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Thread: Does God Understand Evil?

  1. #1 Does God Understand Evil? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Can a good person understand the evil that lurks in the minds of those who are not good? Can they understand those who are truly evil?

    On the other hand can an evil person understand what it is to be good?

    It seems to me that an evil person would have the easier time of it when it comes to understanding their opposite number. I suppose one can be born evil but it appears to me that those who became evil once knew some good. Whereas a good person understands goodness but would have a hard time explaining evil if they've never been party to it.

    Does one have to know good before they can become evil? If so then I could say that an evil person once knew or understood goodness. I think experiencing or acting out evil can obviously help the evildoer get a better understanding of it. Until a good person crosses that line of good to evil, they can never fully understand.

    I don't know exactly where I'm going with this but I'm going to try and relate this to God. If god is good then how does He know so much about evil? If He has never been evil how can He really be an expert? Is it possible for God to be evil...I think not. Therein lies the conundrum.

    Satan on the other hand, cast out of heaven, a good angel at first but soon turned to the dark side. However Satan had a pretty good grip on what's good. The goodness of heaven was not to last forever for Satan and he eventually became evil in every respect, or so it goes. Is Satan more qualified than God to impart knowledge re good and evil?


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    Can you tell me what religion says that Satan did to make others see him as evil?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Can you tell me what religion says that Satan did to make others see him as evil?
    I assume you mean what he did? others as in people? I think the people take their cue from God. I would suppose even a minor disagreement between an angel and God would be an evil enterprise.

    Are you trying to get me to say God decides what's evil? Reasonable assumption I think.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    No I am trying to find out what satan did (originally) that classed him as evil.
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  6. #5 Re: Does God Understand Evil? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I don't know exactly where I'm going with this but I'm going to try and relate this to God. If god is good then how does He know so much about evil? If He has never been evil how can He really be an expert? Is it possible for God to be evil...I think not. Therein lies the conundrum.
    Looking at it in its simple form, there is no conundrum. There is either a God that pits good and evil for his amusement.... or there is no God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    No I am trying to find out what satan did (originally) that classed him as evil.
    Disobeyed? Seems to work against us mere mortals.

    God's good is a tough act to follow. It's damn near impossible. Hell, even God tried to make us such and couldn't pull it off. Personally I would consider some of God's actions evil but in some strange twist they are not.

    I ask everyone....Does it not seem God's actions are evil at times? I mean does He know the difference? That's the whole point of the thread, He may have no idea or understanding of evil.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  8. #7 Gods argument with Lucifer 
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    Okay, i dont for one second believe any of this babble but......the mythology behind it is that when god created the earth and the people; Lucifer was one of gods most loved angels and asked god to give him domain over the earth and over mankind; god denied him this and lucifer became angry and told god that he would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. a battle persued and Lucifer and his followers were cast out of heaven by the arch angel michael.

    BUT.......

    The bible doesnt say that lucifer was cast into hell; it says that he was cast onto the EARTH !!
    The hand of time rested on the half-hour mark, and all along that old front line of the English there came a whistling and a crying. The men of the first wave climbed up the parapets, in tumult, darkness, and the presence of death, and having done with all pleasant things, advanced across No Man's Land to begin the Battle of the Somme. - Poet John Masefield.

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    So the devil is evil because God made him cranky?! Wow this changes everything, why not instead of a huge battle for the earth God just sends him some bran muffins?
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    Satan didn't like how everyone worshipped God in heaven.

    Satan was the highest of the Archangels, and the 3rd highest angel of heaven. God, Jesus, Lucifer (Satan).

    Satan rebelled against God's way and God kicked him out of heaven to earth. Satan managed to lead a third of the angels of heaven to follow him.

    Lucifer was cast down to earth, not hell. There are three heavens Heaven (outerspace), Hell (center of the earth), and earth (where we are). The angels live in heaven with God, the dead live in hell in torment and regret, the humans who have the choice to choose between the two (heaven or hell) are living in the center of the two heavens.

    on earth, Satan lead Eve to sin. He made her eat a fruit which God told her not to eat. Before eve ate the fruit humans never died, animals never died. When sin came into the world things changed in alot of ways.

    Obviously when God created Satan he knew Satan was going to be jealous of people worhsipping him. So why did he do it?

    I believe that God allowed sin to come into the world to teach us a life lesson.

    Our life purpose is choosing a way between good or evil so that only the righteous get into heaven and only those in heaven will live forever on a remade earth and remade heavens with God. God gave us a free will to choose between the two.

    God does stop evil all the time, God performs miracles in the world everyday.

    too much to talk about on this topic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiki
    Satan didn't like how everyone worshipped God in heaven.

    Satan was the highest of the Archangels, and the 3rd highest angel of heaven. God, Jesus, Lucifer (Satan).

    Satan rebelled against God's way and God kicked him out of heaven to earth. Satan managed to lead a third of the angels of heaven to follow him.

    Lucifer was cast down to earth, not hell. There are three heavens Heaven (outerspace), Hell (center of the earth), and earth (where we are). The angels live in heaven with God, the dead live in hell in torment and regret, the humans who have the choice to choose between the two (heaven or hell) are living in the center of the two heavens.

    on earth, Satan lead Eve to sin. He made her eat a fruit which God told her not to eat. Before eve ate the fruit humans never died, animals never died. When sin came into the world things changed in alot of ways.

    Obviously when God created Satan he knew Satan was going to be jealous of people worhsipping him. So why did he do it?

    I believe that God allowed sin to come into the world to teach us a life lesson.

    Our life purpose is choosing a way between good or evil so that only the righteous get into heaven and only those in heaven will live forever on a remade earth and remade heavens with God. God gave us a free will to choose between the two.

    God does stop evil all the time, God performs miracles in the world everyday.

    too much to talk about on this topic
    Unless you have some proof of your gods miracles, your just another brainwashed preacher who uses Free Will to explain away all the bad things in life. This kind of thinking actually kills people.

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    there is alot of proof of God's miracles. He has worked miracles in the life of my family and he has worked miracles in my life. He has also worked miracles in the lives of millions of people around the world.

    My God has been the cause of people being healed of aids, cancer, epilepsy, depression, addiction and all other kinds of disease and sickness. God works wonders both big and small, he is willing to supply our smallest need.

    Christians use the power of prayer to pray for different miracles from God. though God dosn't answer every single prayer, God has healed thousands of people of uncurable problems (cancer,aids,paralysis,etc). people even report that God spoke to them to help them out in a situation.

    These are real life experiences taken from the book 'Christian Miracles' by James S. Bell & Stephen R. Clark.

    Monica Cane had been in a deep sleep on a warm July night in 1997 when she awoke from a peculiar dream. In her dream, she had smelled a distinct foul odor in the air. The smell was so intense that it startled her awake. At first, she wasn't even sure whether the smell had been real or if it was just in her dream.
    "an uneasiness crept over me," she says. "I crawled out from beneath the covers and decided to check on the children. I peeked into their room and they looked like perfect little lambs tucked under their covers."
    Monica went through every room in the quite, dark house. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, she headed back to bed. Yet the sense of uneasiness intensified and the memory of the foul smell flooded her senses. She went through the house again.
    "I walked into the living room, the center of our little house, and scanned in every direction. I sniffed the air repeatedly trying to detect something. There was nothing unusual in the air."
    Still, she was increasingly troubled in her spirit, and the sense of the odor would not leave her. Quitely, in the middle of her sleeping home, Monica prayed, "What is it God? show me the smell." The answer came swiftly.
    "I felt overwhelmingly drawn back to the kids' room. When i walked in, they looked just as peaceful as they had before. My four-year-old daughter Kalaya, was snuggled up in a ball under her covers. My nine-year-old daughter, Krystal, was clinging to her favorite blue teddy bear. I didn't see or smell anything alarming but i felt an almost magnetic pull toward Krystal and her blue bear."
    Monica removed the teddy bear from her daughter's hands. She was shocked to discover that it was actually smoldering on the inside. The bear had been propped up against a nightlight and the heat from the light caused the bear's fabric to smolder.
    The teddy bear surely would have eventually burst into flames in the hands of the little girl.
    "God used my dream to warn me of the potential danger. And when I prayed for guidance as to the danger, He showed me exactly where it was," says Monica. "We no longer use the same type of nightlights, and we no longer have the blue teddy bear. But we have the testimony of God's miracle keeping our family safe in the midst of unseen danger."

    Sybil also saw her regular doctor to ask about her hip. He had her stand while he put his thumbs on the top of each side of her hips. "Yes," he said, "you left leg is about one-half inch shorter than the right leg."
    "Oh, I've known that since I was a teenager," said Sybil. "I always had to hem my slacks shorter on the left." An X ray confirmed the difference. The doctor explained that having a shorter leg would throw Sybil's back out of alignment and curve her spine slightly, causing back pain.
    Sybil remebered she experienced severe back pain during her pregnancy, and that the pain continued after she had given birth. Her doctor told her that there was no cure for something like this and gave her a number of daily exercises to ease the pain.
    "The next morning in class," says Sybil, "talked to a fellow classmate. He was a medical doctor. He told me that as soon as he looked at me, the week before, he could see that my hips were not even. He went on to describe what that does to the back. He even drew me a little picture to show me that the uneven hips caused the slight curvature and even indicated the spot on the back where i felt the pain."
    Despite additional prayer with the instructor and others in the class, nothing happened to Sybil's leg. However Sybil was part of another prayer group that had been meeting to pray for an hour each week for a woman in another country. During one of these prayer sessions, Sybil sensed something happening in her leg.
    "I noticed that there was a tingly feeling beginning in my left leg. The tingling went up and down my left leg. Then, the tingling went up and down my left leg. Then, the tingling started across my pelvic bone, back and forth.Both ym left leg and my pelvic bone were tingling. I opened my eyes and told the group that the Holy Spirit was touching my leg and asked if they could come and lay hands on me and pray for the healing right then. I stood up and they all stood around me with their hands on my shoulders. As they began to pray for me I felt my left leg extend. Then it was over, jsut like that. I put my thumbs on my hips. They were even. I asked others in the group if they could push their thumbs down on my hips and see if they could tell if they were even. Everyone said that they were. I was ecstatic!"
    For Merlin Gonzales of Indianapolis, Indiana, it had been a busy February day. Afterdinner, he retired to his bedroom to relax and study. He closed the door, lit a scented jar candle on the nighstand by the bed, and began his theology school studies on the Pauline literature. Annie, his wife, was watching television in the living room. After about an hour of reading, Merlin fell soundly asleep. It was around 9:00 PM.
    Two hours later, Annie turned off the televsion and began getting ready for bed. She was brushing her teeth in the bathroom when Merlin's cell phone rang. Annie hurried to try to answer it so that it wouldn't wake Merlin up, but he was already reaching for it. The caller hung up before Merlin could answer. He looked up and saw a frightened Annie standing in front of him and staring past him.
    "Oh, my!" she exclaimed and pointed to the candle by the the bed. Its flame was five inches above the near-empty, and very hot, jar. A scarf was draped over a nearby lamp, precariously close to the flame. Now wide awake, Merlin jumped up and quickly extinguished the candle. It had gotten so hot, it left a burn mark on the night stand.
    Relieved, Annie and Merlin both expressed amazement that his cell phone had rung, so late at night, just moments before their bedroom would have caught fire. Curious Merlin dialed back the person who called. A young lady answered. She said she was trying to respond to a job advertised in the paper, and had dialed a wrong number. How odd, both Annie and Merlin thought, that a person would be calling at such a later hour about a job ad.
    "But thanks to the wrong number," says Merlin, "we avoided what could have been a serious disaster. There is no doubt the jar would have caused a fire in the bedroom. Annie and i both knew right away that it was the Lord who intervened and saved us with a wrong number. We prayed together and praied God for His working in our lives."
    The next day Merlin called the young lady back again and shared how the Lord used her to save Merlin and Annie. He explained all that had happened and thanked her for saving their lives. Annie and Merlin saved the burned jar candle as a reminder of how the Lord is always looking over them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiki
    ....though God dosn't answer every single prayer
    And thats the reason that over 3000 children die each year of cancer alone in childrens hospitals, huh?

    The stories you quoted have no meaning either because there are a greater percentage of homes that have burned to the ground with kids trapped inside..... only to hear the screams of the parents saying "why, god, why".

    I hope, if you have children, you have smoke detectors in your home instead of a bible.

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    And thats the reason that over 3000 children die each year of cancer alone in childrens hospitals, huh?

    The stories you quoted have no meaning either because there are a greater percentage of homes that have burned to the ground with kids trapped inside..... only to hear the screams of the parents saying "why, god, why".
    And what about the people who are healed each year? what about the lives that are saved? they're not important? you asked me for evidence of miracles and i gave it to you.

    My point was that the Bible depicts a God who is powerful over evil, but does not stop all evil that happens. The Bible says death is the result evil, and evil is caused by Satan. The Bible says God performs miracles and conquers evil in the earth all the time and he'll never stop.

    We can see unexplainable miracles everyday that point to a God who is powerful over everything and a God who cares for us, a God who answers prayer. Such a God as the Bible depicts.

    yes terrible things happen. But God performs miracles in the world while satan is at work in the world. There are both good and evil forces at work, we can see that the good can overpower the evil.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reiki
    And thats the reason that over 3000 children die each year of cancer alone in childrens hospitals, huh?

    The stories you quoted have no meaning either because there are a greater percentage of homes that have burned to the ground with kids trapped inside..... only to hear the screams of the parents saying "why, god, why".
    And what about the people who are healed each year? what about the lives that are saved? they're not important? you asked me for evidence of miracles and i gave it to you.

    My point was that the Bible depicts a God who is powerful over evil, but does not stop all evil that happens. The Bible says death is the result evil, and evil is caused by Satan. The Bible says God performs miracles and conquers evil in the earth all the time and he'll never stop.

    We can see unexplainable miracles everyday that point to a God who is powerful over everything and a God who cares for us, a God who answers prayer. Such a God as the Bible depicts.

    yes terrible things happen. But God performs miracles in the world while satan is at work in the world. There are both good and evil forces at work, we can see that the good can overpower the evil.
    Its easy to see where your coming from. When things are bad, or children die in a fire, its satans work, but when doctors manage to save a little kid it was gods work. This way you have the answers that satisfy you.

    Well, I would tell you to take a walk through a childrens hospital someday like I have and see what your "satan" is doing but it wouldn't do any good for someone as brainwashed as you are.

    One summer, I volunteered in that childrens ward but I lasted only two weeks. It was way too emotional for me to handle so I left with the same feelings I always had about your god. He is false. Just a made up story because if your god was all powerful..... well, you know the rest.

