1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

The Riddle of Epicurus

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Jayhawker Soule, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Messages:
    40,751
    Ratings:
    +15,014
    Religion:
    Judaism
    Actually, no. Talking about God leading his people out of Egypt with an outstretched arm is an anthropomorphism.

    When one says that God is {X} what we are really saying is that God characteristically performs actions or creates conditions typically evaluated as {X}. If genocide, or the unnecessary slaughter of innocent children, is legitimately labelled malevolent, it remains malevolent whether done by your hand, my hand, or God's hand, and it remains malevolent whether or not we understand the intent behind it. This is not anthropomorphism but consistency.
     
  2. t3gah

    t3gah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,125
    Ratings:
    +48
    God is on holiday and Jesus is in command for a spell until God destroys all those who are in his way of building the kingdom of the heavens on earth.
     
  3. Mr Spinkles

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    12,682
    Ratings:
    +3,065
    Post #71:
    Post #78:
    For the fourth time: Is God willing to prevent tsunamis? It's a straight yes or no question, NetDoc. A straight yes or no answer would be nice.
     
  4. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Messages:
    16,472
    Ratings:
    +3,192
    Religion:
    Christian Taoist
    Did a tsunami happen? Yes!

    Did God stop it? Nope!

    Was God willing to stop it? Obviously NOT!

    YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO!!! (third time for me to point this out!)

    The same forces that created this earth also made the tsunami! If you accept this wonderous earth, then you have to pay for it. Now check this out... EVERYONE IS GOING TO DIE. It's not a matter of if, but WHEN. Physical death is not evil, but spiritual death IS. When you die is not up to you, so it's best to get ready for that eventuality NOW.

    Now answer my question... are tsunamis evil?
     
  5. Faust

    Faust Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    Messages:
    350
    Ratings:
    +68
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
    (The riddle ends with this line for a reason.)
    As for Jesus on the cross, I see it in different terms.
    Look to the reasons for sacrifice.
    To appease.


    To enlist aid.

    ect...

    If you want strong offspring, sacrifice a ram. Gaining admittance into "Heaven" raises the price considerably. When you "accept the sacrifice of Jesus, you personally sacrifice him to God. Since Jesus is God, the price of admission is the sacrifice of a God. This does not remove evil from the world, it is a transformative proposition.

    Also, it kind of erks me when a theist says an atheist doesn't think that there is anyone or thing better than them (forgive me I'm paraphrasing). I'm an atheist and consider myself a pretty clunky specimen as far as humans go, not to mention the animal kingdom in general. Faust.
     
  6. t3gah

    t3gah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Messages:
    1,125
    Ratings:
    +48
    I remember something similar to the earthquake question and that is hurricanes. I've been to the carribean during hurricane season and people down there all think for some reason that it's God's will. There's a scripture that states that "God is not in the wind". Meaning the wind is the wind and earthquakes are caused by plates moving. God can stop just about anything there is period. IF the question comes around to "if he doesn't he's bad, then to those who do not know God, he's bad. To those who do know God, they understand why God is not acting on natural disasters.

    Those days are over. In the past even the Sun stood still for a battle that lasted all day and night. God had Jesus deliver the old/new message. What's he, God, waiting for now? For the world to become what it's supposed to become according to the bible and that's ripe for the pickings. Those that will be saved by their works and those that will be condemned by their bad deeds.

    Then God will just nuke the world since he said he wouldn't flood the place anymore. Probably will use the pile driver effect like he did during a battle with some pagans against the Hebrews.

    As I said before. God is on holiday. He's seeing who's naughty and who's nice. He's sorting it all out just like the earthly saying goes. Except this isn't an immediate thing. According to Revelation, God is aligning all of the nations against his plan for his kingdom up just like he did with the seven nations against the original Israel. To show the world just who God is. God is saving all who can be saved and the rest he's using like he used Pharaoh for the Exodus of the Jews.

    So the 'riddle' is only for those who don't know the real story and plan for the future.
     
  7. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Messages:
    16,472
    Ratings:
    +3,192
    Religion:
    Christian Taoist
    There is a song that says it SOOOO beautifully. "Sometimes God calms the storm, but sometimes he just calms his child".
     
