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Does God Exist?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by BrandenTownsend, May 1, 2004.

  1. dudley thoth

    dudley thoth Member

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    From an ignorant standpoint it would be unwise to accept or reject anything. However, I did not come to a belief in Jesus by way of the head.

    How did you reach the conclusion that the philosophy of the Dao was the way? (no pun intended)

    Good and evil are opposed, only not in the Daoist sence. Good is eternal. Evil is the by-product of non-conformity to the true reality.

    Would they? Balance and imbalance are extremes. Perhaps the Daoist should seek a mid-point between balance and imbalance? Yet, suppose they did. Would they not find another extreme to contend with? And so on forever?

    It would seem to me that you are caught between two mirrors.

    Again, I point to 'Illustrations Of The Tao'

    Can you refute these 'illustrations'?

    God Bless 8)
     
  2. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    First off, the existence of both evil and supreme GOOD is contradictory. And since god did not destroy evil yet, he could be ambivelant to it. You do not know for sure.

    The philosophy of the Tao is a way. And a way that makes sense due to its simplicity. And if you understand eastern thought, you can understand the sense it makes.

    "Good and evil are opposed, only not in the Daoist sence. Good is eternal. Evil is the by-product of non-conformity to the true reality."

    Good and evil are subjective ideas within our minds. Good is not the only eternal side, for both good and evil will exist eternally.

    Balance is against extremes, so therefore imbalance is extremes. Not both.


    "Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects of Confucius, trans. A. Waley, xv. 23; cf. xii. 2)"

    Confucious did not talk about the Tao, or anything spiritual.

    'He whose heart is in the smallest degree set upon goodness will dislike no one.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, iv. 4)"

    This talks about the ancient idea of simplicity. And simplicity of goodness would be no extremes.

    'When the people have multiplied, what next should be done for them? The Master said, Enrich them. Jan Ch'iu said, When one has enriched them, what next should be done for them? The Master said, Instruct them.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, xiii. 9)"

    I do not understand what this has to do with positive or negative. For enriching could be viewed either way, so could instruction.

    'It is upon the trunk that a gentleman works. When that is firmly set up, the Way grows. And surely proper behaviour to parents and elder brothers is the trunk of goodness.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, i. 2)"

    But what is proper behavior. That is also subjective.

    'If a ruler ... compassed the salvation of the whole state, surely you would call him Good? The Master said, It would no longer be a matter of "Good". He would without doubt be a Divine Sage.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, vi. 28)"

    Exactly, once you get passed the idea of good, you get a sage. The sage is not necessarily good, or evil. But should in balance between the two.

    'When proper respect towards the dead is shown at the end and continued after they are far away, the moral force (tĂȘ) of a people has reached its highest point.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, i. 9)"

    Again, proper respect is also subjective.

    'The Master said, Respect the young.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, ix. 22)"

    This talks about the concept of returning. How everything in the beginning is yound, and at the end is young and the cycle continues.

    'The Master said, Be of unwavering good faith.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, viii. 13)"

    Unwaivering good faith to what. What what is good faith.

    "[The gentleman] must learn to be faithful to his superiors and to keep promises.' (Ancient Chinese. Analects, i. 8)"

    For if one wasn't, then they would be killed. That would be against simplicity and necessity.


    The biggest problem is that whoever wrote that site was trying to compare eastern and western ideas, but you cannot do so easily. They have a wholy different way of thinking. And even confucious and lao tzu had differences in thinking.
     
  3. Mr Spinkles

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    But Runt, if 99.9% of human beings perceive the sun as being bright and warm, then we have just discovered a tiny little peice of truth with only a .1% margin of error: that humans perceive the sun as warm and bright. Whether or not the perception itself is an illusion, the fact that humans perceive the sun as warm and bright is still true.

    Science may not be able to discover truth to 100% accuracy....however, it gets much closer than religion can, since religion is not a method of finding truth but instead a set of supposed "truths" already established and affirmed to be true in spite of any evidence to the contrary.

    Building off of little truths (like the fact that 99.9% of humans perceive the sun as bright and warm), we can discover more truth that will be useful to us and will help us understand our world. Our perception may indeed be an "illusion" created by our senses to help us perceive the world...but that doesn't mean the illusion is illogical or that we cannot understand it, or that the illusion is useless.
     
  4. dudley thoth

    dudley thoth Member

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    To Master Vigil 8)

    So, it is not so much the 'intelligence of God' that you disagree with, just the notion of supreme good?

    Again, I point to the cross (see above).

