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Featured A God Problem

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Quintessence, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    How do you know humans have souls? How do you know that animals don't have souls? What test will tell me whether a soul is present in a living thing? A tree, a dolphin, a tax collector, slime mold, an ant (or, an ants' nest)?

    Hmm. My own view follows the research: that we've evolved with a certain set of moral tendencies that suit us as gregarious mammals who benefit from constantly interacting cooperatively.
    I don't see how that can work.

    If I make a machine knowing it will electrocute the operator one year from now, I have full moral responsibility for that.

    If God makes a universe knowing it will contain its Hitlers and their crimes, its ordinary people and their weaknesses, then God has moral responsibility for all the foreseeable consequences of [his] actions in just the same way.

    After all, being all-powerful, God could make the universe so that no evil was ever an option, so the fact that our universe is as it is means that exactly what is going on at any time in history up is exactly what [he] foresaw and exactly what [he] intended.

    We find the defendant guilty, your honour.
     
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  2. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    The way I know is that it was revealed in the Writings of Baha’u’llah. Can I prove it? Heck no. But I can still know it.
    What you said is also true. More than one thing can be true.
    I do not know why not. It is as simple as making the CHOICE not to sin; e.g., I might want to go out and have an affair but I can choose not to.
    God is not a human so God does not have any moral responsibilities. Only humans have moral responsibilities.

    God created man with capacities but God is not responsible for how we USE our capacities. It all goes back to free will.

    God makes Covenants with mankind promising to send Guidance by way of the Messengers of God and it is our responsibility to recognize them and follow their teachings and laws If we fail in our responsibility, then we will sin. If we follow the teachings and laws we will not sin.
    Hitler made a free will choice to commit his crimes; God had no part in it.

    I do not know why you want to blame God for what humans CHOOSE to do. Knowing we will do evil acts is not the CAUSE of the evil acts; not anymore than knowing that an eclipse is going to occur at some time in the future at a given location is what causes it to happen.
    Yes, God intended for evil to exist, but God does not cause evil to exist. Yes, God could have made it so there was no evil in the world, but because there is a purpose for evil to exist, God did not make it that way. This life is just a very small part of our total existence. There will be no evil in the spiritual world. Evil souls will be far removed from everyone who is good, unable to do any more harm.
    God would only be guilty if he did something wrong. There is no reason to think that allowing evil to exist is wrong, just because some humans don’t like it.
     
  3. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    I can know what somebody has done without having experienced it. This assumes a position that I have never seen placed upon god, which is perfect empathy. To not just know but to place oneself so fully in the shoes of another that as to fully acquire the experience of "looking upon a woman with lust in his heart." Plus it's also written in Psalms that god knows us, our pains and sins and desires and so on, in a way similar to how a parent or lover would know them. A mother knowing where to find her child when the child is distressed doesn't mean she shares the same emotional attachments or any associated guilt.
     
  4. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Then you can do something I can't.
    But you're only making the choice that God foresaw and intended you to make back before [he] made the universe. You may think you have free will, but you can no more do something different, no more take God by surprise, than fly unaided to Mars. [He]'s all-knowing so there's no escape.
    That would explain a great deal. God is NOT a moral exemplar, then. Do NOT act as God acts; rely only on your own conscience and the advice of those you can trust.

    It does sound very odd to me, though: God has always been sold as the ideal leader, the true moral exemplar.
    I think it's morally wrong to sit on your hands watching when people get ill, injured, murdered, act to screw the planet, and you can effortlessly prevent the harm.

    But that doesn't appear to be God's view, despite his billing.

    Ah well. I'll continue to try to be a decent human most of the time, and if there's a god or two out there, let them make of it what they may ─ if anything.


    Very best of luck on the medical front, meanwhile.
     
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  5. EverChanging

    EverChanging Well-Known Member

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    A religious non-realist is someone who approaches religion as an imaginative artform to put it my own words. It means among other things that God constructs may only refer to human values, experiences, and abstractions and that they may have their roots in archetypal structures. This is all my personal approach to non-realism.

