless understanding of omnipotence. To have no power of oneself is the greatest sort of helplessness. So I say that instead of putting such restrictions on God like not being able to make unbreakable walls because they logically limit His own power, I say that He can do such things and that instead of contradicting His omnipotence they are expressions of His omnipotence because after all, if He creates them then exist because it was His will that they exist. It is not like He is not going to think things through and plan ahead so that His actions will be a mistake.
    That seems like something called special pleading, according to my roommate, whereby something can happen but simply doesn't because of some magical power or some other unfalsifiable claim.

    So God knowingly sets boundaries and adheres to them even though he can easily dance outside of them?


    I have a question and quote for you:

    Would you be christian if you were born in Saudia Arabia?

    "We are all atheist about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." - Richard Dawkins, "The Root of All Evil"
    To understand why I don't believe in your god, ask yourself why you don't believe in any other god than the one you believe in and apply the same logic to your own god.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    being a big fat scapegoat in the sky is exactly what he is to some people. Those that accept they have cancer because it's God's will is one great example of that. It's ony way to deal with it without necessarily having to directly face what's going on.

    You did basically agree with my basic sentiment of God having a discrete power, like in my bottle and design example, but then you say he has ultimate power. Are you saying he CAN do whatever he wants but he knows so much that he doesn't? What about in creation?

    How, in your estimation, do you suggest that God communicates with us?
    tell me, how does free will fit into your picture?
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    Well, there is no God. So therefore, free will is simply that; free will.

    If you have a God that is all knowing, you have no free will really. See, God would know everything I am going to do; therefore, it's predetermined and there would be no free will.

    I'd further ask: If God was truely a compassionate God, and knew everything, wouldn't He have just not created me? Knowing I would be Atheist, and would therefore suffer and eternity in Hell, I had no chance of going to heaven in the first place- so he made me for the sole purpose of going to hell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I don't think so. As I explained in the post explaining my view on omnipotence and that sort of thing, I think that many ways of excercising of power has some sort of implied self limitation. It is saying that God is incapable of limiting Himself that renders Himself impotent and is thus give you a contradictory and meaningless understanding of omnipotence. To have no power of oneself is the greatest sort of helplessness. So I say that instead of putting such restrictions on God like not being able to make unbreakable walls because they logically limit His own power, I say that He can do such things and that instead of contradicting His omnipotence they are expressions of His omnipotence because after all, if He creates them then exist because it was His will that they exist. It is not like He is not going to think things through and plan ahead so that His actions will be a mistake.
    That seems like something called special pleading, according to my roommate, whereby something can happen but simply doesn't because of some magical power or some other unfalsifiable claim.
    Huh? what are you talking about? whereby what can happen but simply doesn't?


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    So God knowingly sets boundaries and adheres to them even though he can easily dance outside of them?
    Of course. Why would God set boundaries if those boundaries had no purpose? And if they had a purpose then why would He violate them? As I said the greatest and most important power is a power over oneself - self control. A being without that is pathetic and worthy of pity not worship.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I have a question and quote for you:

    Would you be christian if you were born in Saudia Arabia?
    The question makes no sense. I cannot not be who I am. If you are talking about someone who isnt me then you are talking about someone else. Are people born in Saudia Arabia Christian or not? And if not, what of it?

    Can I imagine growing up in Saudi Arabia? Yes and no. I imagine much of it, but where my imagination fails is when I attempt to imagine that I am not me but someone else. I can either imagine someone else growing up in Saudi Arabia or I can imagine ME growing up in Saudi Arabia and then I might very well have to pretend a great number of things because that society like all theocratic societies are ones where people have to do a great deal of pretending, don't you think?

    This would perhaps be an even more interesting question to ask yourself -- would you be an atheist if you grew up in Saudi Arabia?


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    To understand why I don't believe in your god, ask yourself why you don't believe in any other god than the one you believe in and apply the same logic to your own god.
    What makes you think I don't understand why you don't believe in God? You are still making a lot of unwarranted assumptions about me. In any case, obviously the logic by which I don't believe in other gods doesn't apply to the God I do believe in otherwise I would not believe in that God either.

