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  1. #1 The Problem of Evil 
    Forum Freshman llantas's Avatar
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    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?”
    -Epicurus (“De Rerum Natura” Lucretius)



    The Epicurean Paradox (or Problem of Evil) has taken many forms throughout history. For many atheists it is regarded as solid evidence that God doesn’t/cannot exist. From my understanding, some of the most notable counter arguments from theists are as follows:

    -Evil is nothing more than the absence of good. Since humans are not pure beings, any part of us that is not good is inherently ‘evil’. This relies on the view of evil simply as a contrast to good, and not a moral judgment.

    -People are unable to grasp the concept of ‘evil’ and thus all ‘evil’ could actually be a part of God’s plan.

    -Free will. If we all could only do good things, we would be mindless drones. God invented evil so that we would truly have a choice to make with our lives.



    I was just wondering if you all had any comments and/or arguments for or against this paradox. I find the topic of some interest to me.

    (This post is in many ways a summery of the wikipedia article that can be found on the topic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil So if you’re looking for more information or clarification it can probably be found there.)


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  3. #2 Re: The Problem of Evil 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?”
    -Epicurus (“De Rerum Natura” Lucretius)

    -Evil is nothing more than the absence of good. Since humans are not pure beings, any part of us that is not good is inherently ‘evil’. This relies on the view of evil simply as a contrast to good, and not a moral judgment.

    -People are unable to grasp the concept of ‘evil’ and thus all ‘evil’ could actually be a part of God’s plan.

    -Free will. If we all could only do good things, we would be mindless drones. God invented evil so that we would truly have a choice to make with our lives.
    There is actually 2 versions of this paradox - one in regards to the existence of evil and one in regards to the existence of suffering. The philosophical problem is not difficult to answer, but something does have to give way in the solution and this does contribute to the variety of Christian beliefs about God. In addition to the philosophical problem there is also the visceral experience of evil and suffering to which philosophical solutions are somewhat lame.

    Another option not listed above that seems to be a common solution is the sacrifice of logic itself with a "ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die" sort of attitude about God - in other words a kind of blind faith.

    In the problem of evil, I go with the free will solution and I think this means that God is capable of sacrifice and risk. In order to create something interesting God risked disaster by sacrificing His absolute control over everything to give all living things a measure of free will. In fact He gave an increasing amount of free will in higher life forms until Adam and Eve had such a measure that they embodied the idea of children, whose essential free will has been experienced by every human parent. Human parents have also experienced the same sort of disaster as God did in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve turned from the guidance of God to learn about good and evil for themselves.

    This is hardly the universal Christian solution to the problem of evil. For even when free will is upheld as a solution, many Christians will insist that God sacrifices none of his omniscience, omipotence or sovereignty as illogical as that seems to me. For me, a God that must preserve his own power and control at all costs and is incapable of risk or sacrifice does not inspire any love or admiration in me.

    In the version of the problem, which we can call the problem of "suffering", I believe that the solution lies largely in perspective and the perception of suffering. I compare us to the child in the grocery store acting like it is on the verge of dying because his or her parent will not buy the candy he or she wants. The child does not know what is good for it and barely understands the meaning of desire. As we grow older we learn that if we really want something then we are willing to work long and hard for it (even suffer for it). Thus in the context of eternal life our "sufferings" in this life may be just as trivial and our complaints as childish as the child in the grocery store.

    But that brings us to the experience of evil and suffering as opposed to the intellectual exercise. Albert Camus' novel The Plague comes to mind in regards to this. The ultimate suffering, it seems to me, is the loss of loved one such as a child. In the face of such an experience I would not be to surpised to be rewarded by a punch in the face for the innane philosophical arguments presented above. The renunciation of faith as a result of such an experience is not an uncommon occurence. So this is a much more real and potent example of the problem of evil and suffering to my mind than any intellectual discussion. All I can say to this is that the renunciation of faith does not seem to bring any great comfort or solution to this experience of suffering and evil. People have many different ways of expressing their grief and many are far from rational and even self-destructive. In the end, after all is said, we all have to get through this experience of being human the best that we can.


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  4. #3 Re: The Problem of Evil 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In the version of the problem, which we can call the problem of "suffering", I believe that the solution lies largely in perspective and the perception of suffering. I compare us to the child in the grocery store acting like it is on the verge of dying because his or her parent will not buy the candy he or she wants. The child does not know what is good for it and barely understands the meaning of desire. As we grow older we learn that if we really want something then we are willing to work long and hard for it (even suffer for it). Thus in the context of eternal life our "sufferings" in this life may be just as trivial and our complaints as childish as the child in the grocery store.
    In fact your whole piece was very intriguing, but this above is so very astute. I hope it works to enlighten others. There is nothing like the influence of a strong spirit to see one through suffering. I personally believe that spiritual people are more resistant to suffering or "evil" than those who are not. Excuse me for going off the topic but I had to comment on that.

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    Evil eh. I'm not sure evil exists. More like immaturity. Sort of like a Buddhist philosophy. We are, ina a sense, all here to learn and become enlightened. This does not neccessarily happen in one lifetime. Those who do what we call evil just need more time to mature. In doing their evil we all are able to learn from it.

    Hmmm... thank God for the internet. Without it we would all be in mental hospitals.

    Anyways, that is just how I see things. Although, I have never met anyone who was thought of as truly evil. Or if I did I wasn't aware of it. There is no good or bad. These are just words to allow for comunication. Words that have been abused through time, allowing for their meanings to be warped.
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    Do you therefore believe in reincarnation? That, in the case where the soul has not become fully "matured", then it comes back to the world in another lifeform? You know, I've always found this a beautiful illustration of the purpose of life, but I've never been able to convince myself of its authenticity. Do you mind explaining to me through what process one is reincarnated? If you could prove that theory, then it would be an answer to the 'Problem Of Evil', at least according to me.

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  7. #6 Re: The Problem of Evil 
    Forum Freshman llantas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Another option not listed above that seems to be a common solution is the sacrifice of logic itself with a "ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die" sort of attitude about God - in other words a kind of blind faith.
    Yes, Christians say that to me very often. I'm really not sure how to reason with someone who believes it is not just acceptable, but correct to base their entire life off of something without questioning it's validity.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In the problem of evil, I go with the free will solution and I think this means that God is capable of sacrifice and risk. In order to create something interesting God risked disaster by sacrificing His absolute control over everything to give all living things a measure of free will. In fact He gave an increasing amount of free will in higher life forms until Adam and Eve had such a measure that they embodied the idea of children, whose essential free will has been experienced by every human parent. Human parents have also experienced the same sort of disaster as God did in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve turned from the guidance of God to learn about good and evil for themselves.

    This is hardly the universal Christian solution to the problem of evil. For even when free will is upheld as a solution, many Christians will insist that God sacrifices none of his omniscience, omipotence or sovereignty as illogical as that seems to me. For me, a God that must preserve his own power and control at all costs and is incapable of risk or sacrifice does not inspire any love or admiration in me.

    Yes, and to assume God took risks by giving us free will is to assume that God is not omniscient. Because if God knows everything, then God knows the future. And if God knows the future, then even though we do make our own choices, God already knows which choices we are going to make. And if God already knows which choices we are going to make, he knows that man will make choices that are evil. ...right?


    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    I personally believe that spiritual people are more resistant to suffering or "evil" than those who are not.
    In many cases I agree. But that's not really suprizing. People who believe they have a powerful, important God standing by them and supporting them at all times are likely to be more optimistic, whether or not that God actually exists. It's like having an all-powerful imaginary friend. (With the assumption that God isn't real) Obviously, that's not true 100% of the time.
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  8. #7 Re: The Problem of Evil 
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Yes, and to assume God took risks by giving us free will is to assume that God is not omniscient. Because if God knows everything, then God knows the future. And if God knows the future, then even though we do make our own choices, God already knows which choices we are going to make. And if God already knows which choices we are going to make, he knows that man will make choices that are evil. ...right?
    I wonder why god the omnipotent and omniscient would create a huge universe full of galaxies and stars for no apparent reason, and on only one small planet in a farily small star system create a life form in his" image that has minimal ability to interact with or understand the environment and that clearly cannot be expected to have any possibility of living up to the god-given expectations of the bible. It just seems to me that any such god could have created a far superior life form and still have given it "free will". Why is pain, suffering, death, evil, hate, and sin necessary in a god created world, particularly in light of god's obvious desire that these be eliminated, as layed out among its expectations in the bible? Is this really the best that god could do?
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  9. #8 Re: The Problem of Evil 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Yes, and to assume God took risks by giving us free will is to assume that God is not omniscient. Because if God knows everything, then God knows the future. And if God knows the future, then even though we do make our own choices, God already knows which choices we are going to make. And if God already knows which choices we are going to make, he knows that man will make choices that are evil. ...right?
    Well it is a matter of what you think omniscience means.

    First of all omniscience and omnipotence and especially total sovereignty are not three separate things as is often imagined. They are inextricably bound together. Power is impossible without knowledge and knowledge is impossible without power. Furthermore, abosolute knowledge can only mean absolute sovereignty. It is a lesson of quantum mechanics that you cannot know without interfering in what is known. To put it simply knowledge has a hand in creating reality. Therefore absolute knowledge is absolute control.

    Second there is this objectionable idea that omnipotence and omniscience defines God. It is almost as if rather than knowledge and power being available to the service of God, it is He/She who is bound and enslaved by knowledge and power. This is why I make the point about risk and sacrifice. All power is available to God, but God is not ruled by this. What kind of person is ruled by power? Surely God is ruled by His own will not by His power. Likewise, I say that knowledge is available to God but God is not defined or ruled by knowledge. God can know or not as He chooses. I say it is quite possible for God to plan the general course of event on an historical scale without controlling the individual. People really have very little control over the general course of events on the historical scale, for these depend on so many things quite beyond their control. Furthermore even though human beings have free will, they rarely exercise it. They really are rather predictable most of the time.

