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Proponent of Rational Faith

Discussion in 'Are you new to ReligiousForums.com?' started by Axe Elf, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. Enoch07

    Enoch07 It's all a sick freaking joke.
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    I disagree about free will. But that's a topic on its own.

    I see nothing wrong with using the Bible to bolster my own morality. It doesn't take away atheist morality or any other persons morality. I am just using it to bolster and improve my own morality. Doesn't make me better or worse than anyone else. It just helps me to live my own life better, as I don't believe in imposing my will upon others (free will is a biznatch eh?).

    I agree with you about prayer though. Even though I disagree about pre-destination.

    Anyways I look forward to debating/discussing these differences they come up in due time.
     
  2. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

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    I've never seen Westworld, so I can't really relate to your "patient/agent" analogy, but I agree emphatically with your point about the best of all possible worlds. It doesn't directly relate to our lack of free will, but yes, if God is omnibenevolent, then He would want to create the best of all possible universes. If God is omniscient, then He would know how to create the best of all possible universes. And if God is omnipotent, then He would have the power to create the best of all possible universes. So if an omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent God exists, then we are logically constrained to conclude that we live in the best of all possible universes.

    This is of course a refutation of the Problem of Evil, which argues that an omnibenevolent, omniscient and omnipotent God would not allow evil to exist at all--but I think that's just a result of misunderstanding what "omnipotence" means. The word comes from Latin roots that mean "all powerful," but that does not mean that God can do anything whatsoever; it means only that He can do anything that can be done with power. But some things cannot be done with ANY amount of power, such as creating a one-sided coin, drawing a four-sided triangle, or introducing me to a married bachelor. Creating a universe with good but without evil is akin to creating the one-sided coin--we could never understand and appreciate what "good" is except in contrast to evil. If nothing was ever "not-good" then we could never understand "good."

    Like if I told you that everything in the universe was begour. You'd ask me what begour was, and all I could tell you is that it is everything, because there is nothing that is NOT begour. So I think an omnibenevolent God would want us to understand evil, sadness and suffering, just so we could appreciate goodness, happiness and pleasure in their turn. So rather than concluding that evil and suffering are evidence against the existence of God, I prefer to think that any evil we see is only the evil that is necessary to the best of all possible universes.
     
  3. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    I would have to strenuously disagree that this is the best of all possible worlds that can (or does) exist. It would be good if you create a thread on this topic in the religious debates section. I propose that there cannot exist any suffering whatsoever in the best of all possible realities, and knowledge of distinction between good/bad and suffering/eudaimonia is totally unnecessary for entities without free will since they can't make free choices between options anyway. Thus any universe without free will must necessarily be free of any and all suffering and filled with maximally blissful experiences for the experiencing patients that exist in it.
     
  4. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum.
    I have enjoyed your comments.
    So does that mean you find rationality in Genesis 1 & 2?
     
  5. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    I’m not quite following the free will idea of yours.
    I figure we have free will. Without it, we cannot have salvation.
    God also knows everything that happens only after it happens.
    Which means after we have made the choice.
    However, since God exists outside of time, he can see & know what we choose to do before we do it.

    imo
     
  6. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

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    That's fine; you're basically just denying that an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God exists, and I'm sure lots of people would agree with you.

    It's a nice proposal, but of course it would take something like omniscience on OUR part to be able to say that anything that was different from the universe we currently have would definitively be "better" than the one we have. I mean, in MY best of all possible universes, I am constantly being serviced by a harem of beautiful nubiles, and I am rich beyond the dreams of avarice--but I can't say that the universe as a whole wouldn't be worse overall because of it. A butterfly beating its wings in Hong Kong, you know...

    That's a total non-sequitur. I don't have to be able to CHOOSE pleasure in order to experience it. And even if I had free will, I could do bad things without knowing that I am--even while thinking I was doing something good (and vice versa).