    At heart I am a pantheist -- God simply is the multiverse. I have essentially created a religion with it's own ritual structure and cycles that I practice daily.

    I work with concepts of the Father, Son, and Spirit as personifications of aspects of One reality.

    I have created a thread to ask questions about my personal path linked below if you want to ask more about it. I don't want to derail this thread.

    Questions about my personal path
     
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  6. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    Except change his ways, apparently. Which isn't, at all, in any way, an admirable trait.
     
  7. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    You seem to think this is some air-tight reasoning, which it is not. I don't have to "know more than" a being in order to make moral assessments of their actions. Why would this be a requirement? Is this how you function when you are about to make a moral judgment about something another person does? Do you make sure that you know more than they do, or that you are wiser than they are? Do you?

    Yep, I certainly can.

    With the way he is so absent, I can't tell the difference between God not stopping me due to His allowance of my "free will" and the idea that God simply cannot stop me because not existing kind of makes it difficult to do anything. Can you tell the difference? And if so, how?

    Believe me when I say I do understand, but that your explanation is not at all as sufficient, cogent or powerful as you seem to think it is - for reasons that should be obvious after you consider your answer to the questions I asked above. Let me know if you do not understand.
     
    #67 A Vestigial Mote, Mar 29, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  8. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    Oh yeah. Don’t we often say that the dead will live in our memory? Of course, i was using a similar metaphor. Nietsche meant the same when he proclaimed that God is dead.

    God lives only in our heads. He is a figment of our imagination. And it is therefore detrimental, even to this reduced ontological status, if our head uses too much reason.

    Ciao

    - viole
     
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  9. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    Apparently, but not necessarily, as we all have the capacity to know what God revealed about souls.
    So is this the argument that because God is All-Knowing, God knows what I will do before I do it, so I have no choice but to do what God knows I will do, so that means I have no free will? I do not buy that argument, for the simple reason that God’s knowledge is not want causes humans to do what they do....

    “Question.—If God has knowledge of an action which will be performed by someone, and it has been written on the Tablet of Fate, is it possible to resist it?

    Answer.—The foreknowledge of a thing is not the cause of its realization; for the essential knowledge of God surrounds, in the same way, the realities of things, before as well as after their existence, and it does not become the cause of their existence. It is a perfection of God.......

    Therefore, the knowledge of God in the realm of contingency does not produce the forms of the things. On the contrary, it is purified from the past, present and future. It is identical with the reality of the things; it is not the cause of their occurrence........

    The mathematicians by astronomical calculations know that at a certain time an eclipse of the moon or the sun will occur. Surely this discovery does not cause the eclipse to take place. This is, of course, only an analogy and not an exact image.”
    Some Answered Questions, pp. 138-139

    That said, I have to do what God knows I will do, because what I will do is identical with what God knows I will do... The caveat is that what God knows I will do (my predestined fate) is malleable because some of my fate is impending, thus it can be altered by God according to the free will choices I make. God never alters an irrevocable fate (even though He could), but God can alter what God knows will happen (an impending fate) at any time because God is All-Powerful. Whether God chooses to alter an impending fate is at His discretion and praying and supplicating can have an influence.
    You are correct, we should rely upon our own conscience and the advice of people we trust.

    There is no way to KNOW how God acts, but we cannot be like God anyhow since we are not infallible or perfect, as God is. However, since humans are made in the image and likeness of God we can strive to reflect God’s attributes, the ones that are not unique to God...

    The attributes that are unique to God. Only God is Eternal, Holy, Unchanging, Impassable, Infinite, Omnipresent, All-powerful, All-Knowing, All-Wise, Self-Existent, Self-Sufficient, Sovereign, Righteous, and Immaterial, so nobody except God can have those attributes.