    Third there is the idea that God exists outside of time and space, for He/She created it. The question is what does this mean. I obviously do not think this means that He created the universe as a four (or ten) dimensional object with past and future complete, for I do not think that God even created a single living thing this world with a snap of His fingers, but only in a interactive process of being involved in the life of living things moment to moment, side by side. I think that this idea of being oustide time and space simply means that God is free to move His consiousness to any point in time for He is not bound within it. Some people deny this, saying that the future does not exist to be known. But I think God is sufficiently bound by both ethics and aesthetics to participate in our world in its proper order of time. Otherwise violates aesthetics in the sense of reading the end of a story ahead of time, and violates ethics in the sense of telling the end to someone before he reads it. Furthermore I think it is an issue of privacy. He may be everywhere in our world and life knowing our every thought and action, but the future is a privacy that he allows us and therein lies our free will. So I think that as God participates in this world He does not know its future (even though He may plan some of it).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I wonder why god the omnipotent and omniscient would create a huge universe full of galaxies and stars for no apparent reason, and on only one small planet in a farily small star system create a life form in his" image that has minimal ability to interact with or understand the environment and that clearly cannot be expected to have any possibility of living up to the god-given expectations of the bible.
    Your sentence is such a mouthfull that I debated whether I should break it up into manageable pieces. There are multiple points and arguments present in this one sentence.

    I think your first "argument" about the size of the universe is a valid one, but only against the idea of creation by design. For if designed with only this one planet and the life on it being intended then the incredible inefficiency you describe is indeed difficult to explain. But, I think that God created the universe with a kind of mathematical formula for life (in some sense), much in the way that computer programers have created this game of life (for example http://www.radicaleye.com/lifepage/). And then God simply nurtures life wherever it begins, cherishing every instance of it throughout the universe. But life elsewhere, whether it exists or not, is really none of our business.

    Your second "argument" concerning the capabilities of man is again only applicable to the idea of design. An idea to which I am very much opposed. Life innately has an infinite potentiality, for the essense of what it means to be alive, is to have the ability to become more than it is. It has the ability to learn and become what it learns. This potentiality may never be realized without the aid of God, but it is there. In any case, there came a point in God's effort of cultivating life to realize its greater potentialites when God decided that a certain lifeform was ready for a more direct form of education by means of what we call communication. If this was ever just an experiment you could say that this is where he contaminated it, for in raising young humans with speech and communicating to them the essential (nonverbal) ideas of being a person, God truly created human beings in His/Her own image in the same way that every human parent raises their own children, inheriting much of their parents' personalities.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    It just seems to me that any such god could have created a far superior life form and still have given it "free will". Why is pain, suffering, death, evil, hate, and sin necessary in a god created world, particularly in light of god's obvious desire that these be eliminated, as layed out among its expectations in the bible?
    Again you are talking about design, and God did do that, for they are called angels. Far superior life forms (after a fashion), but their free will is a poor imitation, much like the decision making capabilities of our computers (but obviously much more sophisticated), because the fact of the matter is that they (just like our computers) are still no more or less than exactly what they were designed to be. And so the angelic world has no pain, suffering, death, evil, hate or sin. But it is also boring and rather limited in the ability to love or to be loved, and that is why God tried something quite different involving the sacrifice of his abolute control and the risk of things like pain, suffering, death, evil, hate, and sin. For in creating life, God created something which would always have a hand in its own creation, and therefore unlike the angels would not simply "be no more or less than exactly what they were created to be", but would, in fact, themselves be responsible for who and what they are. THAT is what it means to be alive (in truth rather than in the poor angelic immitation).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Is this really the best that god could do?
    No, this is the best that we could do, after refusing the guidance of God.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monté
    Do you therefore believe in reincarnation? That, in the case where the soul has not become fully "matured", then it comes back to the world in another lifeform? You know, I've always found this a beautiful illustration of the purpose of life, but I've never been able to convince myself of its authenticity. Do you mind explaining to me through what process one is reincarnated? If you could prove that theory, then it would be an answer to the 'Problem Of Evil', at least according to me.

    ~1~
    Well first of all I wouldn't call this the purpose of life. Only untill all the "souls" are enlightened can the purpose be fulfilled; if even then. I should also say that I am not a teacher in any way and have limited knowledge but, I will explain as I understand it. Since you used the word soul I will continue using it.

    When the body dies the soul finds a new already born entity (whether human, animal, or alien), depending on the souls karma. This new life can be something beyond our imagination for all I know or it could just be another person. A cannot offer any "hard" proof of anything. Although, there are bodhisattvas alive today (reincarnated souls here to teach us). They could be crazy for all I know though. But, I will say that I don't believe they are crazy.

    I like to think of it in terms of starwars. Becoming a Jedi Knight is potentialy the souls last step to enlightenment. Once the point is achieved the soul willingly allows the body to die.
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    Forum Freshman llantas's Avatar
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    Let me start by saying I found that all very difficult to understand, so I apologize if my interpretations of what you were trying to say are a bit off.


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    First of all omniscience and omnipotence and especially total sovereignty are not three separate things as is often imagined. They are inextricably bound together. Power is impossible without knowledge and knowledge is impossible without power. Furthermore, abosolute knowledge can only mean absolute sovereignty. It is a lesson of quantum mechanics that you cannot know without interfering in what is known. To put it simply knowledge has a hand in creating reality. Therefore absolute knowledge is absolute control.
    I can see how someone that controlled everything would have to know everything. But I can't see how someone who knew everything would therefore control everything.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Second there is this objectionable idea that omnipotence and omniscience defines God. It is almost as if rather than knowledge and power being available to the service of God, it is He/She who is bound and enslaved by knowledge and power. This is why I make the point about risk and sacrifice. All power is available to God, but God is not ruled by this. What kind of person is ruled by power? Surely God is ruled by His own will not by His power. Likewise, I say that knowledge is available to God but God is not defined or ruled by knowledge. God can know or not as He chooses. I say it is quite possible for God to plan the general course of event on an historical scale without controlling the individual. People really have very little control over the general course of events on the historical scale, for these depend on so many things quite beyond their control. Furthermore even though human beings have free will, they rarely exercise it. They really are rather predictable most of the time.
    So the way I understood this is that God has the ability to control people and/or know everything but he chooses not to. With that I would have to accept that you were assuming that God is not holy.
    Quote Originally Posted by epicurus
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    And surely depriving yourself of power that is easily available to you in order to assure free will and thus the continued suffering on a planet of your creation is immoral?




    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Third there is the idea that God exists outside of time and space, for He/She created it. The question is what does this mean. I obviously do not think this means that He created the universe as a four (or ten) dimensional object with past and future complete, for I do not think that God even created a single living thing this world with a snap of His fingers, but only in a interactive process of being involved in the life of living things moment to moment, side by side. I think that this idea of being oustide time and space simply means that God is free to move His consiousness to any point in time for He is not bound within it. Some people deny this, saying that the future does not exist to be known. But I think God is sufficiently bound by both ethics and aesthetics to participate in our world in its proper order of time. Otherwise violates aesthetics in the sense of reading the end of a story ahead of time, and violates ethics in the sense of telling the end to someone before he reads it. Furthermore I think it is an issue of privacy. He may be everywhere in our world and life knowing our every thought and action, but the future is a privacy that he allows us and therein lies our free will. So I think that as God participates in this world He does not know its future (even though He may plan some of it).
    Certainly if God knows everything then God knows the future. There’s really no to know how God went about creating things. Being God, it would be perfectly logical to assume that he created everything all at once.
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Being God, it would be perfectly logical to assume ...
    eh :?

    You're God?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    eh :?

    You're God?
    lol sorry, what I meant was more...."when refering to God" or "Since he is GOD" or something of that matter
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    Haha.. I know, I was just messin with ya.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Let me start by saying I found that all very difficult to understand, so I apologize if my interpretations of what you were trying to say are a bit off.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    First of all omniscience and omnipotence and especially total sovereignty are not three separate things as is often imagined. They are inextricably bound together. Power is impossible without knowledge and knowledge is impossible without power. Furthermore, abosolute knowledge can only mean absolute sovereignty. It is a lesson of quantum mechanics that you cannot know without interfering in what is known. To put it simply knowledge has a hand in creating reality. Therefore absolute knowledge is absolute control.
    I can see how someone that controlled everything would have to know everything. But I can't see how someone who knew everything would therefore control everything.
    The lesson of quantum mechanics is that things can exist in a natural state of uncertainty. Therefore absolute knowledge would annihilate this, changing the natural state of reality to what your knowledge dictates. The future choices of of human beings are quite comparable. Free will means that our choices are ours to make and therefore are in a similar state of uncertainty until we make our choices ourselves. For God to have the future knowledge of our choices would annihilate this state of uncertainty and destroy our free will. We would be no more than automatons to Him and it would be irrational for Him to hold us responsible for anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Second there is this objectionable idea that omnipotence and omniscience defines God. It is almost as if rather than knowledge and power being available to the service of God, it is He/She who is bound and enslaved by knowledge and power. This is why I make the point about risk and sacrifice. All power is available to God, but God is not ruled by this. What kind of person is ruled by power? Surely God is ruled by His own will not by His power. Likewise, I say that knowledge is available to God but God is not defined or ruled by knowledge. God can know or not as He chooses. I say it is quite possible for God to plan the general course of event on an historical scale without controlling the individual. People really have very little control over the general course of events on the historical scale, for these depend on so many things quite beyond their control. Furthermore even though human beings have free will, they rarely exercise it. They really are rather predictable most of the time.
    So the way I understood this is that God has the ability to control people and/or know everything but he chooses not to. With that I would have to accept that you were assuming that God is not holy.
    Well I cannot understand this at all, unless you have an unusual and unfathomable definition of holy.

    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.thefreedictionary.com/holy
    "holy" ho·ly (hl)
    adj. ho·li·er, ho·li·est
    1. Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred.
    2. Regarded with or worthy of worship or veneration; revered: a holy book.
    3. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy person.
    4. Specified or set apart for a religious purpose: a holy place.
    5. Solemnly undertaken; sacrosanct: a holy pledge.
    6. Regarded as deserving special respect or reverence: The pursuit of peace is our holiest quest.
    7. Informal Used as an intensive: raised holy hell over the mischief their children did.
    Well in this context I feel only 1,2,3 and 6 as the only definitions which might be applicable.
    1 is automatic when speaking of God, for divine means God. I do not see how 2 and 6 is altered by what I said. In fact, for me it reinforces it, for I do not find a person ruled by knowledge and power to inspire worship. Rather it is God's will to love, in my thinking, that makes Him holy. 3 is actually inapplicabe because God is beyond our ability to judge.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by epicurus
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    And surely depriving yourself of power that is easily available to you in order to assure free will and thus the continued suffering on a planet of your creation is immoral?
    Ahhh yes indeed. Here I think you have hit upon a real paradox. The creation of life is by pure logic inherently immoral. There is only one thing that can defy this logic and make it moral and that is love. The creation of life without love indeed is a great evil and malevolent as you say. But God's perfect and infinite love for all that He has created makes His act of creation a moral one.

