The merits of religion

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by ophelia, Oct 20, 2002.

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  1. redxavier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2003
    star 4
    Some great posts people.

    "But I will let them choose you can be good or evil. You just have to choose which you want to be."


    But if I choose evil, I will be cast into a fiery hell to be tortured for eternity. There is no choice.

    "But think about it would you really want someone like God coming down and controling ever part of your life. Would you want to always be told what to do? Or would you like to choose what to do?"

    But he created us, so by all rights he can do whatever he wants with us.


    "Blinding believing that something is perfectly good is bad because you would allow whatever to take advantage of you if you are wrong, so explain how that part of faith in god is not blind?"

    I agree with you, I just posing food for thought.

    "Lets say some religion said that if you sacrifice something, you WILL have good weather, and you sacrifice whatever and you still have bad weather, then you have just disproved that god."

    Not a very good example though I can see what you mean - the bad thing about religion is that the 'priest' of said sacrifice can make up a wealthy array of nonsensical reasons to explain why there was still bad weather - insufficient sacrifice etc.

    "He's not jealous in that He's insecure: He merely expects what He deserves. Our wives deserve our faithfulness; our God deserves our worship."

    Even if they're unfaithful to us? Or our God perodically lies to us or torments us with meaning of life stuff? How is jealousy not related to insecurity? Why should its appliance to a divine being change its meaning?

    "the Commandments are not in order of decreasing importance"

    Unfortunately, I don't think many people see it that way. They're simple folk, and will see numbered items a reflection of their importance.

    "Unless, of course, God truly gave us these commandments. You seem to assume that man made this list."

    They did. Moses came down from the mountain with them. For all we know, he could have made them up himself - this is another criticism of mine about religions. How can one so firmly believe in what one person says when they're perfectly willing to discredit the voice of another? Do religious people believe in the religions of others? Why not? Why believe that one person was deluded or manipulated by Satan when founding another faith, and then accept the teachings of their religion's founder even though the same circumstances could apply?

    "First, you ignore the fact that the Commandments involve our relationship with God"

    Why should our relationship with God be regulated?

    "And yet He made something as beautiful as the planet Saturn, rainbows, and my girlfriend."

    Sweet. Though rainbows are created when water splits light and your girlfriend was created by her parents.
  2. redxavier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2003
    star 4
    If you're baking a cake and you don't like nuts, why put them in?

    That's as good an analogy I can think of at the moment.
  3. Lanky Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 30, 2002
    star 4
    If you're baking a cake and you don't like nuts, why put them in?

    Because the recipie calls for it and the rest of the cake more than makes up for the taste of the nuts.

    Wow that sounds odd :p
  4. redxavier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2003
    star 4
    But if, like god, you're not working from a set recipe (or was he?!) then why put something in the cake that you don't even like, even though it's for you.

    If we are a 'mortal' reflection of God, is he then a mixed tapestry of good and evil?
  5. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    Enforcer:

    I have a hard time following your logic and agreeing with it. I do not see evil as always being a corruption of good. One, why must it be? Two, could you say that good is a corruption of evil?

    Sorry: I should have explained why evil is a corruption of good.

    Existence itself is good, regardless of how that existence is used. Likewise, considered separate from their use, intelligence and freedom are also inherently good things.

    A morally good being must possess (among other good qualities) these three good things: existence, intelligence, and freedom. But a morally evil being must also possess these three good qualities.

    A good thing can be good with good qualities. An evil thing must have been endowed some good qualities. Therefore, evil is a corruption of good, and the reverse cannot possibly be true.


    Also I am not saying that God may be evil, just that His motivations for actions may not be for moral reasons. Why wouldn?t He conceder something else, like another persons well being? We think of situations where there is no moral solution, but can we think of one where God would have to make a choice that is not fully moral? I can?t think of one off the top of my head, but that would be an interesting question (especially since assuming a perfectly good God in that thought experiment, He makes the rules, so?).

