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Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Lord Bane, Oct 28, 2001.

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  1. Kitt327 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 23, 2000
    star 4
    "Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature. "

    Carl Sagan

    No disrespect to Carl Sagan, but he clearly has mixed up the terms 'atheist' and 'scientist'. An atheist is someone who doesn't believe in god. A scientist is someone who looks at the world objectively and tries to understand all things as part of nature. I fail to see how the two are connected, nor can I see how lacking belief in god is necessary to look at the world objectively.

    Oh, and whoever Christians are not the majority of theists, I think you're wrong. I'm pretty sure aroun 1.8 billion people are christians, I don't think there is a larger religious group.
    Compared to that around 1 to 1.5 billion are atheists.


    *puts up hand. That was me. Perhaps you misunderstood what I meant by theist=someone who believes in God. By your numbers, world's population=6 billion-1.5 atheists = 4.5 theists, of which only 1.8 are Christian. So Christians are not the majority of theists.

  2. IellaWessiriNRI Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2001
    star 4
    Well I have evidence to show that there are other more reasonable explanations, such as 3.5 billion yearse of evolutionary pressures, cahnce mutations and specialization.

    wow... it's sure a whole lot more reasonable that we beat one-in-more-than-a-million odds to become the accidents we are today, as opposed to being specially created with purpose by a loving God... [face_plain]
  3. Darkside_Spirit Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2001
    star 3
    While we can't say absolutely that God does not exist, there is no positive evidence to say that he does exist. I have looked at many, many arguments as to his existence and not one of them has convinced me.
  4. Kitt327 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 23, 2000
    star 4
    If there was a god, what kind of positive evidence would you expect to see in the universe?
  5. audio_karate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2001
    star 3
    Note: I came upon this argument at another message board; I forget the name of the poster and the site, yet I'd still like to post it because I agree with many of the points presented.

    Note 2: I've corrected many of the grammatical errors while leaving large portions of confusing thought-articulation untouched [because I wasn't quite sure whether I would inadvertantly change the author's intpretation, otherwise], so I apologize beforehand if something does not make sense and I was not able to clarify.

    Although the text will be longer than most posts, please bear with me (if you can):

    God, as we have come to know Him (Her, It, etc) in the major monotheistic religions, is a being which is all powerful (omnipotent), all knowing (omniscient) and all good (omnibenevolent). For the theist, the existence of evil poses a serious threat to this belief and ?the problem of evil? is indeed one of the most famous and common atheist arguments. The argument that if God exists then there can be no evil, and evil exists, therefore God does not exist. Or at least an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent God does not exist. If evil exists and God wants to remove it, and can, but cannot find it, or is not aware of it, then He is not omniscient. If God knows about it and wants to remove it but cannot then He is not omnipotent. And perhaps the worst, if God knows about evil, can remove it, but chooses not to, then He is not omnibenevolent.

    Theists will argue that the removal of evil is impossible for a number of reasons. One of the most convenient responses to this dilemma is that there isn?t really any evil in the world. This allows the theist to leave the case for an ?omni 3? God undisturbed. However, this demands of the theist a task perhaps more difficult, to explain how the usage of words such as ?good? and ?evil? relates to his usage. While it is certainly possible that my personal opinions about what is evil in a particular circumstance was incorrect, but that is entirely different from the claim that no evil exists in the world at all. The theist has perhaps dug him/herself a deeper hole and must now argue as to why everyone is wrong when they judge evil to exist. Also, if evil is an illusion, then those who do judge it to exist (almost everyone) is in a state of ignorance, a psychological ill, or evil. One other suggestion is that good cannot exist without evil, as they are necessary counterparts. That is, it is a logical impossibility (outside omnipotence) for good to exist without evil. It follows that God would not then remove evil from the world, as it would remove all goodness, including Him. The obvious response to this is to allow only the minutest amount of evil in order to allow an infinite amount of goodness in both the Creator and creation. But as we know this is not the case, and not only that, theists welcome this evil as a contrast to goodness rather than as a minute necessity.

    Another reply is that evil only occurs to bad people as a punishment. However, reality struggles with this argument. Ghastly tragedies occur to pleasant people. Innocents, such as newborn babies, suffer and die. The response to this counter is the ?sins of the father? claim, where sins or evil are passed down genetically and an innocent child can be punished for crimes of its ancestors. This hardly seems parallel with an omnibenevolent God.

    Another reply is that evil suffered is compensated in the afterlife, or in the next life. This has two major flaws. Firstly we would need an argument that convinces us that the afterlife exists, which we don?t have. Secondly, why wouldn?t an ?omni 3? God save people from evil initially, rather than reverting to compensation for it?

