Notices
Results 1 to 51 of 51
Like Tree5Likes
  • 2 Post By filix
  • 1 Post By John Galt
  • 1 Post By Lynx_Fox
  • 1 Post By skeptic

Thread: Why I'm Agnostic

  1. #1 Why I'm Agnostic 
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    116
    Why I’m Agnostic. I was raised to be a Christian. But growing up I had my doubts. If there was a God who cares about us, why then so much suffering? The garden of eden sounded “ and still does”like a fairy tale. The devil and talking snakes ect… noah and the ark. The fact that when the jews did something wrong sometimes gods anger would blaze against them. Then Mosses would talk to god and calm him down. The fact that the all knowing almighty God would have a temper sounds ridiculous.
    And the fact that evolution didn’t happen. When you go back millions of years and you find whole era’s, periods, of time when all these creatures lived and then were wiped out. And then it starts all over again and those creatures get wiped out. And yet again. That looks like evolution to me. 99% of everything that has ever lived is now extinct.
    I have heard Christians that I know use the design argument discussed here. They say things like have you ever looked at the solar system? It works like a Swiss watch. Things are not bumping into each other. My reply is. Have you looked at the surface of the moon? Notice the impact craters? Things are indeed bumping into each other. The earth has had many impacts also. Most have been eroded away. So if God did create the universe. Maybe he is letting it do what it does. And he just started things.
    I don’t believe in fate. When people wear their seat belts traffic fatalities go down. When the town puts a traffic light in at a dangerous intersection fatalities go down. That’s not fate. That’s just common sense.
    I don’t believe religion in the root of all evil. There are so many Christian based charities that help children. And I have no problem with someone who believes in God. If it makes that person a better human. And it helps give them a hope. Even if that hope is wrong. What's the harm in it I say. As long as they are not hurting anyone. And they don’t stand in the way of science. Just because someone is adequately qualified to argue a point that doesn’t necessarily make him right.
    Do I believe in hell? No I think that’s ridiculous. But I wish there was one for men who hurt woman and children.
    I’m very grateful to science for the medical cures. And all the scientists down through the centuries that made life better for all of us. I only wish that somehow it would be impossible to build nuclear weapons.
    I know religion has stood in the way of scientific progress. I wonder if some how, everyone would know the truth. And lets say the truth was that there is no god, no life after death. You die and that’s the end of you for all eternity. Would that make life better? Terrorists would be gone. But I wonder if some people would commit more crimes. Because there is no God to answer to.
    Anyway I’m just an old guy that’s glad to be alive. Please forgive my grammar. I don’t want to offend anyone. And I hope that I haven’t. This is a very nice site. Filix.


    Last edited by KALSTER; January 21st, 2012 at 02:32 PM. Reason: Fixed the sticking together for you.
    KALSTER and westwind like this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    116
    Sorry for the way some words stick together. I dont know why that is. Filix


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by filix View Post
    If there was aGod who cares about us, why then so much suffering?
    This is not a justification for not believing in God. Only a possible justification for not believing in a God who cares for humans. There could be a God who is indifferent to us, or one who takes a delight in messing with our lives. If this is the sole reason you are agnostic then it is wholly insufficient. (Excuse the puns on soul ond holy.)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,590
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by filix View Post
    If there was aGod who cares about us, why then so much suffering?
    This is not a justification for not believing in God. Only a possible justification for not believing in a God who cares for humans. There could be a God who is indifferent to us, or one who takes a delight in messing with our lives. If this is the sole reason you are agnostic then it is wholly insufficient. (Excuse the puns on soul ond holy.)
    Nobody has to justify not believing in God.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    116
    Maybe not a justification for not believeing. But a pretty good one for having doubts I like the puns. Filix.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury View Post
    Nobody has to justify not believing in God.
    Please select the answer you find most satisfying:

    1. True.

    2. Nobody has to, but filix was doing so. That is what I was commenting on.

    3. Try telling that to a victim of the Spanish Inqusition. (You weren't expecting that, were you?)
    MeteorWayne likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,231
    Do I believe in hell? No I think that’s ridiculous. But I wish there was one for men who hurt woman and children.
    About the only thing I disagree with.

    For me, the most ridiculous thing about hell is how unfathomably severe a punishment it is. I believe that however subjectively contemptible child molesters and wife-beaters are, objectively they are sick individuals that would not do as they did if they were right in the head, i.e. had a real sense of empathy and understanding of the world and the people in it. That goes for even the worst, even Hitler et al. That I am able to understand this as a mere human really brings the whole idea of an all-knowing god figure into serious question for me (among other things of course).
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,590
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury View Post
    Nobody has to justify not believing in God.
    Please select the answer you find most satisfying:

    1. True.

    2. Nobody has to, but filix was doing so. That is what I was commenting on.

    3. Try telling that to a victim of the Spanish Inqusition. (You weren't expecting that, were you?)
    Perhaps my response, which of course is simply true, was directed at filix to suggest to him that he need not waste his effort trying to justify his position, since it is the others who do believe that have made a claim that needs justifying, not filix. They will doubtless respond with such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Professor Obviously's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    1,415
    Agnosticism is a reasonable position, but it's not a belief option. Agnostic means unknowing, whilst gnostic means knowing. So, are you a theist or an atheist?

    Agnostic atheist: "I don't know if there is a God, but I don't believe it."
    Agnostic theist: "I don't know if there is a God, but I believe it."
    Gnostic atheist: "I'm certain there isn't a God."
    Gnostic theist: "I'm certain there is a God."

    Well, maybe I'm mistaken as it could be argued that agnosticism alone means an uncertainty in both knowledge and belief. Meaning: "I don't know if there is a God, so I don't have a belief" albeit that could be interpreted to mean you're an agnostic atheist.

    God is probably the only thing I have a gnostic stand on (I'm an atheist). Sure, there's always some uncertainty, but I simply cannot find any place for a god at all. The concept is irrational, unnecessary, and by definition incomprehensible which leads to it also being logically insane.

