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Do Religious People Really Believe in Their Religion?


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So by your arguemnts, God has voluntarily given us suffering that is unnecesary. This is what makes God cruel.

At the end of each summer students are required to go back to school. Not all students enjoy the change from summer fun to homework. But this suffering pays off in the long term even for those who wish summer would never end.

 

Science is of the mind and tries to factor out the subjectivities of the heart. Religion is of the heart. If you have a pure science mind, religion will not compute, since you have been trained to repress things of the heart, so you can become fully objective. One needs to develop the heart to collect religious data. That type of internal emotional-intutitive data is the basis for faith. Faith is not of the mind (cerebral) since the definition of faith is belief in things that are not seen. Faith is processed through the heart (thalamus and limbic system).

 

The thalamus and limbic are ancient parts of the brain, which got people by in life, before the cerebral mind was populated with scientific relationships. The thalamus is the most wired part of the brain. It can trigger thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuits; inspired ideas to populate the cerebral. But to trigger the thalamus circuits, the mind (cerebral) alone is not enough, since the induction also needs the limbic system to output chemicals, into the cerebral spinal fluid. Different emotions imply different SPF chemical combinations, with the output of the thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuits altering as a function of what we feel. The atheist hostility is one possible limbic combination with the thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuits tuned to this. This will inspire new ideas against religion. Religion works with all the combinations. There is a sweet spot that inspires the data of faith.

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There is something quite odd, and completely unique, with the whole epistemological attitude of believers towards their religion. Just as their everyday emotions and attitudes, such as the ease with

It is easier to die for your beliefs, than to actually live them day by day.

Marat, iNow: If we are arguing the morality of God, do we not need to assume the accuracy of the Bible in describing him? Much like we can discuss the morality of Robin Hood, but need to assume the ac

How do you know that it is unnecessary? Maybe you lack God's cosmic perspective to judge this?

Well, in the Bible, God creates Adam and Eve without sin or suffeirng. Thus it is posible (if God exists) for there to be no suffering. Thus any suffering is not necesary.

 

At the end of each summer students are required to go back to school. Not all students enjoy the change from summer fun to homework. But this suffering pays off in the long term even for those who wish summer would never end.

Yes, this is true, and I even stated that there could be necesary suffering. It is the unnecesary suffering I am talking about. :rolleyes::doh:

 

I know I have to put forward an argument that there exists unnecesary suffering, and I think I have done that. But I have also acknowledged that there is suffering that might be necesary. I am not in dispute about this. So pointing out that some suffering might be necesary does not counter my point that some suffering is unnecesary and that if there is unnecesary suffering then God must be cruel (or non existant).

 

Science is of the mind and tries to factor out the subjectivities of the heart. Religion is of the heart. If you have a pure science mind, religion will not compute, since you have been trained to repress things of the heart, so you can become fully objective. One needs to develop the heart to collect religious data. That type of internal emotional-intutitive data is the basis for faith. Faith is not of the mind (cerebral) since the definition of faith is belief in things that are not seen. Faith is processed through the heart (thalamus and limbic system).

There are some scientists that hold religious views and have faith. So this position is disproven. It is certainly posible to follow science and still believe in God (if God exists).

 

The thalamus and limbic are ancient parts of the brain, which got people by in life, before the cerebral mind was populated with scientific relationships. The thalamus is the most wired part of the brain. It can trigger thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuits; inspired ideas to populate the cerebral. But to trigger the thalamus circuits, the mind (cerebral) alone is not enough, since the induction also needs the limbic system to output chemicals, into the cerebral spinal fluid. Different emotions imply different SPF chemical combinations, with the output of the thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuits altering as a function of what we feel. The atheist hostility is one possible limbic combination with the thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuits tuned to this. This will inspire new ideas against religion. Religion works with all the combinations. There is a sweet spot that inspires the data of faith.

What evidence do you have that religion allows for more limbic system combinations? Have you got studies that show that people who believe have more activity in the limbic system?

 

Unless you can produce such studies, then this is an unsupported claim and it is posible then that people who study science have just as many combinations, or even more than people who believe in religion.

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Yes, we are no all knowing, so we have to work within a finite limit of knowledge. This means we will make mistakes and errors, but God has perfect knowledge (that is what all knowing means) of everything, so He does not have to work within these limits and thus He can not make mistakes like we are forced to.

WHO is forcing? As I've said time and again, and as you don't seem to understand, not every circumstance, or combination of cirucmstances, that induces or leads one to sin rises to the level of force. So we canNOT always plead that we were forced to sin.

 

Again, by way of analogy, courts can be very sympathetic to the circumstances in the lives of criminals that lead them to commit crime while at the same time recognising that nothing FORCED those criminals to crime and that they are still culpable. Do you think they are wrong? Do you think no-one willingly commits crimes and that no-one deserves to be punished for them?

