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Author Topic:   What would you have God do?
Primordial Egg
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 104 (98056)
04-06-2004 8:42 AM


Here's a question which I read about in recently in The Paradox of God by Clifford Pickover. Its designed to stimulate discussion as to what constitutes acceptable proof (by 'proof' here, I mean evidence that wil convince you) for a deity, and whether there could ever be such a thing.

It was, I think, originally aimed at atheists, but I've managed to think up an equally demanding (though slightly contrived) question for theists alike.

For non-theists

You're walking along some flat grassy plains somewhere, no-one around you for miles, when you hear a deep, booming, voice coming from the sky calling your name.

"Who's there?" you say.
"I am God" says the voice.

Now, naturally being atheist, or agnostic, you haven't readily subscribed to the notion of God previously and you're frankly sceptical. Although there is nobody around for miles, it could simply be a prank you don't understand, or alien contact or a whole slew of outlandish, yet plausible, other possibilities.

"I don't believe you" you say defiantly.
"I am God. Honest. I can do anything." says the voice.
"What would you have me do to prove it to you?"

What would you have the voice do to convince you?

For theists

You're walking along some flat grassy plains somewhere, no-one around you for miles, when you hear a deep, booming, voice coming from the sky calling your name.

"Who's there?" you say.
"I am God. That whom you refer to in your prayers"*. says the voice.

Now naturally being theist, you do not automatically discount the fact that this might be God speaking to you (of course it might also be demons, or djinn, or whatever). It might even be aliens. Or just a prank where you can't see how this is done.

"That which you worship is wrong." says the voice.

This convinces you that this is not God speaking.

"You're not God" you say.
"I am God. Honest. I can do anything." says the voice.
"What would you have me do to prove it to you?"

What would you have the voice do to convince you?

PE

* assuming here that we're talking about a theist who prays to God. If not, try the non-theist's question.

[This message has been edited by Primordial Egg, 04-06-2004]


"Probably the toughest time in anyone's life is when you have to murder a loved one because they're the devil." - Emo Philips
Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by mike the wiz, posted 04-06-2004 7:53 PM Primordial Egg has responded
 Message 3 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2004 7:58 PM Primordial Egg has not yet responded
 Message 11 by SRO2, posted 04-07-2004 5:59 AM Primordial Egg has responded
 Message 19 by Coragyps, posted 04-07-2004 10:48 AM Primordial Egg has not yet responded
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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4656
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 2 of 104 (98201)
04-06-2004 7:53 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Primordial Egg
04-06-2004 8:42 AM


What would you have the voice do to convince you?

I would ask, "what is my name?"


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Primordial Egg, posted 04-06-2004 8:42 AM Primordial Egg has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Primordial Egg, posted 04-07-2004 4:59 AM mike the wiz has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 104 (98203)
04-06-2004 7:58 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Primordial Egg
04-06-2004 8:42 AM


What would you have the voice do to convince you?

If it's God, won't he know already?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Primordial Egg, posted 04-06-2004 8:42 AM Primordial Egg has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by mark24, posted 04-06-2004 8:33 PM crashfrog has not yet responded
 Message 5 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2004 8:36 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
mark24
Member (Idle past 3305 days)
Posts: 3857
From: UK
Joined: 12-01-2001


Message 4 of 104 (98220)
04-06-2004 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by crashfrog
04-06-2004 7:58 PM


And if it's a prank the perpetrators would potentially know it as well. What about, what are my PIN nos on my bank/credit cards, my password on XXX internet account (like EvC), sort of thing?

Or more pragmatically, "what are next weeks lottery numbers". At least that way you can assign a probability to the existence of God, given you know the odds of the voice getting it right by chance, assuming it gets it right, of course. And at that stage, who cares anyway?

Mark


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2004 7:58 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 104 (98224)
04-06-2004 8:36 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by crashfrog
04-06-2004 7:58 PM


Come to think of it, why wouldn't God just make me convinced? That would be evidence that it's God - the fact that I wouldn't even consider that it wasn't God.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2004 7:58 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

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Primordial Egg
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 104 (98348)
04-07-2004 4:59 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by mike the wiz
04-06-2004 7:53 PM


I would ask, "what is my name?"

Mike, the voice has already called you by name.

Maybe I didn't set out the question clearly enough, or you misunderstood, but the way your answer currently stands, it appears that if the voice told you your name, you would abandon belief in Christianity (remember, you could have this voice move mountains for you, or do absolutely anything).

I can't believe this was your intention.

[If your post was sarcasm, I must warn you that I had a humour bypass some years ago. I wouldn't know funny if it kicked me in the nads.]

PE


"Probably the toughest time in anyone's life is when you have to murder a loved one because they're the devil." - Emo Philips
This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by mike the wiz, posted 04-06-2004 7:53 PM mike the wiz has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by mike the wiz, posted 04-07-2004 10:37 AM Primordial Egg has responded

  
Primordial Egg
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 104 (98349)
04-07-2004 5:04 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by mark24
04-06-2004 8:33 PM


Next week's lottery numbers are quite good, but if the voice got them right (even repeatedly over successive trials) then would that convince you that the voice was God? I'd still find it difficult myself.