    I do fine without it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    116
    Kalster. Perhaps I shouldn,t paint with such a broad brush. People who suffer from mental ilness is different. But I think some of these men are just plain cruel.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    116
    Also I really didn't mean I wish there was some place to torcher people. I just have strong feelings on that subject. And I have my reasons. Filix.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,231
    Quote Originally Posted by filix View Post
    Kalster. Perhaps I shouldn,t paint with such a broad brush. People who suffer from mental ilness is different. But I think some of these men are just plain cruel.
    No, I understand what you mean and your feelings about it, believe me. I just have a bit of a different take on abhorrent or anti-social behaviour when I try to look at it objectively. To me, our minds are to a much lesser degree the product of nature than nurture. Our experiences through life, over which we really have no control, shape us into who we become. In short, I don't believe in true free will.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Comet Dust Collector Moderator
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    2,848
    Quote Originally Posted by john galt View Post
    [3. Try telling that to a victim of the spanish inqusition. (you weren't expecting that, were you?)
    rofl
    ...............
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    7,302
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    No, I understand what you mean and your feelings about it, believe me. I just have a bit of a different take on abhorrent or anti-social behaviour when I try to look at it objectively. To me, our minds are to a much lesser degree the product of nature than nurture. Our experiences through life, over which we really have no control, shape us into who we become. In short, I don't believe in true free will.
    Difficult question Kalster. Perhaps you would be thinking differently if it was one of your own children who is affected. Believe me.

    No one should be able to use the excuse of "bad childhood" or "a diffcult life made me do it". It is an insult to the victim. No matter how hard our lives are, we still choose to a large extent who we become; it cannot be allowed to become a justification for something that isn't justifiable.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    7,302
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Our experiences through life, over which we really have no control, shape us into who we become.
    I do not deny that our life experiences do shape us. However, in my humble opinion, while we have no control over the experiences we have, it will always be up to us how we let those affect us. It is this that distinguishes a victim from a survivor.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,231
    Difficult question Kalster. Perhaps you would be thinking differently if it was one of your own children who is affected. Believe me.
    Oh, I am sure of it. I would want to kill the guy as much as the next. Thankfully I have not been affected by such things directly yet, so I have the luxury to be able to try and form a valid objective understanding of it all. And I have to say, there is really no other way to look at it imo.

    No one should be able to use the excuse of "bad childhood" or "a diffcult life made me do it". It is an insult to the victim. No matter how hard our lives are, we still choose to a large extent who we become; it cannot be allowed to become a justification for something that isn't justifiable.
    I can fully appreciate your feelings on the matter. The thing is, it is not really a valid argument on its own. I am merely trying to gauge the truth here, no matter what the implications might be. If it is true, it is true independently from what we want it to be. I am also not suggesting not punishing anti-social behaviour. Far from it. Whatever the reasons behind it might be, the fact is still that that particular person committed the anti-social act and still has to be dealt with in some way. Unfortunately we do not yet have very efficient rehabilitation methodologies or even that good an understanding of the causes behind certain behaviours, so incarceration is the only option atm (not executions).

    I do not deny that our life experiences do shape us. However, in my humble opinion, while we have no control over the experiences we have, it will always be up to us how we let those affect us. It is this that distinguishes a victim from a survivor.
    To me, it doesn't matter whether QM effects or macro-scale effects, deterministic (chaotic) or random or any combination of effects are at work, there is still no room for true free will.

    Simply put, we are born with our genetics and the environment we grow up in determines what person develops out of that. The end product is a regress of cause and effect all the way back to the fertilizing of the egg. The mind is not separate from the environment and the genetics, it is defined by it. It is a dynamic interplay, but there is no separate decision making mechanism removed from influence. There is no such thing as a soul, but even if there was, I see no way the decision making process can be separated from the influences of environment, which includes brain chemistry and such. The very idea of something removed from the influences creates yet another problem: what does it now use to make the decision? If nothing influences the mind and it can make a free choice, then the choice is akin to flipping a coin, which removes free will again. I have not seen any argument even come close to dislodging this.

    We are not aware of all the influences on our decisions and do not understand generally the true consequences of those we are aware of. I don't think it is even physically possible to be aware of everything. We have also developed a strong sense of self as well, which means we have a sense of "me" doing things, as well as a fairly developed theory of mind, meaning we are able to evaluate our thoughts and those of others to a certain extent. Whether this sense of self and theory of mind was specifically selected for or simply developed as a side consequence of our increased intellects, I am not sure.

    Lastly, I don't think that the lack of free will needs to remove meaning from our lives. I not only think the illusion of free will is very strong, I am pretty sure it is basically impossible to completely divorce ourselves from it. Our sense of self is surely real even in an objective sense and so are our experiences in our lives and so are the meaning, be it emotional or whatever, in a purely existential way. What we make of it all subjectively is what matters and what has always mattered. Just as the objectively nihilistic nature of a godless universe does not bother me, so does the truth of a lack of free will not bother me. I don't believe our knowledge of this takes away something from our existence, because it is something which we never had in the first place and in my mind, cannot exist in the first place. It informs us and empowers us more than anything else IMO.
    Last edited by KALSTER; January 22nd, 2012 at 05:48 PM.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    276
    I am an atheist. But to be honest, I'll admit to be an ignorant one. It's just that it doesn't come to mind much and I just don't care.

    A very popular term is "truthseeker" for those who do care, and are looking for an answer (and as such have not taken any side). Is this what you would consider yourself?

    And back on me, although I am atheist, that term only generally describes disbelief in the gods of today's major belief systems (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc...) It doesn't mean that I absolutely disbelieve any greater being. Is there an undetectable, transcendental entity out there? I don't know, therefore I take no side on that issue. But the more familiar Brahman, Yahweh, and Allah are, in the most sincere sense, out of the question. "Atheist", to me, is a word of convenience.

    Also, it seems to me that without the presence of a moral deity, there is lack of absolute moral standards. Therefore, the only thing that goes against raping and torturing children is the emotional restrictions of our human psyche. It would be comforting for justification according to our empathetic direction.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,231
    Is this what you would consider yourself?
    You asking me or the OP?

    In case me:

    A very popular term is "truthseeker" for those who do care, and are looking for an answer (and as such have not taken any side).
    I have in the recent decade or so taken to trying to find out what the objective truth is, whatever that might be. That requires me to try and find the truth and then decide how I want to deal with it afterwards, instead of letting how I hope things are influence what I believe. I would like us to have true free will, but I just can't see how that can work.