 

As a corollary, what about the positive things we do? Do we deserve the rewards we get for those? If you work hard for your boss, do you not righfully claim the reward for that work - the pay, the promotion or whatnot? If you study hard and accordingly get good marks in your exams, would you claim that you didn't deserve those marks as the rightful recompense?

 

How can we justify this thinking if according to you the things we do are beyond our control but we are merely responding to force? Surely this applies just as much to the positive and productive things as the negative, no

 

Yes, and God has far more knowledge (infinitly more) and far mroe self control (infinitly more). So this means that God is infinitly more culpable for His actions than we are.

Culpable? Meaning deserving blame or censure? From who? For what? Whose law has He transgressed that either binds Him or that is set in authority over Him and can thus be used as the standard by which His behaviour can be judged?

 

He has set a standard of behaviour for us, sure, and it may appear that He has different rules for Himself. What is wrong in that?

 

Is a parent bound to go to bed at the time they set for their child to go to bed? Or to give a child loan of the parent's car if the parent doesn't want to? Or bequeath something to the child out of its will if the parent wishes to leave nothing to that child?

 

Of course the child suffers when it's made to go to bed, denied the car, or cut out of the will. Of course the child thinks it's unfair. But ultimately it's the parent's right to choose its own bed time and that of the child. And it's the parent's right to dispose of its property, largely, as it sees fit. Either by loaning the car or bequeathing property in the will.

 

The child can complain all it likes, but it never had any right to set its own bedtime (or have the parents go to bed at the same time). It never had any right to borrow the car, nor to have property left to it. So there's no unfairness in the matter, no right breached.

 

In the same manner - we don't have any right to salvation, or to freedom from suffering, or to whatever it is you might think God 'owes' us. God owes us nothing whatsoever. There are no rights we can claim against Him.

 

Who is capable of deciding that God is worthy of blame or censure? Surely we'd need to comprehend His motives and the reasons behind His actions, as well as their effects not just on those who suffer, or even on all mankind, but on all of creation. Such a task is beyond you, me or anyone but God Himself, the creator of all, surely.

 

So by your arguemnts, God has voluntarily given us suffering that is unnecesary. This is what makes God cruel.

But how do you know it's unnecessary? What makes you think that there aren't benefits that humankind - or creation as a whole - receives from suffering that are unique to suffering alone? Benefits that can't be had any other way? Benefits so great that they outweigh all the disadvantages?

 

You're forgetting that God has voluntarily HIMSELF chosen to suffer personally - in the person of Jesus. It's not something He merely inflicted on us remotely, it's something He chooses to partake in as well. That strongly suggests what I've said - that there are benefits unique to suffering alone that can't come about any other way.

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Needimprovement: The defense of the apparent evil of God that you offer -- that he is infinitely superior to us so we cannot know what logic prompts him to act as he does and we cannot claim to hold him morally responsible to us -- makes the classical logical error of petitio principii, or assuming the reality of what is in question. Since we are trying to understand how to make the evil which God allows to exist in the world, which does not seem logically necessitated by any project he could have which is consistent with his nature, somehow consistent with God's essential quality of being perfectly good, we can't solve that problem just by asserting that his ways exceed our puny intellects and he owes us no moral duties in any case. If we are going to accept those conclusions as premisses of the argument, the argument is over before it starts, so there is nothing to discuss.

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Human beings sin for the same reason they do other things that are harmful to them, be it in this life or the one to come.

 

They gorge on unhealthy food knowing that sooner rather than later their poor eating habits are going to catch up with them and affect their health.

 

They smoke. They drink way too much. They do other drugs. Also in the knowledge that these things are harmful.

 

They spend too much and incur too much debt again knowing that sooner rather than later it will catch up with them.

 

And they do other things that defy sense and logic. They buy lottery tickets knowing that the odds of winning are millions to one, bet on horses or sporting teams that have miniscule chances of winning, etc etc etc.

 

Humans are very bad for the most part at giving up short-term gains or rewards (such as the buzz of that chocolate hit or drink or the thrill of placing that bet) and focusing on long-term benefits (improved health or bank balance). This applies to spiritual benefits as much as material ones.

 

I probably won't get odds, or even a big "AMEN' in this fight, and being older than dirt; you'd think I'd know better. But I've seen just about every side of life that you can imagine, and other than family; with most of it, I'm not overly proud. A persons GOD is their matter. Who or what he/she is, is congruent to only that individual. Good, bad or indifferent and without hurt, does it really matter what someone believes??

Edited by rigney
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Unnecessary suffering can also stem from the free will of others. Say you have a cruel king. He can chose to make the life of his citizens better, or he can chose to squander the fruits of their hard work to create monuments to himself. If God took away free will, the evil king would lose his ability to make these selfish choices which bring unnecessary suffering to his people. But without free will, humans would become like animals without any ability to choose.

 

If your goal is to prefect free will, you need to let people practice and learn from their mistakes. Once the unnecessary suffering of the becomes too much, they might organize and rebel. They have the free will to correct this negative path and not just follow the evil kings free will like an animal. Maybe they pick someone from among them whose free will is more in tune with the needs and rights of the people who can lower the suffering. The final goal from all this competing free will is an objectivity that still allows free will but in a way that benefits all. Now free will has been made perfect. Then creation returns to its original perfection, before free will began to practice.

