A Logical Look at the Existence (or Non-Existence) of God.

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Lady Viskor, Nov 22, 2003.

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  1. Lady Viskor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2000
    star 4
    (Note: I decided to post this thread after reviewing the contents of some of the religious threads already present on the Senate Floor. If anything about the subject matter is inappropriate then I expect it to be dealt with accordingly...)

    Welcome, here I invite all those with logical minds (both theists and atheists alike) to come in and delve into the inner recesses of their minds and question the existence of God, the workings of the Universe, and even the function of logic itself...

    But before I begin, I will set the basic rules of etiquette for this thread, in which I expect to be followed. (PLEASE READ ALL):

    1. Leave your stubborn attitudes at the door, taking the time to actually consider possibilities before discrediting them. And if you are to discredit them, make a valid argument, or make none at all. Saying things like "laughable," "So sad you believe that," "Proves nothing," "Fallacy," etc... are not valid and do not explain the logic behind the orator's reasoning.

    2. No flaming, tolling, or use of snide remarks to belittle a fellow JCer, or discredit their views. Snide remarks are not a justification of one's thoughts, or their logic for that matter, and they do little to enrichen the content of threads such as these.

    3. Think before you post. Never post out of anger, or because an emotion is governing you to do so. It will cloud your judgement and your logic, and also leads to unnecessary flaming, banning, or the eventual locking of this thread.

    4. If you are to post in this thread you will acknowledge that each person here has a unique perspective, upbringing, experiences, etc. and that their opnions resulting from these IN NO WAY make their logic flawed. We are NOT here to prove or disprove anything, nor are we here to say that one way of thinking is better than another. We are here to discuss like civilized human beings or we will not discuss at all.

    5. Abandon all ignorance, all ye who enter here. "Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you," but in order for this to happen you must first seek, or knock upon the door you wish to be opened. (In other words: You'll never learn anything if you refuse to look, as you will never know the "truth" if you abandon it at first sight, and I mean this for both theists and atheists alike, despite the religious quote.)

    6. READ THE POST(s). And I mean the ENTIRE post, before POSTING a REPLY. I cannot emphasize this enough, especially when the posts have length such as I am expecting these. If you post on one sentence or thought rather than the ENTIRE thing, you are NOT looking at the WHOLE picture and do NOT have the perspective required to add to it or degrade something from it. If you absolutely feel you MUST post premature, write your thoughts on a seperate piece of paper as you read, to be reviewed BEFORE posting. This way you can analyze your OWN thoughts and see if they are worth the meager bit of space they'll take up on the JC's server.

    7. (This is more out of humor than anything): Theists: I expect the doorman to take your "Holier than thou," attitues and put them in the closet. Don't worry you can collect them once again upon leaving. Atheists: I also expect the doorman to take your "Smarter than thou," attitudes. Again, they will be available to you upon leaving... (Although I think it might be better for us all if we just left them there to rot ;) )


    Okay, I believe that covers the basic rules of conduct, now we begin.

    An inroduction I believe is in order. You already know my alias, so I'll refrain from naming myself...

    First off I will let you know that I am a theist, but I claim no sect of my own. My quest for God is all my own, so I do not attribute my beliefs on a book (including the Bible), a man, tree, bird, fish, etc. I will say that my parents were (and still are) religious fanatics that do not use logic to analyze their religious beliefs. i.e. "God will punish me eternally for not staying married to the man I was celestially sealed to," thus quote my moth
  2. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    May I inquire as to the difference between this and the Higher Power thread (among others)?
  3. alpha_red Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2003
    star 5
    Beat me to it, KnightWriter.

    No matter what guidelines you set down, people will not abandon their hatred. It's too deep. They're more propaganda machine than reasoning man...not necessarily evil, but definitely twisted.
  4. Lady Viskor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2000
    star 4
    May I inquire as to the difference between this and the Higher Power thread (among others)?

    I did make a comment about that, you know...

    My message was very long and I doubted it would get read if I added it to any other thread...

    It doesn't seem to be getting read as it is...

