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Main Discussion Zone => General Religious Discussion => Topic started by: Ron Jeremy on July 04, 2013, 03:11:53 PM

Title: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 04, 2013, 03:11:53 PM
Hi folks. A good few years ago I started to really look into the idea of Christian Bible god as maybe something I should get into (social life seemed quite full, free wine and I'm really interested how everything came to be). Although I read the bible and talked with Christians, I also read Dawkins and Hitchens, plus sites like this, and rather quickly agreed fully with the atheist point of view.

My question to you is about evil and the responses to theists as to why it exists. As I understand it, Moral Evil (murder, etc) is allowed by god because of free will (I realise this theist argument only gives free will to the murderer, not the murdered), natural evil (earth quakes, etc) and gratuitous evil (child falls down a well, body not found for a year, obviously the child suffered terribly before death). A common defence of natural and gratuitous evil by theists is that god allows it because it 'builds character'.

Am I correct in thinking that Christians are split into those that believe the bible literally, that therefore if you believe in Genesis all evil in the world resulted from Adam and Eve's fall from grace and it does not build character? God built humans perfectly with our character inbuilt? Therefore evil does not have to exist?
And on the other hand, theists that accept the universe is 15 odd billion years old, evolution did happen, Adam and Eve are just stories and that evil has to exist to give us character because god was unable to include this in our make up?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: The Gawd on July 04, 2013, 03:57:00 PM
I think a infinitely small number of people actually believe.You can tell by what happens when "belief" crosses paths with practicality. For example, even people that tell you they believe in Jesus' power to heal have medical insurance, which makes no sense if you are a believer; either Jesus wants you healed or sick, medicine undermines either Jesus' power or wants. Now the true believers are the ones that allow their children to die, refusing healthcare.... or theyre sadistic.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 04, 2013, 03:59:32 PM
<snip>
Now the true believers are the ones that allow their children to die, refusing healthcare.... or theyre sadistic.

Why not both? At least one study[1] has found that fundies tend to be less empathetic than non-fundies. More than that; theists in general are less empathetic than atheists.
 1. http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/04/30/religionandgenerosity/
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 04, 2013, 04:21:21 PM
I end up debating a lot with some family friends that are Christian fundamentalists (young earth, talking in tongues, that sort of stuff) and am constantly looking for angles to help them out of their (in my opinion) delusions. I admit also that I've become a bit of a ferocious atheist now.

Religious folks seem to have divine knowledge about god's existence, how he has always existed, how he is outside of time and space, how his nature prevents him from doing bad things, how to interpret his word in the bible etc, (How can they possibly know this stuff??), but when it comes to gratuitous evil, suddenly 'we are not privvy to god's plan.'

It would seem to me that believers are making this stuff up as they go along?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 04, 2013, 04:23:14 PM
Foisting the reasons for "evil" off on ones religious past, and neer-do-well garden dwellers, is a great way to avoid personal responsibility and other actual causes.

That which we label as evil is a range of human behaviors that are inevitable via biological, cultural, social, mental, genetic and other actual causes. But religion permits a generic condemnation of anything seemingly bad, without having to go to the trouble of figuring out if there might be other reasons than some chickie disobeyed their god. Toss in the ensuing existence of death, and you've got 90% of the crap on this earth covered without having to conjure up a single thought.

Earthquakes and tornados and such take a minor amount of rationalizing to fit into such a world view. Probably two or three seconds worth. Then it is all covered.

How they manage to both simplify and complicate life with one silly concept is beyond me. I, for one, would think they would have put a little work into it just to make it sound more, you know, realistic. But I guess I'm not surprised that people who accept that there was a talking snake will also accept a lot of other BS as well.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Quesi on July 04, 2013, 04:53:29 PM
Well I think that the two kinds of "evil" that you describe are just completely unrelated. 

We know how hurricanes form, and we know why earthquakes happen and we know (or learn) how deadly diseases spread.  The victims are not victims of evil.  They were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Accidents?  The kid who fell down the well, the tween who swam was on a beach vacation with her family for the 4th of July who got swept out to sea and died, the family in the SUV who got sideswiped by a sleep deprived truck driver and all perished, these are harder to accept.  We all wish we had DONE SOMETHING to prevent the events.  We relive the events in our minds, and rehearse changing one little thing, and erasing the event from history.  But we can't. 

Human "evil?"  Well.  There is certainly mental illness.  Those who have no respect for the value of life, or those who derive joy from causing pain in others.  There is greed.  (Waving at Junebug).  There is ambivalence.  Sometimes I think that is the worst.  The bankers who focus on the bottom line rather than the families who are losing their homes.  The consumers who are vaguely aware of the fact that child labor is responsible for many of the items in their home,  but who convince themselves that the children who are putting in 14 hour days in garment factories are not like OUR children.  And then there are the damaged people, whose pain is so huge that they don't even realize that causing pain in others is not the way thing should be.  The solution?  For just about everything but the most serious mental illness is empathy.  We need to really put ourselves in the position of others to understand that harm that we cause.  And we all cause harm. 

Sometimes "evil" is subjective.  There are "evils" committed by one faction against another faction.  .  That "evil" clan is stealing our water and our hunting grounds and if they keep doing it the people I love are going to die, so I have no choice but to kill them.  And the survivors of the massacre can attest to the evil committed by the murderers.  The loved ones of the Iraqis who died when the US went in to liberate them find little comfort in ideology that brought the foreign troops.   

Again, the solution, in my humble opinion, is empathy.   Not religion.  Not a god who is going to make everything ok.  Just empathy.   

Oh!  And welcome to the forums.  We look forward to hearing more about your beliefs and life experiences and sharing banter with you. 
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Nick on July 04, 2013, 04:58:57 PM
<snip>
Now the true believers are the ones that allow their children to die, refusing healthcare.... or theyre sadistic.

Why not both? At least one study[1] has found that fundies tend to be less empathetic than non-fundies. More than that; theists in general are less empathetic than atheists.
 1. http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/04/30/religionandgenerosity/
As evident by the ones we get here from time to time telling us how they will be smiling looking down on us in hell at the end...but they do love us or Jesus does or both.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Nick on July 04, 2013, 05:00:44 PM
I end up debating a lot with some family friends that are Christian fundamentalists (young earth, talking in tongues, that sort of stuff) and am constantly looking for angles to help them out of their (in my opinion) delusions. I admit also that I've become a bit of a ferocious atheist now.

Religious folks seem to have divine knowledge about god's existence, how he has always existed, how he is outside of time and space, how his nature prevents him from doing bad things, how to interpret his word in the bible etc, (How can they possibly know this stuff??), but when it comes to gratuitous evil, suddenly 'we are not privvy to god's plan.'

It would seem to me that believers are making this stuff up as they go along?
You mean they have not tried to save you with a  ridding of the demon possession ritual?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 04, 2013, 05:18:48 PM
Sorry old boy, these fundamentalists are from dear old England, don't think even they go in for demonic possession! ;)

Quesi, thanks for replying. The type of evil I think is indefensible by theists is gratuitous evil. The kid in the well? God could snuff out her life as soon as she fell. But the finger scrapes on the well wall show she was alive. She will be found dead either in a day or a decade. How can any plan demand this? How can anyone benefit from this?

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Nick on July 04, 2013, 09:03:01 PM
Sorry old boy, these fundamentalists are from dear old England, don't think even they go in for demonic possession! ;)

Quesi, thanks for replying. The type of evil I think is indefensible by theists is gratuitous evil. The kid in the well? God could snuff out her life as soon as she fell. But the finger scrapes on the well wall show she was alive. She will be found dead either in a day or a decade. How can any plan demand this? How can anyone benefit from this?
Most of us here know the answer to that.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 05, 2013, 03:50:49 AM
Yep, I know the answer to it as well. I'm interested in how theists reconcile this with a loving god. The theists I debate with simply don't answer the question or reply with the lame 'we can't know god's plan', whilst in the same breath telling me all the things that they absolutely know about god.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 05, 2013, 06:09:30 AM
Actually, I don't think it's quite that cut and dried for 'gratuitous' evil.  Take the example of the girl falling in the well.  If her life were snuffed out as soon as she fell down, then it would eliminate any chance of her being rescued.  I think that would be the theist reasoning, anyway.

To elaborate on ParkingPlaces's point, I once reviewed every one of the "seven deadly sins", and came to the conclusion that they were simply describing behaviors that needed to exist for humans to survive, but that are excessive.  For example, lust is necessary so that there will be children to carry on the population, but the 'sin' is being excessive about it.  Same with greed, sloth, and so on - all of them represent excesses of behaviors that are absolutely necessary.  The greedy person isn't just normally greedy, they're greedy to the point where it hurts others; the slothful person isn't just normally lazy, they're slothful to the point where they don't take part in work or other human activities; etc.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 05, 2013, 08:13:52 AM
Hi Jamie, nope sorry can't agree with you on that one. An all knowing god already knows she will not be rescued. He's the only one that knows where she is, he watches her suffer and die.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 05, 2013, 08:34:43 AM
Gotta point out, Ron, that every aspect of any "god" we envision is entirely made up, given that there aren't any. The little girl in the well question, one with which nearly all humans can empathize with and wonder about, is reality getting in the way of religion, and given that all religion is made up, then all answers with a religious bent have to be as well.

So as you and jaimehlers try to make up various rationals for why a god would leave a kid in a well to die a horrible death, it is you as humans, trying to imagine the deity version, coming up with different very human justifications. It is not a discussion about actual gods and their morality. So like most other human questions, differences as to what a god would do will arise, because there is nothing real about the inquiry at hand.

Even people who believe that there is a god disagree about the specifics, hence multiple (in the tens of thousands) denominations and individual variations. Don't be surprised that those of us who don't believe can't therefore improve the answer quality, even when we know better.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 05, 2013, 09:18:35 AM
Hi ParkingPlaces, I have no belief in any god, fairy or pixie. In a real situation of the little girl in the well, I know its just a tragic accident, no gods exist to watch her. I was just interested in how believers justify their god(s) allowance of this type of obscenity. It's also a scenario I'm going to put to my religiously deluded family members, I'd just like to hear how other theists explain this. I'm hoping of course that there are theists reading this!
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 05, 2013, 09:45:47 AM
Hi ParkingPlaces, I have no belief in any god, fairy or pixie. In a real situation of the little girl in the well, I know its just a tragic accident, no gods exist to watch her. I was just interested in how believers justify their god(s) allowance of this type of obscenity. It's also a scenario I'm going to put to my religiously deluded family members, I'd just like to hear how other theists explain this. I'm hoping of course that there are theists reading this!

While it is true that certain types of suffering can build character, that is not why God allows evil.  God allows evil because mankind chooses not to obey him and he is allowing it to be demonstrated that mankind has need of him.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Quesi on July 05, 2013, 10:22:12 AM
Hi ParkingPlaces, I have no belief in any god, fairy or pixie. In a real situation of the little girl in the well, I know its just a tragic accident, no gods exist to watch her. I was just interested in how believers justify their god(s) allowance of this type of obscenity. It's also a scenario I'm going to put to my religiously deluded family members, I'd just like to hear how other theists explain this. I'm hoping of course that there are theists reading this!

While it is true that certain types of suffering can build character, that is not why God allows evil.  God allows evil because mankind chooses not to obey him and he is allowing it to be demonstrated that mankind has need of him.

May I ask for a point of clarification here Jstwebbrowsing?  You are saying that your god allowed this child to fall in the well because "mankind chooses not to obey him?"  And to build upon Ron's example, the fact that the child lived and suffered a long time before dying is just god emphasizing his point about how pissed off he is because "mankind chooses not to obey him?"
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 05, 2013, 10:34:12 AM
Hi ParkingPlaces, I have no belief in any god, fairy or pixie. In a real situation of the little girl in the well, I know its just a tragic accident, no gods exist to watch her. I was just interested in how believers justify their god(s) allowance of this type of obscenity. It's also a scenario I'm going to put to my religiously deluded family members, I'd just like to hear how other theists explain this. I'm hoping of course that there are theists reading this!

While it is true that certain types of suffering can build character, that is not why God allows evil.  God allows evil because mankind chooses not to obey him and he is allowing it to be demonstrated that mankind has need of him.

May I ask for a point of clarification here Jstwebbrowsing?  You are saying that your god allowed this child to fall in the well because "mankind chooses not to obey him?"  And to build upon Ron's example, the fact that the child lived and suffered a long time before dying is just god emphasizing his point about how pissed off he is because "mankind chooses not to obey him?"

No not at all.  I think to understand it one must consider the story of the Prodigal Son.  Once he left the protection of his father the son suffered many things.  The father was not responsible for his suffering nor was he espected to prevent it.  The father's protection was always available as the son was free to return at any time.  Mankind is like that Prodigal Son.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 05, 2013, 10:43:03 AM
But how does that apply to a three year old girl trapped at the bottom of a well, suffering a long painful death over many days, no witnesses, no one to have their character built by witnessing it?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 05, 2013, 10:46:17 AM
To use the father analogy; yes I can understand letting an adult child make a mistake and learn from it; but an infant?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 05, 2013, 11:00:50 AM
I think I get what you're trying to say JWB; as a father you let your adult child make their mistakes and live by them; fair enough. But you also allow your three year old granddaughter to suffer without limit because your feckless son has become, say, a heroin addict. As a non-believer, I genuinely cannot understand how or why theists would try to defend their god when the god takes this position.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 05, 2013, 11:22:59 AM
Hi Jamie, nope sorry can't agree with you on that one. An all knowing god already knows she will not be rescued. He's the only one that knows where she is, he watches her suffer and die.
I'd say until we figure out what qualities a god-like being would actually have, rather than the ones that humans believe it must have, there's no way we could really figure out how such a being would react to the "girl in a well" problem.

Take the all-knowing property you just mentioned.  I don't think that's possible on a universal scale, or even on a galaxy-wide scale.  It might be feasible on a planetary scale, but it would have to have sufficient sensory capacity to cover the entire surface of a planet (including all the various nooks and crannies on it), as well as be able to collate all that data into useful information rather than noise.  It would take something on the level of a quantum supercomputer to be able to manage that level of information, and then you have the question of whether it has the ability to affect matters - to let people know that a child just fell into a well, or to take matters into its own hand and either rescue or kill the child itself.  And then you have the question of morality.

This isn't really relevant to the question you're asking theists, but I thought it might be interesting to read.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 05, 2013, 11:37:08 AM
I must say that I wince every time I hear words like "evil" or "sin" or "spiritual".  They are inherently religious/supernatural terms, and I feel that they increase the level of fog.

If one accepts that there is no god, no afterlife, no spirits, no devil, then there's no such thing as "evil".  We humans simply have a rather massive graduated range of behaviour, from highly productive, positive, loving, compassionate etc, to destructive, negative, hateful and deleterious.  That is all.  All fully explained in natural terms.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 05, 2013, 12:11:03 PM
All fully explained in natural terms.
Not just fully, but simply.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 05, 2013, 12:36:16 PM
Hi ParkingPlaces, I have no belief in any god, fairy or pixie. In a real situation of the little girl in the well, I know its just a tragic accident, no gods exist to watch her. I was just interested in how believers justify their god(s) allowance of this type of obscenity. It's also a scenario I'm going to put to my religiously deluded family members, I'd just like to hear how other theists explain this. I'm hoping of course that there are theists reading this!

While it is true that certain types of suffering can build character, that is not why God allows evil.  God allows evil because mankind chooses not to obey him and he is allowing it to be demonstrated that mankind has need of him.

This is cute and all, but it explains nothing. I am 62 (almost). I have not suffered. Not diddly. I have not been seriously injured, seriously ill, seriously lost in the wilderness with bears on my ass, I have not been robbed, raped, run over, rankled or ruined. I've been an atheist for 50 of those years, and if there were a god big on suffering, I would think he would have tweaked reality a bit and given me cancer, gotten me paralyzed in a car wreck, had my leg cut off, or something, so that I too could suffer in a way similar to the raped little girl or the child paralyzed when drunk daddy gets in a wreck, or someone shot by a jealous husband, or something. But nooooooo, he's left me alone.

And suffering in others. Why is it that one of the baddest people I ever met died instantly when shot by police in a standoff situation, while my aunt, who is quite honestly the sweetest, gentlest person on the planet, who I am sure has never even said the word "darn" or thought one bad thought about another human being, has suffered from Parkinsons Disease for over 25 years. It should have killed her long ago, but she just keeps on ticking. (My aunt is religious, by the way).

So if suffering is so good for us, why is it distributed so unevenly by your god? Why did my friend Judy, very very religious, loose one son via a bee sting and anaphylactic shock, her daughter in a car wreck, have her brother shoot her parents to death over a girlfriend issue (a girl that she introduced her brother to). And she is one of the most religious people I know, and was religious before any of this happened. While little old me, denier of any god whatsoever, with my healthy kids and my non-trauma filled life, have had none of that.

If you can explain, using the "god wants us to suffer" thing, why there are such huge discrepancies in the level of suffering, I would appreciated it. If suffering is for our benefit, and the luck of the draw can keep one from suffering, or plunge on into incredible physical and emotional pain, at random, then is that fair? By fair, I mean my NOT suffering. I'm not getting the full benefit of your god's love and empathy because I've never even had broken a wrist. I'm not getting to learn anything about forsaking him, because I'm not suffering as a consequence. I'm just putting along while 19 young firefighters are dying in the southwest, girls are getting critically inured in hang gliding accidents, people are dying on their tractor in a 4th of July parade, others lost limbs to firecrackers. And certainly, during the last few days, some soldiers in Afghanistan have been killed or injured, etc.

Now if you look at it as a "law of averages" thing, it all makes sense. Without a heavenly force behind the good and the bad in this world, the disparity falls into line with reality quite quickly. Without a god, the various degrees of suffering available to us humans will, because shit happens at various levels, be unequally distributed. There will be good people who suffer hardly at all, and others who have to spend a couple years in rehab after being burned over 80% of their body. There will be bad people who die of old age, in their sleep, never having been sick or injured or otherwise inconvenienced a single day of their life.

Suffering distributed unfairly and without regard to anything but happenstance is a crap-ass lesson, because nothing is learned from it. Suffering that just happens because life contains some, and living beings experience some, well, that makes more sense. About a trillion times more sense.

Suffering and other woes happen. If you want to foist it off on a loving god and his lax oversight in such things, go right ahead. Just make sure you never ask "why" when someone you know or hear about either suffers when they shouldn't or doesn't' suffer when they should. Because otherwise you might start suffering doubts, and we all know how that might turn out.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 05, 2013, 12:37:05 PM
I use the term 'evil' as an all encompassing word describing bad things that happen. It also appears to be the chosen word when philosophers debate 'bad things that happen'. I know there is no 'evil' force in the world. I know in this case the girl has simply fallen down the well, a tragic accident. Her molecules will never again assemble to make her 'her'. I'm not angry at any god; I lack belief in them.

The reason I ask the question is to find out how theists square this quite simple answer (that bad things unfortunately just happen, that's life) with their belief in an all loving god. Does this scenario not make them question their beliefs?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 05, 2013, 12:47:18 PM
The reason I ask the question is to find out how theists square this quite simple answer (that bad things unfortunately just happen, that's life) with their belief in an all loving god. Does this scenario not make them question their beliefs?

See here:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25142.0.html
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 05, 2013, 10:47:39 PM
Giving the generic label "evil" to all bad things that happen puts a face on the events, because evil requires intent (if one is to believe dictionaries and such) whereas "shit happens" or some other colloquialism puts the disaster in a more useful light.