    I also want to try and understand people better, people if all types, and have taken to trying to develop my sense of empathy, to try and get into the minds of all different kinds of people; "good" and "bad". I have done so with varying success, often having some harrowing mental experiences, but I feel I am a better person because of it.

    And back on me, although I am atheist, that term only generally describes disbelief in the gods of today's major belief systems (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc...) It doesn't mean that I absolutely disbelieve any greater being. Is there an undetectable, transcendental entity out there? I don't know, therefore I take no side on that issue. But the more familiar Brahman, Yahweh, and Allah are, in the most sincere sense, out of the question. "Atheist", to me, is a word of convenience.
    Yeah, I would say that any god available today are on equal footing with that of Zeus, Kali, etc to me. Apart from that, I have trouble even coming up with a satisfactory definition of what a god is supposed to be and how a god would be different to a very advanced alien for example. Any sufficiently advanced technology would look like magic to the uninformed after all. I don't rule out that an advanced being might have discovered how to make a universe at some point. I don't think it is necessarily out of our own league at some point very far into the future.

    I guess in the end it comes down to if I want to worship anything and what that would mean. To that I can say a resounding NO and can also not imagine what kind of advanced being would want to be worshipped. It is just such an archaic, simplistic and human thing to imagine of some superior being. Why would such a superior being be so petty and insecure? It just doesn't ad up and I can't even imagine a scenario where I would become anything other than an atheist.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    No matter how hard our lives are, we still choose to a large extent who we become; it cannot be allowed to become a justification for something that isn't justifiable.
    It depends what you mean by "to a large extent." The range of response for many of our most basic adult characteristics, such as intelligence, are tremendously influenced by our upbringing (it's as much as 30 points). Studies such as the Standford Experiements show even otherwise good people can be converted into absolutely monsters willing to beat others, or even deliver a lethal punishments on others, just by being immersed in the wrong environment for a few days, one doesn't have to imagine the effects years of abuse on a person to their character. The reality is we actually have only limited ability to change ourselves and are tremendously effected by our genetic predispositions combined with experiences.
    westwind likes this.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    7,302
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Whatever the reasons behind it might be, the fact is still that that particular person committed the anti-social act and still has to be dealt with in some way. Unfortunately we do not yet have very efficient rehabilitation methodologies or even that good an understanding of the causes behind certain behaviours, so incarceration is the only option atm (not executions).
    Yes, I agree with this. To be honest though ( and this is only my own opinion, as I am not an expert in this area ) I think there is a certain percentage of perpetrators which are quite beyond rehabilitation; there are true sadists and psychopaths amongst us, who actually enjoy what they are doing, and engage in it quite knowingly and premediated. How do you deal with them ? Capital punishment cannot be the answer also.

    Thankfully I have not been affected by such things directly yet, so I have the luxury to be able to try and form a valid objective understanding of it all. And I have to say, there is really no other way to look at it imo.
    And I sincerely wish you will never be affected by it, I really do. No one should ever have to deal with this. But if you are confronted with it, the luxury of being objective has been taken away from you.
    Look, I agree with most of what you have said. The point I am trying to make is that, if you or a member of your own family is affected, your perspective on the issue changes. No one who has not been in this situation can understand the devastation it causes; the only question that remains then is : do you remain a victim or do you become a survivor ? Whether or not the perpetrator has had a difficult life just isn't important to the victim.

    Simply put, we are born with our genetics and the environment we grow up in determines what person develops out of that.
    Hm. I am really not so sure about this. I agree of course that our environment does have a large influence on us. On the other hand though I cannot help but think of my own circle of acquaintances - there are some who come from incredibly difficult backgrounds, and who have grown up to become the nicest people you can imagine. On the other hand then there are some who come from good, decent, middle-class families, only to turn out as psychopaths. I think there must be more to it than only environment.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    7,302
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    It depends what you mean by "to a large extent." The range of response for many of our most basic adult characteristics, such as intelligence, are tremendously influenced by our upbringing (it's as much as 30 points). Studies such as the Standford Experiements show even otherwise good people can be converted into absolutely monsters willing to beat others, or even deliver a lethal punishments on others, just by being immersed in the wrong environment for a few days, one doesn't have to imagine the effects years of abuse on a person to their character. The reality is we actually have only limited ability to change ourselves and are tremendously effected by our genetic predispositions combined with experiences.
    I can't really comment much on the scientific stats, because this really isn't my area of expertise; but I am sure you are right Lynx_Fox. It is just my own opinion that a person is more than the sum of his/her experiences ( and no, I am not religious and do not believe in a soul ), and that we have at least some control over how our experiences and environments influence us. I cannot however provide scientific evidence for this; it is just something I argue from personal experience.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,231
    Yes, I agree with this. To be honest though ( and this is only my own opinion, as I am not an expert in this area ) I think there is a certain percentage of perpetrators which are quite beyond rehabilitation; there are true sadists and psychopaths amongst us, who actually enjoy what they are doing, and engage in it quite knowingly and premediated. How do you deal with them ? Capital punishment cannot be the answer also.
    I am sure there must be those that can't be rehabilitated, by any foreseeable means anyway. They are still mentally sick people though. They can't help themselves in effect. They simply do what their circumstances have dictated.

    Look, I agree with most of what you have said. The point I am trying to make is that, if you or a member of your own family is affected, your perspective on the issue changes. No one who has not been in this situation can understand the devastation it causes; the only question that remains then is : do you remain a victim or do you become a survivor ? Whether or not the perpetrator has had a difficult life just isn't important to the victim.
    I do have a close female friend who had been sexually traumatised from the age of 5 and only escaped it a few years ago. Her perception has been forever tainted. Trying to empathically understand what she went through was a difficult enough process for me, which is nothing remotely close to what she actually went through for most of her life.

    Personally, I had a fairly abusive father at times and have been traumatised by him driving off with a pistol claiming that he was going to commit suicide, among other things. To me the full intellectual and emotional understanding of how he could do such things has helped me to completely forgive him and absolve him of his wrongdoing and I can honestly say I have absolutely no feelings of malice or resentment towards him. He is one of the best people I know and I am proud to call him my father.

    I fully appreciate that the damage done to these victims is something that can never be removed, but they can learn to deal with it and, at least for me, having some understanding of how someone can be capable of such horrors takes away some of it's venom and goes some way towards being able to make peace with it. I realise this can't work for everyone, so I can't blame anyone for maintaining a resentment and vilification of those that traumatised them. In cases like these, I am fine with anything that works.