    God sends His Manifestations (Messengers) who reflect all of His attributes, except the ones noted above. Humans have the potential to reflect all of those attributes, such as Good, Loving, Gracious, Merciful, Just, Forgiving, Patient, and we reflect them to a greater of lesser degree, depending upon how spiritual we are.
    In a sense that is correct; however, we can never be like God or even a Manifestation of God because God is Infallible and Manifestations of God also are Infallible since they are a perfect mirror image of God on earth. No human can be Infallible because we are by our very nature fallible creatures. We can only strive to reflect the attributes of the Manifestations of God. That is why Jesus said to His followers to follow Him and be as I am.
    No, it is not God’s view that He should do what humans have been entrusted by Him to do. It is immoral if humans sit on their hands, but God is not subject to being wrong because God is Infallible. Aside from that, God does not intervene to stop what humans are responsible for because that would cause humans to sit on their hands and ignore the problems in the world. This material world is a moral playground and God wants us to develop our character by making moral choices, choosing between good and evil, thereby becoming more spiritual. That is the purpose of our existence on earth is to make moral choices and thereby develop our character, so if God intervened and did what we are responsible to do then that would nullify our reason for going through this life.
    You appear to be a very moral human being, and that is what it is all about at the end of this life, how you lived your life, and mainly how you treated other people. For those who are believers God has given us two commandments above all else, love God and love your neighbor. Nonbelievers cannot love a God they do not acknowledge the existence of, but they can love their neighbor.
     
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  10. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I read through that thread so I have an idea where you are coming from now. :)

    I come from quite a different background since I was never a Christian. My parents were raised Christian (Anglican and Greek Orthodox) but they dropped out of Christianity in the 1950s, before their children were born, an unheard of thing to do back in the 1950s, when 95% of the people in the United States were Christians. I thus never saw the inside of a Church, and I never read the Bible until about six years ago.

    I have always been a person with my own path, probably because I learned to be very independent growing up.

    Oddly, many people think I am a fundamentalist because I am a Baha’i, but Baha’is are all different in how they relate to the Faith and how they practice it. I try to follow the teachings and laws, but I do my own thing, thus the handle Trailblazer. :D
     
  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    Why should God change His Ways?
    God can change His Ways if He wants to, since the Omnipotent God can do anything. :)
     
  12. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    Your analogy fails because God is not “another person.” God is God. If God exists, God is Infallible, so God cannot make mistakes. As such, if we judge God we will always be wrong because humans are fallible creatures. That is beside the point that God is All-Knowing and All-Wise, and humans can be neither. Now, if you want to make-a-god in your own image instead of believing in what scripture revealed about God’s attributes, anything goes.
    No, I cannot tell the difference because it would be the same result either way; if God exists, God does not interfere with free will so you won’t notice anything, but if God does not exist, there is no God to interfere so you won’t notice anything!
    I understand your reasons but as I said above your reasons do not suffice, because God is not a human being. God is apart from, and immeasurably exalted above, all created things. This is God 101 stuff.

    I could be wrong, but it seems to me that atheists want to knock God down to a human level so they can question Him and judge Him. The thing is that you can question what God does, but you are questioning a figment of your imagination unless you KNOW what God does, and the ONLY WAY you can know that is from what the Messengers of God reveal in scriptures that become religions. In those scriptures it also explains WHY God does what God does. It is like a “God Handbook.” But don’t consult the Bible because it is an old handbook and it was not written coherently so it will only lead to confusion. I honestly think the Bible is the primary reason atheists exist.

    God does not want us to blindly accept any religion and that is why we have a rational mind and free will, so we can question everything and come to a rational decision about what to believe, if anything.
     
  13. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    Of course you are free to believe that, but it is not a fact unless you can prove it.
    Likewise, my belief that God actually exists is not a fact.
    Thus, each of us has merely chosen different beliefs.
    Obviously, if one is true the other one is false.
     
  14. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Yup. As I said, you can no more deviate from what an all-knowing God foresaw and approved before [he] made the universe than you can fly unaided to Mars. Where's the freedom in that?
    No, an all-knowing God had the whole thing clear in [his] head before the universe even existed ─ the entirety of the chains of cause+effect, and QM randomness, that would bring you or me to any particular situation, and to act as we do in that situation.

