Author Topic: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?  (Read 2941 times)

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Offline fishjie

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2014, 07:34:43 PM »
By the way, the next time you ask "Do you believe that love exist." Could you do us all a favor and put an 's' on the end of the last word so that we English speakers won't have to grit our teeth so hard when we read it.

From the way Luk posts he most likely isn't a native english speaker so insulting him for that is really uncalled for

Anyway on topic, god isn't omnipotent. Omnipotence isn't a logically consistent trait (make a rock so hard you can't lift it), so its not possible for any being to possess it. So now that that's out of the way, the question becomes whether or not ends justify the means, which is a much more interesting ethical discussion.
you only have to "lift" the rock if there is gravity involved. God could make a rock the size of the universe.....if there is no gravity field to make it "heavy"

wtf are you babbling about, your response makes no sense. can god make a rock so heavy that he can NOT lift it. If there is no gravity to make it heavy, then god can lift it, which means he did NOT create something so heavy he couldn't lift.
GRAVITY is the factor I was stressing,there had to be gravity for something to be heavy...that is all. Gravity effects us because we are in orbit around a star in our solar system. I was trying to point out God has to be effected by gravity for the rock to be heavy.

The point is can god create a rock so heavy that he can not lift it. If the rock is not heavy and god can lift it, it means that god failed in his task. Therefore, not omnipotent. Please also see barber paradox:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barber_paradox

omnipotence cannot exist, because it is logically flawed.

or different example, can god commit evil acts?

Anyway on topic, god isn't omnipotent.

Not according to Lukvance's definition. Your point is moot.

Who cares what Lukvance's definition is? Perhaps you don't understand how interweb forums work. Someone starts a discussion, and then the discussions evolves and takes twists and turns as necessary. Really, the problem of evil is quite easy to solve. The only concession that apologists have to make is that god isn't omnipotent, which isn't a huge deal when you think about it.

You forgot to mention the people who show up and tell everyone what to do. Forum-nazi's, so to speak.

Oh noes not nazis! lemme know if you see any of these nazis
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 07:36:39 PM by fishjie »

Offline Lukvance

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2014, 07:57:14 PM »
How would be decided the moral pain inflicted?
By a break up for instance. Would the girl who brakes up with the cheating guy will suffer as much as he does? More? Less? Why her and not the guy?

And Homosexuals? How should God intervene against the evil caused against them?

Should the intervention of God be systematic?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2014, 07:59:56 PM by Lukvance »
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2014, 08:29:51 PM »
How would be decided the moral pain inflicted?
By a break up for instance. Would the girl who brakes up with the cheating guy will suffer as much as he does? More? Less? Why her and not the guy?

And Homosexuals? How should God intervene against the evil caused against them?

Should the intervention of God be systematic?

Let's say that homosexuality is always wrong in God's eyes.  Why make it that people might desire that at all then?   Why not design the private parts so that the correct placement is the only way it fits?   You can't fit a USB cable into a power outlet.

As far as emotional pain from relationships... if God really did have a plan and "brought two people together in marriage" that he didn't intend to separate... why not make the body continue to use chemicals that are released when two people are first dating and fall in love?   Why have those "happy" body chemistry bits "wear off" and why make men genetically pre-disposed towards "spreading our seed" for best natural selection when God had picked a match for us?

Why have it so that females of the species start to look for new partners to spread their genetic wealth with after their kids are 3-5 years old, thereby creating the 7 year itch syndrome or the pattern Michelle Weiner Davis writes about in her article "walk away wives" where women repeatedly leave potentially healthy relationships for the exact same tired reasons?

I'm not saying God should FORCE people not to cheat, or FORCE you to pick the right match or FORCE you to be with the "right person" but he could make it so we're literally not fighting against our NATURE every step of the way.

If God designed us, why not make it more pleasant, more happy, to follow his will, and more difficult to move away from it?

Our government writes laws and tries to make it unpleasant, with increasing consequences, if we violate those laws, similarly there are incentives designed in place for doing the right thing and being responsible.  For example, installing an energy efficient furnace brings you a big tax break.   Staying married can provide legal benefits with healthcare and power of attorney.

So why does it seem like our "urges" to do wrong come from the result of evolution and natural selection? 

A "designer" might have at least not put the weight of natural urges against his will.

I very much agree with Al Pacino's speech at the end of Devil's Advocate, where, the world doesn't make sense if there is a God, unless that God is a sadist, up there laughing at our struggles.

The world makes far more sense when you consider it with no god at all.
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2014, 09:02:28 PM »
By the way, the next time you ask "Do you believe that love exist." Could you do us all a favor and put an 's' on the end of the last word so that we English speakers won't have to grit our teeth so hard when we read it.

From the way Luk posts he most likely isn't a native english speaker so insulting him for that is really uncalled for

Anyway on topic, god isn't omnipotent. Omnipotence isn't a logically consistent trait (make a rock so hard you can't lift it), so its not possible for any being to possess it. So now that that's out of the way, the question becomes whether or not ends justify the means, which is a much more interesting ethical discussion.
you only have to "lift" the rock if there is gravity involved. God could make a rock the size of the universe.....if there is no gravity field to make it "heavy"

wtf are you babbling about, your response makes no sense. can god make a rock so heavy that he can NOT lift it. If there is no gravity to make it heavy, then god can lift it, which means he did NOT create something so heavy he couldn't lift.
GRAVITY is the factor I was stressing,there had to be gravity for something to be heavy...that is all. Gravity effects us because we are in orbit around a star in our solar system. I was trying to point out God has to be effected by gravity for the rock to be heavy.

The point is can god create a rock so heavy that he can not lift it. If the rock is not heavy and god can lift it, it means that god failed in his task. Therefore, not omnipotent. Please also see barber paradox:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barber_paradox

omnipotence cannot exist, because it is logically flawed.

or different example, can god commit evil acts?

Anyway on topic, god isn't omnipotent.

Not according to Lukvance's definition. Your point is moot.