    Okay, but balance and imbalance are both opposites and extremes. How can you deny this? I suppose Daoist philosophy must need to reinterpret (or ignore) this fact in order to make sense. I only mentioned this because you said that Daoists avoid all extremes. I may be wrong (as yet, I don't see it), but it forces me to question the 'simplicity' of such selective thinking.

    Earlier you said this;

    Okay then, lets take

    Shall we say, a devout Buddhist and a God-fearing Jew. Culturally they are poles-apart and yet, according to their basic ethical standpoints, they are very much alike.

    Compare:

    1) "I refrain from destroying life" (Buddhism)

    "you shall not murder" (Judeo-Christian)

    2) "I refrain from taking what is not given" (Buddhism)

    "You shall not steal" (Judeo-Christian)

    3) "I refrain from sexual misconduct" (Buddhism)

    "you shall not commit adultery" (Judeo-Christian)

    4) "I refrain from untrue speech" (Buddhism)

    "you shall not give false testimony against your neighbour" (Judeo-Christian)


    These guidelines and commands, I argue, are objective. They are, to quote the Oxford English Dictionary, "Exhibiting facts uncoloured by feeling or opinions. Not subjective." This is what C.S Lewis successfully illustrates in 'the abolition of man'.

    You said
    C.S Lewis was not, by any means, ignorant regarding "differences in thinking." (I Just had to mention that.) 8)

    To a large extent, our view of the Kosmos always dictates our ethical/moral/scientific views, whether we be secular Athiests, Muslim, 'Hindu', whatever. Here lies the difference between 'Eastern' and 'Western' thought. Our opinions are world views. If an individual's opinions are in accordance with the Cosmos, then they hold correct/objective opinions. If my mental view of the Kosmos differs from your mental view of the Kosmos, our opinions are in danger of becoming subjective.

    Returning to our hypothetical Buddhist and Jewish friends, while they both maintain the same Objective cosmological ethics, because their perceptions of the universe are, at many points, disimilar, their interpretations (relating to murder, lying, theft, sex) and motivations for maintaining them greatly differ, and are therefore open to the charge of subjectivity. So proper behaviour, proper respect, and good faith, while open to subjective interpretation, can be understood definitely. The very fact that the notion of properness/goodness is assumed is also evidence of this.

    Of course, this doesn't mean that any one belief system, be it spiritual or secular, has the correct cosmological view, but the possibility cannot be denied.

    Further, the secular athiest or religious practitioner needn't have complete information to be correct, s/he just needs to have acurate information ( I thought I better throw that in) 8)

    And, whats more, if God has a hand on a particular belief system(s), the possibility that that belief system is correct greatly increases. So, I may be, as far as you are concerned, wrong, but the charge that I

    goes against the evidence.

    Please, with this is mind, read again 'Illustrations of the Tao', or even better the whole book.

    You said
    As you can see, what was held to be 'Dao' in the past is also held to be 'Dao' today.

    To clarify, C.S Lewis uses the word 'Dao' in the sence of 'cosmic-ethical-order', like Dharma, Rta, Maat, Me, etc.

    Confucious was (as you say) not a Daoist, but he did maintain virtue (te) and taught CORRECT conduct, in relation to a presupposed universal harmony.

    Sometimes there is debate over what is actually cosmically ethical. The fifth Buddhist precept "I refrain from intoxicants" is an example of this. Also, in ancient Mesopotaimia, there were particular cosmic virtues that were more to do with culture than Kosmos, such as, 'kingship'; 'priestcraft'; 'prostitution', etc (Campbell. J 'oriental', 1962/200, p.113-114). And so, I admit, there are exceptions, but we need to look at the bigger picture and avoid selectivity.

    God Bless 8)
     
  5. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    I do not believe a perfect essence has intelligence, for that is a physical characterisitic. And if god had perfect intelligence (which if it wasn't perfect that would limit god) than god would know how to extinguish evil in no time at all. For it is in the nature of good to decrease evil as quickly as possible (in the westerners mind). But god has not. But yes, I most disagree with the idea of god being solely and perfectly good. Especially because something solely and perfectly good logically could not create something evil. Therefore, it only makes sense that the perfect essence, is in perfect balance with both.

    It is true, balance and imbalance are opposites. But to be in perfect balance means that all opposites (including the idea of balance and imbalance) disappear. To be in perfect imbalance would be complete chaos. The goal for a taoist or even a zen buddhist is to get past those ideas of opposites and live in such perfect "balance" so that the opposites disappear.

    It is true that world views are very similar, and that shows us that the Tao is omnipresent. But the simple fact that two people may not have the exact same ideas, causes the idea of everything being subjective. Of course the truth is objective, but our methods of percieving that truth is subjective. Both the buddhist and Jewish may have the same objective goals, but the perception of the path to those goals are still subjective.