    Hm. I am really not so sure about this. I agree of course that our environment does have a large influence on us. On the other hand though I cannot help but think of my own circle of acquaintances - there are some who come from incredibly difficult backgrounds, and who have grown up to become the nicest people you can imagine. On the other hand then there are some who come from good, decent, middle-class families, only to turn out as psychopaths. I think there must be more to it than only environment.
    Well, its not only environment, but genetics as well. But apart from this, the complexity of every moment of influence since birth is much greater than simply if they grew up in privileged homes or not. The smallest things can shape our development from birth to death, with the fist 6 to 8 years of life being the most important in forming the base personality. Literally everything that affects your brain state from conception has an influence and none of it is really under any independent control. Rather, the operating consciousness is the result of all of these things working together, similarly to if you designed an incredibly complicated computer. In the end, it will still be subject to the basic physical laws of nature, in however complex an arrangement it has been assembled.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    7,302
    This is a very interesting discussion, but I am way out of my depths here. It is hard for me to make a meaningful contribution, as I can only give arguments stemming from my personal opinions without scientific basis. This just isn't my area of expertise. Let's just say without giving details that I and my family are directly effected by some of the issues raised ( which is why I posted here in the first place ), so I tend to side with the survivors rather than the perpetrators. All I can say to you is that the impact is always devastating, and it is difficult to remain objective if you are emotionally involved.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    116
    Obviously brought out a point as to the meaning over agnostic. Well I came to this forum to learn. I always just thought being agnostic meant your not sure if there is a god or not. There are reasons that i belive there could be a god that i can't explane. Sometimes I just have a stange feeling come over me about my own existence. And think there just had to be something before the big bang that caused all this. And Im not having a flashback from the 60s Im a musician. And I am amazed at the power of music. Things like if you ask most anybody which chord sounds sad and you play them both.They will always say a minor chord. I say mmm I wonder why that is? The bible is an amazing book IMHO. Now I sound like a preacher! Can I get a hallelujah from all you heathens!! But if there is a god. And he had any part in the writting of it. It can't be much. Because most of it sounds like human thought. There now I'm done with my sermon. May you have peace. Filix.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    116
    I don't rule out that an advanced being might have discovered how to make a universe at some point. I don't think it is necessarily out of our own league at some point very far into the future.
    I never realy thought of it that way kalster. After all, we are trying to make a small big bang. Filix.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,150
    "But I wonder if some people would commit more crimes. Because there is no God to answer to."
    Crimes are more a factor of social structure and environment than in the belief in a magical entity. Also note that even the notion of crime itself varies from one culture to another, death penalty is not considered a crime in some region but is would be in others, burning a woman alive was not considered a crime (witch, religious wars) but in some societies it is considered a crime to burn to death another human being, having other humans slaughtered in games and eaten by animals was considered wholesome entertainment in some cultures at some times in history, cocaine was not illegal at some point in time then was so, selling wine was legal then became a crime then became legal again, etc
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    8,795
    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    "But I wonder if some people would commit more crimes. Because there is no God to answer to."
    Crimes are more a factor of social structure and environment than in the belief in a magical entity.
    How do you know this? And even if it is "more a factor" it does not mean that fear of punishment by God is not a factor at all for some people. Whether or not it is a "magical entity" has nothing to do with the behavior in question.

    Also note that even the notion of crime itself varies from one culture to another, death penalty is not considered a crime in some region but is would be in others, burning a woman alive was not considered a crime (witch, religious wars) but in some societies it is considered a crime to burn to death another human being, having other humans slaughtered in games and eaten by animals was considered wholesome entertainment in some cultures at some times in history, cocaine was not illegal at some point in time then was so, selling wine was legal then became a crime then became legal again, etc
    It doesn't matter. The question was whether some people would commit more crimes (whatever the definition of crime is).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    116
    My wife is driving me crazy with all this satan stuff. She tells me, Satan is so smart he has people beliveing he dosen't even exist. I need a drink! She wants me to sit down with her church Elders and duspute creationism. I will do it, if she realy wants me to. But I'm not too sure how I would go about it. Any suggestions? Filix.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  30. #29  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Be very, very cautious. Ask for advance notice of the three things that convince them that evolution is invalid. Then arm yourself thoroughly on these three points. Perhaps come on here with those three points and ask for the most powerful arguments against. Once engaged in the discussion do not allow deviation from those points. Place other topics in a parking area for future discussion.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  31. #30  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by filix View Post
    My wife is driving me crazy with all this satan stuff. She tells me, Satan is so smart he has people beliveing he dosen't even exist. I need a drink! She wants me to sit down with her church Elders and duspute creationism. I will do it, if she realy wants me to. But I'm not too sure how I would go about it. Any suggestions? Filix.
    She's using the old "I could make an argument to refute you..... if I were smarter." trick. I think the tactic is formally called an "appeal to ignorance". The idea is that you can't be absolutely sure an infinitely intelligent demon hasn't deceived you, therefore her point must be correct.

    Just demand a balanced burden of evidence. IE. don't let them assert that they're the ones who are "innocent until proven guilty". Demand that they also treat you as being "innocent until proven guilty." If they don't have absolute proof that you are doing something wrong by disbelieving in God, demand that they acquit you of wrongdoing and let the point drop.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  32. #31  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Re the nasty bastards.

    I would like to draw peoples attention once more to the findings of Prof. Stephen Pinker, who has enumerated the massive trend over time to less violence. Today, the rate of homicide, deaths in war, torture etc., are lower than any other time in history.
    Steven Pinker: A brief history of violence - YouTube

    The trend to lower violence parallels a trend towards less theism. As the percentage of atheists and agnostics increases, the level of violence drops.
    westwind likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  33. #32  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Difficult question Kalster. Perhaps you would be thinking differently if it was one of your own children who is affected. Believe me.
    Oh, I am sure of it. I would want to kill the guy as much as the next. Thankfully I have not been affected by such things directly yet, so I have the luxury to be able to try and form a valid objective understanding of it all. And I have to say, there is really no other way to look at it imo.