Of course, when a bad guy does bad guy things and other humans suffer, one can properly label the causing party evil, I guess. It is still generic as hell, and the word itself does not differentiate between a mentally imbalanced bad guy and a really really mean one. Still, at least evil is somewhat appropriate as a generalization. But when an earthquake/tsunami wipes of a quarter million people, nothing evil happened. Terrible? Yes. Such natural events are horrible, scary, destructive, shocking, and at times, too much to bear. But they are not evil.

So as long as the religious can get away with branding all bad things as evil, they get to pretend there was some conscious mechanism behind it, whether there was or not, and they get to continue pretending nefarious causes are behind all events, be they natural or human, local or country-wide. And as long as believers get to control the vocabulary, they will have every reason to think that they have a useful and accurate view of bad things and why they happen.

If we can keep them from making up words to go along with their made up interpretation of what happened, then we have a chance of reaching them. Otherwise, they get to create their own positive-feedback loop and tell themselves that they told themselves. Which makes 'em all giddy.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 06, 2013, 04:21:49 AM
A fair point PP. Just to reiterate, I used the term 'evil' as simply a word to describe bad things that happen in life, it had been used here which is where I picked up on its use;

http://www.iep.utm.edu/evil-evi/

There is no demonic entity causing earthquakes or bad things. As far as the original question, where I've said 'evil' please substitute 'events that inflict harm or suffering on living creatures'. Just that 'evil' was a lot shorter!
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 06, 2013, 07:34:41 AM
But how does that apply to a three year old girl trapped at the bottom of a well, suffering a long painful death over many days, no witnesses, no one to have their character built by witnessing it?

I want to emphasize that all suffering is not character building.  The Bible mentions Christians suffering for doing good.  That is very different from suffering over accidents, and possibly neglect.  Although I hope someone involved learned something so it does not happen again.

Quote from: Ron
To use the father analogy; yes I can understand letting an adult child make a mistake and learn from it; but an infant?

Imagine if the Prodigal son had a young child that he took with him and bad things happened to the child.  Who would be responsible for the suffering of the child?

Of course the father in the story cannot see everything like God can, but the story still applies.

Quote from: Ron
I think I get what you're trying to say JWB; as a father you let your adult child make their mistakes and live by them; fair enough. But you also allow your three year old granddaughter to suffer without limit because your feckless son has become, say, a heroin addict. As a non-believer, I genuinely cannot understand how or why theists would try to defend their god when the god takes this position.

Even as children there were times I let experience teach my children.  Of course I was always there to make sure things could only get so bad before I would step in and shelter them.  I would never let any irrepairable harm come to them.  Of course, with two adult children I am little more than an advice giver.  God is the same.  The only difference is that he's able to let things go further.  What he considers irrepairable harm is different than my definition.

I think one thing that is important to understand is that God does not always deal with us on a one on one basis.  He does to an extent and is a personal God, but he also deals with us as a group, one group.  The good and the bad are both in this group and to a large extent he treats us all the same.  We all get the good and the bad.  This will tie in to my reply to ParkingPlaces.  Please read that reply.

Quote from: ParkingPlaces
So if suffering is so good for us, why is it distributed so unevenly by your god? Why did my friend Judy, very very religious, loose one son via a bee sting and anaphylactic shock, her daughter in a car wreck, have her brother shoot her parents to death over a girlfriend issue (a girl that she introduced her brother to). And she is one of the most religious people I know, and was religious before any of this happened. While little old me, denier of any god whatsoever, with my healthy kids and my non-trauma filled life, have had none of that.

The book of Ecclesiastes contains the answer.  "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."  (Ecc 9:11 ASV)

I really cannot answer it better than that and this is somewhat what affected the child that fell into a well.  We are all in the same boat, the good and the bad.  Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.  When the Bible says "he makes their (his servants) path straight", it does not mean nothing bad will ever happen.  It means they do not have to guess about what is good and what is bad.  That path is straight.

The whole moral of the story is that man thinks he does not need God.  Rather than doing something else God is allowing us to test our "theory".  To an extent God has abandoned us.  Not completely or we would all be without life.  But he is allowing us to fully experience life without his protection.  Man's theory cannot be tested if he places a hedge of protection around us, or even some of us, so that nothing bad happens.  That would corrupt our experiment.

Who can protect us from "time and chance"?  Only God, but man is not in a place where God will offer his protection.  If man wants his protection then man must return to God as the Prodigal Son returned to his father.  The fact that the good suffer in this manner because of the bad only fills up his judgment that is coming upon the earth  -- when mankind finally realizes it's folly.  Unfortunately, the Bible shows this will not occur until it is too late and man is on the brink of extinction.  This is when he will step in and seperate the good from the bad so that the good do not suffer the same fate and save us from extinction.

Those that are left will then fully experience his protection along with the multitudes he resurrects upon the earth that have died in the past, including the child that died in the well.   Man will then have a demonstration of life under God's rule instead of man's.  At the end of this 1000 demonstration, after mankind has been lifted to perfection, final judgment will be rendered and the issue will never be raised again.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: William on July 06, 2013, 08:04:41 AM
When the Bible says "he makes their (his servants) path straight", it does not mean nothing bad will ever happen.  It means they do not have to guess about what is good and what is bad.  That path is straight.

But what about the dead people? The ones that died to make someone else's "path straight"?  Where is their prematurely cut short path leading?
This whole idea does not make sense. It makes God repulsive in the extreme.  That God would engineer a death to create a mere hint - when He could appear in person like he used to in the OT, or send a fucking Angel or something.

An entity that kills people to nudge other people back onto a "path" is as sick as any mass murderer upon whom we'd happily approve a drone strike - certainly not worthy of worship!  :o
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 06, 2013, 08:30:58 AM
So if everyone were to believe in biblegod, earthquakes that kill, tsunamis that drown children would all stop? It really seems to me that if this god existed, he's little more than a cruel monster. Thank goodness he doesn't exist.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 06, 2013, 08:39:13 AM
Quote from: William
But what about the dead people? The ones that died to make someone else's "path straight"?  Where is their prematurely cut short path leading?

To eternal life.

Quote from: William
This whole idea does not make sense. It makes God repulsive in the extreme.  That God would engineer a death to create a mere hint

If I led you to believe that then my answer was not sufficient.  God does not engineer the death of anyone.  It is man that chooses to live seperate from God.

Quote from: William
when He could appear in person like he used to in the OT, or send a fucking Angel or something.

What was the result of him appearing in person or sending angels?  A few benefitted, but the majority did not.  Israel's worship itself was eventually wholly rejected when they killed God's very own son, who came working many miracles.  This argument has already been addressed and there is no need to repeat it.  To know God exists is not sufficient reason to follow him.  Satan knows he exists.

Today he has given us something different.  He has given us the Bible, which is in itself a miracle and worth more than the appearance of an angel and it is something people of old did not possess.  One must only make proper use of it.  In those pages he has promised to fill us with his spirit.  There is nothing worth more than that.  Instead of complaining about what he has not given us, we should first make use of what he has given us. 
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 06, 2013, 08:52:35 AM
Is it the case that theists cannot accept that any event without a human cause can happen without intelligent planning? They have to ascribe a cause to everything, the easiest one being a god? And are atheists simply people that are able to comprehend that events not caused by human beings do not require intelligent planning?

I genuinely cannot understand why theists, including some of my family, cannot understand that a girl falling down a well is simply a tragic accident. The 2004 tsunami was simply an undersea earthquake, nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with human beings not believing in an invisible supernatural being.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 06, 2013, 09:09:05 AM
Today he has given us something different.  He has given us the Bible, which is in itself a miracle and worth more than the appearance of an angel and it is something people of old did not possess.  One must only make proper use of it.  In those pages he has promised to fill us with his spirit.  There is nothing worth more than that.  Instead of complaining about what he has not given us, we should first make use of what he has given us.

Ahh, yet another person hypnotized by a book.  One book.  I respectfully suggest that you take some time to look at the bible in a different fashion (you know - critically).  Please spend some time here (http://www.evilbible.com/), and then tell me if this is the best that a deity can do.  Please don't look at it for 8 seconds as I suspect you might, but really do some reading.



“The Good Book” - one of the most remarkable euphemisms ever coined.  (Ashley Montagu)


Beware of the man of one book.  (Thomas Aquinas)


Much of the Bible or the Quran is just life-destroying gibberish, and we just have to acknowledge this and cease to take these books seriously.  (Sam Harris)


If your holy book gave laws about how to keep slaves, your holy book is disqualified as a source for developing a moral code.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: William on July 06, 2013, 09:26:09 AM
To eternal life.
Wow, so everyone God killed directly or whom God instructed others to kill goes to heaven?  How cool is that as a shortcut to heaven!  :o

Quote
Deuteronomy 7   When the Lord thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

2 And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

Wow, that's seven entire nations straight to heaven.  Lucky buggers for getting in God's way.
Please tell me quickly how I can get God to turn me into a pillar of salt.  To teach others around me not to look back!
Once I'm salt I go straight to heaven, right?
Or get me real close (like lethal) to the scene of an Islamic suicide bombing - a bit more noisy but faster and less thirsty - take me there!!!!!  Teach my child not to entertain Islam and I go straight to heaven, through no fault of my own, for eternity.

If I led you to believe that then my answer was not sufficient.  God does not engineer the death of anyone.  It is man that chooses to live seperate from God.
Ooopsie! I thought you were responding to the comment about the child who died from a bee sting!
Sorry I got it wrong.
But now I don't know what to think  :o

What was the result of him appearing in person or sending angels?  A few benefitted, but the majority did not.  Israel's worship itself was eventually wholly rejected when they killed God's very own son, who came working many miracles.

Funny that it was God's plan to have a little piece of Himself killed, to be the saviour. No bloody wonder God couldn't afford to be convincing enough to the Jews - His plans would've been screwed if Jesus had been convincing enough to be believed by the Jews. 

Today he has given us something different.  He has given us the Bible, which is in itself a miracle and worth more than the appearance of an angel and it is something people of old did not possess.  One must only make proper use of it.  In those pages he has promised to fill us with his spirit.  There is nothing worth more than that.  Instead of complaining about what he has not given us, we should first make use of what he has given us.
Okay fine.  I'll give it a week.  I'll only focus only on the Bible.  I promise.  Here is a start.

Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the God of the New Testament?  If not, what was it about God that changed?

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 06, 2013, 11:04:22 AM
Is it the case that theists cannot accept that any event without a human cause can happen without intelligent planning? They have to ascribe a cause to everything, the easiest one being a god? And are atheists simply people that are able to comprehend that events not caused by human beings do not require intelligent planning?

I genuinely cannot understand why theists, including some of my family, cannot understand that a girl falling down a well is simply a tragic accident. The 2004 tsunami was simply an undersea earthquake, nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with human beings not believing in an invisible supernatural being.

I cannot say for certain but as one having been raised like that I do know that partly it comes from misapplication of scripture.  There are a couple primary ones that come to mind.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning."  (James 1:17 ASV)

"And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28 ASV)

If they ever read that Solomon said "time and chance happen to use all", they're eyes glazed over while reading it or being unable to put the two thoughts together they kept one thought while rejecting the other.  Neither of those scriptures say that God causes everything to happen.

Quote from: Star Stuff
Ahh, yet another person hypnotized by a book.  One book.  I respectfully suggest that you take some time to look at the bible in a different fashion (you know - critically).  Please spend some time here, and then tell me if this is the best that a deity can do.  Please don't look at it for 8 seconds as I suspect you might, but really do some reading.

Some of these things I have already been over in my own studies.  Before considering what is said one must first sift through what is and isn't true.  Here is an example.

Quote
If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father.  Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

What kind of lunatic would make a rape victim marry her attacker?  Answer: God.

All translations do not render this scripture that way.  A more accurate translation reads, "If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found......" (ASV)

The fact that it is not talking about rape is more evident in Exodus 22:16 where the same law is restated.  "If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife." (NIV)

I recommend you approach such web sites with the same critical analysis as you use to approach the Bible.

Quote from: William
Wow, so everyone God killed directly or whom God instructed others to kill goes to heaven?  How cool is that as a shortcut to heaven! 

I apologize.  I misunderstood what you are asking.  I thought you were asking about those that may have died as martyrs.  Everyone that God killed directy has no future.

Quote from: William
Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the God of the New Testament?  If not, what was it about God that changed?

God is the same.  The only difference is that we are bound by the new covenant and not the old covenant.  For example, we do not practice eye for eye justice.  We practice mercy.








Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: William on July 06, 2013, 11:30:34 AM
Quote from: William
Wow, so everyone God killed directly or whom God instructed others to kill goes to heaven?  How cool is that as a shortcut to heaven! 
I apologize.  I misunderstood what you are asking.  I thought you were asking about those that may have died as martyrs.  Everyone that God killed directy has no future.
Bugger!  Okay then.
Oh wait.  "No future" sounds attractive.  So nobody bothers them after they are dead.  Just total peace and quiet? Sounds like heaven to me :)

Quote from: William
Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the God of the New Testament?  If not, what was it about God that changed?

God is the same.  The only difference is that we are bound by the new covenant and not the old covenant.  For example, we do not practice eye for eye justice.  We practice mercy.

Mmmmm.  God is the same but changed His mind about His Terms of Business. So He became wiser?  :?  Isn't that a change?  Or was it just the legal team in heaven that persuaded God to change His covenant?  God stayed the same but His legal advice changed?

As an aside - God/Jesus seems to have changed their MO a bit.  Fewer appearances and miracles compared to the OT.  Okay, maybe a few carefully selected miracles via dead Catholics contending for Sainthood. 

But I digress - back to the Bible as I promised:

Quote
Matthew 5:17-18
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

I don't see where a "New Covenant" fits into that quite definitive legal framework - till the end of the universe!?!?!  :? :police:
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 06, 2013, 01:19:11 PM

Some of these things I have already been over in my own studies.  Before considering what is said one must first sift through what is and isn't true.  Here is an example.

Quote
If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father.  Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

What kind of lunatic would make a rape victim marry her attacker?  Answer: God.

All translations do not render this scripture that way.  A more accurate translation reads, "If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found......" (ASV)

The fact that it is not talking about rape is more evident in Exodus 22:16 where the same law is restated.  "If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife." (NIV)

I recommend you approach such web sites with the same critical analysis as you use to approach the Bible.

Is that it?  That little hermeneutic game of twister is all you have?  In your tissue-thin exercise of special pleading, you have failed to see the entire point, which is:  Are the pages & pages of primitive, barbaric, tribal, patriarchal nonsense really what we should expect from the creator of the universe in his one & only communication to mankind?  Gimme a feekin' break!



All that is necessary, as it seems to me, to convince any reasonable person that the Bible is simply and purely of human invention, of barbarian invention, is to read it.  Read it as you would any other book. Think of it as you would of any other; get the bandage of reverence from your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the cowled form of superstition. Then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness and purity, to be the author of such ignorance and of such atrocity.  (Robert G. Ingersoll)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 06, 2013, 02:11:07 PM
Bugger!  Okay then.
Oh wait.  "No future" sounds attractive.  So nobody bothers them after they are dead.  Just total peace and quiet? Sounds like heaven to me.

That is correct.

"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.  As well their love, as their hatred and their envy, is perished long ago; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun."  (Ecc 9:5-6 ASV)

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die...." (Eze 18:20)

Quote from: William
Mmmmm.  God is the same but changed His mind about His Terms of Business. So He became wiser?    Isn't that a change?  Or was it just the legal team in heaven that persuaded God to change His covenant?  God stayed the same but His legal advice changed?

As an aside - God/Jesus seems to have changed their MO a bit.  Fewer appearances and miracles compared to the OT.  Okay, maybe a few carefully selected miracles via dead Catholics contending for Sainthood. 

But I digress - back to the Bible as I promised:

 Matthew 5:17-18
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

I don't see where a "New Covenant" fits into that quite definitive legal framework - till the end of the universe!?!?!

Here you are still scratching the surface.  I've not said the law has been destroyed.  Jesus did not destroy it but he did do something to it.  He fulfilled it, or in other words he completed it.  Since the old covenant was complete a new one was made.  The law still serves a purpose and it forever will, but the old covenant is over.

Quote from: StarStuff
Are the pages & pages of primitive, barbaric, tribal, patriarchal nonsense really what we should expect from the creator of the universe in his one & only communication to mankind?  Gimme a feekin' break!

That is all you see because you are stuck at the surface and prefer to believe any slander leveled against it.  Truth lies beneath the surface, and unlike human reasoning that is here today and different tomorrow, truth does not change.  The Bible is true because all of it's principles are infallible, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 06, 2013, 02:42:39 PM
That is all you see because you are stuck at the surface and prefer to believe any slander leveled against it.

No, I am not "stuck at the surface".  I was just like you for 25 years; a "true believer".  I used to make all the same excuses and rationalizations that you are employing here.  So I'm quite familiar with "belief", and what it does to the mind; it turns it to stone.


Quote
Truth lies beneath the surface, and unlike human reasoning that is here today and different tomorrow, truth does not change.

And yet what you fail to appreciate is that christianity has changed so much over time that the christianity that you think & feel is the "one true" perspective would be unrecognizable if you were transported back in time.  Christianity has bent, conformed and modified itself due to the pressures of modernity, reason and secular values.


Quote
The Bible is true because all of it's principles are infallible, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

It's principles?  Which ones?  And please outline how those principles were nonexistent for all of humanity for 100's of thousands of years around the globe until the bible showed up.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 06, 2013, 02:48:10 PM
Quote from: ParkingPlaces
So if suffering is so good for us, why is it distributed so unevenly by your god? Why did my friend Judy, very very religious, loose one son via a bee sting and anaphylactic shock, her daughter in a car wreck, have her brother shoot her parents to death over a girlfriend issue (a girl that she introduced her brother to). And she is one of the most religious people I know, and was religious before any of this happened. While little old me, denier of any god whatsoever, with my healthy kids and my non-trauma filled life, have had none of that.

The book of Ecclesiastes contains the answer.  "I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all."  (Ecc 9:11 ASV)

Lucky you. Even the bible says it will happen by chance, over time, and so even though bad things appear random, they are not. Or something like that.

But random appears random to me. On top of that, science can explain and even predict that there will always (under current geological conditions) be more and bigger earthquakes in California and Japan than in Europe and western Africa, and medicine can, if you get to the doctor on time, save a person stung by a bee, all of this is nonetheless just random stuff allowed by god to confirm his or her existence. So while the randomness is allowed by god, and visible to people, it is god blessed and we just have to live with it.

Or it is random, but can be made to look otherwise by people who really really need it not to be truly random. Which is what I assume is closer to the truth.

Quote
I really cannot answer it better than that and this is somewhat what affected the child that fell into a well.  We are all in the same boat, the good and the bad.  Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.  When the Bible says "he makes their (his servants) path straight", it does not mean nothing bad will ever happen.  It means they do not have to guess about what is good and what is bad.  That path is straight.

The whole moral of the story is that man thinks he does not need God.  Rather than doing something else God is allowing us to test our "theory".  To an extent God has abandoned us.  Not completely or we would all be without life.  But he is allowing us to fully experience life without his protection.  Man's theory cannot be tested if he places a hedge of protection around us, or even some of us, so that nothing bad happens.  That would corrupt our experiment.

Okay, let me get this straight. I think that there is no god (which I assume translates into christian speak as "I think I do not need god). And your god is allowing me to test that theory by not letting a single serious bad thing happen to me my whole life. Now of course I ain't dead yet, so he still has a few weeks, but JC's pop is running out of time here, and as I go through life fully experiencing it without his protection, and as I get through it just fine, that is proof positive that I need him how?