    Oh well, one cannot be condemned for trying... although through trying one might cause more harm than good...
  5. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    One of the concepts that gets left out of any debate on the existence of gods is the problem of definition. First, you have to define what a God is. Then, look around and see if you can find something matching the description. I think this is what hinders the debate process: people using different definitions and not realizing they're doing so.

    For example:

    If "God" is whatever created us, then whatever created us is God, even if our creator was the Big Bang. Logically speaking.

    If God is the most powerful entity in the universe, then whoever is the most powerful entity in the universe is God. Could be Bill Gates, could be a giant alien from Sirious. Could be an old white-bearded man in robes sitting on a throne in heaven attended by angels. How could we possibly know?
  6. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    Bill gates is an athiest...or perhaps he only claims to be.....

    Anyway, rules for quantum flucuations say you only need to wait around long enough and a universe will be born, no god needed.

    Given the great lengths of time that have passed before us it is possible that god takes the form of advanced cultures that came after the birth of the Universe.

    But would advanced cultures take the role of god, visiting developing solar systems or perhaps infecting the cosmos with biological material so other life has a greater chance of forming?

    One day we may play the role of god to some more primitive species on another world.
  7. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Well, if you think about it, all deities have in common parental traits. Some deities are nurturing, others abusive, but they all get assigned traits like authority, administration of guidance and punishment, etc. So maybe it's human psychology that causes us to project parental traits onto anything that seems more authoritative than us - which advanced alien cultures would seem. By the same process with which an emperor gets "deified" over time, the deities we have now could represent actual creatures of flesh and blood that were deified so long ago no one remembers their existence. Or not. I'm just spouting possibilities.

    Imagine if an alien landed on earth 5,000 years ago, and told people, "Hey, you know, let me teach you how to farm and irrigate and settle disputes without violence." The humans would be thinking, "Gee, you're WAY smarter than our much-revered ancestors, and even the ancestors' ancestors!" They might then project such a heightened version of the parental role onto these creatures that the creatures become our creators, and the ones who guide and punish us.

    And the alien might well try to explain the difference, but to no avail, because there's no frame of reference. Heck, try traveling to some po-dunk town filled with people who barely even comprehend there are other places to go and tell them you once went to New York City for a weekend. All of a sudden, you're this Colossal Being who Ventured to the Great City and Lived to Tell. Suddenly people are assuming you know Donald Trump. Your identity gets swallowed up in She Who Came From New York City. The fact that you only went there briefly, and the fact that you're just some shmoe like them gets completely lost. No amount of attempting to straighten them out makes a dent in what they want to believe.

    Not hard to imagine how the deification process takes place.
  8. Lady Viskor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2000
    star 4
    Actually, TreeCave, my father said something very similar about Greek/Roman (and various other Gods.) Needless to say, he would not examine his own religion in such a way...

    Basically the idea was that Gods such as Aries or Zeus were most likely heroes in a popular story or play that over the course of many years became distorted into the myths and religions they became. I know that such things do happen throughout the course of history and it is quite possible that stories of Christ or God underwent the very same transformation. After all, back in the day that the Catholic church basically ruled, they took other religions such as the Celtic "pagans" and found ways to try and incorporate their religion into "the fold." So they would build their churches on the Celts' Holy Ground, celebrated Halloween near Samhain, Easter near Beltane. (I forget where the date for Christmas comes from; from my knowledge it does not say that Christ was born in the latter part of the year anywhere in the Bible.) It just goes to show how much those "Pagan" religions influenced what Christianity became... and what we claim to worship today...

    I just thought that I would add: that this is why I don't claim to be a part of a religious sect. I think being spiritual should not have to be influenced by what we have built on earth.
  9. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    (I forget where the date for Christmas comes from; from my knowledge it does not say that Christ was born in the latter part of the year anywhere in the Bible.)