Who cares what Lukvance's definition is? Perhaps you don't understand how interweb forums work. Someone starts a discussion, and then the discussions evolves and takes twists and turns as necessary. Really, the problem of evil is quite easy to solve. The only concession that apologists have to make is that god isn't omnipotent, which isn't a huge deal when you think about it.

You forgot to mention the people who show up and tell everyone what to do. Forum-nazi's, so to speak.

Oh noes not nazis! lemme know if you see any of these nazis
I think you are confused I happen to agree with you,I was pointing out that for something to be heavy requires atmosphere and gravity,so it is a retarded question.....as atmosphere and gravity would not apply to a god. The question is pointless as gravity is required for something to be heavy.....now if you are asking if Jesus could not lift a rock....gravity and atmosphere do apply to him as he is an earthling
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2014, 10:09:44 PM »
Why does God pick and chose? Why is he unfair? There is no intervention, God is imaginary
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2014, 10:39:27 PM »
There was nothing in the bible that says god is omnipotent. Feel free to show me a verse saying that he is, because last time I checked, being unable to defeat iron chariots kind of disqualifies you from omnipotence. IIRC, the whole omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence thing only happened in the middle ages when the church discovered the greek philosophers, and began developing a more philosophical rigor toward their theology. But its not biblical by any stretch of the imagination.

Being unable to defeat iron chariots does not disqualify you from omnipotence, it disqualifies you from being a god. It tells you that the stories about Yahweh being a god are fiction.

By saying that there is nothing in the bible which says Yahweh is omnipotent, you show that you are not paying attention to what the bible actually says. You are just making excuses to construct your own imaginary god which has no basis whatsoever.
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Offline kcrady

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2014, 10:57:27 PM »
Sometime evil is the source of greater good.
For example : During the second world war we had to kill in order to preserve the freedom.
Should have God intervene? How? Why this time and not the other times?

Let's set deities aside for a moment.  Imagine that after the Great War, the United States had ratified the League of Nations Treaty and joined together with the other Great Powers to pool resources to prevent another Great War and insure the betterment of humankind.  As a result, the League of Nations World Justice Agency now possesses the single largest and most powerful military force on Earth.  Guided by an assembly of the greatest and wisest ethical philosophers, scientists, theologians, and mystics humanity can muster, the LNWJA's fleets of zeppelins and flying wing aircraft are able to deploy jut-jawed, steel-thewed Jetpack Troopers with Tesla Rays anywhere in the world to defend the peace.  And not only them, but a corps of engineers, doctors, and agronomists, to fight disease, poverty, and famine.  Then there are the teams of educators, and the technicians with the know-how to build the World Radio Grid, a global communications network that can join all of humanity together into a single conversation.

Should they?  Should the LNWJA intervene to prevent wars, help poor nations to develop, prevent famines and epidemics, and provide aid in case of natural disaster?  Should they step in to prevent Hitler from becoming a threat, or perhaps do something like suspend German war reparations payments and the like to help the Weimar Republic survive?  Or should they just sit around and watch?
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Offline Timo

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #36 on: July 30, 2014, 11:19:48 PM »
@Lukvance

I think that your question is one of more useful questions that have been posed on this board in that it clarifies something for me.  From what I gather here, you seem to conceive of the problem of evil to be a question about how we think a good god ought to react to the evil that exists in our world.  That's an interesting question as far as it goes.  But as I understand, when we speak about the problem of evil, we're pointing out the fact that we find ourselves living in a world that seems inconsistent with an all-knowing, all-powerful, an all-good god.  In other words, this isn't a question about what God should do to adequately respond to evil.  It's a question about why God, if He exists, created a world with so much evil.
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Offline Jag

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #37 on: July 31, 2014, 08:36:43 AM »
What makes WWII the point at which an interventionist god would finally get off it's a$$ and do something? Why then, as opposed to any other time in human history?

If an intervening god (adding in the other qualities that lukvance has assigned to it in other threads) existed, it could have taken any number of intervening actions along the way that would have led to no WWII ever occurring. If an intervening god does, in fact, exist, then it's interventions would be obvious. That's CLEARLY not the case, so it's both sane and safe to conclude that no such entity exists.

If a god exists at all, it is NOT intervening in this world in any way. The only way to really discuss this (by allowing for the presuppositional premise) would be to ask how it should have intervened starting all the way back at the beginning.....in the OT, where Biblegod's interventions were frequent and generally pretty fricking awful.
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Offline Lukvance

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #38 on: July 31, 2014, 01:54:46 PM »
Some of you are really stuck with the existence of God eh? They cannot fathom a discussion where this subject do not come up at one point or another. They are so limited in their imagination that they must, and I emphasis in must, post something about the existence of God when clearly the subject is not about his existence or not.
I find it sad.
Also, I am not stating anything here. I am asking questions and am looking for answers in the community. Please use your own definition of God or the one you would give to him if he existed, you might have misunderstood my definition of God. And it shouldn't matter in this discussion anyway.

I like your Ideas YRM_DM. You have more question than answers but the answers you share with us seems to makes sense. I'm having trouble summarizing them because of the questions. Could you help me out?
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Offline fishjie

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2014, 02:05:19 PM »
There was nothing in the bible that says god is omnipotent. Feel free to show me a verse saying that he is, because last time I checked, being unable to defeat iron chariots kind of disqualifies you from omnipotence. IIRC, the whole omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence thing only happened in the middle ages when the church discovered the greek philosophers, and began developing a more philosophical rigor toward their theology. But its not biblical by any stretch of the imagination.

Being unable to defeat iron chariots does not disqualify you from omnipotence, it disqualifies you from being a god. It tells you that the stories about Yahweh being a god are fiction.

By saying that there is nothing in the bible which says Yahweh is omnipotent, you show that you are not paying attention to what the bible actually says. You are just making excuses to construct your own imaginary god which has no basis whatsoever.