    I fear you are beginning to sound less like the simple scientist and more like the simple minded Dawkin's acolyte.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    That seems like something called special pleading, according to my roommate, whereby something can happen but simply doesn't because of some magical power or some other unfalsifiable claim.
    Huh? what are you talking about? whereby what can happen but simply doesn't?
    Whereby he CAN avoid his own boundaries but doesn't. Saying "just because he has the wisdom not to doesn't stand, because certain instances surely occur where it must happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    So God knowingly sets boundaries and adheres to them even though he can easily dance outside of them?
    Of course. Why would God set boundaries if those boundaries had no purpose? And if they had a purpose then why would He violate them? As I said the greatest and most important power is a power over oneself - self control. A being without that is pathetic and worthy of pity not worship.
    I guess that's fair enough, but you're saying there are no instances, in the history of ever, that require he violate his own rules? Or are his rules conveniently perfect in every single situation?

    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid


    I have a question and quote for you:

    Would you be christian if you were born in Saudia Arabia?
    The question makes no sense. I cannot not be who I am. If you are talking about someone who isnt me then you are talking about someone else. Are people born in Saudia Arabia Christian or not? And if not, what of it?

    Can I imagine growing up in Saudi Arabia? Yes and no. I imagine much of it, but where my imagination fails is when I attempt to imagine that I am not me but someone else. I can either imagine someone else growing up in Saudi Arabia or I can imagine ME growing up in Saudi Arabia and then I might very well have to pretend a great number of things because that society like all theocratic societies are ones where people have to do a great deal of pretending, don't you think?
    That is perhaps the best question dodge out there. The premise of the question is this: You grew up in a christian environment, therefore you are christian. By your estimation, would you be christian if you had been born in saudi arabian to a nonchristian family? The question still stands. People aren't christian in saudi arabia. It's not because christianity is better/worse, it's because people there are islamic.



    This would perhaps be an even more interesting question to ask yourself -- would you be an atheist if you grew up in Saudi Arabia?
    Yes. Atheism isn't something influenced by region like the faith of choice by people. In my estimation, all gods are equally unreal.



    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    To understand why I don't believe in your god, ask yourself why you don't believe in any other god than the one you believe in and apply the same logic to your own god.

    What makes you think I don't understand why you don't believe in God? You are still making a lot of unwarranted assumptions about me. In any case, obviously the logic by which I don't believe in other gods doesn't apply to the God I do believe in otherwise I would not believe in that God either.

    I fear you are beginning to sound less like the simple scientist and more like the simple minded Dawkin's acolyte.
    Excuse me? Maybe you misread what I actually said. Let me guide you through it.

    1. Why do you believe in the God that you do, without believing in any other God?
    2. Take that rationale, behind refusing the thousands of other gods out there and accepting one, and apply it to your one single God. This is why I don't believe in God.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I don't think so. As I explained in the post explaining my view on omnipotence and that sort of thing, I think that many ways of excercising of power has some sort of implied self limitation. It is saying that God is incapable of limiting Himself that renders Himself impotent and is thus give you a contradictory and meaningless understanding of omnipotence. To have no power of oneself is the greatest sort of helplessness. So I say that instead of putting such restrictions on God like not being able to make unbreakable walls because they logically limit His own power, I say that He can do such things and that instead of contradicting His omnipotence they are expressions of His omnipotence because after all, if He creates them then exist because it was His will that they exist. It is not like He is not going to think things through and plan ahead so that His actions will be a mistake.
    That seems like something called special pleading, according to my roommate, whereby something can happen but simply doesn't because of some magical power or some other unfalsifiable claim.
    Huh? what are you talking about? whereby what can happen but simply doesn't?
    Whereby he CAN avoid his own boundaries but doesn't. Saying "just because he has the wisdom not to doesn't stand, because certain instances surely occur where it must happen.
    :? That only sounds like something that would apply to a random force not an intellegent being - well.... not a fully aware intellegent being. BUT this is a good example why omnipotence makes no sense seperated from omniscience and self control. How can you truly accomplish anything if you do not know how to accomplish things and what the implications are and how you might contradict yourself and so on... What you are talking about sound more like a baby who can wish for anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    So God knowingly sets boundaries and adheres to them even though he can easily dance outside of them?
    Of course. Why would God set boundaries if those boundaries had no purpose? And if they had a purpose then why would He violate them? As I said the greatest and most important power is a power over oneself - self control. A being without that is pathetic and worthy of pity not worship.
    I guess that's fair enough, but you're saying there are no instances, in the history of ever, that require he violate his own rules? Or are his rules conveniently perfect in every single situation?
    I really cannot say anything like that. Certainly many Christians believe in miraculous events in violation of the laws of nature. It certainly is my methodological naturalist tendency to think that such things are NOT a violation of laws of nature but that they do have a natural explanation of some kind.

