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Featured Atheists: If God existed would God……

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Trailblazer, Feb 4, 2022.

  1. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    There can be facts and no facts because the facts refers to (a) and the no facts refers to (b).

    (a) What I mean by the Revelation of Baha'u'llah is the history of the Baha'i Faith, the mission of Baha'u'llah.
    There are facts surrounding the Revelation of Baha'u'llah because there are facts that pertain to the history of the 40-year mission of Baha’u’llah.

    (b) There are no facts that Baha’u’llah received a revelation from God because a revelation from God is not a fact since it can never be proven. It is a religious belief that has to be believed on faith.
     
  2. samtonga43

    samtonga43 Well-Known Member

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    So the facts of which you speak are about the mission of a man who believes that God spoke to him.

    The facts are not about the ‘revelation’ itself.

    I agree.
     
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  3. samtonga43

    samtonga43 Well-Known Member

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    You 'like'? Good.

    So, if we follow this to its logical conclusion, the 'facts' of the B.man's mission would only be facts if the B.man's declaration of himself as the “Spirit of Truth” was authentic.
     
  4. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I don't know what you mean by authentic, I assume you mean true, that He was really the Spirit of Truth.

    The facts surrounding the life and mission of Baha'u'llah - what He did, where He went - would be facts regardless of whether He was really the Spirit of Truth referred to in the Bible because they are known to have happened. It can never be a fact that anyone is the Spirit of Truth as that is a religious belief that can never be proven. However, the fact that it can never be proven does not mean that it is not true. ;)

    fact
    something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information:
    fact
     
  5. samtonga43

    samtonga43 Well-Known Member

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    Authentic: Worthy of acceptance or belief
    Definition of AUTHENTIC
    I mean that the 'facts' of the B.man's mission would only be facts if the B.man's declaration of himself as the “Spirit of Truth” was worthy of acceptance or belief.
    ‘What he did and where he went?’ This applies to anyone, whether she imagines that God says she is the Spirit of Truth or not.
    I did not mention the word ‘proof’. However, it can never be proven that there is a teapot orbiting the sun. This does not mean that there is no teapot orbiting the sun.
    Exactly. It is a fact that a man who believed God spoke to him had a life during which he did things.
     
  6. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Whether His declaration is worthy of acceptance or belief is a matter of subjective opinion, but even it was worthy of acceptance or belief it would still not be a fact; it would be a belief, because it can never be proven or known to have happened.

    fact
    something that is known to have happened or to exist, especially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information:
    fact
    It does not apply to anyone, not unless they fulfilled the Bible prophecies for the Spirit of Truth, which was the return of the Christ Spirit.
    That is correct. Proof is not what makes something exist. Proof is just what people want to verify that something exists, but proof is not always possible. As such, the lack of proof that God exists is not proof that God does not exist.
    And of course the same can be said of Jesus, although what He said and did is not verifiable, and as such not everyone would consider it a fact that Jesus said and did what is recorded in the New Testament.

    So why do so many people believe in Jesus? That certainly was not the case when He first walked the earth. Likewise, the followers of Baha'u'llah are relatively few.

    Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

    There are reasons why few people find it.

    If you use logic and reason you would realize that few people find the narrow gate and even fewer people enter through it because it is narrow, so it is difficult to get through...
    It is difficult to get through because one has to be willing to give up all their preconceived ideas, have an open mind, and think for themselves. Most people do not embark upon such a journey. They go through the wide gate, the easy one to get through – their own religious tradition or their own preconceived ideas.
     
  7. samtonga43

    samtonga43 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but no. It applies to anyone, whether they imagine that they fulfil the Bible prophecies for the Spirit of Truth or not.
    You said that the facts surrounding the life and mission of Baha'u'llah - what He did, where He went - would be facts regardless of whether He was really the Spirit of Truth referred to in the Bible because they are known to have happened. However, there are many thousands of stories about people who have gone places and said stuff. Sometimes they are just stories. And most of the men who believed God spoke to them had a life during which they did things. (When they were not locked up, of course).
    Just as the lack of proof that a teapot is at this moment, orbiting the sun, does not prove that a teapot is not orbiting the sun. Yes?
    Deflection
    I can’t speak for all Christians. I believe that Christ is God incarnate; how could I not believe in Him?
    Why do you think not many believed when He walked the earth, Tb? Think carefully.
    “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14 ESV – (a better translation than KJV)
    I believe there is just one reason.
    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". John 14:6
    The gate is narrow in the sense of having a unique requirement for entrance—faith in Jesus Christ. The wide gate is non-exclusive; it allows for human effort and all other world religions.
    Most people would rather create their own religions and design their own gods.