    Again, your conclusion is not justified by your premise. It does not follow that we must necessarily be blissful just because we have no control over our destiny. Can you not imagine a universe without free will created by an evil superbeing in which every inhabitant is constantly subjected to excruciating pain with no control over escaping it? Heck, just imagine the "mainstream" Xian concept of hell--you don't get to choose if you go or not, and if you go, you have no option to escape it, and your experiences will probably not be maximally blissful. (Now, like I said before, I don't believe in that kind of an afterlife, but it's not impossible for me to imagine, either--and the fact that the concept is possible denies your claim that it would not be possible.
     
  7. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    I agree...its a two way invitation. No one can come to an understanding of the truth without a direct invitation from God AND his son. I believe that applies to all.

    As I am not a trinitarian, I see the Father and son as two separate entities working as a team in the same program and for the same outcome. Unless you have the blessing of both....forget it. You will grope around in spiritual darkness.
    But you have to really "know" them, not just know 'about' them. (John 17:3) You have to understand how God has always disseminated information to his people.....collectively. All have to believe the same things because they are taught by the same spirit. (1 Corinthians 1:10) Internal divisions and disagreements with interpretation of scripture are a sign that people are not getting their information from the same source. So logically, all religions can't be different forms of the same truth.

    I try to apply the K.I.S.S. principle wherever I can. If we overthink everything, we end up more confused about the simple things than with the big picture. To me, understanding the big scheme of things fills in the blanks about everything else. None of it is rocket science because the Bible was not written for the wise and intellectual ones....it was written for those whom Jesus said had to be "like young children".....meek, teachable and hungry for knowledge. (Luke 10:21) If its not simple, then it excludes children. God wouldn't do that. But simplicity makes the ones with degrees in theology feel redundant. How many of Jesus' apostles had degrees in anything? People can get carried away by their qualifications.....which mean nothing to God. (John 7:15)

    The plain fact of the matter is.....God wrote the Bible for people who have the ability to see the whole elephant. :)

    The only "blind" people are victims of a scammer. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

    King Solomon wrote that "there is nothing new under the sun" and so it appears as if history keeps repeating because humans never learn from the lessons of the past.

    Take the nation of Israel for example. As a promise to faithful Abraham, God said that he would make a great nation out of his descendants. He was childless at the time with an apparently barren wife. But due to a miracle, in her old age, Sarah produced a son. This was not Abraham's firstborn however, because due to the custom of surrogacy, Sarah's handmaiden was used to give Sarah and Abraham a son by the more conventional means. But Isaac was to be the heir to God's promises, not Ishmael. Another nation came from Abraham's firstborn, who also saw a role in God's plans for themselves. Muslims are the result. So before God's people were even formed into a nation, there were complications that have lasted to the present day because of human decisions.

    Jacob and Esau were another example of complications. The promise was to come through Jacob but Esau was the firstborn with all the rights of inheritance. Jacob received his father's blessing by deception because Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. Esau fathered a nation too, but all these nations, though related to Israel, were in opposition to the descendants of Isaac and Jacob, from whom the promised "seed" was to come. Humans complicate everything by thinking they can do things their way.

    As we know, Israel's history is rather pathetic, so it wasn't that Israel was superior in any way to other nations, but that God chose Abraham and only one of his sons to inherit the promise...then Isaac and only one of his sons, were to carry the lineage to the Messiah. Once that was accomplished, the Jews were cast off by God as his people because they were serial covenant breakers and his agreement with them was fulfilled. (Matthew 23:37-39)

    As the final act on their part, they murdered an innocent man (who claimed to be their Messiah) because he exposed their hypocrisy, and they even cursed their children with his blood. (Matthew 27:25)

    God then turned his attention to the Gentiles to make a new nation out of them. (Acts 15:14) This new nation was comprised of faithful Jews and Gentiles who had become disciples of Jesus Christ through the preaching of the apostles. But just as the old nation apostatized and fell to following the traditions of men, so did the Christians. By the 4th century, they were ripe for the introduction of Roman Catholicism and the rest, as they say...is history. Religiously speaking...the world is in a confused mess....but God has a people who are not in confusion. They, as a global body of Christ's disciples, are no part of Christendom and no part of the world, as Jesus said. (John 15:18-21)