    However it is hard to draw a hard line here because the bottom line of physics in quantum mechanics is probabilistic one which doesn't really absolutely forbid very much at all. I do think energy does have to be conserved over macroscopic intervals of time, but energy can "tunnel" from one location to another etc... and so the many of the classical laws of physics are not as absolute as they seem to be. You have to understand that the methods of science is really a method that studies patterns and repeatable proceedures and to find them science quite often intentionally ignores spurious events that don't fit these patterns -> or at most codifies them in statistical terms such as confidence intervals.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    That is perhaps the best question dodge out there. The premise of the question is this: You grew up in a christian environment, therefore you are christian.
    Uh uh. I did not grow up in a "christian environment". My parents were and still are atheist. The best you can say is that I grew up in a free society where there were all sorts of religions peddling their wares including Christians, and thus I was a little more likely to hear Christian ideas and certainly more free to follow those ideas in my life without social repercussions. But again, I say, so what?

    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    By your estimation, would you be christian if you had been born in saudi arabian to a nonchristian family? The question still stands. People aren't christian in saudi arabia. It's not because christianity is better/worse, it's because people there are islamic.
    Again I say that what you say is nonsensical. We can simply observe that people born in Saudi Arabia to a Muslim family are very unlikely to be Christian and highly likely to be Muslim. But so what?


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    This would perhaps be an even more interesting question to ask yourself -- would you be an atheist if you grew up in Saudi Arabia?
    Yes. Atheism isn't something influenced by region like the faith of choice by people. In my estimation, all gods are equally unreal.
    Now comes the complete nonsense of your whole question. A person born in Saudi Arabia is even less likely to be an atheist than a Christian. There are 400,000 Christians in Saudi Arabia (out of 27 million people). There are no statistics in SA at all on atheism because even Christians have respect in the eyes of Muslims as "people of the book" compared to atheists.

    Thus the pressure on me to be Muslim rather than Christian would be far less than the pressure on you to be Muslim rather than atheist. This alone makes it far more likely that you would be the one to cave rather than myself. Thus if we both have to pretend in order to get along, the pretenses in your case would have to be greater. If that isn't enough then consider where we are having this discussion and ask yourself who is the person between the two of us that is defending their beliefs in the more hostile environment? In conclusion, your claims are not believable.

    Furthermore, considering the type of Christian that I am, which is the most flexible in regards to practice, I would have no problem at all being a Christian in a Muslim environment. I could worship God right along side them and in discussions with them I could easily avoid issues that would cause too much trouble, but I suspect that they would be far far fewer than you think.

    The areas where I would have the greatest difficulty growing up in that environment are those which have nothing to do with my Christian sentiments and more to do with my liberal upbringing, and I have cause to suspect that in that area I would have more difficulty that you would, for I am so outspoken in defense of secularism, tolerance and religious libery that it has made be extremely unpopular in a couple highly Christian forums.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Maybe you misread what I actually said. Let me guide you through it.

    1. Why do you believe in the God that you do, without believing in any other God?
    2. Take that rationale, behind refusing the thousands of other gods out there and accepting one, and apply it to your one single God. This is why I don't believe in God.
    OK.... if you insist. Let's go for a concrete example and see what we find, shall we?

    The best examples I have of "gods" I don't believe in are actually Christian ideas of god, for those are the ideas of gods that I am familiar with and I really cannot comment on "thousands of gods" I do not know anything about. And that by the way is another place where your Dawkinian acolyte argument breaks down. You cannot say that I don't believe in these "other gods", for it could very well be that if I knew more about them then I would actually believe in them.