    Ultimately, it came from the date of Winter Solstice (and scholars believe Jesus was born in March or April). However, the date actually came from the Roman religion of Mithras, which has its origins in Persia 4000 years ago (2000 years before Christ). The Mithras religion spread to quite a few places, and involved a savior of mankind named Mithras. Mithras was born of a virgin on 12/25, had 12 followers, etc. While all saviors share at least some of the common traits (virgin births, resurrections, ancestry from gods, etc.), Jesus' birth was heralded by the "Magi" (a Persian term for astrologer), suggesting a Persian origin for his story (like Mithras). Given the Roman influence on Christianity, and the Roman fascination with Mithras, the case is strong.

    It just goes to show how much those "Pagan" religions influenced what Christianity became... and what we claim to worship today...

    Exactly. People who simply deny the similarities are not worth debating with. I did read one Christian's explanation of how it all works: the older myths were a divine truth awaiting actualization in Jesus, who was the real thing. That is at least a reasonable stance to take - rather than feeling threatened with "proof" that his truth will be debunked, this guy came up with a way for his truth AND the earlier myths to co-exist.

    I just thought that I would add: that this is why I don't claim to be a part of a religious sect. I think being spiritual should not have to be influenced by what we have built on earth.

    I agree. I've found more spiritual answers in science and my own experience than I ever found in religion.
  10. Space_Man Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2003
    star 3
    Lady Viskor: I just want to quickly say that I am in awe of some of the concepts and premises you explored in your opening post; you have a very fresh and creative way of examining the issue.

    Can you say more about the Divine possibly residing within "nothingness?" I suspect you have more to say on this concept, and I would love to hear it....

    TreeCave:
    One of the concepts that gets left out of any debate on the existence of gods is the problem of definition. First, you have to define what a God is.

    Agreed, and good point.

    Well, if you think about it, all deities have in common parental traits.

    That's a pretty all-encompassing conclusion to make! ;) Are you sure it is accurate?

  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    First, I'd like to say that ideas can be beautiful, whether they're true or not.

    Treat other people the way you would like to be treated is a beautiful idea, whether or not it is a moral stance sanctioned by God.

    Lady Viskor has offered up a number of ideas including:

    1) God knows whether or not she exists. Our belief or disbelief is irrelevant.

    2) Life did not come from nothing. If life did not come from nothing it must have come from somewhere.

    I don't have a problem with these statements.

    3)Life precedes the Big Bang.

    This does not follow at all from any argument you make. It is a bold and dramatic assertion but ultimately not terribly useful in addressing the issue of the origins of life. If it were somehow, someday proved that life on Earth originated from an extraterrestrial spore or contaminant, then that certainly would not go very far in proving your idea that life precedes the universe

    4) God is the totality of all life living in the past, present and future.

    Defining God in such a way invites the question: why do we need to insert a concept of God at all at these rhetorical coordinates?

    Doesn't "life" simply fit the bill all by itself? To the extent that the theory of evolution is true, then every one of us is part of an unbroken chain of DNA transmission that recedes back to the very first life form, whatever it was.

    In that very specific sense, all of life on earth is a single organism with tendrils reaching back through time to the first single-celled organism and the moment of life's origin. This is a very interesting thing. Sublime. Mysterious. But why equate that process with God?

    5) God is the soul of the universe.

    6) The universe is a life form.

    I don't see any reason not to think of the universe as an organism, or a process, or a structure, or an entity. These are harmless ideas. Your cosmology is as good as that of any other religion in its ultimate utility.
  12. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    If the Big Bang was the origin of the universe, and you defined God as the creator, then the Big Bang would be God. That's what I meant about definition.

    That's a pretty all-encompassing conclusion to make! Are you sure it is accurate?

    To clarify: In reference to all the Top Deities of various religions/mythologies, I would say my statement is accurate. If your point was that some gods aren't parental, well, yeah I can see how someone like Loki neither creates us, nor guides us, nor punishes us. Loki's more like a sibling than a parent. But Odin is parental. Zeus is, mostly in bad ways. Yahweh is - creator, guide, punisher. What I'm saying is, I don't know of any theistic religion whose main god is like Loki or Aprhodite. Every theistic religion has a god who created us, or provides guidance, or punishes us, or any combination of the above. Those are what I meant by parental traits.
  13. Lady Viskor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2000
    star 4
    3)Life precedes the Big Bang.