    Note that just a few verses earlier (Matthew 7:7-8) Jesus told the same people, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened”.

    The door which leads to the narrow gate is open to everyone who asks. Some people find the asking part almost impossible.
     
  8. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Sorry, but no. It only applies to the one man who fulfilled the Bible prophecies for the Spirit of Truth.
    Sure, there are many stories about people who have gone places and done things but those places they went and things that they did did not fulfill the Bible prophecies. Only one man fulfilled those prophecies, as was demonstrated in the book entitled Thief in the Night by William Sears.
    Like all Baha'is, I believe that Baha'u'llah was a Manifestation of God so how could I not believe in Him?
    For the same reasons not that any people believe in Baha'u'llah now. Human nature remains the same so history repeats itself. The new Messenger is always rejected by most people for a long time after He appears so He has few followers.

    WE MUST NOT BE DISCOURAGED BY THE SMALLNESS OF OUR NUMBERS
    Jesus was the way to the Father during His Dispensation. Now that we are living in the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah I believe that Baha'u'llah is the way way to the Father.

    So, what Jesus 'allegedly' said is really no different than what Baha'u'llah wrote.

    “Thou hast gained admittance into the Paradise of God’s Remembrance, through thy recognition of Him Who is the Embodiment of that Remembrance amongst men.” Gleanings, p. 303

    “No man can obtain everlasting life, unless he embraceth the truth of this inestimable, this wondrous, and sublime Revelation.” Gleanings, p. 183

    During the Dispensation or Jesus the gate was narrow in the sense of having a unique requirement for entrance—faith in Jesus.

    Now, during the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah, the gate is narrow in the sense of having a unique requirement for entrance—faith in Baha'u'llah. The narrow gate is non-exclusive; it is open to everyone who wants to walk through it.

    The wide gate is the gate of the older religious traditions one was raised in or has come to believe. The wide gate is the gate where the multitudes enter through because it is easy to get through. Just believe in Jesus and you are saved and forgiven. There is nothing difficult about being a Christian, one reason that there are so many Christians. It is much more difficult to be a Baha'i as there are so many expectations which are not easy to meet.

    That's true. That door to the next room that leads to the lamp that is shining brightly is open to anyone who wants to walk through.

    If a man were to declare, ‘There is a lamp in the next room which gives no light’, one hearer might be satisfied with his report, but a wiser man goes into the room to judge for himself, and behold, when he finds the light shining brilliantly in the lamp, he knows the truth!” Paris Talks, p. 103
     
    #2628 Trailblazer, May 12, 2022
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
  9. samtonga43

    samtonga43 Well-Known Member

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    I think you mean the one man believed by Tb to have fulfilled the Bible prophecies for the Spirit of Truth.
    Sorry, but this book did not demonstrate to me (or, I suspect, to many others) that Mr.B fulfilled the Bible prophecies. You believe that Sears demonstrated that only one man fulfilled those prophecies.
    Maybe because he wasn’t God? He was just a man who thought God was speaking to him.
    Except that Christians believe that Christ was much more than just a messenger.
    Across 2,000 years, Christianity has grown from a tiny community of disciples to a world religion counting over two billion members. (If you were thinking of labelling the statement above ‘Argumentum ad populum’, please don’t, because it’s not.

    I believe that Jesus IS the way to the Father… then, now, forever. He is unique in a sense that Mr.B could never be.
    "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day". John 6:44
    There are wide and narrow gates in every generation because Christ is not just a messenger for a certain time; He is the Second Person of the Trinity, for all people in every age, in every circumstance, by the Grace of God. People’s inherent nature doesn’t change that much over time. Christ’s narrow way is for everyone, everywhere, forever.
    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
    Christ met all of God’s expectations.