    No one should be able to use the excuse of "bad childhood" or "a diffcult life made me do it". It is an insult to the victim. No matter how hard our lives are, we still choose to a large extent who we become; it cannot be allowed to become a justification for something that isn't justifiable.
    I can fully appreciate your feelings on the matter. The thing is, it is not really a valid argument on its own. I am merely trying to gauge the truth here, no matter what the implications might be. If it is true, it is true independently from what we want it to be. I am also not suggesting not punishing anti-social behaviour. Far from it. Whatever the reasons behind it might be, the fact is still that that particular person committed the anti-social act and still has to be dealt with in some way. Unfortunately we do not yet have very efficient rehabilitation methodologies or even that good an understanding of the causes behind certain behaviours, so incarceration is the only option atm (not executions).
    Perfect rehabilitation is impossible so long as free will remains intact. It's an unresolvable contradiction. Sure, maybe some people lack the innate intelligence to be able to experience empathy toward their fellow humans. Maybe some form of education would help them. Maybe it wouldn't. Maybe they just drew the short end of the straw genetically.

    But how do you make them want that education, except to ensure that their life remains 100% miserable while they don't have it?
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  34. #33  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    116
    Thankyou John and kojax. I dont when its going to happen. But I will keep you posted. filix.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  35. #34  
    Forum Freshman Andrei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Romania
    Posts
    23
    Hello.

    I really like the discussion you've started. Although I am a christian we do agree on one thing. Fate doesn't exist, everyone makes his/hers own future.
    However I wanted to ask you why do you belive that terrorists would be gone?
    I could be wrong, but the terrorist that have a religious background are indangered. Today's terrorists are fulled more by political and military backgrounds.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  36. #35  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrei View Post
    I could be wrong, but the terrorist that have a religious background are indangered. Today's terrorists are fulled more by political and military backgrounds.
    I think it more a matter that economic and political grievances best find their expression through existing cultural and religious structures. If religion did not exist terrorists would still be active, but they woud hitch their banner to another icon.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  37. #36  
    Forum Freshman Andrei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Romania
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrei View Post
    I could be wrong, but the terrorist that have a religious background are indangered. Today's terrorists are fulled more by political and military backgrounds.
    I think it more a matter that economic and political grievances best find their expression through existing cultural and religious structures. If religion did not exist terrorists would still be active, but they woud hitch their banner to another icon.
    Yes, this is also a posibility. I find terrorist, extremists with violent methods of supporting their ideea be them political, social, moral or religious. So if religion would disappear their could turn to some other ideea.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  38. #37  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    276
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrei View Post
    I could be wrong, but the terrorist that have a religious background are indangered. Today's terrorists are fulled more by political and military backgrounds.
    I think it more a matter that economic and political grievances best find their expression through existing cultural and religious structures. If religion did not exist terrorists would still be active, but they woud hitch their banner to another icon.
    True. But from my understanding, religious belief is the greatest catalyst of extremist actions. By having a firm, irrational foundation in religion, you fear nothing (not even death). Therefore making them more daring and dangerous (which in my opinion is one of the main reasons why it's so hard to win in Afghanistan). Religion is also used by terrorist leaders as another uniting presence to make a common cause for extremism.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  39. #38  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,116
    Felix's OP asks why does God let the innocent suffer which is a variation of the overall question of why does evil exist?

    This question sets us up with three possibilities:
    Option 1. Evil exists but God doesn't. This is the position of atheism.
    Option 2. God exists but evil doesn't. This is something of a pantheistic view.
    Option 3. God exists and evi exists. This is the theistic position.

    The atheistic position (option 1) provides us with three potential propositions first proposed long ago by the Greek philosopher Epicurus:

    Premise 1. If God is all powerful, He can destroy all evil.
    Premise 2. If God is all good, he would destroy evil.
    Premise 3. Evil is not destroyed, but is all around.
    Conclusion: God does not exist.

    Virtually all the atheistic and agnositic conclusions which emphasize the existence of suffering in the world are based on one or a combination of these premises. For the most part, atheists use these ignore options 1 and 2 but use them to leap to the conclusion that because evil is not destroyed, God does not exist.

    These propositions are faulty in two ways. First of all, they assume that evil would have to have been destroyed by now. But why not yesterday or last year or a millenium ago or even prior to the existence of mankind? It would seem that if God exercised His prerogative to create creatures which have the freedom to make moral decisions, it necessitated a world in which evil is a possibility
    Secondarily, it might be that God has a good reason and purpose (unrecognized by us) for allowing suffering. If we could show this, it would utterly destroy the overall argument that suffering proves God does not exist. While it might be possible to suggest some possible reasons and ultimate betterment resulting from bad things (that is, silver linings to the dark clouds in our lives), we could not cover all the instances of suffering experienced by mankind whether we are looking at the evil results of improper moral decision or natural disasters such as the recent tragic tornado devistation in the U.S.

    One hesitates to steal an answer from the science community which, when challenged by lack of an explantion for something says, "We just haven't found it -- yet." From the Christian standpoint the third premise would be altered to say, "Evil is not destroyed -- yet." We do, however, we have a promise in Rev. 20-22 that evil will one day be destroyed.

    The pantheistic position (option 2) that evil does not exist and is merely an illusion is contradicted by our own personal experiences, by science and by historical evidence and, from the Christian perspective, Biblical examples. Through science, we are able to measure and in some instances predict naturally caused suffering from hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes (and resulting tsunamis) and volcanic eruptions. Medical science is dedicated to the treatment of diseases and injuries. While science does not define these things as evil, we use science to show those things which we have, philosophically, determined to be evil causes of suffering.

    Option 3 offers yet other sub option alternatives.

    It offers the option that God is less powerful than evil (finitism) which is sort of related to Premise No. 1, the weaknesses of which I already explained. This position in some way suggests that God and man can cooperate to eliminate evil, a slight variation of the atheist position that man himself is capable of destroying evil. (This in the face of ever increasing evil in the world!)

    Some consider that God and evil are co-eternal opposites (dualism) which is based on two illogical false premises -- 1. Something can be the source of its opposite and 2. Evil is a thing.

    As examples, light cannot be the source of darkness, heat cannot be the source of cold nor vice versa. As such, God cannot be the source of evil nor can evil be the source of God.

    It is possible that evil can come from intended good while good can come from intended evil. One might share his canned beans with a neighbor in an act of kindness only to find that one of the cans contains botulism from which the neighbor dies. One might intend evil in shooting another person but treatment of the wound might discover a more serious and potentially lethal circumstances.