    And the idea of god being a hand in the religion was only written down by mortals, not god. Many religions will tell you that their god had a hand in their religion. That would mean many religions have the same possibility of ultimate truth.

    And if that is how C.S. Lewis uses the word Tao than he is already mistaken. The Tao is nothing more than "The Way of the universe." How we perceive that way is subjective, and we get our ethics and morals from that subjective perception of the Tao.

    Confucious taught correct conduct within society and civilization. Not within a universal harmony. Confucious' ideas may not have worked within a roman civilization or a native american tribe, or an egyptian civilization. His ideas were subjective to the civilization in which he lived.

    So let me clarify, the Tao or "The Way" is one truth. How we perceive that truth will always be perception, not truth. And will always be subjective.
     
  6. BrandenTownsend

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    good point. Thanks for all the good feedback everyone. I just want to say that i have read the scriptures and i wanted to get some response from people because i would rather have a wide variety of opinions instead of the bible just making one straight point over and over again.
     
  7. Mr Spinkles

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    dudley thoth---

    Perhaps C.S. Lewis' idea of one, universal, objective morailty would make more sense if everyone in all parts of the world had the same basic moral values. However, this is not the case.

    There are many groups, including Nazis, the KKK, the Romans, the ancient Aztecs, etc. who do(did) think it is morally acceptable to murder and commit other acts that most of us in this forum may consider immoral by our subjective standards. In fact, even Judeo-Christian morality allows for murder under a variety of circumstances (the Old Testament orders the stoning of criminals, condones war).

    C.S. Lewis' idea of moral objectivity is pure wishful thinking, based on only looking at certain selective cultures and religions that share moral values in common. If one looks at ALL cultures and religions, one will find that morality is based on subjective axioms which differ between all people, although it is true SOME axioms are shared between SOME religions/cultures.

    The fact that some cultures share some axioms in common in no way indicates the existence of some divine set of obective morals--for every moral value that one group holds, there has been another group holding an opposing value. There is no objective set of morals held by all groups.
     
  8. dudley thoth

    dudley thoth Member

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    To Master Virgil 8)

    I do not believe God is an essence.

    I don't really need to answer this one, but I wouldn't object to the notion that God has physicality.

    Evil was simultaneously counteracted by the supreme good. In eternity, the beginning and the end are one. It is by the grace of God that the wheel of temporality is slow turning:

    The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 N.I.V

    To be fair, I said the opposite of this.

    Difference of opinion is the cause of objectivity only in so far as different people perceive the universe in different ways. I think we can both agree on this.

    Right, the truth is objective.

    Indeed they do, and they are moral/ethical ones (see above)

    This is a fair point. However, it is one that has already been made. (see above)

    Yet, it would not be impossible for an intelligent God to reveal the truth, would it?

    I feel this has already been covered.

    C.S Lewis makes a fair case that the universal way is a ethical/moral one, and so I feel He uses the term fairly. The Dao can also be compared with other cosmic orders that uphold moral principles.

    The universe and the order which sustains it is not subjective. As you now say. Our individual or collective perceptions do not dictate reality.

    The Confucian way of life can only be practised within one type of society, and it assumes that the natural world is a reflection of that society. All that happens on earth is due to the 'decree of heaven'. and all things have regular courses to follow, the 'way of heaven'-the succession of day and night, the sequence of the four seasons, the harmonious conduct of father and son, rular and minister, husband and wife, elder and younger, friend and friend. All under heaven (the world, that is China) is under the Emporor, the 'Son of heaven', who owes his power to the 'decree of heaven'. Within this all-embracing harmony the moral power of the Emperor and his conduct of ritual have immediate, magical effects on the natural and social order. (The Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Living Faiths, 1959/2001, p.360)

    Early Confucian thought (was)...an intuitive process of responding with one's 'te' (moral power, derived from heaven) and harmonising one's actions with it. ('Making Moral Decisions' Holm. J 'ed', 2001, p.170)

    The five notes of the Chinese pentatonic scale are associated with the harmony of the five elements and the five planets.... The five social duties...associated with the pentatonic scale are the "five activities of high importance under heaven" announced in the Confucian Doctrine of the Mean. They are, namely, "the obligations between prince and minister; between father and son; between husband and wife; between elder and younger brothers; and between friends. Those" we read, "are the five obligations that have great effects under heaven." "Tuned to tone of Heaven and Earth," we learn from another text of the second century B.C., "the vital spirits of men express all the tremors of Heaven and Earth, and Man does not come from a physical union, from a direct action; it comes from a tuning on the same note producing vibrations in unison....In the Universe there is no hazard, there is no spontineity; all is influence and harmony, accord answering accord." ('Primitive Mythology' Campbell. J, 1969/2000, p.453-4)

    For sure, Confucious' ideas were developed to work within a specific society. A society, furthermore that was believed to be the one true copy or reflection of the objective universal order.