    Or put it this way: if we can act in a way that takes God by surprise then God categorically is NOT all-knowing.
    But God was the one who set up the initial circumstances that brought the universe into existence with exactly the qualities that led to that even, so that God not only foresees the situation but is the knowing cause of it ─ is forever the knowing cause of everything that will ever happen, since God has perfectly foreseen it, and created the universe in exactly the manner which will cause it to happen ─ which is to say, God has already approved and desired it.
    God is also perfect, no? If that's right, there'll never be even one occurrence that God would want to amend.

    Oh, and isn't God omnipresent throughout spacetime? If that's right, then God has already seen everything happen anyway, so the history of the universe has always been, from God's view, in the past anyway.
     
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  15. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    The caveat is that not everything God knows will happen is fixed, so a decree that is impending can be changed according to what we choose to do. That is what I meant by impending fate vs. irrevocable fate. Read the following, and think of fate and predestination as what God knows will happen:

    “Know thou, O fruit of My Tree, that the decrees of the Sovereign Ordainer, as related to fate and predestination, are of two kinds. Both are to be obeyed and accepted. The one is irrevocable, the other is, as termed by men, impending. To the former all must unreservedly submit, inasmuch as it is fixed and settled. God, however, is able to alter or repeal it. As the harm that must result from such a change will be greater than if the decree had remained unaltered, all, therefore, should willingly acquiesce in what God hath willed and confidently abide by the same.

    The decree that is impending, however, is such that prayer and entreaty can succeed in averting it.” Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 133
    It won’t take God by surprise because God already knows what we are going to do, before, during and after we do it, since God knows everything from beginning to end. God’s knowledge is all-encompassing so it surrounds the realities of all things, so God knows what we will do before we do it. That does not mean that what God knows we would do cannot be changed by what we choose to do, but all the while God knew we would change what God knew we would do.
    The caveat is that God gave humans the free will to act on their own behalf. If God had wanted to control everything, why would God have given humans free will? Just because God already knows what we will do does not mean that God causes us to do it. We simply act out what God already knows we will do.

    Humans do things that God would not approve of or desire, like murder, but God allows that. God knows we will do it but God does not stop it because God wants us to learn and grow from our own moral choices. Unfortunately, other people get hurt in the crossfire and then they have to learn and grow by how they react to that.
    God is perfect but humans are imperfect. God does not intervene in human free will decisions just because He can (since He is Omnipotent).

    We cannot know what God would want except from what has been revealed to His Messengers of God, which represents the will of God. But we can still act contrary to what God wants and God is not going to stop us.

    This brings me to point out that there are rewards and punishments for adhering to what God wants or does not want... We only punish ourselves when we do not adhere to what God wants and we are rewarded by adhering to what God wants. Of course, regardless of what we believe about God, there are rewards and punishments in this life, and that is all based upon our own free will decisions. If we murder someone we will be punished. If we do good deeds, we will reap the rewards.

    “The Great Being saith: The structure of world stability and order hath been reared upon, and will continue to be sustained by, the twin pillars of reward and punishment…” Gleanings, p. 219
    That is true, God already knows what will happen so in that sense He has already seen everything. :D
     
  16. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Crazy Diamond

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    Change is the only constant. To not change is a sign of foolishness.
    He either can (1) or he can't (0). There is no either or.
     
  17. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    God does change His message and His Messenger in every new age, but God does not change the Way His message is delivered.
    God can change His Ways but that does not mean He does change His Ways.
    There is no rule that says that God has to do everything God can do.
     
  18. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    Fine.... don't consider the analogy with "another person" - consider it from the standpoint of "another being." Let's say, for the sake of argument, that some more powerful race of beings assails us. They obviously have us beaten technologically, and they out-smart us at every turn. Would you simply refuse to judge their actions as they pertain to yourself? Now, you may still say that these other beings can be assumed to be "fallible." But the reality is, you can't prove that God is not... you can only assume that He is not. Which is, quite frankly, cheating, and an asinine stance to assert yourself from. You can't help yourself but to give God a "free pass" that He has not, at all proved He is deserving of, honestly. And you even admit this yourself! Right here:

    You admit here that it may as well be that God doesn't exist. This seems to me a failure of quite a grand nature if we assume that God wants anything at all from us, or anything at all to do with us.