    When we have a child, it is inevitable that the child will suffer (from the birth itself, falling when learning to walk, required vaccinations, etc...), but loving parents are ready to provide comfort to help the child endure throught these moments of suffering and in the end to believe that this necessary suffering is worthwhile. But a parent who brings a child into the world without this love for selfish reasons (such as to put the child up for sale), does great evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Third there is the idea that God exists outside of time and space, for He/She created it. The question is what does this mean. I obviously do not think this means that He created the universe as a four (or ten) dimensional object with past and future complete, for I do not think that God even created a single living thing this world with a snap of His fingers, but only in a interactive process of being involved in the life of living things moment to moment, side by side. I think that this idea of being oustide time and space simply means that God is free to move His consiousness to any point in time for He is not bound within it. Some people deny this, saying that the future does not exist to be known. But I think God is sufficiently bound by both ethics and aesthetics to participate in our world in its proper order of time. Otherwise violates aesthetics in the sense of reading the end of a story ahead of time, and violates ethics in the sense of telling the end to someone before he reads it. Furthermore I think it is an issue of privacy. He may be everywhere in our world and life knowing our every thought and action, but the future is a privacy that he allows us and therein lies our free will. So I think that as God participates in this world He does not know its future (even though He may plan some of it).
    Certainly if God knows everything then God knows the future. There’s really no to know how God went about creating things. Being God, it would be perfectly logical to assume that he created everything all at once.
    Certainly God can know everything if He chooses, but God is motivated by love rather than power, so God cherishes life and the free will of His creatures, and their ability to surprise Him. Otherwise how boring. Trivial effort accomplishes trivial results. God is up to greater challenges than you can imagine (apparently). Results are not independent of method. Creating everything all at once is fine for inanimate objects and automatons but not for the creation of living things.
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    one question i've always had is the suffering of people with disease, why would god make small innocent children suffer with terminal disease over long periods of time, surely this is an evil act. I spoke to one christian who had suffered with illness since she was a child, in severe pain daily and said to me "gods doing this to test my faith" now why would god put someone through 40 plus years of suffering, to me thats an evil act. and why do this to a christian when child murderers go on unharmed.

    somethings not right there
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    becuase he is a evil sadistic homocidal maniac whos biggest enjoyment is the suffering of others.
    how can u test the faith of a child? its not possible
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    Do you think a child has any reason to lie to you?

    I don't think you understand. God is beyond your petty concepts of good and evil. God is not sitting there going what shall I do today that is good or evil. I already tried to explain this. It is very difficult to explain so for now I will not try again. I guarantee you though, God is not evil, nor is he good. He simply is.

    If you are simply saying these things to take advantage of an issue that could cause one to question his faith than I pity you.
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    if he is never doing anything then he have nothing to do with us and therefor dont exist in our realm. with other words doesnt exist
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Do you think a child has any reason to lie to you?

    I don't think you understand. God is beyond your petty concepts of good and evil. God is not sitting there going what shall I do today that is good or evil. I already tried to explain this. It is very difficult to explain so for now I will not try again. I guarantee you though, God is not evil, nor is he good. He simply is.

    If you are simply saying these things to take advantage of an issue that could cause one to question his faith than I pity you.
    Why so defensive? is your religion that weak to ask a genuine question, its the main issue i have with ALL religion(except the intolerence side)and was a honest question

    but thats what i thought, no real answer. either he doesn't exist therefore children suffer. or he does and the suffering is either of no importance to him or he enjoys it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The lesson of quantum mechanics is that things can exist in a natural state of uncertainty. Therefore absolute knowledge would annihilate this, changing the natural state of reality to what your knowledge dictates. The future choices of of human beings are quite comparable. Free will means that our choices are ours to make and therefore are in a similar state of uncertainty until we make our choices ourselves. For God to have the future knowledge of our choices would annihilate this state of uncertainty and destroy our free will. We would be no more than automatons to Him and it would be irrational for Him to hold us responsible for anything.
    So the more we know, the less free we are?


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Well I cannot understand this at all, unless you have an unusual and unfathomable definition of holy.
    I was simply beginning to explain what I said after that.


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Ahhh yes indeed. Here I think you have hit upon a real paradox. The creation of life is by pure logic inherently immoral. There is only one thing that can defy this logic and make it moral and that is love. The creation of life without love indeed is a great evil and malevolent as you say. But God's perfect and infinite love for all that He has created makes His act of creation a moral one.

    When we have a child, it is inevitable that the child will suffer (from the birth itself, falling when learning to walk, required vaccinations, etc...), but loving parents are ready to provide comfort to help the child endure throught these moments of suffering and in the end to believe that this necessary suffering is worthwhile. But a parent who brings a child into the world without this love for selfish reasons (such as to put the child up for sale), does great evil.
    So as long as something is done out of love, no matter how much pain and suffering it causes, it is moral? (That's what I go out of that.)

    Parents certainly didn't create the world the child will be suffering, however. And generally do their best to prevent thier child from suffering.
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    Quote Originally Posted by captaincaveman
    but thats what i thought, no real answer. either he doesn't exist therefore children suffer. or he does and the suffering is either of no importance to him or he enjoys it.
    Or, similar to many ancient beliefs, God(s) are more anthropomorphic (always enjoy using that word in a sentence) and therefore aren't really holy or capable of preventing evil. They're just more powerful, and created things.
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    yeah, its a question thats always bothered me, love the site linked in your signature llantas, put that in my favourites, interesting read :-D
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The lesson of quantum mechanics is that things can exist in a natural state of uncertainty. Therefore absolute knowledge would annihilate this, changing the natural state of reality to what your knowledge dictates. The future choices of of human beings are quite comparable. Free will means that our choices are ours to make and therefore are in a similar state of uncertainty until we make our choices ourselves. For God to have the future knowledge of our choices would annihilate this state of uncertainty and destroy our free will. We would be no more than automatons to Him and it would be irrational for Him to hold us responsible for anything.
    So the more we know, the less free we are?
    NO. But you could say, the more God (or anyone else) knows about what we will do then the less free we are. For it means the choices involved are not in any state of uncertainty but already determined.


    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Ahhh yes indeed. Here I think you have hit upon a real paradox. The creation of life is by pure logic inherently immoral. There is only one thing that can defy this logic and make it moral and that is love. The creation of life without love indeed is a great evil and malevolent as you say. But God's perfect and infinite love for all that He has created makes His act of creation a moral one.

    When we have a child, it is inevitable that the child will suffer (from the birth itself, falling when learning to walk, required vaccinations, etc...), but loving parents are ready to provide comfort to help the child endure throught these moments of suffering and in the end to believe that this necessary suffering is worthwhile. But a parent who brings a child into the world without this love for selfish reasons (such as to put the child up for sale), does great evil.
    So as long as something is done out of love, no matter how much pain and suffering it causes, it is moral? (That's what I go out of that.)
    That is not a valid characterization. I was not talking about something. I was talking about the creation of life. So sticking to the subject, we can ask your question again. The answer is yes because when love is offered there is every hope that what is gained will be worth the price of pain. It is what is called in the courtroom, doing it in "good faith".

    However, whether hope is realized is a case by case question. In my case I say that what I have is life is worth the suffering I have endured. How about you?

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Parents certainly didn't create the world the child will be suffering, however. And generally do their best to prevent thier child from suffering.
    I read an interesting youth novel this week entitled "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, where people tried to make a world without pain. It was a rather good horror story.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    NO. But you could say, the more God (or anyone else) knows about what we will do then the less free we are. For it means the choices involved are not in any state of uncertainty but already determined
    Just because I know someone is going to do something doesn't mean I have control over the fact that they do it. But I understand where you're coming from.

    If God is such an advocate for free will, then why did he send us the bible to tell us how to behave. and why did he create hell to punish those who act differently?



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    That is not a valid characterization. I was not talking about something. I was talking about the creation of life. So sticking to the subject, we can ask your question again. The answer is yes because when love is offered there is every hope that what is gained will be worth the price of pain. It is what is called in the courtroom, doing it in "good faith".
    So then it would be perfectly moral for a person to commit evil (cause suffering), as long as they did something equally good (cause pleasure) afterwards?

    Anyways, for many people the suffering in this world outweighs the pleasure. The answer that God offers for this is that he is fair, and thus punishes people who deserve punishment.

    Assuming one religious faith is true (and therefore the rest are false), far more people go to hell than heaven, and thus suffer eternally. (I'm assuming you're a Christian, I could be wrong but anyways---what is your denomination?)

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    However, whether hope is realized is a case by case question. In my case I say that what I have is life is worth the suffering I have endured. How about you?
    Absolutely not. But I am young yet.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I read an interesting youth novel this week entitled "The Giver" by Lois Lowry, where people tried to make a world without pain. It was a rather good horror story.
    I happen to have read that, but it was a good while ago.
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Just because I know someone is going to do something doesn't mean I have control over the fact that they do it. But I understand where you're coming from.
    It does if you are all powerful like God.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    If God is such an advocate for free will, then why did he send us the bible to tell us how to behave.
    Because that was part of the whole idea - to create something to which He could give without limit. The creation of something without free will is instantaneous. It has what you have given it already. But living things are created continuously in a partnership with the creator, just as a farmer raises crops and a teacher teaches students. We are created with nothing but with the potential for everything. So God can lead us towards our greater potentialities eternally.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    and why did he create hell to punish those who act differently?
    A mother may say to her child, "If you break your neck doing that, I will kill you." Of course the threat is an empty one, but the danger is real. The truth is that no punishment is required. Real punishment when possible and offered by the parent is a blessing for it substitutes the excessive harsh consequences of reality with milder ones, so that the child may learn the lessons of life more gradually. This idea of an eternal hell for punishment is nonsense of course. The purpose of punishment is to modify behavior so it makes no sense for it to be eternal. It is only the natural consequences of our action that can be so permanent and harsh.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    That is not a valid characterization. I was not talking about something. I was talking about the creation of life. So sticking to the subject, we can ask your question again. The answer is yes because when love is offered there is every hope that what is gained will be worth the price of pain. It is what is called in the courtroom, doing it in "good faith".
    So then it would be perfectly moral for a person to commit evil (cause suffering), as long as they did something equally good (cause pleasure) afterwards?
    Absolutely not. But again, the question is not "commiting any evil". The question is the creation of life. The creation of life is only evil if it is done for the wrong purpose.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Anyways, for many people the suffering in this world outweighs the pleasure. The answer that God offers for this is that he is fair, and thus punishes people who deserve punishment.
    No. The only answer possible is that God loves us. Love includes empathy, so the when the one who is loved suffers then the one who loves also suffers. Your free will means you are free to be perverse in choosing death and hate over life and love. But that is your choice and thus it is only your fault. God and a lot of other people will suffer because of this choice. And so in this sensless manner you can respond to the suffering in the world by creating more suffering. Life is thus senseless and meaningless because you choose it to be. The world has seen so much of this that it is terrifyingly boring and not worth a second of our attention. It is the creators in life who deserve and get our attention with the things they pour their hard work and love into: their ideas, stories, art, music, films, inventions, games, communities, and other accomplishments.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Assuming one religious faith is true (and therefore the rest are false), far more people go to hell than heaven, and thus suffer eternally.
    GIGO: horrifying assumption gives horrifying conclusion. This sort of religion needs a punishment of eternal hell, because only a threat of such horrifying proportions could possibly blackmail people into believing such rubbish. I am Christian but I don't give credence to this superficial version Christianity (see What I see in Christianity for details).