    A common reply to the ?problem of evil? is that of ?absorbed evil.? That is, that while evil exists, it is useful as a tool to create greater good which absorbs the initial evil. C. S. Lewis once made the analogy that the evils we suffer are like the hammer blows on a block of marble to shape it into a beautiful sculpture. Cases such as un
  6. audio_karate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2001
    star 3
    Note: This is an older post I wrote on a different board.

    And please note that this may potentially offend some theists, yet I think it successfully articulates an interesting--though extreme--point.

    _____________________________________________

    Incidentally, I was just at the Pennywise site and there is a religion thread on the message board. Some poster named Error made an astute observation:

    (This better work!)

    Liquid Prayer
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Prayer is a drug; as addictive, more dangerous and more devastating than anything available through the underground. In a world rife with disaffection, people inevitably seek refuge in their respective vices: a gin martini, a speedball, a shot in the arm, a spliff, LSD, and yes, a prayer. Just as a gin martini assuages the burn of a particularly rotten day, so too does a private word with one's own god. It's a way to hide, a way to escape. Dangerous? Definitely. Historically speaking, prayer and the enforcement thereof has killed millions more people than any street vice ever will. Drug addicts kill each other because the government makes the procurement of those drugs as difficult as possible (and illegal). They kill because they are hurting for a personal fix (naturally, this is no justification). A prayer addict (a zealot), on the other hand, kills people who do not think the same way--kills people who do not believe. And not only does the government NOT make it illegal to pray; they pass laws to allow everyone access to prayer. Go figure. Me? I'll take the gin martini, thanks.

  7. audio_karate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2001
    star 3
    And now, before I call it a night, here is me speaking for me, rather than quoting others. :)

    I really am feeling rather lazy and can't be bothered to filter out/edit the nonsensical and irrelevant bits, so it may behoove you to bear in mind that I'm addressing a single other user at the particular board where this was originally posted. Also, this is a collection of several posts, rather than one large body.

    _____________________________________________

    PutterGunk:

    This blasted thing won't let me quote you on something, but because I am sincerely interested, I have gone through the trouble of writing it out myself:

    "I agree with [UserFormerlyKnownAsKenNy] that upon first examination this so-called omnibenevolent God is intentionally allowing people to suffer when He could just stop it and everyone would be happy . . . [In "The Problem of Pain," C.S. Lewis] points out that if He did not allow us to suffer, we would have no free will."

    I've been reading a piece by Sartre entitled "Existentialism," which is basically a defence of his belief in atheistic existentialsism. According to Sartre (and to me, when I think about it), it is impossible to reconcile divine omnipotence with human freedom (i.e. free will): only one or the other case may exist. If, for example, there is in fact an omnipotent God, free will does not truly exist; humans are only free insomuch as He allows, in virtue of the fact that He has the power to change things (though He may choose not to). Again, on a conceptual level, divine omnipotence and free will cannont co-exist simultaneously.

    Sartre argues that the latter case--the existence of free will but no omnipotent God--comprises reality, but that is besides the point.

    ...

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Originally posted by PutterGunk:

    Sovereign knowledge of a decision does not nullify the will of he who makes the decision. In fact, there is no knowledge that can make a choice for us. If I knew that you would choose a purple shirt instead of a red one, that does not mean you do not still have the will to choose the red one.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Again, I must refer to what I posted earlier: divine omnipotence cannot exist simultaneously with free will. You argue that "sovereign knowledge of a decision does not nullify the will" of the person (i.e. the human) making the decisions. I absolutely agree. This argument, however, does little to refute what I said in my aforementioned post: you speak of the omniscient characteristic of God while I am addressing his omnipotence.

    Going back to your nice shirt analogy:
    Let's say God knows that you will choose to wear the purple shirt instead of the red one. This is by virtue of His omniscience. But because He is omnipotent, He could very well intervene and make the outcome of the color shirt you wear be red, IF HE CHOSE TO DO SO. (This is not to say He would.) Or, for whatever reason (maybe He really digs the color purple?), He lets you choose on your own, thereby allowing events to run their [natural] course and in effect resulting in your wearing the purple.

    In either case, simply because He possess the quality of omnipotence, you are only as free as He allows you to be.

    Does that make any sense? I'm not sure I'm articulating this point very well, but...

