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Author Topic:   How do we know God is "Good"?
Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 305 (153949)
10-28-2004 11:23 PM


Christians claim God is good, principally because the Bible says so.
Non-Christians claim that the Christian God is far from good, as evidenced by the nature of the evil in the world that he created and allows free rein, and also evdenced by the Bible, which depicts a petty, jealous, vidictive, perverse and dispicable entity.
The Christian counter is that niether the world, nor the Bible are evidence contrary to his "goodness" because we do not know the context or the greater plan. God is somehow working on a level beyond our capabilites of analysis.
In other words, despite that fact that an objective appraisal of the Christian God as derived from the world around us, and the Bible depicts an un-good God, this is negated because we can't see the bigger picture.
What basis do Christians then have to claim that he is "Good"? They use the same sources: the Bible and in some cases testomony from aspects of the world. Can it not be countered that they also have no idea of the bigger picture and have no capability to analyse the nature of their God?
What conviction do Christians have for believing that God is "good", and not simply just taking the piss at all of our expense?
(Suggested forum: faith and belief?)
This message has been edited by Gilgamesh, 10-28-2004 10:25 PM

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by coffee_addict, posted 10-28-2004 11:42 PM Gilgamesh has replied
 Message 4 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-28-2004 11:49 PM Gilgamesh has not replied
 Message 5 by jar, posted 10-28-2004 11:50 PM Gilgamesh has replied
 Message 16 by arachnophilia, posted 10-29-2004 2:57 AM Gilgamesh has replied
 Message 21 by mike the wiz, posted 10-30-2004 7:33 PM Gilgamesh has replied
 Message 26 by grace2u, posted 10-31-2004 8:57 PM Gilgamesh has replied
 Message 278 by Ben!, posted 11-18-2004 3:53 AM Gilgamesh has not replied

AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 305 (153957)
10-28-2004 11:37 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

coffee_addict
Member (Idle past 528 days)
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 3 of 305 (153959)
10-28-2004 11:42 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Gilgamesh
10-28-2004 11:23 PM


So far, I have seen many many posts in many many words saying the same thing as the following.
How do you know god is all good?
The bible says so.
How do you know the bible right?
God says so.
Where?
God says so in the bible.

He's not dead. He's electroencephalographically challenged.
The longest word in the English language is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-28-2004 11:23 PM Gilgamesh has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-28-2004 11:59 PM coffee_addict has replied

Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 305 (153962)
10-28-2004 11:49 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Gilgamesh
10-28-2004 11:23 PM


Keeping my own ball rolling.... again
Just to re-iterate:
If we can't know or conclude that God IS NOT good, then for the same reasons we can't know or conclude that God IS good.
You can't just say that God is good because one part of the Bible is quite categorical about that point, when you have other parts of the Bible painting a very different picture.
That reminds me of my father when he prefixes incredibly racist statements with "I'm not racist, but...."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-28-2004 11:23 PM Gilgamesh has not replied

jar
Member (Idle past 445 days)
Posts: 34026
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 5 of 305 (153963)
10-28-2004 11:50 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Gilgamesh
10-28-2004 11:23 PM


Not all of us base things solely on the Bible.
There is yet another record that many of us believe GOD left for us. It's the universe around us. It is amazing, awesome, wonderous. Certainly something good in all.
The issue with the Bible is that it was written by men, for men of their period, with all of the limitations, prejudices, knowledge base and bias of their period. It was then redacted, time after time, by equally common humans driven by belief, by politics, by hubris. It is an anthology of anthologies, but without the seperations normally found that deliniate the authors and subject.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-28-2004 11:23 PM Gilgamesh has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 12:08 AM jar has replied
 Message 52 by riVeRraT, posted 11-05-2004 10:42 AM jar has not replied

Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 305 (153969)
10-28-2004 11:59 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by coffee_addict
10-28-2004 11:42 PM


Hello Lam,
I know the point you are making, I have seen you post it before and I agree with it. More sophisticated Christians will attempt to break out of that circular reasoning and attempt to evidence the Bible's validity with prophecy, inerrancy, possibly Bible Numerics/Code, and personal experience of Bible claims. Those are other issues.
My real issue in this thread is to analyse that new Christian coverall for all situations where they cannot justify or explain their God's actions or nature. Normally when their God seems despicable in the Bible or in his inaction in the real world, they appeal to the "we cannot know God's way" cop out. If that's the case, all good and well, then we cannot know anything about God, positive or negative.
The evidence indicates that the Christian God is not only logically incomprehensible (another topic) but also not "good" at all. They can't counter that evidence without countering the basis upon which they claim to know God is "good".
Either we can know about God or we can't. They can't have it both ways.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by coffee_addict, posted 10-28-2004 11:42 PM coffee_addict has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by coffee_addict, posted 10-29-2004 12:26 AM Gilgamesh has replied

Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 305 (153973)
10-29-2004 12:08 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by jar
10-28-2004 11:50 PM


Re: Not all of us base things solely on the Bible.
Hello Jar,
I don't like debating you! Nevertheless, you are a Christians that I could learn from.
Jar wrote:

There is yet another record that many of us believe GOD left for us. It's the universe around us. It is amazing, awesome, wonderous. Certainly something good in all.
Hmmm. Yea there is some good: mainly what us humans call pleasure and the happiness we derive from it. But there is just as much displeasure. Both of these things are of course subjective human assesments of a cold, random and indifferent universe and the physical laws that govern it.
I don't really see much sign of God or good in it. Where do you see God's good in the universe?
The bible aside, is the universe the only evidence of God's goodness? Can we even know about God's goodness or potential lack of?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by jar, posted 10-28-2004 11:50 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 10-29-2004 12:34 AM Gilgamesh has replied

coffee_addict
Member (Idle past 528 days)
Posts: 3645
From: Indianapolis, IN
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 8 of 305 (153983)
10-29-2004 12:26 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Gilgamesh
10-28-2004 11:59 PM


That's part of my point. My other point is that if you dip a lemon into chocolate pudding, put sugar on it, and put some M&M on it you will still have a sour lemon in the inside.
I've seen WT write 200 posts that is the equivilent of putting 200 M&M onto the lemon. I have seen the rat dip the lemon into a big puddle of chocolate pudding. After several hundred M&M and pounds of sugar later, people generally forget that there's still a sour lemon there.
Actually, I'm just amazed at how much sugar coating people like the rat and buz can put on the circular reasoning that only took me 4 sentences to say.
I have no doubt that we will very soon see several hundred pounds of sugar and M&M in this thread. Be warned!

He's not dead. He's electroencephalographically challenged.
The longest word in the English language is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-28-2004 11:59 PM Gilgamesh has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 12:41 AM coffee_addict has not replied
 Message 35 by Phat, posted 11-01-2004 11:09 AM coffee_addict has replied
 Message 53 by riVeRraT, posted 11-05-2004 10:48 AM coffee_addict has not replied

jar
Member (Idle past 445 days)
Posts: 34026
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 9 of 305 (153985)
10-29-2004 12:34 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Gilgamesh
10-29-2004 12:08 AM


Re: Not all of us base things solely on the Bible.
I don't like debating you!
You really that emphatic about that? I certainly don't mean to make anyone feel that way.
I don't really see much sign of God or good in it. Where do you see God's good in the universe?
Well,personally because I ended up in it and so far, have still remained vertical.
But let me outline the way I see it.
There have been several threads lately about good and evil, gain and suffering, blessings and curses. I think that most have missed the point. IMHO you can't have one without the other. If there is to be good, there has to be bad. If there is to be pleasure, there must be suffering. If there will be blessings, there will be curses.
But IMHO GOD has also given us, and TTBOMK only us, the ability to actually do something to shift the balance towards one end or the other.
If we look at the world, as you describe it "a cold, random and indifferent universe and the physical laws that govern it" we are different than any of the other critters out there. When the rains fail in the Serengetti, the herbivores die. For a while the carnivores have an easy time, but soon they too die. That is the cold, random and indifferent universe.
But GOD has given us the ability to both see what is happening and to actually have the capability to do something about it. We can feed the starving, heal the sick, comfort those suffering.
The question is whether or not we do what are capable of doing.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 12:08 AM Gilgamesh has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 12:59 AM jar has replied
 Message 54 by riVeRraT, posted 11-05-2004 10:49 AM jar has not replied

Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 305 (153991)
10-29-2004 12:41 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by coffee_addict
10-29-2004 12:26 AM