I don't think you actually understand what omnipotence actually means. Its not possible because it is logically inconsistent and leads to a paradox, much in the same way omniscience is not feasible because it leads to infinite recursion (think a detailed map of everything that contains a representation of itself, which contains a representation of itself). There's not really anything in the bible that says YHWH is omnipotent because its not possible to be omnipotent. Like I said, that stuff was retconned in when the monks started discovering ancient philosophers and started applying more academic rigor to their beliefs. I brought up the iron chariots thing because its a glaring example that YHWH is not omnipotent. Whether or not it disqualifies YHWH from being a god really just depends on your definition of god. There were many local competing gods in Israel during that time, and I'm guessing none of them could defeat iron chariots: Baal, Dagon, Asherah, and so on. They were still considered gods. Being fictional does not disqualify you from godhood. Melkor was essentially a god of Middle Earth. Whether or not he is real is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

And lol at me making excuses. Why the fuck would I be interested in constructing an imaginary god? What I'm more interested in is having a general discussion about religious beliefs. You must be one of those angry antagonistic atheists that frequent this website that rabidly lashes out at everyone and attacks them. Don't be daft, your statements have no basis whatsoever. You are imagining me saying things I'm not. Sounds like your rage is blinding you. I'm just saying the problem of evil is not a big deal, you just remove omnipotence from the equation. If satan is of equal power level to god, then all of a sudden evil is explained. It also solves the free will problem. Omnipotence and free will are mutually exclusive. Boom. I just resolved centuries worth of apologists' quandaries.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #40 on: July 31, 2014, 02:11:13 PM »
No, Lukvance, the point is for your god to be relevant to the discussion, he must exist.  I did not exist during WWII, for example, so if you were to ask why I did nothing in that war (or any previous conflict) to alleviate human suffering, the question would be neither meaningful nor relevant.

You have as yet not actually shown that your god exists as a real entity, despite months of posts attempting to do just that, so asking how he should have intervened in things like WWII is meaningless until you do so.  If you don't want to get into that here, you should probably frame the discussion as a hypothetical.  I've little doubt that the atheists here would enjoy a hypothetical discussion on the matter.

By the way, the nature of a god is very relevant.  A Greek, Norse, or Egyptian god would have different reasons for not acting than the Judeo-Christian one.  And the version of the Judeo-Christian god matters too, since I'm fairly sure you wouldn't accept Calvinist predestination beliefs as valid for this discussion.

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #41 on: July 31, 2014, 03:22:11 PM »
I don't think you actually understand what omnipotence actually means. Its not possible because it is logically inconsistent and leads to a paradox, much in the same way omniscience is not feasible because it leads to infinite recursion (think a detailed map of everything that contains a representation of itself, which contains a representation of itself). There's not really anything in the bible that says YHWH is omnipotent because its not possible to be omnipotent.

I know, and you know, that omnipotence is not possible, but the people who wrote the bible did not care about what was possible. The bible is full of the impossible. It didn't bother them at all. They were religious people. They wrote that Jesus said "with god all things are possible". Mat 19:26

Quote
If satan is of equal power level to god, then all of a sudden evil is explained.

And the defeat of Satan at the end of the world becomes impossible, especially if he is driving an iron chariot.

(Evil does not need an ancient book to explain it. There is no problem to explain.)

There were many local competing gods in Israel during that time, and I'm guessing none of them could defeat iron chariots: Baal, Dagon, Asherah, and so on. They were still considered gods. Being fictional does not disqualify you from godhood. Melkor was essentially a god of Middle Earth. Whether or not he is real is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

The reality of the subject is the most important part of the discussion. Fictional characters are not restricted by reality or logic so they can be impossible, omnipotent, self contradictions or anything else you want them to be.
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Offline fishjie

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #42 on: July 31, 2014, 03:45:45 PM »
I don't think you actually understand what omnipotence actually means. Its not possible because it is logically inconsistent and leads to a paradox, much in the same way omniscience is not feasible because it leads to infinite recursion (think a detailed map of everything that contains a representation of itself, which contains a representation of itself). There's not really anything in the bible that says YHWH is omnipotent because its not possible to be omnipotent.

I know, and you know, that omnipotence is not possible, but the people who wrote the bible did not care about what was possible. The bible is full of the impossible. It didn't bother them at all. They were religious people. They wrote that Jesus said "with god all things are possible". Mat 19:26

Quote
If satan is of equal power level to god, then all of a sudden evil is explained.

And the defeat of Satan at the end of the world becomes impossible, especially if he is driving an iron chariot.

(Evil does not need an ancient book to explain it. There is no problem to explain.)

There were many local competing gods in Israel during that time, and I'm guessing none of them could defeat iron chariots: Baal, Dagon, Asherah, and so on. They were still considered gods. Being fictional does not disqualify you from godhood. Melkor was essentially a god of Middle Earth. Whether or not he is real is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

The reality of the subject is the most important part of the discussion. Fictional characters are not restricted by reality or logic so they can be impossible, omnipotent, self contradictions or anything else you want them to be.

Oh good catch, I had forgotten about the "all things are possible" verse. I was more focusing on the OT, because the NT is a retcon of OT material. Also, I know you know that nobody wrote the bible. It was a collection of disparate books by different authors, each with differing philosophies and political agendas. The church later tried to retcon on a rigorous and systematic theology onto something that was never intended to be internally consistent. So nobody "cared" because there was no grand overarching vision. The person who wrote the bit about the iron chariots wasn't concerned about showing how almighty YHWH was. YHWH was a local god in israel, and in some sects he was married to asherah. So the author of the verses about the iron chariots probably viewed YHWH as a local demigod with great power, but not power overwhelming. By the time jesus came around, the idea of god had evolved into something completely different. These conversations are interesting to me from a religious history and anthropological perspective, because to study this is to study the history of civilization. 