    “But Mr.B’s not good enough,
    To pay the price of sin;
    Christ only could unlock the gate
    Of heaven and let us in”.
    (Apologies to the author of “There is a green hill…”)

    God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.

    The only thing He expects of us is that we love Him with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul and all our strength. Do you love God, Tb?
    >>>

    Here is a little parabolic story:
    Imagine a cross like the one on which Jesus died, only so large that it had a door in it.

    Over the door were these words from Revelation: “Whosoever will may come.” These words represent the free and universal offer of the gospel. By God’s grace, the message of salvation is for everyone. Every man, woman, and child who will come to the cross is invited to believe in Jesus Christ and enter eternal life.

    On the other side of the door a happy surprise awaits the one who believes and enters. From the inside, anyone glancing back can see these words from Ephesians written above the door: “Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.”

    It is only after coming to Christ that one can know whether one has been chosen in Christ. Those who make a decision for Christ find that God made a decision for them in eternity past.

    D, G. Barnhouse
     
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  10. joelr

    joelr Well-Known Member

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    True. But so was Paul. Just a man who pretended or thought a spirit was speaking revelations to him.

    But Muhammad was just a messenger and a huge religion centered around him.



    Well it's completely split into very different sects. But in 3A.D. Rome adopted it as the official religion. Later it was enforced by Rome and then the church. It also is highly evangelical sending missionaries all over the world. The reason it's large is because they put the work in. But it accounts for 1/3 of all religious believers. So more religious people don't believe Christianity.



    A myth written by unknown authors who are not eyewitnesses is not evidence that that is true.


    Just one of many borrowed concepts,
    "Decoding the Hindu trinity. In Hindu mythology, there are three worlds, three goddesses and three gods. The three gods are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who create, sustain and destroy, respectively. What is most baffling about this triad is that the sustainer and destroyer are worshipped, never the creator...."

    I think it's also by works rather than just faith.
    For you render to each one according to his works. Psalm 62:12

    The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin. Proverbs 10:16

    For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecclesiastes 12:14

    I the Lord ... give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:10

    When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness ... and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul. Ezekiel 18:27

    I will judge you ... every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 18:30

    Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20

    For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. Matthew 12:37

    For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Matthew 16:27

    If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments. Matthew 19:17

    Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25:41-46

    The Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work. 1 Peter 1:17

    I will give unto every one of you according to your works. Revelation 2:23



    The "price of sin" is a made-up Jewish theology. It isn't real, there is no "sin force" that is stuck to people and a demigod is needed to get it off.


    A claim based on ancient fiction?

    What about graven images? I think there are some more things you are leaving out.

    Salvation is a Hellenistic myth. Being baptized into savior cults and getting saved by a dying/rising demigod so your soul can be redeemed and go to an afterlife is a Greek myth adopted by Jewish thinkers during the Greek occupation. It wasn't part of Jewish theology. The predictions that they too were getting a savior was written during the Persian occupation. The Persian religion already had a world savior predicted. As well as a final battle between good and evil on Earth where followers get resurrected into a new body and live forever in paradise. Persian, not Jewish.

    "
    -During the period of the Second Temple (c.515 BC – 70 AD), the Hebrew people lived under the rule of first the Persian Achaemenid Empire, then the Greek kingdoms of the Diadochi, and finally the Roman Empire.[47] Their culture was profoundly influenced by those of the peoples who ruled them.[47] Consequently, their views on existence after death were profoundly shaped by the ideas of the Persians, Greeks, and Romans.[48][49] The idea of the immortality of the soul is derived from Greek philosophy[49] and the idea of the resurrection of the dead is derived from Persian cosmology.[49] By the early first century AD, these two seemingly incompatible ideas were often conflated by Hebrew thinkers.[49] The Hebrews also inherited from the Persians, Greeks, and Romans the idea that the human soul originates in the divine realm and seeks to return there.[47] The idea that a human soul belongs in Heaven and that Earth is merely a temporary abode in which the soul is tested to prove its worthiness became increasingly popular during the Hellenistic period (323 – 31 BC).[40] Gradually, some Hebrews began to adopt the idea of Heaven as the eternal home of the righteous dead.[40]
    E.Sanders
    Wright
     