    In any case, I do repudiate the common Christian conception of a hard hearted god who finds it very difficult to forgive us because any offense against Him, even the smallest bad thought, is an infinite offense deserving eternal torment in a place like our worst nightmares called hell, and so we can only be forgiven if a perfect and divine being lays down his life in a blood sacrifice for our sake.

    I do not believe in this god because there is nothing god-like about him and nothing worthy of admiration. It would in fact be my joy and delight to spend an eternity in defiance of such a god, content to suffer his abuse and rejection because each such abuse and rejection would be an affirmation of my determination to be nothing like him.

    This logic is completely inapplicable to the God which I believe in, for He is not motivated by any self interest but is only concerned for our well being and nothing else. He offers this forgiveness to any for the asking, only urging us to make that forgiveness an opportunity to change for the better rather than an excuse for greater depravities. Such a God has my complete admiration and is exactly what I would call God-like. Defying such a God that has only my best interest at heart can only "bring delight" to that perverse part of myself that desires self destruction and misery. I would not want any part of myself like that to be strengthened but to be weakened and removed instead.

    I suppose you can say that you would find as unworthy of admiration, a God that is not motivated by any self interest but only concerned for your well being. And perhaps you would delight in defying such a God content to suffer the consequences of indulging in your perverse desire for self-destruction, simply because that would affirm your determination to be nothing like such a compassionate and forgiving God. Are you then correct that this would sum up your reasons for not believing in such a God. If so then I agree that I would never have guessed such a thing and did not really understand your reasons. I never suspected such a strong aversion to compassion and forgiveness and would tend to assume that an atheist values these things as much as I do. I frankly expected reasons that were a little more rational than that and more in line with the views of a metaphysical naturalist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    That is perhaps the best question dodge out there. The premise of the question is this: You grew up in a christian environment, therefore you are christian.
    Uh uh. I did not grow up in a "christian environment". My parents were and still are atheist. The best you can say is that I grew up in a free society where there were all sorts of religions peddling their wares including Christians, and thus I was a little more likely to hear Christian ideas and certainly more free to follow those ideas in my life without social repercussions. But again, I say, so what?
    But I'll just point out that the united states is infact one of the most religious countries on the planet, and you grew up in it. Furthermore, it's christian dominated by an observed margin. Are you saying that didn't impact your selection of religion at all?


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    By your estimation, would you be christian if you had been born in saudi arabian to a nonchristian family? The question still stands. People aren't christian in saudi arabia. It's not because christianity is better/worse, it's because people there are islamic.
    Again I say that what you say is nonsensical. We can simply observe that people born in Saudi Arabia to a Muslim family are very unlikely to be Christian and highly likely to be Muslim. But so what?
    see above. If your parents were atheist, but you grew up in a muslim dominated environment, would you be muslim? Or will we dodge this too?
    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Yes. Atheism isn't something influenced by region like the faith of choice by people. In my estimation, all gods are equally unreal.
    <long post here so I won't requote it but it tells me why I'm likely to not be atheist in a state dominated by muslims instead of christians>
    Why? I'm sorry, I missed the part where believing in not god is influenced by the dominant god in a certain area is actually a factor other than something we call indoctrination. That's a mean word, but being raised one way or the other is the way of that world.

    So you quoted me a boatload of stats talking about why its a statistical certainty that I will be christian instead of atheism without some kind of theistic justification, which would most certainly lean to muslim since that's the area of the world in question. You deserve a standing ovation for you dodging and fact spewing, friend, but you really need to propose a convincing rationale behind this beyond what is essentially "everyone says and they have my back...I think". Mind you, I'm using your previously imposed criteria ITT of being myself and not anybody else.

    I'm going on the assumption that if your parents are atheist and raised you as such, you're more likely to pick up what religion is most common around you (not counting subsects like mormon VS evangelical etc, since this is broadly speaking) rather than what, in your estimation, is right beyond all doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Maybe you misread what I actually said. Let me guide you through it.

