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View Poll Results: Why do you accept the proposition that a deity exists?
I know God through reason, science, etc. 2 6.67%
I accept God through belief or personal revelation 7 23.33%
Other 10 33.33%
I am an atheist but want to vote in this poll because polls are dope 11 36.67%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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  #13  
Old May 16th, 2018, 11:14 AM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

@Dysole Thanks! I also value and appreciate what you have to say whether or not I find
myself in agreement.

As for you, JS... It's good to hear you are well. Things are proceeding happily on my end. My oldest is officially an adult now and graduating high school in a couple of weeks. That is... weird... but good, if that makes any sense.

I think I'm going to abandon trying to quote that entire thing in my response. Let's see if I can address everything:

I won't quibble about omnipresence. I think it's important to your argument, but it doesn't have an effect on my response since I assume it anyway.

And now time for a short comedy break:
Forced belief and choice of belief are irreconcilable. If choice of belief is a necessary component of the desired end result, then belief can not be compelled as part of the process. The ability to compel belief is irrelevant at that point.

I would say that God has provided ample evidence of His existence in the observable world. It is not at all difficult to believe in some sort of higher power. As @leftonforya noted, most people do. So if the question is whether or not God has provided enough evidence to allow a reasonable person to believe in Him, the answer, based on general belief in a higher power, would seem to be yes. At that point, we're simply trying to determine if that higher power which has left sufficient evidence for belief to exist is the God of the Bible.

The claim that we can understand God is interesting. Clearly I would agree we can understand Him in part, but not in full. If that is an argument from ignorance, then all science is an argument from ignorance since we do not fully understand science. If we cannot fully understand science, how could we possibly fully understand the God who created it?

And as with science, there are things that I think we have a better handle on as it relates to God and things that are pretty difficult to even approach. His all-loving nature is something I think we have trouble with. Mostly, I think this is because of perspective. I would say we tend to think of love in terms of feeling loved when someone behaves towards us in a way that makes us feel good. I would imagine that God works toward the greatest ultimate good as defined by Him in a way that is not completely knowable to us. At the same time, I do believe He works very personally with those who have a relationship with Him to provide comfort, hope, and all the other "feel goods" we tend to associate with being loved.

I think that should adequately cover everything up to...

The Roman Catholic church. So here's the thing, I genuinely believe Roman Catholics can be Christians. I also think there's a lot of Roman Catholicism that isn't particularly Biblical. The traditions and add-ons of the Roman Catholic church are not something I would care to defend as important to Christianity, and in many cases are probably detrimental to the pursuit of a relationship with God.

I wouldn't really bring the point up for discussion except that I think the trip you are going on seems likely to be fruitless to me because I believe the Roman Catholic church is a bit off track when it comes to the miracle sites, holy relics, saints, popes, and other worldly touchstones that don't have a strong Biblical basis. So I don't really want to talk Roman Catholicism, except to say I won't defend it whereas I will defend Christianity.

And I will add you to my list of formerly religious friends who have found something about the God of the Bible that they don't like since you mention it. Tell me, if He does exist, do you want a relationship with Him as He is revealed to be in the Bible?

~Aldin, askingly

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or his desserts are small
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to gain or lose it all
~James Graham
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  #14  
Old May 16th, 2018, 12:24 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

If God is all-loving, why did they only appear in a small geographic location on Earth, leaving the vast majority of humans without the knowledge of their love and without a path to salvation?

That feels like an extremely impractical approach for a being that was able to create everything in a week. A being that requires worship to be saved but chooses only to let a chosen few know they exist?
How is that all-loving?
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  #15  
Old May 16th, 2018, 02:38 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tornado View Post
If God is all-loving, why did they only appear in a small geographic location on Earth, leaving the vast majority of humans without the knowledge of their love and without a path to salvation?

That feels like an extremely impractical approach for a being that was able to create everything in a week. A being that requires worship to be saved but chooses only to let a chosen few know they exist?
How is that all-loving?
Wanna hear the complicated version of "I don't know"?

The single geographic location was unavoidable. Jesus was only ever going to be one man who would be born in one place, live one life, and sacrifice it for everyone, everywhere, throughout time. Romans 5: 12-19 (NIV) says:

Quote:
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinnedó

13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyoneís account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did Godís grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one manís sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive Godís abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
In summary, Adam sinned and Jesus atoned with both the sin and the atonement having universal application. So the geography is simply a function of Jesus being one man. The application of the work is universal.

If we know that people in the Old Testament were heaven-bound prior to the time of Jesus and if it is only the atonement of Jesus which allows their salvation, then there is a way for them to have had Jesus righteousness credited to them before He was even born. I know salvation through Jesus is necessary for anyone to have a relationship with God. I have to confess to not always knowing how that works or what it looks like.

Many years before Christ, Job says "I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth." Job had no way of knowing Jesus, but I believe that he accepted him as savior anyway... like I said, the complicated version of "I don't know".

~Aldin, speculatively

He either fears his fate too much
or his desserts are small
That dares not put it to the touch
to gain or lose it all
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  #16  
Old May 16th, 2018, 03:00 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

I appreciate you trying. Thank you.