  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Sorry for the delayed response. My husband has been very ill and was in the hospital for two weeks. He is at home now but needs constant care while we wait for the doctor to determine a diagnosis and treatment. I did not feel I could give your post the proper attention until things settled down a bit.
    I do not see a problem with a God that is beyond our understanding, a God that does not provide objective evidence of His existence. That is generally not a problem for Baha'is because of what we believe God is and how we believe God reveals Himself to man.
    It is not the same thing. Just because God can do anything that does not mean that God will do everything God can do. God only does what God chooses to do, and that is why God has not provided undeniable proof of His existence and thereby made all atheists into believers. God could also destroy everything in existence but God does not choose to do that so He doesn't.
    Nobody except God can prevent God from doing anything since nobody has as much or more power than God. That is why nobody can interfere with what God chooses to do.

    If God did what was not within his nature God would no longer be God; so for example if God became a man God would no longer be God, since God is not by nature a human being.
    I don't know in the sense of having proof because nobody can prove that God exists or at what level. All we can ever do is believe based upon the evidence.
    Yes, there is evidence that is entirely independent of both scripture and his own words. That evidence is His Life and who He was as a Person and the 40-year mission that He completed after He received a Revelation from God. If one believes in the Bible there is also evidence by way of the Bible prophecies that were fulfilled by His coming, none of which He had any control over. Further evidence are the predictions that He made that have come to pass and are still coming to pass.
    Of course that is a possibility that we have no free will but it is not logically possible that we have no volition because if we had no volition we could not choose or determine anything for ourselves, so what would be causing our behavior?

    Yes, the idea of an all-powerful God would be terrifying if we did not also believe that what God wants for us is in our best interest.
    How do you think that God could have prevented humans from doing bad things short of controlling everything that humans do thereby preventing the bad things?

    God chose not to control humans but rather to allow humans to choose and determine their own behavior. The way God has tried to prevent bad things from happening was by revealing Laws that, if followed, would prevent humans from doing evil. God is not responsible for anything humans choose to do. After the Law is revealed, the ball is in the human court.

    “God hath in that Book, and by His behest, decreed as lawful whatsoever He hath pleased to decree, and hath, through the power of His sovereign might, forbidden whatsoever He elected to forbid. To this testifieth the text of that Book. Will ye not bear witness? Men, however, have wittingly broken His law. Is such a behavior to be attributed to God, or to their proper selves? Be fair in your judgment. Every good thing is of God, and every evil thing is from yourselves. Will ye not comprehend? This same truth hath been revealed in all the Scriptures, if ye be of them that understand.”
    Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 149-150

    That not only applies to God. If humans have a free and uninfluenced choice to do something will full knowledge of the consequences but they choose not to do it, the only reason could be that it is not what they wanted to do. They did not want to follow the Laws of God so they broke them.

    God is free to act as He wills but God is not accountable to humans. Nevertheless, as part of His Covenant with man, God sends Messengers in every age who reveal teachings and Laws that, if followed, would eliminate evil from the face of the earth.
     
  12. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    I'm truly sorry to hear that and hope things improve for you. I have long-term health issues myself so can totally understand. :heart:

    The problem is when religious people (not just Baha'i) say that God is beyond our understanding then go on to explain all the things they understand about God (and claim to understand so much more clearly than anyone who believes differently, theist or atheist).

    I am still not talking about what God will do, we are talking about the nature of God, not his behaviour. This is a purely a grammatical point; The phrase "X can choose to do Y" is synonymous with "X can do Y". It is as simple as that so trying to pretend that they mean different things in the context of God is irrational.

    So what? If God can do anything then that includes stopping being God by literal definition. Again, this has nothing to do with what God will do or any consequences of that, it is entirely about what he is theoretically capable of.

    If God can't change his nature, something must be capable of preventing him. If nothing can prevent God from doing anything, God must be capable of changing his nature. If that creates a logical paradox, the root cause of that would be your definition of God and you can't resolve that with word-play.

    What about his life couldn't be equally true of a simply good person, without any influence from a God? Remember that we're not seeking evidence that he is a prophet, we are seeking evidence of specific divine influence.