    This does not follow at all from any argument you make. It is a bold and dramatic assertion but ultimately not terribly useful in addressing the issue of the origins of life. If it were somehow, someday proved that life on Earth originated from an extraterrestrial spore or contaminant, then that certainly would not go very far in proving your idea that life precedes the universe


    Forgive me if this comes out sounding wrong or impolite but how is the life on Earth equivalent all to the life in the universe? When I talk about life I'm not just pointing out the obvious, that there's life on Earth, but including all life in the Universe, whether seen or unseen, known or unknown. And, no offense intended but I find your remark about Earth originating from an extraterrestrial source to be quite amusing, for in order for Earth to have come into existence it had to be shaped from particles and atoms in space, same for the sun, the stars, the galaxy, etc. So given this point of view it seems indeed that Earth's life came about because of an extraterrestrial source. Whether that source was intelligent or not is debateable.

    One question that bugs me is why we seem so adamant in making distinct seperation between Earth and the Universe when Earth is a part of the Universe. It's like someone saying that my little finger is the only reason my body is there...

    When I said that life may have existed before the "Big Bang," I also said that it may have existed in a form we may not recognize it as. It does not mean it is or was intelligent, as far as we define an intelligence, but existing, and performing the functions provided by basic instinct, or by natural process. Ask yourself: Is it proveable that before the "Big Bang" the basic pontential of what we define as life was not already existant? Or that atoms or molecules were not already there? After all, atoms do give off energy, and energy seems to be the momentum of life, for without energy life could not exist. Therefore, life and energy must go hand in hand, for one must ask: could energy also exist without life? (When I say life I am also including atoms and molecules --which are the basic building blocks of life--.)

    I know that one might turn around and say that atoms also produce non-living things such as dust particles and the materials used to make the desk my computer is on, but that does not detract from the fact that these atoms, like the ones that make up the basic chemicles in my body, also give off energy. Does that make them alive? I don't know, I just know that the energy they give off makes it so I can live, instead of say, falling into a amorphous pile of goo... Now finding the source of this energy is not as easy as finding the source of a river or electric light. It cannot be followed because it is not a single line, i.e. it is not linear. It's like trying to find the source of the ocean. How can you find the source of something when it covers everything? In many cases you point to a spot and say: "Look I found it!!!" but it turns out it was just another point in the water and not the beginning after all, because the ocean, like life, is a cycle. It is, then it evaporates, rains down, and is again.

    4) God is the totality of all life living in the past, present and future.

    Defining God in such a way invites the question: why do we need to insert a concept of God at all at these rhetorical coordinates?

    Doesn't "life" simply fit the bill all by itself? To the extent that the theory of evolution is true, then every one of us is part of an unbroken chain of DNA transmission that recedes back to the very first life form, whatever it was.


    I never said that Life did not fit the bill itself. The question is: is Life and God the same thing? One can say the ocean is made of water, but on a larger scale it is still the ocean.

    In that very specific sense, all of life on earth is a single organism with tendrils reaching back through time to the first single-celled orga
  14. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I guess I'm limiting my discussion to life on earth because that's the only life we know about. Eveything else is mere speculation. You can define "life" in such a way so as to include all matter and energy. However, again, that's not a very useful definition of life.

    I guess my trouble with your argument is that you're not really making an argument.

    Permit me to paraphrase:

    "Life is a process, and the universe is part of it. You and I are composed of matter that existed at the time of the Big Bang. We all formed out of the coalescing of matter in our solar system. I define the universe as God."

    Ok.

    God is the universe. The universe is God.

    This is not an argument so much as a definition of terms.

  15. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    That's what I said earlier: first, you have to define God, because any definition I've heard of God is based on something that must logically exist, yet that's never how gods are defined.

    Remember, this is supposed to be the LOGIC thread on the existence of a god - not just an argument thread. I think part of the goal is to merely construct a logical approach to looking at it, rather than just argue our various views.

    Example: God created the universe. The big bang created the universe. God is the big bang.