You do not find it odd that God was able to create the entire universe but was only able to make his word be known through one man in one location after centuries of mankind having no word to follow?

Why was Adam not given the Bible right from the get go and then everyone would have known the word of God right from the start?
That seems a lot easier than waiting centuries for the tribes of man to spread across the land and then try to get the word out through a single mouth.
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  #17  
Old May 16th, 2018, 04:11 PM
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For The Hell of It

Well, first I should establish this. Most of our modern conceptions of hell (especially in pop culture) arise from Dante and other Renaissance artists and writers. The old testament references Sheol which has a whole host of connotations completely different from hell and functions closer to the Greek idea of Hades.

Bell brings up some interesting points in the book Love Winds which include briefly things like "Does God get what God wants?", "Is an eternity of torment equitable judgment for a finite period of sin?", "Heaven's Gates are listed as open in Revelation. Why is that?" He comes very close to universalism without quite reaching it and I find some of his points very good. (Admittedly due to the aforementioned stuff regarding redemption I think emotionally I want some form of universalism to be true)

Benjamin Corey has also written some very enlightening things regarding our understanding of hell although his theology is such that souls are simply given what they want when they say they want nothing to do with God and are simply eliminated.

There's others I could probably point you to that can explain why they think that way and what they can point to for support.

I haven't fully made up my mind which theology makes the most sense to me from all my understandings and none of them make me completely comfortable. I also don't know which one fits best with the God I know but I do know that the concept of "believe in Jesus to avoid becoming a mcnugget" bothers me a lot and doesn't seem to be in character with the God I know (although admittedly this could be a case of Christians doing a poor job of showing God's character and that's what I am put off by rather than what is actually true). I don't think the concept of eternal conscious torment is one I find to be one I can stomach because it seems to me like God would've wanted to do something better than that and They should be able to.

~Dysole, very rambly


This sentence has exactly seven words.
This sentence doesn't have exactly seven words.

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  #18  
Old May 16th, 2018, 04:15 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

@Tornado Innocence. Man was created completely innocent and he walked with God. Adam knew the word of God, because they spoke with one another. Even after Adam sinned, it is clear that God continued to interact and everyone had the chance to know God because their father or father's father, etc. had known Him. The rejection of God was not for lack of knowledge. And again, after the flood, once again the whole world knew God's provision in the life of their father or their father's father, etc. (I've read some interesting Creationist speculation that the Greek and Roman pantheon ties to Noah and his descendants). And again, the rejection of God was not for lack of knowledge.

The big change that happens after Jesus is that the power of sin and death in the world was broken, and God's Spirit from that point forward dwells in the hearts of believers. This is accompanied by the command for those believers to go tell everyone about the completion of God's plan for salvation.

~Aldin, one-at-a-time-ly

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  #19  
Old May 16th, 2018, 05:24 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

I appreciate the insight, as always. Thank you.
As someone who wants to believe, you always make that a little easier.
I will let someone else have a turn.
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  #20  
Old May 16th, 2018, 08:51 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

@Aldin

Yikes! I have only experienced the graduation thing as the child, not the adult side of things, so the "weird but good" doesn't make much sense to me, but in 25 years lemme get back to you on that.

I appreciate the video. Got a good chuckle out of it. Reminds me of the frequently asked, dysfunctional question of "can god create a rock too heavy for him to lift?" Goes to show you the absurdity of such questions.

Forced Belief:
So I must persist in my disagreement on this. God "forcing" us to have knowledge of his existence is not an infringement on freewill. At least it isn't any more of an infringement than God choosing to allow my sense to have knowledge of my hunger, or thirst, or my surroundings. Knowledge is an attribute we possess(like hair color or eye color); we don't have a choice in what we know once we know it. We can choose to go out of our way to learn things, but that is informed by previous knowledge we possess, and certain knowledge we are "forced" into by virtue of being alive. Does this also hinder freewill?

Knowledge informs us, which in turn allows us to make decision. Freewill does not exist without the possession of knowledge. Without knowledge, how could we make decisions? Let alone free ones? How we choose to apply that knowledge is where the choice comes in. God would not be infringing on freewill by giving us knowledge, as knowledge merely informs the choice; it doesn't make the choice. For instance, Adam and Eve had absolute knowledge of God's existence. Was their freewill compromised? Of course not, hence the fall from grace.

Now, suppose knowledge informs beliefs, as I think you would claim it does, since knowledge of the world around you affirms your belief in god. I would ask that you run an experiment. Take a person in your family, and choose to not believe in his or her existence. Done? Okay. Now take Santa Clause and choose to believe in his existence. Done? Okay.

Naturally, the result is that despite your choice, you were informed by knowledge and you could not force yourself to deny the belief that your family member exists, nor could you believe that Santa Clause exists.

So belief is not a choice. And as I have already demonstrated, neither is knowledge. Since neither are choices, the "forced" acquisition of belief or knowledge does not violate the choice of assuming the mantle of God's friendship. And hence, freewill is not violated.