    The problem with postulating that God could be motivated by other things is that He omnisciently created those other things. That initial act of creation must have considered morality as a key factor. An all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of all other things cannot just stumble into a situation where He would "happen" to commit an evil act.


    God also made Hitler, Microsoft and food that is not chocolate.

    Let's ignore the food example, as pizza and steaks are very good.

    God didn't make things that are evil. He made good, free beings, and these beings chose to become evil. God created the opportunity for evil, but not evil itself; and this opportunity is necessary for the greater good that is freedom.


    One thing that is confusing me is just how exactly does God perceive time? He interacts with us (or directly did) in such a way that we perceive as a 1D timeline, yet how can He not have some perception of time while doing that? Yes, being all powerful, it is possible, but I still ask how?

    Since we're creatures in time, it will naturally be difficult to conceive of how timeless God perceives His creation of time. But I believe it's something like this: God simultaneously sees every moment as being the present.


    Qui-Rune:

    At several different places within the first three pages of genesis, "God" is referred to in the plural, e.g. "And WE created man in our image", etc.

    Can anyone explain why?


    It's an odd thing: Genesis 1 talks about God doing things as a single being -- that "He" did this and that, but God uses the plural when talking to Himself. The Christian explanation is the Trinity, the idea that God has three distinct personalities, each divine and each fully God.

    That opens its own huge can of worms.

    What I'm not sure about is how Jews (who, I think, deny the Trinity) interpret the chapter.


    redxavier

    But if, like god, you're not working from a set recipe (or was he?!) then why put something in the cake that you don't even like, even though it's for you.

    If we are a 'mortal' reflection of God, is he then a mixed tapestry of good and evil?


    God didn't put evil into the universe, only the possibility to choose evil. (Think of it this way, owning a gun creates the possibility for murder; but that possibility is not itself murder.)

    He did this so that we would be truly free. Unfortunately, we've chosen to be evil. Does God like that? No, and He is working to restore us back to Himself by offering the free gift of forgiveness; one day, He will reveal His true glory to us and wipe evil out entirely. Why is He waiting? I believe (and the Bible
  6. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    "If we are a 'mortal' reflection of God, is he then a mixed tapestry of good and evil?"

    That's actually a fairly widespread theory; that God, being omnipresent, embodies not the absence of evil, but the balance between evil and good.

    "?I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.? Isaiah 45:7
  7. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    "Evil" there is not literal, but rather refers, I think, to calamity or some other antonym to peace.

    EDIT: If I'm right that evil is a corruption of good, then a balance between the two makes no sense: the relationship between good and evil is one of parasitism, not symbiosis.
  8. Qui-Rune Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 4
    Good and Evil is a matter of perception and opinion of what is good or evil.

    Unlike positive and negative energy of which their is no deviation of their definitions.
  9. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    Bubba

    I am sorry to sound like an annoying kid, but Why is existence itself good? Something just existing can be good or bad. What good is there in an asteroid that knocks out a planet, or what good is there in a blade of grass, or a nuclear bomb, or just my arm? They don't have freedom or intelligence to be able to be evil or good, so why is existence itself good? To me, those things just are, with no moral connotation to them (except chocolate :D).

    I also think I asked before, but I will add what I am thinking to it: (and it is a philosophy question) did God create good (in which case He can be motivated by whatever He has created, intelligence, freedom...does not matter what, it is not 'good'), or does He follow what is good (in which case, good is above God), or is there a third option?

    I suppose it is possible for God to chose to be good (good is not so much above Him, He is not limited to being good, He just chooses to be good), but then we get to the original question I had which is explain how believing that is not blind faith.

    A good thing can be good with good qualities. An evil thing must have been endowed some good qualities. Therefore, evil is a corruption of good, and the reverse cannot possibly be true.