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    (I'm assuming you're a Christian, I could be wrong but anyways---what is your denomination?)
    5 bucks, I think.

    I go to a Calvary Chapel occasionally but they don't tell me what to believe and they would probably disown me if you asked them. So it would probably be more helpful to think of me as a minimalist anti-Gnostic born-again Christian existentialist and orthodox open theist, who upholds a kind of theistic evolution, fighting for harmony between science and religion. Yeah that's right, I am an opinionated intellectual.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Absolutely not. But I am young yet.
    Sorry to hear that. So, is nothing in life worth doing, nothing worth suffering for?
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    Certainly God can know everything if He chooses, but God is motivated by love rather than power, so God cherishes life and the free will of His creatures, and their ability to surprise Him.
    But if the knowedge is THERE, then we still don't have free will. Electrons haven't changed just because we can predict there overall behavior.[/quote]
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  28. #27 Re: The Problem of Evil 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In the problem of evil, I go with the free will solution and I think this means that God is capable of sacrifice and risk. In order to create something interesting God risked disaster by sacrificing His absolute control over everything to give all living things a measure of free will.
    I think a major problem with this view is that it seems to imply that god views individual people as "expendable" in his pursuit of...whatever it is he was trying to accomplish that necessitated free will. So when a person is being horribly tortured and cries out to god form help, god replies "I'm sorry, but this lunatic torturer having free will is more important to me than your right to not be brutally tortured."
    In the version of the problem, which we can call the problem of "suffering", I believe that the solution lies largely in perspective and the perception of suffering. I compare us to the child in the grocery store acting like it is on the verge of dying because his or her parent will not buy the candy he or she wants. The child does not know what is good for it and barely understands the meaning of desire. As we grow older we learn that if we really want something then we are willing to work long and hard for it (even suffer for it). Thus in the context of eternal life our "sufferings" in this life may be just as trivial and our complaints as childish as the child in the grocery store.
    The problem here (as you seem to acknowledge below) is that there are also many examples of suffering that causes people to turn away from god, stop believing in god, or act in self-destructive ways. Christians love to point out that god can help people through suffering and how suffering can bring people closer to god, or bring about other positive results - but a christian whose child dies might turn away from god, become a drug addict, and murder several people for drug money before overdosing and going to hell. In that case it would be difficult to imagine how the suffering could have been "for their own good."
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  29. #28 Re: The Problem of Evil 
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Science_Geek
    Certainly God can know everything if He chooses, but God is motivated by love rather than power, so God cherishes life and the free will of His creatures, and their ability to surprise Him.
    But if the knowedge is THERE, then we still don't have free will. Electrons haven't changed just because we can predict there overall behavior.
    But that is the whole point. Something cannot be known unless "the knowledge is there", and if the knowledge is there then reality cannot be in an uncertain state. We know from quantum mechanics that reality can be in an uncertain state. Not on macroscopic level in the present, the quantum wave collapses before that will happen, but because events on the macroscopic level can depend on events in the microscopic, macroscopic events in the future CAN be in an uncertain state.

    Furthermore were not talking about overall behavior. Overall behavior of human kind is fairly predictable in spite of free will. But there are even non-equillibrium, non-linear situations where the overall behavior is not predictable. I can describe such a situation in the case of electrons for you.

    promised description: The electrons we are trying to predict are the electrons in a circuit that light up an LED. This circuit is hooked up to a detector which detects the passage of an electron through one of two slits. An electron gun fires a single electron at the exact center beween the two slits, this gun is fired until an electon passes through one of the two slits. Quantum mechnics predicts and equal likelihood that this electron will go through either of the two slits, but which slit is completely unpredictable, which means that the overall behavior of the electrons in the circuit which could light up the LED is unpredictable. The problem is of course that the overall behavior of these electrons depend on the behavior of a single electron.

    Similar situations occur in which the overall behavior of human beings is also not predictable because they depend on the behavior of a single unpredictable individual. But I think this may be rather rare, for even when individuals effect overall behavior those individuals are not always unpredicable themselves. Having free will and exercising that free will are not the same thing. Quite often individuals act according to habits, which are like computer programs created by past choices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In the problem of evil, I go with the free will solution and I think this means that God is capable of sacrifice and risk. In order to create something interesting God risked disaster by sacrificing His absolute control over everything to give all living things a measure of free will.
    I think a major problem with this view is that it seems to imply that god views individual people as "expendable" in his pursuit of...whatever it is he was trying to accomplish that necessitated free will. So when a person is being horribly tortured and cries out to god form help, god replies "I'm sorry, but this lunatic torturer having free will is more important to me than your right to not be brutally tortured."
    Now you are mixing up the problem of evil with the problem of suffering. In what way can indestructable human souls be expendable. Again the presumption of a creator of life is that his love can heal all wounds and eventually make up for all that is suffered. This only really fails when we use our free will to chose death and hate, to willfully and perversely make ourselves suffer in defiance of the creator.

    If you follow through with this thought trying to create a human society where this cannot happen you end up on a slippery slope where all human freedom and emotion are annihilated (as in the novel "The Giver" which I mentioned). In other words, you cannot have free will and absolutely prevent such events. As long as there is free will all measures to prevent such things will only provide greater challenge to the clever mind which chooses evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    In the version of the problem, which we can call the problem of "suffering", I believe that the solution lies largely in perspective and the perception of suffering. I compare us to the child in the grocery store acting like it is on the verge of dying because his or her parent will not buy the candy he or she wants. The child does not know what is good for it and barely understands the meaning of desire. As we grow older we learn that if we really want something then we are willing to work long and hard for it (even suffer for it). Thus in the context of eternal life our "sufferings" in this life may be just as trivial and our complaints as childish as the child in the grocery store.
    The problem here (as you seem to acknowledge below) is that there are also many examples of suffering that causes people to turn away from god, stop believing in god, or act in self-destructive ways.
    But it is not cause, it is choice. We choose the reasons for our actions. People who have such experiences of suffering that you are talking about do not inevitably embrace self-destructive behavior. The suffering really is not the cause, it is only the excuse - the rationalization. The choice they make is not even in the least bit rational, yet they are free to choose so just the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Christians love to point out that god can help people through suffering and how suffering can bring people closer to god, or bring about other positive results - but a christian whose child dies might turn away from god, become a drug addict, and murder several people for drug money before overdosing and going to hell. In that case it would be difficult to imagine how the suffering could have been "for their own good."
    Yes but this is where it stops being a rational exercise and is just a matter of coping. The Christisns are trying to cope with this reality as best they can, just as do we all. The "going to hell" part of your description is not helpful, it is judgemental. Such a thing is only for God to judge and no one else. As a personal pragmatic philosophy I believe that the events of my life are a gift from God to help me grow in spirit. But I am well aware that this does not work as an objective rational philosophy. I do not believe that the deeds of evil men are God's gift to their victims. The personal philosophy is my choice and determination to affect my attitutde and responses to events. It is a common personal philosophy among Christians but not all have the sensitiviy and discernment to realize that you cannot paint this across everyone elses life. I do not even try to imagine that such events are for anyones good. In fact, I feel quite sure that they do real harm to everyone. But I am also confident that such wounds can heal under the care of a loving caretaker. The real question (putting aside all inane questions of religion and philosophy), for everyone (all the time) is whether they want to be part of the harming or the healing.
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  30. #29  
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    Would the world be a better place if Jesus Christ was around instead of killed ? He would make a better leader and teacher and just one religion.
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    Only his body was killed.
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    I would like to ask him something. The world should have only one religion but concise so there will be no multiple meanings.
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlight
    I would like to ask him something. The world should have only one religion but concise so there will be no multiple meanings.
    That is called ideology and there is nothing more dangerous and destructive.

    From the events leading up to the flood and the building of the tower of Babel, it has been obvious to God that if human beings had one language or one government, or one religion, or one culture, then it would be a unity of evil - all these things are too easily subverted by those who choose evil (or by Lucifer) to twist them into a tyrrany where no one has the freedom to do anything good. Therefore the only hope for goodness and love is the freedom of diversity.
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    But that is the whole point. Something cannot be known unless "the knowledge is there", and if the knowledge is there then reality cannot be in an uncertain state.
    But god supposedly has the ability to know EVERYTHING. I can accept that if it existed, it could decide to NOT know, because it wanted us to entertain/suprise it, but if god couldn't know everything when it wanted to, it wouldn't be the Judeo-Cristian god.
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    Quote Originally Posted by captaincaveman
    Quote Originally Posted by DaBOB
    Do you think a child has any reason to lie to you?

    I don't think you understand. God is beyond your petty concepts of good and evil. God is not sitting there going what shall I do today that is good or evil. I already tried to explain this. It is very difficult to explain so for now I will not try again. I guarantee you though, God is not evil, nor is he good. He simply is.

    If you are simply saying these things to take advantage of an issue that could cause one to question his faith than I pity you.
    Why so defensive? is your religion that weak to ask a genuine question, its the main issue i have with ALL religion(except the intolerence side)and was a honest question

    but thats what i thought, no real answer. either he doesn't exist therefore children suffer. or he does and the suffering is either of no importance to him or he enjoys it.
    Like I said, you don't understand. This idea of suffering you are referring to does not exist unless you chose to create it. Even then, it is just a thought that one attaches to his/her ego. What is sad is when doctors attach this thought.