    Your very lucky in a way... you have a mythical someone to place the blame on when things go bad and a mythical someone to hug when things are good. The perpetual teddy bear you carry with you every day. I'm not so lucky. I see pain, suffering, and death, for what it really is and I have no release for it because all I have is the realistic truth.

    I envy you, but I would never want to be like you.

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    No if doctors managed to save a little child then it's the doctors work.

    Now what about those people cured of things which doctors can't cure? what about the people who's lives are saved without the help of doctors?

    what about the people who are cured of HIV/Aids (there is no cure for Hiv/Aids), people who have cancer that disapears without surgery? people who have been unable to walk their whole lives who manage to walk again one day without any help from doctors.

    Its easy to see where your coming from. When things are bad, or children die in a fire, its satans work, but when doctors manage to save a little kid it was gods work. This way you have the answers that satisfy you.
    i'm not talking about miracles where a doctor removes cancer from a child with surgery. i'm talking about the child who has cancer only to have that cancer miraculously disapear.

    for example the pastor of my old church had cancer. He went in a week before his surgery to get x-rays for his cancer, the x-rays showed the cancer. When he went in to recieve the surgery a week later the doctors opened him up and noticed there was no cancer. xrays also showed there was no cancer.

    The whole church prayed for him.

    Cancer does not dissolve in a week. Miracles like this happen all the time.
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    MOD EDIT: THis post was completely off-topic and has been deleted. Please stick to the subject. - Megabrain.
    You atheist are are always denying the truth and don't want to here the truth its like you closing your ears.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Looking at it in its simple form, there is no conundrum. There is either a God that pits good and evil for his amusement.... or there is no God.
    I read something recently that I think really appeals to common sense. I wish I had it now so I could directly quote from it, but he said something along the lines that suffering is not only not a problem, it is necessary! Genesis talks about how God created the heavens and the earth, separated light from dark, etc. What he was doing was giving the universe definition by creating dualities. We can't know the meaning of heaven without earth, just like we can't know the meaning of light without darkness.

    If we take this concept and apply it to suffering, suffering becomes necessary in order to define the state of peace. I can see how people think God should intervene to take away all our problems, but that would also take away our capacity to understand God in a meaningful way. I think when he created the universe, he intentionally created the possibility for suffering because it means "the peace that passes understanding" has significance. That means that, for the most part, God would just let things run their course.

    Also, keep in mind that God hasn't left us completely to our own devices. Christianity teaches that Jesus came as our Savior, even if it isn't in the way we would have liked. The Jews were expecting some sort of political revolutionary who would release them from oppression, and not a poor carpenter who would be sentenced to death. I believe that Jesus still manifests himself in us today as the Holy Spirit, whether or not we decide to call it that. God doesn't take away suffering, but he gives us the faculties to endure it.

    So in response to your specific concern, Bettina, it doesn't have to be just two options. This is a third one that makes some sense out of suffering and is still in line with Christian beliefs. The Bible doesn't say a lot about why God created anything at all, but if I had to venture a guess this would be it.

    As a response to the question of this thread ("Does God understand evil?"), I think the answer is yes. And since the presence of evil gives God definition, he would understand it best.
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    MOD EDIT: Off topic deleted. - Megabrain.


    BTW, I've read the bible many times and believed every word, but as time went on I saw it for what it really was.... A book written by men, to make up the biggest lie ever told and although I still keep it in my home for personal reasons, it has been relocated in with my fiction books which I keep separate from my science ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Personally I would consider some of God's actions evil but in some strange twist they are not.

    I ask everyone....Does it not seem God's actions are evil at times? I mean does He know the difference? That's the whole point of the thread, He may have no idea or understanding of evil.
    Mod edit: Above assigned to correct poster. Megabrain.

    Why ask us? Look to your "Holly Scriptures!" In Isaiah 454:7 it says "I make peace and create evil; I the Lord do all these things."

    So, you think some of his "works" only SEEM like "evil"? Perhaps, (if he actually did exist) he is so proud of his "evil" that he even brags about it!


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    charles brough said...
    Why ask us? Look to your "Holly Scriptures!" In Isaiah 454:7 it says "I make peace and create evil; I the Lord do all these things."

    If God created evil then does that make Him good, evil or both? I remember a song by Country Joe McDonald that contained the lyric... ' you know that peace can only be won when you've blown 'em all to kingdom come'. God the good is quite capable of using evil in order to accomplish a peace.

    As for your scripture quote I can only say this: someone will say its taken out of context or is a misinterpretation of Hebrew text. I always find it amazing that any biblical quote that puts God in a bad light is usually thought as such. It's either that or someone will throw in a counter quote to negate the situation. It is as close to a sure thing that there is. Why don't the quotes about God's goodness ever get the same treatment?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Quote Originally Posted by Ezra
    Bettina i think you should change that icon that doesn't look good and oh yeah reiki is right not you.
    The icon is me. If you want to make a personal attack on how I look, you can do it in a PM, email an Admin, or take a poll.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Looking at it in its simple form, there is no conundrum. There is either a God that pits good and evil for his amusement.... or there is no God.
    I read something recently that I think really appeals to common sense. I wish I had it now so I could directly quote from it, but he said something along the lines that suffering is not only not a problem, it is necessary! Genesis talks about how God created the heavens and the earth, separated light from dark, etc. What he was doing was giving the universe definition by creating dualities. We can't know the meaning of heaven without earth, just like we can't know the meaning of light without darkness.

    If we take this concept and apply it to suffering, suffering becomes necessary in order to define the state of peace. I can see how people think God should intervene to take away all our problems, but that would also take away our capacity to understand God in a meaningful way. I think when he created the universe, he intentionally created the possibility for suffering because it means "the peace that passes understanding" has significance. That means that, for the most part, God would just let things run their course.

    Also, keep in mind that God hasn't left us completely to our own devices. Christianity teaches that Jesus came as our Savior, even if it isn't in the way we would have liked. The Jews were expecting some sort of political revolutionary who would release them from oppression, and not a poor carpenter who would be sentenced to death. I believe that Jesus still manifests himself in us today as the Holy Spirit, whether or not we decide to call it that. God doesn't take away suffering, but he gives us the faculties to endure it.

    So in response to your specific concern, Bettina, it doesn't have to be just two options. This is a third one that makes some sense out of suffering and is still in line with Christian beliefs. The Bible doesn't say a lot about why God created anything at all, but if I had to venture a guess this would be it.

    As a response to the question of this thread ("Does God understand evil?"), I think the answer is yes. And since the presence of evil gives God definition, he would understand it best.
    Lucid... Its easy to tell by your post that your intellegent and not just another nut case or brainwashed theist but what you said I've heard before from my own priest. When I was younger I said my prayers every night, had a crucifix on my wall, and believed in everything that was taught me. However, at age 10, I stopped believing for personal reasons and now, eighteen years later, I am a true atheist because I cannot conceive the existence of a god that would intentionally create suffering for any reason.

    It isn't just people. The cat who kills a baby bird or tortures a barn mouse for hours before it finally dies or a 5 year old boy dying of cancer in front of his crying parents. Is this another example of "free will"? How about the parents that have to identify the buried remains of their raped 9 year old little girl. Is this Gods world? Is this all free will? Is their belief in god a good enough faculty? To many theists here (not you) I'm ignorant for not accepting these as the free will scenario. I really hate those two words and it is the sole reason I reject the trinity completely.

    Atheism and Science are uncluttered, clean, and most represent what I see in the world today. Without a belief in a God, everything fits better and answers all the questions for me. A random planet in a random universe, run by random events. Even Jesus himself was delusional right to the end when he said "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" I felt sorry for what happened to him, just as I do for the birds and mice and anything else that suffers.

    I don't need saving but thanks for the thought.

    EDIT: William.... :wink:

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  24. #23  
    Forum Freshman Lucid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    I am a true atheist because I cannot conceive the existence of a god that would intentionally create suffering for any reason.
    Interesting, I know some atheists who are atheists for the complete opposite reason. They're the ones who say that the idea of Heaven is ridiculous because we'd have everything we want, but it would get boring! Gold-paved streets and gourmet meals would just get old after an eternity. Frankly, being stuck in a place where you immediately have everything you want sounds more like Hell to me, and I would never want my life here on Earth to be that way. Like I was saying before, we need suffering in order to understand what peace is, and I would even extend that to include joy. It's hard to be joyful and spoiled at the same time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    It isn't just people. The cat who kills a baby bird or tortures a barn mouse for hours before it finally dies or a 5 year old boy dying of cancer in front of his crying parents. Is this another example of "free will"?
    I really hate it when theists say we suffer because of free will. So much of life is out of our control, like natural disasters and the stuff you mentioned. Why would we ever choose something like cancer? I'm really glad these things bother you, because they absolutely should. I think God does less of his work through our external circumstances than he does through our internal lives. This makes sense from a secular (Buddhist) perspective too. Buddhism tells us flat out that life is suffering. Noble Truth #1. But it goes on to say that there is a way out of suffering, and it doesn't depend on fixing every problem in our lives. Buddhism teaches that just because you feel pain doesn't mean you have to suffer for it. For example, yes, people are in extreme pain because of cancer. My grandpa is one of those people. AND YET, he still loves like there is no tomorrow. He still has a genuine joy about him, and I believe it's because he found something inside himself that allows him to do that. I understand that to be God, but I don't even think it's necessary to give it a name as long as you recognize it, pursue it, and live your life by it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Atheism and Science are uncluttered, clean, and most represent what I see in the world today. Without a belief in a God, everything fits better and answers all the questions for me.
    I definitely hear you here. Based on what we observe in the world, science presents answers to us in nice, tidy packages. Atheism doesn't assume anything that we can't touch, taste, smell, see or hear. It explains everything about the world that we need to know. But (and this is important), what we touch, taste, smell, see and hear isn't all of reality. You only have to look so far as your own mind to see that there's another element to life, something intangible but unmistakeably present. Scientists can't explain why we have consciousnesses! It is this intangible element that gives all those atoms and molecules out there meaning, and it would be a tragedy to ignore it. Again, I don't think it is completely necessary to call this God, but it is essential to acknowledge it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    I don't need saving but thanks for the thought.
    I don't think you need saving either. You have a better understanding of what is fair and just than a lot of people I know who call themselves Christian, and you're not afraid to completely give yourself to it. This is how I think about salvation: Christianity has the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, right? Of those, the only one that we can know from direct experience is the Holy Spirit. It speaks to our souls, and that's not something that can be lost in translation (like the Bible) or argued out of existence. If there is to be any sort of objective standard of judgement for people, it's not going to be whether or not we are convinced by some argument about the existence of God or whether or not we believe Jesus came to die for our sins. It's going to be how we respond to this inner calling of the Holy Spirit. And since the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all equally and eternally the one true God according to Christian theology, accepting the Holy Spirit means you are accepting God.

    So that begs the question: what happens to a person who rejects Jesus as Savior but accepts the Holy Spirit in her heart? Since our acceptance of Jesus is dependent on what we learn about him, and since the Holy Spirit cannot be distorted by external factors, it would only make sense that accepting the Holy Spirit would be authoratative in this case. I call myself a Christian because I'm convinced by the arguments about Jesus as Savior and God as Creator, but these beliefs are not essential to my faith. They are important and beneficial, but not essential. Christianity for me is the natural expression of the God of my heart, so I am a Christian.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    .....So that begs the question: what happens to a person who rejects Jesus as Savior but accepts the Holy Spirit in her heart?

    Hi Lucid.. That person will not get into heaven according to scripture.

    "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".

    Those powerful words came from Jesus himself and are without exception. It doesn't matter if you were a murderer, a pedophile priest, or a living saint. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, your Savior, who died for your sins then you will spend eternity in hell.

    Every Sunday I stand under that cross and sing the christian songs during the Introductory, Litergys, Eucharist, and Conclusion. I have been doing that solo since I was 12 because the priest is like a grandfather to me... but when I look up at that man on the cross, all I see is a good man who got caught up in his own delusional dream. I do not believe he was the son of God because He, and the evil I see around me don't make any sense. See? I'm willing to risk it all for my Atheist belief.

    Again, your posts are very interesting to read.

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    The thing about being an atheist is that you have to have a conception of God in order to reject it. Unfortunately, the popular understanding of God is the judgemental father figure with a big, white beard sitting on a throne in the clouds who acts out of anger just as much as (if not more than) out of love. This image of God is a carryover of Zeus from Greek mythology. If this was the only conception of God out there, I would be an atheist too, and for awhile I was. My reasoning was "Why would I follow a religion where the reasons for living a good life were based out of fear?"

    I agree with you that the Bible was written by men. It is for that reason that I reject the peripheral message of a fear-based God. The main message of the Bible is one of love, and that is consistent with what I understand from the people who are deepest in faith like the saints, and it is consistent with my own experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".

    Those powerful words came from Jesus himself and are without exception.
    They are only without exception if you think they are from God. Since you've said you believe the Bible was written by men, you are free to reject it even if others aren't. It would be tragic to lose one's personal faith in God because of what somebody else wrote. If you reject God, make sure it is by your own volition.

    What was your reason for converting to atheism? And what do you think about what I've said about suffering as even being necessary?
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  27. #26 Re: Does God Understand Evil? 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Can a good person understand the evil that lurks in the minds of those who are not good? Can they understand those who are truly evil?

    On the other hand can an evil person understand what it is to be good?

    It seems to me that an evil person would have the easier time of it when it comes to understanding their opposite number. I suppose one can be born evil but it appears to me that those who became evil once knew some good. Whereas a good person understands goodness but would have a hard time explaining evil if they've never been party to it.
    Another attempt to reduce reality to a single linear measure. If your objective is to show the absurdity of such a reduction then you have succeeded. Good people have become evil and therefore we can say the such evil persons understand the good person that they were. But likewise evil people have also changed and so we can say that say that such good people understand the evil person that they were. Clearly dimensions of personhood are not one but manyfold.

    But I think there is a boring sameness in evil, for its nature is destructive and therefore it limits and reduces itself, whereas goodness is creative and expands to limitless possibilities. Some people think that we need evil in order to appreciate goodness, or in order that the battle against evil should keep things interesting. But I do not think so. I think we are preoccupied with evil and thrilled by stories of defeating evil only because of our own personal battle with the evil within ourselves. Those who imagine that evil is necessary or that good alone might be boring are showing a weak imagination. That said I should point out that tornadoes are not evil and nor are earthquakes, tidal waves, black holes and supernovae. Dangerous yes, but not evil. Evil may seem like a big thing in our lives but in truth it is rather small and even petty. What for example could be more petty than racism? But the senselessness of racism is quite characterstic of all evil. Consider the selfish petty motives of a person who pursues his desires at the cost of another person. Evil is petty and boring.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Does one have to know good before they can become evil?
    Yes absolutely! Evil is parasitical by nature - a twisting of what is good. Evil derives from excessive desire for the limited good which it understands. That which is evil pursues the good it knows by sacrificing all the good that it does not know.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    If so then I could say that an evil person once knew or understood goodness. I think experiencing or acting out evil can obviously help the evildoer get a better understanding of it. Until a good person crosses that line of good to evil, they can never fully understand.
    Absolutely not! Nonsense. There are only two kinds of knowledge which a path of evil can potentially supply. The first is the path into evil, that is how such a good person can be led into that kind of evil. The second is only found when that evil is overcome, and the knowledge gained is the means by which that evil can be overcome.