    Note that "entirely independent of scripture" means you can't refer to scriptural prophecies (especially given there are many differences of opinion on the interpretation of those prophecies and who or what might fulfil them).

    What causes animal behaviour? What causes plant behaviour? What causes rocks behaviour?

    There is always cause and effect as a baseline. The core question of free-will is whether it is just a complex part of that grand cause and effect sequence or it is the result of some kind of external influence on cause and effect. Significantly, that external influence wouldn't be subject to cause and effect itself and that possibility would have a massive impact on the entire concept of causality and reality.

    And if God isn't subject to cause and effect, pretty much everything we've been talking about here becomes meaningless. All of these core concepts of ability, will, omnipotence and consequence are fundamentally built on cause and effect.

    It doesn't matter how. If God is omnipotent, he could by literal definition and has therefore chosen not to.

    "Trying" implies the possibility of "failing". How could an omnipotent being ever fail to achieve whatever they wanted?

    We don't have full knowledge though. God is omniscient, we are not (far from it). God as you define him is a fundamentally different being to humans, which is why the routine anthropomorphisation of him doesn't work. A God of this nature would be literally beyond out understanding by its (and our) fundamental nature, no ifs, buts or maybes.
     
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  13. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Thanks for your understanding. :heart:

    I see no light at the end of the tunnel but nevertheless I must forge ahead. My husband’s health issues are more than physical, they are also psychological, so I am fighting two battles and they have been going on for a long time. They only recently came to the attention of the doctors because his physical problems took a nosedive and he wound up in the hospital. So far, we have been pretty much in the dark regarding his exact but he has another surgery on July 5 which will give us a more definitive diagnosis.

    I hope your health issues are manageable. I have been very fortunate to not have any health issues and otherwise I would be unable to care for my husband, but even though I am physically capable, being a full-time nurse is wearing on me. There are only so many hours in a day and I have a job and other responsibilities.

    It is also very difficult because he does not have the will to live and I cannot give him that. I have no family or close friends to help me so I am all on my own. For the time being we have home health care nurse and physical therapist coming in a couple of days a week, but that is not a permanent arrangement. The only way I survive is by living one day at a time and not thinking about what lies ahead.
    I understand that ad I have the same problem. To be honest, I would probably be a deist if I was not a Baha’i, and maybe I am riding the fence between the two, because I don’t really believe God has all the attributes that are attributed to Him in the Baha’i Writings.

    The particular attribute I have a problem with is all-loving. Why would an all-loving God create this world knowing there would be so much suffering? Some suffering might be caused by human free will choices, but surely not all suffering is a choice. I know the religious apologetic, that suffering is beneficial in the long run, but I do not buy it. It might be beneficial for some people, but not for everyone, and even when it is beneficial it is still suffering.
    My point was that just because "God can do Y" that does not mean that “God will choose to do Y” and if God does not choose to do Y, then God will not do Y. In other words, there is no reason to think that God will choose to do everything God can do. Just think about the logical implications of that, if God can do anything.
    If you take the God is omnipotent so ‘God can do anything’ literally, you can create any kind of God you want, but if you believe in the God that was revealed in the Bible, God is unchanging, so God is what God is now and what God has always been, and God will never change His nature.

    There is nothing preventing God from changing His nature except God, if God is what the Bible says, unchanging. Whether God can change His nature or not is a moot point; we can never know what God can do, only God knows that.

    I for own would not want to believe in a capricious God who could change at will, but you get to pick your God because you have free will.
    I can’t say that anything about his life couldn't be equally true of a simply good person, without any influence from a God. It is interesting you mention that because Baha’u’llah did not want us to have evidence of specific divine influence and that is why we don’t have it. We could have had it if that had been God’s will.

    The Messengers of God have always appeared among men destitute of all earthly dominion and shorn of the means of worldly ascendancy. Who recognized Jesus as a divine man when He walked the earth? If a Messenger manifested all that is latent within Him and were He to shine in all His glory, nobody would be found to question His power or repudiate His truth. That defeats God’s Purpose which is not to make it easy to recognize the Messengers.
    Animals have a will and that is what causes them to choose and act on their choices. For example, one of my cats chooses to jump up on the counter when I am opening the cat food because she cannot wait for me to put the food on the floor. All my other cats choose to wait patiently because they know I am coming with the food.