    I actually get that. You have to assume that only good things came/was here first and if God is perfectly good, then all He made at the beginning of time was good and for there to be bad, it had to be corrupted. However, new things are created all the time (ppl, inventions...). Are they all good (nuclear bomb's are a good one to ask about) (there is also the point you made about having freedom and inelegance to be good or bad you said)? Or are they our own creations? If they are our own, then why do we thank God for what we have done? Yes, we should thank Him for giving us the ability, but not the actual creation? (sorry for bringing that up again, I shouldn?t).

    If God cannot be evil, can He be truly free and therefore be good? Could Christ?
  10. Nord Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 6, 2001
    star 4
    EnforcerSG, I see, I see. :p Yes, it was a bit confused, eh? I cannot give you every reason for why things are the way they are. It seems as if you want to know the mind of God, and that can never be. We are not to know the mind of God. Why? Just because we are the children and He is the Father. We must trust him.

    I have a question for the Bible huggers:

    At several different places within the first three pages of genesis, "God" is referred to in the plural, e.g. "And WE created man in our image", etc.

    Can anyone explain why?


    This is because God is the body of three. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all one body. They are the God body.

    If God cannot be evil, can He be truly free and therefore be good? Could Christ?

    God does not lie. He says he is not evil, therefore, he isn't. Christ in the flesh, however, was faced with the same trials we face. He went to the desert and there the devil came to tempt him. Jesus overcame his fleshly needs, however and chose not to listen to the serpent. So, yes, Jesus had the choices to be good or to be evil, to stay and be sacrificed or to leave and damn us all.


  11. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    Therefore, evil is a corruption of good, and the reverse cannot possibly be true.

    Evil is the absence of good. Good is the absence of evil. Both of these are, however, constructs created within our mind. There is no objective reference to which one can point to say "there is proof of evil" or "there is proof of good." By definition, the "corruption" of evil can be good... because one definition of "corruption" means to change, destroy or subvert.

    Of course the Hindu philosophical view is that while good and evil are subjective constructs... creation and destruction are objective forces constantly at play in the universe, and consistently observable. They are objective in the sense that creation occurs indiscriminately in this universe, as does destruction. Destruction can be perceived as good or bad, and so can creation. Is the creation of hatred a good thing? Is the destruction of ignorance a bad thing?

    You may call this moral relativism but try to answer the above questions first before you discard them. Yes or no will do just fine.

    redxavier: EXCELLENT points all.. especially, my favorite: How can one so firmly believe in what one person says when they're perfectly willing to discredit the voice of another? Do religious people believe in the religions of others? Why not?

    Nord: God does not lie. He says he is not evil, therefore, he isn't.

    I say I'm french. Therefore I must be. I don't lie because I am god... and you said god doesn't lie. No, I don't know your address because I never claimed I would. Many people have written about me, and they're all wrong... except for Rob Zombie--Jesus actually did build his hotrod.
  12. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    Nord

    EnforcerSG, I see, I see. Yes, it was a bit confused, eh? I cannot give you every reason for why things are the way they are. It seems as if you want to know the mind of God, and that can never be. We are not to know the mind of God. Why? Just because we are the children and He is the Father. We must trust him.

    So you are saying that religion relies on blind trust in that God is good? To me, that is a bad thing. Without a reason, blindly having faith that something is perfectly good is bad since that thing can take advantage of you and you would say it is for the best. If I had blind faith in the government, think of how bleeped up the world would be. How is blind faith in a God any different?

    This thinking on my part came out of me asking why a specific action is wrong, and I was told we should not know because then we would follow that logic over God, so to me, the next question was a more general one, why is God right? If that would be justified, then I would follow anything He says because He is right. However, without that, then faith to me would be blind. How is it not to you, or how is blind faith ok?

    God does not lie. He says he is not evil, therefore, he isn't.

    That seems to be blind faith too. To me, blind faith in anything is dangerous.

    Or am I missing something?

    PS, you probably know this, but I didn?t ask the ?Bible huggers? question.