    By learning that good which a particular evil sacrifices, the good person becomes immune to that particular path into evil, and for his own sake has no need of the knowledge of how to escape that evil. But I think that the good which he has learned is a substantial part of the means for overcoming the evil in question.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I don't know exactly where I'm going with this but I'm going to try and relate this to God. If god is good then how does He know so much about evil? If He has never been evil how can He really be an expert? Is it possible for God to be evil...I think not. Therein lies the conundrum.
    Knowledge of evil is not the experience of evil. Who has the greater understanding of a disease, the patient who has the disease or the doctor who knows how to cure it? Is contracting a disease part the process by which the doctor learns what he knows? No. Likewise, having been evil is NOT a requirement for any superior understanding of evil. Sure those who have been through a particular disease may have unique insight in helping others who are suffering with it in the process of coping.

    God is not simply good. God is infinitely all knowing and powerful. He can see all the good which any case of evil sacrifices in the pursuit of the little good that it knows. He can see all evil for the petty little insanity and foolishness that it really is. Furthermore His motives for wanting to help are completely pure. He only wants us to realize the greater things that we are capable of. He really has nothing to prove.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Satan on the other hand, cast out of heaven, a good angel at first but soon turned to the dark side. However Satan had a pretty good grip on what's good. The goodness of heaven was not to last forever for Satan and he eventually became evil in every respect, or so it goes. Is Satan more qualified than God to impart knowledge re good and evil?
    Well, I think that Satan is little more than a tool and that his "knowedge" amounts to little more than the data stored in a computer. I think that Adam and Eve cast him into the role that he now has by their own refusal to be responsible for their own actions. Satan is a parasite feeding off the wasted energies of the human race and he is in no position to impart any useful knowledge to anyone.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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  28. #27  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    I agree that evil persons can become good. Sorry I missed putting that in there. However it still stands that a once-evil person would have the greater knowledge of evil. It really doesn't matter if people are evil or not, naturally I would prefer not but at this stage I can't see anything that's going to change it any time soon.

    What I really question is God's qualifications for being an expert on evil. If the bible is correct, even if metaphorically, then it seems as if it is possible that God is subject to learning and understanding evil just like the rest of us. Did God expect His commands to man to be disobeyed? I say no. Take A&E for instance, doesn't God seem surprised that pair disobeyed? It's all He can do just to figure out how to handle it. Cain & Abel kind of shocked Him momentarily(where is thy brother?).

    The whole Bible is full of moments like this. God's running around trying to get the evil momentum train slowed down but He can't stop it. All He ever does is threaten and mete out punishment for an entire book. He appears consumed by it. It's painfully obvious He doesn't get it. He seems more reactive than proactive. Anything proactive, commandments for instance, haven't worked. Nothing has changed. His methods are those of someone desperate to fix a wrong that can't be fixed by blaming anyone but Himself. Tell me Jesus wasn't some kind of desperate move.

    Nope, He's totally befuddled by evil. He knew about it, no question. He took preventive measures, they failed. He has punished us severely, no change. He can't solve the problem, an indictment against His creative capabilities? Does God understand evil? I think He does not. He is the ultimate authority on good but His actions, some that would be considered evil if we were to try them, are those of a creator baffled by the chain of events that led to us miserable little biped monkeys not turning out the way He expected.

    A little editting... a thought just came to mind to which I'll refer to the point Mitchell made regarding someone evil becoming good. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that God was once the essence of evil Himself in another time, another place. Only now He would have us believe that He is reformed . So in that respect Yes, God could be an expert on evil.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    The thing about being an atheist is that you have to have a conception of God in order to reject it. Unfortunately, the popular understanding of God is the judgemental father figure with a big, white beard sitting on a throne in the clouds who acts out of anger just as much as (if not more than) out of love. This image of God is a carryover of Zeus from Greek mythology. If this was the only conception of God out there, I would be an atheist too, and for awhile I was. My reasoning was "Why would I follow a religion where the reasons for living a good life were based out of fear?"

    I agree with you that the Bible was written by men. It is for that reason that I reject the peripheral message of a fear-based God. The main message of the Bible is one of love, and that is consistent with what I understand from the people who are deepest in faith like the saints, and it is consistent with my own experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".

    Those powerful words came from Jesus himself and are without exception.
    They are only without exception if you think they are from God. Since you've said you believe the Bible was written by men, you are free to reject it even if others aren't. It would be tragic to lose one's personal faith in God because of what somebody else wrote. If you reject God, make sure it is by your own volition.

    What was your reason for converting to atheism? And what do you think about what I've said about suffering as even being necessary?
    Lucid...You say you are a Christian. If you truly are, then you have to believe those words "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" as the truth. I know the Christian faith very well and if you don't believe they came from Jesus then your going to hell. Period. You can't be a Christian and only believe the parts that you want to. As far as your other questions, I reject the notion of any God so I really have no God to reject. However, in your case, and in case I am wrong, you had better believe in those words. You can doubt every other word of the bible, but not those.

    On your question of suffering being neccessary to understand good is something I do not accept at all. Not one single person is born evil. We see both good and evil during our upbringing and make a choice on which path to follow based on our environment and what we are taught. An evil person meeting Snow White, for example, would immediately know the difference. So, to think of a loving God that knows the differance between good and evil and yet allows evil to flourish can only be an evil God or no God at all.

    I already explained my reasons for the conversion to atheism if you want to call it a conversion. I once believed in a loving God, Santa Claus, Disneyworld, and the Tooth Fairy. As I got older, I began to ask questions that my priest would say "I don't know Bettina but its not part of Gods plan". At least he told the truth and didn't fill me with preaching. Later, Santa and the tooth fairy were gone and at age 10 my mother was gone too. Its a long story but she never wanted kids so dad and I were out.

    As I got older, and read about wars, the horrible things cats do to birds and mice, beheadings, stonings, etc, I examined myself for what kind of God would allow this. I couldn't find an answer. The final nail in the coffin for me came in 2005 with the rape and murder of Jessica Lunsford. She was only nine and lived with her dad...Like me.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,154109,00.html

    She was taken from her home, raped, tortured, then buried alive. There is no loving God, Lucid.... There can only be a God that knows and understands evil, and allows it to happen, or there is no God at all. The latter makes far more sense.

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    Lucid wrote:
    This makes sense from a secular (Buddhist) perspective too. Buddhism tells us flat out that life is suffering. Noble Truth #1.
    Just a note: Buddhism does not say that suffering is necessary for life. It says that suffering is a fact of life. Like gravity is a fact of mass. I'd say it fits evolution theory well. Suffering is a mechanism to drive a living organism to move away from danger.
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    bettina said:

    And thats the reason that over 3000 children die each year of cancer alone in childrens hospitals, huh?
    This a mere pittance compared to the more than 1.3 million babies slaughtered each year via abortion.

    The story in Genesis reports that the result of eating the forbidden fruit was the ability to determine good and evil. After eating the fruit Adam and Eve noticed that they were nude and they were ashamed. This was not something God had told them. So where did they get the idea that nudity was shameful?

    We often see evil and pain as the result of natural phenomena such as hurricanes, tornados or earthquakes and other such disasters. Yet, these things are the natural results of the very things which have made our planet liveable. The alternative to these thing can be found on the other planets in our solar system, which we suspect do not have human life on them. There is no cancer on Venus as far as we know, does that mean God does exist there?
    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
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    bettina said:

    And thats the reason that over 3000 children die each year of cancer alone in childrens hospitals, huh?
    This a mere pittance compared to the more than 1.3 million babies slaughtered each year via abortion.
    Exactly! Another example of a no god world...
    The story in Genesis reports that the result of eating the forbidden fruit was the ability to determine good and evil. After eating the fruit Adam and Eve noticed that they were nude and they were ashamed. This was not something God had told them. So where did they get the idea that nudity was shameful?
    Shameful is wrongly directed. According to scripture, God never told Eve not to eat of the fruit. He only told Adam. So, since HE did not tell Eve yet was in the Garden with both of them, was it perhaps Gods plan to deliberately introduce evil through Eve? Another religious paradox. Remember, God knew what was going to happen.
    We often see evil and pain as the result of natural phenomena such as hurricanes, tornados or earthquakes and other such disasters. Yet, these things are the natural results of the very things which have made our planet liveable. The alternative to these thing can be found on the other planets in our solar system, which we suspect do not have human life on them. There is no cancer on Venus as far as we know, does that mean God does exist there?
    You seem to separate natural and unatural events. They are all God related if you believe in God. If you knew what I was you would understand that I see evil and pain everywhere whether reading it in the news, standing in church, driving my car, or simply walking through the malls. And, there is no cancer on Venus because there is no life on Venus as far as we know.

    Everything your saying just reinforces my Evil God vs No God scenario. You can only have one and only one makes any sense.

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  33. #32  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    If this was the only conception of God out there, I would be an atheist too, and for awhile I was. My reasoning was "Why would I follow a religion where the reasons for living a good life were based out of fear?"
    Lucid...You say you are a Christian. If you truly are, then you have to believe those words "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" as the truth. I know the Christian faith very well and if you don't believe they came from Jesus then your going to hell. Period. You can't be a Christian and only believe the parts that you want to. As far as your other questions, I reject the notion of any God so I really have no God to reject. However, in your case, and in case I am wrong, you had better believe in those words. You can doubt every other word of the bible, but not those.

    . . .

    As I got older, and read about wars, the horrible things cats do to birds and mice, beheadings, stonings, etc, I examined myself for what kind of God would allow this. I couldn't find an answer. The final nail in the coffin for me came in 2005 with the rape and murder of Jessica Lunsford. She was only nine and lived with her dad...Like me.
    We human beings like to imagine all sorts of impossible things: cars flying through the air in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" and "Flubber", spaceships going faster than the speed of light in "Star Trek" and "Star Wars", and a world without pain and suffering. The tragedy is when we make such impossible imaginings the basis for deciding what is true and real. People love the stories of "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" so they decide in their complete ignorance that the Theory of Relativity must be wrong. Likewise, people make this imagined world without pain and suffering the basis for deciding that there could be no God, for if there were He would make the world like the one they imagine.

    Well, of course, these two are hardly the same thing. Relativity is a scientific theory and God is a religious belief. But people are funny. Some think that this difference means that God should be automatically be dismissed and some think that this difference means that Relativity should be automatically dismissed. But what the difference really means is that there is a different path to understanding and judgement of these things. To understand the truth of relativity you must accept the premises of science and then spend a considerable amount of time studying the writings of those who have made contributions to the field of science. To understand the truth of God, you must accept the premises of religion and then spend a considerable amount of time studying the writings of those who have made contributions to the field of religion.

    Part of problem is the confusion between understanding and praxis. There are those who use the results of science in their daily lives but understand nothing about science itself. These people often imagine that they are scientists and can add the "authority" of science to their declaration of beliefs. But by doing so they only reveal their own ignorance. Likewise there are those who use the results of religion in their daily lives but they understand nothing about that religion itself. These people often imagine that they can add the authority of their religion to their declaration of beliefs. But by doing so they only reveal their own ignorance. Well there is much to do in life and we have to make our choices about how to spend the little time we have, but the very least we can do is accept the reality of our ignorance.


    There is a version of Christianity in the world which sounds like nothing more than a blatant practice of intellectual blackmail. Believe this and that without thinking or suffer an eternity of damnation. Well some of us would prefer an eternity of damnation to performing such an operation of lobotomy upon ourselves. That decision is something which Bettina, Lucid and myself (and no doubt many others in this forum) all share. Such versions of Christianity are as easy to practice without understanding as is turning on your computer or television set, and neither this version of Christianity nor using these devices add one bit of understanding of either Christianity or science.


    "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"

    These words do indeed lend themselves quite readily to this blackmail version of Christianity. But there are all sorts of passages in the Bible that lend themselves to all sorts of interpretations. The trick is really in the words they are changed into or have added to them. In the passage above for example our intellectual blackmail christianity transforms the words "comes to the Father" into "enter into heaven and avoid an eternity of suffering in hell", and also transforms the words "through me" into "through believing that I am God descended to earth to redeem mankind of its sins by dying on the cross and being resurrected". It is a strange thing but when look back at the orignal passage we will see that none of these words are there. The above passage could be saying something as innocent as, Jesus is God's butler who answers when we knock at the door of God's residence in heaven. The point is that this passage could really mean a lot of things other than what the blackmail Christians say it does.


    What happened to Jessica was evil, plain and simple, and as I explained in my previous post I do not believe that this or any evil is either neccessary or according to God's plan or anything like that. Evil events like this, viscerally damage all of us, sucking life and love out of the world like a great big hole in the fabric of space and time. If any of us were there we would certainly have done our best to stop this thing from happening or die trying. And so we ask, "God can stop all of this, so how can He watch and do nothing?" But if He does take action, where does He stop? Evil is everywhere in every spiteful thing that people do. All of it hurts. All of it is utterly tragic. There would be nothing left if God stopped it all, and if God stopped only worst of it, it would be just like an anesthetic, enabling us to better tolerate the little evils we do all the time. But evil which is tolerated grows and grows until it consumes us. I truly believe that it would turn the world into a living hell (like in the movie THX1138, for example?).

    If it is so impossible, then why not end it all? There is no need, because it does end. Everyone of us leaves this world behind. The question is whether the choices we have made and things we have suffered mean anything or not? In my case, as tempting as the peace of oblivion seems to me, I cannot help but think that such an escape seems a little bit too easy. It cannot be that easy to escape the consequences of our choice. No, it seems more likely to me that the choices we have made really do have meaning, and that death is just the beginning. I cannot believe that the evil done to Jessica is the final truth. It is a mistake. It must be. We must have cause to regret every little evil thing that we have done, for I would rather pay for every evil that I have done no matter the cost than have the evil done to Jessica be the last truth in her existence. Knowing that the evil we have done, no matter how small, is all the same stuff that did that horrible thing to a little girl, wouldn't you too rather have it all burned away, no matter how painful it is? I cannot think how any suffering of mine could be sweeter.