    "God 101 stuff?" I haven't read much I would consider as ridiculous as this statement. You are only ever pretending to know anything about God. That's the reality of things here. That's all you've got. Assumptions and blatant make believe. That's it. You have nothing more to go on. And you go and state "This is God 101 stuff." So very pathetic how hard you are trying to make your statements appear as some simple, unavoidable truth. I know you have no leg to stand on with your claims. You will always appear ridiculous to me with statements like "This is God 101 stuff." There is no such thing as "introductory level" God knowledge. No one has any such knowledge. Belief... that's what you have. Far from knowledge... and hilariously inadequate when compared to "truth."

    Not it at all... I just don't believe ANY of it. Not a whiff. And what evidence you do claim to have is exactly what I call on when I am trying to display just how ridiculous your ideas about God and your knowledge of God are. If we assume your "evidence" to be true, then we have far more problems on our hands that need to be figured out. But all you have in response is "You can't judge God." The hell I can't. Give me a break.

    And that ONLY WAY is pure garbage.

    Atheists have always existed. What are you going on about?
     
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  19. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Well-Known Member

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    You cannot compare God to “other beings” from another planet because God is not a being who competes with humans. God is ABOVE all beings that exist. God is the Uncreated; everything else is part of the Creation.

    No, I cannot prove anything about God, I can only believe, according to scripture, that God has certain attributes such as Infallibility, since scripture is the only way to know anything about God.
    I did not admit that. I said God does not interfere with human free will and DO things that God has entrusted humans to DO. God is responsible for maintaining the entire Universe so God does not do the petty stuff that we can do ourselves. Just because you do not “notice” God maintaining the Universe does not mean He isn’t doing do... If God did not do His work you’d find out quick enough how important it is... but of course I cannot prove that.

    God does not want anything from us because God does not need anything from us. God wants us to love Him so His Love will reach us, because if we close out hearts off God’s Love cannot reach us. Everything God wants for us is for our own benefit. Our belief in God and His Messenger and His message is not for God’s benefit, it is for our benefit, because God is fully self-sufficient and self-subsisting and has no needs as a human does.
    Believe whatever you want to, that won’t change the reality that God reveals His Truth trough Messengers in every age, and he reveals His Will for every given age in history through these Messengers who speak as His Representatives and do His Will.

    God is not a human being. God is the Uncreated, apart from, and immeasurably exalted above, all created things. That does not mean God created everything in six days as the Bible says; life on earth evolved over time.

    I know it makes atheists mad that God is exalted above them, because it means they cannot compete with God, and judge Him and criticize Him, but that’s just too bad. You cannot change the nature of God to suit your own fancy.
    No, if we believe that the evidence for God’s existence is true, we cease to have any problems at all; but that requires putting our ego aside and looking at the evidence.

    You can keep judging God if you want to, but keep in mind that you are judging an imaginary god, not the Real God.
    Your personal opinion that Messengers and their scriptures are garbage does not make them garbage; it is just YOUR opinion. Please let me know when you find some other Way to know anything about God, I’ll be waiting. So far no atheist has ever come up with another Way that makes any sense at all, and I have been asking for five years, but you could be the first to get the door prize.
    Yes they have, but they have not existed in as large numbers in the Western world as they do today. All that can be ties to Christians dropping out and becoming atheists.
     
  20. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    I stopped reading here, because there is no point going further if you can so easily make a blatant error such as this, contradict yourself in the extreme and then keep writing along as if you have every idea what you're talking about. You start saying adamantly (even bolding your words for emphasis) that "God does not want anything from us"... and then your very next sentence starts with the words "God wants us..."

    And THIS... this example right here is EXACTLY why so many people are waking up and not believing theists' crap anymore. You couldn't keep your stories straight to save your lives. I have seen SO MUCH EVIDENCE of this idea it boggles the mind. Proof that they are stories. Proof that you are making it up as you go along... and yet you claim to be the "messengers of God." If that is truly the case, then God seriously needs to take stock of His options and maybe double-check a few things. As it stands, He's allowing himself to be represented on a grand scale in some of the most foolish and terrible ways.
     
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