    EDIT: You know you need to edit something when you read it and you can't even follow it.
  13. Bubba_the_Genius Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 2002
    star 4
    Enforcer:

    I am sorry to sound like an annoying kid, but Why is existence itself good? Something just existing can be good or bad. What good is there in an asteroid that knocks out a planet, or what good is there in a blade of grass, or a nuclear bomb, or just my arm? They don't have freedom or intelligence to be able to be evil or good, so why is existence itself good? To me, those things just are, with no moral connotation to them (except chocolate ).

    Existence is the toughest thing to prove good, but I think freedom and intelligence are more clearly good: freedom is better than slavery, and intelligence is better than unintelligence. I still think existence is better than non-existence, but it's harder to show how. It basically comes down to the idea that feeling even pain is better than not being around to feel anything -- the whole "better to love and lost" idea.

    At any rate, freedom, for example, is also good in that its intentional and total supression is an evil act. (I say "total" to allow for the the Social Contract and the fact that man is limited in his freedom by physical laws, time, space, and ultimately death. But one who committed such an evil act must have been free to choose otherwise.

    Ultimately, those who destroy the freedom of others do so to increase their own power to make decisions. An originally evil person (i.e., one who was evil from time immemorial rather than one who corrupted his own goodness) would be so committed to the destruction of freedom that he would intentionally seek the destruction of his own freedom. That doesn't happen, so I conclude evil is a corruption of good.


    I also think I asked before, but I will add what I am thinking to it: (and it is a philosophy question) did God create good (in which case He can be motivated by whatever He has created, intelligence, freedom...does not matter what, it is not 'good'), or does He follow what is good (in which case, good is above God), or is there a third option?

    This is about the deepest of theological waters one can find, but I believe Christianity believes in a third option. I may not be the most eloquent in explaining this option, but I believe an accurate description is this: God inhabits goodness. God did not write the rules of goodness in that He could have written them otherwise; what is good couldn't have been otherwise. But at the same time, God is not below or subject to anything else. "Good" is an inalieanable part of what God is, just as is His infinite knowledge and power. In summary:

    - God is what He is, and He couldn't have been otherwise.

    - Goodness is what it is, and it couldn't have been otherwise.

    - God is good.


    I actually get that. You have to assume that only good things came/was here first and if God is perfectly good, then all He made at the beginning of time was good and for there to be bad, it had to be corrupted. However, new things are created all the time (ppl, inventions...). Are they all good (nuclear bomb's are a good one to ask about) (there is also the point you made about having freedom and inelegance to be good or bad you said)? Or are they our own creations? If they are our own, then why do we thank God for what we have done? Yes, we should thank Him for giving us the ability, but not the actual creation? (sorry for bringing that up again, I shouldn?t).

    New things aren't being created all the time: they are being made from old matter. And the only truly novel things are human souls, but I believe they are initially good.

    Certainly, we have made what we have made, but we thank God because he gave us the material, freedom, intelligence, and the existence to begin with. And, there are a vast number of circumstances that are beyond the control of all humanity. Those circumstances are controlled by God, either by how He set up the original creation of the universe or how He guides the universe now. There's also the idea that God's very thoughts keeps the universe together, but that's a very advanced the
  14. ElfStar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2001
    star 4
    So you are saying that religion relies on blind trust in that God is good? To me, that is a bad thing. Without a reason, blindly having faith that something is perfectly good is bad since that thing can take advantage of you and you would say it is for the best. If I had blind faith in the government, think of how bleeped up the world would be. How is blind faith in a God any different?

    And what alternative do you suggest?

    [/i]This thinking on my part came out of me asking why a specific action is wrong, and I was told we should not know because then we would follow that logic over God, so to me, the next question was a more general one, why is God right? If that would be justified, then I would follow anything He says because He is right. However, without that, then faith to me would be blind. How is it not to you, or how is blind faith ok?[/i]

    How is blind faith not ok? Please elaborate, explaining what it is ok to have faith in.