Lam wrote:
That's part of my point. My other point is that if you dip a lemon into chocolate pudding, put sugar on it, and put some M&M on it you will still have a sour lemon in the inside.
I've seen WT write 200 posts that is the equivilent of putting 200 M&M onto the lemon. I have seen the rat dip the lemon into a big puddle of chocolate pudding. After several hundred M&M and pounds of sugar later, people generally forget that there's still a sour lemon there.
Actually, I'm just amazed at how much sugar coating people like the rat and buz can put on the circular reasoning that only took me 4 sentences to say.
Brilliant.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by coffee_addict, posted 10-29-2004 12:26 AM coffee_addict has not replied

Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 305 (153997)
10-29-2004 12:59 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
10-29-2004 12:34 AM


Re: Not all of us base things solely on the Bible.
Jar wrote:
You really that emphatic about that? I certainly don't mean to make anyone feel that way.
Well you're not about spreading ignorance, superstition and religious intolerance. You greatly contribute to humanity and I don't like to impress my atheistic beliefs on someone who holds alternate healthy, productive and positive beliefs. My issues lie with those theists who seek to drag humanity back to the dark ages.
Hope I expressed that clearly.
Jar wrote:
If we look at the world, as you describe it "a cold, random and indifferent universe and the physical laws that govern it" we are different than any of the other critters out there. When the rains fail in the Serengetti, the herbivores die. For a while the carnivores have an easy time, but soon they too die. That is the cold, random and indifferent universe.
But GOD has given us the ability to both see what is happening and to actually have the capability to do something about it. We can feed the starving, heal the sick, comfort those suffering.
What is so significant about our elevated intellect? Why would any advanced deity or lifeform looking down on our universe and planet see anything particularly fascinating about the humans species which are merely just a product of the "a cold, random and indifferent universe and the physical laws that govern it".
Yea, we can alter the planet and life on it using our intellect, but then so can other non-intellegent causes like virus's, volcanos and asteroids.
Why is there more example of God's "goodness" (or God's "anything" for that matter) in one present day evolutionary peak as opposed to another (insert name of any other dominant species here)?
Everything you identify in the universe is quite capable of just being so, without a God or his "goodness".

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by jar, posted 10-29-2004 12:34 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by jar, posted 10-29-2004 1:16 AM Gilgamesh has replied

jar
Member (Idle past 445 days)
Posts: 34026
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 12 of 305 (154002)
10-29-2004 1:16 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Gilgamesh
10-29-2004 12:59 AM


Re: Not all of us base things solely on the Bible.
What is so significant about our elevated intellect? Why would any advanced deity or lifeform looking down on our universe and planet see anything particularly fascinating about the humans species which are merely just a product of the "a cold, random and indifferent universe and the physical laws that govern it".
I don't believe that I have said at anytime that there is anything significant about our intellect or that GOD particularly favors humans or that we hold some special place in his being.
What I did say is that we we are the sole creature capable of making a change for something other than simple random chance and for the benefit of others than ourselves.
You mentioned virus's, volcanos and asteroids. There is also drought, famine, El Nino, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and a long list of other such change generators. But they are significantly different than the acts of man.
While we certainly also generate unintended changes, we also can make directed changes, selective changes. There are other critters that make directed changes, ants that grow gardens, termites that build airconditioned homes, beavers that damn streams and flood lands, but they are limited in both scope and extent.
We do have the capability of making things better. IMHO that is both a charge, and a gift, from GOD.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 12:59 AM Gilgamesh has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 1:44 AM jar has replied

Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 305 (154006)
10-29-2004 1:44 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by jar
10-29-2004 1:16 AM