Fictional characters are still constrained by the logic of the fictional world they reside in. When we watch movies, we suspend disbelief, but the world must have rules that are internally consistent with respect to that world. In James Bond, Bond might kill 50 bad guys with a pistol, but if he suddenly gained the ability to fly like Neo in the Matrix, we'd cry foul. In LOTR, the laws of physics still exist. There is some magic, but it is subtle. It is a low magic world. If Gandalf could suddenly summon a spirit bear and cast a level 10 meteor storm, we'd be pissed. So it is with each individual book in the bible. The OT god doesn't really have any omnipotence. There is the creation story yes, but creation != omnipotence. It just implies having a lot of power. Its interesting though to see that with the advent of monotheism, suddenly the power level of god increased drastically. Israel was once polytheistic, so the priests of YHWH were most likely making a power play, and to claim supremacy over other sects they could claim theirs was the one true god who possessed far more power. Pretty clever if you think about it. They created something that would long outlast them and change the course of history forever.

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #43 on: July 31, 2014, 03:57:05 PM »
I don't think you actually understand what omnipotence actually means. Its not possible because it is logically inconsistent and leads to a paradox, much in the same way omniscience is not feasible because it leads to infinite recursion (think a detailed map of everything that contains a representation of itself, which contains a representation of itself). There's not really anything in the bible that says YHWH is omnipotent because its not possible to be omnipotent.

I know, and you know, that omnipotence is not possible, but the people who wrote the bible did not care about what was possible. The bible is full of the impossible. It didn't bother them at all. They were religious people. They wrote that Jesus said "with god all things are possible". Mat 19:26

Quote
If satan is of equal power level to god, then all of a sudden evil is explained.

And the defeat of Satan at the end of the world becomes impossible, especially if he is driving an iron chariot.

(Evil does not need an ancient book to explain it. There is no problem to explain.)

There were many local competing gods in Israel during that time, and I'm guessing none of them could defeat iron chariots: Baal, Dagon, Asherah, and so on. They were still considered gods. Being fictional does not disqualify you from godhood. Melkor was essentially a god of Middle Earth. Whether or not he is real is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

The reality of the subject is the most important part of the discussion. Fictional characters are not restricted by reality or logic so they can be impossible, omnipotent, self contradictions or anything else you want them to be.

Oh good catch, I had forgotten about the "all things are possible" verse. I was more focusing on the OT, because the NT is a retcon of OT material. Also, I know you know that nobody wrote the bible. It was a collection of disparate books by different authors, each with differing philosophies and political agendas. The church later tried to retcon on a rigorous and systematic theology onto something that was never intended to be internally consistent. So nobody "cared" because there was no grand overarching vision. The person who wrote the bit about the iron chariots wasn't concerned about showing how almighty YHWH was. YHWH was a local god in israel, and in some sects he was married to asherah. So the author of the verses about the iron chariots probably viewed YHWH as a local demigod with great power, but not power overwhelming. By the time jesus came around, the idea of god had evolved into something completely different. These conversations are interesting to me from a religious history and anthropological perspective, because to study this is to study the history of civilization. 

Fictional characters are still constrained by the logic of the fictional world they reside in. When we watch movies, we suspend disbelief, but the world must have rules that are internally consistent with respect to that world. In James Bond, Bond might kill 50 bad guys with a pistol, but if he suddenly gained the ability to fly like Neo in the Matrix, we'd cry foul. In LOTR, the laws of physics still exist. There is some magic, but it is subtle. It is a low magic world. If Gandalf could suddenly summon a spirit bear and cast a level 10 meteor storm, we'd be pissed. So it is with each individual book in the bible. The OT god doesn't really have any omnipotence. There is the creation story yes, but creation != omnipotence. It just implies having a lot of power. Its interesting though to see that with the advent of monotheism, suddenly the power level of god increased drastically. Israel was once polytheistic, so the priests of YHWH were most likely making a power play, and to claim supremacy over other sects they could claim theirs was the one true god who possessed far more power. Pretty clever if you think about it. They created something that would long outlast them and change the course of history forever.

Agreed, but I think you should be careful that your literary universe can be justified. There is another passage where Yahweh defeats iron chariots.
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Offline fishjie

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #44 on: July 31, 2014, 07:13:32 PM »
Yeah, the bible wasn't meant to be a consistent book. For example, in genesis there are two creation accounts. This is evidence that the pentateuch was based on multiple different sources, each emphasizing different aspects of their religious doctrine and history, which were later merged back together. In the case of the two creation accounts, one is attributed to the elohim source and the other the yahwist source. The yahwist source anthropomorphized god, whereas elohim source made god more remote:

"Use of the generic word for deity, Elohim, rather than the more personal name, YHWH, prior to Exodus 3, and descriptions of Yahweh of a more impersonal nature"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis

its really fascinating stuff. there's a good book on this, the bible unearthed, that takes a good hard look at archaeological evidence and pieces together an actual history of the nation of israel. I read it years ago and was surprised by some of the stuff in there. example being that king ahab was most likely one of the most powerful kings of israel whereas king david was a minor warlord at best (if he and solomon even existed). however, the founders of modern judaism had to paint ahab in a poor light because ahab was not a devout believer, and glossed over just how prosperous the kingdom was under his rule.
so yes, the literary universe in the bible is not meant to be anything other than a reflection of its many different sources and their respective religious ideologies and political agendas. it is a "historical" book in that it is an artifact from the birth of monotheism.

https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/f/finkelstein-bible.html

edit: anyway yeah so as I was saying, in the OT the omnipotence thing wasn't really emphasized. neither was the whole heaven/hell eternal damnation thing. that was kind of added on later and i'm not really sure what their whole goal with that was. polytheistic gods were not omnipotent and they functioned just fine. there were evil gods and good gods in the pantheon, so theologians didnt have to grapple with why a loving god would allow evil to exist.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 07:25:09 PM by fishjie »

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #45 on: July 31, 2014, 10:05:15 PM »
Some of you are really stuck with the existence of God eh? They cannot fathom a discussion where this subject do not come up at one point or another. They are so limited in their imagination that they must, and I emphasis in must, post something about the existence of God when clearly the subject is not about his existence or not.
I find it sad.
Also, I am not stating anything here. I am asking questions and am looking for answers in the community. Please use your own definition of God or the one you would give to him if he existed, you might have misunderstood my definition of God. And it shouldn't matter in this discussion anyway.