Personally, I'd think that the voice had some way of predicting lottery numbers - it didn't mean that it created the Universe. The technology of any sufficiently advanced intelligence is indistinguishable from magic.

Having said that, if it could predict lottery numbers, I'd do whatever it asked me to.

PE


"Probably the toughest time in anyone's life is when you have to murder a loved one because they're the devil." - Emo Philips
This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by mark24, posted 04-06-2004 8:33 PM mark24 has not yet responded

  
Primordial Egg
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 104 (98350)
04-07-2004 5:09 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by crashfrog
04-06-2004 8:36 PM


Come to think of it, why wouldn't God just make me convinced? That would be evidence that it's God - the fact that I wouldn't even consider that it wasn't God.

That's exactly the answer I had! I'd ask the voice to "make me believe in you, then". It has a certain elegance to it.

What if the God were Willowtree's God though, who was omnimax but for the fact that He couldn't read your mind when it came to a trust decision about Him nor could He make you believe? (see this thread). In this case, you have to get God to demonstrate something to you.

This obviously reflects my personal biases, but I can't think of anything that could convince me that this voice was in fact God (and not some super advanced aliens). I generally find the idea of extra-terrestrials to be significantly more plausible than the idea of God.

PE

edited to add link + corect speling

[This message has been edited by Primordial Egg, 04-07-2004]


"Probably the toughest time in anyone's life is when you have to murder a loved one because they're the devil." - Emo Philips
This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by crashfrog, posted 04-06-2004 8:36 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by crashfrog, posted 04-07-2004 5:17 AM Primordial Egg has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 104 (98353)
04-07-2004 5:17 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Primordial Egg
04-07-2004 5:09 AM


What if the God were Willowtree's God though, who was omnimax but for the fact that He couldn't read your mind when it came to a trust decision about Him nor could He make you believe? (see this thread). In this case, you have to get God to demonstrate something to you.

In that case, I'd say something like "If you're God, don't you have something better to do than fuck around trying to convince me? If you're the God of Love and Goodness why don't you act like it? Serious shit is going down and quite frankly, you don't have time for these burning bush games."

I'm not liable to be impressed by little token gestures. If it's really God lets see him get to doing the Lord's work. You know what I mean? I'll believe that it's God when I see results.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Primordial Egg, posted 04-07-2004 5:09 AM Primordial Egg has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Primordial Egg, posted 04-07-2004 5:24 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
Primordial Egg
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 104 (98357)
04-07-2004 5:24 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by crashfrog
04-07-2004 5:17 AM


I can see that God missed a trick when He was choosing His apostles, Crash.

PE


"Probably the toughest time in anyone's life is when you have to murder a loved one because they're the devil." - Emo Philips
This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by crashfrog, posted 04-07-2004 5:17 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
SRO2 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 11 of 104 (98361)
04-07-2004 5:59 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Primordial Egg
04-06-2004 8:42 AM


Atheist response
Appear as myself then.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Primordial Egg, posted 04-06-2004 8:42 AM Primordial Egg has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Primordial Egg, posted 04-07-2004 6:11 AM SRO2 has responded

  
Primordial Egg
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 104 (98365)
04-07-2004 6:11 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by SRO2
04-07-2004 5:59 AM


Re: Atheist response
That would convince you that this voice was God? Is this a reasonable conclusion to draw, in your opinion?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Technology and the Future"

PE


"Probably the toughest time in anyone's life is when you have to murder a loved one because they're the devil." - Emo Philips
This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by SRO2, posted 04-07-2004 5:59 AM SRO2 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by SRO2, posted 04-07-2004 6:24 AM Primordial Egg has not yet responded

  
SRO2 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 13 of 104 (98368)
04-07-2004 6:24 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Primordial Egg
04-07-2004 6:11 AM


Re: Atheist response
Yes. Considering it would be absolute proof that it is God...if I were God, I'd be certain of it.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Primordial Egg, posted 04-07-2004 6:11 AM Primordial Egg has not yet responded

  
RingoKid
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 104 (98405)
04-07-2004 10:20 AM


I'd say...

"then make me God also"

to which he'd reply "that'll take time, be patient"

...that's the thing isn't it ??? We all want proof NOW, when the truth is we aren't sufficiently evolved to handle the truth but once we are, we will be God for to know the mind of God is to be God

I'd say we are at the stage of just being able to slightly comprehend the will of God which is nature in all it's wonder and beauty...

...don't you love it ???


Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by SRO2, posted 04-07-2004 10:22 AM RingoKid has not yet responded
 Message 16 by Primordial Egg, posted 04-07-2004 10:31 AM RingoKid has responded

  
SRO2 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 15 of 104 (98406)
04-07-2004 10:22 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by RingoKid
04-07-2004 10:20 AM


I thought...
I thought could do anything. The dude that created the universe can't make me him?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by RingoKid, posted 04-07-2004 10:20 AM RingoKid has not yet responded

  
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