    You may think you have led a life of innocence. Quite a few of us look around and see people who have done things that we have never even imagined doing. I have led a pretty innocent life myself. But have we really hurt no one. Is there really no evil to our name at all? Is there not one selfish thing we have done that is not the cause of pain for someone else? I am afraid that those incidents we are aware of are just the tip of the iceberg. People like to distance themselves from people who do such horrible things. But I am afraid we are just deluding ourselves. It is not us and them. We are one of them, and the differences we see between us is largely one of circumstance. Our innocence is a product of the protection we had that others did not, while the really horrible criminals were quite often also victims themselves. Well, I want all the evil to be destroyed. All of it. Especially the evil within me.
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    What Mitchell says about "Where would He stop?" if God were to begin eliminating evil from the world is the crux of the question.

    What would we have God do? Set up a standard that says if you violate three commandments you are ok, but once you violate the fourth one you are toast? One of the main points of the Bible is that all of us violate God's standards in one way or another and if God were to impose judgement so as to eliminate evil, none would survive.

    The Biblical perspective is that any violation of God's standards is deserving of death. The fact that we do not experience immediate sessation of life, is not proof that God does not exist.

    It is only because of his lovingkindness and longsuffering patience that any of us survive. Some people see the the bad stuff in the world and condemn God for it. Others see the good things in life and praise God for them. It is the old half full/half empty outlook.

    Evil is often a matter of perspective. Much of the violence in nature is the very basis of survival. We can see what happens when plants or animals are introduced to an area where it does not have natural enemies. It upsets the balance of nature. So while the slaying of a gnu by a lion may be evil from the perspective of the victim gnu, it is a good thing for the lion.

    I, for one, am glad that God has chosen not to completely wipe evil out. I certainly would not have survived to this point. God has, rather, provided a way for men to avoid the ultimate consequenses. The positives of that, it seems to me, outweigh the negatives of our perceptions of what may or may not constitute evil.

    Those of us who believe in the God of the Bible take heart in the words of Joseph as he forgave his brothers and pointed out that what they had intended for evil, God had used for good. We do not always know the end result of something that seems unpleasant for the time.

    When we set ourselves in a position of questioning God, whether we believe in Him or not, we are attempting to set ourselves above God which is the same idolatry that got Lucifer expelled from Heaven.

    I do not think the evil in the world proves God's non-existence any more than the good in the world proves His existence. Evil as an excuse to discount God is usually only an excuse for some other basis of non-belief.
    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
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    One of the main points of the Bible is that all of us violate God's standards in one way or another and if God were to impose judgement so as to eliminate evil, none would survive.
    Why, oh why, can't He fix it then? Is it that He only does things once? God would rather keep something that doesn't work? I'd hate to see His garage, full of useless garbage.

    He's like an animal lover with a house infested with rats....major dilemma.

    Everyday God created something He sat back afterwards and declared it all good. So when the day came that He created evil .... well, you know what I'm going to ask next.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    mitchellmckain...

    Your post was probably the best you have ever written here and I liked the tone you presented a lot. But, I know the difference between scientific theory, religious belief, good and evil. In church, I see elderly ladies with their rosarys going from bead to bead. I see them lighting candles, kneeling at the cross or doing the stations, and most of them have no conception whatsoever of relativity. When they look up at the night sky they see blackness, the moon, and the stars and that is the total extent of their scientific knowledge.

    If I wanted to test them, I would bet they would know about the story of Job and other equally interesting parts of scripture but mostly they only believe in the simple things...that when they die, they will go to heaven and see their loved ones again and thats it. They don't care to know much more than that and in their daily life they thank God when something good happens and say nothing when something bad happens. "Don't blame God" is something I hear more times than I can count.

    They call me the angel on the altar because I'm there every Sunday and I make them feel good. Couple that with a few tears streaming down my face, a little organ music, and I have them sold. The tears are totally unintentional and happen every time I sing certain religious themes but they see it as evidence of someone who really believes in God with some coming up to me after mass just to touch me. Do you see where I'm going with this? These people are just followers looking for anyone who can convincingly give them a reason to believe... and an afterlife. "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". Those words are meaningless to me even though I believe they were said by Jesus himself and are probably believed by a billion people worldwide. Your interpretation is not what the mainstream believe. At least not in the churches I've been to.

    The evil that happened to Jessica was an evil of society. There was no loving God watching over her as she was tortured, no guardian angel to prevent her from being buried alive, and no smiling Satan. There are no rosarys or candles or prayers that are going to bring her back because she is gone for good and thats the final truth. I wonder if society uses God as the valium tablet simply by saying "She's in a better place" or "She's with God now" as if its all right and things will eventually be ok. Well, thats not good enough for me and I would gladly and proudly, without tears or exception, be happy to be there and pull the switch of death on the person who committed it. I would do it purely for vengance, justice, or whatever else I will call it because there will be no one to judge me for my actions but me.

    DaytonTurner........

    I have no objection to your belief. I see people like you every Sunday and if it makes you feel good then thats all that should matter to you but there is no way that I would ever say that I'm glad that God doesn't wipe evil out completely. Tell that to Jessica or to Jobs first family in that story. Jessica did it for me. She unknowingly released me from believing in an evil God which is the only kind there could be given what I see.

    Every day I run into sadness or death. Birds, bugs, people in the news, the first page of the internet, everywhere. This world and a loving God don't mix. It never did, and never will and like I said, even Jesus found that out.

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    Bettina:

    You may have given up on God, but I am sure he has not given up on you.
    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
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    They call me the angel on the altar because I'm there every Sunday and I make them feel good. Couple that with a few tears streaming down my face, a little organ music, and I have them sold. The tears are totally unintentional and happen every time I sing certain religious themes but they see it as evidence of someone who really believes in God with some coming up to me after mass just to touch me. Do you see where I'm going with this? These people are just followers looking for anyone who can convincingly give them a reason to believe... and an afterlife.
    One of the philosphies I fell in love with when I was at seminary was the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Pierce (the only philosophy by the way that is a completely American creation). The main idea is simply that the effect of believing in something is a part of it truth value. That may not make sense from objective point of view. But the objective point of view is fundamentally flawed because our true reality as human beings is subjective and the "objective reality" is an abstraction and artificial construction. To put the main idea of pragmatism another way, something is true if it works. When we put it this way, it doesn't sound so silly any more, does it. Much of the question of what is true has to do with how we should do things, and whether something works for us or not is certainly an important part of its truth value in this case, isn't it?

    The point is that people believe in things that make their lives livable, empowering them to decide what to do next and to go on with their lives. If ones beliefs do not accomplish this simple thing then we either die or change our beliefs. Clearly it is not anyones business to take away from people the beliefs that make their lives livable for them.

    You know, my parents broke up when I was younger than four and their ridicule of each other since that time was pretty devastating. My sister is a quite a mess as a result. I, however, whether it was my character or a defense mechanism, basically felt nothing until I was in high school. All at once my feelings woke up, and suddenly realized for first time that I loved my parents, and I immediately refused to hear their ridicule of each other any more. My point is that feeling things - anything - felt like a miracle to me for some time after that.

    You haven't said why tears comes to your eyes when you sing, if you even know, but I very much doubt that you do it just to make fools out of the people who watch. But, I can certainly understand your feeling of contempt, which is probably just as much for their uncomprehending invasion of your privacy, presumptuously projecting their own feelings and ideas upon you, as it is for the harsh judgement you have declared upon them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". Those words are meaningless to me even though I believe they were said by Jesus himself and are probably believed by a billion people worldwide. Your interpretation is not what the mainstream believe. At least not in the churches I've been to.
    I did not really offer an interpretation. I have said in previous posts that I strive for the most non-exclusivity that I can as a worthy ideal while honestly acknowledging the exclusive elements of Christianity like that passage. I did not mean for the idea of the butler to be taken seriously. Honestly I would have to judge that this passage clearly emphasizes the importance of Jesus in a successful spiritual life. But there are no details given and the simple fact of the matter is that there is no reason why you must accept the intellectual blackmail Christian interpretation. I do not, and I could care less what most people or most Christians believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    I wonder if society uses God as the valium tablet simply by saying "She's in a better place" or "She's with God now" as if its all right and things will eventually be ok. Well, thats not good enough for me and I would gladly and proudly, without tears or exception, be happy to be there and pull the switch of death on the person who committed it. I would do it purely for vengance, justice, or whatever else I will call it because there will be no one to judge me for my actions but me.
    Well I don't know why the person who did this did what he did and I frankly do not want to know. But I would pull the switch on this person for quite different reasons. It is the preventing this person from doing it again that would make me pull that switch. I don't believe in capital punishment for the sake of justice, but only to preserve the public well being. So I believe in the death penalty not for murder (according to archaic demand of a life for a life), but for something else which I call public menace. Whether it is for murder, rape, robbery, assault or even pollution, if the crime shows a habit of being a danger to the well being of the public, I think the death penalty is appropriate. It is of course for jury to decide whether any particular person is guilty of being a public menace, but one the key features of this crime is the victimization of strangers. I do NOT for example think that it is appropriate to consider the death penalty for a family member who has committed murder in response to a pattern of abuse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Bettina:

    You may have given up on God, but I am sure he has not given up on you.
    That is the worst kind of patronising remark I have ever heard.

    Bettina,

    It denotes [in my mind] you have won the argument!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    One of the philosphies I fell in love with when I was at seminary was the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Pierce (the only philosophy by the way that is a completely American creation). The main idea is simply that the effect of believing in something is a part of it truth value. That may not make sense from objective point of view. But the objective point of view is fundamentally flawed because our true reality as human beings is subjective and the "objective reality" is an abstraction and artificial construction. To put the main idea of pragmatism another way, something is true if it works. When we put it this way, it doesn't sound so silly any more, does it. Much of the question of what is true has to do with how we should do things, and whether something works for us or not is certainly an important part of its truth value in this case, isn't it?
    This is a hard question to answer based on your meaning. To those old people with their rosaries the effect of believing makes them feel good and gives them purpose so I will never say its silly. To them, the bible is true and they cause no harm. But, to me, its living a lie. There is nothing definite about the bible, nothing that can be considered truth, and nothing that isn't contradictory.

    The point is that people believe in things that make their lives livable, empowering them to decide what to do next and to go on with their lives. If ones beliefs do not accomplish this simple thing then we either die or change our beliefs. Clearly it is not anyones business to take away from people the beliefs that make their lives livable for them.
    I agree completely. 100%

    You know, my parents broke up when I was younger than four and their ridicule of each other since that time was pretty devastating. My sister is a quite a mess as a result. I, however, whether it was my character or a defense mechanism, basically felt nothing until I was in high school. All at once my feelings woke up, and suddenly realized for first time that I loved my parents, and I immediately refused to hear their ridicule of each other any more. My point is that feeling things - anything - felt like a miracle to me for some time after that.
    It wasn't a miracle. My quess is that you became aware that someday they won't be around anymore. You were not saying that you wanted them to stop fighting, you just wanted to protect them. Loving your parents is kool.

    You haven't said why tears comes to your eyes when you sing, if you even know, but I very much doubt that you do it just to make fools out of the people who watch.
    I am highly emotional. Tears were flowing watching the Titanic movie five times while my dad ate popcorn and never shed a tear and again, at my graduation where the principal waited with tissues just for me. Its one of my biggest weaknesses. In church its the same, I stand under a large wooden crucifix where a man is nailed to a cross. There is pain and suffering etched all over his wooden face but I believe what happened to him really happened. He was not the son of any God, but to me, he symbolizes the kind of world I wanted this one to be. Not the one I see now. So, with that, the sad music, and those people who sit in the first row, I can't stop those tears because its just the way I am.

    But, I can certainly understand your feeling of contempt, which is probably just as much for their uncomprehending invasion of your privacy, presumptuously projecting their own feelings and ideas upon you, as it is for the harsh judgement you have declared upon them.
    Whoa.... I apologize if I led you in that direction. I'm an atheist because of choice. I would never tell them how I feel which is why I sing for them, talk to them after mass, and let them hold my hand. I would never take their hopes away. Never once did I want to yell out "there is no God". Not once. My dad goes with me and the priest btw, is like a grandfather to me which is why I would never do that.

    I did not really offer an interpretation. I have said in previous posts that I strive for the most non-exclusivity that I can as a worthy ideal while honestly acknowledging the exclusive elements of Christianity like that passage. I did not mean for the idea of the butler to be taken seriously. Honestly I would have to judge that this passage clearly emphasizes the importance of Jesus in a successful spiritual life. But there are no details given and the simple fact of the matter is that there is no reason why you must accept the intellectual blackmail Christian interpretation. I do not, and I could care less what most people or most Christians believe.
    Then your belief in God is based only on the parts that appeal to you. If your a Catholic then your required to believe those words were spoken from Jesus as the truth. You can doubt other words but not those. I don't know what to tell you about this...

    Well I don't know why the person who did this did what he did and I frankly do not want to know. But I would pull the switch on this person for quite different reasons. It is the preventing this person from doing it again that would make me pull that switch. I don't believe in capital punishment for the sake of justice, but only to preserve the public well being. So I believe in the death penalty not for murder (according to archaic demand of a life for a life), but for something else which I call public menace. Whether it is for murder, rape, robbery, assault or even pollution, if the crime shows a habit of being a danger to the well being of the public, I think the death penalty is appropriate. It is of course for jury to decide whether any particular person is guilty of being a public menace, but one the key features of this crime is the victimization of strangers. I do NOT for example think that it is appropriate to consider the death penalty for a family member who has committed murder in response to a pattern of abuse.
    This man will never be let out so he is not a menace. He is in for life, and its the life part that upsets me. I want to see revenge for making her suffer and I want him dead. I want her family to be given the right to be there while they kill him. I don't want him to breathe the same air she once did. I hate him for what he did.

    Bettina
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    Bettina:

    I've read your posts, and they're quite interesting as they remind me of someone I know. You saw all the pain in the world, and felt it invade your own, and so you decided that no God who truly loved people would allow that.

    I'm not trying to be rude or anything, and I really do respect your opinion. But God never promised us we would live without pain. In fact, it was just the opposite. This is what God promised all who loved and trusted in Him, and even those who did nothing but good:

    "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

    God has had one plan alone from the begining of creation. Everything in the Bible is a symbol of that plan (when you go through it and look at the numbers it's staggering). That plan has always been to bring forth a people who will willingly choose him over all else, even their own lives. To these ends he created the devil. The devil is not the source of all suffering. God does love you and every one he created.

    He loves you so much, that he is willing to give you the choice to lead your life as you please, with or without Him. Evil is quite simply the absence of God. So is pain, suffering, death, and hell.