I like your Ideas YRM_DM. You have more question than answers but the answers you share with us seems to makes sense. I'm having trouble summarizing them because of the questions. Could you help me out?

Sure.  We're assuming that there's a God.  We're assuming he loves us.  We're assuming he's all powerful.  We're assuming that he wants us to obey him without taking away free will.  We're assuming he wants as many people as possible to choose his ways.

Correct any of those if I'm wrong?

Here's what I think a God with those characteristics should do.  You asked us to speculate so...

1 - Show yourself clearly and without question to all men, that you exist, and that you're GOOD.
i.e. Don't do things like get mad and drown the whole world or tell Moses to have his soldiers rape virgins.

2 - Once everyone is satisfied that you exist and created them, explain how you've created us to benefit when we follow your will.
i.e. Good companies have incentive plans for good employees as well as consequences for bad ones.

3 - This means that awful things would not happen equally to great people and awful people.

4 - The world would not be designed as if natural selection created everything here now... it wouldn't be "dog eat dog" but we'd all live a more collegiate life, enjoying stimulating pursuits and discussion rather than grinding our fingers to the bone chasing rare resources that are hogged by a rare few.

5 - Things that were obviously, objectively wrong or sinful would not be biologically possible.   Two guys couldn't physically "do" each other if homosexuality is a sin, and they also wouldn't be born with those urges or genetic tendencies.

6 - God would actually help to bring couples together.   If a couple prayed about whether they had a good chance to make it work, God would let them know that, if they treat each other well, they're a good fit (or not).

7 - People would not have biological urges to cheat.   God would make it so "happy chemicals" came from our brain not just during the first rush of dating, but when you found a lifelong mate, and you'd feel that excitement even 20 years later.

8 - Since God would have created more resources, and resources that didn't cause problems when you mine or work them, life would, in general, be easier.

9 - Children would never be born with birth defects, retardation, cancer, or anything else like that.  If you get pregnant, you're going to have a healthy baby.

10 - People could still sin or hurt each other, but in less serious ways...  there'd be nobody born with the brain of a serial killer, for example... and when people made bad choices, it'd clearly reflect that they're getting less direction and blessing from God.    Like, if I stop making money for my company, I don't get a bonus... maybe I get laid off, and have to renew my efforts at a new place.

BONUS - The parts of the brain that develop emotional maturity and empathy would develop stronger and sooner in everyone.  Since we would not have evolved "battling to survive" with "everything" for millions of years, we'd be less warlike, less greedy, less vengeful, more caring.   Perhaps people would have fewer babies, or not be able to have them if they couldn't bring them into a good home.

When "bad things happened" they really would have reasons.

Because of this resource rich, mature, less "survival oriented" creation would promote things like creating art, physical fitness, caring for each other, caring for the elderly... God, would be that kind of "boss you want to follow" because he leads by example, he's patient and strong and will stop and teach you in solid, memorable, real ways.

There's no good way to sum it up too shortly but, kind hearted people playing the SIMs video game do better in terms of creating a utopia.

So there still would be aging and pain and hurt and suffering, but it'd be the kind that isn't life-shattering and faith-shattering.

A child might fail a test or lose a friend, or break an arm climbing a tree, and learn from that...

But a child would not be gang raped by African Muslim Warlords.

Does that make sense?

You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #46 on: August 01, 2014, 01:53:52 AM »
Some of you are really stuck with the existence of God eh?

How would you suggest we go about discussing the intervention policy of a non-existent god?  I for one think it's high time Santa Claus did something about climate change.  After all, it's gonna be his little workshop that ends up in the drink when the ice caps melt!

They cannot fathom a discussion where this subject do not come up at one point or another. They are so limited in their imagination that they must, and I emphasis in must, post something about the existence of God when clearly the subject is not about his existence or not.
I find it sad.

You're missing the whole point of the Argument From Evil, which is what your question addresses.  From your responses in this thread so far, it looks to me like you're attempting a reductio ad absurdum, something along these lines:

LUK: How much should God intervene against evil?  Should it be systematic?

ATHEIST: Well, it would have been nice if he'd cured smallpox, or maybe not made it in the first place.  People suffered and died horribly en masse for thousands of years, until we finally figured out how to get rid of it ourselves. 

LUK: OK, but what about pneumonia?  People die from pneumonia too...

ATHEIST: Sure, why not?

LUK: OK, what about the common cold?

And so on, until you can get us deep enough into the realm of First World Problems that you can say (or at least think to yourself) something along the lines of,

LUK: You atheists are such spoiled brats!  It's like you think God is supposed to be your personal genie or something.  You're just mad at God because He won't give you a sparkly flying pony!

But that misses the point of the Argument From Evil entirely.  As atheists, we already know and accept that the human species is on its own; that if we want there to be help and care, it's up to us to provide it.  If we want there to be justice, it's up to us to establish it.  The only force available to intervene against evil (both human and natural, such as disease and disaster) is: us.  Since we don't think any gods exist, we don't expect anything from them, at all.

The Argument From Evil is about anticipated consequences.  Let's say you and I are having coffee at Starbucks one day, and I somehow manage to convince you that there's an elephant in your living room.  You rush home, knowing full well that the presence of an elephant in your living room for any significant amount of time will have consequences, at least some of which you consider highly undesirable.  Maybe it will knock over the display case holding your collection of antique Chinese vases.  Maybe it will step on the cat, or even your child if you have any.  It could take a huge dump on your couch.  Or it could panic and rampage through your house as it tries to escape the confined spaces. 

So, you reach your house and carefully open your door, tensing for the sight of whatever damage might have already happened, trying to figure out how you're going to get the elephant out of your living room...and you see everything exactly as you left it, no sign of any elephant.  No elephanty smell, no elephant-print depressions in the carpet, and most obviously, no elephant standing in the middle of your living room.