    Jesus' parable of the "wheat and the weeds" tells us that fake Christianity was to flourish right down until the "harvest time" when there would be a separation between the two...and nothing in common. So here we are at the time of the end, and Jesus is separating people as we speak. "Sheep and goats" are all there are at the end. So are we part of the sheep...or part of the goats? How do we know? Just calling yourself a Christian isn't enough. (Matthew 7:21-23)

    It is all well and good to form your own opinions, but it serves no purpose if you are the only one who holds them. We can't be Christians in isolation from one another any more than the first Christians were. We have to have a brotherhood with whom to meet on a regular basis. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

    Do you have such a brotherhood?
     
    #27 Deeje, Mar 5, 2018
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  8. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    Just as omnipotent does not mean God can do illogical things (make a square triangle), omniscient may not mean God can know unknowable things (choice one makes in a universe with free will). This intuition is bolstered by the inherent randomness of quantum phenomena. Not only are we free to choose, it also seems that elementary physical entities are free to "create" an open ended future in a radical way.



    An omnipotent God can surely make your described best possible world come true without causing an iota of suffering to anyone else. It's very hard to hit the contra-logical constraint with omnipotence.



    That is point. There is no need for creatures without free will to know the difference between pleasure and pain or good and evil. A pleasurable experience does not logically require a painful experience to be enjoyed. Otherwise one needs to be old first to enjoy youth, blind first to enjoy sight and die first to enjoy being alive. And what use is knowing good and evil without free choice to act on that knowledge?
    Of course in a universe with free will, one is morally accountable primarily for one's intentions and not the consequences, unless the ignorance itself was deliberate. That is why a sleepwalker who kills is not sent to prison and there is a difference between accidental death and deliberate murder in law.



    Not possible IF there is no free will AND we do have an Omnibenevolent Creator God. Your own example shows what an evil superbeing would do in a universe without freedom of will. Hence, it logically follows that a good superbeing would do the exact opposite if He created a universe without free will. He would make a universe where its non-renewable willed inhabitants will continuously experience maximally blissful experience and maximally meaningful existence.
     
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  9. Buddha Dharma

    Buddha Dharma Dharma Practitioner

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    Welcome to the form @Axe Elf. You seem really thoughtful, so I'm sure we'll have some good conversations.
     
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  10. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    I'd say in Religious Debates. Post a link to it here when you've started one so I can quickly find it. Thanks.
     
  11. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    I'm really enjoying reading your thoughts as many of them align with my own. While I said I would wait for a separate thread, others are running with it here, so what the heck. ;)

    A slight difference for me is here where I would emphasis that the goal is not about an Objective Truth, per se, in the sense of a scientific type understanding of the world "out there". God cannot be separated out and understood without the subjective self.

    That's like trying to see the eyes you are looking out through the whole time, looking under the couch for them, in the cupboard, in the pantry, on the roof of the house, etc. In order to see God, you have to know the experience of sight itself and follow that which is always there present within you. God is not an object of one's thoughts, but the Subject of one's very being.

    It's a temptation take scientific empiricism and attempt to apply it to everything in life, including God. IMO, that's a misguided approach. The rational mind is not the measure of Truth itself, only propositions that it can place into bounded categories of thought, into mental objects. God will always not be contained within these. To define God, denies God, reducing God to our ideas about God.

    In simple terms prayer is to align your intention with Spirit. It is bringing your small self's will in line with the will of the Self, the Mind of God, as it were. Envisioning it as asking for magic to happen is a device of an early imagination, a metaphor for that type of mind to relate itself to something beyond the world it finds itself inhabiting in its current modes of thought.

    As one grows past the Santa Clause is a literal guy "up North" thinking, they realize that magic they imagined existing 'out there', external to themselves, has already been their own all along, and Santa was a projection of a higher truth within themselves; a symbolic device for their minds to understand something of their own hearts before they were ready to understand with the eyes of Spirit.
     
    #31 Windwalker, Mar 6, 2018
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  12. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    I'll go ahead and reply here now, since you already typed all this out and conversations are already happening here.