    1. Why do you believe in the God that you do, without believing in any other God?
    2. Take that rationale, behind refusing the thousands of other gods out there and accepting one, and apply it to your one single God. This is why I don't believe in God.
    OK.... if you insist. Let's go for a concrete example and see what we find, shall we?
    NO.

    I'm not going to requote your long post, since that's heinous; it sounds alot to me like you are actually a relativist within your subsect of christianity. Is this true? Do you shape God to fit your lifestyle and views of the world? If so, I would ask if you think it's flexible to particular questions, to allow you to avoid or answer questions as you see fit without violating any rules (to which you will likely dodge by saying it's nonsensical). Just how relativist are you?

    I concur with relativism a whole lot- religion is a personal thing and it should be as such. While there are rules, you shouldn't necessarily buy into specifics that don't fit with you.
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    also can you tone down disguised personal slams and longwinded four paragraph examples please?


    Edit: Here's a question for you, just for fun:

    God knows everything that will happen. He therefore knew I would become an atheist, and knew that I burn in hell for eternity. He therefore created me knowing I would suffer. That isn't what your God is supposed to do and creates a paradox, assuming you aren't a relativist. So, to expand, there is no point in me trying to become closer with God and get into heaven at all; if everything is predermined, as per him knowing everything that is, was and ever will be, then there can be no free will. In essence, wouldn't this make him the perfect dictator?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    But I'll just point out that the united states is infact one of the most religious countries on the planet, and you grew up in it. Furthermore, it's christian dominated by an observed margin. Are you saying that didn't impact your selection of religion at all?
    That is your perception is it? The only correct word is "margin", for religion is very much marginalized. It is a free society (the way I like it) and the vote swings back and forth between liberal and conservative. There is absolutely no comparison to a theocracy like Saudi Arabia.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    If your parents were atheist, but you grew up in a muslim dominated environment, would you be muslim? Or will we dodge this too?
    You are asking nonsensical questions for a self serving purpose. You know or should know if you really have any kind of a decent education that it is a basic rule of logic that anything follows from a contradiction. So you pose this contradictory question so that you can interpret it however you like in response to how it is answered. You sir are the one is indulging in dodges and dishonesty with underhanded tactic like this.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    NO.
    Good. I am glad that you see the error of your rather foolish declaration: "This is why I don't believe in God." It really is better to state your reasons than giving and admantly insisting on some dumb formula for constructing reasons which depends on your entirely inadequate understanding of another person's thinking.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    within your subsect of christianity. Is this true? Do you shape God to fit your lifestyle and views of the world?
    I require my theories both scientific and religious to agree with my observations of reality. That is how a methodological naturalist approaches things and has nothing to do with relativism.

    That you find this so deserving of ridicule tells me that astonishingly enough, you are a metaphysical naturalist who is not a methodological naturalist. That explains why you are so extreme. It was just an adherence to dogma with the fanaticism of a fundamentalist mentality? Boy was I fooled. There is nothing scientific about your thinking at all, no wonder academia did not appeal to you.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    God knows everything that will happen.
    No. He could know everything that will happen if He chose to. But giving us free will means that to the degree we exercise it He does not know what we will choose. Unfortunately people tend to choose unconscious habitual behavior to avoid the responsibility of free will, and thus they become quite predictable, and then God cannot help but know what they will do.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    He therefore knew I would become an atheist and knew that I burn in hell for eternity.
    You believe that you will burn in hell for an eternity? How peculiar. The only hell that I believe in are the ones that people choose to create for themselves. This is the perversity of human beings, not God.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    He therefore created me knowing I would suffer.
    Well yes. Every parent knows that their child will experience suffering. That is a part of life.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    That isn't what your God is supposed to do
    Incorrect. God creates life precisely because His motivation is that of a parent. But no God does not create people knowing that they are going to indulge in this perverse determination to create a hell for themselves. The Bible is quite clear in fact that when we do this, He is sorry that He has made us.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    and creates a paradox
    A rather easy paradox to resolve. I guess you are not a parent. I suggest asking a parent how they resolve this paradox. LOL