    Plants and rocks do not have a will so they do not make choices or act.
    Can you explain what you mean by cause and effect and how that would impact free will?

    How would God be subject to cause and effect?
    I can agree with that.
    Correct, God can never fail to achieve His purpose. God did not fail to reveal Laws that, if followed, would prevent man from doing evil, so in that sense God tried to prevent evil, but since God gave man free will to choose whether to follow God’s Laws or not some people chose not to follow the laws and that is why there is evil in the world.
    That is a good point and I fully agree with everything you just said. You could give lessons to more than a few theists I know who anthropomorphize God.
     
  14. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    That's essentially where I'm coming from too, I just don't see any reason to accept any of the proposed attributes. I also think it does raise questions about the attributes you do happen to believe, especially in the context of things you say God can't/wouldn't do.

    There is still a fundamental difference between choosing not to do something and being literally incapable of doing it though, and it is key to the shifting statements you're making. Our entire discussion has essentially gone like this;

    You: "Atheists - What would God do if he existed?"
    Me: "I think God would do X."
    You: "God can't do X."
    Me: "But God is omnipotent."
    You: "God could do X but chooses not to."
    Me: "So I think God would choose to do X."
    You: "God can't do X."

    And so on, ad infinitum. You have to pick one; Inability, which means you need to address the omnipotence question or unwillingness, which means you need to address the moral and practical questions.

    That has never been the claim though. You are asking atheists what God would if he existed. Anything is possible in that hypothetical unless you can establish definitive reasons that it is impossible (not just that you don't think God would choose to do so).

    I am thinking about it. That is why I don't believe such a god exists.

    Then stop stating that God can't change his nature then.

    n that case, how can you challenge any of the suggestions for what God would do if he existed? Yet again, you're saying we can't know things about the nature of God yet are saying thing about the nature of God.

    I for own would not want to believe in a capricious God who could change at will, but you get to pick your God because you have free will.

    But you were literally saying that the existence and teachings of Baha’u’llah is evidence for God! My whole point was that it doesn't provide any evidence. If we're now in agreement on that, Baha’u’llah becomes entirely irrelevant to the discussion.

    How can you know what Gods purpose is though?

    But do you believe they have free will, that they're capable of good and evil? The point is that God could have created a world with animals who have will and make choices but not the informed free will of humans, and therefore no good and evil at all. Remember, we are not talking about what the God you believe in would do, only what is technically possible.

    It's a whole complex field in itself but in simple terms all of our thoughts and decisions and the result of a combination of our memories and reactions to outside stimuli, and we have no direct control over any of that. Though it may feel like we're making free decisions, it could well be that they're entirely predetermined by the workings of our brains at that point, and if we we're put back in the same situation, we would make exactly the same choices.

    Logically everything would be. If you want to propose something existing outside the scope of cause and effect, you'd have to suggest how that would be possible.

    So by definition, it was parts of Gods purpose for there to be evil in the world, hence the whole unresolved "Problem of Evil" issue.
     
    #2634 HonestJoe, Jun 19, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2022
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  15. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Veteran Member

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    It's amazing how easy it is to make the NT say anything the Baha'is want it to say.
    John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you...

    25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you...

    30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
    I don't know what's the matter with the Christian interpretation of the Spirit of Truth being the Holy Spirit. But Baha'is also take the "prince of this world" and make that Baha'u'llah too? But the truly amazing thing is... Baha'is deny whatever they don't like and can't use in the Bible and NT. But then there is the things they can use...

    The craziest thing I saw in this book was the "dark day", the "earthquake" and the "stars falling". None of the things happened anywhere near Persia. Two of the events happened in North America and the earthquake was in Portugal several years before The Bab declared himself. How would any of these be signs of this thing that was going to happen on the other side of the world? But, for Mr. Sears, that didn't matter.

    Baha'is have lots of good things in their religion. They just try too hard to make their religion fit into each and everything that can be made into a prophecy about their guys, the Bab and Baha'u'llah.
     
