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Featured Atheists: If God existed would God… (Continued)

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Trailblazer, Aug 3, 2022.

  1. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    @HonestJoe

    I decided to start fresh with a new thread to continue our conversation because that other thread got derailed and I do not plan to post on it anymore.
    I was never taught any concept of God. I learned about God by reading the Writings of Baha’u’llah. Sometimes I find it difficult to understand why a loving God would create a world in which He knew there would be so much suffering but that is not a problem of logic, as suffering, even if there is a loving God, is neither logical nor illogical, it simply exists.

    The assertion of some atheists, that if a loving God exists there would be little or no suffering in the world, is not logical, it is simply a personal opinion. I could just as easily offer the personal opinion that if a loving God exists there would be suffering since suffering is advantageous for our spiritual growth. There are reasons for the suffering and it serves a purpose even though it is painful.
    My position has always been that God cannot change His nature since the nature of God is unchanging. If an unchanging God could change His nature that would be a logical contradiction.

    It has always been my position that God is all-knowing, so God knows everything, including the consequences of free will.
    Firstly, I think it is illogical for any human to say what God should do. The minute we say what God should do that is merely a personal opinion based upon our personal expectations. If an all-knowing God exists, that God has to know what He should do better than any human can ever know that since no human is all-knowing.

    Secondly, Not only is it impossible for any human to know what God would do under any given set of circumstances, what we might imagine God would do is yet another personal opinion based upon our personal expectations of God.

    To answer your question, if God is defined as all-loving and good, what God would do is what God decides is all-loving and good for humans, not what humans imagine that to be. What God should do is not even relevant. Since God has no obligations to any humans God is not subject to shoulds. Only humans have obligations and are thus subject to shoulds, since only humans are accountable to other humans and accountable to God, if they believe in God.
    Atheists like to apply logic to God but logic cannot be applied to God. I think I said this before but just in case here it is again.

    Everything in this physical world is subject to the rules of logic but the rules of logic do not apply to God. God is and has always been immensely exalted beyond all that can ever be recounted or perceived, everlastingly hidden from the eyes of men. Such an entity can never be subject to human logic and it would be illogical to think so. It is absurd to expect to be able to encapsulate an infinite God with the finite human mind.

    According to my beliefs, the only way humans can ever know anything about God is through the revelations of God that come to man through Messengers of God, which are recorded in scriptures of religions.

    It might seem irreconcilable that a loving God could exist given we live in a world where there is so much suffering, bear in mind that there is also joy in this world, and atheists never give God any credit for that.

    However, the main point I would like to make is that this earthly life is not the be-all and the end-all. This life is only a very small part of our total existence. After we depart from this world we go to another world where there will be no more suffering, only joy and gladness for all of eternity. That is how the suffering in this world is reconciled.
    What does your hypothetical God choose to do that my proposed God does not choose to do?
    Hypothetically speaking, an omnipotent God is capable to doing anything but that is not same as God becoming anything. If God became other than God is; e.g., if God became powerless and weak, then God would not be God. If God became a man then God would not be God since God is not a man.
    I would rather say that we cannot know everything about God based on scriptures alone. I believe we can know something about God from scriptures. However, I agree that if scriptures claim God did something that is practically or logically impossible, it is the scriptures we take to be wrong, not reality. A good example is God becoming a man and rising from the dead.
    It is not a matter of convenience. Baha’u’llah either was who He claimed to be or not. There is no middle ground. There are many reasons to believe Him over others who have made similar claims but in order to know those reasons research is required.

    So back to your hypothetical God, I am still not sure who or what he is.
    It is logically possible for a God to have created humans without free will, but try to think about the ramifications of that. Granted, we are not always free to do whatever we might want to do since free will has constraints, but if humans had no will at all, how could they do anything, and if humans could not do anything, how would anything get done in this world? The only alternative to human free will that I can see is God running everything, in which case humans would be like God’s programmed robots with no will of their own.
    Hypothetically speaking, an all-powerful God has the power to do anything, but I am not God so I cannot know what God can or can’t do. Only God knows that. ;)
     
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  2. loverofhumanity

    loverofhumanity Well-Known Member
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    I just loved this post. I think it’s so down to earth. I wish you would write a book and include some of these things because they just make so much sense. I particularly like when you mentioned people blame God for the suffering in this world but there’s joy too and nobody mentions that! That’s brilliant.
     
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  3. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I won't go through the whole OP but have comments on a couple of points

    Tell me how childhood leukemia is advantageous to spiritual growth?
    How is a natural disaster (also known as an act of god) that kills tens of thousands of people advantageous to spiritual growth?

    Claimed omni everything so if a god is unable to change nature then obviously not omni self. Even lowly hunans have been known to change.

    Knowing the consequences of your actions and still causing suffering, pain, hardship, death etc makes such a concept a sick and mean being unworthy of worship.
     