So you call me to say "What the hell?!" and I say, "Oh, no, it's an Astral elephant!  It can only be seen by the eyes of the truly spiritually awakened.  It has no effects on mere material things, but I assure you it's there."  At this point, you would probably be rather irritated at me, and more than a little skeptical of my claims of the existence of Astral elephants.  If I go on to say, "Well, how do you think an Astral elephant should intervene in your living room?  And why are you getting so hung up on the existence of Astral elephants, anyway?  I find that sad," would you think that perhaps I was missing the point of why the claimed existence of an elephant in your living room mattered in the first place?

Just as with elephants in living rooms, claims for the existence of one or more gods and/or goddesses have anticipated consequences.  And just as with elephants, if those anticipated consequences are not present, it is also safe to say that the deities aren't there, either.

Also, I am not stating anything here. I am asking questions and am looking for answers in the community. Please use your own definition of God or the one you would give to him if he existed, you might have misunderstood my definition of God. And it shouldn't matter in this discussion anyway.

Imagine a box with three dials.  One dial is for Benevolence, one is for Capability, and the third is for Presence.  "Benevolence" refers to the amount of care a given deity or cooperating pantheon of deities is said to have toward humanity and life on Earth.  "Capability" refers to the aggregate of the claimed deity or deities' powers, intelligence, foresight, clairvoyance, etc., the measure of how well it/they can achieve its/their goals.[1]  "Presence" refers to how close a claimed deity or deities is/are to being "here" (in terms of awareness of our world and ability to act within it) on a humanly conceivable time scale.

For any given alleged deity, the dials can be set to different levels, yielding different degrees of anticipated consequences in local reality.  For example, imagine an extraordinarily loving and powerful Goddess who lives in the heart of a distant quasar.  Her "Benevolence" and "Capability" dials are set high, but Her "Presence" is set to zero.  There are no anticipated consequences on Earth for the existence of such a deity, because She's so far away that She doesn't know we even exist, and is in no position to help.  A God of unlimited Capability and direct Presence, but with a Benevolence dial set to zero (i.e., a non-interventionist Deist god) could have no anticipated consequences in terms of the Argument From Evil simply because it's not interested in us.  Or, we can imagine a minor Patron Deity of Travel, a small god that loves you very much, and does its best to give you as many green lights and good parking spaces as it can.  It could have very high Benevolence and Presence settings, but its Capability is at the low end of the spectrum, so the anticipated consequences of its existence might just be a small, but statistically significant increase in the amount of green lights and good parking spaces you get compared to other drivers.

So, take whatever hypothetical deity or deities you like, and set the dials accordingly.  It's possible for a deity to have no anticipated consequences as long as at least one of the dials is set to zero.  However, once you've got all three dials into positive territory, anticipated consequences increase as you raise the settings.  You Abrahamic monotheists crank all three dials to infinity (though definitions of "Benevolence" can vary by sect).  This is terrific for winning "My God can beat up your gods!" contests with Pagans, but it turns your god into a wooly mammoth in the phone booth of the Universe, forcing you to go to great lengths to explain to yourselves and unbelievers why everything happens to look exactly the way it would if no such God existed.

The Argument From Evil is simply a way of pointing at the absence of your alleged wooly mammoth so as to make it obvious.
 1. Opposing deities, Devils, and the like with comparable power levels and opposing Benevolence settings subtract from the settings for any given theistic belief system; i.e., if there's a Greatest Conceivable Being and a Worst Conceivable Being of logically necessarily equivalent power, they could be treated as cancelling each other out and leaving the dials set at zero, equivalent to atheism.  Or we could anticipate a great deal of chaos as they fought each other.  YMMV.
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #47 on: August 01, 2014, 10:48:03 AM »
I think it's not a bad thought exercise to consider how God might act if he were real, all powerful, and good.

I don't think a "created" universe would seem like one created through evolution and natural selection, which is what leads logically to suffering as all living things compete for energy.   By giving simple logical things that a loving creator would do better, you can contrast this natural universe with an imaginary one created by God.
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #48 on: August 01, 2014, 02:33:59 PM »
Lukvance,

If you're interested, some of my thoughts on this subject can be found here.

IMO, what I would consider a god, doesn't exist, precisely because of the Problem of Evil.  There is no way around it.  Of course that doesn't mean that what you consider a god doesn't exist, it only means that I don't consider what you consider a god, to be a god. 

The Problem of Evil can be stated as such.

1.   An all-powerful  god would be able to prevent evil as it so chooses.
2.   An all-knowing god would know that preventable evil happens.
3.   An all-loving god would choose to prevent evil if possible.
4.   “God” is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving.
5.   If points 1 through 4 are true then evil does not exist.
6.   Observation shows that evil does exist.
7.   Points 5 and 6 conflict which invalidates point 4.

Perhaps “God” is willing but not able to prevent evil.  This would mean “God” is not omnipotent and would raise questions about “God’s” omniscience and benevolence.  I think of the following joke from writer Douglas Adams:



Perhaps “God” is willing and able but not omniscient to know how to prevent evil or doesn’t know that preventable evil happens.  This would raise questions about “God’s” competence.

Perhaps “God” is able but not willing to prevent evil.   This would mean “God” is malevolent.

Perhaps “God” is not omniscient, not able and not willing.  Then why call it “God”?
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #49 on: August 01, 2014, 03:39:49 PM »
I think, aside from the aforementioned "existance" question, this topic is rather strange.  Usually theists get all bent out of shape when atheists judge god ("I'd have done things this way").  Here Luk is *asking* us to do it.  I have no idea what his point in even asking this is.
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #50 on: August 02, 2014, 06:42:15 AM »
Sometime evil is the source of greater good.
For example : During the second world war we had to kill in order to preserve the freedom.
Should have God intervene? How? Why this time and not the other times?
Look, according to your mythology, your god has had all the time in the universe to get his act together.

If he has not got it right by now, he's never going to, is he?

Moreover, why are you asking this question? Are you hoping to give your god a bit of advice - straighten him out a little?