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    if everything is predermined, as per him knowing everything that is, was and ever will be, then there can be no free will.
    How muslim your thinking is. I take my previous analysis back, you would fit in over there much better than I would. For that is one thing, that, anything I could possibly call me, could never believe.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    So, to expand, there is no point in me trying to become closer with God and get into heaven at all;
    ....
    In essence, wouldn't this make him the perfect dictator?
    I agree that there is no point at all, for what I think you have made him is your big fat scapegoat, and that is why He doesn't want you to believe in Him.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    also can you tone down disguised personal slams and longwinded four paragraph examples please?
    I have a better idea. Instead of me writing anything new. Each time you post something you can just go back and read a little more of what I already wrote. That way I won't have to read any more of your disguised personal slams or waste my time writing things that you don't bother to read anyway.
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    The requests I had to keep the thread open were real. I certainly had no desire for a knock down fight here. Perhaps you are trying to understand, and so since the thread was kept open you decided to see what would happened if you tried on me the same sort of arguments that work on yourself. Obviously they don't work on me at all, and unfortunately you feel more fustrated than informed. But this is one of the possible results if you try these same arguments on your friend. Perhaps, you should just wait and see if any of these others who said they were interested actually shows up. They were not theists, but maybe they have insight into religion that will be more helpful to you.
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    God knows everything that will happen. He therefore knew I would become an atheist, and knew that I burn in hell for eternity. He therefore created me knowing I would suffer. That isn't what your God is supposed to do and creates a paradox, assuming you aren't a relativist. So, to expand, there is no point in me trying to become closer with God and get into heaven at all; if everything is predermined, as per him knowing everything that is, was and ever will be, then there can be no free will.
    I have never really had a problem with this part.

    1)God creates you with free will. He limits himself too not knowing what you will turn out as. You become an atheist and burn in hell (for argument's sake).

    2)God creates you with free will and knows already what you will turn out as, but leaves you to make your own choices. You become an atheist and then subsequently burn in hell.

    It seems to me that either case is possible and neither is more perverted than the other, assuming that our lives are a big test of course. If you roll a ball down a hill ten times in a row it will never roll down the exact same path. Your choices are the chaos bit.

    I am an ex-theist for the record.
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    If debating was a sport and this thread was the playing field...


    Question

    "that's nonsensical"
    It's like going in circles so I'm just not going to go any further. You can't answer basic yes or no questions at times and really do twist the meaning of just about everything I say, then dance around it without an actual answer. I know for a fact you're familiar with the term non sequitor; I guess it's hard to see the shit in your own lawn when looking so hard for it in others. I'm coming off as antagonistic and probably won't ever understand your faith anyways so I won't be carrying this on. Sorry, I knew it was a bad idea to keep this conversation going back when I asked for a lock.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    If debating was a sport and this thread was the playing field...
    You set up the playing field and threw the balls. Your game.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    "that's nonsensical"
    Yes a question that supposes a contradiction is meaningless, because anything follows from a contradiction. I could equally declare, "If you were a Christian then pigs can fly to the moon." This statements is true because an "if A then B" statement is only false if A is true and B is false. Therefore a question posed of the form "if A then what?" is meaningless when A if false because any answer would be trivially correct. If this is the kind of reasoning you use for being an atheist then you need to put it all in the bin and start over again, because the only possible conclusion by someone with any training in logic is that your reasons are anything but rational.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    It's like going in circles so I'm just not going to go any further.
    I am glad you concur.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    You can't answer basic yes or no questions
    Ask a rational question and you will get a straight forward answer.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    at times and really do twist the meaning of just about everything I say, then dance around it without an actual answer.
    Ask a nonsensical question and it does not matter what my answer is. I am sorry that I cannot participate in your delusion that the answers to such questions mean anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I know for a fact you're familiar with the term non sequitor; I guess it's hard to see the shit in your own lawn when looking so hard for it in others.
    Yes the 2000 year old way of saying this is that you should not try to pick a speck out of your brother's eye when you have a log in your own, AND..... this saying is certainly very applicable to this discussion.


    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    I'm coming off as antagonistic and probably won't ever understand your faith anyways so I won't be carrying this on. Sorry, I knew it was a bad idea to keep this conversation going back when I asked for a lock.
    Yes you are. And I am not very good an ignoring antagonistic responses so as long as you keep making them I will probably keep coming back at you. I suggest simply ignoring my post and responding to Kalister's post or asking Kalister a question. Maybe you can ask Kalister the same question you asked me and see what he thinks.
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    This has been a fun thread to read.