  16. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    Again, I apologize for not getting back to you for so long. My husband took a major turn for the worse after July 5 so it has been difficult to think, let alone give your post the attention that is warranted.
    Since we last conversed, I have had a few new insights. I do not know that God has any of the proposed attributes, I can only believe that, and sometimes it is really difficult to believe that God has certain attributes, such as being all-loving. The reason it is difficult for me to believe that is because of all the suffering in this world. I just cannot reconcile that suffering with an all-loving God no matter how hard I try.

    I know all the religious apologetics such as “suffering is good for us since it helps us grow stronger and more spiritual” but it is suffering nonetheless. I do not think that a material world with no suffering is possible or even desirable, but I have to agree with some atheists who say that God could have created this world with less suffering and still achieve His goals, if God is all-knowing and all-powerful, as I believe He is.
    Yes, there is a fundamental difference between choosing not to do something and being incapable of doing it. God is capable of doing anything, but God only chooses to do what Gid wants to do.

    Perhaps you misunderstood what I have been saying, so I will correct what you said in order to better represent my position.

    Me: "Atheists - What would God do if he existed?"
    You: "I think God would do X."
    Me: "God can do X, but chooses not to do X"
    You: "But God is omnipotent."
    Me: "God could do X but chooses not to do X. It is completely irrelevant that God is omnipotent. That implies that God can do anything but it also implies that God is can never be forced to do anything that He does not want to do, since nobody is more powerful than God"
    You: "So I think God would choose to do X."
    Me: "God could do X, but chooses not to do X."

    In order to continue this dialogue, I would ask you why you think God would do X, but without knowing what X is I cannot really discuss this any further than that.
    I concede that hypothetically, nothing would be impossible for an omnipotent God, but now the ball is in your court.

    Having established that God could do anything, how do you know what God would do if God existed? You can offer an opinion as to what you think God should do, but how can you ever know what God would do? Do you understand the difference? In short, what you think that God should do is not necessarily what God would do.
    I said: My point was that just because "God can do Y" that does not mean that “God will choose to do Y” and if God does not choose to do Y, then God will not do Y. In other words, there is no reason to think that God will choose to do everything God can do. Just think about the logical implications of that, if God can do anything.

    What do you think the logical implications are and why would that lead you to believe that such a God does not exist?

    How logical is it to say that God will choose to do everything God can do just because God can do it? Do you think that God should annihilate the earth just because God can?
    If you do not accept what the Bible says then anything is possible, but if God is what the Bible says then God is unchanging, and that means that God cannot change His nature.
    How do you think you can know what God would do if God existed? What I challenge is anyone who says they can know what God would do if God existed, since nobody can ever know what God would do. All we can know what God has done, and we can only know that by reading scriptures, if we believe them.

    I for own would not want to believe in a capricious God who could change at will, but you get to pick your God because you have free will. [/quote]
    Yes, I get to pick the God I am willing to believe in because I have free will. I would not want to believe in a capricious God who could change His nature at will, nor does that make any sense to me, and that is why I do not believe in such a God.
    What I said is that Baha’u’llah did not want us to have evidence of the specific divine influence and that is why we don’t have it. What that means is that we cannot see how Baha’u’llah was divinely influenced by God, but that does not mean that the existence and teachings of Baha’u’llah is not evidence for God. It simply means we cannot see the divine influence because it was not God’s will that we are able to see it.

    “That the Manifestations of Divine justice, the Day Springs of heavenly grace, have when they appeared amongst men always been destitute of all earthly dominion and shorn of the means of worldly ascendancy, should be attributed to this same principle of separation and distinction which animateth the Divine Purpose.”

    Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 71

    What that passage means is that when they walked the earth, the Messengers of God such as Baha’u’llah and Jesus have always appeared to us as ordinary men, eating, drinking, sleeping, like any other man. They did not shine in the plentitude of their glory because that was not according to God’s will. God wanted us to believe in them for their character, their works, and their scriptures, not because they were obviously divine as well as human. If they had shone in the plentitude of their glory, that would make it too easy for people to recognize them.
    I can only know it through scriptures such as the one cited above.
    Animals have to have a will in order to make choices, like my cat can choose to try to take my other cat’s food or leave it alone. Those are choices, but they are instinctual choices, not moral choices.