    If you care to read a little of Sartre's work (the piece I have is quite short and doesn't overtly discuss or analyze the point presented above), I would be more than happy to type something up for you. I, too, could probably not afford any extraneous books [that aren't specifically required by any of my classes] right now, but my philosophy professor was kind enough to prepare a packet for me. I'm happy to spread the wealth, so to speak.

    And yes, I am also rather pleased to engage in this discussion, too; it's very tiresome to get into the same cyclic arguments about the existence or lack thereof of God, and this is refreshing material c
  8. Kitt327 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 23, 2000
    star 4
    I once had a debate with an atheist about the problem of evil and/or pain.

    He kept insisting that omnipotence and free will couldn't co-exist, and claiming that in making someone with free will you sacrifice your omnipotence. I couldn't follow his reasoning at all.

    Finally I worked out that he defined the term omnipotence differently from me. He considered the statement 'two omnipotent beings can co-exist' to be a fallacy. According to him, omnipotence meant something like 'being the only one to possess all power and using all your powers all the time'. So if you didn't allow yourself to use one of your particular powers in a particular circumstance, you were no longer omnipotent.

    This is not the dictionary definition of omnipotence - 'one having unlimited power or authority'. From this definition, it does not follow that if you don't use one of your powers in a particular circumstance, you are no longer omnipotent, nor does it imply that only one omnipotent may exist at one time.

    If you choose not to use your powers . . . even if you choose to never to use any of your powers . . . you still possess omnipotence.
  9. Liz Skywalker Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 13, 2000
    star 6
    God created the world. After a few thousands years, he left us to go work on other projects, maybe make some new realities. If you pray hard enough, you may get his attention. Hey, if God wanted us to worship him, he'd come down to each one of us and tell us that. He wouldn't rely on a few people every few generations.
  10. imzadi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 4
    If you choose not to use your powers . . . even if you choose to never to use any of your powers . . . you still possess omnipotence.

    Personally, I think that by giving us free will, 'God' would have taken away some of His own. We are free to make our own decisions and He cannot interfere, leading to something He cannot do and therefore losing His omnipotence. He physically can, but morally can't, if that makes sense.
  11. Kitt327 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 23, 2000
    star 4
    'Choosing' not to do something, and not being able to do something, are two very different things. I don't believe that choosing not to interfere means that God cannot interfere. However, I respect your opinion.
  12. cydonia Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2001
    star 5
    What's true to you is true to you. No one can prove or disprove a belief. If your conscious tells you evil and an omnipotent god and co-exist, then maybe it does. If it says to you, "nope", then maybe it doesn't. No one knows for sure. It's all faith. Zeus could be real for all we know.
  13. IellaWessiriNRI Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2001
    star 4
    If you pray hard enough, you may get his attention.

    ahhh yes... the wonderful philosophy known as deism. which means you don't believe in the accuracy of the majority of the Bible...

    Hey, if God wanted us to worship him, he'd come down to each one of us and tell us that. He wouldn't rely on a few people every few generations.

    no... if God wanted a bunch of puppets, He would have come down a revealed Himself to everyone... but He wants people to live by faith, as opposed to being forced to admit His existence.


    cydonia:
    No one can prove or disprove a belief.

    if I believed that rabbits were carnivorous monsters... could you disprove my belief?
  14. Already-Turned Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 13, 2001
    star 3
    Ok lets assume there is a Him.

    and He has a plan, and part of that plan is to not give us conclusive evidence of his existance. He then empowers us with logic and intelligence, which creates and then enhanced through our scientific knowledge and procedures. There is then strong evidence found that many of the things He has supposedly said (in the bible his primary records) were in contradiction to the facts discovered by humans.

    He then expects us to discard certain pieces of our discovered facts, in order to maintain an unsubstantiated claim to His existance?

    If he (and therefore heaven and hell according to christians) does exist, then why is he allowing the worship of other diety's or even be atheists, HE IS THEREFORE subjugating MOST of the worlds population to exclusion from HEAVEN!

    To me that makes either god very sick and severly mentally disturbed diety (by any logical standards, God is a nutter), or He is trying to hide his existance (he's embarassed about what he's done!).

    Theistists should ask themselves, if I do believe in a God (through substituting logic and evidence for faith), then do I agree with the methods of that diety?
    The idea that "god works in mysterious ways" is just being ignorant. You question your own actions, the actions of others, even the actions of governments.

    If you are a theist you should also question the motives and attitudes of god. If he does exist then he is not a good bloke, he is a very dodgy bugger.