    It is funny how people asking a hypothetical question expect a hardcore answer, especially when the hypothetical question is contrary to any real or potential circumstance.

    I found it interesting that moormoo seemed to feel he could openly avow atheism in a strict Islamic environment. One is probably more capable of existing as a Christian in that environment. For the most part, if you live in a strict Islamic environment, you cowtow to the party line no matter what it is. An Islamic nation such as Jordan is vastly different from an Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban or an Iran ruled by a nut-case.

    But in an attempt to answer one of moormoo's questions, I would suggest that I would not be a Christian had I been born in a strict Islamic environment. But, at the same time, I must suggest that God had the foresight to insure that I was not born in that environment, but rather in an environment which has the freedom of choice. So, as another hypothetical question, what if God made sure the only people born into Islamic environments were people He doesn't want, anyway?


    No one in the West is compelled to be Christian or any other thing. I am thankful that I live in an evironment which allows people to freely worship or not worship.

    But I do not think the OP opens on the correct note anyway. God does not compel or demand people to worship Him anymore than a parent demands and commands worship. Our parents are due our respect and love whether they have earned it or not. I would love my children even if they became murderers or rapists. I would not approve of their actions, and probably would not include them in my estate divisions, but I would still love them as my children. But even my forgiveness could not save them from the hell of prison. God's forgiveness, however, would save them from the hell of hells.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    But in an attempt to answer one of moormoo's questions, I would suggest that I would not be a Christian had I been born in a strict Islamic environment. But, at the same time, I must suggest that God had the foresight to insure that I was not born in that environment, but rather in an environment which has the freedom of choice. So, as another hypothetical question, what if God made sure the only people born into Islamic environments were people He doesn't want, anyway?
    Now the reason I don't give an answer like this is because unlike dayton, I do NOT make this presumption that only Christians "go to heaven" or that Muslims do not. This is why I kept responding to Mormoopid over and over again with the phrase, "so what?" Mormoopid was probably presuming that I believed some such thing and this was the reason why he was asking such a nonsensical question in the first place. But, in fact, even if the question wasn't nonsensical, it STILL would have been pointless. But no doubt Mormoopid will call this relativism again, since he seems to call anything that doesn't fit what he thinks a christian must believe is automatically relativism. LOL
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    Well, yes, but when people ask stupid hypothetical questions, I think they deserve stupid hypothetical answers. Who's to say what would be in different circumstances? What if Algore had been elected? I am thankful that we have no idea what it might have been like. What if we had never invaded Iraq? What if Buddy Holly had not died so young? What if Abe Lincoln had been born a woman? What if I invested in Microsoft in the mid 70's? Moormoopid just does not seem to understand that there are no "real" answers to hypothetical questions. So why not give him a moorstupid answer? Or is that a hypothetical question, too?
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    The misunderstanding is obvious. mormoopid is a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-is, kind of guy, which I respect. I believe his intentions for this thread were pure. He had/has an honest interest in trying to understand "the mind of the theist" and opened this thread to that end. Perhaps you guys are too accustomed to defending yourselves that you do not see a situation like this for what it is (which I can also understand to a degree), so give him some slack. He is not an idiot, I believe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    The misunderstanding is obvious. mormoopid is a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-is, kind of guy, which I respect. I believe his intentions for this thread were pure. He had/has an honest interest in trying to understand "the mind of the theist" and opened this thread to that end. Perhaps you guys are too accustomed to defending yourselves that you do not see a situation like this for what it is (which I can also understand to a degree), so give him some slack. He is not an idiot, I believe.
    Well maybe trying to understand "the mind of the theist" is part of the problem. How can this be any less offensive that trying to paint a picture of "the mind of the atheist". All that these words "theist" and "atheist" are going to tell you is how they answer one particular question but not even what they mean by their answer. Frankly what has come of this discussion is a demonstration of how the more you try to fit someone else into a stereotype the more fit yourself to a different stereotype.
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    Your explanations are pretty verbose in an effort to be as clear as possible, but I guess some people see that as talking around an issue (like politicians for example). The difference in this instance is that he was trying to get you to paint him a picture that made sense to him, but it seems that, given his frame of reference, that it would require a more in-depth, point by point and fundamental approach. Again, this does not make him an idiot (as you'd agree). There are quite a few things that one simply cannot understand without first having it explained in a way you can relate to. Yet others requires simply too much of a fundamental difference in a way of thinking to be able to grasp at all. That is why you will never in a million years be able convince people like Jollybear or most creationists. One barrier is knowing that fully understanding the other viewpoint does not necessarily mean that you have to be converted to be able to do so.