    Example: God watches over us, guides us and punishes us when we do wrong. It turns out aliens from Sirious have been watching over us, guiding us, and punishing us when we do wrong. Aliens from Sirious are God.

    See what I mean? When people say "I believe in God" they are usually referring to a character they imagine a particular way whom they choose to have faith in. This is why the religious so often have trouble getting along with the spiritual seekers: seekers are looking for god, in whatever form god might take, and the religious are working backwards from the assumption that he is whatever their particular religion depicts him as.

    This is where almost all discussions break down, because if you think about it, even a quantum physicist trying to figure out what special rules make tiny particles behave in ways they aren't "supposed to" is, in a sense, looking for god - at least by my definition. But that's not what someone with a painting of Blond Jesus wants to hear. It's a matter of definition that keeps these two from seeing each other's point of view.
  16. Space_Man Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2003
    star 3
    Well, I can offer the dictionary definition:

    god: 1.) A being of supernatural powers or attributes. 2.) A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe.

    O.K., now it's your turn, Lady Viskor!! ;) How do you define "God?" Jabbadabbado? TreeCave?

    NOTE: yes, I did indeed just weasel my way out of offering my own personal definition of "God," but you're not really supposed to notice, O.K.? 8-}
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I define God as a rhetorical placeholder for the unknown and unknowable.
  18. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Actually, I *think* Jabba's answer is exactly what I would say, only much more precise and concise. (Nice going, Jabba.)

    Basically, I prefer to encounter reality and label it, rather than create definitions and look for things that fit them. In my experience, when you start out definition-first, you end up deluding yourself into believing you've found what you seek when you haven't.

    Take relationships. If you go out seeking an ideal man you've pre-defined as a non-smoker, age 25-30, who likes to travel and raise baboons, you may rule out the very man who would have made you most happy, and you may end up with a cheating, lying baboon-raising, non-smoking traveler.

    If instead you go out seeking someone who has a certain effect on you and your life, and are open to finding it in an 40 year old smoking baboon-hater, the result may be a lot better for you.

    This is why since I was about 12, anytime someone asked me if I believed in God, I said, "Well, what exactly do you mean by that?" It's a very non-specific question.
  19. Lady Viskor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2000
    star 4
    In many ways I agree with you both, Jabbadabbado and Tree Cave. Many people do use God as a way to define the unknown, and more and more I see that God is also used as a security blanket for those with doubts or fears about their lives.

    As an example we will review many of the things people pray for:

    1. Protection
    2. Properity
    3. Obtaining an item or love
    4. Friendship
    5. Wisdom
    6. Strength
    7. The hastening of a prophesy
    8. Signs of God's existence
    9. (and the list goes on.)

    My mother, as an example, cannot go less than two or three hours without asking someone to pray for her. She is a woman dominated by fear and doubt, and worry consumes her mind. Always her prayers are for protection, protection from both the things she can control, and the things she cannot.

    Then there is my father, who, ever since my childhood encouraged his small, innocent children to pray that his various ridiculous projects would go through. He had perfect control over what went on with those projects but none ever went through because he lacked the self control to stop spending the funds he received in a foolish manner, funds he received to support those projects. (There are also a few other things that occured that lead me to believe that the will of God was against him... ...I suppose that saying he had bad Karma would be a better way of explaining what I call the "will of God.")

    As far as praying goes I believe that if you do your part God will do his. God will not do something for you that you cannot do yourself, so if you're going to pray for it, make sure you are willing to work for it. Of course, then, that means that there is no reason to believe that God did anything at all and that it was all because of you that things turned out the way you wanted it (which could be one explanation of how the concept of God actually works, but that can be discussed later...)

    However, Space_Man asked me to define what God is to me. God, to me, is the essence of Life, and the natural order of existence. God is the element that keeps life going and also binds us together, and therefore, binds us to God. In the Bible (John 10:34) Jesus says "Ye are Gods," when speaking with the Jews who are about to stone him for blasphemy, which is true, in my opinion, because all things of God are God, for they are a part of God. So in many ways all things are God. It doesn't mean we are going to live forever in eternal glory or be omnipotent beings of great strength and power, or that we should worship ourselves, it just means we are given the chance to live.