    So now decide, does god not exist or is he a loose cannon with a bad agenda?
    ___________________________________________
    The definition of an atheist and a scientist is of course very close, because both use very similiar proccess to decide which theories are either correct or most likely.
    ____________________________________________

    Christians compose the largest single group of thesiests. I misread your wording.
  15. imzadi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 4
    Kitt327, I'm sorry for not being clear. But I did not mean to say that 'God' chooses not to, I personally believe that (assuming I believe in God), he cannot interfere. I will explain my reasoning.

    By giving us free will, but being able to take that away, I believe it is not free will at all. Why would God take this away? Possibly because he disagrees with our decisions? We therefore do not have free will. I think that (assuming again that I believe in God), God gave us free will that he could not take away, which removed his omnipotence. It's like the question, can God make a rock heavy enough that even he can't lift? The answer is yes, if he loses his omnipotence.

    Can God create human beings with free will (beyond his ability to take away, making it true free will)? The answer is yes, but only if he loses his omnipotence.

    That was what I was meaning, if that makes sense. :)

    Furthermore, given the choice between a God that can't and a God that won't, I'll praise a God that can't every time. There is a parable in the bible, depicting men who simply walk past an injured man, the moral being that they are acting wrongly. Surely the same applies to God? That is why I think if he gave us free will, he cannot take it away.
  16. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Already-Turned: Free will, remember? If God forced all people to worship him, then he would have nothing but a world of robots, slaves essentially.

    Maybe God doesn't want that. He wants us to love Him by choice, not because he holds a gun to our heads. That's why He gave us free will in the first place.

    Love that is forced isn't love at all and God (like anyone with any sense) doesn't want that kind of psuedo-love.

    That's why He leaves the choice up to us. If that makes Him disturbed, then we all are, aren't we? Unless you still believe in shotgun weddings. ;) Hope I was somewhat clear there.
  17. DESERTJEDI Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 18, 2001
    star 4
    I have always wondered, Can you be a spirtual, religious person, and still not conform or belong to a specific organized religion? I guess be recognized by people who belong to these organized groups.

    I personally have always believed in a higher power, but I can never agree with organized religion. I read and practice all sorts of spirtual things. I believe in navajo religion and buddism, more so than the rules of christianity.

    what do you think?
  18. audio_karate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2001
    star 3
    I think there is some kind of divine order in the universe... but to me, organized religion, the formalities and routines, it's like being marched in formation to look at a sunset. --John D. MacDonald

    ^
    |
    |
    |

    Exactly.
  19. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    Hey Rogue, you're forgetting something.

    There's this religion that says if you don't believe in god you're going to hell.

    Hmmm, if that isn't a gun pointed at the head I don't know what is.
  20. IellaWessiriNRI Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2001
    star 4
    Hmmm, if that isn't a gun pointed at the head I don't know what is.

    no one ever said you have to believe that... but obviously, there are consequences to your actions.
  21. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    Oh, I don't. That's why I really don't believe your version of the sky daddy.

    I find it quite laughable that you Christians think you have free will with a clause such as that in your rule book.

    If he was a just and loving god he'd judge you based upon how you treat others not by what you believe.

    Excerpt from "The real reason for the Fall"

    God: And here's the next species, one I'm particularly proud of...
    Adam: Beetle.
    God: Excellent. Now here's another...
    Adam: Beetle.
    God: No, you just named the last one "beetle". This one is quite
    different -- look at the pattern on the wing cases, and the
    shape of the antennae...
    Adam: Beetle.
    God: Well, OK, though they certainly look different to Me. Now,
    the next species is --
    Adam: Beetle.
  22. TrainingForUtopia Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2001
    star 4
    LOL, that's pretty funny, Ender! [face_laugh]
  23. Ender Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 1998
    star 6
    I thought it was myself. ;)

    It was written by a biologist on the talk.origins newsgroup. His name was either Ken Ham or Ken Smith. Can't remember. I've been searching for the full text of it with no luck.
  24. TrainingForUtopia Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2001
    star 4
    But that excerpt is from Talk.Origins?

    Because I've been reading a lot of stuff on there lately and I've never seen it. Good stuff.
  25. IellaWessiriNRI Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2001
    star 4
    If he was a just and loving god he'd judge you based upon how you treat others not by what you believe.

    Why is that? Doesn't He have a right to judge us how He chooses? Or are you using your own definitions of "just" and "loving"? He is just and loving... which is why He provided the way out from the result of our sin - which is hell.

    The choice is this: You can repent of your sin and ask for righteousness through Christ's blood and spend eternity with Him in heaven, or you can reject Him and His gift and go to hell.

    I'm not saying this to tell you you're going to hell. Because I'm certainly not the judge of that. I'm just saying... that's what we believe.
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