It has always astounded me how child-like our gods are.
I like the progression of Gods as seen as a child's arguement:
God can smash you with one hand! (My Dad's the strongest!) - Greek/Roman gods God can destroy entire worlds! (My Dad's stronger than yours!) - OT Christian god God is omnipotent! (My Dad's the best times infinite + one!) - NT Christian god
...it just seems so... mundane-ly developed. The progression is made just in order to "be better than the other guy" and not made with any thought in mind to the consequences of such claims. Consequences such as... omnipotent gods just plain don't exist or they are laughably unworthy of being acknowledged.
I wouldn't be supposing so. If you are light and if in you there is no darkness then evil you are incapable of. Moral agents can choose between good and evil.
quote:Best answered with another question: How many innocent lives do you think should be tortuously ruined beyond imagination, just so you can freely choose chocolate ice-cream for dessert?
That's not a very good answer. I don't think it's possible to answer that question. And I think you know that.
quote:Again, how many women would you allow to be raped so that you can have "free will of the highest order?"
That's best answered with a question. How many women would you deny the potential joys that come with freewill by clipping the wings of it?
quote:The point is that the evil that exists in this world simply isn't worth the free-will that provides it.
If you think it is, please, let me know:
In order to think I have to have the freewill you don't think is worth it.
It's a kind of a non-question really. God has chosen to create us. He has chosen to place us in an environment which will provide us with the balanced conditions required in order that each make his own choice re: postion before God. Good and evil are utilised in that set up.
In order to decide whether that was good or not you'd have to blow the dust off the standard of good you measure things by (cue a 1000 debates of old). And since my standard is "what God finds good I find myself warming to.."
quote:It's pretty obvious that the free-will available just doesn't balance with the amount of evil present.
As I say, I don't really think you can quantify that. It's truly impossible to measure. And truly impossible to wash the subjectivity off it even if you managed to tot it up.
It is the way it is, is about all that can be said.
What about all of the suffering that is caused by the conditions of the Universe that do not involve us or our freewill. I would not lay blame at god’s foot for the malfeasance of man but what of the sick child or the victims of nature?
Indeed, are we not all victims of nature with her limited resources, fierce competition and piss poor hygiene? Are these not the roots of ‘evil’ in man?
quote:What about all of the suffering that is caused by the conditions of the Universe that do not involve us or our freewill. I would not lay blame at god’s foot for the malfeasance of man but what of the sick child or the victims of nature?
Like the good in man that counters his evil, nature too consists of a balance: the good in nature that provides for us and gives us much joy, is tempered and balanced by the contamination caused by mans evil.
Combined, the stage is set for our being exposed to a sense of heaven and a sense of hell. The question is set: which will we chose.
quote:Indeed, are we not all victims of nature with her limited resources, fierce competition and piss poor hygiene? Are these not the roots of ‘evil’ in man?
I honestly don't think so. I know myself too well to blame it on something external to me. There are all kinds of sub-players in this game - but the chief villan when it comes to me is pride. My pride.
And when you track back to the root of the trouble in the world it's the same thing the world over.
quote:Faith & Belief often involve a belief in God. Some would argue that the uninitiated only know about God, much like a philosophical construct of the human mind, whereas initiates (those saved and/or born again) actually have a personal relationship with (internal communion, if you will) with the Creator of the universe.
Western Christianity seemed to lean towards a Creation/Fall/Redemption paradigm.
Eastern Christianity placed less significance on a Fall, and had more of a Creation/Awareness/Decision paradigm.
A Western Christian such as yourself may argue that humans are incapable of the ability to even decide proper behavior without a Redeemer. (or the action/decision of redemption.)
Eastern Christians may argue that humans are now aware and have the decision to accept the responsibility of a life dedicated to serving others.
It would seem I fall into neither camp. I believe the creation/fall/redemption paradigm and believe we are possession of awareness sufficient* to make a decision w.r.t. God. I don't see a conflict between redemption offered and our choosing in regard to it.
*The awareness isn't a direct awareness of God. Rather, it is a veiled awareness involving our knowledge of good and evil, our sense of significance, our recoiling from death, our desiring the good even when immersing ourselves in evil, etc.
quote:I have a question for you, Ian. Were God taken out of the equation, what would people even have as far as Belief goes? Whom would we believe in?> Ourselves? Humanity? Would it work?
In what sense is he being taken out of the equation? Actually taken out > would mean there are no people. Taken out (in the sense that atheists take him out) > would mean people believe the kind of things atheists believe.
quote:But 'feature locked' means that further evidence is ignored because the actor has faith that even if the new evidence is persuasive it will be wrong.
To paraphrase your good self "what I believe is true because I know it is". This blinding to new contradictory evidence is the very essence of faith.
No harm. Arrival at any truth necessarily means the train pulling in at the terminus. One might step out of the train and investigate the lay of the land but to suggest that there are no terminus' and that the journey is necessarily perpetual is to deny the existence of truth.
Which is faith position.
You could visualise it as reaching escape velocity and leaving the gravitational pull of earth behind you. Future evidence of the gravitational kind have no relevance. You'd have entered a different orbit where the old evidences don't apply any more. That said, you do know that I permit that I could be a brain in a jar and that all my knowing is but the probing of a mad scientist.