    In the end I don't think it matters much whether you believe in God or not, or how you believe in him, just that you lived your life the best you knew how...
  20. Valkor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2002
    star 4

    it's easy:

    All you need is Love

    therefore

    God = Love and when you love one another you are loving God or whatever you do or do not believe in.
  21. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    Well, not sure how on topic this is, but since personal desires obviously flavor the logic we use (vs. the logic we toss aside), have any of you ever considered that some people believe in a malevolent God that mankind would be better off without? Are we including that sort of "existence of God" in our discussion?

    In truth, I'm agnostic - I don't see how "knowing" God exists or not is as important as simply doing good. But I call myself an atheist, because if I believe there is a god, I'm going to have to believe he is a malevolent, bitter prankster. I simply cannot believe that the unnecessary cruelty in this universe is merely the consequence of free will gone wrong. To me, it's just not free will if every choice but one leads to hell on earth. That's like saying, "You have a choice of 12 colors for your new car. 11 of these colors cause the car to explode the first time you turn it on. So which color do you want?" What's worse, you get conflicting advice on which color is the safe one. Some free will.
  22. alpha_red Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 24, 2003
    star 5
    This thread has been going far better than the other threads.

    I applaud you, Viskor, for having the courage to set down ground rules and stick to them, and I applaud everyone in here for having the control to not insult each other.

  23. Lady Viskor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2000
    star 4
    Thank you, alpha_red, I appreciate it.

    In my opinion, TreeCave, Hell is all a state of mind, as is Heaven. They are not places we go to when we die, nor the world where we live today, or any day for that matter: it is how we look upon those trials we face to learn and become better people, or in some cases, become better at being cruel. As an example let's look at school. In high school many students despise their teachers, neglect their work, and in return learn very little, while on the other hand there are some who love everything about school, and miss it dearly when they leave, taking advantage of very opportunity to learn, despite how many long hours they toiled relentlessly on homework or studying, or long sleepless nights of pouring over stacks of books. Which one do you think learns more? The one who hates the experience, or the other who took each moment to better himself, despite the hardships?

    Also, there is a need for balance for all things in this world. For would we know good if there were no evil? Would we know love if we knew not hate? Could we rejoice if we had not felt sorrow? Probably not. We must taste the bitterness to know it is bitter; we must taste the sweet to know it is sweet, learning to avoid what we do not like, and take more of what we do.

    I saw an amusing sight one time: as a joke a father gave his baby a slice of lemon for the first time, watching him closely as he bit into it so he might see his reaction. The baby puckered up his lips and shuddered, throwing the lemon on the floor as he began to cry. The thing is that the baby did not know that he would not like the lemon until he had tasted it, nor did he have the sense to throw it down until doing so. After a while the baby will learn that he does not like lemons and avoid eating them, just as we learn to avoid those things which cause us pain, suffering, and grief.

    I for one would rather have to feel both bitterness and love than live in a world devoid of all emotion. After all, pleasure and pain go hand in hand, triggered by the same area of the brain.

    True, these days there seems to be more sorrow than true happiness, but I think that it's because we really don't know how to make ourselves happy. We have this psyche developed that the outside such as possessions and other people make us happy, when true joy is actually generated from within. A man could have lost everything dear to him and still know joy, and yet another could have everything his heart desired and know bitterness. In the end it actually does depend on you, the way you see things and the way you react to those things, that influences the way you perceive the world...

    And if my car exploded because I chose the wrong color, well, that would be how I learned to chose the right color the next time around... ;) It's a hard way of learning but it leaves more of an impression, and is remembered far longer, than if you took someone else's word for it...
  24. TreeCave Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    I don't think what you're saying applies to what I was saying. You seem to be arguing that the reason God created the universe so there is one right choice and infinite wrong choices is so that we can have emotional dynamics, without which we could not feel good.