    I'm sorry that I haven't responded to all you have said in your last post. I'm tired, so I'm off to bed. 8)

    God Bless.
     
  9. dudley thoth

    dudley thoth Member

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    To Mr_Spinkles :hi:

    If you were able to provide ONE example of an ORDERLY society of human beings that believe it is right to go around lying, stealing and killing one another, I wouldn't need to prove the obvious point that such a society cannot exist.

    I believe I covered subjective ethical thought. If you believe my argument to be illogical then dismantle it.

    C.S Lewis argument is logical. If you believe it to be "pure wishful thinking" then demonstrate it. The exambles you gave are inadequate. If we were to look at them properly we would discover that they strengthen, rather than weaken, my case. 8)
     
  10. BrandenTownsend

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    Also, if god wrote the plan for our lives way before we were born, then he has already decided what our life will be, where we go and what we do. How do we have free will? We are like computers that god programmed, and we are simply following the program. Do computers have free will? No, they do what we tell them to do, and what we programed them to do.
     
  11. BrandenTownsend

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    And, by the way, the bible is supposed to be god's holy word right? Well, if god's own word isn't true, then god is a liar, therefore he is not holy, or good, or even in existence.
     
  12. true blood

    true blood Active Member

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    Reason why there is Evil: "Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory"

    Gen 3:16-19 is more reasons
     
  13. Mr Spinkles

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    So God is on a power trip... he wants to create bad "vases" so that when he destroys them for being bad, it'll REALLY impress all the good "vases".

    If I had the power to do so, I would make all the vases "good" and if I made bad ones, I wouldn't condemn them. And that's coming from a lowly mortal- isn't God supposed to be MORE loving and merciful than I am, not less?
     
  14. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    Booya Mr. Spinkles!

    Excellent point! Indeed, god creates us to be sinful and imperfect, so he's either screwing up, or he's meaning to do what he does because he wants us that way. Which leads to him either not minding that we're sinful, or he likes to play cowboys and indians (cowboys being angels, humans being indians...right)
     
  15. dudley thoth

    dudley thoth Member

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    Jesus conquered evil on the cross. If the greatest evil can become the greatest good...
     
  16. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    If Jesus conquered evil on the cross, why are we still dealing with it today? Why is sin (evil) still a daily struggle? That's some lousy conquering if you ask me.

    And how can the greatest evil become the greatest good? That is a very dualistic thought. I think evil and good are what we make of them, personally, but that's taken care of in another forum. ('Dualism', under 'General religious debates' or just regular 'religious debates' I think)
     
  17. dudley thoth

    dudley thoth Member

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    All evil can become good. Bad things happen that can strengthen us. Help us trust God.

    It's not dualistic. Evil is limited. Good isn't.

    God Bless.
     
  18. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

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    Evil is not limited, it can go to its extreme just as good can.
     
  19. dudley thoth

    dudley thoth Member

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    That's Dualistic!

    ...or is it?
     
  20. true blood

    true blood Active Member

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    Wait a minute.. None of us are the first to question "Why does evil exist?"
    Job himself asks God why. Its a popular question 'If god exists? why is the world full of so much evil?" Have you tried searching through the scriptures for your answers or do you assume you'll find this wisdom on a forum? Have you read Ezekiel, the passage when God speaks with Lucifer? "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within and you sinned. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart:
    I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High

    And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, with great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.

    Genesis 3:1-5 As soon as he reached earth, Satan undertook to deceive the human race.

    Man's happiness was linked to his obedience to God.

    But God did not want a forced obedience: so He allowed man the freedom to follow the way he preferred. However He gave him a serious warning about the consequences of his choice.

    Alas! Satan deceived him in spite of that warning, and got him to disobey. "The god of this age", "the ruler of this world" This is how the Bible describes Satan.

    Luke 4:5-7 shows Jesus and Satan agreeing that the kingdoms of this world are Satan's property.

    Genesis 3:17,18 Nature was also marked by the appearance of sin. The soil no longer cooperated so easily with man. Many beasts became wild. The planet became hostile with its storms, earthquakes, and other disasters.

    Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord God, and not that he should turn from his ways and live? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn and live!

    With all this out there then why didn't god destory satan in the beginning?
    If God had destroyed Satan immediately, His creation would then have served Him out of fear: so God chose to allow everyone the time to measure the consequences of Satan's rebellion. Fortunately, the experiment will soon come to a conclusion.
    God is love.
     
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