    Most likely, you still will not understand. I am not forcing you to understand but, I will say that it is worth the effort to understand.

    -Edit-

    My religion? Also, I answered the question. Defensive? I have nothing to defend. I don't think? :?
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    I am trying to seek answers and I think outside the box. I believe that if God created us, we possess something special in us. I believe ideas are not created but rediscovered. Through a pure heart and soul, the wavelength is connected to God. Have you seen the limits of the mind? The mind has the ability to create it's own world just like in the movie "The Beautiful Mind" but what if the experience was about God and the source is your soul as energy. I believe that is how the bibles were created.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Science_Geek
    But that is the whole point. Something cannot be known unless "the knowledge is there", and if the knowledge is there then reality cannot be in an uncertain state.
    But god supposedly has the ability to know EVERYTHING. I can accept that if it existed, it could decide to NOT know, because it wanted us to entertain/suprise it, but if god couldn't know everything when it wanted to, it wouldn't be the Judeo-Cristian god.
    You artificially see knowing as a passive thing which has no impact on what is known. But quantum physics proves that this is wrong. Knowledge and power cannot be extricated from each other. Knowing changes and creates the thing to be known. God choosing not to know and choosing not to interfere are one and the same choice for God. With His power, knowldege, and omnipresence it is very difficult for Him not to control everything. Just imagine if you truly knew all the future consequences of your own actions. If you knew how subtle changes in how you conduct the affairs of your day alter all the events of everyone around you, how could you not choose everything that happens to all of these people. Thus absolute knowledge equals absolute control.

    God can do anything because He can know anything and God can know anything because He can do anything. God can know what we will do because He can annihilate all the uncertainties of the future if He chooses to. He chooses not to, in order to keep from interfering and thus to preserve these uncertainties and our free will. What we will do are not things to be known (existing in a state of uncertainty) only because He chooses not to know, which is the same as choosing not to interfere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Because that was part of the whole idea - to create something to which He could give without limit. The creation of something without free will is instantaneous. It has what you have given it already. But living things are created continuously in a partnership with the creator, just as a farmer raises crops and a teacher teaches students. We are created with nothing but with the potential for everything. So God can lead us towards our greater potentialities eternally.
    So God guides us through evolution...but how does that answer the question?

    It seems like God would want us to follow his path, or God would want us to have free will. And he wouldn't sacrifice so much (by having suffering and what not) to preserve our free will just so he can guide us to follow him anyways?


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    A mother may say to her child, "If you break your neck doing that, I will kill you." Of course the threat is an empty one, but the danger is real. The truth is that no punishment is required. Real punishment when possible and offered by the parent is a blessing for it substitutes the excessive harsh consequences of reality with milder ones, so that the child may learn the lessons of life more gradually. This idea of an eternal hell for punishment is nonsense of course. The purpose of punishment is to modify behavior so it makes no sense for it to be eternal. It is only the natural consequences of our action that can be so permanent and harsh.
    But God created EVERYTHING. Therefore God created the "excessive harsh consequences of reality" as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The creation of life is only evil if it is done for the wrong purpose.
    So creating suffering(/pleasure) is different from causing suffering, and creating suffering is ok if it's done out of love, but not out of any other emotion? (but not causing suffering)



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Your free will means you are free to be perverse in choosing death and hate over life and love. But that is your choice and thus it is only your fault.
    I agree that if you make the desicions to go to hell, then it is in fact your fault that you go to hell. However, I see it as a sin from God to create people knowing they will go to hell. (or whatever punishment you see god giving them)



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    GIGO: horrifying assumption gives horrifying conclusion. This sort of religion needs a punishment of eternal hell, because only a threat of such horrifying proportions could possibly blackmail people into believing such rubbish. I am Christian but I don't give credence to this superficial version Christianity (see What I see in Christianity for details).
    GIGO? (I will read the text behind the link when i have more time, so sorry for not responding to that now)





    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    5 bucks, I think.

    I go to a Calvary Chapel occasionally but they don't tell me what to believe and they would probably disown me if you asked them. So it would probably be more helpful to think of me as a minimalist anti-Gnostic born-again Christian existentialist and orthodox open theist, who upholds a kind of theistic evolution, fighting for harmony between science and religion. Yeah that's right, I am an opinionated intellectual.
    I was just at Calvary Chapel this weekend, as a matter of fact. (The one in Albuquerque of course) ...

    Why are you anti-gnostic? Are the Gnostic scriptures not as deeply rooted in history as the traditional ones?

    I have no doubt you are fighting for harmony between religion and science. (Please don't take this as an insult or anything of that nature, because that's absolutely not how it's intended) Why is it that when presented with a clear bit of evidence that Christianity is false, instead of looking at the religion as whole and thinking "Maybe there are other things wrong with this religion as well" or "Maybe this religion isn't actually the answer" or "maybe God isn't what christians think he is" or even just choosing other religions or philosophies to look into, you just change your view of Christianity so the paradox is no longer relavent? It seems like this would lead you to realize this is something that someone (or many people) made up.
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  39. #38  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    You artificially see knowing as a passive thing which has no impact on what is known. But quantum physics proves that this is wrong. Knowledge and power cannot be extricated from each other. Knowing changes and creates the thing to be known. God choosing not to know and choosing not to interfere are one and the same choice for God. With His power, knowldege, and omnipresence it is very difficult for Him not to control everything. Just imagine if you truly knew all the future consequences of your own actions. If you knew how subtle changes in how you conduct the affairs of your day alter all the events of everyone around you, how could you not choose everything that happens to all of these people. Thus absolute knowledge equals absolute control.

    God can do anything because He can know anything and God can know anything because He can do anything. God can know what we will do because He can annihilate all the uncertainties of the future if He chooses to. He chooses not to, in order to keep from interfering and thus to preserve these uncertainties and our free will. What we will do are not things to be known (existing in a state of uncertainty) only because He chooses not to know, which is the same as choosing not to interfere.
    If it is possible for God (or any one person, or everyone) to know something (even if they choose not to know it, or have not learned it yet) it means the knowledge exists to be known, and thus exists.
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  40. #39  
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas

    If it is possible for God (or any one person, or everyone) to know something (even if they choose not to know it, or have not learned it yet) it means the knowledge exists to be known, and thus exists.
    This is simply not true. You can have an electron such that the spin is in a superposition state of 50% spin up and 50% spin down. This means that if such an electron's spin is measured, 50% of the time the result will be up and 50% of the time it will be down. It is not true to say that the spin of this electron is either up or down and we simply do not know which (that would be hidden variables which has been disproven). The knowledge is simply not there to be known. But it is also not true to say that you cannot know whether the spin is up or down for all you need to do is measure the spin and you will have the answer. But by measuring the spin of this electron you interfere, changing the electron from the uncertain state of 50% up and 50% down to the state which you have measured.
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by ilantas
    If God is such an advocate for free will, then why did he send us the bible to tell us how to behave.
    Because that was part of the whole idea - to create something to which He could give without limit. The creation of something without free will is instantaneous. It has what you have given it already. But living things are created continuously in a partnership with the creator, just as a farmer raises crops and a teacher teaches students. We are created with nothing but with the potential for everything. So God can lead us towards our greater potentialities eternally.


    So God guides us through evolution...but how does that answer the question?
    Because our creation is not a finished process but neverending. We were created with an infinite potentiality that cannot be realized without the guidance of God. In a classroom the student has free will. The student will learn only if he chooses to and does the required work, but that does not mean that the teacher is not needed to provide the relevant study material.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    It seems like God would want us to follow his path, or God would want us to have free will. And he wouldn't sacrifice so much (by having suffering and what not) to preserve our free will just so he can guide us to follow him anyways?
    When you tell your children not to play with fire that does not mean that you don't want your children to have any free will. When you insist that your children eat their vegitables that doesn't mean that you don't want them to make choices in their life. The younger the child, the more you need to control their life for their own protection, but a good parent will give their children an increasing amount of freedom to make their own choices as they grow older. I can see this progression in the Bible going from the Old Testament to the New.

    Now the sad thing is that there are bad parents who do not give their children the freedom they should as they grow, just as there are religious people who make their religion just as controlling and without freedom. The first does not mean that all parents are bad any more than the second means that all religion is controlling and without freedom.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    A mother may say to her child, "If you break your neck doing that, I will kill you." Of course the threat is an empty one, but the danger is real. The truth is that no punishment is required. Real punishment when possible and offered by the parent is a blessing for it substitutes the excessive harsh consequences of reality with milder ones, so that the child may learn the lessons of life more gradually. This idea of an eternal hell for punishment is nonsense of course. The purpose of punishment is to modify behavior so it makes no sense for it to be eternal. It is only the natural consequences of our action that can be so permanent and harsh.


    But God created EVERYTHING. Therefore God created the "excessive harsh consequences of reality" as well.
    This is true but do think he could have created the world so that one plus one equals three? He created us with life and free will so that we could have good things like freedom and love, but these come with a price of responsibility and the pain of rejection. God's choice is to create life or not. The choice of creating life without suffering is not a possible choice any more than making one plus one equals three is a possible choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The creation of life is only evil if it is done for the wrong purpose.


    So creating suffering(/pleasure) is different from causing suffering, and creating suffering is ok if it's done out of love, but not out of any other emotion? (but not causing suffering)
    NO you cannot twist my words. The creation of life is not the creation of suffering, for the creation of life is only the creation of possibilities: the possibility for love, joy, happiness, beauty, and goodness as well as hatred, pain, sadness, ugliness, and evil. It is not a matter of emotion. Creating life out of love means creating life for itself rather than for some selfish purpose. To have a child out of love means being ready to help the child achieve his/her desires rather than to use the child to help you achieve your desires.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Your free will means you are free to be perverse in choosing death and hate over life and love. But that is your choice and thus it is only your fault.