    First of all, God is omnipotent. He could have created a universe where we could feel good without also feeling pain (pet animals, carefully sheltered from any sort of sickness or injury or stress, sure seem capable of appreciating and enjoying their lives). He could have created a universe where we experience something better than emotion and emotions aren't even part of the landscape (such as, gaining new understanding). He could have created a universe in which the bad things that happen to us don't cause us pain. He wasn't limited to this pattern of life we see on earth. He could have chosen not to set things up so that all living things compete for survival, which is probably the fundamental cause of all sin: fear of death. He could have set up species that had 3 genders instead of one or none. Etc.

    If I believe in God, I have to believe he thought it was a good idea to set up a system in which babies are born deformed because of their parents' actions. In which rape is a tool for survival. Etc.

    My point is, if you have any imagination at all, you can imagine 6 worlds a lot less unfair than this one without breaking a sweat. If we can do it, so could this theoretical omnipotent God. Ergo, if a God created this mess, he's either not so good at what he does, or he's a sadist.

    Now, it's much easier to imagine this mess was NOT the creation of intelligent design, but rather evolutionary factors that worked getting slapped together haphazardly. That would explain rape, for example.
  25. Lady Viskor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2000
    star 4
    I never said that God did not have other choices when creating the universe, in fact I think that there were many, many choices available other than what is here now. However, I trust that the way things were done was what God found was best for us. Granted, we could have been given a world where we lived in laughter and song and were innocent all our days, and nothing bad ever happened, but we would have been denied something as well, denied all the colors available on God's palette. A painting is most moving when the artist puts all his emotion in it, no? Some of the most famous paintings are those who have used a very wide array of color and shade to sharpen and highlight the beauty of the work, and using less color often gives it a sad and dismal look after a while...

    Take for example, if God had left the color red out of his palette, how much less we would see, as colors made in combination of red, blue, green, white, and black, would not exist either. So if God left out anger, or things that would make us angry, that would also eliminate everything that resulted from anger, or in combination with anger, including good. Would we know forgiveness if we had not angered at our brother? Or mercy? I think that if we were given a world where our colors, or emotions, were limited it would get boring after a while, as there would be no opposition, and we would get lazy and fat, and have no cares, for there would be nothing to worry us, so why care? Yes, we could gain much knowledge by striving to learn, but what is knowledge without experience? Can you imagine a world where invention and use of nuclear weapons made people happy because they could not feel remorse for those they slew? Also, what would drive us to learn anything at all if we were so innocent and always happy? If we were content would we even want to better ourselves, as no matter what we did we would be happy anyway so why even do anything to change things? In a world where being smart is trivial and stupidity does not matter because we're happy no matter what, how would we live? We'd probably end up killing ourselves alot faster than we do here by doing stupid things and never learning from them because we were always happy, for when we are shamed we are driven to improve, when we doubt we desire to learn, when we sorrow we seek out company to comfort us, when we fear we learn to overcome or even avoid what we fear, when we hunger we seek out sustenance, and when there is oposition, and the need to survive, there is a need to keep our bodies fit, and thus live longer. What is life without being able to feel everything? Or experience everything available to us? God gave us that chance, by including all God could, including both good and evil, pain and pleasure. One question is: if the part of ourselves that felt pain was removed, would we still feel pleasure as they are generated from the same part of the brain? Albiet, God may have had the ability to change that, but I think they were entwined to show us that there is a relationship between them and that one cannot truely exist without another.

    I also think that God created as much good as evil and that there is no absolute good or evil, only shades of gray. To look and see that 11 out of 12 colors are evil depends upon your perspective, or what you define as good and evil. It's like looking at a glass half-filled with milk and asking if it is half-empty or half-full.

    Plus I do not know if we would have ever fully appreciated everything we had, but taken it for granted, if we were not given the perspective we were, and I, for one, do not like taking things for granted because nothing we would ever own would have value, or the people we love would not be fully loved without the constant thought of losing that love anyday, for when we take things for granted we do not see how the absense of that thing would effect our lives, because we cannot imagine it ever becoming lost, especialy if it has never happened before. Therefore pain and suffering are not ev
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