Well, either his standards are low or mine are too high or something. But it ain't working. I know it doesn't do any good to complain to you, so I'll go straight to the big guy. Hey, god, if you are there, do something horrible to me so I can come to understand how much you love me and how much you care about me not only now but throughout all of infinity.

Of course, if you're not there, never mind.

Quote
Who can protect us from "time and chance"?  Only God, but man is not in a place where God will offer his protection.  If man wants his protection then man must return to God as the Prodigal Son returned to his father.  The fact that the good suffer in this manner because of the bad only fills up his judgment that is coming upon the earth  -- when mankind finally realizes it's folly.  Unfortunately, the Bible shows this will not occur until it is too late and man is on the brink of extinction.  This is when he will step in and seperate the good from the bad so that the good do not suffer the same fate and save us from extinction.

So in the meantime, since we aren't yet on the brink (I know, I know, we're like, you know, really really close to the brink), so close you can almost taste it, but we're not on the brink yet, and my friend Judy has gone through all kinds of hell while waiting. Time and chance and mucked up her life and her happiness in multitudinous ways while I've sailed through unscathed by all the hard work your god has put into testing us. And I, while waiting and not even knowing it because I'm a not a believer, have just been bored silly while waiting for something I don't think I'm waiting for.

A vegan bitch (we still have them, by the way) in the garden tasted the wrong fruit and suddenly all humankind is guilty of being class A sinners. And for 6,000 years we have sat around follyizing ourselves (except me, of course, because things have gone too well for me to notice) and any day now JC will pop back into existence, fix it up nice for the good guys and toss me and other disbelievers/sinners/wrong religionists into the frying pan of reality, because he loves us so frickin' much. So instead of not experiencing his protection (and getting along fine) I will experience his deliberate non-protection because I should have known that, things going well and all that, that I was cruising for a bruising, because nothing happened to me.

I think I've almost got it.

Quote
Those that are left will then fully experience his protection along with the multitudes he resurrects upon the earth that have died in the past, including the child that died in the well.   Man will then have a demonstration of life under God's rule instead of man's.  At the end of this 1000 demonstration, after mankind has been lifted to perfection, final judgment will be rendered and the issue will never be raised again.

So lets say for the sake of argument I become a christian this evening instead of going to the movies, and I'm all saved and stuff, and JC shows up on Wednesday and separates the wheat from the chaff and I get whisked off to some safe place while Jetson, Ron Jeremy, William, Graybeard, screwtape, et al, get stir fried via instructions from a loving but pissed god.

How will I know the difference? Other than not having access to the forum, I mean? If nothing bad happened before the return, and nothing bad happens after the return, won't it just seem like another day to me? How is that a lesson? And am I going to end up being bored for all of eternity? If so, that really sucks, man.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Graybeard on July 06, 2013, 03:39:22 PM
Hi folks. A good few years ago I started to really look into the idea of Christian Bible god as maybe something I should get into (social life seemed quite full, free wine and I'm really interested how everything came to be). Although I read the bible and talked with Christians, I also read Dawkins and Hitchens, plus sites like this, and rather quickly agreed fully with the atheist point of view.

My question to you is about evil and the responses to theists as to why it exists.
Am I correct in thinking that Christians are split into those that believe the bible literally, that therefore if you believe in Genesis all evil in the world resulted from Adam and Eve's fall from grace […] Therefore evil does not have to exist?
 


No, I don’t get that from the Bible. At the time of Eden, man was allegedly no more than an automaton built for the amusement of God and in His image. Adam was immortal but with no knowledge of good and evil. Man was like a child including a child’s experiences and education.[1]

He then ate of the fruit of the Tree Of Knowledge and became aware. At this point God says that Man has become like the Gods with (it is implied, “amongst other things”) a knowledge of Good and Evil.[2]

Now Free Will kicks in. Despite the fact that the 10 Commandments do not appear until later, Mankind is given the knowledge of how to behave by the story of the Fall and it's implication that you must obey God[3]. There then follows “the first murder”. This is the ultimate example of evil and shows what happens when man is left to his own resources.

Thus the idea is that if you or your nation are suffering evils or have been struck down, then it is because you have sinned against Yahweh and his Torah; if you or your nation are healthy and prosperous, then it is because you have keep Yahweh’s laws and statues and Yahweh has blessed you. If you don’t remember doing anything bad, then it was your parents’ fault.
 1. There is absolutely no doubt that the Jews of the time regarded Yahweh (or as he then was, part of the Elohim, the council of Gods) as an old Jewish man who lived in the sky. Only a few Christians believe this now, and they are the ones who think that you can live in outer-space without breathing.
 2. The difficulty here is that prior to the eating of the Fruit of The Tree of Knowledge, as Man did not know good from evil, he could not have known that it was wrong to disobey a god. However, setting this aside…
 3. Or at least those who say that they are in touch with god.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: shnozzola on July 06, 2013, 03:47:52 PM
...... truth does not change.  The Bible is true because all of it's principles are infallible, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

How about the "end of times?"  Seems like an important principle of the Bible, yes?  Tell me how you interpret truth relating to Jesus words from Matthew:

Quote
24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
24:36 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
24:41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.


With current science, I can understand a direct hit from a large enough asteroid doing some of this (would you call that an act of god, like everything is a preordained act of god?). But taking one woman at the mill but not the other - that seems like more of a rapture thing - not a stars falling from the heavens type of thing.  Do you think this expected end, predicted some 2000 years ago, MAY not be true?  Have you interpreted it to apply to each person at their death?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 07, 2013, 12:51:43 AM
It really seems to me that if this god existed, he's little more than a cruel monster.

I've taken this sentence out of its original context as part of a paragraph because I just want to respond to this main idea that God is cruel.   I disagree with it. 

In my belief, God isn't omniscient.   There is a certain aspect of God that is being tricked.  This aspect of God is under the illusion that the universe is real just as we are under the illusion that our dreamworlds are real when we're dreaming.   The universe is a 'dream of separation' in which an aspect of God falls under the delusion that it is individual particles, objects and lifeforms.   It isn't something that is planned by God any more than our random dreams are planned.

Just to give it a name, I will call the aspect of God that is dreaming Christ.  Let me ask you a question.   I know that these aren't your beliefs but just for the sake of argument, assuming for a moment that the universe is illusory and that Christ is dreaming, should God wake him up?    Is this a nightmare that should be stopped immediately or is it a relatively good dream that should be allowed to continue?   

The way I see it, the answer depends on how optimistic you are.   If you think the bad outweighs the good then God is cruel for allowing Christ to fall into a delusion in the first place.   But if you think the good outweighs the bad then God is benevolent for allowing it to play out. 

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 07, 2013, 01:58:01 AM
Hi Nebula. In your hypothetical example, waking up a dreamer who has managed to create sentient self aware independent beings within his dream would result in their destruction.

But you see, your question alone demonstrates to me the poison that religion and belief in imaginary beings brings to humanity. I hear similar sentiments from my family about this nonsense; "Don't put faith in mankind, put it in god" and the odious and sad "Jesus, empty me of me and fill me with you." When you read these type of statements, try replacing an imaginary being with another to see how this sounds in reality; "Don't put faith in mankind, put it in Wizard Gandalf" " Easter Bunny, empty me of me and fill me with you".

The worlds that believers create in their heads don't exist except as wishes. THIS is your one life. Your one and only life. Enjoy it to the full, learn about nature and everything you can, go to pubs, drink beer, travel, don't add suffering or hardship to your fellow creatures, please don't live your life according to a set of rules dreamt up by bronze aged Arabs that didn't know any better. Don't waste your one life!
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 07, 2013, 02:51:45 AM
Hi Nebula. In your hypothetical example, waking up a dreamer who has managed to create sentient self aware independent beings within his dream would result in their destruction.

Yes, it would result in their destruction.   But in the hypothetical example, if God was able, should he have prevented Christ from slipping into a delusion in the first place?   Would you rather the universe that we have exist or for there to have been no big bang, no universe?  I would rather have the former when I'm happy or feeling optimistic and the latter if I'm very distraught over something.   

My belief is that God is omnibenevolent but not omniscient or omnipotent.   For example, God may not have the ability to stop Christ from dreaming/being deluded, or to intervene in overtly miraculous ways for the sake of reducing the suffering of specific dream characters, just as parents don't have the ability to control the dreams of their children or what happens to the characters in those dreams.   

But you see, your question alone demonstrates to me the poison that religion and belief in imaginary beings brings to humanity. I hear similar sentiments from my family about this nonsense; "Don't put faith in mankind, put it in god" and the odious and sad "Jesus, empty me of me and fill me with you." When you read these type of statements, try replacing an imaginary being with another to see how this sounds in reality; "Don't put faith in mankind, put it in Wizard Gandalf" " Easter Bunny, empty me of me and fill me with you".

The worlds that believers create in their heads don't exist except as wishes. THIS is your one life. Your one and only life. Enjoy it to the full, learn about nature and everything you can, go to pubs, drink beer, travel, don't add suffering or hardship to your fellow creatures, please don't live your life according to a set of rules dreamt up by bronze aged Arabs that didn't know any better. Don't waste your one life!

Thank you for your advice.   I will consider it.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 07, 2013, 09:08:28 AM
No, I don’t get that from the Bible. At the time of Eden, man was allegedly no more than an automaton built for the amusement of God and in His image. Adam was immortal but with no knowledge of good and evil. Man was like a child including a child’s experiences and education.
Need to correct this.  No matter what Christian theology states, humans were not made immortal, since living forever required the fruit of the tree of life.  Despite YHWH's threat that humans would die if they ate of the other tree's fruit, it's pretty obvious that they did not in fact die when they ate it, since they needed to be kicked out of the garden so they would not live forever as well as having knowledge of good and evil.  If they needed the fruit of the tree of life to live forever, they clearly can't have been immortal to begin with, meaning they would have died eventually.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 07, 2013, 09:47:31 AM
Neb, I'd view your hypothesis as being the same as any prospective parent; can the parents look after the children and allow the children to grow and live as adults?

In the case you've mentioned, both the god and this Christ fellow will not allow the sentient beings to go their own way. If they dare not love god or christ then they will be tortured for eternity. Probably in this case its best not to allow the delusional individual to create sentient beings in the first place, they strike me as neglectful parents.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 07, 2013, 10:12:02 AM
The Adam and Eve/Tree of Life/Good and Evil thing has a curious aspect.

If god had just pumped out our reality, which had never existed before, and made totally inexperienced newbies, and given them instructions, etc., where did the original "knowledge" of evil come from? If god knew that "evil" was a possibility, why did he make beings that were so capable of it? His expertise in all matters should have allowed him to modify our genetics so that we were not capable of evil, while still leaving free will if that was destined to be important. Free will doesn't require that humans have a huge range of options.We can't lick our elbows, for instance. Where is our free will to lick our elbows? He could have left evil off the table too.

Now, of course, as an atheist, I don't actually have this question, but why are believers so lax as they accept it? They blame the new kids on the block but give no thought to whose fault it actually was? Not just the temptation, with the Tree of Life, but even providing for the concept of evil in any sense of the word. The dude provided a nice place to live, beautiful weather, a free pass to the local zoo and everything. But he couldn't leave evil out of the formula, even though he was able to leave out vacuums (the empty space, not the machine), meteor showers and other unhealthy things?

This story is a myth because it contains human flaws, not godly ones. It is an effort to explain the lack of perfection, and in the process not only tells why there isn't any, but also it blames and condemns the very humans who tell the story. And the flaws in the tale are there because humans made it all up, not because a god was flawed.

We're like that, aren't we.

Either omnipotent beings need to think of everything or humans need to start taking a little responsibility. The all-powerful god idea is flawed because it is human in origin, and reflects human failings to blatantly that we should all be able to see this non-existent god in our own mirrors. But nope. A whole bunch of us swallow it hook, line and sinker, and then blame ourselves for the existence of hooks, lines and sinkers.

Silly rabbits.

We often hear arguments about what parts of the bible are literal, and which are allegory or metaphor. In fact, the whole bible is allegory. It reveals universal truths from the time, some of which are still relevant today. Like letting us know that not everybody is sweet all the time, and that we all wish we had a way to control our lives merely by asking, etc.  And it reveals the social mindset of middle east desert dwellers a few thousand years ago.

And like other myths (Achilles heel and Pandora's box come to mind), those human truths are somewhat interesting. But it is a lousy reason to burn people at the stake or attack the "Holy Lands" via papal decree. Or to give Pat Robertson more money. Or waste a Sunday morning playing pretend.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 07, 2013, 10:21:45 AM
While it is true that certain types of suffering can build character, that is not why God allows evil.  God allows evil because mankind chooses not to obey him and he is allowing it to be demonstrated that mankind has need of him.

I have a different POV.  I believe it is allowed because God loves us.  The only way to get rid of it would be Armageddon.  I believe God has hope that mankind can make good prevail over that evil and everyday is a new opportunity to make that happen.  Evil is not a myth it is part of human reality.  It is not a supernatural power that we can not defeat.  It will take Love and Compassion to eliminate it.  I believe as long as God sees our potential God must allow us to continue.  We must fight the battle for ourselves in order to have honor.

I believe creating us w/o freewill would have been immoral for a god to do.  God did not take freewill from any of the examples provided on this thread a human did. 

Your explanation represents an egotistical God.  I do not except that God allows suffering so that we will need God.  We would need God w/o suffering, IMO.  To need belief that badly displays a god with a very low self esteem.  IMO, I have no doubt that God's self esteem is stronger than that.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 11:02:14 AM
I have a different POV.

What I've discussed here is not my entire POV.

Quote
I believe it is allowed because God loves us.

Me too.

Quote
The only way to get rid of it would be Armageddon.

Me too.

Quote
I believe God has hope that mankind can make good prevail over that evil and everyday is a new opportunity to make that happen.

Me too, but man should make use of the availability of divine help.

Quote
Evil is not a myth it is part of human reality.  It is not a supernatural power that we can not defeat.  It will take Love and Compassion to eliminate it.

Me too.

Quote
I believe as long as God sees our potential God must allow us to continue.

Me too.

Quote
We must fight the battle for ourselves in order to have honor.

Me too.

Quote
I believe creating us w/o freewill would have been immoral for a god to do.

Me too.

Quote
God did not take freewill from any of the examples provided on this thread a human did.

Agreed. 

Quote
Your explanation represents an egotistical God.  I do not except that God allows suffering so that we will need God.  We would need God w/o suffering, IMO.

Suffering is only one reason we need God, and it's not that humans can't do much of this on their own, it's just that they don't and won't and sometimes they just don't know how.  That's why we need God.

Quote
To need belief that badly displays a god with a very low self esteem.  IMO, I have no doubt that God's self esteem is stronger than that.

God does not need belief.  Humans need belief.  If humans don't need God to relieve suffering then they are doing a poor job of proving it, being unable to solve the most elementary causes of suffering like starvation, homelessness, and lack of health care.  And it's not that they can't it's that they won't.  That's why we need God's help.  Well there are some thing beyond our control that cause suffering.

God's will was we be perfect humans living in a Edenic paradise under his protection.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 07, 2013, 12:21:29 PM
Mark Twain's words say it better than I ever can;

"If men neglected “God’s poor” and “God’s stricken and helpless ones” as He does, what would become of them? The answer is to be found in those dark lands where man follows His example and turns his indifferent back upon them: they get no help at all; they cry, and plead and pray in vain, they linger and suffer, and miserably die."

Gods do nothing. Not one thing. To claim they 'work through men' is an insult to the people that study and research and toil to alleviate suffering, disease, poverty and hunger. Gods do nothing because they can't; they are imaginary.

Prayer never works. Not once. Imaginary beings cannot grant wishes. Take a crumb of bread and place it in an upturned glass. Pray from now until the end of time for your god to lift that crumb up and stick it to the bottom of the glass. It will never move. We all know this. Theists will already be making excuses for their gods failure before even trying this; "Ganesh must not be tested", "Allah does not perform tricks", "Biblegod doesn't give you what you ask for, he gives you something better."

I hear from believers all the time about how "If I could only see, I would find Jesus" or "If I would take off my blinkers and open my eyes I would see the glory of god."
The sad truth is that it is believers that walk around blind, closing their eyes so they may see only what they want to see.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 02:11:50 PM
Mark Twain's words say it better than I ever can;

Gods do nothing. Not one thing. To claim they 'work through men' is an insult to the people that study and research and toil to alleviate suffering, disease, poverty and hunger. Gods do nothing because they can't; they are imaginary.

Quote
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people, or one in eight people in the world, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. Almost all the hungry people, 852 million, live in developing countries, representing 15 percent of the population of developing counties. There are 16 million people undernourished in developed countries.

http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Learn/world%20hunger%20facts%202002.htm

Quote
It is very difficult to determine how many homeless people there are in the world because countries have different legal definitions for homelessness. Natural disasters and sudden civil unrest also complicate the picture. The best we have is a conservative estimate from the United Nations in 2005, which puts the number of homeless at 100 million.

http://www.shelter20.com/homeless-statistics/

By its very nature, homelessness is impossible to measure with 100% accuracy. More important than knowing the precise number of people who experience homelessness is our progress in ending it. Recent studies suggest that the United States generates homelessness at a much higher rate than previously thought.

http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/How_Many.html

You mean people like those that printed this information?  People like this deserve honor and appreciation.  But I must ask, why have they not been ultimately successful yet after so many thousands of years?

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 07, 2013, 02:22:14 PM
Politics, greed, weather, terrain, religious differences, mental illness in the homeless, the list of causes is huge. But nowhere in there is a space for 'because we don't love Thor/Odin/Marduk/Osiris/Biblegod/Ganesh/Vishnu enough'. Because saying that would be precisely, and I mean precisely, the same as saying 'because we don't love Santa Claus enough'.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 02:49:27 PM
Politics, greed, weather, terrain, religious differences, mental illness in the homeless, the list of causes is huge. But nowhere in there is a space for 'because we don't love Thor/Odin/Marduk/Osiris/Biblegod/Ganesh/Vishnu enough'. Because saying that would be precisely, and I mean precisely, the same as saying 'because we don't love Santa Claus enough'.

So how can the problems be fixed?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 07, 2013, 02:56:28 PM
So how can the problems be fixed?


Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 03:07:00 PM
So how can the problems be fixed?


Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.

Prayerful hands become motived hands.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 07, 2013, 03:09:20 PM
Prayerful hands become motived hands.

Which then work. How exactly was that supposed to disprove Star Stuff's quote?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 03:11:45 PM
Because prayer precedes the work.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 07, 2013, 03:13:14 PM
Because prayer precedes the work.

But doesn't replace it. That's the whole point. Prayer by itself is useless, as most of the planet knows (apparently you included).
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 03:23:50 PM
Because prayer precedes the work.

But doesn't replace it. That's the whole point. Prayer by itself is useless, as most of the planet knows (apparently you included).

If prayer is the sole motivational cause then the prayer is most important.  Without the cause there would be no effect.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 07, 2013, 03:27:03 PM
If prayer is the sole motivational cause then the prayer is most important.  Without the cause there would be no effect.

Prayer is not the sole motivational cause. I'd go so far as to say it's not a motivational cause, but that takes longer and is harder to prove.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 07, 2013, 03:31:18 PM
Prayerful hands become motived hands.