Concerning Lefton4Ya's Point:
I think this point is moot. At one time, a lot of people believed in witches. They used a combination of confirmation bias and misunderstanding the natural world. At one point, most people worshipped the sun. An appeal to populace doesn't aid your cause really.

Especially because there are proposed solutions to the problem of belief that coincides with Ockham's Razor and the Principle of Simplicity as proposed by Newton. There are numerous theories that explain religion quite well, attributing it to our attempt to make sense of the world, or an exaptation of a hyper active agency system inherent in our evolutionary biology. I recommend Breaking the Spell: Religion as Natural Phenomena by Daniel Clement Dennett. But there are theories (simpler than the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal being) that explain the reason for 6 billion believers.

Concerning the Understanding of God and Argument from Ignorance:
There is a fundamental difference between science not having understood everything quite yet, and using the claim that we cannot understand God as justification to dismiss an inference from a proof.

Indeed, there exist scientists and people in academia who commit the fallacy of the argument from ignorance. All of us do at some point or another. But science does not continually commit this fallacy. If a theory or part of a theory is invalidated by way of evidence or reason, we do not just shrug our shoulders and say "we can't understand complex stuff like this, therefor your criticism is invalid and our theory should remain unchanged." Instead, the theory is reworked, or the evidence reexamined to make the theory better predict and fit the workings of reality.

Following this rule, it is not sufficient to shrug our shoulders and assume we cannot understand omnibenevolance; instead, it follows that you must rework your hypothesis of god, as my conclusion proposes. You cannot dismiss my claims that coincide with reality by way of appealing to the notion that "we just may not understand god."

Furthermore, I see no reason to accept your claim that we could never understand all of the natural world. Why would you suggest that? We continue to learn more and more everyday. Given enough time, why could we not come to understand everything our universe has to offer? To suggest we can't learn everything is, indeed, an argument from ignorance. But nothing about the scientific method supports your claim that we can't know everything.

So I think the conflation between science, and not understanding god's omnibenevolance is a false parallel.

The Catholic Church
All issues you may have with the Catholic Church aside, do you disagree with their assessment that to love god is the ultimate end of knowledge of god's existence? Because that is the only claim I was attempting to make by referring to the Catholic understanding, and it seems a logical conclusion to me.

If you contend that loving god is not the end game, then what is?

And the trip may very well be pointless, but I'm willing to give it a shot in the pursuit of knowledge. If you'd like, I'll touch base with you after the event and let you know what I may have seen and what my thoughts were. At the very least, you might get to hear about some really interesting charlatans.

Concerning the "List" and the Hypothetical:
When you do add me to the list, could you take note of the fact that the dislike for God's policies followed from my disbelief, and did not come before? Also, could you draw fireworks around my name on the list please?

Depends how you mean "revealed in the Bible." But if you mean an all-loving, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent deity, which I am almost sure does not exist, then yes, I would want a relationship with him. This is, of course, contingent on being given assured evidence that God exists, and possesses all the aforementioned qualities.

The reason for this is simple. If there actually exists a God who is all powerful, and all knowing, and all loving, then he obviously has done everything with the best interest of everyone at heart. And naturally, truly does love me, and would likely take the time to show me the error of my ways and reasoning. So yes, I would very much like a relationship with him, and one that last forever sounds pretty damn good.

Unfortunately, that notion of God does not coincide with reality, and I'm left with the nihilism that is atheism.

~JS, who, without quotes, did his best to bring order from the chaos

Last edited by Joseph Sweeney; May 16th, 2018 at 11:21 PM.
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  #21  
Old May 17th, 2018, 10:10 AM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Sweeney View Post
... and I'm left with the nihilism that is atheism.
Atheism doesn't imply nihilism.

Last edited by ollie; May 17th, 2018 at 10:10 AM. Reason: It's not often I win the shortest-post competition in these threads :)
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Old May 17th, 2018, 10:31 AM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollie View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Sweeney View Post
... and I'm left with the nihilism that is atheism.
Atheism doesn't imply nihilism.
I am an atheist.
I am not a nihilist.
Just because you don't follow an existing prescribed religion or necessarily believe in a creator god doesn't mean you view life as meaningless.


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Old May 17th, 2018, 11:27 AM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by ollie View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Sweeney View Post
... and I'm left with the nihilism that is atheism.
Atheism doesn't imply nihilism.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazy Orang View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollie View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Sweeney View Post
... and I'm left with the nihilism that is atheism.
Atheism doesn't imply nihilism.
I am an atheist.
I am not a nihilist.
Just because you don't follow an existing prescribed religion or necessarily believe in a creator god doesn't mean you view life as meaningless.


~Lazy Orang, who considers herself an atheist with a spiritual side, but still.
I think while it is true I do not have to have a meaningless life, and can give myself meaning throughout it, it all winds up being meaningless in the end. Eventually, even the remmants of humanity and our tiny blue planet will vanish.

So I agree, our lives can have meaning that we give them, but ultimately everything is without meaning based on the final result.

~JS, who believes his life has meaning for the here and now, but will ultimately make no difference
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Old May 17th, 2018, 12:01 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Why base it on the "final result"? How does that cancel out the meaning we have now?
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