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  4. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I never claimed that those things are advantageous for spiritual growth. They are just part of living in a material world, the good and the bad. There will always be suffering in a material world. Suffering only ends when we leave this world and go to the next world.
    Humans cannot change their nature or else they would not be human anymore.
    If a human became a plant a human would no longer be human, nor can a plant become a human and still be a plant.
    God does not cause those things, they are just part and parcel of living in a material world.
    You can hold God responsible for creating the material world, but that's all.

    You are free to believe that if you want to. I disembarked from that ship a while back since it was not headed anywhere I want to go. The more I suffered the more I knew I needed God. That is one purpose of suffering. People will disappoint and abandon me but God never will.
     
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  5. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    The reason atheists don't give God credit for the joy is that it is irrelevant to our position. The reason you might perceive it like that, and that atheists seem to only focus on the bad part, is because those are where the clearest conflict exists, between the claims being made about God and the actual actions taken by God according to scriptures.

    Besides that, as an atheist, I could ask you why don't you give any credit to the god Odin? And this is where the conflict occurs. Because you don't do this, because you don't acknowledge him as being real and it is not the position that you take.

    For an atheist, it wouldn't make sense to give credit to God for the joy in the world, more than giving Odin the credit. Just as we wouldn't give God the blame for the suffering either. Again, the atheist position is that of claims made about God vs scriptures and what we can observe in reality, meaning something which we have good reason to assume is true.

    So you would never be able to get a truthful atheist's view on the characteristics of God, not because we are lying about it, but because the position we have to take, is that of having to pretend that God exists and share out view based on that.

    Exactly the same as if I asked you to give your opinion about what you think Odin meant by some of the things he did. You could do that, but it as with atheists, would be made from a position that you would pretend that Odin was real and did such a thing, but it wouldn't change your actual position that Odin isn't real, so ultimately giving him credit for something wouldn't make sense.
     
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  6. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    God created a nasty world then. He is doing a Pontius Pilot and washing his hands of any responsibility
     
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  7. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry but you wasted your time. I'd already decided (and thought I'd made clear) that I see no point in going around in circles with you on this any more, and simply repeating my posts and re-responding to them in exactly the same way only serves to justify that.

    As long as you are presenting logical arguments to support your image of God but when challenged, unilaterally declaring that logic can't be applied to God, the entire thing becomes pointless.

    Good luck making exactly the same arguments and dismissing the other people making exactly the same counterpoints I have been. And even more luck to them in realising it is a waste of time while they still have their sanity. :cool:
     
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  8. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    What you said was "I could just as easily offer the personal opinion that if a loving God exists there would be suffering since suffering is advantageous for our spiritual growth.


    Yes they can, there are countless examples of people changing their nature, i am one.


    Eh?

    The claim is god created all with foreknowledge.

    I don't hold a god responsible for anything, that's the theists way to pick and choise tje good bits that they claim their god created and the bad bits they deny vehemently that their god didn't create

    As are you
     
  9. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    love changes things but itself is unchanging. the lack of understanding, ignorance, attachment to things that are unnecessary causes suffering. so then suffering is the will focuses on self vs what is mentally healthy for anyone and everyone. the lack of love causes suffering because it leads to selfishness vs selflessness.


    so a person who would create a codependent attachment is not loving. the ideal of love is to be a mentor, not an idol.
     
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  10. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    For you to properly justify God on this, it isn't enough for there to be benefit in suffering. You would also need to demonstrate:

    - the benefit is necessary.
    - the only way that benefit can be achieved is through suffering.
     
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  11. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    So there is nothing you like about this world? You must be awfully depressed.

    I find it rather ironic that atheists see the bad things in this world and hold God responsible for those whereas they never mention the good things about this life and give God credit for those.
     
  12. rational experiences

    rational experiences Well-Known Member

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    If God existed science would never have been practiced.

    Science said God was held to form so mother of God space womb stopped it's deceptive burning.

    Mother of God given the highest status in created creation.

    Men who don't believe in men's God taught status do scientific converting.

    Simple fact.

    Hence no human is God as mother of God is space. God was rock.

    If scientists believed in God they'd never change any earth type. Hence they don't believe. They do anything they want. And have done earth changes many times. Otherwise they'd fear the repercussions.

    So if you ask ancient humanity what made you believe in God. It was when earth mass heavens space holding changed.

    That will be the day when scientists will believe in God again. True story.

    If a human thinks suffering allows you to learn. I was horrified at my families suffering. I learnt.

    I worked with disabled minds body. They couldn't learn. Pretty basic just surviving.

    So if I learnt from another humans suffering it's not a blase statement. When I personally would not want that suffering myself

    Is the difference to being indoctrinated or self aware conscious.
     
  13. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I never claimed that humans cannot make logical arguments to based upon certain attributes of God, such as omnipotence and omniscience, I only ever claimed that it is impossible to expect to be able to encapsulate an infinite God with the finite human mind, which means that God is above and beyond human logical analysis. That might sound like a contradiction, but it really isn't.