Sometimes they might, but my observation is that most of the time they aren't. The person praying feels like their prayer goes to their father figure in the sky who will then go to work fixing the issue.  It should be clear though, and you must admit, that prayer by itself does absolutely nothing.  Why?  Because god is imaginary.  All there is is the natural world.  You could get all the people in the world praying for the survival & cure of a 3 year old child with cancer, (and all praying to the right god - you know Yahweh), but when the child succumbs to the cancer, all you god believers just stare at the floor and say: "Well, I guess it was just god's will".  An exercise in denial, excuses and intellectual dishonesty if there ever was one.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 03:44:50 PM
Why would God help us if we're just intent on murdering one another?  That's never going to happen no matter how many prayers are offered.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 07, 2013, 03:51:00 PM
If prayer is the sole motivational cause then the prayer is most important.  Without the cause there would be no effect.

More special pleading.  The fact is that people are motivated to help others out of natural and evolutionarily developed sense of empathy.  Whether a person prays or does a dance before commencing in the assistance which they've identified is meaningless.  What you need to display is that empathy and its resultant aid to others can only be done by the believer or prayer-maker, and you cannot do this.





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Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 03:58:27 PM
If prayer is the sole motivational cause then the prayer is most important.  Without the cause there would be no effect.

More special pleading.  The fact is that people are motivated to help others out of natural and evolutionarily developed sense of empathy.  Whether a person prays or does a dance before commencing in the assistance which they've identified is meaningless.  What you need to display is that empathy and it's resultant aid to others can only be done by the believer or prayer-maker, and you cannot do this.

Why do I need to demonstrate that?  Because some do it without worship does not mean that some don't do it because of worship.  Personally I have found that my worship has increased and trained my empathy.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 07, 2013, 04:06:40 PM
More special pleading.
<snip>

While I agree with the rest of your post, I'm having a hard time with this statement. How is it special pleading?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 07, 2013, 04:09:14 PM
Why do I need to demonstrate that?  Because some do it without worship does not mean that some don't do it because of worship.  Personally I have found that my worship has increased and trained my empathy.

Because implicit in your stance, is a claim to a moral high ground.  As Arthur C. Clarke said: "One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion."

Or as Daniel Dennett said:  "I think religion for many people is some sort of moral Viagra."
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 07, 2013, 04:10:28 PM
More special pleading.
<snip>

While I agree with the rest of your post, I'm having a hard time with this statement. How is it special pleading?

Because he said this:

"Without the cause there would be no effect."
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 07, 2013, 04:14:03 PM
Because he said this:

"Without the cause there would be no effect."

...I'd love to say I understand, but I still don't.
He's right. Cause precedes effect. No cause, no effect (in most cases). It'd only be special pleading if he were to claim that something had happened with no cause, even though cause and effect apply to everything else. The only example I can think of would be the existence of his god, but he didn't mention it in this discussion, AFAIK.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 07, 2013, 04:22:30 PM
...I'd love to say I understand, but I still don't.
He's right. Cause precedes effect. No cause, no effect (in most cases). It'd only be special pleading if he were to claim that something had happened with no cause, even though cause and effect apply to everything else. The only example I can think of would be the existence of his god, but he didn't mention it in this discussion, AFAIK.

I guess what I mean is, it seems that he's making a necessary link between prayer and any subsequent helpful act.  I'm saying that just isn't so.  If a praying christian or a non-praying atheist sees someone in need, both will feel compelled to help, and if the christian did or didn't pray, that would have zero effect on their level of empathy (or if it did, then they are closer to being a psychopath).
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 07, 2013, 04:30:56 PM
Of course history is also littered with instances of people praying to their god just before they go out and start a genocide.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 04:40:51 PM
As Arthur C. Clarke said: "One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion."

Or as Daniel Dennett said:  "I think religion for many people is some sort of moral Viagra."

I agree.  Where is my claim to moral superiority?

Quote from: Ron
Of course history is also littered with instances of people praying to their god just before they go out and start a genocide.

So one should be careful what they pray for.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 07, 2013, 04:44:25 PM
I guess what I mean is, it seems that he's making a necessary link between prayer and any subsequent helpful act.  I'm saying that just isn't so.  If a praying christian or a non-praying atheist sees someone in need, both will feel compelled to help, and if the christian did or didn't pray, that would have zero effect on their level of empathy (or if it did, then they closer to being a psychopath).

Ah. Now that makes sense.

So one should be careful what they pray for.

Really? That's weird, given what you said here:
Why would God help us if we're just intent on murdering one another?  That's never going to happen no matter how many prayers are offered.
Mind explaining this cognitive dissonance and picking just one statement to stick by, or would you rather just live with it by ignoring it, like theists generally do?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 04:57:22 PM
I guess what I mean is, it seems that he's making a necessary link between prayer and any subsequent helpful act.  I'm saying that just isn't so.  If a praying christian or a non-praying atheist sees someone in need, both will feel compelled to help, and if the christian did or didn't pray, that would have zero effect on their level of empathy (or if it did, then they closer to being a psychopath).

Ah. Now that makes sense.

So one should be careful what they pray for.

Really? That's weird, given what you said here:
Why would God help us if we're just intent on murdering one another?  That's never going to happen no matter how many prayers are offered.
Mind explaining this cognitive dissonance and picking just one statement to stick by, or would you rather just live with it by ignoring it, like theists generally do?

I also think prayer has a meditative effect.  I think just the act of praying can affect people even if there is no god there.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 07, 2013, 05:00:39 PM
So one should be careful what they pray for.

Not at all. You can pray for absolutely anything and it won't make the blindest bit of difference to reality. You can pray from now until the end of time for everyone south of the equator to die; your prayers will not affect one life. You can pray for the seas to be emptied; it'll never happen. However if you happen to be the chap with your finger on the launch button of a nuclear missile aimed at Moscow and you pray for the destruction of Moscow...well that prayer may come true simply because it's within your power. But then praying to Santa Claus would have the same effect.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 07, 2013, 05:07:01 PM
I also think prayer has a meditative effect.  I think just the act of praying can affect people even if there is no god there.

So the second one then. Good to know.
I've yet to find an intellectually honest theist. I wonder if this qualifies as evidence of absence...
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 05:21:42 PM
I also think prayer has a meditative effect.  I think just the act of praying can affect people even if there is no god there.

So the second one then. Good to know.
I've yet to find an intellectually honest theist. I wonder if this qualifies as evidence of absence...

Both statements are true.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 07, 2013, 06:33:31 PM
Neb, I'd view your hypothesis as being the same as any prospective parent; can the parents look after the children and allow the children to grow and live as adults?

In the case you've mentioned, both the god and this Christ fellow will not allow the sentient beings to go their own way. If they dare not love god or christ then they will be tortured for eternity. Probably in this case its best not to allow the delusional individual to create sentient beings in the first place, they strike me as neglectful parents.

The sentient beings can't go their own way because they don't exist on their own, they are only characters in God's dream.   They have no free will and are playing out an unplanned, spontaneous series of events in a dream.   There is no heaven or hell for them, other than POSSIBLY as a transitional state where the dream characters realize they never existed in the first place and the attachment to human form is gradually lost.   

Each particle, object and life form in the universe is a delusion of God disguised as a particle, object or life form.   So for example, one aspect of God falls under the delusion that it is me and another aspect of God is under the delusion that it is you, and God's experience of these delusions is exactly what you and I experience because the awareness that we think is ours is really God's. 

I have had dreams in which I am someone else or I am a younger version of myself and during the dream I don't question it.   It is only after I wake up that I realize I was someone else all along, me laying in my bed, not the person I thought I was in the dream.   In my belief, this is similar to God's perspective when he is under the delusion of being an individual human.   Humans are delusional aspects God in disguise.   
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 07, 2013, 06:44:27 PM
Both statements are true.

I meant my second; not yours. In other words, that you'd prefer to ignore the contradiction and attempt to live with it, like pretty much all theists do.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 07, 2013, 07:56:00 PM
I'm not sure I follow that reasoning either.

Yes, he said that if prayer was the sole motivational cause for something then it would be the most important (by definition), but I don't think that means that prayer is therefore the only motivational cause available.  I think he meant more like a person who's sole motivation for something is prayer (as opposed to someone else, who isn't motivated by prayer, or not solely motivated by prayer).  I'm not sure, because his statement wasn't very clear, but that's what he seems to have meant.

Of course, then you have the question of whether prayer would ever be the sole motivational cause for something.  And I don't think it can be, because for that to be true, they would have to have no empathy or any other motivation to do something.  It could only be provided by prayer, but if they didn't already have the motivation, then I don't see how they could acquire it by praying.  Meaning that they would already have motivations, but two or more of them might be conflicting.  And thus the act of praying helps to remove the conflict (whether or not they recognize that it even exists).
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Jstwebbrowsing on July 07, 2013, 08:23:13 PM
Yes, he said that if prayer was the sole motivational cause for something then it would be the most important (by definition), but I don't think that means that prayer is therefore the only motivational cause available.

Correct.

Quote from: jaimehlers
Of course, then you have the question of whether prayer would ever be the sole motivational cause for something.  And I don't think it can be, because for that to be true, they would have to have no empathy or any other motivation to do something.

Sole motivation may be too strong of wording because then you have to ask, what causes prayer?  Prayer can be the straw the breaks the camel's back and moves one from inaction to action.  It can also keep a person focused.  It is certainly not good to pray and then not work in harmony with your prayers.  It is like this principle.

"What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself."  (James 2:14-17 ASV)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 08, 2013, 12:34:34 AM
Neb, I'd view your hypothesis as being the same as any prospective parent; can the parents look after the children and allow the children to grow and live as adults?

In the case you've mentioned, both the god and this Christ fellow will not allow the sentient beings to go their own way. If they dare not love god or christ then they will be tortured for eternity. Probably in this case its best not to allow the delusional individual to create sentient beings in the first place, they strike me as neglectful parents.

The sentient beings can't go their own way because they don't exist on their own, they are only characters in God's dream.   They have no free will and are playing out an unplanned, spontaneous series of events in a dream.   There is no heaven or hell for them, other than POSSIBLY as a transitional state where the dream characters realize they never existed in the first place and the attachment to human form is gradually lost.   

Each particle, object and life form in the universe is a delusion of God disguised as a particle, object or life form.   So for example, one aspect of God falls under the delusion that it is me and another aspect of God is under the delusion that it is you, and God's experience of these delusions is exactly what you and I experience because the awareness that we think is ours is really God's. 

I have had dreams in which I am someone else or I am a younger version of myself and during the dream I don't question it.   It is only after I wake up that I realize I was someone else all along, me laying in my bed, not the person I thought I was in the dream.   In my belief, this is similar to God's perspective when he is under the delusion of being an individual human.   Humans are delusional aspects God in disguise.

No, we are not. We are living on a planet that came together 4.5 billion years ago in a universe that began 15 billion years ago. There is no more evidence of us being delusions of a god than there is of us being a computer simulation. Look out of your window; all the stuff out there is real. Fanciful thoughts about us being a delusion or computer simulation or existing in a cell on the back of a giant space rabbit are just that; fanciful thoughts.

We can test the theory that gods exist; for example the Christian one that many deluded people are enthralled with, this fellow promises prayers will be answered. They never are. Not once.

One life is all we have. Enjoy it and experience it before we return once more to eternal sleep. Don't waste it on imaginary magicians.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 08, 2013, 12:58:39 AM
I still haven't seen a decent excuse as to why biblegod allows this child to suffer a lengthy death down this well. No one saw the girl fall, she will never be rescued and she survives for a month in agony, surviving by licking moisture off walls. She used a stick to carve the days into the wall. She's three years old, the worst thing she's ever done is steal a cookie and is too young to understand the concept of a god.
Now I know biblegod doesn't exist; that's why there's no action from him. But how do theists explain this lack of action from their imaginary god? Does it really not make you question his existence? Do you simply accept biblegod commits evil acts? (having the ability to help a child in distress and not using it, I think in any reasonably sane person's book would count as an evil act)

1. No one knows she's there. Free will cannot be affected
2. The excuse that biblegod says she's part of humanity therefore is equally guilty of our 'sin' shows biblegod to be a an evil monster.
3. Its part of biblegod's plan. If this excuse is used, please tell me what possible plan would demand this girl's torture. 'We are not to know god's plan' doesn't cut it when Christians happily know that god exists outside time and seem to know he had no creator along with countless other 'facts'.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 08, 2013, 05:52:48 AM
I have had dreams in which I am someone else or I am a younger version of myself and during the dream I don't question it.   It is only after I wake up that I realize I was someone else all along, me laying in my bed, not the person I thought I was in the dream.   In my belief, this is similar to God's perspective when he is under the delusion of being an individual human.   Humans are delusional aspects God in disguise.
The problem being, this doesn't work as an explanation unless you think only one human is real, or (much more likely) unless you think that this sleeping god's personality is so fragmented that he can run literally billions of individual 'fragments', each literally thinking they're a unique individual, in this dream.  That goes way beyond schizophrenic, not to mention the multiple personality thing.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 08, 2013, 08:45:36 AM
I still haven't seen a decent excuse as to why biblegod allows this child to suffer a lengthy death down this well. No one saw the girl fall, she will never be rescued and she survives for a month in agony, surviving by licking moisture off walls. She used a stick to carve the days into the wall. She's three years old, the worst thing she's ever done is steal a cookie and is too young to understand the concept of a god.
Now I know biblegod doesn't exist; that's why there's no action from him. But how do theists explain this lack of action from their imaginary god? Does it really not make you question his existence? Do you simply accept biblegod commits evil acts? (having the ability to help a child in distress and not using it, I think in any reasonably sane person's book would count as an evil act)

1. No one knows she's there. Free will cannot be affected
2. The excuse that biblegod says she's part of humanity therefore is equally guilty of our 'sin' shows biblegod to be a an evil monster.
3. Its part of biblegod's plan. If this excuse is used, please tell me what possible plan would demand this girl's torture. 'We are not to know god's plan' doesn't cut it when Christians happily know that god exists outside time and seem to know he had no creator along with countless other 'facts'.

Would you please post the article so that I can see details of this story.  Where's the girl's parents at? I find it quite miraculous a 3 year old would think to mark the walls. Either way God didn't put that little girl in the well. If God was to save that little girl from dying, God would have to save us all from dying or you would say what makes her so special, right?  Why does God save that child but not mine?  Death is a part of life.  That's why most of us cherish life with all our heart and soul.

The serenity prayer has helped me along with many other people like AA members.  There are benefits to certain prayers.  You should be careful what you pray for.  When I can't find the strength within myself I can say the serenity prayer and I find that much needed courage or strength that I need to make it through tough times.  It is helping me right now. 
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Add Homonym on July 08, 2013, 09:34:57 AM
You should be careful what you pray for.

What you seem to be saying, here, is that God will grant your wishes, when they harm you.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 08, 2013, 09:40:11 AM
No, we are not. We are living on a planet that came together 4.5 billion years ago in a universe that began 15 billion years ago. There is no more evidence of us being delusions of a god than there is of us being a computer simulation. Look out of your window; all the stuff out there is real. Fanciful thoughts about us being a delusion or computer simulation or existing in a cell on the back of a giant space rabbit are just that; fanciful thoughts.

We can test the theory that gods exist; for example the Christian one that many deluded people are enthralled with, this fellow promises prayers will be answered. They never are. Not once.

One life is all we have. Enjoy it and experience it before we return once more to eternal sleep. Don't waste it on imaginary magicians.

The idea that the universe exists as something other than information is called Objective Reality Theory (ORT).   ORT states that objects exist continuously and that they are self contained or self existent, i.e. that following the big bang, objects don't depend on anything outside of the universe for their existence.   This idea that the universe is continuous and self contained/self existent is completely unproven as are all metaphysical claims at the present time.   However, ORT is a positive claim that is hypocritically regarded as a null hypothesis.

You mentioned a computer simulation, which happens to be a very good analogy for the mechanics of the dream of God that is the universe.   My belief is that objects are discontinuous, meaning that they are generated anew each Planck time, similar to the refresh rate on a computer monitor and that they do not exist in and of themselves but are the output of nonphysical quantum processing, this processing being the deluded aspect of God that is dreaming the universe.   

It is common knowledge and taught in all Quantum Mechanics 101 courses that, via the Schrödinger equation, it is possible for a billiard ball to tunnel to any point in space due to its wave function.   The probability of a billiard ball tunneling through a wall or other solid object is extremely small but no scientist would deny that it is entirely POSSIBLE for a billiard ball to tunnel through a wall.   This possibility is mentioned in the Wikipedia article on the Schrödinger equation in terms of a ball tunneling through a hill:

"In classical physics, when a ball is rolled slowly up a large hill, it will come to a stop and roll back, because it doesn't have enough energy to get over the top of the hill to the other side. However, the Schrödinger equation predicts that there is a small probability that the ball will get to the other side of the hill, even if it has too little energy to reach the top. This is called quantum tunneling. It is related to the uncertainty principle: Although the ball seems to be on one side of the hill, its position is uncertain so there is a chance of finding it on the other side."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation#Quantum_tunneling

In my opinion, the reason it is possible for a solid object such as a billiard ball to pass through another solid object such as a wall or a hill is that all objects have a refresh rate of one instance each Planck time.   Normally, these instances are generated in accordance with the laws of classical physics but it is possible, due to a glitch, that classical physics can be superseded by quantum mechanics.  A billiard ball can 'seemingly' pass through a wall if one instance of the ball is generated on one side of a wall and the next instance of the ball is generated on the other side of it.   The appearance is that a self existent/continuously existing object has passed through another but this is not what is actually happening.   If it were not for reality being a discontinuous processing output, quantum tunneling, or the superseding of classical physics by quantum mechanics in macro sized objects would not be possible in my opinion.

You seem to be suggesting that I can learn something about the nature of reality by looking out of my window, or by stubbing my toe on a coffee table, as if is our experience and common sense is a good indicator of metaphysical reality.   I disagree.   In the ancient world, the earth was regarded as flat due to experience and common sense.   If anyone suggested the earth was a sphere it was laughed at.   "How would the water stay in the lakes, why wouldn't we fall off the earth etc.?"   A flat earth made the most sense and had the least number of assumptions for what they knew at the time.   It was the model that best followed Occam's razor to explain observed phenomena of the day, such as water staying put in lakes.   However, with advances in Hellenistic astronomy, the flat earth model was no longer the best model to explain observed phenomena with the least number of assumptions, hence a new model was needed, that of a spherical earth.   

Similarly, Objective Reality Theory is not the best model to explain phenomena related to quantum mechanics and relativity.   Virtual Reality Theory explains these things better, with far fewer problems.   By VRT I am not referring to anything about God, VRT is a valid scientific theory comparable with something like Hugh Everett's Many Worlds Theory.   In VRT, the processing that generates our universe could be entirely naturalistic.   VRT is not dependent on any belief in a deity, though I personally happen to have such a belief.

If you are interested in learning something about the Virtual Reality argument rather than just dismissing it out of hand as 'fanciful thoughts," I recommend Brian Whitworth:

http://brianwhitworth.com/VRConjecture.pdf

http://brianwhitworth.com/VRTQuestions.pdf

http://brianwhitworth.com/BW-VRT1.pdf

http://brianwhitworth.com/BW-VRT2.pdf

http://brianwhitworth.com/BW-VRT3.pdf


The problem being, this doesn't work as an explanation unless you think only one human is real, or (much more likely) unless you think that this sleeping god's personality is so fragmented that he can run literally billions of individual 'fragments', each literally thinking they're a unique individual, in this dream.  That goes way beyond schizophrenic, not to mention the multiple personality thing.

Yes, the delusional, dreaming aspect of God is completely schizophrenic with severe multiple personality disorder.   I am not joking.   This is my actual belief.   The God I believe in is imperfect.   