    If you want to know why you really left God, I can tell you. (Please don't think I'm saying I'm smarter than you and just an ignoramus telling you what to think, just hear me out with an open mind. Please?)

    You never knew God. You knew about God, you knew the Bible inside out, you could quote scriptures and you thought you understood what everything meant. But "the letter of the word is death".

    Once you have really touched God, and felt His glory and His presence, it is agony to go for even a minute knowing you've done something to hurt your relationship with Him, and it's beyond all measures impossible to deny His existance in your heart.

    I can't change your faith, and at least you're sure of what you believe in, which is more than most can say. No argument in this universe can convince you, and no amount of proof can sway you. Jesus said no man could come to the father but through Him, but he never said coming to Him was a one-man thing. He said:

    "No man cometh unto Me, except the Father, which hath sent Me, draw him."

    If you have never known my God, I weep for you. But I cannot convince you he lives, nor can any other; of that you can be sure.

    to quote the lyrics of a song:

    "This is what it is to be loved:
    To know that the promise was
    When everything fell,
    We'd be held."

    You said you cannot see how God could allow suffering. The answer is as simple as that. God allows suffering to give us the chance to choose between Him and our self pity. If we had no choice, we would be slaves. God wanted to create sons who would follow Him for love, not droids. If you don't think that can be right, then as I said earlier, I can't change your mind.
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    Blazer2000x

    The problem is all the pain I see in the world becomes mine, literally. Look up Empathics sometime and you will know what I am.

    God never said anything. The truth is that Jesus Christ said many things which were interpreted through the years to mean many things and to satisfy the church's requirements. The prophecys that you show in your post don't point to a loving God. Far from it. A God who put us on this Earth, told us to be good, never has been seen, but continually tempts us with everything to turn us away from him points to either an evil or non existent entity. The only person in this world who truly loves me is my dad. Thats it.

    What set of parents would leave young kids alone in a home that had a four foot hole in the floor leading straight to hell. Then, placed candy on the edges, gave instructions not to touch it, then go on vacation. This is the God that you believe in.

    And what about Couey. God loved Couey so much that he let him rape and torture Jessica as many times as he wanted. But God was fair, He also loved Jessica so much that he let her cry and scream for three days and watched with love while she got buried alive. Does this make sense?

    So, please tell me how your statement The answer is as simple as that. God allows suffering to give us the chance to choose between Him and our self pity applied to truly innocent little kids, baby birds and cats, and the list goes on. It makes no sense.

    Try something... Pretend this world has a God. Now pretend this world has no God and write down the differences you see. I'm not jumping on you personally, its just that I've hear it all before and I'm just having a bad time right now.

    Again, please forgive my sarcasm, you just happen to be a target close by. Your OK...

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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Then your belief in God is based only on the parts that appeal to you. If your a Catholic then your required to believe those words were spoken from Jesus as the truth. You can doubt other words but not those. I don't know what to tell you about this...
    Why does anyone identify themselves as a member of a religion? Is it because that religion was taught to them? Is it because something about it appealed to them in some way? Does that cover it or do you have something else in mind? Are those who believe just because it was what they were taught, somehow superior to those who believe because something appealed to them? In today's world, do you really think there are any people who just believe what they were taught without accepting or rejecting it depending on whether something in it appeals to them?

    In your case, you believe what you have been taught with regards to the narrow definitions of a particular church about what it means to be Christian. I happen to think that the Catholic church does not have the authority that it imagines that it has, nor do I acknowledge the right of anyone to dictate what the Bible means to anyone else. There is a world wide Christian consensus about what it means to be Christian and the claim in your post is not a part of it. What you say is not in the Nicean Creed.

    I do not pick and choose, making up my own religion. I accept the authority of the Bible on faith, and no other authority except God Himself. I judge for myself what the Bible means as I judge for myself the answers to many other questions. I do not let any other person or organization do my thinking for me. The difference from just making up my own religion is that I am open to learning new things from the Bible and from fellow Christians and even changing my mind about things when I understand the Bible and Christian tradition better.

    I understand the context of your own decision. It may seem very much like an either-or proposition: do you accept the beliefs of this church you participate in or not? But reality is not that small and you should not reduce in to one dimension like that. The possibilities are really endless, and that church you participate in could be right in many ways and wrong in many other ways. What you call "based only on the parts that appeal to you" is also called thinking for yourself rather than simply believing what you are told blindly OR reacting blindly against what you are told. I am not saying that you are doing either of these, I am just saying that your comments seem to narrow the choices in a manner that is unwarranted.

    In any group of people, you will find quite a variety of beliefs, and people participate in the group for very different reasons. You are a good example of this. Each person has their own threshold concerning how much of their beliefs must be the same as the group they participate in, in order to feel comfortable in that group. And then there is the problem of language, for even the agreement they find between their beliefs and the others of the group, consist only of statements in the language of the group. Nothing can verify, however, that the words used by the group mean the same thing to the different members of that group.

    You know, one of first heresies was that of Gnosticism, a name which is derived from the word knowledge. And one of the central beliefs of that heresy (although there are many others) is that we are saved by a special and secret knowledge. Often it seems to me that many Christians are effectively Gnostic in that respect, thinking that they are saved by the fact that they have certain beliefs. I repudiate this utterly. There is no secret or special knowledge that can save us. It is only God who can save us, and so we Christians put our faith in that power of God and leave it in His hands. We are not saved nor condemned by our beliefs any more than we are saved or condemned by our works. Yes we shall receive (some consequences) according to all our works, but God is the only one who can judge those works just as God is the only one who can save us. Therefore any religion which tells you what you must believe or do in order to be saved is a lie and a cheat. This does not mean that religions are not worth listening to, or that the guidlines they give our lives are not worth following. But as Christians we ought to do what the Bible commands out of love for God and not because we think by doing so that we can appease or manipulate God.

    My point is simply that when you tell me what I must believe to be a Christian or saved or whatever, it is a lie. A lie which you have only passed on from those who told it to you perhaps, but a lie nevertheless. It is true that in order to be accepted as Christian by the worldwide consensus, that you must accept the Nicean Creed as I do (although that acceptance is provisional and on faith for I cannot say that I understand it fully). But what weight does this really carry? The Mormon, Jehova Witnesses and Moonies are not bothered by the opinions of this consensus for the opinions of the majority does not determine the truth, and so these groups each believe that they are the true Christians. So indeed it is our right to decide whether we are Christian and what that means. BUT it is more than a little strange to hold onto a rigid idea of what it means to be a Christian when you do not consider yourself one. It does, however, greatly support the idea that atheists are as denominational and divided as the theists are.
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    mitchellmckain...

    To answer your question, you and I never walked with the man called Jesus so we have no first hand knowledge of what he said. We learned
    first by listening to someone else then by reading along with them and at one time considered everything to be the complete truth. So, to me, its really about how one is taught that most influences what one believes as the true written word.

    I still hold on to my statement as I was taught about the Trinity. You can only enter heaven exclusively by Jesus alone because it was Jesus who died on that cross for you and it was Jesus who made the atonement for our sins. He alone is the saviour which is why he was called the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. Is believing in God good enough to satisfy scripture? No.

    When little kids in church ask me questions about Jesus, God, or whatever, I tell them exactly what they expect to hear. When a small child
    brings in a dead hamster, my priest blesses it and tells the child its in heaven with all the other pets. He did it to me too, when I was seven. He, and my dad are best friends who grew up together and happen to be the only family I have. We go to church every Sunday and since I love them both very much it is the ONLY reason that I do what I do and don't tell them how I feel so its completely understandable that you find it strange for me to hold on to my religious beliefs. But the truth is I don't.

    Out of all the members of our church I am by far the biggest hypocryte. I preach through song and talk to kids after church about a loving God while the inside of me screams to tell them the truth... but I never will. I do not believe in God or the Trinity. I'm a rock solid, non-denominational Atheist that will never look back.

    The unbrainwashed truth, is that Jesus was an ordinary man, charismatic enough to gain a wide following and become a great prophet of the times. During his crucifixtion, his delusion remained steadfast and when he looked up and spoke those words, he spoke them to an empty sky. To be honest, if I was there to bear witness, I would have been caught up in the moment and cried too, just like I did during the movie Titanic.

    Look around you....... God is evil or does not exist. You can't have both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    To answer your question, you and I never walked with the man called Jesus so we have no first hand knowledge of what he said.

    The unbrainwashed truth, is that Jesus was an ordinary man, charismatic enough to gain a wide following and become a great prophet of the times. During his crucifixtion, his delusion remained steadfast and when he looked up and spoke those words, he spoke them to an empty sky. To be honest, if I was there to bear witness, I would have been caught up in the moment and cried too, just like I did during the movie Titanic.

    Look around you....... God is evil or does not exist. You can't have both.
    I also was not there. The past is as unknowable as the future. If we believe that an all powerful being could create the world in a second exactly as it is with all our memories and so called evidence, then the world might not even have a past. This is one of the fundamental truths that my rational approach to understanding the world is based on. What may or may not have happened is irrelevant to a rational discovery of the truth. That truth cannot based on any certainties, but only upon logical coherence. We believe what believe because it is consistent with our experience of the world. Logic can only establish consistency, if even that. This is why pragmatism is the only valid epistemology.

    The demand for certainty is a mental illness that people indulge themselves in, according to which they label those who disagree with their own view of the world as brainwashed or stupid. The only real brainwashing in a free society is caused by this addiction to certainty, whereby people feel that they must allow no room for doubt, so they they pretend to know what they do not know. Therefore many people who believe in God allow themselves no doubt, but I encounter atheists who are just as incapable of entertaining doubt. I feel no such addiction to certainty. Everything I believe could be wrong. This possibility just doesn't matter to me because I still know that regardless of this I can only seek and follow the best explanation that fits my experience of reality.

    Thus I am convinced of what I believe only by a rational appraisal of my experience of reality. I admit that there are very good reasons for concluding that the existence of God is improbable. But your claim that logic only allows that if God exists then He must be evil, is simply not true. You fail to understand all the implications of power.

    Human beings often imagine that power is the answer to all the difficulties in life, and so they pursue it voraciously if they can. But it seems that the only real problems that power is capable of dealing with are the problems that the acquistion of power itself brings. It is a common experience that the more power one acquires the more powerless one feels to accomplish anything worthwhile. As long as you are dealing with inanimate objects there is no limit to what power can accomplish, but in this case there really is no need, the powers that human beings already have accomplishes wonders. It is in dealing with living things that power becomes practically useless. If you try to force them to do what they should they simply become paralized with fear or resentful and rebelious. Every use of power on living things has undesired consequences and you are inevitably forced into a policy of non-interference as much as is possible. This is because it is nature of living things to learn and to learn they have to find their own way of dealing with things.

    I am thus rationally forced to the conclusion that if God exists and values life then He must limit His interference to what is practically undetectable. Every world that I can imagine in which an all powerful God takes an active role in awareness of living things, inevitably leads to a destruction of their ultimate potential, reducing them to puppets and automatons. Just try to imagine a world with only fundamentalist Christians! (LOL) Does this lead to the inevitable conclusion that God exists. Of course not! The inevitable conclusion is simply that if God exists and has any regard for living things, then His existence cannot be established objectively. We are simply left with a choice to believe or not to believe.

    Then why believe? The answer is the same for why we should believe anything, and that comes from pragmatism. The question is simply what effect does believing in God have upon our lives. I think the evidence is clear that for some people that belief is detrimental and for some it is very helpful, and that even for one person this changes in different periods of their life. The evidence for this is given by clinical psychiatrist Scott Peck M.D. in his books, starting with "The Road Less Traveled". This fact alone is enough to make the intellectual blackmail version of Christianity completely ridiculous, as I see it.

    P.S. I have a great love and respect for fundamentalist Christians and I attend a church whose members are basically in this category. But I am not a fundamentalist Christian myself and I see their limitations, to which I am not willing to subject myself.
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    Mitch wrote:
    Then why believe? The answer is the same for why we should believe anything, and that comes from pragmatism.
    No, it is not the same. I believe fire is hot because I used to get burned by it. I believe earth is roughly spherical shape because I read it in a text book that seems to have a solid evidence to back it up and also everyday events have not contradicted it. As you say, god cannot be detected objectively, so the reason to believe in god is NOT the same as the reason to believe in other things.

    I think the evidence is clear that for some people that belief is detrimental and for some it is very helpful, and that even for one person this changes in different periods of their life.
    Are you proposing that we should beilieve in God because it will make us happy, even though it is not true?
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    Mitch wrote:
    Then why believe? The answer is the same for why we should believe anything, and that comes from pragmatism.
    No, it is not the same. I believe fire is hot because I used to get burned by it. I believe earth is roughly spherical shape because I read it in a text book that seems to have a solid evidence to back it up and also everyday events have not contradicted it. As you say, god cannot be detected objectively, so the reason to believe in god is NOT the same as the reason to believe in other things.
    Yes these are good examples of beliefs which are consistent with your experiences. They guide your decisions in a helpful way. The reason to believe in God is exactly the same, only our experiences and decisions are different from mine. God is not an objective experience. So what? A lot of things in life are not objective experiences. All that means is that we disagree on whether God exists, AND THAT IS ALL THAT IT MEANS. Love is much the same. John believes that he loves Jane but Jane doesn't believe that John loves her, this can happen because love is a subjective rather than an objective experience. You can tell John that his love doesn't exist because it is not a objective experience but you would not only be wasting your time, you would be a fool for trying.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    I think the evidence is clear that for some people that belief is detrimental and for some it is very helpful, and that even for one person this changes in different periods of their life.
    Are you proposing that we should beilieve in God because it will make us happy, even though it is not true?
    Excuse me? Do you not know the meaning of the word "detrimental"? It means bad. So the above sentence says that for some people the belief in God is bad, and I cited the writings of Scott Peck who came to this conclusion as a clinical psychiatrist. No I am not saying that people should believe in something because it is bad for them. Are you still confused?
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    Mitch wrote:
    God is not an objective experience. So what? A lot of things in life are not objective experiences.
    My point is that the reason to beleve in God is not the same as the reason to believe in ANYTHING else. If it is the same with the believe in any other thing that has no evidence to support it I have no argument.

    John believes that he loves Jane but Jane doesn't believe that John loves her, this can happen because love is a subjective rather than an objective experience.
    1. The definition of love and the expectation of behavior exhibiting love may be different between John and Jane. 2. Jane does not believe because she does not see John's behavior that supports it.