    This proposition actually provides us with the impossible circumstance of the irresistible force meeting the unmoveable object. This notion is, ultimately, illogical.

    This also renders the idea that evil is a thing impossible. Evil does not in and of itself exist as a thing. Just as darkness is the absense of light, evil is the absense or corruption of good. Likewise, cruelty is the absense of kindness.

    The idea that God is greater than evil (the true theistic position) gives rise to two perplexing questions: 1. Why would
    God allow evil to enter into the world He created (causation) and 2. Why doesn't God stop evil if he has the power to do so (cessation). These are related to the original premises but from a slightly different perspective.

    As to the first question: As stated earlier, this is the downside of creating creatures with free will, opening the door to wrong choices and the suffering which can result. Expanding on this question boils down to the Biblical concept that God has warned mankind concerning the results of wrong choices, suggesting that there are consequences not only on our physical being but also eternal consequences. Even so, we all make some wrong choices which have consequences not only on ourselves but potentially on other people, and sometimes result in suffering.

    Even when it comes to natural phenomena there is sometimes a connection between moral evil and natural evil. Fires can be the result of arson or human negiligence or carelessness. A building can collapse due to shoddy workmanship or intentional use of inferior materials. Cancers may be caused by mankind's release of carcinogens into the environment. Carbon emissions may be a direct cause or contributor to global warming resulting in weather related sufferings. I don't think man causes earthquakes or volcanoes, but these may well be the results of causes necessary to the ultimate proper working of our planet.

    Suffering may also be a way to bring out good qualities in man. How could we display courage without something to fear? How could we show mercy unless there was a need for it. How would we develop patience and tolerance without experiencing trials? Why would we learn to trust a God in difficult situations if there were no difficult situations?

    The eternal consequences of wrong choices is a possibility that atheists and agnostic most often discount or ignore. I cannot explain this to the satisfaction of atheists and agnostics but can only maintain that a choice is only a choice when it has genuine consequenses -- good or bad. If we do not have a choice of heaven or hell in eternity, there are absolutely no consequences to many of the choices we make in life. Half the murders in the U.S. go unsolved and unpunished. Somehow this prickles our sense of justice. We all (atheist, agnostic and theist alike) have a general feeling that others should benefit from his own foul deeds. (We often make exceptions to ourselves.) Theism provides a solution to this inequity we experience in the temporal world.

    I cannot possibly pretend to know all that is in the mind of an all-knowing, loving and just, patient and longsuffering God. But there are miriads of books which have been written relating to how God used suffering to the benefit of the sufferer and why such things occur, and these could partially explain why God has not yet brought about the cessation of evil. There are numerous ways suggest that God could do so, none of which seem as satisfactory as the status quo.

    God could wipe out all the agents of evil an restock the planet in hope that the replacements would turn out better. Considering the idea that He already did that once, it seems unlikely that He would do it again.

    God could change us so that we could never do evil again by performing a moral labotomy so that we could choose only good. But this would render us mere robots and not free moral creatures who can love God because we want to rather than because we have to.

    God could intervene each time we are about to do evil. This, again, would take away our free choice but it would not take away the evil which exists in our minds.

    God could immediately strike evil doers dead and others would see it and refrain from evil. This, however, would be coercive and again, rob us of free moral choice. God does not hold a gun to our head to insist that we love and obey Him.

    We, at least of Christian faith, feel that the existence of evil shows the existence of God. We feel that God patiently awaits for those who do wrong things (that is all of us) to realize the eternal consequences and the need to be reconciled with God in order to be subjected to His loving mercy rather than the justice of God.

    We believe that God is greater than evil and we live with in freedom and faith that He will eventually put an end to evil by confining it in hell.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  40. #39  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    For the most part, atheists use these ignore options 1 and 2 but use them to leap to the conclusion that because evil is not destroyed, God does not exist.
    Dayton

    The arguments you quote atheists using lead to one single conclusion. They do not prove the non existence of a deity. But they do prove that this deity, if it exists, cannot be all three of omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.

    An omnibenevolent being would not willingly permit people to suffer pain and harm. If such a being was also omnipotent and omniscient, he, she or it would take action to prevent suffering.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  41. #40  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,116
    Skeptic obviously did not read the whole post as those objections are addressed. The post explores the potential reasons why God may allow these things to occur and the measures He would have to take to eliminate them. I admit to lacking the full knowledge of the mind of God. One thing I am sure of though, is that God does not do things the way skeptic thinks he should which suggests to me that neither does skeptic have full command of the mind of God.

    As I have often pointed out on this forum the world is as it is whether or not God exists. If God does exist, then this is the best world in view of all the alternatives and options avialable to Him to accomplish His purposes which include the eventual erradication of all evil. If God does not exist, this is the best the world can be at this time and there is no plan to erradicate all evil at any time.


    Aside: is there someplace I must click to automatically be notified of responses in topics i have posted on? I use to get them but do not now.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  42. #41  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Dayton

    Sorry for having to say this, but I do not find your other arguments at all convincing. An omnipotent deity would not have to wait to eliminate evil. Nor would an omnibenevolent deity leave humans in a position to harm themselves.

    The Christian God is described as being a loving father, who lets His children condemn themselves to eternal damnation, and permits others of his children to experience extreme pain and terror in this life. No human parent would do that. A human parent, out of love, restricts his/her children's freedom in order to protect them from harm.

    Yet you claim an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent deity will not do the same? This does not compute.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  43. #42  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,116
    Well, skeptic, your argument boils down to the idea that since God does not do things the way you think he should, that is proof that he does not exist. I have no idea how you think that comes close to proving your point. Hitler did not do things the way I think he should have, but I still believe he existed. I don't think you fully appreciate how non-logical that position is.

    What if God observed that you were not doing what he thinks you should do and decided that you do not exist? The difference here is that God could terminate your existence, but doesn't, while you cannot terminate His existence, but probably would.

    A human parent does more than protect his child from harm. He also disciplines the child to teach him the negative consequences of improper behavior. He also sometimes allows the child to suffer the natural consequences of his own bad decisions.