    I definitely understand what you say about faith not being a violation of rationality, irrationality as you cited. I completely agree with that, in that to sever your mind's rational thoughts actually does violence to spiritual Truth. For instance, to deny that evolution is factual, to deceive oneself against solid evidence to the contrary in order to preserve one's beliefs is anything but serving God or Truth itself. It is cowardice, in fact, the opposite of actual Faith.

    However, I make a distinction between the irrational, that which violates reason, and the non-rational, that which is categorically of a different nature than rational mind, such as love, hope, desire, value, meaning, etc. None of these are lying around out there, but are states of subjective being.

    One does not express love to their partner by making a logically-consistent propositional argument! :) One expresses some small piece of the truth of what they are experiencing in faulted and flawed language which cannot at best capture the reality of that experience.

    When it comes to God, it is first and foremost an experience of one's own Being at the highest, deepest, and fullest of levels possible in human reality. The words we use to express that, will naturally transcend our languages of propositional truths. I love what E. H. W. Meyer- stein said that, “Myth is my tongue, which means not that I cheat, but stagger in a light too great to bear.” To attempt to make the language of myth, the language of metaphor, into propositional truths, guts it of the Truth it speaks. The Truth of God exists both before and beyond reason and language.

    That understood however, to your point, even though the Knowledge of God transcends definitions of the mind and its rational systems of thought, it can and should in fact be compatible with it. The key to this is accepting that our understand with our mind cannot offer the complete picture of All that Is.

    When we are presented with facts, if our beliefs about this or that are found to be challenged or denied, we need to not hold onto our beliefs as reflective of God. They are not matters of faith, but props for the mind, ways to talk about things and about God. It's a good thing to rethink our thinking. The healthiest spirituality is one which holds beliefs lightly with an opened hand. And that is what makes faith compatible with reason, not a solid airtight argument, so-called "proofs" of God. ;)

    This is good.

    In my arguments I always point to the difference between comprehension and apprehension. Difference Between Apprehension and Comprehension | Difference Between

    It is very true you cannot ever comprehend God, as comprehension is thing of the conceptual mind. Apprehension is more an awareness of the reality of something without making propositional statements about it in an attempt to understand it. One can most definitely apprehend God, while at the same time acknowledging it is beyond comprehension.

    As far as Objective Truth goes, meaning the existence of God, so long as we continue to exclude the Subject, of which we ourselves are, all we will every see is a projection of our own minds, a reflection of ourselves projected onto the universe as God. Once that is opened to, directly, then all the questions of our minds we previously looked to for truth and direction, become relatively moot.

    Their importance is still there in order for us to have some form of structure to think about these things and attempt to talk about them, but they are held now as props which serve a purpose. Understanding this allows them to be outgrown and new structures brought in to replace them as we continue to grow, rather than as the keys we turn to find God. We find God, and then realize the nature of thoughts were as supports, not keys to God. Like the Buddha said, "To insist on a spiritual practice that served you in the past is to carry the raft on your back after you have crossed the river."

    What about understanding God in non-rational terms, like the simple state of being?
     
    #32 Windwalker, Mar 6, 2018
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  13. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

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    I will respect your desire to postpone a discussion about free will, but I would like to clarify that I don't see anything WRONG with using the Bible to bolster one's own morality either. I just said that I couldn't agree with the principle of theistic rationalism as reported in the Wikipedia article asserting that the PRIMARY role of religion should be to bolster one's morality--therefore I wouldn't be comfortable applying the label to myself. But it's not a right or wrong thing; merely a matter allowing for a legitimate difference of opinion, depending on the role that religion takes in each individual's life.
     
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  14. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

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    It means that I can interpret Genesis 1 & 2 in a rational, logically consistent way that dovetails with information we have about the origins of the universe from other sources.

    I'm not quite following the free will idea of yours.

    God can see and know what we choose to do BEFORE we do it, but God only knows everything that happens AFTER it happens?