    I agree that if you make the desicions to go to hell, then it is in fact your fault that you go to hell. However, I see it as a sin from God to create people knowing they will go to hell. (or whatever punishment you see god giving them)
    Well all I see is God creating people and helping them to achieve what they desire and that there is nothing God can do (that He has not done already) if what they desire is hatred and death.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    GIGO? (I will read the text behind the link when i have more time, so sorry for not responding to that now)
    GIGO stands for Garbage in Garbage out and it refers to an arguement that starts with nonsensical assumptions and logically arrives and nonsensical conclusions.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Why are you anti-gnostic? Are the Gnostic scriptures not as deeply rooted in history as the traditional ones?
    When I say anti-gnostic I mean something that has very little to do with Gnosticism and nothing to do with Gnostic scriptures (for that explanation you can read my post in the thread "What is your religion"). However, I do despise Syrian-Egyptian Gnosticism and the philosophy of Plato from which it is derived, and I do not much care for Persian Gnosticism or the Zoastrianism which influenced that. The only "Gnostic scriptures" which do not fall into these two categories is the Gospel of Thomas. This gospel has been admired by many because it seems to emphasize the need for us to seek the truth ourselves and make our own decisions rather than simply following orders. Now I could go for that message myself, but I have read the Gospel of Thomas and it is mostly just confusing giving me the impression of being badly written with portions that are unhelpful or without merit. So I really don't think there is anything valuable there that cannot be found in the Bible already.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Why is it that when presented with a clear bit of evidence that Christianity is false, instead of looking at the religion as whole and thinking "Maybe there are other things wrong with this religion as well" or "Maybe this religion isn't actually the answer" or "maybe God isn't what christians think he is" or even just choosing other religions or philosophies to look into, you just change your view of Christianity so the paradox is no longer relavent? It seems like this would lead you to realize this is something that someone (or many people) made up.
    There is all kind of things that people call evidence for and against all kinds of things. I understand that you feel confident that your evaluation of the validity of evidence and your weighing of the evidence is correct but you must understand that I have more confidence in my ability to do this for myself than I have in your ability to do this for me. I am no mark for the first con man to come along and in my view the "problem of evil" as you have presented it might be taken for "a clear bit of evidence that Christianity is false" only by an innocent child. I understand your fustration if you expected your post to convince "the Christians" of their foolishness, but if you are smart enough you will learn from this that things are not a simple as you had thought.

    It is bad enough in court case where both defense and prosecution are presenting their "incontrovertable" evidence for the innocence or guilt of the defendent. It is difficult enough when it is about an event of recent history and a person whom everyone can see. In this case we are talking about things where the evidence is far more difficult. Furthermore, it is bad enough when people are objective and fairly disinterested as a jury is chosen to be. But religion involves personal choices about how we see the world and how we live our lives, so objectivity is difficult and prejudice is rampant. I do not feel impelled to ridicule your position or call upon you to rethink your conclusions, because although I am Christian, I do not think that everything is what it appears to be. To understand what I mean may I recommend you read "The Road Less Traveled" by the clinical psychiatrist Scott Peck.
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  42. #41  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    This is true but do think he could have created the world so that one plus one equals three? He created us with life and free will so that we could have good things like freedom and love, but these come with a price of responsibility and the pain of rejection. God's choice is to create life or not. The choice of creating life without suffering is not a possible choice any more than making one plus one equals three is a possible choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    NO you cannot twist my words. The creation of life is not the creation of suffering, for the creation of life is only the creation of possibilities: the possibility for love, joy, happiness, beauty, and goodness as well as hatred, pain, sadness, ugliness, and evil. It is not a matter of emotion. Creating life out of love means creating life for itself rather than for some selfish purpose. To have a child out of love means being ready to help the child achieve his/her desires rather than to use the child to help you achieve your desires.

    To me, it seems that God would be very capable of creating the world so that 1+1=3. And God would be very capable of creating a world without pain and suffering. And to me, a human parent giving birth to and raising a human child is a lot different from God creating and raising a Human. And obviously, from my point of view, any God who could have created the world in the state it is in, or raised the world to be in the state it is in has some flaws. Clearly it is the first reasons that create the difference in the last. But as I mentioned in my above post, God in your mind is different from most Christians, where you believe that God is not capable of these things, and is in fact similar to a human parent raising a human child.


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    When I say anti-gnostic I mean something that has very little to do with Gnosticism and nothing to do with Gnostic scriptures (for that explanation you can read my post in the thread "What is your religion"). However, I do despise Syrian-Egyptian Gnosticism and the philosophy of Plato from which it is derived, and I do not much care for Persian Gnosticism or the Zoastrianism which influenced that. The only "Gnostic scriptures" which do not fall into these two categories is the Gospel of Thomas. This gospel has been admired by many because it seems to emphasize the need for us to seek the truth ourselves and make our own decisions rather than simply following orders. Now I could go for that message myself, but I have read the Gospel of Thomas and it is mostly just confusing giving me the impression of being badly written with portions that are unhelpful or without merit. So I really don't think there is anything valuable there that cannot be found in the Bible already.
    Well that makes sense then.


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    There is all kind of things that people call evidence for and against all kinds of things. I understand that you feel confident that your evaluation of the validity of evidence and your weighing of the evidence is correct but you must understand that I have more confidence in my ability to do this for myself than I have in your ability to do this for me. I am no mark for the first con man to come along and in my view the "problem of evil" as you have presented it might be taken for "a clear bit of evidence that Christianity is false" only by an innocent child. I understand your fustration if you expected your post to convince "the Christians" of their foolishness, but if you are smart enough you will learn from this that things are not a simple as you had thought.
    You're right that I do feel fairly confident in my desicion to not believe in Christianity. But I am not trying to make that desicion for you, I am trying to discuss it with you. I understand I am kind of scrutinizing and maybe even reproachful at times, and I do apologize for that. Clearly, I absolutely and completely do not understand your thought process and I shouldn't hold you accountable for that (If you feel I have done that).

    Even so, I know by now that converting a Christian is not that simple. I talk with Christians a lot. I go to church two or three times a week. I was raised a Christian, I live with Christians, I WAS a Christian. People give up their entire lives to serve Christ, people die for Christianity. I know that if a Christian really has faith, there is little to nothing that will ever change their mind. Needless to say, it really offended me that you thought that.





    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    It is bad enough in court case where both defense and prosecution are presenting their "incontrovertable" evidence for the innocence or guilt of the defendent. It is difficult enough when it is about an event of recent history and a person whom everyone can see. In this case we are talking about things where the evidence is far more difficult. Furthermore, it is bad enough when people are objective and fairly disinterested as a jury is chosen to be. But religion involves personal choices about how we see the world and how we live our lives, so objectivity is difficult and prejudice is rampant. I do not feel impelled to ridicule your position or call upon you to rethink your conclusions, because although I am Christian, I do not think that everything is what it appears to be. To understand what I mean may I recommend you read "The Road Less Traveled" by the clinical psychiatrist Scott Peck.
    I will read that, when I have the time. And prehaps will get back to you.
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  43. #42 Re: The Problem of Evil 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Now you are mixing up the problem of evil with the problem of suffering. In what way can indestructable human souls be expendable. Again the presumption of a creator of life is that his love can heal all wounds and eventually make up for all that is suffered.
    You seem here to rely on the claim that any suffering we may experience in life is a mere triviality. You are essentially trying to dodge the problem of suffering by claiming that suffering doesn't really exist, because what we precieve as suffing in this life might be neglidgeable compared to the what we experience in the afterlife and any injuries we may experience could be easily healed in our souls. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

    But it is not cause, it is choice. We choose the reasons for our actions. People who have such experiences of suffering that you are talking about do not inevitably embrace self-destructive behavior. The suffering really is not the cause, it is only the excuse - the rationalization. The choice they make is not even in the least bit rational, yet they are free to choose so just the same.
    If I deliberately say something to a suicidal person that I know with certainty will cause him to kill himself, am I not at least to some extent responsible for his suicide? Most people would say yes, even though he "freely chose" to kill himself. If you agree, I don't see how you could argue that god isn't at least partly responsible for people's self-destructive behavior when he refuses to save them from suffering that he knows with certainty will cause them to choose to behave self-destructively.

    mitchellmckain when you try to rationalize how a god could love us even though he permits evil and allows suffering, you remind me of a 16th century astronomer trying to prop up the geocentric model of the solar system by inventing more and more epicycles. Is the universe run by an all-powerful, omnipotent being that love us all and is full of boundless compassion? Progeria, tsunamis, and many many other things strongly indicate that the answer is "no". However, rather than objectively examine the evidence, you prefer to attempt to construct elaborate metaphysical explanations for how the universe could be such a terrible place even though it was created and maintained by an omnipotent being of perfect love. You have already decided what you want to be true and are now trying to defend that position against any and all evidence, rather than rationally reevaluating your beliefs.
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  44. #43 Re: The Problem of Evil 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Progeria, tsunamis, and many many other things strongly indicate that the answer is "no".
    Tsunamis simply show that earthquakes and water have free will too. Don't you realize that it is not enough to give man free will. He has to be given diseases and natural disasters to help him develop his love of god. This god also believes in giving man extremely vague evidence of his existence, so that mankind really has to go out on a limb to select which version of which god to believe in.
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    The land was also divided into pieces. Can we join and find love?
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  46. #45  
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlight
    The land was also divided into pieces. Can we join and find love?
    The land was unified before the separation that occurred when the Babal story happened. Reference Gwondanaland.
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  47. #46  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    If I deliberately say something to a suicidal person that I know with certainty will cause him to kill himself, am I not at least to some extent responsible for his suicide? Most people would say yes, even though he "freely chose" to kill himself. If you agree, I don't see how you could argue that god isn't at least partly responsible for people's self-destructive behavior when he refuses to save them from suffering that he knows with certainty will cause them to choose to behave self-destructively.
    Of course He is responsible. Those who love always feel responsible, for they are all committed to doing all they can to help those they love. But God like all who love, are not solely responsible, and being responsible is not the same as being to blame, which is why we reassure those who love that they are NOT at fault in such situations. Yes, things did not turn out for the best or the way God had hoped. He admits this (Gen 6:5-7). But God wanted to give us life despite the risk. And no matter what you say, giving someone life is not the same as deliberately causing someone to commit suicide. I begin to think you cannot see this because you have already chosen hatred and death over love and life. You cannot imagine giving life to a child and taking on the responsibility of loving that child enough to make his inevitable suffering worthwhile. Otherwise how could you equate this with doing evil. But then maybe you have time to change your mind. (and I am not talking about believing in God!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    mitchellmckain when you try to rationalize how a god could love us even though he permits evil and allows suffering, you remind me of a 16th century astronomer trying to prop up the geocentric model of the solar system by inventing more and more epicycles.
    Well now that you turn away from my anwer to the problem of evil to that fact that I do answer the problem of evil, I guess that means you no longer feel capable arguing the issue on its merits. You don't want to waste your time listening to reason, you already have your mind made up, and cannot even think of a way to rationalize it now. Its ok, I understand. You see I recognize your right to believe whatever you choose. Just because I can think through the problem better than you doesn't mean that I am right. I do not claim that my point of view is ultimately more rational or in any way better than yours.