    I don't think you understand that virtually anything God could do to eliminate evil and suffering would also eliminate our free agency and ability to make free moral decisions. My feeling is that you would be fully willing for God to remove that ability from others but would balk when it came to giving up your own free will.

    Since our ability to make wrong decisions is basically the root of all moral evil, how do you propose that God could eliminate this capacity without turning us into virtual robots?

    Among all the possibilities in the Universe, it is possible that God does not exist. But that fact that there is evil and suffering in the world does not prove it. Nor does the fact that you don't like the way you think he operates.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  44. #43  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    I don't think you understand that virtually anything God could do to eliminate evil and suffering would also eliminate our free agency and ability to make free moral decisions. My feeling is that you would be fully willing for God to remove that ability from others but would balk when it came to giving up your own free will.

    Since our ability to make wrong decisions is basically the root of all moral evil, how do you propose that God could eliminate this capacity without turning us into virtual robots?
    Newsflash to Dayton.

    We do not have free will. We are restrained on all sides. The laws of nature prevent me from flying like superman, much as I would like to. The laws of biology ensure I will die some day, despite the fact that I would like to live a hell of a lot longer. The laws of the country prevent me from taking violent revenge against certain people who deserve it. And so on.

    If I got condemned to eternal damnation because, for example, I was sexually attracted to a woman married to another guy, then an omnipotent deity could stop that easily by preventing that sexual attraction. After all, I am not attracted to at least 90% of the human race sexually, so what is one more such trivial lack of attraction?

    The fact that our free will is already massively constrained does not make us robots. A tiny extra restraint will not either.

    Nor is my argument about what I think our hypothetical deity should or should not do. It is just a logical extrapolation of religious ideas.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  45. #44  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,116
    Well, I like your use of natural restraints as examples of lacking free will but I don't think they are relevant to the concepts being a free moral agent. There is no decision to make when it comes to flying as did Superman. This is not an example of free moral agency. Following the legal and social rules within our environment, however, does provide us with the opportunity to make a decision.

    You have a choice as to whether you will have an affair with your neighbor's wife. You may not have a choice in whether you find her attractive and desireable as did David of Bathsheba. The question is whether you will recognize that she is off limits and, as a volitional act, restrain yourself from pursuing her. But let me ask you this: Assuming God exists and there is a heaven and a hell, do you think that David, who had Bathsheba's husband killed because he (David) and knocked her up, went to heaven or hell?

    So long as you have the ability to make a decision, you are exercising free agency. Free moral agency is not about lamenting that which is impossible. You do not have the authority or power to defy the laws of physics and so their is no free agency involved. You cannot choose to avoid physical death, but you can choose eternal life. In that you do have free moral agency.

    Your last sentence is quite perplexing to me as it might relate to logic. Could you actually set forth your premise as a set of logical statements and then show how it is an extrapolation of religious ideas or leads to the conclusion that God is either non-existent or irrelevant.

    A lot of posters here argue that something is logical or illogical without ever expressing the premises of the concept which they are judging.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  46. #45  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Dayton

    You use the example of David and Bathsheba, and suggest David went to hell. As an interpretation of biblical teachings, that is very accurate. However, David was a great hero of the Jewish people, and was portrayed as a great servant of God. So why should he go Hell? He had a weakness, which he succombed to. But an omnipotent deity would have had no problem dealing with that weakness, in such a way as to leave David otherwise unencumbered with any restraint of free will. And David would not then go to Hell.

    Do you not see this as a flaw in the omnibenevolent description of your deity?
    A human father, given the power to prevent it, would not permit his child to destroy itself as David destroyed himself.

    We are already massively restrained in terms of how we can behave. Another minor restraint is nothing, compared to the terrible consequences of not having that restraint.

    Of course, all my arguments will evaporate if the description of the deity as three things - omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent - is not correct. Any one of those qualities that is limited will permit the existence of the deity in a way that is consistent with the reality we know.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  47. #46  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,116
    Skeptic, I did not offer any opinion relating to David's disposition in eternity. I in no way suggested that David went to hell. I asked you what you thought his ultimate disposition was. Maybe you can explain what I said that leads you to believe that my understanding was that he was doomed to hell. That seems to be your understanding which you just automatically transferred to me.

    While I might disagree with your reasoning and process, I would agree that David was forgiven, but based on his belief and trust in God. You seem to have a very different perspective of how God works than how the Bible suggests he works. I mean you just have a different picture of God than the one described in the Bible. I don't like your God either. You mistake glossing over with forgiveness.

    Amont the things you have mentioned, I just do not see any restraints upon our ability to make free moral choices. We have consequences for violating legal and social protocols, but you still retain the ability to make a free moral choice to violate those protocols. If we choose to obey the speed laws because we do not want to suffer the consequences of a ticket, we have exercised a free moral choice. Our free moral choice has not been overcome by the speed laws. We have chosen to conform.

    I don't think you understand the concept of free moral choice which renders this conversation rather futile.

    Incidentally, your non-word "omnibenevolent" is a made up concept which renders your argument on this issue totally useless, if not senseless.

    You still have not set out your premise but continue to ramble around with not beginning point other than that God does not exist, therefore, you conclude, God does not exist. That is not a logical premise and conclusion.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  48. #47  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Dayton

    I did not say you said David went to hell. The word I used was 'suggest', which follows as a direct consequence of Christian belief. Nor is there anything in the bible which says God automatically forgives all sinners. Biblical teaching implies David went to hell, and there is nothing in the bible to say otherwise. Forgiveness seems to come with conditions.

    Omnibenevolent is not a word I made up, since I have seen it elsewhere. I am certain you fully appreciate what it means.

    Not have I said that God does not exist. My claim is that the deity, if hesheit exists, cannot be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. These qualities are not consistent with what we know of reality. Just be glad I have not made it a quartet, and added omnipresent to the list, which I have seen elsewhere, and seems to be a Christian belief also.

    I am agnostic, meaning I make no claim of the non existence of deity. However, I appreciate basic logic, and that denies a deity with those three qualities.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  49. #48  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,116
    Well,again, there are no Christians who claim God is "omnibenevolent." What you have done is set up a straw argument as to that terminology. And so far, I have not seen you set up any logical premise from which you can "logically" conclude (as you claim" that God lacks the qualities of omnipotence or omniscience nor do I have the slightest idea as to what those terms mean to you. Even if the term ominbenevolent is a legitimate word, it is not applied to God by any believers I know. Well, maybe Joel Osteen.