    I found the different ways you both approached the question in the first part of this discussion very interesting, because you are both involved in different scientific disciplines, while you have training in a theistic discipline as well. I thought it could develop into a very enlightening conversation for both "sides", but alas, it fell flat. Too bad.
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    So, as another hypothetical question, what if God made sure the only people born into Islamic environments were people He doesn't want, anyway?
    Why wouldn't God want someone? That loops back to my thoughts about him knowing beforehand I would become an atheist and that I would burn in hell. Those with potential to learn from the 'example' can't because those that are faithful are essentailly predetermined by God's all knowing prediction. Is there really any freewill in that?



    Mitchell, in light of our rather awesome PMing going on, I've decided to contribute a more to your forum. You do seem rather relativist compared with (as discussed) someone I know. That person was raised as a 'bible is the law and that's the way it is' kind of thing (as far as I can tell), assuming that only those that follow it in that way get into heavan. Strangely, if I were to be faithful I'd be the most relativist person on the planet as I feel that religion, should I have it in my life, must adhere to my life and enrich my life, rather than control it. Man, that seems like quite the dichotomy- figuring out something I don't understand from a perspective I don't hold as my own.

    So I guess I was trying to argue from that perspective of absolutism to figure it out better from someone who isn't black and white. It's like asking a zebra why an orangutan is orange. Your answer, of course, won't even be in English.


    Also Kalster, you know where I'm comin' from. Word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    You do seem rather relativist compared with (as discussed) someone I know. That person was raised as a 'bible is the law and that's the way it is' kind of thing (as far as I can tell), assuming that only those that follow it in that way get into heavan. Strangely, if I were to be faithful I'd be the most relativist person on the planet as I feel that religion, should I have it in my life, must adhere to my life and enrich my life, rather than control it. Man, that seems like quite the dichotomy- figuring out something I don't understand from a perspective I don't hold as my own.
    Again I repeat, I am NOT a relativist. But you are quite correct to conclude that I am not an absolutist. I am a pluralist which is neither. The pluralist seeks the proper balance between these two extremes, knowing that there are indeed many relative aspects to truth and morality but that somewhere underneath the superficial forms and appearances there really are some unchangeable truths.

    But yes I am not only about as strong a pluralist as an evangelical Christian can be, but I am also a secularist since I believe that only a secular operation of government is consistent with the principles of religious freedom and tolerance. Nevertheless I am a strong Christian and find no contradiction in this because my highly pluralistic understanding of Christianty and Christian theology means that my secularist convictions actually flow from and are reinforced by my religious convictions.

    I see the immense diversity in nature as an example of how diversity is part of the modus operandi of God. In Genesis 11, I see God opposing the efforts of human beings to create a single unified culture and believe that this is because that was what led to the kind of world before the flood where a uniformity of evil - including the systematic abuse of the innocent made the resulting human civilization unredeemable. Thus the lie of organized religion that "God is not a God of confusion" is revealed, for in Genesis 11 God confused the languages of man to create a diversity of culture and thus a diversity of religion, because this is essential for our salvation. The diversity of human thought is not only a beautiful creation of God but it is essential for positive social change and human intellectual and spiritual development.


    P.S. "God is not a God of confusion" is a quote from scripture but its meaning of confusion is more that of chaos or anarchy (and was refering to conduct in church meetings) and NOT as these organized religions try to use this passage to mean that God is in opposition to a diversity of ideas, culture and religion - that there can only be one right way (presuming that their way is the right way, of course).
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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