 
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 08, 2013, 09:47:36 AM
Hi June. The little girl down the well is just an example of unnecessary suffering of an innocent. I'm not asking why your god allows her to fall down the well, I'm asking why it allows her to suffer for weeks before she dies. I used the stick marker to make clear she was alive. Countless thousands of creatures die this way in prolonged un-witnessed suffering.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 08, 2013, 10:02:51 AM
Neb, of course I grant that your theory could be correct but then so could us existing in a cell in a giant space rabbit or any one of countless theories.  But what is the more likely? I personally go with this universe being real. I know once philosophers get chatting they find that you can't even trust the evidence of your own eyes, but again I find it very unlikely. As in the case of the flat earthers, they simply had to walk down to the seashore and watch a ship disappear over the horizon. The evidence was there for those that opened their eyes
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 08, 2013, 10:14:31 AM
The evidence was there for those that opened their eyes

As is the case with VRT.   
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 08, 2013, 12:16:27 PM
It is common knowledge and taught in all Quantum Mechanics 101 courses that, via the Schrödinger equation, it is possible for a billiard ball to tunnel to any point in space due to its wave function.   The probability of a billiard ball tunneling through a wall or other solid object is extremely small but no scientist would deny that it is entirely POSSIBLE for a billiard ball to tunnel through a wall.   This possibility is mentioned in the Wikipedia article on the Schrödinger equation in terms of a ball tunneling through a hill:
There's a reason that quantum tunneling usually applies only to particles, rather than macroscopic objects (like billiard balls).  It's because the mechanics of quantum physics don't work when applied to classical (macroscopic) objects.  There's a reason we've never been able to make a billiard ball quantum-tunnel through a hill, or anything else along those lines.

Quote from: nebula
In my opinion, the reason it is possible for a solid object such as a billiard ball to pass through another solid object such as a wall or a hill is that all objects have a refresh rate of one instance each Planck time.   Normally, these instances are generated in accordance with the laws of classical physics but it is possible, due to a glitch, that classical physics can be superseded by quantum mechanics.  A billiard ball can 'seemingly' pass through a wall if one instance of the ball is generated on one side of a wall and the next instance of the ball is generated on the other side of it.   The appearance is that a self existent/continuously existing object has passed through another but this is not what is actually happening.   If it were not for reality being a discontinuous processing output, quantum tunneling, or the superseding of classical physics by quantum mechanics in macro sized objects would not be possible in my opinion.
However, you need to actually show that this happens.  The fact that it's theoretically possible according to the math is not enough to base anything solid on.

Quote from: nebula
You seem to be suggesting that I can learn something about the nature of reality by looking out of my window, or by stubbing my toe on a coffee table, as if is our experience and common sense is a good indicator of metaphysical reality.   I disagree.   In the ancient world, the earth was regarded as flat due to experience and common sense.   If anyone suggested the earth was a sphere it was laughed at.   "How would the water stay in the lakes, why wouldn't we fall off the earth etc.?"   A flat earth made the most sense and had the least number of assumptions for what they knew at the time.   It was the model that best followed Occam's razor to explain observed phenomena of the day, such as water staying put in lakes.   However, with advances in Hellenistic astronomy, the flat earth model was no longer the best model to explain observed phenomena with the least number of assumptions, hence a new model was needed, that of a spherical earth.
The ancient peoples (who originally decided that the world was flat) didn't have the leisure to sit down and actually try to figure things out.  They were too busy trying to survive.  They didn't know (let alone care) about Occam's razor or coming up with models or anything like that.  They had no reason to doubt their eyes, so they concluded that their eyes were telling them the truth.  That's really all it was.  More importantly, things like believing the Earth was flat, or the sun, moon, and stars were painted on an upside-down bowl, didn't negatively impact their ability to survive, so they had no reason to take the time to consider whether it might have been wrong.

Quote from: nebula
Similarly, Objective Reality Theory is not the best model to explain phenomena related to quantum mechanics and relativity.   Virtual Reality Theory explains these things better, with far fewer problems.   By VRT I am not referring to anything about God, VRT is a valid scientific theory comparable with something like Hugh Everett's Many Worlds Theory.   In VRT, the processing that generates our universe could be entirely naturalistic.   VRT is not dependent on any belief in a deity, though I personally happen to have such a belief.
Actually, virtual reality theory doesn't really explain things particularly well.  Certainly not as you've expressed them so far.  It seems more like wishful thinking on your part than anything.  Certainly this business of arguing that billiard balls being on one side of a wall one instant and the other side the next instant doesn't represent anything that actually happens, as far as we can tell, except on the scale of electrons and photons (which are small enough that quantum mechanics kicks in via the uncertainty principle).

At the very least, you're going to have to present additional evidence to support your argument, rather than something that as far as we can tell, has never actually happened.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 08, 2013, 12:34:42 PM
Just reading the abstract of the first PDF you posted really stretches credibility.  First off, when an argument starts with, "objective reality should act this way, and it doesn't, therefore, I question whether it actually is objective reality", that suggests that the author's own preconceptions of how things should be is getting in the way.  That isn't really a good way to go about an argument.  One of the key things about objective reality is taking it as it actually exists, not how someone thinks it should work.  That means, if we observe things like time dilation and space contracting (or expanding), they're necessarily part of objective reality regardless of whether they make sense to us.

I'm certainly not saying that he's wrong, mind you.  But I think he's stretching things based on what he expects should be true in objective reality.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 08, 2013, 12:38:14 PM
The universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not.  (Lawrence Krauss, Prof. of Physics, AZ State U)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 09, 2013, 06:36:38 AM
You should be careful what you pray for.

What you seem to be saying, here, is that God will grant your wishes, when they harm you.

That's not what I said. :?  Not even close. You do not even respond to what I said about the serenity prayer being very effective in my life.  Sometimes you do need a boost of courage.  Sometimes you need wisdom.  I have never asked God for either of these two things that it wasn't granted.  Ask for money you will not get it from God,IMO.  I have explained why God does not heal death, so the serenity prayer is a better prayer when facing the loss of a loved one.  Perhaps you wouldn't see death as such a bad thing if you believed there was an afterlife.  I have been very intimate with death.  In that profile picture there was my whole family, now I am the only one.  I realized when I let my mother go that it was very unselfish of me.  To ask God to let her stay would have been selfish on my part.  What I really needed was the courage to let her go and the wisdom to understand why.  I miss them but I take much comfort in believing they are with God.  Their pain and suffering is gone.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 09, 2013, 06:47:52 AM
We still don't seem to be getting any answers from theists as to why a god, biblegod for example, allows unnecessary un-witnessed suffering? He witnesses it of course. Maybe it's to build his character?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 09, 2013, 08:14:57 AM
Hi June. The little girl down the well is just an example of unnecessary suffering of an innocent. I'm not asking why your god allows her to fall down the well, I'm asking why it allows her to suffer for weeks before she dies. I used the stick marker to make clear she was alive. Countless thousands of creatures die this way in prolonged un-witnessed suffering.

That's kind of what I suspected.  Even in your example there is responsibility to the parents.  I would think in real life this child would not survive a month but a week tops.  Pain and suffering is human made.  W/o belief in a god you must believe this too.

In real life many good people would be searching for this child.  The most likely scenario is that she would be found if her parents called 911 as soon as they realized she was missing.  With a well nearby it would be 1 of the first places searched.  Only a child unloved and tossed in a well by parents would not have a very good chance of being rescued.  You just can't put a child in a well, even hypothetically, w/o some form of human involvement which makes humans responsible for her suffering not God.  God is there to relieve her suffering by allowing her death.  There are fates worse than death and having unloving cruel parents is one of them. 

Don't get me wrong I hate pain and suffering and I agree God is implicated in the problem but only because God created us with freewill.  Please describe what humans would be like if we did not have freewill.  Mine would be puppets, puppets on a string.  That is describing a cruel, egotistical god.  Freewill is an act of love, unselfishness and wisdom.  We would be nothing but ignorant, not capable of learning any thing on our own w/o freewill.  Yes there would be no pain and suffering.  There would be no real happiness.  It would be for amusement to God.  I don't think God created us for amusement.  I believe there is a natural need for our existence.  A need for our freedom to chose right from wrong.  I believe our existence necessary.  I certainly don't believe the human race could be trusted with the knowledge that belongs to God.

We still don't seem to be getting any answers from theists as to why a god, biblegod for example, allows unnecessary un-witnessed suffering? He witnesses it of course. Maybe it's to build his character?

You have not provided a real scenario of God witnessing suffering not caused by humans, witnessed or not.  Yes God allows death, perhaps because it's a part of life.  We will all find out one day or we won't.  I could only imagine what life would be like w/o death.  Young men victims of war surviving mutilations.  It's hard enough on those that have lost limbs.  Or living until your so old your hideous.  Way over populated.  I can find many good reasons God did not create flesh with immortality.  Mostly I think it's so we'll appreciate life and earn our freedom from flesh.  Some humans just don't have this value of life.  It has been a choice since the beginning of life to do so.

I have addressed your statement you just keep ignoring the answer.  Here it is again; death is a part of life.  Maybe you wouldn't see it as such a bad thing if you believed in God and the possibility of a life w/o flesh in a spiritual realm w/o the pains and sufferings of mortality.  God allowing death is not a negative attribute, it is a necessary one.  Humans causing deaths is very negative but you do have the choice.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 09, 2013, 08:32:23 AM
June, I'm not arguing against death. I'm asking why theists think that their gods allow creatures to suffer gratuitously and un-necessarily before death. I'm not saying the girl in this example should be saved from death (although if I had the power I would, but then my morals don't come from gods); I'm saying she should be saved from suffering. It doesn't matter how she got there. Lets say absolutely there is human involvement. A rapist has kidnapped her, raped her and thrown her down the well, hundreds of miles from home. He's now gone, will never be caught, will never tell anyone where she is. Do you doubt this type of thing happens? Do you need me to dig out a real example?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 09, 2013, 08:47:04 AM
Nebula,

I want to take and minute and say that I agree with you about the existence of God but I'm having a hard time accepting this dream scenario.  I guess it is possible but to me highly unlikely.  Why would you think that God is dreaming instead of creating.  It does not take intelligence or any skill at all to dream.  Another problem I have with this dream theory is the spirit.  In a dream we are not real and do not possess a spirit.  Our spirit is what connects us to God,IMO.  Why would you say God is not perfect if God is just taking a very, very , very, etc., etc.... long snooze.  We don't really exist right?  If we don't exist then how is God not perfect?  This whole idea is very confusing to say the least.


That's a mighty long nap.  What made God so tired? 

Pinch me I'm dreaming.  The fact that pain is real makes us real.  This is all very real. 
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 09, 2013, 08:53:19 AM
Nebula,

I want to take and minute and say that I agree with you about the existence of God but I'm having a hard time accepting this dream scenario.

^^^ Heh heh, a perfect example of how the thousands of sects and denominations came to be.  ^^^

Generally speaking, people who claim to possess a living, interactive relationship with Christ tend to have a relationship with a Jesus Christ who thinks very much as they do, and who shares their likes, dislikes and prejudices.  (Therion Ware)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 09, 2013, 09:26:51 AM
June, I'm not arguing against death. I'm asking why theists think that their gods allow creatures to suffer gratuitously and un-necessarily before death. I'm not saying the girl in this example should be saved from death (although if I had the power I would, but then my morals don't come from gods); I'm saying she should be saved from suffering. It doesn't matter how she got there. Lets say absolutely there is human involvement. A rapist has kidnapped her, raped her and thrown her down the well, hundreds of miles from home. He's now gone, will never be caught, will never tell anyone where she is. Do you doubt this type of thing happens? Do you need me to dig out a real example?

I have, but I will repeat myself as many times as you like.  If God saves 1 of us then he'd have to save us all thereby eliminating death/mortality.  It would be very unfair for God to save 1/4, of people dying to the other 3/4.  We are all dying.

What I can do as a theist is take comfort in believing that the dead will answer for their choices.  The innocent that have died I believe are given a higher place in the heavens and that rapist will be dealt with justly according to the natural laws in which I believe even, especially, God can not break.  I say natural laws because I believe they developed naturally not supernaturally. 

Nebula,

I want to take and minute and say that I agree with you about the existence of God but I'm having a hard time accepting this dream scenario.

^^^ Heh heh, a perfect example of how the thousands of sects and denominations came to be.  ^^^

I won't argue with that.  There are 2 billion different brains in the world.  It would be boring if we all thought the same way. ;)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 09, 2013, 10:16:22 AM
June, I'll try and make it simpler. On 1st of June 2013 the rapist throws the girl down the well. She dies on the 28th of June 2013. Why, once she lands in the well, would a kind god not simply snuff her life out there and then. No one will witness her long suffering death. I'm not asking for her life to be saved and for the sake of argument if a god were to save her life, in this particular scenario, I would appear at the top of the well shaft with a pistol and shoot the girl dead. She is not walking away from this one.

Why do you think your god(s) allow un-necessary and un-witnessed suffering?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jdawg70 on July 09, 2013, 10:37:34 AM
I have, but I will repeat myself as many times as you like.  If God saves 1 of us then he'd have to save us all thereby eliminating death/mortality.  It would be very unfair for God to save 1/4, of people dying to the other 3/4.  We are all dying.
I take it this is a bad thing for some reason?

Assuming that is the case though, how about just an absolute specified amount of time people stay alive?  Like, 50 or 100 years or something?  During your tenure in this 50/100 years, you don't die, but when your time is up your time is up.  And everyone gets the same amount of time.  What's less fair about that scenario?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 09, 2013, 12:34:34 PM
June, I'll try and make it simpler. On 1st of June 2013 the rapist throws the girl down the well. She dies on the 28th of June 2013. Why, once she lands in the well, would a kind god not simply snuff her life out there and then. No one will witness her long suffering death. I'm not asking for her life to be saved and for the sake of argument if a god were to save her life, in this particular scenario, I would appear at the top of the well shaft with a pistol and shoot the girl dead. She is not walking away from this one.
Look, no offense, but you just shot yourself in the foot with that post.  How do you think a theist is going to respond to you claiming that you'd kill someone who was in the process of being saved?  I know it's a hypothetical and all, but still.  Most theists ascribe supernatural powers to their gods, and have complex rationalizations for why those gods don't use said powers in ways that would clearly show that it was the god at work.  So trying to pose such a hypothetical in the attempt to explain why a god would be willing to let a child suffer inside a well for weeks (rather than giving her a mercy killing) isn't going to work very well.

No matter what example you pick, theists could come up with a reason why their god wouldn't act.  Even better, why not acting would be an act of the highest moral caliber.  They don't recognize the irony that they've built their god up so much that they've boxed themselves into an effective corner and made their god into a heartless, contemptible moral coward who's only concerned with giving the theist something to feel good about.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 09, 2013, 01:46:02 PM
I think I just gave up trying to explain that the original question didn't ask for or require the child's life to be saved. No theist seemed willing or able to give an answer to the gratuitous suffering problem. Furthermore, if that case was true, all the more reason to simply end the child's life as she was falling.

...of course if I was a real god and saw some lunatic at the top of the well with a pistol, I'd just push him in...  ;)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 09, 2013, 01:57:17 PM
Nebula,

I want to take and minute and say that I agree with you about the existence of God but I'm having a hard time accepting this dream scenario.  I guess it is possible but to me highly unlikely.  Why would you think that God is dreaming instead of creating.

Because my conception is of an omnibenevolent god and I think a loving, benevolent deity would not intentionally create a place of suffering.   

It does not take intelligence or any skill at all to dream.


And?   What does THAT have to do with anything?

Another problem I have with this dream theory is the spirit.  In a dream we are not real and do not possess a spirit.  Our spirit is what connects us to God,IMO.

We don't need to be connected TO God because we ARE God.   What you seem to experience is EXACTLY what one aspect of God experiences.   This particular aspect of God believes it is a human being whose screen name is junebug72.   The awareness and life that you think is yours is only one of God's deluded perceptions.   There is no 'you' to possess a spirit and be connected to God.   There is only God and its delusions.     

Why would you say God is not perfect if God is just taking a very, very , very, etc., etc.... long snooze.  We don't really exist right?  If we don't exist then how is God not perfect?  This whole idea is very confusing to say the least.

God isn't perfect because it has a certain aspect that can be tricked into believing something that isn't true. Namely that it is a gazillion different particles, objects and lifeforms.   If there is an aspect of you that can be deluded it means you are imperfect.     

That's a mighty long nap.  What made God so tired?

It's only seems long to the aspect of God that is deluded, which is the aspect that perceives the illusion of the passage of time.     

Pinch me I'm dreaming.  The fact that pain is real makes us real.  This is all very real.

OK. 


Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Truth OT on July 09, 2013, 02:24:00 PM

My question to you is about evil and the responses to theists as to why it exists.

Am I correct in thinking that Christians are split into those that believe the bible literally, that therefore if you believe in Genesis all evil in the world resulted from Adam and Eve's fall from grace ..................And on the other hand, theists that accept the universe is 15 odd billion years old, evolution did happen, Adam and Eve are just stories and that evil has to exist to give us character because god was unable to include this in our make up?

There's also another very small camp that tends to believe that evil exists because it was a part of God's 'divine plan' from day one. They site passages like Isaiah 45:7 to back their assertion and in their eye the presence of evil was necessary in order for there to be a proving ground for God's son(s) whereby they could earn the glory of God that Adam and all but one of his supposed decendants fell short of.
These believers don't see God as omnimax, but rather as a spiritual being with omnipotent POTENTIAL that needed to create the world in order to get something that would help It further fulfill Its potential. In the scenario that exists for these folks, man is but a pawn or  tempoerary fodder in a plan much bigger than man would have dreamed of. Luckily for man however, God in Its grace has made arrangements for man to have a continued and blessed existence in an age yet to come that has the elect of mankind more integrated to God.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 09, 2013, 03:52:06 PM
Amazing how the all-powerful god gains or loses powers depending on the difficulty of the scenario.

Anytime a believer starts a sentence with "but god can't" or "you can't expect god to" they have just reduced god. A god that "can't" is not much of a god.  &)

I will refrain from posting my favorite relevant Avengers scene.... ;)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: magicmiles on July 09, 2013, 04:46:53 PM

Anytime a believer starts a sentence with "but god can't" or "you can't expect god to" they have just reduced god. A god that "can't" is not much of a god. 

I tend to agree, within the context of trying to explain every single possible instance of suffering.

It's us that can't. Can't understand. I don't pretend to understand why God doesn't prevent suffering in every instance, and the many examples of terrible suffering dusturb me greatly. Especially if the person suffering has no faith in God.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 09, 2013, 05:04:37 PM

Anytime a believer starts a sentence with "but god can't" or "you can't expect god to" they have just reduced god. A god that "can't" is not much of a god. 

I tend to agree, within the context of trying to explain every single possible instance of suffering.

It's us that can't. Can't understand. I don't pretend to understand why God doesn't prevent suffering in every instance, and the many examples of terrible suffering dusturb me greatly. Especially if the person suffering has no faith in God.

What should disturb you more, MM, is when the person suffering has a great deal of faith in god. Like the many stats that show people where there is the most religious faith having much worse lives compared to people with no faith at all.  :-\
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 09, 2013, 05:30:27 PM

Anytime a believer starts a sentence with "but god can't" or "you can't expect god to" they have just reduced god. A god that "can't" is not much of a god. 

I tend to agree, within the context of trying to explain every single possible instance of suffering.

It's us that can't. Can't understand. I don't pretend to understand why God doesn't prevent suffering in every instance, and the many examples of terrible suffering dusturb me greatly. Especially if the person suffering has no faith in God.