  15. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    Bubba I need to think more about what you said before I can make an intelegent complete response. But right now, time is short for me, so let me say this.

    I think I get what you say about existance. All other things equal, existance is better than not, like intelegence and freedom. Also taking it away is evil, but I need to think if letting others have it simply is, or if it is good.

    The other part is saying that you define God to be good I think. If we assume that he gave intelegence, freedom and existance, which were originally good, which you seemd to say they were, then my next question would be could there be any other justfication for making things exist, be free and smart for reasons other than 'It was Good?'

    You also have a good point about new things. I was thinking more of concepts and ideas, but again, you could say an all knowing God would know them all.

    I know stories like this have happened in other religious books, and maybe the Bible, I dont know, but hasn't God killed people and even babies because they would grow up to be bad. To me that sounds like it does not matter what things are, but it matters more what they will become. Then again, I could be thinking of some story from another religion and that question in this case would be moot since I don't know the spesifics of that religion...

    In reguards to your closing comment: yet you said God cannot change?

    ElfStar

    And what alternative do you suggest?

    Beleiving in yourself? You know what you can and can not do, and in any situation you have to get through, you will be there. Or maybe others, for everyone has been on the reciving end of anothers kindness so there is a justification for believing in others. Luck, that everything can be explained (we have to keep trying), intelegence, reason, science, your own psudo religion, anything that you can honestly justify.

    How is blind faith not ok? Please elaborate, explaining what it is ok to have faith in.

    I thought I explained this, but basically because you can be taken advantage of, and you would let god do it. If he is not perfectally good, then you are wrong, and although probably nothing we could do about it, being used and manipulated in ways you may not want if you knew it was not for good. If god was not perfectally good, would you trust his judgment in sending person A to hell and person B to heaven?

    Again, I am typing this quickly just to give you things to ask me or think about. I will give a more complet and spell checked post later.
  16. Nord Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 6, 2001
    star 4
    So you are saying that religion relies on blind trust in that God is good? To me, that is a bad thing. Without a reason, blindly having faith that something is perfectly good is bad since that thing can take advantage of you and you would say it is for the best. If I had blind faith in the government, think of how bleeped up the world would be. How is blind faith in a God any different?

    This thinking on my part came out of me asking why a specific action is wrong, and I was told we should not know because then we would follow that logic over God, so to me, the next question was a more general one, why is God right? If that would be justified, then I would follow anything He says because He is right. However, without that, then faith to me would be blind. How is it not to you, or how is blind faith ok?

    God does not lie. He says he is not evil, therefore, he isn't.

    That seems to be blind faith too. To me, blind faith in anything is dangerous.

    Or am I missing something?


    --Sorry, I am tired today, so I'll make my reply brief.

    Faith is trust. Faith is loyalty. My faith in God is between myself and my God. I cannot tell you why I have Faith or why I know it is not "blind". It's faith and it is between myself and God.

    Now, out of curiosity, why does it concern you so much? Who has faith and for what reasons? Why should you care so much?
  17. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    "...but hasn't God killed people and even babies because they would grow up to be bad?"

    Yes; by the millions, if you believe the Old Testament.
  18. ElfStar Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2001
    star 4
    Beleiving in yourself? You know what you can and can not do, and in any situation you have to get through, you will be there. Or maybe others, for everyone has been on the reciving end of anothers kindness so there is a justification for believing in others. Luck, that everything can be explained (we have to keep trying), intelegence, reason, science, your own psudo religion, anything that you can honestly justify.

    How does one believe in oneself? How do you tell what is right and what is wrong?

    I thought I explained this, but basically because you can be taken advantage of, and you would let god do it. If he is not perfectally good, then you are wrong, and although probably nothing we could do about it, being used and manipulated in ways you may not want if you knew it was not for good. If god was not perfectally good, would you trust his judgment in sending person A to hell and person B to heaven?