    But, of course I rationalize. Of course, I subject my perception and understanding of the world around us to the power of reason. I am trained in the use of reason and I believe that it is worthwhile. I don't pretend that it proves anything, like some people. Logic only take us from believable assumptions to logical conclusions. But if you think I am simply trying to justify the circumstances of this world just to make the idea of the existence of a loving creator more believable, you are wrong. I can easily see the atheist point of view and have often said that atheist has good arguments for the improbability of God. So your idea that I am trying to justify the untenable position of God is incorrect. You see I have a good imagination as well as a good handle on reason and all I have to do is imagine what I would do if I were in God's position. I come to the inevitable conclusion that I could not make this world any other way than it is. The only conceivable alternatives to things you think are so horrible in this world, are things that I think are much much worse.

    You think that atheism is the only rational conclusion so you call my thinking rationalization, but I draw the same conclusion about your thinking. I believe that your thinking is superficial. Your ideas about God do not make any sense. They sound like, "the dog ate my homework", kind of excuses to me. You throwing around these words "rationalization" and "epicycles" are nothing but rhetoric to help you dismiss the well reasoned responses I make to these challenges, so you can insist on an attitude of intellectual arrogance and elitism. It is like the pseudo-science wierdos calling quantum mechanics and relativity rationalisms and epicycles. But the truth is that these more complex understandings explains reality much much better than the simple minded alternatives. I think that you want to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary that those who believe in God are irrational and stupid. But you are wrong. Logic does not prove anything. People have different conclusions because their basic axioms and postulates are different. Belief is a matter of choice, and my choices are no less rational than yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Is the universe run by an all-powerful, omnipotent being that love us all and is full of boundless compassion? Progeria, tsunamis, and many many other things strongly indicate that the answer is "no".
    Based on such evidence alone, it does seem improbable. However that is not the only evidence. I have explained numerous times in this forum that I do not believe that the existence of God or anything of a spiritual nature can be supported by objective observation or measurement. But there is much to much in life that cannot be proven in this manner for me or the majority of the people in the world for that matter to ever accept that this is sufficient cause to dismiss the existence of God and everything else of a spiritual nature. I am not here to prove anything to you. I don't know you that well. I am here for discussion and someone introduce a favorite topic of mine so it is natural that I should particpate.

    God can create a universe that runs according to natural law without His overwhelming interference or not. But I believe this is a prerequisite for life. God can create life or not. With life comes many possibilities for good and evil. But believe that life is the only thing that is worth creating and if I were God I would take the same chances. None of these diseases or disasters comes even close the horrible things that man has done to each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    However, rather than objectively examine the evidence, you prefer to attempt to construct elaborate metaphysical explanations for how the universe could be such a terrible place even though it was created and maintained by an omnipotent being of perfect love. You have already decided what you want to be true and are now trying to defend that position against any and all evidence, rather than rationally reevaluating your beliefs.
    This is nonsense. I am a physicist. I do not construct elaborate metaphysics. I simply look at the metaphysical implications of contemporary physics. And it is obvious to me from your responses that I have already examined more evidence than you even know about. I am always reevaluating my beliefs. It is one of the things that makes participation in some forums so enjoyable.
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  48. #47  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    If I deliberately say something to a suicidal person that I know with certainty will cause him to kill himself, am I not at least to some extent responsible for his suicide? Most people would say yes, even though he "freely chose" to kill himself. If you agree, I don't see how you could argue that god isn't at least partly responsible for people's self-destructive behavior when he refuses to save them from suffering that he knows with certainty will cause them to choose to behave self-destructively.
    Of course He is responsible. Those who love always feel responsible,
    I agree with the first sentence. However, I don't see that the second makes sense. I would appreciate knowledge of how you came to the conclusion that "He" feels, or that this feeling that you attribute to god is the sole source and extent of whatever responsibility you attribute to god.

    for they are all committed to doing all they can to help those they love.
    Untrue. Surely you feel that god has it within its power to do more, like eliminating some of the diseases. Tell me how they benefit god or its creation. Why did he have to create human parasites, for example?

    Yes, things did not turn out for the best or the way God had hoped.
    So, you claim to know the mind of god. Perhaps this is what it hoped for.

    He admits this (Gen 6:5-7).
    Oh, I did not realize that god spoke to the authors of the bible.

    But if you think I am simply trying to justify the circumstances of this world just to make the idea of the existence of a loving creator more believable, you are wrong.
    Of all of the god arguments I have heard, the notion of a "loving" creator seems new to me. Why does it matter if it were loving, and how would you know?

    You see I have a good imagination as well as a good handle on reason and all I have to do is imagine what I would do if I were in God's position. I come to the inevitable conclusion that I could not make this world any other way than it is.
    You do believe that you can read the mind of god.

    The only conceivable alternatives to things you think are so horrible in this world, are things that I think are much much worse.
    Such as a world without AIDs. Yes, that would be much worse, somehow, I guess, if you say so.

    You throwing around these words "rationalization" and "epicycles" are nothing but rhetoric to help you dismiss the well reasoned responses I make to these challenges,
    I certainly agree in that I believe that your arguments are well-reasoned. I just do not share your views.

    I think that you want to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary that those who believe in God are irrational and stupid. But you are wrong.
    Quite a gross generalization.

    Logic does not prove anything.
    Not objectively, at least. Logic can prove anything that people want to believe.

    People have different conclusions because their basic axioms and postulates are different.
    Quite true.

    Belief is a matter of choice, and my choices are no less rational than yours.
    Although the loud voice of fundamentalists in this country shows them to be very poor front-men for god, for the most part I think that there is nothing wrong with people solely because they believe in god. I do not consider it irrational that people believe in god, just because I have no interest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Is the universe run by an all-powerful, omnipotent being that love us all and is full of boundless compassion? Progeria, tsunamis, and many many other things strongly indicate that the answer is "no".
    Based on such evidence alone, it does seem improbable. However that is not the only evidence. I have explained numerous times in this forum that I do not believe that the existence of God or anything of a spiritual nature can be supported by objective observation or measurement. But there is much to much in life that cannot be proven in this manner for me or the majority of the people in the world for that matter to ever accept that this is sufficient cause to dismiss the existence of God and everything else of a spiritual nature.
    I think that this clearly enough evidence to dismiss the existence of god. I don't think that this is enough evidence to prove in an objective manner against the existence of god. Also, I highly disapprove of your use of the word majority, or do you really believe that more than 50% of the people on earth believe in your god?

    But believe that life is the only thing that is worth creating and if I were God I would take the same chances.
    How can you speculate as to what you would do if you were god? Upon such speculation, do you think it possible that you might believe in god and yet speculate that you would do things differently?

    None of these diseases or disasters comes even close the horrible things that man has done to each other.
    How so. Disease has killed many more people than mankind has killed.
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  49. #48  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    To me, it seems that God would be very capable of creating the world so that 1+1=3.
    Well. Very interesting. You have quite an imagination. But I am afraid the discussion has just stepped outside any reasonable limits of what I can call a rational discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    And God would be very capable of creating a world without pain and suffering.
    Oh yes and I choose this one. I prefer life and its infinite potentiality despite the possibilities of tragedy and evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    And to me, a human parent giving birth to and raising a human child is a lot different from God creating and raising a Human.
    Oh I cannot agree more emphatically. I mean I do think the relationship we have as parent and child is what God intended to create between Himself and the living things of this world but while we have practically eveything handed to Us, God had to figure out how to make this possible and I do not think this was a trivial thing at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    But as I mentioned in my above post, God in your mind is different from most Christians, where you believe that God is not capable of these things, and is in fact similar to a human parent raising a human child.
    Yes indeed. I am not like very many Christians at all. Good of you to notice. I have been told that many of my ideas are similar to those of John Polkinghorn, which is understandable because he is a renowned physicist and a seriously dedicated Christian as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    You're right that I do feel fairly confident in my desicion to not believe in Christianity. But I am not trying to make that desicion for you, I am trying to discuss it with you.

    Needless to say, it really offended me that you thought that.
    But you said,

    Quote Originally Posted by llantas
    Why is it that when presented with a clear bit of evidence that Christianity is false, instead of looking at the religion as whole and thinking "Maybe there are other things wrong with this religion as well" or "Maybe this religion isn't actually the answer" or "maybe God isn't what christians think he is" or even just choosing other religions or philosophies to look into, you just change your view of Christianity so the paradox is no longer relavent? It seems like this would lead you to realize this is something that someone (or many people) made up.
    You cannot say things like this to people and expect them not to respond as I did, for this post does presume to evaluate the merit of the evidence for me and projects an attitude of contempt based on the presumption that you are right and I am wrong. However since you say this was not your intention, I shall respond to this post a second time keeping your innocence in mind.

    There is all kind of things that people call evidence for and against all kinds of things. SOME see all kinds of things that tell them that "Maybe there are ("other" edited out) things wrong with this religion" or "Maybe this religion isn't actually the answer" or "maybe God isn't what Christians think He is" or even just choosing other religions or philosophies to look into. I have seen all of these kind of things many times. And I have found that I do not have to buy any package sealed and whole. Nor do I have to abandon the things I like, just because I find parts I do not like or parts of others which I do like. I, unlike you, was NOT raised Christian, my father was Marxist and my mother was into Astrology, Numerology and such things. I studied existentialism first and not only was I greatly taken with many of the ideas but I am still an existentialist (a Christian existentialist like Kierkegaard the father of existentialim). I have studied the religions of China and Japan and the mysticism of Taoism and Zen Buddhism caught my imagination, and I am still at least a tiny bit mystic. I studied classic Greek philosphy and hated Plato but became a great admirer of Aristotle. In fact I studied the whole history of philosophy but I did not find anything with any great merit after Aristotle until I came to the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Pierce, and so I am a pragmatist as well. I studied the great psychologists too, and I found Freud's theories a bit silly, Jung more intersting, Adler boring, but Carl Rogers made sense to me, and so I still believe in his methods of counseling. I can go on to include other religions I studied about like Hinduism and Islam that never attracted me, the writers of philosophy of science like Kuhn and Popper, as well as, semi-Christian groups like Jehova Witnesses, Latter Day Saints, Bahai and the moonies, the last of which I spent a lot of time with and which has also had substantial influence on my thinking (both good things and things to avoid). I continue to visit other churches like the church of Religious Science my cousins are involved in, and I am thinking to visit an Eastern Orthodox church soon to see what I think. And so you see, that you should be careful judging anyone just because they say they are Christian because that doesn't mean they are anything like the Christians which you have known before.
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    WOW!! If only I had time to read all of this stuff. What are they talking about anyways? Can anyone summarize for me?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Also, I highly disapprove of your use of the word majority, or do you really believe that more than 50% of the people on earth believe in your god?
    Yes I do, except that I never think of Him as mine.

    http://www.gallup-international.com/...llennium15.asp

    People believe all sorts of things about President George W. Bush but there is only one, thank God. Likewise there is only one God, regardless of what people may think about Him, because He is a person not a concept.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Although the loud voice of fundamentalists in this country shows them to be very poor front-men for god,
    Yes most people are poor front-men for anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    for the most part I think that there is nothing wrong with people solely because they believe in god.
    BOY HAVE YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!!!! If there is an antichrist like the fundametnalists Christians think, I am sure he will be a Christian. He could hardly miss the effectiveness of such a strategy after watching Bush become the president of the United States.