    I do not believe that animals have free will to choose between good and evil, only humans have free will. Having been created in the image and likeness of God, humans have the capacity to reflect the attributes of God to varying degrees.
    That is an interesting theory. I do not doubt that our thoughts and decisions are the result of a combination of our memories and reactions to outside stimuli, but I think we have some control over how we respond, given what is in our minds at the present time, what we know. If we we're put back in the same situation, we would probably make exactly the same choices, unless we had learned something in the interim that caused us to choose otherwise. I know for one that I would not make the same choices for my husband were I faced with the same situation knowing what I know now, but I did not know it then so I only acted on what I knew at the time. It causes excruciating pain to think about that so I try not to; I can only live in the present and try to make plans for the future.
    I cannot argue against cause and effect. I believe that humans have a will, which is the power of choosing or determining (volition), and our ability to choose and act on our choices is what causes the actions of men, so the actions themselves are the effects.

    God also has a will, the power to choose and determine what will happen, and God’s ability to choose and act on His choices is what determines some but not all of what happens in this world. However, whatever is left to the free will of man is not God’s choice, it is man’s choice.
    No, it was not part of God’s purpose for there to be evil in the world. The reason there is evil is because humans have free will and some people choose not to follow the Laws of God. If everyone chose to follow the Laws of God there would be no evil in the world.
     
  17. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    Good, then you understand my position. I'm just lucky enough to have never been indoctrinated with a implicit belief in God and so didn't have an issue when I was able to reach this logical conclusion. You're still clearly in the mindset of needing to defend the concept of God you've ben taught, even as you struggle with the fundamental logic behind it.

    Yet you have been literally stating that there are things God is incapable of doing in this thread - changing his nature or knowing all the consequences of free will for example. You make the "God can't change his nature" assertion later in this very post. You are literally contradicting yourself within a few lines of each other.

    I am talking about what I think an omnipotent God would do. That said, if God is defined as all-loving and good, wouldn't what God should do will be exactly the same?

    I make this judgement in exactly the same way you do (just with more consistency ;) ). We observe the world to see what is, consider the fundamental concept of the proposed omnipotent God and apply logic to see if those two things can be reconciled. Based on the first quote in this reply, we both agree it can't be, which means something in this system is incorrect. I think it is the definition of God, which is why I conclude that such a God doesn't exist. You don't seem to have decided how you're going to deal with that inconsistency yet.

    Sure, but it also means that God could choose to do Y. Yet again, we are not talking about the specific God you believe in, we're talking about the specific God I am hypnotising. My hypothetical God chooses to do some things your proposed God does not (and vice-versa).

    Please see your own words in the first quote of this post.

    As I have already mentioned, earlier you said God is capable of anything. Make your mind up.

    We've been over this before. You can't know anything about God based on scriptures alone. They only describe the beliefs (we assume!) of the people who wrote them. If scriptures claim God did something that real word observations suggests is practically or logically impossible, it is the scripture we take to be wrong, not reality.

    That is extremely convenient for him. I see absolutely reason to believe him over any of the hundreds of other people who have made similar claims over the years. But anyway, what Baha’u’llah says about the specific God you believe in is irrelevant to the God I'm hypothesising (at your request).

    So a God could have chosen not to create any special kind of animals (i.e. humans) with free will? He could have created a perfectly viable world without any free will. Note, I am not asking if your think your God would or should have done so, I am asking whether is it logically possible for a God to exist who did this?

    Yet again, can God do anything or are there things God can't do? You have to pick one.
     
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  18. Scolopendra

    Scolopendra Member

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    I'd say it depends on the God. If I was God and was interested in saving humanity and making it progress united I'd definitely reveal myself. If I was a trickster God that takes pleasure in keeping a hidden and detached behavior I would reveal only to those I'd like to.
     
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  19. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I believe that God reveals Himself through His Messengers and has done so from the beginning of human history.

    God has sent a new Messenger for this age, but not everyone knows about Him, and many who know about Him have rejected Him.

    If people reject God's Messenger that is not God's fault.
     
  20. Scolopendra

    Scolopendra Member

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    Which God are we talking about here?
     
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