  8. cardero

    cardero Citizen Mod

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Messages:
    11,101
    Ratings:
    +1,665
    Whose choice is it?
     
  9. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,768
    Ratings:
    +399
    And about the third time for me to point out that if god were all-powerful, he could make it so you could have your cake and eat it too.
    Water is not evil, and earthquakes are not evil. Motive is evil. If the earthquake which caused the tsunami to form was caused by something other than objective natural forces, the he/she/it/they who caused it, performed an evil action.
     
  10. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2004
    Messages:
    8,303
    Ratings:
    +953
    I hate to jump into this good debate, but..... it's my nature.;)

    What I see as the root cause of the non-theist confusion (on this thread and in general)is lack of Biblical understanding. Some here persist in reading the OT and trying to use every word in a literal sense.... looking in every story, every myth for more ammunition to attack God.

    We can not know the will of God.....it's impossible, because, in my opinon, God has no will..... God is not human and is not bound by our human understanding of thought, reason, good or evil........

    God used/uses the OT (and much of the Bible) to reveal himself to us. God used what theologians call "accomodation"...... sometimes the Bible looks as if God stoops down to communicate by "condescension"- that is, he speaks as humans speak, as if he had the same passions and weakness that we do (for example, God says he was "sorry" that he made man in Genesis 6:6)..... Other times he communicates by "elevation"- that is, by endowing human words with divine power (for example through prophets).

    To read the Bible without understanding basic principles like this.... a vengeful God is viewed as just that..... and the allegorical or anagogical senses and meanings are never seen or understood.

    Those out there who refuse to learn a bit of this and continue on a pathetic course to convert theists by twisting information to suit yourself and ignoring any evidence contrary towards your "non-faith".... are no better that the Christian fundamentalists we have here who never learn a bit and preach their arrogance and hate.

    My sincere affection to those atheists, like my pals Mr Spinkles, TVOR, pah, etc, who at least take the time to learn (no, not believe) but at least understand a bit about why Christians think the way we do.... and not ask ridiculous questions over and over.

    Peace,
    Scott
     
  11. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    Ah, OK. No harm done, then :D.

    Yes, that does tend to happen a bit much. It's a Tradition of us to embrace "a great cloud of unknowing" in this respect.
     
  12. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    You are right there. It isn't an anthropomorphism. I'm using the wrong term. It is a metaphor or simile, terms which I have also used.

    Here, also, we differ on a fundamental presupposition: that God is bound by our notions of good and evil. I would reverse that. As I said, God is beyond human classifications. This includes classifications of malevolence.
     
  13. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,768
    Ratings:
    +399
    Scott,

    I can see where you might get that idea ;) . I also understand that god is portrayed very differently in the OT v. the NT. Personally, I tend to look for more modern examples.

    This makes good sense. Are you saying then, that you consider the idea of god not being all-good, ('good' being a human label, obviously, as would be evil), a possibility?
     
  14. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Messages:
    40,751
    Ratings:
    +15,014
    Religion:
    Judaism
    With no Pope to lead us by the hand, we do the best we can.

    Does your contempt extend to the majority of observant Jews who, though familiar in Midrash, view the pericopes in question as more than allegory? Also, is one permitted to view the New Testament in like manner, perhaps reading the virgin birth and the resurrection as allegory, or is such poetic license limited to those "Old Testament" verses where it proves convenient?

    They are certainly good guys.
     
  15. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason Doctor of Thinkology

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    7,678
    Ratings:
    +1,224
    Scott, NetDoc, and other Theists -

    I appreciate the fact that we can respect each other, but in all honesty, this is where we part ways in our search for God.

    The Riddle of Epicurus (as stated at the beginning of this thread) is a concise rendering of the Problem of Evil. From a purely logical standpoint, it is rock solid, and is one of the cornerstones from which most Atheists (or in my case, Agnostics) begin to doubt the existence of God.