This is how god works: (It's complex, so pay attention)
He does absolutely nothing.
You die
That's it.


This explains Yahweh's reasoning: http://www.biblen.info/Galleri/Billede.php?navn=viz-supergod-1

And yet the gullible and superstitious public give $Millions weekly, by way of a stupidity tax, to people who tell stories about him. -> I call that a commercial success and your god (or at least his shamans) is not in need of any of your advice.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2014, 06:45:22 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #51 on: August 02, 2014, 07:43:04 PM »
"how should"...god do anything, are we work shopping/ focus group  gods policies. we gonna fax him our recommendations.

luk just loves to hear / read atheists say  the word god out loud, in luk's mind if we are discussing yaweh and saying god this, god that then by default we are all agreeing that the thing we are discussing must exists in order to discuss it...in luk's mind.

as for WWII what about the freedom we denied the Aryan race and the Japanese imperialists?
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #52 on: August 02, 2014, 07:46:06 PM »
"how should"...god do anything, are we work shopping/ focus group  gods policies. we gonna fax him our recommendations.

luk just loves to hear / read atheists say  the word god out loud, in luk's mind if we are discussing yaweh and saying god this, god that then by default we are all agreeing that the thing we are discussing must exists in order to discuss it...in luk's mind.

as for WWII what about the freedom we denied the Aryan race and the Japanese imperialists?
FOOL don't you know God sides with the victors.......well most of the time
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #53 on: August 03, 2014, 11:59:10 AM »
Some of you are really stuck with the existence of God eh?

How would you suggest we go about discussing the intervention policy of a non-existent god?  I for one think it's high time Santa Claus did something about climate change.  After all, it's gonna be his little workshop that ends up in the drink when the ice caps melt!
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #54 on: August 03, 2014, 12:22:09 PM »
Sure.  We're assuming that there's a God.  We're assuming he loves us.  We're assuming he's all powerful.  We're assuming that he wants us to obey him without taking away free will.  We're assuming he wants as many people as possible to choose his ways.

Correct any of those if I'm wrong?

Here's what I think a God with those characteristics should do.  You asked us to speculate so...

1 - Show yourself clearly and without question to all men, that you exist, and that you're GOOD.
i.e. Don't do things like get mad and drown the whole world or tell Moses to have his soldiers rape virgins.

2 - Once everyone is satisfied that you exist and created them, explain how you've created us to benefit when we follow your will.
i.e. Good companies have incentive plans for good employees as well as consequences for bad ones.

3 - This means that awful things would not happen equally to great people and awful people.

4 - The world would not be designed as if natural selection created everything here now... it wouldn't be "dog eat dog" but we'd all live a more collegiate life, enjoying stimulating pursuits and discussion rather than grinding our fingers to the bone chasing rare resources that are hogged by a rare few.

5 - Things that were obviously, objectively wrong or sinful would not be biologically possible.   Two guys couldn't physically "do" each other if homosexuality is a sin, and they also wouldn't be born with those urges or genetic tendencies.

6 - God would actually help to bring couples together.   If a couple prayed about whether they had a good chance to make it work, God would let them know that, if they treat each other well, they're a good fit (or not).

7 - People would not have biological urges to cheat.   God would make it so "happy chemicals" came from our brain not just during the first rush of dating, but when you found a lifelong mate, and you'd feel that excitement even 20 years later.

8 - Since God would have created more resources, and resources that didn't cause problems when you mine or work them, life would, in general, be easier.

9 - Children would never be born with birth defects, retardation, cancer, or anything else like that.  If you get pregnant, you're going to have a healthy baby.

10 - People could still sin or hurt each other, but in less serious ways...  there'd be nobody born with the brain of a serial killer, for example... and when people made bad choices, it'd clearly reflect that they're getting less direction and blessing from God.    Like, if I stop making money for my company, I don't get a bonus... maybe I get laid off, and have to renew my efforts at a new place.

BONUS - The parts of the brain that develop emotional maturity and empathy would develop stronger and sooner in everyone.  Since we would not have evolved "battling to survive" with "everything" for millions of years, we'd be less warlike, less greedy, less vengeful, more caring.   Perhaps people would have fewer babies, or not be able to have them if they couldn't bring them into a good home.

When "bad things happened" they really would have reasons.

Because of this resource rich, mature, less "survival oriented" creation would promote things like creating art, physical fitness, caring for each other, caring for the elderly... God, would be that kind of "boss you want to follow" because he leads by example, he's patient and strong and will stop and teach you in solid, memorable, real ways.

There's no good way to sum it up too shortly but, kind hearted people playing the SIMs video game do better in terms of creating a utopia.

So there still would be aging and pain and hurt and suffering, but it'd be the kind that isn't life-shattering and faith-shattering.

A child might fail a test or lose a friend, or break an arm climbing a tree, and learn from that...

But a child would not be gang raped by African Muslim Warlords.

Does that make sense?
Yes. Thank you for sharing with us. I hope more will follow your lead :)
I Have a follow up question. If you look at your closest Catholic church gathering. Are they intervening in the world? Is their intervention close to the points you are underlining?
I mean, let's take 1 2 3 and suppose that God can only act upon this world through humans who freely accept him
1. That's already a fact for most if not all of these believers, no? They have seen God clearly and without question and believe that God exist, and that He's GOOD. Right?
2."Once everyone is satisfied that you exist and created them, explain how you've created us to benefit when we follow your will." Don't they have the Bible and the priest to help them understand the why of their existence and the why it is good to follow Christ?
3. "This means that awful things would not happen equally to great people and awful people." Is it somewhat different in this group, I mean did you meet some "great people" from the group that had awful things happen to them AND awful people that had great things happen to them?
I remember this woman who's testimony was that the worst thing that happen to her was also the source of her strength in life (with God).

In conclusion. Wouldn't all what you say/ask be true if all the world were Catholic?
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #55 on: August 03, 2014, 05:05:32 PM »
if all the world was catholic and acted like the clergy, hide your kids.
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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #56 on: August 04, 2014, 09:19:02 AM »
Quote
Yes. Thank you for sharing with us. I hope more will follow your lead :)
I Have a follow up question. If you look at your closest Catholic church gathering. Are they intervening in the world? Is their intervention close to the points you are underlining?