    Excuse me? Do you not know the meaning of the word "detrimental"? It means bad. So the above sentence says that for some people the belief in God is bad, and I cited the writings of Scott Peck who came to this conclusion as a clinical psychiatrist. No I am not saying that people should believe in something because it is bad for them. Are you still confused?
    I did not respond to the "detrimental" phrase, I responded to the "and for some it is very helpful" phrase. And I did not say "bad", I say "happy", which projects from the "very helpful" statement. So I rather think my question is coherent and relevant.
    Apology for my poor communication skill. English is not my home's language.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I am thus rationally forced to the conclusion that if God exists and values life then He must limit His interference to what is practically undetectable.
    Doesn't it seem strange that all religious doctrines are so difficult to accept that you had to be forced to make a rational conclusion based on selecting only the elements that appeal to you? And, that the only way that you believe a God can exist is for him to be undetectable to his children and to provide limited interference? Which btw, is more like no interference? Your philosophical reasoning is failing right before my eyes because it smacks of the "Free will" scenario which I already asked what the difference was between that... and no God in another post.

    When I hold up the "God loves you" book in my left hand, and the real world I see in my right hand, then move my hands to bring them together they fail to become homogenous and that is a monumental problem for me and if I want to be pragmatic something has to change. It can't be my right hand because the real world full of kids dying horrible deaths is a demonstratable fact, so that leaves my left hand which contains all the religious doctrine. This becomes problamatic because it brings up the "what kind of God can coexist with reality" doctrine.

    I'm a believer in Occam's razor, so unless you know of another God the only answer that is logical is that God is evil or he doesn't exist... so were back at square one with the OP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I am thus rationally forced to the conclusion that if God exists and values life then He must limit His interference to what is practically undetectable.
    Doesn't it seem strange that all religious doctrines are so difficult to accept that you had to be forced to make a rational conclusion based on selecting only the elements that appeal to you?
    But religious doctrines are not difficult to accept. All you have to is look at the world and see what people do. Another observation provides me with a conclusion concerning what I think is truly difficult. So many religious people tend to look down their noses at those who believe differently, and yet it is obvious to me that this is not a property of religion. Not only are some religions far more able to accept the validity of different points of view, but the vast majority of atheists I have encountered are some of the worst in this regard. So what seems to be difficult is not the acceptance of any particular point of view (for it is my observation that people can and will believe practically anything), but what is truly difficult the acceptance of the fundamental fact of human ignorance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    And, that the only way that you believe a God can exist is for him to be undetectable to his children and to provide limited interference? Which btw, is more like no interference? Your philosophical reasoning is failing right before my eyes because it smacks of the "Free will" scenario which I already asked what the difference was between that... and no God in another post.

    When I hold up the "God loves you" book in my left hand, and the real world I see in my right hand, then move my hands to bring them together they fail to become homogenous and that is a monumental problem for me and if I want to be pragmatic something has to change. It can't be my right hand because the real world full of kids dying horrible deaths is a demonstratable fact, so that leaves my left hand which contains all the religious doctrine.
    It is in fact the same free will senario, for I believe that this free will as you call it is the defining nature of living things. That it fails to convince you is of little concern to me. This discussion is NOT about me trying to convince you that God exists. If anything, it is the other way around. I have already conceded that from objective point of view, that the existence of God is an improbable proposition, but that people like myself still believe that He exists because life is not an objective propostition. My last post for example was only a refutation of your claim "God is evil or does not exist" as well as pointing out that ones beliefs need not depend on any particular historical claim.

    So, you can certainly say that regardless of what I think the possibilities are your observations of the world leave you only the two possible conclusions that either God is evil or that God does not exist. I accept that as your reason for being an atheist. Unlike daytonturner I do not say "what a shame". What I say instead is that the diversity of human belief and practice, just like the diversity in the natural world, is part of its beauty and its strength. From the rather narrow definition of Christianity you have been taught, I have no doubt that daytonturner's reaction makes more sense to you. But I am not alone in the way I embrace Christianity and if you read the "The Road Less Traveled" by Dr. Scott Peck, you would understand my point of view much better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    This becomes problamatic because it brings up the "what kind of God can coexist with reality" doctrine.
    Nonsense. No one believes in a God that cannot coexist with reality, people simply disagree on what the nature of reality is. It is only problematic if one insists on simple answers that require minimal thought. As a scientist and a theologian I naturally seek to embrace a conception of reality that embraces both of these - both the objective and subjective aspects of reality. This makes understanding the kind of God that can coexist with this conception of reality a challenge, but I must consider this to be the only God worth believing in.

    Furthermore from my experience in the sciences, when you finally understand one of these complex theories like Relativity and Quantum field theory you often come to the realization in retrospect that reality could not be any other way. If you find my conception of reality and God to be overly complex, I nevertheless think that a reality that includes a God with a regard for living things could not be any other way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    I'm a believer in Occam's razor, so unless you know of another God the only answer that is logical is that God is evil or he doesn't exist... so were back at square one with the OP.
    Occam's razor works well with mathematical theories which points out the mathematical simplicity of the solar system of Kepler and Copernicus compared to that of Ptolemy. But in regards to other things, it is little more than a rhetorical justification of one's prejudices. Who is to say what is the simpler explanation? Are the theories of Relativity and Quantum field theory simple? That said, let me be absolutely clear that God doesn't even make it as a scientific explanation to which one can apply Occam's razor. God does not properly explain or predict any objectively observable phenomena. That is simply not the primary reason why people believe in God.
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    God is not an objective experience. So what? A lot of things in life are not objective experiences.
    My point is that the reason to beleve in God is not the same as the reason to believe in ANYTHING else. If it is the same with the believe in any other thing that has no evidence to support it I have no argument.
    Except for the fact that the human experience of reality is subjective and our objective scientific description of reality is an abstraction and an artificial construction. So ultimately, as much as you would like to pretend to superiority over everyone else, your reasons for believing things really are no better than anyone elses.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    John believes that he loves Jane but Jane doesn't believe that John loves her, this can happen because love is a subjective rather than an objective experience.
    1. The definition of love and the expectation of behavior exhibiting love may be different between John and Jane. 2. Jane does not believe because she does not see John's behavior that supports it.
    Yes indeed. If we look at things in terms of definitions the solution is obvious: John and Jane simply do not define this thing they call love in the same way. But then the same thing applies to God. I agree that God, according to the way that atheists define Him, does not exist. But I do not define God the way that you or they do. In fact, no one who believes in God, defines God in the same manner that atheists do, and that is why all of the arguments that atheists make against the existence of God just seem stupid to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    Excuse me? Do you not know the meaning of the word "detrimental"? It means bad. So the above sentence says that for some people the belief in God is bad, and I cited the writings of Scott Peck who came to this conclusion as a clinical psychiatrist. No I am not saying that people should believe in something because it is bad for them. Are you still confused?
    I did not respond to the "detrimental" phrase, I responded to the "and for some it is very helpful" phrase. And I did not say "bad", I say "happy", which projects from the "very helpful" statement. So I rather think my question is coherent and relevant.
    Apology for my poor communication skill. English is not my home's language.
    Well I have a hard time understanding how I can be more clear. For some the belief in God is conducive to their well being (at a particular time in their lives) and for some people the belief in God is detrimental to their well being (at that particular time in their lives). I do not presume to say that anyone should or should not believe in God regardless, for that decision is up to them. Some people insist on doing things which are harmful to their well being whether it is smoking, believing in God, popping pills, or not believing in God. Does that spell it out clearly for you?

    In fact, I do not go with the common Chritian rational that the sin of Adam and Eve made it impossible for God to love them. That makes no sense to me at all. I could never believe in a God that small and petty. I believe in an infinite God whose very nature is to love and give unconditionally. So instead what I think happened was that Adam and Eve's refusal of responsibility by blaming each other, God, and "the snake", made the natural relationship that God had with Adam and Eve and the presence He had in their lives, detrimental to their own well being. It was necessary for them to learn to be responsible for their own lives and for that they had to be on their own, even though this made it impossible for them to avoid self-destructive habits.

    My wife is still a member of the Unification church (a moonie). Many times like right now she wants to go to some meeting accross the country (and bring the rest of the family) because they tell her that by doing so, her (and our) sins will be forgiven. I try to tell her that you cannot buy your way into heaven like this, but they make so many impossible demands that she doesn't even believe that she can make it into heaven anyway, but is just trying to make life better for her family. So even though she just got back from a meeting in New York last week, the entire family (especially our 1 year old) is sick with a variety cold/flu viruses, and she doesn't even have the money for the trip, she nevertheless wants to borrow the money using her credit card to plan the trip right now while we are all still sick.

    So it seems to me right now that the whole belief system of the Unification church is rather hopeless and detrimental to my wife's well being at this time and I would very much like to convince her of this. But I cannot say that my prospects for doing so look very good at all.
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    Mitchell said:

    So, you can certainly say that regardless of what I think the possibilities are your observations of the world leave you only the two possible conclusions that either God is evil or that God does not exist. I accept that as your reason for being an atheist. Unlike daytonturner I do not say "what a shame". What I say instead is that the diversity of human belief and practice, just like the diversity in the natural world, is part of its beauty and its strength. From the rather narrow definition of Christianity you have been taught, I have no doubt that daytonturner's reaction makes more sense to you. But I am not alone in the way I embrace Christianity and if you read the "The Road Less Traveled" by Dr. Scott Peck, you would understand my point of view much better.
    Haha! Are you trying to bate me into further comment on this, Mitchell? Actually, I feel you have done a great job so far in presenting your “Pragmatic Christianity” position.

    I did not quite realize I had said “what a shame” although there is an element of that thought which enters into my thinking on these matters. As you point out in various contexts, the effects of certain stimuli vary vastly from person to person.

    My “what a shame” feeling as it may have related to Bettina is not so much directed at Bettina as it is toward the religious environment in which she grew up. One of the big criticisms protestant movements have of Roman Catholicism is its ability to both succeed and fail in leading its followers to the person of Jesus as a savior. It is not my intent to demean Roman Catholicism. I merely observe that protestant evangelical churches have many converts form Roman Catholicism who say they did not understand from their former experience that they could have a personal relationship with God and Jesus. In contract, however, I also am aware of evangelicals who have converted to Roman Catholicism, finding much meaning and significance in the form of worship and how it emphasizes Christ.

    I noticed that you commented on something prasit said that sort of stimulated me, too.

    prasit said:

    My point is that the reason to beleve in God is not the same as the reason to believe in ANYTHING else. If it is the same with the believe in any other thing that has no evidence to support it I have no argument.
    I am not sure prasit fully understood the significant part of his statement. His focus appeared to be on the “reason” people believe. He is correct in a way in his assessment that the “reason” people believe in God is different from any other belief. However, he is partially inaccurate in his suggestion that people, on their own, conjure up a belief in God, especially if he is referencing Christian belief in God.

    The Christian belief in God necessarily includes the belief in Jesus as Savior and, generally, that the Bible is God’s main way of communicating with mankind. But, even as important. is the Christian concept that belief in God is not a work of the believer; rather, it is a work of God. So in that way, one must agree with prasit that belief in God has a completely different basis than belief in, say, Napoleon.

    prasit’s second phrase is somewhat difficult to decipher, but I think what he was trying to say is that “if the basis of belief in God were the same as belief in any other factually unsupported belief,” he would have difficulty mounting an argument against belief in God.

    I think he is talking about the John and Jane love situation. The difference is that in the example, John believes he is "in love" with Jane because of John’s own subjective observation of his feelings. Presumably, Jane has done nothing to encourage this feeling and thus John’s “love” is of his own making. (This is actually infatuation.) This is vastly different from Jane saying to John, “Do you realize that you love me?” and he replies, “You know, I believe you are correct.”

    But, Mitchell, the most interesting thing you have pointed out in this discussion came when you said:

    But I do not define God the way that you or they do. In fact, no one who believes in God, defines God in the same manner that atheists do, and that is why all of the arguments that atheists make against the existence of God just seem stupid to them.
    I think the main difference is that we realize how our beliefs seem stupid to atheists while they do cannot comprehend how stupid their rejections of God sound to us.

    In turn, I think that is ultimately because of what is at stake – they cannot afford to be wrong -- the old Pascal’s wager, which is an after the fact bet. It is far more costly to them, on the scale of eternity, to be wrong than it is to believers. As believers, we have everything to gain and nothing to lose while as non-believers, they have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

    Not that I think Pascal’s wager is an evangelical tool or a way one can hedge one’s bet on life. I don’t think it is a wager at all, merely, an expression of the potential result of one’s decision in relation to God.
    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
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    My wife is still a member of the Unification church (a moonie). Many times like right now she wants to go to some meeting accross the country (and bring the rest of the family) because they tell her that by doing so, her (and our) sins will be forgiven.
    Mitchell....I think those words are a very good example of the ugliness and nastiness of religion. Yes I know those two attributes are not in themselves evil but I would be hard pressed to use them to describe anything good. Your wife is exhibiting cultish behavior, you may think not but her compulsion to attend under threat of not being forgiven is at the extreme end of persuasiveness. Sure every church uses that idle threat but most people don't need forgiveness 24/7. I can't imagine what goes through someone's mind when after they walk out the door of a meeting where they were cleansed only to feel dirty right away.

    Are cults a shining example of evil within religion? Is that what God wants? Does He realize the power of religion? Does He not see cults as wrong? Does God think cults are good?

    I wouldn't tag along with her and bring the family also. I'd make her stay home but you have probably tried it without success. Your wife is being pressured to have you and the kids come along because in her mind the rest of the family needs to be saved. For the cult it is just a regular recruitment method. I know you go on and on about the choices people make and I'm sure you would say that choices are not made without influence of some sort but how much of a good thing does it take to cross the line from good to evil?

    I'm not sure if one could classify a religious cult as evil or if all cults are religious. If it is formed to satisfy the bank accounts of a few by exploiting others then yes it is. Cults represent one edge of the religious spectrum whereas the atheist has already fallen off the other edge. Are both evil?

    God on the other hand may be the worse perpetrator of evil without realizing it. Does He not understand how people are affected by Him? Is total devotion a good thing?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    if god understand evil he is obviusly a sadist
    if he doesnt understand evil then he is obviusly less intelligent than a less evovled human

    No matter the answer god loving people wont like what god is
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I'm not sure if one could classify a religious cult as evil or if all cults are religious. If it is formed to satisfy the bank accounts of a few by exploiting others then yes it is. Cults represent one edge of the religious spectrum whereas the atheist has already fallen off the other edge. Are both evil?
    All religions can be considered a cult, but not all cults can be considered religious. And, as far as evil is concerned, thats a disease that is present in both theists and atheists. However, there are far more people that kill in the name of God, than kill in the name of atheism.

    God on the other hand may be the worse perpetrator of evil without realizing it. Does He not understand how people are affected by Him? Is total devotion a good thing?
    The great paradox which is why I like being an atheist. It answers everything. The only "Gods" are doctors, nurses, and anyone who really loves you.

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    I believe that God is all knowing, thus, he does know about evil. All that happens is according to God's will. His will is also to let us be free to make our own choices. It is a test if you will. When people are tested, some do evil. God would see that. He is one mysterious character.
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    mitch wrote:
    Except for the fact that the human experience of reality is subjective and our objective scientific description of reality is an abstraction and an artificial construction. So ultimately, as much as you would like to pretend to superiority over everyone else, your reasons for believing things really are no better than anyone elses
    So, in your opinion, what is the objective experience?


    Well I have a hard time understanding how I can be more clear. For some the belief in God is conducive to their well being (at a particular time in their lives) and for some people the belief in God is detrimental to their well being (at that particular time in their lives). I do not presume to say that anyone should or should not believe in God regardless, for that decision is up to them.
    Then why believe? The answer is the same for why we should believe anything, and that comes from pragmatism. The question is simply what effect does believing in God have upon our lives.
    Could you put into one statement on the answer to Why believe?

    I agree that God, according to the way that atheists define Him, does not exist. But I do not define God the way that you or they do.
    Then would it be wise that we agree on the definition of God first, so that we know we are talking about the same entity?
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    bettina sed:
    However, there are far more people that kill in the name of God, than kill in the name of atheism.

    I sure get tired of seeing this assinine, ignorant lie perpetrated time and again and I have seen others make this preposterous claim on this forum before.

    Atheist Adolph Hitler is credited for being responsible for the deaths of 20,946,000 people wiped out (from) 1933-1945.

    But he was a piker compared to the USSR atheist communists, led most of the years by Josef Stalin, who slaughtered 61,911,000 in their mere 70 years of existence from 1917 to 1987. Some 51,755,000 occurred during the years Stalin ruled.

    However, the communist atheist Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung, whose iron fisted rule is credited with causing the deaths of 77,000,000 million people, about half of them due to starvation because of Mao's disasterous agricultural policies.

    One of many sites which post varying numbers of deaths attributed to these historic butchers is http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles...morelethal.htm

    Atheists love to try to make the questionable claim that Hitler was a theist and therefore his deaths should be attributed to a religious motiviation but that since Stalin and Mao were motivated by their Marxist zeal, their deaths should not be considered atheistically motivated.

    All three of these people were guided by their drive for power and political dominance. There was nothing close to a religious motivation for any of them.

    This does not include the slaughters perpetrated by the non-religiously driven Huns of Atila nor the non-religiously driven Mongols of the Kahns.

    Bringing for tallies from the ancient religious wars such as occurred as different religious groups vied to control or protect their lands is difficult to assess. But even some of those wars, such as the conquests of Alexander the Great, were not as motivated by religion as they were by the plain desire for conquest. Even the Romans were not motivated by religion, but by desire for political power.

    Bettina is wrong. Atheistic communism has killed millions more people than have ever died as a result of religiously motivated war. Even Islam's convert-or-die butchery has caused so few a number of deaths that no one seems to have found it necessary to total them up. Nor can I seem to find a total number of deaths attributed as having been caused by the Crusades.
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  59. #58  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    All religions can be considered a cult, but not all cults can be considered religious. And, as far as evil is concerned, thats a disease that is present in both theists and atheists. However, there are far more people that kill in the name of God, than kill in the name of atheism.
    There are no guarantees that an atheist world would be different but I for one would love to give them a chance. Do you think a phobia exists where the religious fear the atheists?

    I understand that evil isn't solely the domain of the religious. I was just questioning whether God understands. Despite what may have been the most sincere of good intentions he has orchestrated a colossal faux pas and if He didn't get it when He started this whole thing then how does He expect His devotees to figure it out? How does God's good become so bad?

    People just cannot accept that God could fail in His endeavors but there is a lot of daily evidence that He has on the 6 o'clock news. So what do people do instead?...They blame themselves. If there is a creator God then He is ultimately rsponsible for the entire mess.

    Now for the flip side, something I haven't really touched on yet. God may very well be the complete essence of evil and His plan for us at least is working to perfection. Funny that a good God can't produce a good world but is seemingly an expert at producing an evil one. What better way to perform evil deeds than to have your victims endorse you and your methods. This is a masterstroke of pure genius, something I would think of as coming from a God. Oh I think God could very well understand evil in every way, only because He wallows in it, lives it, breathes it and feeds on it.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    bettina sed:
    However, there are far more people that kill in the name of God, than kill in the name of atheism.

    I sure get tired of seeing this assinine, ignorant lie perpetrated time and again and I have seen others make this preposterous claim on this forum before.

    Atheist Adolph Hitler is credited for being responsible for the deaths of 20,946,000 people wiped out (from) 1933-1945.

    But he was a piker compared to the USSR atheist communists, led most of the years by Josef Stalin, who slaughtered 61,911,000 in their mere 70 years of existence from 1917 to 1987. Some 51,755,000 occurred during the years Stalin ruled.

    However, the communist atheist Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung, whose iron fisted rule is credited with causing the deaths of 77,000,000 million people, about half of them due to starvation because of Mao's disasterous agricultural policies.

    One of many sites which post varying numbers of deaths attributed to these historic butchers is http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles...morelethal.htm

    Atheists love to try to make the questionable claim that Hitler was a theist and therefore his deaths should be attributed to a religious motiviation but that since Stalin and Mao were motivated by their Marxist zeal, their deaths should not be considered atheistically motivated.

    All three of these people were guided by their drive for power and political dominance. There was nothing close to a religious motivation for any of them.

    This does not include the slaughters perpetrated by the non-religiously driven Huns of Atila nor the non-religiously driven Mongols of the Kahns.

    Bringing for tallies from the ancient religious wars such as occurred as different religious groups vied to control or protect their lands is difficult to assess. But even some of those wars, such as the conquests of Alexander the Great, were not as motivated by religion as they were by the plain desire for conquest. Even the Romans were not motivated by religion, but by desire for political power.

    Bettina is wrong. Atheistic communism has killed millions more people than have ever died as a result of religiously motivated war. Even Islam's convert-or-die butchery has caused so few a number of deaths that no one seems to have found it necessary to total them up. Nor can I seem to find a total number of deaths attributed as having been caused by the Crusades.
    Maybe when you calm down you can examine my comment a little closer..... Nobody kills in the name of Atheism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lurker
    I believe that God is all knowing, thus, he does know about evil. All that happens is according to God's will. His will is also to let us be free to make our own choices. It is a test if you will. When people are tested, some do evil. God would see that. He is one mysterious character.
    If he is all knowing he know what you will choose and then free will is nothing but an illusion.
    If he dont know what you will choose he isnt all knowing

    Pick one but no matter what your god is limited
    This things are never to the belivers beenefit
    I am zelos. Destroyer of planets, exterminator of life, conquerer of worlds. I have come to rule this uiniverse. And there is nothing u pathetic biengs can do to stop me

    On the eighth day Zelos said: 'Let there be darkness,' and the light was never again seen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lurker
    I believe that God is all knowing, thus, he does know about evil. All that happens is according to God's will. His will is also to let us be free to make our own choices. It is a test if you will. When people are tested, some do evil. God would see that. He is one mysterious character.
    Then he knew Jessica Lunsford was going to die which makes him the EVIL GOD that were discussing. Yes, he is a character, but where was her free will.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,154109,00.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    All religions can be considered a cult, but not all cults can be considered religious. And, as far as evil is concerned, thats a disease that is present in both theists and atheists. However, there are far more people that kill in the name of God, than kill in the name of atheism.
    There are no guarantees that an atheist world would be different but I for one would love to give them a chance. Do you think a phobia exists where the religious fear the atheists?

    I understand that evil isn't solely the domain of the religious. I was just questioning whether God understands. Despite what may have been the most sincere of good intentions he has orchestrated a colossal faux pas and if He didn't get it when He started this whole thing then how does He expect His devotees to figure it out? How does God's good become so bad?

    People just cannot accept that God could fail in His endeavors but there is a lot of daily evidence that He has on the 6 o'clock news. So what do people do instead?...They blame themselves. If there is a creator God then He is ultimately rsponsible for the entire mess.

    Now for the flip side, something I haven't really touched on yet. God may very well be the complete essence of evil and His plan for us at least is working to perfection. Funny that a good God can't produce a good world but is seemingly an expert at producing an evil one. What better way to perform evil deeds than to have your victims endorse you and your methods. This is a masterstroke of pure genius, something I would think of as coming from a God. Oh I think God could very well understand evil in every way, only because He wallows in it, lives it, breathes it and feeds on it.
    Exactly my feelings sometimes but the No God world fits better and makes more sense from what I see. Its the glove that fit. :wink:

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  64. #63  
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    Quote Originally Posted by lurker
    When people are tested, some do evil. God would see that.
    Lurker.....why do we need testing? Honestly, what kind of God tests? Is this some kind of game? How do you know if you pass or fail? Why does He keep testing the psychopaths? His kind of people?

    You say God would see evil if someone failed. That's hardly news! Does no test mean no evil? I mean if God didn't test us then we wouldn't need to commit evil. It's like saying God is the cause of all evil or at least He is involved in it. Do you worship this God? I can't.

    Why test us in the first place, doesn't He know the results? Wouldn't God know that a potential result of his testing is that someone becomes a victim and suffers? This testing that you suggest indicates that God is just plain evil. There has got to be some kind of divine subterfuge taking place if I am to believe God is testing us for our own good.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  65. #64  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Exactly my feelings sometimes but the No God world fits better and makes more sense from what I see. Its the glove that fit. :wink:

    Bee
    I want to believe there is no God and I'm pretty certain in my own mind that there isn't but because I can't prove it there will always be a spot for my divine buddy. I think once you commit to full-bodied atheism then it changes to a faith based belief and that never has sat well with me.

    It's not like I'm expounding upon God's virtues anyway. If God is up there then I have to believe He really doesn't pay that much attention to what goes on and I'd have to think we'd be more interesting to Him the less He knew about us. Like looking through a microscope everyday and finding something tantalizingly different.

    The more this thread goes on the more I thnk that if God does exist to do everything the little Bible tell us He does then there is a good chance our benevolent God has pulled the wool over a lot of eyes and is really one nasty dude. It may require a collective understanding of His evil to eradicate Him from our world if He is here at all. Maybe together we can starve Him to death or at least make Him go away. Hey but that's my mystical side talking. I figure if they can do it then I can do it.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Haha! Are you trying to bate me into further comment on this, Mitchell? Actually, I feel you have done a great job so far in presenting your “Pragmatic Christianity” position.

    I did not quite realize I had said “what a shame” although there is an element of that thought which enters into my thinking on these matters. As you point out in various contexts, the effects of certain stimuli vary vastly from person to person.
    Bate you? Never. To tell the truth you have been sending mixed signals. Several times I thought about calling you on the contradictions in what you have been saying to Bettina. And then there was this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You may have given up on God, but I am sure he has not given up on you.
    That is the worst kind of patronising remark I have ever heard.
    I was half way through writing a defense by way of joking to Megabrain that he has led a sheltered life if that was the worst he ever heard, before I changed my mind and scrapped it, because I thought it better hear Bettina's reaction without sticking my nose into it. I would not have called your remark patronizing but I do feel that it reveals a very clear "what a shame" feeling on your part. But I think the fact that you now repudiate it, reveals that you, like myself, are striving to be the "least exclusive as your commitment to Christianity allows." Or something like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I merely observe that protestant evangelical churches have many converts form Roman Catholicism who say they did not understand from their former experience that they could have a personal relationship with God and Jesus. In contract, however, I also am aware of evangelicals who have converted to Roman Catholicism, finding much meaning and significance in the form of worship and how it emphasizes Christ.
    I too know of such converts, for the rich experiences and opportunities available in this largest of Christian denominations.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    prasit’s second phrase is somewhat difficult to decipher, but I think what he was trying to say is that “if the basis of belief in God were the same as belief in any other factually unsupported belief,” he would have difficulty mounting an argument against belief in God.
    No he was trying to make a fundamental distinction between "factually" supported beliefs and "non-factually" supported beliefs. But he is dead wrong. No such fundamental distinction exists. All academic attempts to establish such a distinction rigorously have failed. I heard this first in a class, entitled "the existence of God", at the University of Utah taught by a professor who is an atheist. Later I studied some of the details of the utter failure of the logical positivists to accomplish such a goal, and after Godel's proof the project was completely abandoned. So I am afraid that prasit's claim is just prejudice and rhetoric only. People really do come to all of their beliefs by pretty much the same process and for reasons which are not fundamentally different.

    Now I do think their is a fundamental distinction in the objectively observable nature of science, whether this can be rigorously defined or not. And so the existence of an aspect of reality which is not objectively observable becomes an important axiom distinguishing the two points of view.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I think he is talking about the John and Jane love situation. The difference is that in the example, John believes he is "in love" with Jane because of John’s own subjective observation of his feelings. Presumably, Jane has done nothing to encourage this feeling and thus John’s “love” is of his own making. (This is actually infatuation.) This is vastly different from Jane saying to John, “Do you realize that you love me?” and he replies, “You know, I believe you are correct.”
    These terms of infatuated and love are not rigorously defined terms, but there is implied in the word infatuated that which is obsessive and unrealistic rather than simply love which is not mutual. Certainly there is a relational aspect to romantic love and this is usually embodied in the term "in love", but I think it is ridiculous, to make the claim that love does not exist just because is not mutual. Remember also that romantic love is not the only love there is.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    My wife is still a member of the Unification church (a moonie). Many times like right now she wants to go to some meeting accross the country (and bring the rest of the family) because they tell her that by doing so, her (and our) sins will be forgiven.
    Mitchell....I think those words are a very good example of the ugliness and nastiness of religion. Yes I know those two attributes are not in themselves evil but I would be hard pressed to use them to describe anything good.
    ugliness? nastiness? evil? You know in a multicultural setting judgements like this cannot be taken for anything but bigotry. My wife is Japanese and in the Unification church she finds a compromise between the "shamanistic" (anscestor worship) religion of the orient (to which her mother is devoted) and Christianity. Some of the cultural gaps here are pretty big. I am often repelled by a lot of thinking that seems like pure superstition to me, but which are frankly just a part of Japanese culture. The magical thinking is quite hard for me to take, but it is who they are and judgements like this though tempting are not helpful. You cannot rip their identity from them like it is just some kind of disease. Nobody has that right.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Your wife is exhibiting cultish behavior, you may think not but her compulsion to attend under threat of not being forgiven is at the extreme end of persuasiveness. Sure every church uses that idle threat but most people don't need forgiveness 24/7. I can't imagine what goes through someone's mind when after they walk out the door of a meeting where they were cleansed only to feel dirty right away.
    There are indeed some types of religious thinking and practice which are more dangerous to mental health than others. Excessive guilt and magical thinking being some of the more obvious. But all this really means is that these are often some of the critical factors when and if religious participation does become detrimental, for guilt and magic are not inherently bad. Some guilt is quite appropriate and symbolic ritual can have theraputic value.

    compulsion? threat? forgiveness 24/7? These are a bit off the mark. There is no real threat involved and my wife is legally rational, sitting calmly and explaining her reasons and motivation to me. Perhaps you detect in my discription above my own sense of fustration and outrage, which did indeed cause me exclaim to her, "that is insane." But we should not get carried away and start supporting what is little more than bigotted propaganda.

    I don't like many of the beliefs and practices of the Unification church. But I was a member for ten years and it is a part of who we are even if it is not who I am anymore. All our memories of experiences shared, our marriage and friends are all tied to the Unification Church. Our marriage cannot survive without a great deal of tolerance and sensitivity.

    I think that some forms of Christianity are more psychologically heathy than other religions, but then I am Christian, so I would think that wouldn't I? Furthermore, I think this is a bit naive, for how a religion works in a particular person's mind is a particularly complex and individual thing, regardless of what the religion thinks it teaches.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    Are cults a shining example of evil within religion? Is that what God wants? Does He realize the power of religion? Does He not see cults as wrong? Does God think cults are good?
    A cult is nothing more than a new religion. Its biggest danger lies in its own lack of experience about what works, what are reasonable expectation of people, what causes long term problems and so on. Christianity was the "cult of the Nazarene" at one time. A cult is no more evil than a party at a frat house. Caution is certainly advisable, but people must be free to explore the possibilites of life. Religion may not be an avenue of exploration that is to your taste at this time, but calling it evil is the same kind of foolishness that once called rock and roll evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I wouldn't tag along with her and bring the family also.
    Well I will not go myself to this particular event with this Korean woman who claims the power to forgive sins in her magical rituals under any circumstances. But our children have both a mother and a father, and I firmly believe that our differences only provide them a richer background of experience upon which make informed choices in their future. Parenting is an inherently arrogant enough proposition as it is without one parent becoming overly dictatorial and shutting out the role of the other parent.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I know you go on and on about the choices people make and I'm sure you would say that choices are not made without influence of some sort but how much of a good thing does it take to cross the line from good to evil?
    Well we are back to the frat party again. Living in a closet may be safer, but is it really living? Maybe new religions and frat parties really are bad ideas and are better avoided, but maybe some people want find this out for themselves.

    The frat party is by the way an example which in which I strive for some degree of fairness. Perhaps both new religions and frat parties have bad reputations that are somewhat exaggerated. And it seems to me to be something on which opinions might be diverse.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I'm not sure if one could classify a religious cult as evil or if all cults are religious. If it is formed to satisfy the bank accounts of a few by exploiting others then yes it is. Cults represent one edge of the religious spectrum whereas the atheist has already fallen off the other edge. Are both evil?
    You might surprised how many "con men" actually believe their own spiel and call themselves inventors. The line between such con men and real inventors is practically nonexistent. The entrepreneur blurs this line completely. Religion is no different. Religious leaders who are really successful invariable believe what they are selling, and the difference between the proper and improper use of funds mostly comes down to the quality of the accountants and lawyers, for in the life of a religious leader, his religious activities (especially as he sees them) often cannot be separated from his personal life.

    Now it is true that many of the older churches have established avenues of accountablility to guard against the inevitable excesses that will occur when human beings are involved. But the comparison to newer religions is just as flawed as when Americans self-righteously judge other countries for doing what they themselves did only a short time ago. These are simply things which these new religions have every right to be allowed to improve upon rather than be utterly condemned for.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    God on the other hand may be the worse perpetrator of evil without realizing it. Does He not understand how people are affected by Him? Is total devotion a good thing?
    Ha HAH! If it is this bad when He keeps in the background and practically invisible in every way just imagine what the effect of His obvious presence would be, hmmmm? But things really are not as bad as all that. You are seeing the problems in religion without any proper contrast, for I believe that the positive role in peoples lives really do outweigh these difficulties, especially if people are free to make their own choices about what they believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Maybe when you calm down you can examine my comment a little closer..... Nobody kills in the name of Atheism.
    I noticed that but it is a dubious distinction because Hitler and the Communists were blatantly antireligious with the same dreams of a world without religion that is expressed by the atheists in this forum and with the will to do what it takes to make it a reality. The sentiments expressed here, frankly, sound all too familiar.

    Furthermore, even the so called killing in name religion is invariably a thin smokescreen for the purpose of public propaganda. Human beings are capable of perverting everything they get their hands on without exception. This rhetoric about religion being the cause of war just doesn't wash.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    bettina suggested:

    Maybe when you [daytonturner] calm down you can examine my comment a little closer..... Nobody kills in the name of Atheism.
    I did read your comment and understood not only the words of what you said but also their nefarious implication, to wit: Religious people kill because they are religious, atheists kill, but not becuase they are atheists. There is further implication that if there were no religious people, there would be no killing. This is foolishness.

    Were I to go out and kill people in the name of Bettina, would that mean you were the cause of my killing spree and that I had your express approval? If not, how can you suggest that people who kill in the name of anyone is doing so with that person's blessing.
    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
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I think once you commit to full-bodied atheism then it changes to a faith based belief and that never has sat well with me.
    I can understand that. However, as an atheist I can say I'm more right in believing that God is evil or does not exist because I see the results
    wherever I look. Its similar to a physicist knowing that certain particles exist not because their seen, but because of the evidence they leave behind.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I noticed that but it is a dubious distinction because Hitler and the Communist were blatantly antireligious with the same dreams of a world
    without religion that is expressed by the atheists in this forum and the will to do what it takes to make it a reality. The sentiments expressed here, frankly, sound all too familiar
    First, to compare Hitler with people in this forum is very much beneath you and I'm surprised you would say that. Secondly, please don't include me in those dreams because I am not one of those people who wish to turn the world to atheism and I've expressed that many times here and again in church this morning. I don't outwardly fault theists I sing to in church for their beliefs and I never will because I know that some have lost loved ones and religion gives them hope where there is none... even though I know its falst. This forum is a different matter and I find it a release for the frustration I face because your all invisible to me. A place I can state how I really feel.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Quote Originally Posted by bettina
    Maybe when you [daytonturner] calm down you can examine my comment a little closer..... Nobody kills in the name of Atheism.
    I did read your comment and understood not only the words of what you said but also their nefarious implication, to wit: Religious people kill because they are religious, atheists kill, but not becuase they are atheists. There is further implication that if there were no religious people,
    there would be no killing. This is foolishness.
    You twisted my meaning to make it sound more like what you wanted to hear so now its understandable why you think its foolish. I stand by what I originally said.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Were I to go out and kill people in the name of Bettina, would that mean you were the cause of my killing spree
    Yes, I do.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    ....and that I had your express approval?
    Of course not.
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    ...If not, how can you suggest that people who kill in the name of anyone is doing so with that person's blessing.
    I never said it was with their blessing. They have been brainwashed into believing that this is what the (insert diety or person} wants. Just look at what the Islamic Jihadists are teaching their school children.

    No group of people expressly kill in the name of atheism. Its always about religion, power, land, dominance, etc, but never about atheism.

    Bettina
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  69. #68  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I noticed that but it is a dubious distinction because Hitler and the Communist were blatantly antireligious with the same dreams of a world
    without religion that is expressed by the atheists in this forum and the will to do what it takes to make it a reality. The sentiments expressed here, frankly, sound all too familiar
    First, to compare Hitler with people in this forum is very much beneath you and I'm surprised you would say that. Secondly, please don't include me in those dreams because I am not one of those people who wish to turn the world to atheism and I've expressed that many times here and again in church this morning. I don't outwardly fault theists I sing to in church for their beliefs and I never will because I know that some have lost loved ones and religion gives them hope where there is none... even though I know its falst. This forum is a different matter and I find it a release for the frustration I face because your all invisible to me. A place I can state how I really feel.
    I know very well that you are not one the atheists expressing such sentiments. My post had one purpose and one purpose only and that was to refute the validity of your claim that "Nobody kills in the name of Atheism," for the real motives are far more important that the lies used to cover them. It is simply your misfortune that you have repeated this often repeated lie which has already been thoroughly discredited in this forum

    I did not even remotely suggest that anyone here was the same as Hitler, and the distinction was clearly stated when I said, "and the will to do what it takes to make to make it a reality". I never made the claim that anyone here proposed any "final solutions" of this sort but I can make a quote by quote comparision between statements by members of this forum and Hitler to show the similarity of dreams and sentiments. NEVERTHELESS, hearing the disgusting sentiments of Hitler and the Communists spoken on this forum is not something to rejoice about, for hearing these dreams we cannot but recall the efforts of these particular atheists to achieve those dreams. It think it is about time that we should learn from the mistakes of that particular era of recent history and understand that war and violence are flaws in the character of human beings and the attempt to assign blame elsewhere is nothing but dishonest. Atheists must accept that religion is part of what people are, and there is absolutely no signs whatsoever that this is going to change.
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  70. #69  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I wouldn't tag along with her and bring the family also.
    Well I will not go myself to this particular event with this Korean woman who claims the power to forgive sins in her magical rituals under any circumstances. But our children have both a mother and a father, and I firmly believe that our differences only provide them a richer background of experience upon which make informed choices in their future. Parenting is an inherently arrogant enough proposition as it is without one parent becoming overly dictatorial and shutting out the role of the other parent.
    At first I was worried for your wife. Now I will worry for your whole family. The reason I say this is strictly personal and is a byproduct of experience. Years ago I rescued my brother from the clutches of a cult called Maranatha. I'm normally a peacenik and am not prone to violent outbursts but for a good 2 months of one year I slept with a weapon at my bedside. Maranatha pinned me as public enemy #1, found out where I lived, harassed me with phone calls at every hour of the night, prowled my property at nite, killed my cat and stuffed it in a bag between my 2 front doors, wrote menacing messages on my car's windows and generally had me on edge. I eventually was forced to move and get an unlisted phone #. Haven't been bothered since.

    If you want to find out if I know what I'm talking about then go with her and try to walk away for good. Its not easy.

    Do I think my brother benefitted one iota while a member....not a chance. Do I think he became a better person....no way. Do I think he changed for the good...I have to laugh. Deprogramming my brother was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. Years later he is back to normal self but I still worry about a relapse.

    So Mitchell, I am genuinely concerned for you guys. You've been involved with the Moonies a long time so I am not surprised on how your opinion of them and mine are miles apart. You are reacting as I expect. You can laugh at my concern and that would also not be unexpected.

    Despite the fact you hold the Moonies in high esteem doesn't mean they're angels. Whether by design or just pure happenstance you have been successfully indoctrinated and from now on when I read your posts I can't help but wonder if the words are really yours or the Reverend Moon's. Dammit all anyway but at least now I have some idea where your coming from.

    If I was to disperse evil knowing that there is a natural human aversion to it, for most anyways, then the best way to do it would be by disguising it. I'll give any religious organization a 5 star rating for that.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  71. #70  
    Forum Junior Bettina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    ... My post had one purpose and one purpose only and that was to refute the validity of your claim that "Nobody kills in the name of Atheism," for the real motives are far more important that the lies used to cover them. It is simply your misfortune that you have repeated this often repeated lie which has already been thoroughly discredited in this forum.
    My exact quote before going off track was [i]However, there are far more people that kill in the name of God, than kill in the name of atheism.[/i]
    I still hold firm on that and would like to see some links that support your claim because I have links to the contrary. I'm not interested in forum links.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    ...... for hearing these dreams we cannot but recall the efforts of these particular atheists to achieve those dreams. It think it is about time that we should learn from the mistakes of that particular era of recent history and understand that war and violence are flaws in the character of human beings and the attempt to assign blame elsewhere is nothing but dishonest. Atheists must accept that religion is part of what people are, and there is absolutely no signs whatsoever that this is going to change.
    I accept religion and I always have but I do not accept that that era was motivated purely by atheism. Again, provide me with a good link to back that up.

    Sorry for pulling this Evil God thread off track.

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  72. #71  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina
    My exact quote before going off track was [i]However, there are far more people that kill in the name of God, than kill in the name of atheism.[/i]
    I still hold firm on that and would like to see some links that support your claim because I have links to the contrary. I'm not interested in forum links.
    I think you are still not getting it. What people say they are killing "in the name of" is irrelevant propaganda. The fair question here is not whether more people "kill in the name of God" than "kill in the name of atheism". That is a question posed for the purpose of rhetoric. The question is whether more people have killed because they think that was what their religion expect of them than those who have killed because they hate one or more of the major religions. Atheism is not an established system of beliefs but a reaction against theism and therefore to talk about killing in the name of atheism as if it were some system of beliefs is ridiculous.

    Trying to disassociate atheism from Hitler and the Communists is no different that trying to disassociate Christianity from the medieval Catholic church. There are good arguments for making a distinction in both cases, but it is still prevarication and rhetoric. Hitler may not have been an atheist to the satisfaction of the atheists in this forum but the things he said about Christianity are so similar that from my point of view I cannot see any difference. Furthermore, it is clear that he was motivated by his own personal hatred of Judaism and Christianity rather than by any established religion of his own.

    Hitler (http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mis...ca_hitler.html) and the Communists clearly stated numerous times that religion (Christianity and Judaism in case of Hitler) was a disease that mankind needed to be cured of, and they carried out a systematic program of exterminating religious people. Yes there were incidents where the whole villiages were declared heretics by the Catholic church and exterminated, and pograms against Jewish communities in the same era, but none of this even begins to compare with the scale of slaughter by Hitler and the Communists (160 million people) as part of their efforts to rid the world of religious people. So the point here is that the slaughter of innocents is not something substantially associated with a commitment to any of the major religions.

    Frankly if religion can be called a cause for murder then atheism (reaction against religion) is at the top of the list of such religions. Look, the point is that religion is not the problem. The problem is the contempt people have for those who believe differently than they do. These lies about religion are of the same character as anti-Semitism and must be stopped.

    This is strange place but Mao Tse Tung is quoted here
    Quote Originally Posted by http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/2006-06-08
    Mao Tse Tung, outlawed the Catholic Church and called religion "a disease,"
    But frankly the attitudes of communism towards religion (starting with Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto calling it the opiate of the people) is so well known it is hard to find anything devoted to it, especially since communism seems rather dead at the moment.

    Here is a more balanced point of view, I ran across that you might want to read written specifically about all this in relation to Christmas:
    http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?m=200212
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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