Re: Not all of us base things solely on the Bible.
Jar wrote:
I don't believe that I have said at anytime that there is anything significant about our intellect or that GOD particularly favors humans or that we hold some special place in his being.
What I did say is that we we are the sole creature capable of making a change for something other than simple random chance and for the benefit of others than ourselves.
But that's not true. You are looking at things from the human perspective. Take a very big step up and try to explain why an independent universe observer would see any evidence to suggest that human's were not acting within random chance and not unique in any way other than intellect.
You mentioned virus's, volcanos and asteroids. There is also drought, famine, El Nino, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and a long list of other such change generators. But they are significantly different than the acts of man.
I made a reference to life also: virus's. Think about other earth shattering chnages that have been brought about by life other than man: mosquitos, for instance often working in cooperation with virus's have killed more life than humans have over the last thousand years. But irregardless, how does such an event differ from dramatic earth base changes caused by non-life?
Life is still subject to random chance, be it human or mosquito.
Jar wrote
While we certainly also generate unintended changes, we also can make directed changes, selective changes. There are other critters that make directed changes, ants that grow gardens, termites that build airconditioned homes, beavers that damn streams and flood lands, but they are limited in both scope and extent.
But our scope and extent is only vast because we are intelligent, so we are talking about intellect afterall.
Once again how does that fact that man (life), which is subject to and a product of "a cold, random and indifferent universe and the physical laws that govern it" just like volcanos and asteroids, which also greatly affect earth bound changes, evidence a good God?
Jar wrote:
We do have the capability of making things better. IMHO that is both a charge, and a gift, from GOD.
This is the essence of it. Agreeance with that point is our common ground, between theist and atheist.
We can and we should try to make things better, but IMO we don't need religion or stupid arguments about Gods to do it.
Edited to add: Oops, I just realised that virus aren't consdered life, are they, because they can't reproduce on their own?
This message has been edited by Gilgamesh, 10-29-2004 01:00 AM

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by jar, posted 10-29-2004 1:16 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by jar, posted 10-29-2004 2:06 AM Gilgamesh has replied

jar
Member (Idle past 445 days)
Posts: 34026
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 14 of 305 (154008)
10-29-2004 2:06 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Gilgamesh
10-29-2004 1:44 AM


The difference between Man's actions and those random ones.
Life is still subject to random chance, be it human or mosquito.
I'm not saying that it isn't.
But our scope and extent is only vast because we are intelligent, so we are talking about intellect afterall.
It goes beyond scope and extent, and includes intent as well.
The mosquito does not set out to give folk malaria. That is not its intent. All it wants to do is eat and breed, in that order.
Humans can make changes by intent. They can decide to intervene and feed the starving that result from those random chance events. No other critter does that.
Once again how does that fact that man (life), which is subject to and a product of "a cold, random and indifferent universe and the physical laws that govern it" just like volcanos and asteroids, which also greatly affect earth bound changes, evidence a good God?
IMHO, it is in the area of intent. We do things, both good and bad, based on intent. That is beyond random chance. IMHO, that capability is one of the attributes of the good GOD.
But as I have also said in other threads, I see the good GOD in beauty, in the joy we get from song, in love, in flavor, in the subtle emotions we get from smell, in the symmetry and beauty of the most basic forces and in the universe itself.
We can and we should try to make things better, but IMO we don't need religion or stupid arguments about Gods to do it.
Okay, I have never said that you must or even should believe in GOD. That is something between the individual and GOD himself. You, and many others deny GOD, but if you agree that "We do have the capability of making things better" and if you actually work towards making that a reality, I believe that it is the denied GOD working through you.
But that is my personal belief. I do not ask or expect you to agree with me.
As I have said in other threads, IMHO what GOD wants is for us to live up to two rather simple commandments, Love GOD and the two parter, love others as you love yourself. If you live just the second of the two commandments, if you love yourself and if you love others equally, you would be loving GOD. You will be doing good.
If everyone, aethist and theist alike simply lived up to the second of the Two Great Commandments, and I hope we are moving towards that, then this will one day be a great world.

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 1:44 AM Gilgamesh has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Gilgamesh, posted 10-29-2004 2:45 AM jar has replied
 Message 55 by riVeRraT, posted 11-05-2004 11:10 AM jar has replied

Gilgamesh
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 305 (154018)
10-29-2004 2:45 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by jar
10-29-2004 2:06 AM


Re: The difference between Man's actions and those random ones.
It goes beyond scope and extent, and includes intent as well.
The mosquito does not set out to give folk malaria. That is not its intent. All it wants to do is eat and breed, in that order.
Humans can make changes by intent. They can decide to intervene and feed the starving that result from those random chance events. No other critter does that.
But is not intent merely a higher cognitive function resulting from intellect?
But as I have also said in other threads, I see the good GOD in beauty, in the joy we get from song, in love, in flavor, in the subtle emotions we get from smell, in the symmetry and beauty of the most basic forces and in the universe itself
Ok.
If everyone, aethist and theist alike simply lived up to the second of the Two Great Commandments, and I hope we are moving towards that, then this will one day be a great world.
Amen. I don't feel like I am living up to that commandment when I debate with you Jar.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by jar, posted 10-29-2004 2:06 AM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by jar, posted 10-29-2004 5:48 AM Gilgamesh has replied

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