Also MM, how is it huge numbers of believers (I'm not saying these are your views), seem to know so much about their god; how perfect he is, how unable to do wrong he is, what his intentions are, what rules he has to abide by, even where he lives (outside of space and time?! How is this known?!) and countless other bits of knowledge but yet cannot answer this question; why does your god allow gratuitous suffering? I get the feeling that there is no answer theists can give because a loving personal god would not allow this.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 09, 2013, 10:04:07 PM
There's a reason that quantum tunneling usually applies only to particles, rather than macroscopic objects (like billiard balls).  It's because the mechanics of quantum physics don't work when applied to classical (macroscopic) objects. There's a reason we've never been able to make a billiard ball quantum-tunnel through a hill, or anything else along those lines.

The part I bolded is false according to mainstream physics.   Macroscopic objects are merely arrangements of microscopic objects.   Quantum mechanics works at all scales, it's just that the probability of quantum effects at the macro scale is so low that it's negligible.   However, any physicist will tell you that if you throw a ball against a wall enough times, such as a googolplex, eventually, the ball will go through the wall without damaging it.   This is as sure as it is that a tunnel diode works (a tunnel diode being a device that relies on quantum tunneling).   This is because quantum mechanics describes all systems.   Classical physics is only an approximation.   Quantum mechanics supersedes it and is a more complete description.   Here is the fourth paragraph from the Schrödinger equation Wikipedia article and a youtube video.

"In the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics, the wave function is the most complete description that can be given to a physical system. Solutions to Schrödinger's equation describe not only molecular, atomic, and subatomic systems, but also macroscopic systems, possibly even the whole universe." 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJY8farPqdI

Actually, virtual reality theory doesn't really explain things particularly well.  Certainly not as you've expressed them so far.  It seems more like wishful thinking on your part than anything.  Certainly this business of arguing that billiard balls being on one side of a wall one instant and the other side the next instant doesn't represent anything that actually happens, as far as we can tell, except on the scale of electrons and photons (which are small enough that quantum mechanics kicks in via the uncertainty principle).

At the very least, you're going to have to present additional evidence to support your argument, rather than something that as far as we can tell, has never actually happened.

It doesn't matter if it's something that happens in practice.   All physicists know that if you throw a ball at the wall enough times, eventually, it is inevitable that it will at some point tunnel through the wall because the probability distributions predicted by the Schrödinger equation are known to be true.

Though all mainstream physicists know this, they don't grok it because it really doesn't make sense in a self contained, continuously existing universe as they assume.   On the other hand, the ball going through the wall can be easily groked when assuming a discontinuous, virtual reality in which teleportation is easily explained.

The ancient peoples (who originally decided that the world was flat) didn't have the leisure to sit down and actually try to figure things out.  They were too busy trying to survive.  They didn't know (let alone care) about Occam's razor or coming up with models or anything like that.  They had no reason to doubt their eyes, so they concluded that their eyes were telling them the truth.  That's really all it was.  More importantly, things like believing the Earth was flat, or the sun, moon, and stars were painted on an upside-down bowl, didn't negatively impact their ability to survive, so they had no reason to take the time to consider whether it might have been wrong.

Touché, then how about the geocentrism vs. heliocentrism dispute which was hotly debated. 

Compare this:  http://www.chabotcollege.edu/faculty/shildreth/astronomy/geoanswers.html

To table 1 on page 16 of this: http://brianwhitworth.com/BW-VRT1.pdf

The issue is which model, ORT or VRT, explains observed phenomena better, with fewer problems.   
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 10, 2013, 08:03:34 AM


What should disturb you more, MM, is when the person suffering has a great deal of faith in god. Like the many stats that show people where there is the most religious faith having much worse lives compared to people with no faith at all.  :-\

People with harder lives need faith.  Those that don't need none.  Just saying. ;)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 10, 2013, 08:21:56 AM
Because my conception is of an omnibenevolent god and I think a loving, benevolent deity would not intentionally create a place of suffering. 


I believe in a loving God as well but God's not sleeping in my version.  Even in your scenario there is pain and suffering and all God would have to do is wake up!!! To understand pain and suffering you have to understand freewill.   

It does not take intelligence or any skill at all to dream.


And?   What does THAT have to do with anything?


You reduce God to almost nothing when you speak of God this way.  My theory is intelligent design. 

Another problem I have with this dream theory is the spirit.  In a dream we are not real and do not possess a spirit.  Our spirit is what connects us to God,IMO.



We don't need to be connected TO God because we ARE God.   What you seem to experience is EXACTLY what one aspect of God experiences.   This particular aspect of God believes it is a human being whose screen name is junebug72.   The awareness and life that you think is yours is only one of God's deluded perceptions.   There is no 'you' to possess a spirit and be connected to God.   There is only God and its delusions.
 

Ok if you're God create life by falling asleep.  It should be a replica of this 1.  Bring back some pictures so we'll know you're God.   

Why would you say God is not perfect if God is just taking a very, very , very, etc., etc.... long snooze.  We don't really exist right?  If we don't exist then how is God not perfect?  This whole idea is very confusing to say the least.


God isn't perfect because it has a certain aspect that can be tricked into believing something that isn't true. Namely that it is a gazillion different particles, objects and lifeforms.   If there is an aspect of you that can be deluded it means you are imperfect.

How do you know God can be tricked? I doubt that very seriously.   

That's a mighty long nap.  What made God so tired?

It's only seems long to the aspect of God that is deluded, which is the aspect that perceives the illusion of the passage of time.


So you say.

Pinch me I'm dreaming.  The fact that pain is real makes us real.  This is all very real.


OK.

OK. :?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 10, 2013, 09:01:57 AM
I think I just gave up trying to explain that the original question didn't ask for or require the child's life to be saved. No theist seemed willing or able to give an answer to the gratuitous suffering problem. Furthermore, if that case was true, all the more reason to simply end the child's life as she was falling.

...of course if I was a real god and saw some lunatic at the top of the well with a pistol, I'd just push him in...  ;)

You're full of it Ron J.  Every time I answer you, you change the perimeters of your question and say nobody is answering you.  Bullshit! 

Then you would not be a God that loves the creation!!!  A real God understands why the rapist becomes a rapist.  It's not a pretty sight.  Sex abuse ran rampid in my family for generations until I stood up and said, no more.  It stops here. 

Humans are responsible for pain and suffering with or w/o a god.  Since you don't believe in God you must except this fact.  You are just asking trick questions to make an atheist out of me.  Good luck with that especially with this question.

Maybe it was evolution that brought pain and suffering into the world.  Damn evolution.

What happened in the evolutionary explanation that explains pain and suffering?

Either way it can be eliminated by humans for humans.  My belief only enhances that fact to say it will please God when we accomplish this daunting task.

Sorry sleepless night made me a bit grumpy today. >:(
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 10, 2013, 09:19:31 AM
My belief only enhances that fact to say it will please God when we accomplish this daunting task.

That's interesting - the fact that you have this idea of a heavenly father figure who can be "pleased" with his children's behaviour.  This must inherently mean that he also possesses other mood characteristics as well, like being sad, angry, anxious, flustered, enraged?


The idea of god was not a lie but a device of the unconscious which needed to be decoded by psychology. A personal god was nothing more than an exalted father-figure.  Desire for such a deity sprang from infantile yearnings for a powerful, protective father; for justice and fairness and for life to go on forever. God is simply a projection of these desires, feared and worshipped by human beings out of an abiding sense of helplessness. Religion belonged to the infancy of the human race; it had been a necessary stage in the transition from childhood to maturity. It had promoted ethical values which were essential to society. Now that humanity had come of age, however, it should be left behind.  (Sigmund Freud)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 10, 2013, 11:31:34 AM
My belief only enhances that fact to say it will please God when we accomplish this daunting task.

That's interesting - the fact that you have this idea of a heavenly father figure who can be "pleased" with his children's behaviour.  This must inherently mean that he also possesses other mood characteristics as well, like being sad, angry, anxious, flustered, enraged?

Why must it inherently mean this.  Because you want it to.  I think God has perfect control over emotions.  Far too understanding for anger.  Anxious, come on. Sad, maybe.  If a human can control these emotions a god most certainly can.

That quote is one opinion.  There are many.  I will not argue that the stories of old are out there.  The mystery remains.  Neither you or I know the truth.  We have our POVs and that's it.  You have a strong non belief.  I have a strong belief.  According to some links I've posted we are not much different from one another.  I don't like for people to claim knowledge they can't possibly have either.  Not from theist and not from atheist.  Something I have learned very well from WWGHA, thanks.

It's good to be talking with you again StarStuff. 

Take care
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 10, 2013, 11:51:37 AM
"Why do you think your god(s) allow gratuitous, un-necessary and un-witnessed suffering?"

What part of this question, Junebug, confuses you? I tried to clarify that I was not asking why gods did not save the life of the girl in the example. That was not the question.

You say only humans cause pain and suffering. Did we cause the 2004 tsunami? Do we cause earthquakes? Do we cause viruses? No, they are natural events. And in many cases in these events victims experience gratuitous suffering. I would simply like to know how theists square this with their belief in a loving personal god.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 10, 2013, 12:23:46 PM
Why must it inherently mean this?  Because you want it to?

No, that's the way you roll.  It must inherently mean this because I use logic & reason, tools which you appear to side-step to keep your bubble of "beliefs" protected.  If your imaginary god can be "pleased", then it follows that he/she/it must also have other human-like emotions like being pleased.  Kindly explain how a person or god could be pleased, but have no other emotions.


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I think God has perfect control over emotions.  Far too understanding for anger.

Yet the bible speaks over & over again about this particular god's anger & rage.  So you are wrong.  Please admit that.



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Anxious, come on. Sad, maybe.

And as predicted, here you go on your fanciful exercise of cherry-picking; deciding all by yourself with your imagination what characteristics your god has and doesn't have.  It's really quite silly and childish (like Freud spelled out - I think he is correct).






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That quote is one opinion.  There are many.

Yes, but instead of being tossed around like a leaf by the wind, we all ought to decide what opinions, assertions and claims are supported by evidence and reason.



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I will not argue that the stories of old are out there.  The mystery remains.

Huh?


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Neither you or I know the truth.  We have our POVs and that's it.  You have a strong non belief.  I have a strong belief.  According to some links I've posted we are not much different from one another.  I don't like for people to claim knowledge they can't possibly have either.  Not from theist and not from atheist.

These sort of comments are a cop-out.  You seem to be trotting out the tired old line of "you're just as bad as a fundamentalist" drivel.  As Richard Dawkins said:  "When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong." 

Like most all christians, the thing which causes you to remain in the fog is to dwell in absolutes.  You feel that one must "know absolutely" something in order to believe or disbelieve it.  This is wrong-wrong-wrong, and it is not how science works.  Notice how you don't believe in numerous other things, yet you don't have "absolute knowledge" of their existence or not.  But your god gets a free pass, because you're just simply too invested in said beliefs.


"Believing is easier than thinking, thus so many more believers than thinkers"
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 10, 2013, 12:31:52 PM
^^Specifically, why gods tend to only act through their believers (be it directly through them, or by having their believers interpret natural events as being the work of those gods).  In short, what distinguishes the god you believe in from a fictitious character who resides inside your head, who acts and speaks through you?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Graybeard on July 10, 2013, 12:38:15 PM


What should disturb you more, MM, is when the person suffering has a great deal of faith in god. Like the many stats that show people where there is the most religious faith having much worse lives compared to people with no faith at all.  :-\

People with harder lives need faith.  Those that don't need none.  Just saying. ;)
If faith is within you, then whatever it is doing for you is already within you. Saying those with poor quality lives need faith is like saying Eskimos need banana slicers so they can feel content that they have a banana slicer.

Thinking that everything depends on God is just a pointless detour to reality -> reality is thinking that we do not know the future and are often unable to influence it other than by our own actions. The only difference is someone has stuck a god that need not be there into the equation.

Get rid of the god and rely on yourself for what the god is supposed to do.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: epidemic on July 10, 2013, 03:16:45 PM
Today he has given us something different.  He has given us the Bible, which is in itself a miracle and worth more than the appearance of an angel and it is something people of old did not possess.  One must only make proper use of it.  In those pages he has promised to fill us with his spirit.  There is nothing worth more than that.  Instead of complaining about what he has not given us, we should first make use of what he has given us.

I dissagree.  I was raised in a religious household, given the bible...  I find the appearance of an angel to be far superior because I would believe that.   I read a 2000 year old text written in such a way as to be unbelievable and you end up with me.  An agnostic atheist.

Were I to have been filled with the spirit through a personal encounter with a superbeing  then I would believe.   And knowing who I am I would follow what ever book of guidelines that super being suggested.  I don't hate god.  I dont believe in the god described in the old testament or new testament.   Because I have seen no relationship with those books and reality.  My puny fallible human mind has concluded based on the evidence presented to me that God is terribly unlikely.  However if presented with credible information I would certainly believe.

I am only human after all.

Giving me boils, broken bones, paralysis will not change my belief one way or the other.   The miracle you call the bible simply does not appear to be a miracle to me.   I read the words and frankly I conclude how do people believe this stuff.  I see the miracle of the bible is that some people actually believe it.  But I see the same miracle in the people who follow mormonism, bhudism, and hinduism.  What you call a miracle I see as gullibility because all religions seem to suffer from the same flaw they believe in the unbelievable with out any proof.

I would buy virtually any religion that statistically did not suffer the same fate as the rest of us.   If all christians were spared in Tsunamis, and Statitically sufficient number of christians died in their sleep vs horribly for no other perceivable reason then they were christians...  Then I would be all in.  But as it stands no religion seems to have a lock on magic healings, lower levels of suffering, greater levels of joy, or any other relief from "EVIL" .   Statistically speaking we all receive the same level of suckiness and same level of Joy.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 11, 2013, 05:16:27 AM
"Why do you think your god(s) allow gratuitous, un-necessary and un-witnessed suffering?"

What part of this question, Junebug, confuses you? I tried to clarify that I was not asking why gods did not save the life of the girl in the example. That was not the question.

You say only humans cause pain and suffering. Did we cause the 2004 tsunami? Do we cause earthquakes? Do we cause viruses? No, they are natural events. And in many cases in these events victims experience gratuitous suffering. I would simply like to know how theists square this with their belief in a loving personal god.

If the people suffering don't die their suffering is prolonged.  The body breaks down.  It is painful, death is mercy. 

Answer me a question please.  If there is an afterlife of the spectacular kind, is dying such a terrible thing?  Yes or no please. 

We are capable of building homes to withstand bad weather and yes I believe human behavior affects the weather. W/o loss of life weather is very beneficial to the planet? Yes we cause viruses.  Remember germ warfare? H-1-N-1?  The nasty way food industry handles our meats.  What about AIDS?  Viruses only happen when humans or their food are nasty.  There is a reason some theists say, clealiness is next to godliness

Either way Ron freewill explains it.  Which I have included in every answer I've given you.  Freewill is a gift from God, IMO.  Some people use it for good; some people abuse it.

That's how it's squared for me.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Graybeard on July 11, 2013, 06:05:05 AM
If the people suffering don't die their suffering is prolonged.  The body breaks down.  It is painful, death is mercy.
...and if they were cured of their suffering, would that be a mercy?

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Answer me a question please.  If there is an afterlife of the spectacular kind, is dying such a terrible thing?  Yes or no please.

Yes, undoubtedly but if there were a box containing $1,000,000 in your attic complete with a note saying, "This is for junebug" would that be useful?

How many dead people have come back and told you there's an afterlife? Isn't "There is an afterlife." the easiest statement to make. I tell you what, you give me $10 a week, and if you don't go to heaven I'll give all your subscriptions plus twice as much to anyone you nominate on proof that there is an afterlife and it is not the one you thought it was.

Have you still faith in an afterlife?

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Viruses only happen when humans or their food are nasty.

So animals never get viruses... like Bird-flu?

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There is a reason some theists say, clealiness is next to godliness.

That saying came about after germ theory, not before it - science, as usual, told theists what to say and believe. You will be aware that Jesus thought that washing your hands before eating with your fingers was unnecessary. 

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Freewill is a gift from God, IMO.

Then you are wrong. 

I am constantly amazed by your inability to think in a straight line.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 11, 2013, 06:05:56 AM
StarStuff,

You sure got that all wrong. 

If humans can control their emotions then a god certainly could control emotions even better.  There is logic and reason in that statement.  I did not say they were not there I said God controls them,IMO.  It's not what I know it's what I believe.

We've been down this road before Star.  I will not be called stupid, irrational, a christian, illogical or mentally ill.  I have just as much reasoning skill as you do.  We both have reasonable reasons for what we do and do not believe. 

The mystery remains because there is still no absolute truth.  I agree with your skepticism towards religions.  Religion is not God.  You guys do an excellent job proving religion is hogwash as far as the rules and regulations go.  Their definitions of gods.  It is the foundation of religion, the belief in God, that still remains.

I can't believe you didn't remember I don't believe in the bible.  I am not a christian. Please refer to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-goldberg/spiritual-but-not-religious-misunderstood-and-here-to-stay_b_2617306.html.

I hate that term cherry-picking.  I don't cherry-pick.  What am I picking from?

The only thing silly and childish here is you calling me silly and childish.

There is evidence and reason.  Evidence=Life itself, reasoning=intelligence was involved in our origins.

It is just as possible that you are wrong as it is that I am.  It is possible we are both wrong.  That is not a cop out that is honesty.  You should try it.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 11, 2013, 06:30:10 AM
If the people suffering don't die their suffering is prolonged.  The body breaks down.  It is painful, death is mercy.
...and if they were cured of their suffering, would that be a mercy?

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Answer me a question please.  If there is an afterlife of the spectacular kind, is dying such a terrible thing?  Yes or no please.

Yes, undoubtedly but if there were a box containing $1,000,000 in your attic complete with a note saying, "This is for junebug" would that be useful?

How many dead people have come back and told you there's an afterlife? Isn't "There is an afterlife." the easiest statement to make. I tell you what, you give me $10 a week, and if you don't go to heaven I'll give all your subscriptions plus twice as much to anyone you nominate on proof that there is an afterlife and it is not the one you thought it was.

Have you still faith in an afterlife?

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Viruses only happen when humans or their food are nasty.

So animals never get viruses... like Bird-flu?

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There is a reason some theists say, clealiness is next to godliness.

That saying came about after germ theory, not before it - science, as usual, told theists what to say and believe. You will be aware that Jesus thought that washing your hands before eating with your fingers was unnecessary. 

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Freewill is a gift from God, IMO.

Then you are wrong. 

I am constantly amazed by your inability to think in a straight line.

I think you have skipped some posts GB or you would not have asked that first question. 
 
No not if you're stuck in a well.

Why yes?  I don't believe that's an honest answer.  That's a dodge.  $1,000,000,000; only in this life.  You can't take it with you.  You won't need it.

Yes I still have belief in an after life.  That's in my soul.

Don't those birds live in horrid conditions caused by human abuse/neglect?

What does Jesus have to do with this conversation.  I am not a christian.  Please refer to the link I posted for Star.

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 11, 2013, 08:26:59 AM
I take it Junebug you can't answer why your god allows gratuitous suffering before death? Any other theists want to venture an opinion?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: John 3 16 on July 11, 2013, 08:58:45 AM
I don't know why God allows gratuitous sufferings. (Who determines anything is gratuitous anyway?)

But if there were no gratuitous sufferings, that is not an evidence for the existence of God either.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: epidemic on July 11, 2013, 09:07:25 AM
I don't know why God allows gratuitous sufferings. (Who determines anything is gratuitous anyway?)