    The only way a Theist can deny the unstated conclusion - that the Judeo-Christian version of God (omnipotent, all-loving, omniscient) does not exist - is to deny that the rules of logic and rational thought (that mankind lives by) apply to God. I cannot remember which of our Non-Theist members made the following statement, but it is apropos for this thread - "In the end, my desire to believe could not overcome my mind's ability to reason".

    I would submit that the converse is true for Theists - "In the end, my mind's ability to reason could not overcome my desire to believe."

    With all due respect,
    TVOR
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. No*s

    No*s Captain Obvious

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Messages:
    5,917
    Ratings:
    +471
    TVOR,

    It is perfectly logical...if the God it tests is subject to our definitions of good and evil, or our understandings of other things. If this is not the case, then a core premise of the argument is flawed at that point. So, while logical, it is only as strong as its premises, and when applied to any deity that its premises do not cover, it really can say very little.

    There are, after all, many perfectly logical statements, which are also entirely unworkable because of their premises.
     
  17. Mr Spinkles

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2004
    Messages:
    12,682
    Ratings:
    +3,065
    A direct answer! I nearly fell backward in my seat. ;) Thank you, NetDoc. I assume the reason it is so obvious to you is because you believe God has the power to prevent tsunamis.

    No. They do not have the power to control themselves, and have no way of knowing the incredible suffering they cause.

    My turn again: How might we best characterize a God who is unwilling to prevent suffering (i.e. benevolent, malevolent, loving, impersonal, lazy, etc.)? No*s, for one, characterizes God as an impersonal entity that cannot be held to human standards (much like a snail or an orange).
     
  18. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason Doctor of Thinkology

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Messages:
    7,678
    Ratings:
    +1,224
    I agree with what part of what you say, No*s, but I think that that is the core of this debate. The Non-Theists are holding God's feet to the fire, by applying the only "definitions and understandings" that we have. Theists, on the other hand, are willing to accept an unknown (and unknowable) set of "definitions and understandings", in order to explain the essence of God.

    The logic is undeniable - and the premises are sound. It is the "definitions and understandings" that you reject, and that we hold to be "not open for debate".

    Thanks,
    TVOR
     
  19. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Messages:
    16,472
    Ratings:
    +3,192
    Religion:
    Christian Taoist

    That's funny, because dicto simpliciter was what came to my mind. :D

    The real issue is how "evil" is perceived and defined. We went from discussing evil to tsunamis being evil or not.

    I fully believe that God has created and defined all of the laws and forces of nature. He has set these in motion to create this wonder called earth and to ultimately (so far) create us.

    If you ever saw "Bruce Almighty" you might get an inkling for the causality I am referring to. In it, ol' Brucey decided to woo his SO and so lassos the moon and pulls it in close on a whim. The resulting tsunamis (how apropos) showed that messing with the order of things could have dire consequences. In fact the entire film showed how changing ANYTHING on a whim (even to postponing the deaths of a 150,000 people) could have unforeseen consequences.

    But tsunamis aren't evil and evil was the original question.


    To which I pointed out that both Love and Hate can only be expressed by us having free will. For God to stop one would be to stop both. Instead of being humans we would be reduced to mere lap dogs. No, you can't have your cake and eat it too.


    So, I find the original premise as completely flawed and intellectually insincere. It's a nice diversion from reality, but nothing more than that. Even being the simple man that I am, I could never base my outlook on such an overly simplistic "riddle".


    But of course, I expect my words to be twisted and even some added in an attempt to discredit me rather than to face these issues head on. Why try to understand when it's far more convenient to mock?
     
  20. Master Vigil

    Master Vigil Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,746
    Ratings:
    +607
    I know I shouldn't jump in here, but NetDoc, if god is omnipotent and omniscient, there is nothing he cannot do, and if there is, he is not omnipotent and therefore not god. God could very well change the entire order of things so to postpone the deaths of 150,000 people without messing everything up and having dire consequences. You are limiting your god when you presume he couldn't do that. Now, of course, perhaps he could, but it is against gods nature. Well, than god is not benevolent than is he. Because he would choose to let them die. I am not in any way trying to understand god, I am only arguing against what people think about god. A omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and benevolent god is completely impossible.
     
    • Like Like x 1
Loading...