    If God doesn't know what's going to happen until after it happens, then He is not omniscient, and in that case there is no logical exclusion of free will. It is only if one believes in an omniscient God that they are logically required to give up their free will. (There is still the argument that God could not create every inch of space without creating every moment of time as well, since space and time are but two aspects of the same thing--but given that, it seems almost impossible for God to NOT be omniscient).

    But I think that's just semantic gymnastics. Let's suppose it's true--God has not predetermined your choice, but He is able to look ahead from the dawn of time to see what you chose in that moment, like a scientist examining the position of an insect trapped in amber. But you, as the insect, are still trapped in amber! If God sees that you chose to go to New York tomorrow, you are not free to change your mind and go to Chicago instead. You are still locked in to the ONE outcome that God knows will take place.

    If a prisoner woke up one day and said, "Today, I choose of my own free will to remain in jail." He honestly feels that way. He looks forward to the three square meals and the TV time. He wouldn't leave if he could. But that's the thing--he CAN'T leave. So is it legitimate to say that the prisioner exercised his free will to remain in jail that day? I have to say no--a forced choice is no choice at all. You can't freely "choose" to stay in a locked room, because you really HAVE no other choice. And so it is with every choice you make. You are not free to do anything other than that which God knows you will do, even if it FEELS like you are choosing one action over others.
     
  15. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

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    You covered so much ground in this sprawling epic that trying to address all of it would probably be a waste of both my time and yours.

    The one thing I think I can address succinctly, and which follows directly from the allegory at hand, is that the Bible isn't for people who can see the whole elephant (because no one can), it's one description of the elephant written for blind men. And it's written for simple blind men and complex blind men--it's simple so as not to exclude children, and it's complex so as not to exclude deep thinkers. If all you can understand are rules, then the Bible gives you rules to follow. If all you need to know is to love God and to love others, then the Bible tells you that it's really all that simple. But if you need to understand the Deep Truths like predestination, that stuff is in there too.

    And so all people do not believe the same things in the same ways, even when they're talking about the same elephant. It's not that people aren't getting their info from the same source, it's that they are interpreting the information differently. Your "logical" conclusion that all religions can't be different forms of the same truth is not logical at all; it is in fact a non-sequitur.

    I see logical fallacies in some of your other arguments as well--some of which border distinctly upon anti-Semitism--but I think I would just be unnecessarily muddying the waters if I were to go down those rabbit holes with you.
     
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  16. Enoch07

    Enoch07 It's all a sick freaking joke.
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    Yeah it will come up in due time. No need to burn you out in just a couple of days. There is an old proverb that comes to mind.

    1 drunken fool can ask more questions than 7 wise men can answer.

    So yeah I see you have a lot of other people asking you questions already so I will patiently wait til the time is right.
     
  17. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

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    Obviously, omniscience does not extend to that which is unknowable. I cannot fathom how anything in God's creation could be logically unknowable to its creator, however. Certainly knowing the future is not normally excluded from claims of God's omniscience. Nor do I think that our own limitations as observers of quantum phenomena necessarily apply to God. WE may be unable to determine a particle's position and velocity at the same time, but there is no logical reason why God could not, for instance.

    But predestination does not rely only on logical arguments; if one is a believer in the Bible, then their own holy scriptures offer tremendous evidence that God is in control of everything.

    Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. --Psalm 139:16

    The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end and His own purpose--even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity and evil. --Proverbs 16:4

    A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. --Proverbs 16:9

    The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord [even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him]. --Proverbs 16:33

    Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand. --Proverbs 19:21

    Man's steps are ordered by the Lord. How then can a man understand his way? --Proverbs 20:24

    O Lord [pleads Jeremiah in the name of the people], I know that [the determination of] the way of a man is not in himself; it is not in man [even in a strong man or in a man at his best] to direct his [own] steps. --Jeremiah 10:23

    And when the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified (praised and gave thanks for) the Word of God; and as many as were destined (appointed and ordained) to eternal life believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Jesus as the Christ and their Savior). --Acts 13:48

    We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. And those whom He thus foreordained, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified (acquitted, made righteous, putting them into right standing with Himself). And those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity and condition or state of being]. --Romans 8:28-30

    And not only that, but this too: Rebecca conceived [two sons under exactly the same circumstances] by our forefather Isaac, and the children were yet unborn and had so far done nothing either good or evil. Even so, in order further to carry out God's purpose of selection (election, choice), which depends not on works or what men can do, but on Him Who calls [them], it was said to her that the elder [son] should serve the younger [son]. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (held in relative disregard in comparison with My feeling for Jacob). What shall we conclude then? Is there injustice upon God's part? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion (pity) on whom I will have compassion. So then [God's gift] is not a question of human will and human effort, but of God's mercy. [It depends not on one's own willingness nor on his strenuous exertion as in running a race, but on God's having mercy on him.] For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying My power in [dealing with] you, so that My name may be proclaimed the whole world over. So then He has mercy on whomever He wills (chooses) and He hardens (makes stubborn and unyielding the heart of) whomever He wills. You will say to me, Why then does He still find fault and blame us [for sinning]? For who can resist and withstand His will? But who are you, a mere man, to criticize and contradict and answer back to God? Will what is formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use? --Romans 9:10-21

    Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent] --Ephesians 1:4-5

    [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. In Him we also were made [God's] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will, --Ephesians 1:10-11

    For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. --Ephesians 2:10

    There are others; if you need more, let me know.

    You say an omnipotent God can "surely" do this, but it is not "sure" or self-apparent that this is true. We do not know, and we CANNOT know, without the benefit of omniscience ourselves, that ANYTHING in this universe could be different without negatively affecting it.

    What we DO know, logically, is that an omnibenevolent God would want to create the best of all possible universes, that an omniscient God would know how to create the best of all possible universes, and that an omnipotent God would have the power to create the best of all possible universes. Therefore, we ARE logically constrained to accept that IF an omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent God exists, then we live in the best of all possible universes, and any "evil" we see in it is only that amount of evil that is logically necessary to the best of all possible universes.

    You say you see no need for creatures without free will to know the difference between good and evil, but I can see the value in that. If I was God, and I wanted my creations to understand and appreciate My goodness and the goodness in My creation, then I would have to give them a mechanism by which they could come to that understanding--and the only way that is possible is by contrasting goodness with evil. Then they will be able to appreciate heaven when they get there, because the evil and pain and suffering will all be conspicuously absent.

    And yes, pleasurable experiences DO require the concept of painful experiences (or at least experiences that are "not-pleasure") in order to be enjoyed. If you went about your entire life, from birth to death, in a state of orgasmic bliss--you would never know it because you'd have nothing to compare it to. It would just be "normal." There would be no word for pleasure, because it would have no meaning--nothing is "not-pleasure." And the same goes for your other sets of opposites--you may not need to experience blindness yourself to understand what sight is, but you wouldn't understand either concept if eyes were universal, they could never be damaged or removed, and they always worked perfectly. Sight would just be a given. People would think you were an idiot to suggest that such a thing as "not-seeing" even existed. It is only in recognition of our own mortality that we DO appreciate life, even if we don't have to actually die before we can appreciate life. And people often DO say that youth is wasted on the young, because they don't fully appreciate it until they are older. In any case, if there was never any aging, and everyone was born physically equivalent to a healthy 18 year old and everyone died physically equivalent to a healthy 18 year old, then "enjoying one's youth" would not logically be possible, because there would be nothing that is "not-youth."

    I'm beginning to wonder if maybe we should define what "possible" is. You seem to be excluding things as being impossible when you don't understand them or don't think they're likely, but neither of those conditions rules out possibility. Just because you think you know what God "would" do, doesn't mean that it's impossible for Him to do anything other than that. When I say that an omnibenevolent God would want to make the best of all possible universes, that's implied in the definition of "omnibenevolence." An omnibenevolent God is logically constrained to create the best of all possible universes. But it's NOT implied that every creature in creation will continuously experience maximum bliss--so you can't logically conclude that God is constrained to that action--there are other possibilities.
     
  18. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

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    Yeah, I guess I'll just hang here and not create a new thread just yet, and if the Powers That Be eventually decide to move this thread somewhere else, then I can follow it to wherever they move it.