But if there were no gratuitous sufferings, that is not an evidence for the existence of God either.
'

No evidence of god would be personal appearances, better outcomes for believers, or worse outcomes for non believers.  Amputations being healed by followers of given religion.  Gimpy legs for non or incorrect religions.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: John 3 16 on July 11, 2013, 09:22:55 AM
No evidence of god would be personal appearances, better outcomes for believers, or worse outcomes for non believers
Epidemic.
Do you wish there were a god?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 11, 2013, 09:33:27 AM
Even though this response is not addressed to me, Junebug, you covered a lot of ground and I have to jump in.

If the people suffering don't die their suffering is prolonged.  The body breaks down.  It is painful, death is mercy. 

But given that for many, death is not mercy, and that there is no pattern (the good sometimes die well, the good sometimes die horribly, same for the bad) there are those of us who wonder what the fuck is going on if a god is involved.

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Answer me a question please.  If there is an afterlife of the spectacular kind, is dying such a terrible thing?  Yes or no please. 

Well, an accurate description of the afterlife, complete with a useful overview, a Facebook page, Flickr photos, etc. would be very helpful in deciding yes or no. The only thing I know about the afterlife is based on the hundreds of different and conflicting descriptions I have heard from various believers over the years. And an infinite existence is of no interest to me if it ends up being boring or otherwise less than dynamic and enjoyable. I can handle a lifetime of various disappointments, etc. Not not infinity.

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Yes we cause viruses.  Remember germ warfare? H-1-N-1?  The nasty way food industry handles our meats.  What about AIDS?  Viruses only happen when humans or their food are nasty.  There is a reason some theists say, clealiness is next to godliness.

You seem to be mixing up our ability to purposely or errantly muck with viruses with "causing" them. Viruses happen all the time in both the human and animal (and plant) worlds without any consideration of the moral/health practices of people. And did you know that people who are too clean all too often end up causing themselves and their families to have more allergies and to be more susceptible to disease than they otherwise would be. It is fitting, of course, that one can overdo cleanliness just like one can overdo the god thing.

Keep in mind that you live on a planet where sun cancers have gone up because of sunscreen (people spend more time in the sun because they think sunscreen makes them safe) and a world where the use of sea salt, which is seen by many as healthier, has caused blood pressure rates to go up because people think they can eat more of it. We humans can make anything a negative if given a chance.

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Either way Ron freewill explains it.  Which I have included in every answer I've given you.  Freewill is a gift from God, IMO.  Some people use it for good; some people abuse it.

And some people abuse the free will of innocent victims by raping/killing them. Which means that the bad guy gets to have more free will than the victim. Which is cute and all, but irksome otherwise. And until a believer can explain to me why freewill is important unless it gets in the way of a bad persons free will, I shall go ahead and consider the whole religious take on what free will is a bunch of bunk. If my freewill is currently important, and I'm busy using it either to believe in god or not, and along comes a bad guy (either a believer or not) and conks me over the head with a crowbar, how is my freewill of any use to me?

And before you run around saying I had a chance to believe or whatever before getting conked, you need also to be able to answer this. When the victim is a small child, or even a baby, who has had no chance to develop his or her free will, where is the wonderful part of that?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 11, 2013, 09:57:58 AM
If the people suffering don't die their suffering is prolonged.  The body breaks down.  It is painful, death is mercy.
And that is the point he is actually trying to make.  There have been documented cases where someone has been fatally injured in such a way that they were looking at a lingering (as in, weeks-long), excruciatingly painful death (for example, having their abdomen punctured, especially if it cut or severed the intestines, before the advent of antibiotics).  In those cases, other people would very often give them a coup de grace so that they would not suffer needlessly.  But it never happens as an act of divine grace.  They never simply die painlessly a few seconds or minutes or hours after suffering that injury.  No, even if they're devoutly praying for death, it doesn't come until they've weakened to the point where their body's systems simply can't keep them alive any longer - unless a person gives them a mercy killing.

Quote from: junebug72
Answer me a question please.  If there is an afterlife of the spectacular kind, is dying such a terrible thing?  Yes or no please.
Yes.  Because it is that belief that there might be a "spectacular afterlife" that fuels the fear of death, and which makes it so terrible.  In actual fact, death is nothing special - simply the cessation of life functions.  Every atom is still there, and it will continue to exist as part of something else.  That's not really all that bad, especially if the things you did are remembered by other people.

No, the idea of death being terrible came directly from the belief that there might be life after death - but only for the ones that God thinks is worthy of it.  How many people do you think worry about whether they're one of God's chosen who will live on after death?  How many do you think wonder if they aren't destined for some other fate?  How much suffering do you think they put themselves through during their lives because they aren't sure if they'll live on?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 11, 2013, 10:09:33 AM
I take it Junebug you can't answer why your god allows gratuitous suffering before death? Any other theists want to venture an opinion?

God isn't omniscient.   There is an aspect of God that is deluded.   This aspect is having a 'dream of separation.'   A dream of separation is one in which a single perspective is split into many simultaneous, independent streams which correspond to each particle, object and life form via neutral monism.   Since God's perspective is split, it doesn't have an overall perspective.   

Currently, God only knows what each life form alive today knows.   If no living person knows how to eradicate the world's suffering, it means that God doesn't know how to do it.   So it's not that God 'allows' suffering, just as we don't 'allow' tsunamis.  It just doesn't know how to eradicate it.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 11, 2013, 10:14:30 AM
Currently, God only knows what each life form alive today knows.   If no living person knows how to eradicate the world's suffering, it means that God doesn't know how to do it.   So it's not that God 'allows' suffering, just as we don't 'allow' tsunamis.  It just doesn't know how to eradicate it.

I know how to make the world a much better place. I can't fix the tsunami part, but I know how to end war immediately. But your god isn't taking advantage of that information. Why not?

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 11, 2013, 10:34:00 AM
I know how to make the world a much better place. I can't fix the tsunami part, but I know how to end war immediately. But your god isn't taking advantage of that information. Why not?

As I said, God's perspective is split and it has no overall perspective or overall awareness of the universe apart from what each particle, object or life form knows of the universe individually.   What you know is EXACTLY what one aspect of God knows.   I am not saying you are a collection point that siphons information up to an omniscient God who knows how to put your plans into action.   If you don't know how to take advantage of the information you have, neither does the deluded aspect of God, which is the only aspect of God with any awareness of the universe.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: John 3 16 on July 11, 2013, 10:38:33 AM
Currently, God only knows what each life form alive today knows.   If no living person knows how to eradicate the world's suffering, it means that God doesn't know how to do it.   So it's not that God 'allows' suffering, just as we don't 'allow' tsunamis.  It just doesn't know how to eradicate it.
Then why call him "God"?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 11, 2013, 10:40:02 AM
Nebula, there is no way you know this stuff. How could you possibly say what god knows and does not know? Are you in personal contact with god? If you are, please call CNN and let the world know.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 11, 2013, 10:41:28 AM
I know how to make the world a much better place. I can't fix the tsunami part, but I know how to end war immediately. But your god isn't taking advantage of that information. Why not?

As I said, God's perspective is split and it has no overall perspective or overall awareness of the universe apart from what each particle, object or life form knows of the universe individually.   What you know is EXACTLY what one aspect of God knows.   I am not saying you are a collection point that siphons information up to an omniscient God who knows how to put your plans into action.   If you don't know how to take advantage of the information you have, neither does the deluded aspect of God, which is the only aspect of God with any awareness of the universe.

In the post I was responding to you said  "If no living person knows how to eradicate the world's suffering, it means that God doesn't know how to do it." So when I responded, telling you that I know how to end war (meaning that, as per your first post, that god should too), you changed the goal posts and said he can't do diddly with what I know. Now of course you are tasked with coming up with an excuse for the fact that i noticed that. But I'm sure you'll do fine.

With your new version of christianity you are going to have to get used to these inconveniences. Because every other version has had to do the same thing. When you're making stuff up on the fly and calling it the ultimate truth, you kinda gotta wing it.

There is a reason for that. Don't ever say that you haven't been warned. Your god may not be able to tell you these things, but I can.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 11, 2013, 10:43:12 AM
No evidence of god would be personal appearances, better outcomes for believers, or worse outcomes for non believers
Epidemic.
Do you wish there were a god?

Why does that matter? Wishing will not make a god exist if there is no god. If wishes were horses, we'd all be in the Kentucky Derby. I wish I had a billion dollars and looked like Halle Berry. So what?  &)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 11, 2013, 10:47:01 AM
I don't know why God allows gratuitous sufferings. (Who determines anything is gratuitous anyway?)

But if there were no gratuitous sufferings, that is not an evidence for the existence of God either.

You don't know why god allows anything.

Both good and bad people suffer. Sometimes good people suffer and bad people don't. Earthquakes don't spare the good people or the innocent animals. And the benefits of better sanitation improve everyone's lives, good and bad alike.

The world is amoral, exactly as if there was no god.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jdawg70 on July 11, 2013, 10:48:31 AM
Currently, God only knows what each life form alive today knows.   If no living person knows how to eradicate the world's suffering, it means that God doesn't know how to do it.   So it's not that God 'allows' suffering, just as we don't 'allow' tsunamis.  It just doesn't know how to eradicate it.
Then why call him "God"?
I find this to be a valid question.  I'd like to respin it another way for you nebula:
Is there a difference between what you call 'god' and 'the sum total of reality'?  If so, what are those differences?  If not, why not just refer to 'sum total of reality' and ditch the other baggage that usually comes with the word 'god' (independent, sentient will, omni-capabilities, etc.)?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 11, 2013, 10:52:56 AM
If wishes were horses, we'd all be in the Kentucky Derby.

Thank you - thank you - thank you.  I've been waiting for the opportunity to post this:




[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 11, 2013, 10:55:12 AM
In the post I was responding to you said  "If no living person knows how to eradicate the world's suffering, it means that God doesn't know how to do it." So when I responded, telling you that I know how to end war (meaning that, as per your first post, that god should too), you changed the goal posts and said he can't do diddly with what I know. Now of course you are tasked with coming up with an excuse for the fact that i noticed that. But I'm sure you'll do fine.

With your new version of christianity you are going to have to get used to these inconveniences. Because every other version has had to do the same thing. When you're making stuff up on the fly and calling it the ultimate truth, you kinda gotta wing it.

There is a reason for that. Don't ever say that you haven't been warned. Your god may not be able to tell you these things, but I can.

If you know how to end war then why don't you do it?   Because you don't have the ability/power to put your plan into action?   Then that is what the aspect of God that knows how to end war (i.e. you) believes.   This aspect doesn't know it has any power to put the plan into action, and that's why it doesn't.

Suppose you are having a dream in which you have broken both of your legs.   In the dream, you can't stand up due to your apparently broken legs.   Within the dream, you have no power to stand up.   It's the same thing.   
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 11, 2013, 10:56:44 AM
Do you wish there were a god?

Can I answer this?

What good is wishing? Either there is a god or gods, or there isn't. If there are, my wishing is frickin' irrelevant, and if there are not, my wishing accomplishes nothing.

If I had one wish that could come true, I wouldn't waste it on conjuring up an ill-defined deity. I'd do something useful like end war or hunger or global domination by capitalists and power-mongers.

No, I don't wish there was a god, because I can't conceive of one that would do any good. You religious types have yet to conjure up anything even remotely appealing, and I don't have the ego necessary to think I could do better.

I do wish that people didn't have the misconception that there is one, though.

That doesn't seem to help much either. The religious are just too darned stubborn.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 11, 2013, 11:00:10 AM
If you know how to end war then why don't you do it?   Because you don't have the ability/power to put your plan into action?   Then that is what the aspect of God that knows how to end war (i.e. you) believes.   This aspect doesn't know it has any power to put the plan into action, and that's why it doesn't.

Suppose you are having a dream in which you have broken both of your legs.   In the dream, you can't stand up due to your apparently broken legs.   Within the dream, you have no power to stand up.   It's the same thing.

So you are worshipping a customized god that is powerless but nonetheless worthy of our worship. It takes a lot of work to be on the fringe of the fringe, but you're doing a good job.

Why don't I do it? Because I have no idea how to make other people as nice as I am. And I'm too nice to try forcing the issue.

By the way, in my dreams, if my legs were broken,t here would be no need to stand up. Because in my dreams I can fly.

Your god is sounding more like a nightmare to me. But of course, all of them do.

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 11, 2013, 11:00:44 AM
Nebula, there is no way you know this stuff. How could you possibly say what god knows and does not know? Are you in personal contact with god? If you are, please call CNN and let the world know.

It's just a theory/conception of God.   I'm not saying I know.   The post I was replying to asked for 'opinions.'   
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 11, 2013, 11:57:23 AM
So you are worshipping a customized god that is powerless but nonetheless worthy of our worship. It takes a lot of work to be on the fringe of the fringe, but you're doing a good job.

Why don't I do it? Because I have no idea how to make other people as nice as I am. And I'm too nice to try forcing the issue.

By the way, in my dreams, if my legs were broken,t here would be no need to stand up. Because in my dreams I can fly.

Your god is sounding more like a nightmare to me. But of course, all of them do.

Who said I 'worship' anything?   

Can you fly in all of your dreams?   In God's dream flight isn't possible for humans unless you have an airplane or something.   And God isn't in any way a lucid dreamer.   The illusion of the universe is much more persistent than the illusion of the dreams we have when we sleep.  The entities or dream characters that God thinks it is have no control over the physical laws.   
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: epidemic on July 11, 2013, 12:53:21 PM
No evidence of god would be personal appearances, better outcomes for believers, or worse outcomes for non believers
Epidemic.
Do you wish there were a god?

I don't know. 

A guy in the sky who will let me live forever in paradise vs an all knowing being that creates sentient life and then tortures it for eternity because it made a poor decision when only presented with some of the facts.

Assuming that this god can make me enjoy eternity it is tempting.

But a god that tortures some of his creations infinitely (and seemingly petty) for finite crimes might weigh heavy on me. 

If I were to die today and meet god and he was the god I have read about in the bible I might be very torn.  I don't like vengeful, selfconsious people, who are compelled by peoples worship.  Now if god is able to put my fallible mind at rest and I have infinite paradise.

Ok having talked myself into this and reflected a bit. 

I would not mind living forever assuming my mind would not eventually become bored.  My moral compass already keeps me from worrying about the poor in other countries so I could probably deal with those tortured in hell as long as I did not think about it too much.

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: screwtape on July 11, 2013, 01:36:53 PM
Do you wish there were a god?

Yes.  And I wish it was me. 

I would be a great god.  I would actually stop people from doing horrible things in my name.  9/11 would be remembered as the day I appeared on 4 airplanes at the same time and made 19 arab men disappear.  They would appear later that day with a more charitable perspective on life.

People would not behave like tribalistic, superstitious monkeys.  I would make humans actually rational.  I would make people incapable of intentionally doing harm to others. 

I would make people able to perform miracles when in need.  A starving child could conjure his own bread and fish.

I would make life such that it need not kill and devour other life to survive.  I would get rid of germs and viruses. 

I would get rid of boy bands.   I would make teenage girls sensible enough that boy bands could never succeed in the first place.

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 11, 2013, 02:30:06 PM
Then why call him "God"?
I find this to be a valid question.  I'd like to respin it another way for you nebula:
Is there a difference between what you call 'god' and 'the sum total of reality'?  If so, what are those differences?  If not, why not just refer to 'sum total of reality' and ditch the other baggage that usually comes with the word 'god' (independent, sentient will, omni-capabilities, etc.)?

No, there is no difference between God and the sum total of reality, with the caveat that the universe we know isn't reality, it's virtuality, i.e. the output of nonphysical, quantum processing of qubits.

I use the word God just because I'm a westerner and I'm comfortable with that simple word and with conceiving of reality in terms of a deity.     
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 11, 2013, 04:21:45 PM
Do you wish there were a god?

Yes.  And I wish it was me. 

I would be a great god.  I would actually stop people from doing horrible things in my name.  9/11 would be remembered as the day I appeared on 4 airplanes at the same time and made 19 arab men disappear.  They would appear later that day with a more charitable perspective on life.

People would not behave like tribalistic, superstitious monkeys.  I would make humans actually rational.  I would make people incapable of intentionally doing harm to others. 

I would make people able to perform miracles when in need.  A starving child could conjure his own bread and fish.

I would make life such that it need not kill and devour other life to survive.  I would get rid of germs and viruses. 

I would get rid of boy bands.   I would make teenage girls sensible enough that boy bands could never succeed in the first place.

If you could make my 16-year-old daughter sensible, I would fall down and worship you yesterday. :D
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: One Above All on July 11, 2013, 04:45:22 PM
If you could make my 16-year-old daughter sensible, I would fall down and worship you yesterday. :D

Would that apply to, say... Me? I could use a new worshiper. All My old ones are getting kinda... well, old. You know how it is (metaphorically speaking), living forever and all.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jdawg70 on July 12, 2013, 12:01:43 PM
No, there is no difference between God and the sum total of reality, with the caveat that the universe we know isn't reality, it's virtuality, i.e. the output of nonphysical, quantum processing of qubits.

I use the word God just because I'm a westerner and I'm comfortable with that simple word and with conceiving of reality in terms of a deity.     
Unfortunately, I don't think the word 'god' is simple.  The word 'god' usually comes with a whole lot of additional semantic baggage - independent sentience/will, vast, phenomenal powers, desires for relationships with his/her/its creations, etc.  For the most part, especially in the western world, you'd have to lop a whole lot of that semantic baggage off when having a discussion with people.  'Sum total of reality' doesn't really suffer from that problem.  Insofar as I understand your beliefs (which, honestly, I'm not sure I really do), you've got semantic baggage that you'd need to lop off a well with 'sum total of reality', but you'd have to lop that same baggage off with the word 'god'.

I just don't see how using the word 'god' is anything but detrimental to the goal of explaining your beliefs.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 12, 2013, 12:32:21 PM
Unfortunately, I don't think the word 'god' is simple.  The word 'god' usually comes with a whole lot of additional semantic baggage - independent sentience/will, vast, phenomenal powers, desires for relationships with his/her/its creations, etc.  For the most part, especially in the western world, you'd have to lop a whole lot of that semantic baggage off when having a discussion with people.  'Sum total of reality' doesn't really suffer from that problem.  Insofar as I understand your beliefs (which, honestly, I'm not sure I really do), you've got semantic baggage that you'd need to lop off a well with 'sum total of reality', but you'd have to lop that same baggage off with the word 'god'.

I just don't see how using the word 'god' is anything but detrimental to the goal of explaining your beliefs.

I know what you mean but it creeps me out a little to constantly use some other word, often several times in a single sentence.   I guess 'the sum total of reality' would work and I could call it 'reality' for short or perhaps 'being itself' and call it 'being' for short.   

In a way though, I would kind of expect comments like this:  "You can't fool us with your 'sum total of reality' nonsense.   We know you worship Jesus.   Don't be afraid to admit that you love biblegawd.   Embrace it!"   

So whatever….I totally see your point but I use the word the same way I used it when I was 4 years old, as a symbol for something of which I know nothing.   My speculations about what it is are of course just that.

This is the dude right here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_%28philosophy%29

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 12, 2013, 01:26:36 PM
Why do you have to ascribe a living consciousness to reality, then? You still haven't gotten any closer to explaining anything by saying, "See, I think the whole universe is powered by this even bigger living thing. That I don't know jack about. But here's some sh!t I just made up about it."
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Star Stuff on July 12, 2013, 01:30:30 PM
Why do you have to ascribe a living consciousness to reality, then? You still haven't gotten any closer to explaining anything by saying, "See, I think the whole universe is powered by this even bigger living thing. That I don't know jack about. But here's some sh!t I just made up about it."