    In our short exhange here, I would likely agree with you that He does not embody those qualities as you might define them. There are a lot of posters here who claim something and then say it is logical because they say it is logical. If you want to claim something is logical, it is necessary to establish a logical formula which is, indeed, logical.

    Skeptic said:

    I did not say you said David went to hell. The word I used was 'suggest', which follows as a direct consequence of Christian belief. Nor is there anything in the bible which says God automatically forgives all sinners. Biblical teaching implies David went to hell, and there is nothing in the bible to say otherwise. Forgiveness seems to come with conditions.
    I did not suggest anything of the sort, you merely said I suggested it because it suited your jaded view. Had I been disposed to comment on that issue, I would not have pussyfooted by "suggesting" my opinion on the matter. In my original post I offered no suggestion or opinion as to David's eternal disposition specifically to avoid having to defend that position. Nor does it follow that Christian belief denies David a place in God's eternal kingdom. I think the Bible does teach that David and many of the Old Testament patriarchs did not go to hell. Even as far back as to Abraham, the Bible says he believed and it was accounted to him as rightousness. David believed and trusted in the coming Messiah, even wrote about Him, and Christian doctrine would deem that belief to be equivalent to our age's belief and trust in the manifested Messiah.

    You are correct that God does not automatically forgive all sinners and that forgiveness is based on some conditions. I mean duhhhhh. Everything in life comes with conditions. Try to get a driver's licence or obtain a home loan or do anything without meeting some conditions precedent and, often, some conditions subsequent. Even living comes with the conditions of feeding and maintaining the body. Even birth is conditional on the fertilization of an ovum and a successful gestation. The conditions David were, essentially the same as for us today -- belief and trust in the Messiah.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
    Reply With Quote  
     

  50. #49  
    So say we all! xLethal Vixenx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Oak Grove, KY
    Posts
    12
    I was born into a Seventh Day Adventist family, I was forced to get baptized, forced to go to church and forced to pray. For that reason, I began to question religion and 'God', I grew and so did my mind. Religion isn't healthy in my opinion, it's like a disease that is finally coming to a halt. I am an open minded person and I like to respect all religions, but it's hard to when you were forced into so much as a child. I, at 21yrs old, am an Apathist and have been since I left my fathers place at 12yrs old. Not all religious people are evil, hypocrites, or vile, but I can't help but to keep them all in the same category.
    Arguing with a fundamentalist Christian is like playing chess with a pigeon.

    You could be the greatest player in the world, but the pigeon will still knock over all the pieces, shit on the board and strut around triumphantly.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  51. #50  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    Dayton

    On David and Bathsheba.

    You asked if David, after the terrible crime of murder in order to gain another man's wife, would go to heaven or hell. I do not believe either, of course, but biblical teaching would indicate hell.

    However, if you agree that the deity is not omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, then his/her/its existence is possible. Not disproved. Not sure what your view of such a deity is, but I do not think it is quite congruent with the normal Christian image. That is fine, of course. There is nothing forcing you to.

    I became agnostic (previously presbyterian) at age 15. In the nearly 50 years since, I have been looking for any credible evidence that a deity might exist. So far, zilch. Possible, OK, depending on your image. But evidence, no.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  52. #51  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by brody View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrei View Post
    I could be wrong, but the terrorist that have a religious background are indangered. Today's terrorists are fulled more by political and military backgrounds.
    I think it more a matter that economic and political grievances best find their expression through existing cultural and religious structures. If religion did not exist terrorists would still be active, but they woud hitch their banner to another icon.
    True. But from my understanding, religious belief is the greatest catalyst of extremist actions. By having a firm, irrational foundation in religion, you fear nothing (not even death). Therefore making them more daring and dangerous (which in my opinion is one of the main reasons why it's so hard to win in Afghanistan). Religion is also used by terrorist leaders as another uniting presence to make a common cause for extremism.
    Yeah. Pretty much any evil that has ever been done in the name of religion has also been done in the name of communism or Nazism, or some other utopian ideal. People make the mistake of thinking that all that stands between them and an easy existence is some "evil" person, or a Jew, or a counterrevolutionary.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner View Post
    Well, skeptic, your argument boils down to the idea that since God does not do things the way you think he should, that is proof that he does not exist. I have no idea how you think that comes close to proving your point. Hitler did not do things the way I think he should have, but I still believe he existed. I don't think you fully appreciate how non-logical that position is.
    The problem is the double standard. We mere mortals are expected to actively seek to alleviate any suffering we encounter in others to the best of our meager ability. If we see someone hungry we're supposed to feed them. If we see them in jail, we should visit them.... etc. But... God has infinite ability to alleviate suffering, so..... why does he not have to abide by his own rules?



    What if God observed that you were not doing what he thinks you should do and decided that you do not exist? The difference here is that God could terminate your existence, but doesn't, while you cannot terminate His existence, but probably would.
    If God is imaginary, then he disappears the moment you stop believing in him, as your belief was the sum total of all the existence he ever had in the first place. If he's real, on the other hand, then clearly only another omnipotent being could kill him.

    Quote Originally Posted by xLethal Vixenx View Post
    I was born into a Seventh Day Adventist family, I was forced to get baptized, forced to go to church and forced to pray. For that reason, I began to question religion and 'God', I grew and so did my mind. Religion isn't healthy in my opinion, it's like a disease that is finally coming to a halt. I am an open minded person and I like to respect all religions, but it's hard to when you were forced into so much as a child. I, at 21yrs old, am an Apathist and have been since I left my fathers place at 12yrs old. Not all religious people are evil, hypocrites, or vile, but I can't help but to keep them all in the same category.
    I'm dearly glad I wasn't born into a 7th Day Adventist family of all things (mine was Mormon.) But you could do worse. There's a cult in Portland, OR that believes in refusing medical treatment to their children, so they sometimes suffer permanent deformities caused by curable conditions. It's been a point of contention, and some of the parents have gone to jail over it. But that just makes them feel like martyrs. I doubt they'll stop doing it anytime soon.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Similar Threads

  1. What's The Difference Between Agnostic and Atheist
    By honeybunny in forum Scientific Study of Religion
    Replies: 61
    Last Post: June 29th, 2011, 11:44 PM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •