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  1. #21  
    to BobbyMike:

    I agree 100% with what you've said about religion and the ease with which different people practicing in very different ways get lumped with the jerks. I also echo your feelings about certain "spiritual" people, but don't make the same mistake with them that many do with religion.

    I also think that the problem of evil is thornier than you're admitting. I tend to doubt that all evil is caused by man's willfully breaking laws set down by god. Even if it were, I still feel that it could be considered god's fault. Your analogy is a good one, but breaks down when you start to consider the staggering implications of people claiming that god is omnipotent, omniscient, and wholly good. Goes like this:

    1) If god is Omnipotent, then there is nothing that is logically possible that is outside god's power.
    2) It is logically possible that there be created a universe in which humanity can have free will and in which it is impossible for evil* to exist.
    3) God is Omnipotent
    4) Therefore, it is within god's power to create a universe in which humanity can have free will and in which it is impossible for evil* to exist. (From 1,2,3)
    5) If (4), then god is not powerless to stop evil*.
    6) Evil* exists.
    7) If evil* exists, then either god is powerless to stop it or god wills it.
    8) God wills evil* (From 5,6,7).

    * Let us define "evil" as: An unnecessary instance of pain and suffering, such as a solitary baby doe wandering into a lava floe.
    Unless my logic is really bad, the above is valid. While I personally do not find it to be sound, many do or are at the very least troubled by it. Which premise do you contest? I'm also willing to answer open calls do defend or explain any of the above premises. (and I'm resisting to urge to do so in respect to the length of this post)

    To ****-Richardson
    Yep, religion is used as a crutch by many people. I disagree with you that this is beneficial. Don't get me wrong, I'm no social darwinist, but I will say that many of the "goods" perpetrated by religion are not. But, as you said, if a religion happens to match your moral code, then jump on it. I just fear that too many people are jumping because everyone around them is, too.

    to GSR13
    What if I do not accept the bible as a revealed knowledge, but instead as a tragic and lengthy tome of wishful thinking? I'm trying to come to the place where we can have a discussion, do you believe that we can be saved w/out being xns?

    to allread: to mods
    Shut me up if necessary. I love this stuff, and sometimes get going. If you don't want to shut me up, please keep the discussion from getting too far ranging!
    Last edited by Dieter Bohn; 07/13/2001 at 08:17 AM.
  2. #22  
    Originally posted by GSR13
    Take the Bible and study it. Read it. And then ask God to explain it.

    Um, I may be way off base here, but how am I to get an answer when I ask a question of the God of the Bible, who has no definite physical presence? And who did not have anything to do with writing or translating the Bible? I mean, I can't just ship off an email or something here.

    If the Jews had not killed Christ, ...

    I thought the Romans killed Christ.
    Or am I splitting hairs?

    I know this sounds like a flame, but I'm not shooting for that. I never could wrap my mind around the idea that the Catholic God is supposed to be the only true God when there are multiple current belief systems with different deities, and there are a number of "dead" belief systems which all had different deities (or, in the case of the Greeks and Romans, the same deities with different names). Every belief system says the others are wrong, so no-one's right.

    I'm not religious, and I'm not spiritual. My belief is that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of their status, skin color, sexual preference, religion, age, mental capability, or place of birth, but hate and distrust are difficult things to overcome.
    The light at the end of your tunnel has been disconnected due to non-payment. Please remit funds immediately for restoration of hope.
  3. #23  
    Originally posted by Yorick
    how am I to get an answer when I ask a question of the God of the Bible, who has no definite physical presence? And who did not have anything to do with writing or translating the Bible? I mean, I can't just ship off an email or something here.
    Well, god is taken to be incorporeal, and humans to have both a physical and spiritual presence. God inspired humans to write the bible, i.e. god's truth is revealed through the writers of the bible, as they are inspired by god. Hence, there are surface inconsistancies and cultural differences, but the core is there.

    I never could wrap my mind around the idea that the Catholic God is supposed to be the only true God when there are multiple current belief systems with different deities
    Shoot, I forget the exact language, but not too long ago the Pope addressed this, and said that those who did or do not have access to christ are saved based on their morality. Oh, and the exclusivity of salvation is not exclusively a Catholic idea, nor originally Catholic.
  4.    #24  
    Originally posted by dietrichbohn
    To ****-Richardson
    Yep, religion is used as a crutch by many people. I disagree with you that this is beneficial.[/b]
    I have neither figures, nor a desire to hunt for them. But food for thought: w/o the pervasiveness of religion, how many do you think will believe in something even more destructive?
    Don't get me wrong, I'm no social darwinist, but I will say that many of the "goods" perpetrated by religion are not.
    Are you denying that religion has been beneficial in some way?
    But, as you said, if a religion happens to match your moral code, then jump on it. I just fear that too many people are jumping because everyone around them is, too.
    That's their choice. If they're too stupid to think for themselves, I wish they'd join a religion, if only for their own protection.

    That may be why atheists (and agnostics to a degree) worry the religious. Without a moral code that has been agreen upon by a bunch of people, who know what wild things they might decide is moral. I've met quite a few 'atheists' that didn't bother to stop and think about God, they just wanted a self-serving moral code (that was anything but).

    But, back to my original statement, I don't think all the religious are too stupid to think for themselves, nor do I believe that all atheists are amoral. That doesn't mean that those elements aren't present, however.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  5. #25  
    Originally posted by ****-richardson
    I have neither figures, nor a desire to hunt for them. But food for thought: w/o the pervasiveness of religion, how many do you think will believe in something even more destructive?
    And I have nothing more than a gut feeling, but I tend to think that morality is hardwired into us, by evolution or by survival instinct or whatever, and that the framework of religion is an easy filter. I don't think that eliminating the framework eliminates the underlying cause or impetus for that framework
    Are you denying that religion has been beneficial in some way?
    No. I am stating that it is harmful in more ways that people are willing to admit, and that some of the "benefits" are in reality detriments. We can go into details, but I imagine it will get controversial.
    That's their choice. If they're too stupid to think for themselves, I wish they'd join a religion, if only for their own protection.
    That's a tough one for me. On the one hand, I say sure, let 'em join. On the other, I feel like it would be better to exercise "tough love" and make 'em think. This is the old Elitist problem: nobody wants to be an elitist, but it's so much easier than trying to view everybody equally (or even getting everybody up to an equal level?). I've struggled with elitism & with just letting people keep their problems although it may be in my power to help. At any rate, I haven't thought the issue through enough to comment more that I have.

    That may be why atheists (and agnostics to a degree) worry the religious. Without a moral code that has been agreen upon by a bunch of people, who know what wild things they might decide is moral. I've met quite a few 'atheists' that didn't bother to stop and think about God, they just wanted a self-serving moral code (that was anything but).
    But does that moral code need to come from religion? I think we'd be better off if it didn't, despite the difficulties in justifying it.

    Re: Atheists, you, me, and Bobby are probably on the same page: too many bandwagon jumpers (in this case, they just jump on the individualistic bandwagon) and too much wheat with the chaff (Elitism again....ARG)
    But, back to my original statement, I don't think all the religious are too stupid to think for themselves, nor do I believe that all atheists are amoral. That doesn't mean that those elements aren't present, however.
    Right.
  6. #26  
    "1) If god is Omnipotent, then there is nothing that is logically possible that is outside god's power.
    2) It is logically possible that there be created a universe in which humanity can have free will and in which it is impossible for evil* to exist.
    3) God is Omnipotent
    4) Therefore, it is within god's power to create a universe in which humanity can have free will and in which it is impossible for evil* to exist. (From 1,2,3)
    5) If (4), then god is not powerless to stop evil*.
    6) Evil* exists.
    7) If evil* exists, then either god is powerless to stop it or god wills it.
    8) God wills evil* (From 5,6,7).

    * Let us define "evil" as: An unnecessary instance of pain and suffering, such as a solitary baby doe wandering into a lava floe.
    "


    I'll try to reply to this and stay on target. The argument is good, if you assume that God's intention was to create a world without evil. This is the same argument the guys from XTC were making, ie. if there were a God why would he let there be pain. I believe that would not be fulfilling for him or us. #2 is impossible. If you remove the possibility of evil, you also remove the act of free will. Free will implies that there is a choice available. If there is no evil only good, there is no choice. What free will would we have, ability to choose our own color of clothes?

    What we received from God was a world of possibilities. We have the gift of choice. That is the most important thing we could get. A world with no pain, evil or heartache sounds dandy at first glance, but it also sounds incredibly stifling (because there would be no challenges). Remove our ability to choose and we become automata, robots. God gives us a moral code to live by and they freedom to do as we please. He wants us to choose to live well, but he gives us the chance to choose for ourselves. He wants us to love him, but he wants us to do it of our own free will. God can stop evil (check the Bible for numerous times Jesus, or God, stays the hand of Satan.). Part of being human is meeting challenges, and overcoming them.

    This directly applies to parenting our children as well. If you totally remove your children from all harm, they may be safe, but they will also be unable to fend for themselves (physically, mentally, or morally). God wants us to learn what is right and do it of our own free will. In a world with out harm we would grow lazy and not appreciate what good things we have.

    D-R wrote:
    "That may be why atheists (and agnostics to a degree) worry the religious. Without a moral code that has been agreen upon by a bunch of people, who know what wild things they might decide is moral. I've met quite a few 'atheists' that didn't bother to stop and think about God, they just wanted a self-serving moral code (that was anything but)."

    Exactly, a great case is the sad fate of Madelyn(?) O'Hare, titular spokeswoman for the atheist cause here in the US.

    Moral anarchy is not a good thing. While I believe that you can't really legislate morality successfully, I do believe that you can instill it into people by sharing it and letting them come into of their own free will.


    A question:
    Who would you respect more, a German(non-Jew) living in Berlin who hid Jews during the war (at the risk of certain death if caught, or a hermit who removes himself from the world and causes no harm to any other living creature? Both are worthy of admiration, but which one puts more on the line?

    Finally, Yorick asked:
    "I thought the Romans killed Christ.
    Or am I splitting hairs?"


    Roman soldiers put him to death, at the command from Pontius Pilate at the behest of the Jewish priests, who considered Jesus to be a dangerous heretic and radical. Left to themselves the Romans wouldn't have killed him. The Jews demanded it because they said he broke Jewish law.
    "I am a debtor both to Greeks and to Barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish."
  7.    #27  
    Originally posted by dietrichbohn
    That's a tough one for me. On the one hand, I say sure, let 'em join. On the other, I feel like it would be better to exercise "tough love" and make 'em think.
    It's not your responsibility to make the decision for them. I've found it's best to assume that people only want help when they ask.

    But does that moral code need to come from religion?
    No, but anytime a group of people agree on a moral code it becomes damn near impossible to classify it as anything but religion.

    Re: Atheists, you, me, and Bobby are probably on the same page: too many bandwagon jumpers (in this case, they just jump on the individualistic bandwagon) and too much wheat with the chaff
    I agree. I'm pointing out that there are advantages to that situation.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  8. #28  
    First, I am not Catholic. Second, I really do not agree with anything that the Catholic Church stands for. That does not mean that I dislike Catholics, just the system. When I refer to "The Church", I am not talking about Catholics, but the Bride of Christ. The Bride is the Church, as outlined in Scripture. You are not in the Bride by joining a Denominational System. You are in the Bride when you have been Justified, Sanctified and Baptized with the Holy Ghost. Then you will begin to live a different life. One that is centered around serving the Lord.

    It is much like Peter. While Peter may have been "saved", it was not until Pentecost (when he received the Holy Ghost) that he completed his "new birth".

    As a Christian, I love all on an equal basis, or at least I try. No matter who you are or what you believe, you are God's creation put here to serve His purpose.

    To DietRichBohn:

    If you do not accept the Bible as God's revealed Word, where do you get your Moral Code?

    To Yorick:

    The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, was written through Divine inspiration from God. It is simple to speak to God, through Prayer. God will respond, the important thing is learning to hear God's voice.

    True, it was Roman soldiers that actually committed the murder, but it was the Jewish who called for His Death.

    The problem I have, is you try to sum it all up by saying one person is religious and another is not. It is not that simple. The question is, are you a Christian? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the Flesh? Do you believe He died and was resurrected?

    **I do not want to hurt anyone or Flame anyone. I believe this discussion is interesting and thought provoking. Please do not take anything I say personally or as disrespectful to you. Should someone find what I have said offensive, please tell me and I will delete this post.**
    In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. JOHN 14:2
  9.    #29  
    The only way I've been able to explain the presence of evil given my ever-changing beliefs about God is that we can't truly claim to love God if that's our only choice. Choosing not to love God is evil. God made the "actions have consequences" rule, so that another person's 'evil' decisions impact people who have chosen to love God. This is where the person who has chosen to love God decides the price of that love. That makes sense, as God probably doesn't want to spend eternity with a bunch of pricks who couldn't care less about Him.
    Last edited by dick-richardson; 07/13/2001 at 10:27 AM.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  10.    #30  
    Originally posted by GSR13
    please tell me and I will delete this post.**
    You can't.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  11. #31  
    Originally posted by ****-richardson

    You can't.
    You are correct. But I could simply Edit and Delete the contents. I was referring only to MY posts, not the thread in itself.
    In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. JOHN 14:2
  12. #32  
    As for the argument about God allowing Evil. I used to question the same thing. How could a loving, merciful God allow Evil?

    Simple. You just have to understand what God's original desire was. God simply wanted to be worshipped. Sure, he could have left it Adam and Eve and never allow Satan to tempt them. He could have simply vaporized Satan from the start, or never have created him to begin with. But, God wanted to be worshipped as an AllKnowing God. The only way we could worship Him as a Healer is if He allowed sickness. The only way we could truly know His love, is to experience hatred.

    The entire plan behind this was for Christ to receive a Bride that would NEVER leave His Word. God will abolish evil. There will be a day when there is no evil at all and it will be the New Heaven and the New Earth.
    In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. JOHN 14:2
  13.    #33  
    So God created evil so that we'd all be really impressed when he fixed it? Sounds like Microsoft.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  14. #34  
    Originally posted by ****-richardson
    So God created evil so that we'd all be really impressed when he fixed it? Sounds like Microsoft.
    Sort of... Only despite what Bill Gates thinks, the world really does not revolve around Microsoft.
    In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. JOHN 14:2
  15. #35  
    Originally posted by BobbyMike
    The argument is good, if you assume that God's intention was to create a world without evil.
    So you agree with my argument that God wills evil?
    #2 is impossible. If you remove the possibility of evil, you also remove the act of free will. Free will implies that there is a choice available. If there is no evil only good, there is no choice. What free will would we have, ability to choose our own color of clothes?
    No, it's not; or at least I've yet to see sufficient evidence that it's not--and the burden of proof lies on you, not me. Let me explain. We're not talking about this universe, in which it may not be possible to have free will w/out evil (although I disagree there too), but of all possible universes. God could have created the universe however he felt, and if it's logically possible for both free will and 0-evil to exist, then god could have created the universe in that way. Obviously, god chose not to, so there are only two possiblities: either free will and evil must coexist or god willed evil. But to say that free weill and evil must coexist you have to show that it is logically impossible for the opposite to be true. The best way is to cause it to lead to a direct contradiction, i.e both A and not A at the same time and in the same way in all possible universes. Saying "There is only good and there is free will" is not even close to a contradiction.

    You're only stuck on this idea of impactful free will being only choosing between good and evil because that's how the universe was set up from the get-go. In order to show that god's hands were tied in doing so, you have to show that it's the best possible universe, or a necessary condition for reality. I don't think that can be done. In fact, with sufficient creativity, I think we could think up a universe that's exciting, challenging, free, and wholly good. It's just that we're stuck in this one, and therefore may lack that creativity.

    This directly applies to parenting our children as well. If you totally remove your children from all harm, they may be safe, but they will also be unable to fend for themselves (physically, mentally, or morally). God wants us to learn what is right and do it of our own free will. In a world with out harm we would grow lazy and not appreciate what good things we have.

    You're going after #6 here, "Evil Exists." The bottom line for Christian Theology is that evil does not exist, because everything exists according to god's plan and god's plan is good. But what about that baby doe, back in prehistoric times, stumbling into a lava pit? I don't like Christianity because, at its heart, it denies the essential fact of reality that we experience pain. It sugar coats it, and a rotten pile of meat covered in frosting is still a rotten pile of meat.

    Finally, I prefer not to be patronized by my deities.
  16.    #36  
    Originally posted by dietrichbohn
    ...The bottom line for Christian Theology is that evil does not exist
    Where did you get this? It's in the best interest of Christian Theologians to argue for the existence of evil, otherwise there is no point to Christianity.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  17.    #37  
    Originally posted by dietrichbohn
    ...and the burden of proof lies on you, not me...
    Oh, and dietrichbohn, it is your responsibility to back up your assertions, and it was your assertion that free will can exist independently of evil.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  18. #38  
    Originally posted by ****-richardson
    No, but anytime a group of people agree on a moral code it becomes damn near impossible to classify it as anything but religion.
    Well, there's Zen Buddhism, Communism, Capitalism, Utilitarianism, Object Utilitarianism, and so on.
  19.    #39  
    Originally posted by GSR13


    Sort of... Only despite what Bill Gates thinks, the world really does not revolve around Microsoft.
    LOL! Nonetheless, I'll stick with my argument for the existence of evil.
    -Joshua
    I've decided to become enigmatic.
  20. #40  
    Originally posted by ****-richardson
    Oh, and dietrichbohn, it is your responsibility to back up your assertions, and it was your assertion that free will can exist independently of evil.
    Actually, the burden of proof always lies on the person who claims a given premise is logically impossible. Just because it's the assumption of all of western culture doesn't mean that it's correct. I simply am making it clear that this is an unjustified assumption. But here, I'll back it up:

    "Free will and the nonexistence of evil is possible at the same time, in the same way, in the same universe."

    That statement is correct until it is proven wrong, since all it does is state a logical possibility.
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