Theism defined.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 12, 2013, 02:20:07 PM
Why do you have to ascribe a living consciousness to reality, then? You still haven't gotten any closer to explaining anything by saying, "See, I think the whole universe is powered by this even bigger living thing. That I don't know jack about. But here's some sh!t I just made up about it."

The only consciousnesses or awarenesses I ascribe to God are the ones that each individual particle, object and life form in our universe has.   I do not ascribe any overall awareness to God, as I've said many times.   I will explain why but put on your goggles because we're going deep into woo country.

Awareness has to do with duality.   To be aware, there must be two things, the awareness and what the awareness is aware of.   God, the non-deluded, non-dreaming aspect, is not aware.   It just is.   It doesn't need to be aware because it IS everything.  It's non-dual.  I will stop there.   I don't want to woo you guys out too much.   

Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 13, 2013, 03:24:29 PM
Why stop there? As long as you are going to make stuff up, with no basis in reality. &)
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Astreja on July 14, 2013, 12:15:51 AM
Awareness has to do with duality.   To be aware, there must be two things, the awareness and what the awareness is aware of.   God, the non-deluded, non-dreaming aspect, is not aware.   It just is.   It doesn't need to be aware because it IS everything.  It's non-dual.  I will stop there.   I don't want to woo you guys out too much.

As a {mostly} reformed wooist, I am intrigued by the idea of non-duality.  At very least, I concede that it may be possible to view reality from that perspective.  Could you suggest one or two methods for getting into (or at least approaching) that frame of mind?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: wheels5894 on July 14, 2013, 09:34:07 AM
Why do you have to ascribe a living consciousness to reality, then? You still haven't gotten any closer to explaining anything by saying, "See, I think the whole universe is powered by this even bigger living thing. That I don't know jack about. But here's some sh!t I just made up about it."

The only consciousnesses or awarenesses I ascribe to God are the ones that each individual particle, object and life form in our universe has.   I do not ascribe any overall awareness to God, as I've said many times.   I will explain why but put on your goggles because we're going deep into woo country.

Awareness has to do with duality.   To be aware, there must be two things, the awareness and what the awareness is aware of.   God, the non-deluded, non-dreaming aspect, is not aware.   It just is.   It doesn't need to be aware because it IS everything.  It's non-dual.  I will stop there.   I don't want to woo you guys out too much.

So, really, Nebula, you don't have any significant belief in anything except the 'totality of everything'. Then I suggest a different name rather than using the word 'god' as, to most people, the word 'god' carried too much meaning with it, especially the Christian god and Allah. A nice short word is need for what you have come up iwht but I can't think of one right now.

Oh, and you mention that what we see here and in the universe is not actual reality. How do you know this?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 14, 2013, 09:49:55 AM
Seems to me that instead of thinking of it as 'God' (since it doesn't appear that you actually believe in a god which can do things for believers or listen to prayer or any of the other things that believers normally ascribe to their god(s)), you could instead call it something else.  Like, maybe, "the universe".  Saying that the universe exists and is not aware, and it's only the individual things in the universe that exist and have awareness (based on what they are; for example, an electron is 'aware' of gravity and of electromagnetism, because it is affected by both), holds together a lot better than saying God exists and is not aware, etc.

In other words, the problem here appears to be mainly that you've affixed the moniker 'God' to this non-dual entity, and thus think of it as the equivalent of a person (with all that implies).  Because ultimately, if you leave out that part, what you're saying is very similar to what we've discovered so far through naturalistic science.

Just consider this my attempt to provide the solution to a Gordian knot.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: wheels5894 on July 14, 2013, 11:49:05 AM
Good idea,  jaimehlers, what a great name for it too - 'the universe'. now why didn't I think of that...
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 14, 2013, 12:29:17 PM
As a {mostly} reformed wooist, I am intrigued by the idea of non-duality.  At very least, I concede that it may be possible to view reality from that perspective.  Could you suggest one or two methods for getting into (or at least approaching) that frame of mind?

Well, one way is to view everything in absolute totalities rather than separate, relative parts.   Blade of grass < Lawn, Trees < Forest,  Human < Humanity, Species < Biological life, Sun and planets < Solar system, Stars < Galaxy, Galaxies < Universe.   

So all of that stuff is in the universe.   In absolute terms, there is no individual blade of grass.   There is only one universe, which consists of one energy.   Some of this energy has been converted into complex matter through various processes, but it can be converted back to energy at any time due to mass-energy equivalence.   The blade of grass or the individual human exist in relative terms only.   

That's non-dual physicalism but it's not my kind of nondualism.   The kind I'm into is wooish because it will not make sense when looking at it from the perspective of classical logic and deductive reasoning but it makes sense if you approach it from paraconsistent logic or Dialetheism, which are admittedly not as strong in the way of 'proving' anything to someone else.   So here it is, take it or leave it.       

Reality is non-duality or oneness.   Illusion is duality.   This is why people use the phrase 'God is Love.'   The phrase isn't that God 'loves,' God IS love.   Absolute Love is oneness.   Fear or hatred is twoness or division.   Here is a little metaphorical mythology to illustrate it that uses temporal cause and effect to explain how duality started but none of it really happened.   It's just a metaphor.   You may want to put on your rubber boots because we're going to be mucking through some serious woo here.   

First, there was Love, oneness.   Then, somehow, a certain aspect of Love slipped into a delusion or dream.   The first part of the delusion was that it developed awareness, which implies twoness or the false idea that something other than Love is possible.   The aspect of Love that was aware felt guilty for considering the possibility of something other than perfect Love.   This led to fear and its solution was to hide from Love.   Since it was only an aspect of Love and not a separate entity, the only way that it could hide was through a fantasy in which it imagined as in a dream that it was hiding from Love.   In big bang cosmology, this would be the initial expansion after the big bang in which space and time themselves were forming. 

As this hot and dense state began to cool subatomic particles formed.   As these particles formed the awareness of the deluded aspect of Love was divided amongst the particles (neutral monism).   In this way, the fear and guilt of separating from Love was alleviated.   By separating awareness into individual units, there was no longer any overall awareness of the perfect Love it was imagining itself separate from.   Natural evil makes the illusion complete.  It convinces us that there is no Perfect Love, only a harsh, indifferent universe.   Apparently, this is preferable to knowing perfect Love exists and knowing that we (the deluded aspect of Love) considered the possibility of something other than Love.   Basically, we are Love or absolute oneness but we have managed to convince ourselves otherwise through a very vivid, detailed dream.       
       
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nebula on July 14, 2013, 12:31:17 PM
Oh, and you mention that what we see here and in the universe is not actual reality. How do you know this?

We have already discussed this on page 4 of this thread.

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25146.msg561952.html#msg561952

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25146.msg562267.html#msg562267
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 14, 2013, 12:37:58 PM
That's woo, alright. And it is impossible to argue against because the person who makes it up thinks they are brilliant.

Taking love, which is a byproduct of certain neurological propensities, and making it a universal property of all matter and energy, then tossing in dreams and poof, you have poof.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jaimehlers on July 14, 2013, 01:20:07 PM
Frankly, nebula, your belief system is looking an awful lot like Daoism with a pinch of Christian theology mixed in.

Personally, though, I stand by what I said before.  If you leave out the 'woo' aspects, you get the actual universe and how it developed.  You're even describing it in Big Bang cosmology terms.

So the real question thus becomes - does your belief system add anything meaningful to the scientific explanations that already exist?  Or is it just for your own personal comfort?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 19, 2013, 07:12:50 AM
Do you wish there were a god?

Yes.  And I wish it was me. 

I would be a great god.  I would actually stop people from doing horrible things in my name.  9/11 would be remembered as the day I appeared on 4 airplanes at the same time and made 19 arab men disappear.  They would appear later that day with a more charitable perspective on life.

People would not behave like tribalistic, superstitious monkeys.  I would make humans actually rational.  I would make people incapable of intentionally doing harm to others. 

I would make people able to perform miracles when in need.  A starving child could conjure his own bread and fish.

I would make life such that it need not kill and devour other life to survive.  I would get rid of germs and viruses. 

I would get rid of boy bands.   I would make teenage girls sensible enough that boy bands could never succeed in the first place.

If you were God there would have never been a 9/11.  We would all be under your control. 

How about giving that child some loving parents or just dictate from your throne who is worthy to have children and who ain't.

How would you create such life Screwtape.  If it can be done do it already.  I'm tired of spending all my money at the grocery store.

No freewill in Screwtape's kingdom. No Thanks!!!

That's what I think Love is using us for Screwtape.  To stop people from doing bad things in God's name. 
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: wheels5894 on July 19, 2013, 07:45:12 AM

If you were God there would have never been a 9/11.  We would all be under your control. 

How about giving that child some loving parents or just dictate from your throne who is worthy to have children and who ain't.

How would you create such life Screwtape.  If it can be done do it already.  I'm tired of spending all my money at the grocery store.

No freewill in Screwtape's kingdom. No Thanks!!!

That's what I think Love is using us for Screwtape.  To stop people from doing bad things in God's name.

But, June, love is a human emotion. It is our reaction to others. It is not some disembodied ideal like Plato's ideal. So what you are saying seems to be that whatever is wrong in the world, and there's plenty wrong, we should overcome it with our human emotion and the action that follows that emotion. Great!

Just one point - what happened to your 'god'?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 19, 2013, 04:32:43 PM
When it comes down to it, all the wonderful stuff gods supposedly do actually turns out to be the result of people doing stuff to make the world better. Like medicines that get rid of diseases. Or it is an accident, like finding money on the ground.  The bad stuff that happens, like being killed in a tornado, is just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Otherwise it is caused by human action like someone denting your car in the parking lot.  You don't need supernatural explanations for any of that. Sometimes sh!t just happens.

Why is that so hard for people to get through their heads? &) :?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jdawg70 on July 19, 2013, 05:26:19 PM
When it comes down to it, all the wonderful stuff gods supposedly do actually turns out to be the result of people doing stuff to make the world better. Like medicines that get rid of diseases. Or it is an accident, like finding money on the ground.  The bad stuff that happens, like being killed in a tornado, is just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Otherwise it is caused by human action like someone denting your car in the parking lot.  You don't need supernatural explanations for any of that. Sometimes sh!t just happens.

Why is that so hard for people to get through their heads? &) :?
I suspect that a large part of it has to do with the human tendency to favor some degree of control.  Accidents represent a lack of control of an outcome - we know that we can't dodge bullets, teleport away from danger, instantaneously change the weather, or otherwise directly prevent a large number of outcomes from manifesting.  It makes sense to think that the human cognitive engine has a bias favoring explanations that enable some directly actionable control over the consequences of that explanation.  It seems like that would be beneficial for the survival instinct - being in control of a situation should reasonably provide better odds of survival against a similar situation that one has no control over.

With some kind of ultra-powerful sentience in place, that provides an avenue for some means of control over certain consequences.  We can't stop bullets, but we can attempt to implore an ultra-powerful sentience to orchestrate the events of reality to unfold such that we are not in the situation in the first place.  Since we wish to act as morally good entities, it makes sense that we assume this sentience is benevolent as well, as we want to be rewarded for being good and (for some) see others be punished for being bad. 

Ergo, because it feels better, the human mind will be more willing to believe an explanation that involves a sentient entity that aids in providing more control over potential future consequences.

Does that make any sense?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 20, 2013, 03:55:21 AM
I've just come back from a family holiday in France. We took the car, me driving with wife and kids. Was thinking as I drove "I hope the car doesn't break down' and almost added 'touch wood'. But I didn't. And its because these past 2-3 years I've gone from having a vague thought at the back of my mind that 'God' existed (I wasn't brought up in religious household) to being an ardent atheist thanks to sites like this and books from Dawkins, Hitchens, etc. Instead I purposely said to my wife "I love the reliability of this car, its never going to break down on this trip!". We came back on the ferry across the Channel and again I said to my wife "This ship is never going to sink on our way back!". She squirmed a bit both times, tempting fate and all that, but having thought all this stuff through as much as I can and come to the conclusion that gods don't exist and neither is there an entity called 'Fate', I felt so free that simply saying that stuff doesn't make it happen. Of course there's always a small chance the car will break down or an ever smaller one the ferry will sink; but it'll have nothing to do with me saying it.
I fly every week as part of my job and again it tickles me when I say to myself before take off "This plane is not going to crash!". I do love tempting non-existent fate!
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: rev45 on July 20, 2013, 06:45:34 AM
^If you're going to tempt fate you might try tempting it with something other than not dying.  Something along the lines of "this rich looking guy will not hand me free money" or "I will not utterly crush my family in this high stakes, high impact game of Scrabble."  Maybe you'll become a rich world champion Scrabble player.  It could happen.  Maybe.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: nogodsforme on July 20, 2013, 02:24:02 PM
I know what you mean about the whole "not tempting fate" jazz. I think about all the bogus stuff we were raised with, from religions to "unlucky 13" and "don't step on a crack" as if that really has anything to do with your mother's back condition.

The one thing I do worry about is pushing my luck by becoming more publicly atheist, like putting stickers on my car, making speeches or writing real published articles. I would have to continue to use a fake name to protect myself and my family. There appear to be many loving Christians, peaceful Muslims, etc. who are only too happy to show us how much their gods disapprove of us. After all, only a supernatural god would vandalize a car with a "gods are imaginary" sticker, or write hate mail to an atheist blogger, or send death threats to an atheist writer or speaker. :o
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 21, 2013, 12:49:44 AM

The one thing I do worry about is pushing my luck by becoming more publicly atheist...

Know what you mean, but this is not the same as tweaking the nose of fate. More like tweaking the nipple of a very real Islamic fundamentalist. Fate can't bring an airliner down but a fundamentalist can!
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 22, 2013, 08:32:23 AM
^^Specifically, why gods tend to only act through their believers (be it directly through them, or by having their believers interpret natural events as being the work of those gods).  In short, what distinguishes the god you believe in from a fictitious character who resides inside your head, who acts and speaks through you?

I've fallen behind in this thread, my apologies.  I can bite off more than I can chew sometimes. 

First, I don't know that God only acts through believers.  As far as distinguishing God from a fictitious deity in my head I think I can not.  Not in anyway you would consider evidence.  To me it is just good common sense to believe that God conducted the Big Bang.

I will say this.  That when I follow my heart good things seem to happen.  I try to live a life that honors God and gives thanks for this life.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 22, 2013, 09:04:49 AM

Quote
Either way Ron freewill explains it.  Which I have included in every answer I've given you.  Freewill is a gift from God, IMO.  Some people use it for good; some people abuse it.

And some people abuse the free will of innocent victims by raping/killing them. Which means that the bad guy gets to have more free will than the victim. Which is cute and all, but irksome otherwise. And until a believer can explain to me why freewill is important unless it gets in the way of a bad persons free will, I shall go ahead and consider the whole religious take on what free will is a bunch of bunk. If my freewill is currently important, and I'm busy using it either to believe in god or not, and along comes a bad guy (either a believer or not) and conks me over the head with a crowbar, how is my freewill of any use to me?

And before you run around saying I had a chance to believe or whatever before getting conked, you need also to be able to answer this. When the victim is a small child, or even a baby, who has had no chance to develop his or her free will, where is the wonderful part of that?

A world w/o freewill is a slave world.  A world of puppets/robots. 

Serious question, if there is an afterlife and a reward of great knowledge and freedom comes with that, does it not make sense to want the recipient to prove itself worthy of said gift?  It's really not much different than choosing a leader.  A leader has the power to take millions of lives with the push of a button.  Does he not need a good resume to get the job.  I see the gift of knowledge as a much more dangerous weapon than a nuclear bomb.  Especially if that knowledge contains the secrets of life and death.   How do you prove yourself worthy of heavenly rewards without freewill?  You can not.

It is sad when children are the victims of violence.  Taking that child's freedom to live I'm sure gets a severe penalty from God and the child is, I believe,  given a great honor in the heavens. 

Either way violence does not make me think there is no God but confirms the need for God. 

You know there are reports, especially from children, where Angels have saved them from death. 

Anyway you are right freewill is not always pretty but it is a part of our lives with or w/o belief in Gods.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: junebug72 on July 22, 2013, 09:24:09 AM

If you were God there would have never been a 9/11.  We would all be under your control. 

How about giving that child some loving parents or just dictate from your throne who is worthy to have children and who ain't.

How would you create such life Screwtape.  If it can be done do it already.  I'm tired of spending all my money at the grocery store.

No freewill in Screwtape's kingdom. No Thanks!!!

That's what I think Love is using us for Screwtape.  To stop people from doing bad things in God's name.

But, June, love is a human emotion. It is our reaction to others. It is not some disembodied ideal like Plato's ideal. So what you are saying seems to be that whatever is wrong in the world, and there's plenty wrong, we should overcome it with our human emotion and the action that follows that emotion. Great!

Just one point - what happened to your 'god'?

My God is the Love we are fighting with.  Love is God, God is Love.  Love will win. IMO
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 22, 2013, 09:30:58 AM
A world w/o freewill is a slave world.  A world of puppets/robots. 

Serious question, if there is an afterlife and a reward of great knowledge and freedom comes with that, does it not make sense to want the recipient to prove itself worthy of said gift?  It's really not much different than choosing a leader.  A leader has the power to take millions of lives with the push of a button.  Does he not need a good resume to get the job.  I see the gift of knowledge as a much more dangerous weapon than a nuclear bomb.  Especially if that knowledge contains the secrets of life and death.   How do you prove yourself worthy of heavenly rewards without freewill?  You can not.

It is sad when children are the victims of violence.  Taking that child's freedom to live I'm sure gets a severe penalty from God and the child is, I believe,  given a great honor in the heavens. 

Either way violence does not make me think there is no God but confirms the need for God. 

You know there are reports, especially from children, where Angels have saved them from death. 

Anyway you are right freewill is not always pretty but it is a part of our lives with or w/o belief in Gods.

By christian standards, I didn't have to prove myself of being guilty. That came with the territory. I was born automatically an asshole because of Adam and Eve. So I was already at a huge disadvantage when I was born. So now I have to choose which of many religions to follow. And in doing that, I have to choose a version that agrees with your version, or I'm sunk, because you know everything about being saved and so I'm pretty sure I have to end up doing things your way. And then I have to spend the rest of my life hoping I chose well, that your advice was both accurate and useful, and then I die and there is nothing and I'm one pissed off corpse with no ability to be angry about it.

Got it. I'll go to work on this right away. As ordered.

Less cynical version. I have freewill but I have to do things one specific way or I'm not exercising it correctly.

They need to rename it junebug72will.
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: Ron Jeremy on July 22, 2013, 09:59:09 AM
And still no answer from theists about why biblegod allows gratuitous suffering? Not asking about saving of life, why doesn't biblegod take life from a young child that will die alone? Why allow it to drag on for days in lonely suffering?

And as far as the murder of a baby; how come it gets to go straight to heaven and its wonderful reward? How come it doesn't have to risk eternal damnation by choosing the wrong god or making a mistake?
Title: Re: The Evil Problem
Post by: jdawg70 on July 22, 2013, 11:14:18 AM
And still no answer from theists about why biblegod allows gratuitous suffering? Not asking about saving of life, why doesn't biblegod take life from a young child that will die alone? Why allow it to drag on for days in lonely suffering?
Just to nitpick - this question applies to more concepts of god than just biblegod.  Any proposed god that is simultaneously all-powerful and all-loving presents this conundrum.