    I would say we are largely talking about the same concepts in different languages; the difference being my "western" paradigm, where the observer is separate from the observed, and your more "eastern" paradigm, where the observer is inseparable from the observed. That's kind of ironic, in that I label myself a "zen" Xian, so one might expect me to share the "eastern" frame of reference. In truth, I do respect the connection between the observer and observed in my mind more than I use it in my explanations, because for the most part, I'm writing for an audience who shares the "western" paradigm. So I would comfort you with the assurance that I DO understand and agree with what you've said, even if I tend to ignore the observer/observed connection in general discourse.

    When I'm talking about the (capitalized) Objective Truth, I'm talking about truth that exists independent of any observer; truth that would exist even if there were no people to form approximate representations of it in their brains. For instance, it would be an Objective Truth that God existed even before He created people to subjectively perceive Him (if in fact He did/does).

    That said, while the experience of God may be subjective, a system of beliefs about God can still be OBJECTIVELY logical, rational, valid and sound, because they are not based upon any experience of God, but on the logical relationships between premises and conclusions. I'm not trying to convince anyone that God exists, or put forward my personal, subjective experiences of God as if they should be treated like objective facts. I am ASSUMING that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent God exists, for the purposes of reasoning about God (much like people assume that two parallel lines never intersect for the purposes of doing Euclidean geometry), and then seeing what I can OBJECTIVELY establish from those axioms.
     
  19. sayak83

    sayak83 Well-Known Member
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    I do not wish to discuss this further here as this is a welcome forum, and you are very welcome. :) Maybe a thread in General Religious Debates section. But it ultimately comes down to this. I am not constrained by the Bible. Hence, the concept of God I have is very different from yours. Thus the question becomes of plausibility between competing ideas of God between say, the Bible and Gita given the picture of the world understood through science and philosophy. Looking forward to many more conversations. :)
     
  20. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Please forgive me....it is a failing of mine to include too much detail. :oops:

    Actually it was just the last part that was sprawling....addressing the other bits is fine.

    Where do you get this idea that the Bible is written for people who are blind? Christ is the illuminator who cures blindness, remember? It is true that early views were a little hazy, but as time went on more light was shed on many things. (Proverbs 4:18) Today, there is no blindness for God's people.....the blindness that afflicts many today, is from the devil. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

    The simplicity of the Bible's message is actually a test of humility. Those who criticized Jesus and his disciples used that very argument. They were not humble and saw Jesus the 'unlearned' apostles as rather 'clownish' in the face of their own recognized credentials.....much like the clergy of Christendom today. Deep thinkers are not one bit put off by the simple message that Christ preached. The Bible can be as deep as your comprehension can fathom.

    " Deep truths like predestination"?

    Care to elaborate? Do you believe that individuals are predestined by God for life or whatever other destination you might believe in?

    Think back to original Israel.....did they all believe the same things and did they not all follow the same mode of worship? Why? Because they were all taught by the same God. He dictated most of their actions on a daily basis in the law he gave them through Moses.

    What about original Christianity? Did they all believe the same things? Of course they did...because they were all taught by Jesus Christ.

    As Paul said..."Not that there is another good news; but there are certain ones who are causing you trouble and wanting to distort the good news about the Christ. 8 However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond the good news we declared to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, I now say again, Whoever is declaring to you as good news something beyond what you accepted, let him be accursed."

    There was no room for anyone to introduce their own ideas. Christians all believed the same things....until the foretold apostasy took place. Then the traditions of men ("weeds") overtook the church, just as it had overtaken Judaism. This is why the elephant is a mystery to most of them. When blind people follow other blind people they all fall into the same hole. (Perhaps the elephant will give them a softer landing?) :p

    Hmmmm...."anti-Semitism"? Read through Matthew 23 and tell me if you think Jesus was anti-Semitic...?

    Telling it like it is is not anti-Semitism...its called telling the truth. Should the Bible refrain from all references to criticism of Israel? :eek: What would be left? :D
     
    #40 Deeje, Mar 6, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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