The Catholic Church, other Christian Churches, other volunteer charities, and non-believing charitable organizations are intervening in the world.  I do that myself by helping out an adoption charity.   However these organizations don't "clearly prove god"... I'm not to my knowledge, acting on God's behalf and I do good things.

Quote
I mean, let's take 1 2 3 and suppose that God can only act upon this world through humans who freely accept him
1. That's already a fact for most if not all of these believers, no? They have seen God clearly and without question and believe that God exist, and that He's GOOD. Right?

I don't think most believers, or any believers, see God clearly and without question.  They all claim to have a personal relationship with God but when it comes down to it, "God" doesn't tell them anything that they can't think to themselves, just like me.  Prayers don't have any effect, and the supposed proven miracles of the Catholic Church are really odd things like a vial of blood that supposedly transmutes from solid to liquid form but nobody can touch it.   I said something about a "clear message"  even if we gave you that a few hundred years ago, a saint supposedly flew, what's the message?  And do you honestly believe a guy flew?

Quote
2."Once everyone is satisfied that you exist and created them, explain how you've created us to benefit when we follow your will." Don't they have the Bible and the priest to help them understand the why of their existence and the why it is good to follow Christ?

Historically it takes church leaders to sort of do the mental gymnastics it takes to justify the Bible to the masses.  You have to do some back flips.  In your case, you mostly dismiss the Old Testament as morality stories and not "this stuff actually happened" so, you're more grounded in reality than some.

I agree with you that what ministers and priests try to do is cherry pick some good stuff from the Bible and try to apply it to our lives today so that people walk out of church feeling a little less likely to run each other over.  I question why those people lack empathy in the first place, but, there are some good messages in churches.  That doesn't convince me that these messages come from God.

Luk.  My view is that we just get this one life, and nothing comes after, so, if I can help someone else's life be better, or at least not make it worse, I feel morally obligated to help within reason.  (I'm not going to sell all my stuff and give away the money, but I will help where and when I can.)   When you see someone acting like a jerk, it's always good to take a minute and try to see if you can reason out why they might be acting like a jerk... empathy...

That message above isn't bad right?   But I'm not delivering it on God's behalf?   Or is God tricking me into being a moral atheist who acts on his behalf while claiming he doesn't exist?    That's a stretch isn't it?

So good messages can exist without intent from a god, unless you think what I said above is evil?

Quote
3. "This means that awful things would not happen equally to great people and awful people." Is it somewhat different in this group, I mean did you meet some "great people" from the group that had awful things happen to them AND awful people that had great things happen to them?
I remember this woman who's testimony was that the worst thing that happen to her was also the source of her strength in life (with God).

I agree that people can take something traumatic that happened to them and try to turn it into something positive and make the best of it.  The other option is to fall into depression and some people do that too.  However, if it's a "good thing" to be raped or have a child die or have a leg blown off, why not do those things for everyone?   Would you like to have a leg blown off so you can be a better person?

Would it be good for a parent to punch their child in the face and break their nose so that the child can grow up never wanting to do that to their own kids?

The thing is, good and bad things happen to most people in a random fashion.  I'm fine with that.   But it makes little sense, if there's a god planning this stuff, that a dictator like Kim Jong Il can have children, a relatively long life, riches, women (in spite of looking like humpty dumpty), etc.   And a whore using, crack smoking football player can be paid millions to catch touchdowns, while some people get 99.99% bad because they were born in another country under warlords.

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In conclusion. Wouldn't all what you say/ask be true if all the world were Catholic?

Obviously if all the world were Catholic, there'd be some reason why everyone agrees that the Catholic view of religion was correct, other than just a hunch.   So if God provided less reasons to be skeptical, and more reasons to believe, and more reasons to believe that your church was correct in it's teachings, then, yeah, that'd cover my points.

But if all the world was Catholic with no good reason to believe, it would probably be a better world just because Catholics are more modern and less fanatical than, say Islam or evangelicals.   But there'd still be no reason to believe in prayer or god or whatever... because the world would function exactly as it does now.

Catholics would still lie, steal, cheat on their wives, drink and worse, in the same proportion as everyone else does now.   The divorce rate would stay largely the same since Catholics are better than evangelicals but worse than atheists.

I guess the bonus would be less religious warfare all over the world, same as if the world was atheists... otherwise, I don't see a huge benefit?

There's just as much good in the Catholic Church and just as much bad in the Catholic Church as with any other well intended organization.   Which is nice that you're trying, but to me, doesn't prove that it's the "one way to go".

You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline Lukvance

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Re: How should God intervene against evil? Should it be systematic?
« Reply #57 on: August 04, 2014, 04:31:59 PM »
YRM_DM You have many question. Most of them, we seem to agree. The implied response would be mine.
My point was really the last question : Wouldn't all what you say/ask be true if all the world were Catholic?
All before was examples of what an all Catholic world would look like.
Most of us Catholic are such because God gave us more than enough reasons to believe in him. Each catholic I know "met" God in a different manner and received proof of his existence of different manner. Even if I've met some young catholic that were just following their parents teachings, I had the same people give testimony to us some years later on how God "really spoke" to them.

I really love the fact that some Atheist have empathy and love at the center of their lives instead of themselves. I understand why God is not needed by them. I believe that a world with only those kind of Atheists and Catholics will be a world where God intervene against evil, systematically. I believe that these types of Atheist are following the Catholic church teachings/values. Last time, I asked a friend what Good value do you find "in the world" that you don't find "in the Catholic Church". She couldn't find any.

Unfortunately for us, we are not enough to make the whole world like "us" mainly because we don't want to force people to be like us. We tried to force the people and realized that the result wasn't the one expected. (and when I say We I mean "good" Atheists and Catholics)

In conclusion. God does intervene against evil through Catholics.
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