    Oops!!! I wrote that when I thought you said, "for the most part, they (Christians) think there is nothing wrong with people, as long as they believe in God."

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I do not consider it irrational that people believe in god, just because I have no interest.
    I was not talking to you was I? But I am glad to hear it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Well. Very interesting. You have quite an imagination.
    Lol, I could say the same for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But I am afraid the discussion has just step outside any reasonable limits on what I can call rational discussion.
    And I definately cannot argue with that.





    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    There is all kind of things that people call evidence for and against all kinds of things. SOME see all kinds of things that tell them that "Maybe there are ("other" edited out) things wrong with this religion" or "Maybe this religion isn't actually the answer" or "maybe God isn't what Christians think He is" or even just choosing other religions or philosophies to look into. I have seen all of these kind of things many times. And I have found that I do not have to buy any package sealed and whole. Nor do I have to abandon the things I like, just because I find parts I do not like or parts of others which I do like. I, unlike you, was NOT raised Christian, my father was Marxist and my mother was into Astrology, Numerology and such things. I studied existentialism first and not only was I greatly taken with many of the ideas but I am still an existentialist (a Christian existentialist like Kierkegaard the father of existentialim). I have studied the religions of China and Japan and the mysticism of Taoism and Zen Buddhism caught my imagination, and I am still at least a tiny bit mystic. I studied classic Greek philosphy and hated Plato but became a great admirer of Aristotle. In fact I studied the whole history of philosophy but I did not find anything with any great merit after Aristotle until I came to the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Pierce, and so I am a pragmatist as well. I studied the great psychologists too, and I found Freud's theories a bit silly, Jung more intersting, Adler boring, but Carl Rogers made sense to me, and so I still believe in his methods of counseling. I can go on to include other religions I studied about like Hinduism and Islam that never attracted me, the writers of philosophy of science like Kuhn and Popper, as well as, semi-Christian groups like Jehova Witnesses, Latter Day Saints, Bahai and the moonies, the last of which I spent a lot of time with and which has also had substantial influence on my thinking (both good things and things to avoid). I continue to visit other churches like the church of Religious Science my cousins are involved in, and I am thinking to visit an Eastern Orthodox church soon to see what I think. And so you see, that you should be careful judging anyone just because they say they are Christian because that doesn't mean they are anything like the Christians which you have known before.
    Indeed this was a bit more along the lines of the answer I was looking for. I have met a few other Christians who, like you, don't view Christianity in a traditional way.



    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    You cannot say things like this to people and expect them not to respond as I did, for this post does presume to evaluate the merit of the evidence for me and projects an attitude of contempt based on the presumption that you are right and I am wrong. However since you say this was not your intention, I shall respond to this post a second time keeping your innocence in mind.
    There are many ways I could've worded that question different and better. Sorry about that. I do put some large amount of effort into appreciating and/or accepting other people's beliefs. I generally tend to interrogate people I disagree with/don't understand, but it's not really in a condescending way.
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  53. #52  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    there is much to much in life that cannot be proven in this manner for me or the majority of the people in the world for that matter to ever accept that this is sufficient cause to dismiss the existence of God
    I always find such statements to be highly suspect.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Also, I highly disapprove of your use of the word majority, or do you really believe that more than 50% of the people on earth believe in your god?
    Yes I dom except that I never think of Him as mine.

    http://www.gallup-international.com/...llennium15.asp
    From your site:
    The survey, conducted in 60 countries, which represent 1.25 billion citizens of the world,
    I hardly consider this survey to have any possible relevance to a statement about the majority of people in the world.
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  54. #53  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes

    From your site:
    The survey, conducted in 60 countries, which represent 1.25 billion citizens of the world,
    I hardly consider this survey to have any possible relevance to a statement about the majority of people in the world.
    Good point especially if China was not one of those countries but then I found this site which you may find interesting.

    http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Good point especially if China was not one of those countries but then I found this site which you may find interesting.

    http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html
    On the one hand, the large percentages of non-believers cited seems to disagree with your contention.

    On the other hand, the survey is probably not very valuable. It says that 8-14% of people in China do not believe in god, which is of course ridiculous. I assume that they must mean that anyone who affiliates with Confuciansim or Daoism in any way is also considered to believe in god, which is ridiculous. I have talked with hundreds of Chinese, and I find it hard to believe that by some miracle of god I only by happenstance encountered those who have no interest in god. Yes, I have met more than one Christian in China, but surely you do not believe that 86-92% of people in China believe in god.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Well now that you turn away from my anwer to the problem of evil to that fact that I do answer the problem of evil, I guess that means you no longer feel capable arguing the issue on its merits.
    It's not that I feel you are necessarily wrong; most of what you say makes sense to me and seems reasonable. I just think that your explanation is needlessly complex, especially since a much simpler explanation is available.

    Either god loves everyone but is unable/unwilling to prevent suffering for complex reasons involving the value of free will and hypothetical benefits from suffering that we are unable to fully appreciate, or god simply does not love everyone. Both explanations are consistent with this reality that we observe around us. Hence my comparison of your argument to 16th century arguments about epicycles - and astronomer in the 16th century couldn't prove that the geocentric model was wrong, but could merely point out that there was a much simpler explanation available that explained things equally well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Good point especially if China was not one of those countries but then I found this site which you may find interesting.

    http://www.adherents.com/largecom/com_atheist.html
    On the one hand, the large percentages of non-believers cited seems to disagree with your contention.
    Excuse me!!! After your valuable evaluation of the last website I find this comment incredibly blind. This was a list of top 50 countries with the highest proportion of atheists in them. But look how quickly the percentage drops as you go down in the list. Under 50% by the 10th, down to 30% by the 20th and down to 20% by the 30th. And these are not people who identify themselves as atheists but only those who simply did not answer yes when asked if they believe in God.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    On the other hand, the survey is probably not very valuable. It says that 8-14% of people in China do not believe in god, which is of course ridiculous. I assume that they must mean that anyone who affiliates with Confuciansim or Daoism in any way is also considered to believe in god, which is ridiculous.
    I would too except that I don't think this is the case. I think that Confucianism and Toaism were religions of the intellectuals before the revolution. The common people always had a Chinese folk religion, which included a belief in God or gods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I have talked with hundreds of Chinese, and I find it hard to believe that by some miracle of god I only by happenstance encountered those who have no interest in god. Yes, I have met more than one Christian in China, but surely you do not believe that 86-92% of people in China believe in god.
    I share the same experience and puzzlement. But then we are talking about a communist country which has ruthlessly oppressed religion more than any other. Perhaps we only see those who are not oppressed. Sometimes impressions are wrong, that is why science uses measurements.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Well now that you turn away from my anwer to the problem of evil to that fact that I do answer the problem of evil, I guess that means you no longer feel capable arguing the issue on its merits.
    It's not that I feel you are necessarily wrong; most of what you say makes sense to me and seems reasonable. I just think that your explanation is needlessly complex, especially since a much simpler explanation is available.
    No more complex than similar circumstances in real life. Parents decide things for their children hoping the improve the lives of their children, while the children often repond with complains of boredom and resentment. Children can act like they are suffering terribly. Other parents allow their children to do things which are incredible dangerous and sometime tragedy does result. Personally, I have great contempt for people who pass judgement on parents for their decisions like this. But of course you are entitled to your opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Either god loves everyone but is unable/unwilling to prevent suffering for complex reasons involving the value of free will and hypothetical benefits from suffering that we are unable to fully appreciate, or god simply does not love everyone. Both explanations are consistent with this reality that we observe around us.
    Yes children often express the same sentiment and would rather believe the simple anwer that their parents hate them, rather than the more complex explanation that their parents has to give.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Hence my comparison of your argument to 16th century arguments about epicycles - and astronomer in the 16th century couldn't prove that the geocentric model was wrong, but could merely point out that there was a much simpler explanation available that explained things equally well.
    Yes I guess some people think that religion has no right to complex explanations like physics. After all very few people can understand quantum physics and relativity. Religion must be accessible to everyone. But religion is accessible to everyone. But if you are not satisfied with the superficial level of understanding that the majority accepts then do you ask questions to evade the truth or to discover it?
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  58. #57  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I would too except that I don't think this is the case. I think that Confucianism and Toaism were religions of the intellectuals before the revolution. The common people always had a Chinese folk religion, which included a belief in God or gods.
    You certainly have the right to your opinion about how liberal the definition of religion is, but I do not consider these at all religions in the sense that the word is used in the west. I believe instead that the person who did the survey does not realize that they are different or does not care. I do not think that Confucianists believe in a god in the western sense. I have spoken with Daoist leaders in China, I had a several hour conversation with one, and I did not get the impression that this is a "religion" based on a "god".

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    I have talked with hundreds of Chinese, and I find it hard to believe that by some miracle of god I only by happenstance encountered those who have no interest in god. Yes, I have met more than one Christian in China, but surely you do not believe that 86-92% of people in China believe in god.
    I share the same experience and puzzlement. But then we are talking about a communist country which has ruthlessly oppressed religion more than any other.
    Or, perhaps as I maintain, China does not have religions in the western sense of gods and such. Those who are religious adopted imports, such as Buddhism.
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