    Are you perfectly good? I ask because you said earlier in your post that you could believe in yourself. Well, if you were to do that, then how can you trust yourself to do what is right?
  19. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    Nord

    Faith is trust. Faith is loyalty. My faith in God is between myself and my God. I cannot tell you why I have Faith or why I know it is not "blind". It's faith and it is between myself and God.

    Ok. That is fine. It is strange to use faith and know in the same sentence though, but what you said makes sense and I can't and won't really argue that.

    Now, out of curiosity, why does it concern you so much? Who has faith and for what reasons? Why should you care so much?

    I am just trying to understand why people are the way they are. You are saying that somehow you know that faith in God is good, although it is something that you cannot put into words. Although I cannot understand how you feel, I have been in situations where I as well can't explain things. I try my darnest, but sometimes I don't succeed.

    I almost want to say that if you are right, then I better convert so my butt doesn't go to hell, but if I am converted because there is logical proof for God, do I really believe?

    ElfStar

    How does one believe in oneself? How do you tell what is right and what is wrong?

    You can believe that you simply exist (there is plenty of evidence for that). You could believe that either you will get through any situation you come across, or you will die (you have not died yet, but you also have to say that you believe in others to a point).

    As for right and wrong, why does that matter? I could ask why do you trust God to accurately say what is right and wrong? However, I think a better answer would be that you have to figure it out. You have to decide and justify for yourself why something is right and wrong. You have to think about it, try it even, talk about it, and try to understand why you think something is right or wrong. Basically you have to say why something is right and wrong and back it up.

    Are you perfectly good? I ask because you said earlier in your post that you could believe in yourself. Well, if you were to do that, then how can you trust yourself to do what is right?

    There is a difference between faith that God is perfectly good and faith that there is a God (actually I think Bubba is trying to say there is no difference, but I don't know). Having faith that you are good enough, or you are an overall strong person; faith in yourself says nothing about morals or goodness. Do you think it must? If so, why?

    It is a pretty much a fact that no living human today is perfectly good. If you believe in yourself, you have to accept that you are not perfectly good, and adapt to that. However faith in yourself is not faith in a perfectly good being, so I don't see the big deal.

    Bubba

    You may have convinced me on this point. I could ask what is the logic behind the assumptions you made, but for the sake of argument, I was assuming them too. If there is a God who existed 'before' (and I use the term loosely) creation, then there is good evidence that He had to be good since all He made was good. I still have to think about it, but good job and thank you for explaining everything.

    And thank you all for the fun debates.

    EDIT: Don't think I am giving up Bubba, if I think of anything I will let you know. ;)
  20. Nord Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 6, 2001
    star 4
    I am just trying to understand why people are the way they are. You are saying that somehow you know that faith in God is good, although it is something that you cannot put into words. Although I cannot understand how you feel, I have been in situations where I as well can't explain things. I try my darnest, but sometimes I don't succeed.

    I almost want to say that if you are right, then I better convert so my butt doesn't go to hell, but if I am converted because there is logical proof for God, do I really believe?


    -- Yes, faith in God makes the difference, I believe. If I am converted because there is logical proof for God, do I really believe? Perhaps this is why we may haven't received proof of God by way of science or hard evidence, as you seek. Yet, anyway. :)
  21. Darth Dane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 4

    I have a question. I stumbled upon this statement on the net:

    "This is never acceptable to God. I am concerned about the author's lack of knowledge of the Scripture. We are advised to "obey God rather than man"."

    Is it true that we are advised to obey God rather than man?


    Does anyone know?




    DD - [face_love] Spliff

  22. Qui-Rune Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2002
    star 4
    Where is "the logical proof of God"?
  23. Darth Dane Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2000
    star 4

    qui-rune: the logical proof of God is in another thread of mine called "thou art God" ;)

    I was just wondering if the bible contains this or not!





    DD - [face_love] Spliff

  24. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
  25. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    I still do not get the difference between faith and a belief. I know Kimble tried to explain it, but it still didn't make too much sense.
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