    I also claimed that I believe the only way humans can ever know anything about God is through the revelations of God that come to man through Messengers of God, which are recorded in scriptures of religions. However, our knowledge of God is very limited and for the most part God remains a mystery.

    Anyhow, it has been nice conversing with you and I have no hard feelings, only good ones. :)
     
  14. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I never said that all suffering is advantageous for everyone's spiritual growth, what I stated was a generality. I believe that suffering can be an opportunity for spiritual growth, but that depends upon how a person responds to that suffering. Everyone does not become stronger and more spiritual from suffering, some people become weak and bitter. Moreover as you noted there is the suffering that comes to innocents like children which does not seem to benefit them or anyone else.

    Imo, the existence of suffering is the biggest obstacle to belief in a loving God, but since you do not believe in God you don't have to reconcile that. I 'believe' that God is loving because that is what scriptures say, but I I finally gave up trying to reconcile that with the suffering that comes to people through no fault of their own.

    A friend of mine I met on another forum used to be a Christian but he has lost his faith for the most part since his adult daughter died suddenly last December. I fully understand how he feels. It can go either way, our faith can either be lost or strengthened depending upon how we process the suffering.
    That depends what you mean by nature. I think we are talking at cross purposes.
    What I mean by nature is the basic or inherent features of something. Inherently you are a human being so you cannot be a cat or a dog, that is what I meant. I did not man you cannot change your personality, as all our personalities change throughout our lives.
    Foreknowledge is not the cause of anything. The fact that God knows what is going to happen is not what causes it to happen. What causes things to happen in this world are the decisions and actions of men. As an analogy, an astronomer knows when and where an eclipse will take place in the future, but his knowledge of that event does not cause the eclipse to take place.
    I agree that is what most theists do, look only at the good things and ignore the bad things, and that is illogical, because if God created everything then God is responsible for both the good and the bad. Christians are famous for denying that God is responsible for anything bad that happens even though it is right there in their own Bible.

    Isaiah 45:7 NIV
    I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.


    Atheists do the opposite, which is also illogical; they look at only the bad things and blame God for those, never giving God any credit for the good things He created.

    I look at both the good and the bad and accept tat we cannot have one without the other, since that is part and parcel of living in a material world.
     
  15. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I agree that attachment to things that are unnecessary causes suffering.
    Lack of love can also cause suffering if it leads to selfishness vs selflessness.
    However, love can also cause suffering when one loses the one they love.
     
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  16. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    You misunderstand and misquote. When you and other religious people promote your love of 'God', atheists are happy to point out all the faults of the gods.
    The world is great but could be much better. As has been said before ... Why Leukaemia in Children? ... Why parasites that make people blind? ... Why cancer? ... etc.good things.
    We see the bad things that god ignores and find it ironic that believers only point to the
     
  17. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I do not need to justify how God created the world. God requires no justifications from humans.

    I cannot demonstrate that the benefits that come from suffering are necessary or that the only way that benefit can be achieved is through suffering. I believe suffering has the potential to build character if we can learn and grow from it but there are a lot of people who have not suffered much who have a good character. People can also learn and grow character through positive life experiences.

    I do not justify suffering because it requires no justification, it simply exists. People suffer more or less and I believe that is more by fate than by a free will choices they make. Since I believe God is responsible for fate, God is left holding the bag for the suffering that was not chosen.
     
  18. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I see no problem with that, but I am not a religious person who promotes a loving God.
    I am a theist who wonders why a God would create a world where so many people suffer through no fault of their own. I know some of the reasons theists offer but they still leave me unsatisfied. I have learned to live with that and just say "I don't know."
    That's true, but why hold God responsible for the world being much better?
    As a Baha'i, I believe that humans are responsible for making this world a better place, and that is why God sent a new Messenger, Baha'u'llah, to reveal what will be needed to build a new world order.
    You do not know that God ignores those things, as nobody knows what God is thinking or doing.

    Some atheists assume that God should disallow or eliminate those things if God is omnipotent and loving, but there is to reason to think that God would or should eliminate all the bad stuff and leave only the good stuff. Since God created a world that has both bad and good stuff, that is the way it was intended to be, so there is no reason why God would intervene and change that.

    I do not know why bad things happen to good people, nobody knows that. I can only reconcile that in my mind because I believe that this life is only a very small part of our total existence and that there will be no more suffering in the next life.
     
  19. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    You seem to understand my doubts about god. You can handle them and have faith, I can't and assume he does not exist
     
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  20. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    If you don't like the word "justification," feel free to replace it with whatever you think you're doing with this thread.

    Well there you go.

    Right: since positive life experiences can grow one's character, trying to justify negative experiences on the basis of character growth doesn't work.

    Do you think that God was powerless to prevent suffering?


    Right.
     
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