Edited by pioneer
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But to focus the discussion more clearly, the problem is that since God is by hypothesis perfectly good, omnipotent, and omniscient, he cannot coexist with a world he has created which has any more evil in it than is absolutely necessary for purposes of moral instruction for humans or for etribution for the evil actions arising from human free will.

 

Now it seems easy to say that if people choose to smoke and then they develop cancer, then that is their just desert for doing what they knew they shouldn't do. A problem arises, however, with the fact that this punishment is much too terrible for the mere human frailty of lacking self-control when faced with the opportunity of self-medicating for nervous symptoms by smoking. Any human who willed cancer on another human because that person was so weak as to smoke despite the warnings against it would be regarded as a vicious monster. And yet religious people want to say that when God designs the universe with these punishments built into it, he somehow still remains not just better than a vicious monster, not just good, but even infinitely good.

 

But the problems for the God hypothesis become even more acute when we look at earthly evils which seem to have absolutely no connection with evil human free choice, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, terrible genetic illnesses striking newborns, etc. To render these challenges consistent with the theory that the omnipotent God is also infinitely good, we have to assume that earthquakes are caused in some mysterious, mystical way by evil exercises of human free will. But then we find ourselves in the ridiculous position of trying to support the existence of one magical, mysterious entity, God, by positing the existence of another magical, mysterious entity, which is some incomprehensible causal link between evil exercises of human free will and earthquakes.

 

This is as bad as saying that we know that Santa Claus exists because the Easter Bunny says so. A mysterious entity can only be rendered more plausible by its existence being supported by a significanly less mysterious entity, not by an equally mysterious one.

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He didn't say "temporary" suffering. He said, "unnecessary" suffering. If it's unnecessary, then it is inherently evil since existence does not necessitate it, and an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omnipresent god could allow existence without "unnecessary" suffering.

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He didn't say "temporary" suffering. He said, "unnecessary" suffering. If it's unnecessary, then it is inherently evil since existence does not necessitate it, and an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omnipresent god could allow existence without "unnecessary" suffering.

 

For example if I torture someone for 40 years, it is temporary suffering but still unnecessary and evil.

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God made Adam and eve free of sin and evil. It was only when they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil did they aquire the ability to sin and comit evil acts...

 

...He can be seen as cruel in that He knew ahead of time and had the power and opertunity to prevent the suffering and did not...

This is incorrect. Adam and Even had the ability to sin from the start, and exercised it in the original sin. Before they were judged by God and expelled from the Garden of Eden, they were already suffering: Adam and Eve were hiding in fear (Genesis 3:8-10). Eating the fruit gave them knowledge, not ability. They suffered as a result of the original sin. And they knew what not to do:

 

Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

He didn't say "temporary" suffering. He said, "unnecessary" suffering. If it's unnecessary, then it is inherently evil since existence does not necessitate it, and an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omnipresent god could allow existence without "unnecessary" suffering.

 

There is an erroneous idea that suffering is evil. The comission of sin is evil: that is, going against the instruction of God.

 

Considering: "As God is all knowing, He would have know that these events would have occurred. As He knew that these events would have occured and lead to suffering, and that there are valid actions that God could have taken to prevent them and chose not to do so, then He can be seen as cruel in that He knew ahead of time and had the power and opportunity to prevent the suffering and did not." (spelling corrected)

 

Above there is the erroneous statement that God is cruel, that is inclined to suffering, where clearly God gave instructions on how to avoid evil and its consequences (Gen 2:17): the valid action that God took, without destroying free will, but that Adam and Eve choose to disobey.

Edited by needimprovement
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This is incorrect. Adam and Even had the ability to sin from the start, and exercised it in the original sin. Before they were judged by God and expelled from the Garden of Eden, they were already suffering: Adam and Eve were hiding in fear (Genesis 3:8-10). Eating the fruit gave them knowledge, not ability. They suffered as a result of the original sin. And they knew what not to do:

Adam and Eve were created naked and existed in the garden of eden naked, however once they ate the fruit, they new that their nakednes was a sin. They were allowed to be naked before eating the fruit and for it not be a sin, but then once they ate the fruit the act of being naked was now a sin. This means that the same action before and after eating the fruit are now considdered differently. They gain the ability to Sin (from being naked) by eating the fruit.

 

Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Yes, and He took no other steps to prevent this occuring, even though he knew humans were curious (He created them this way), and he knew that the serpent was decietful and would try to trick them into eating the fruit. Not only that, God would ahve known that the serpent was in the process of tricking htem and could have appeared to Adam adn Eve and reiterated the punishment for eating the fruit and then said that they were still free to choose.

 

Imagine a police officer (maybe in plain cloths), witnessing someone trying to convinve two other people to commit a crime for him. He could walk up to them (ofcourse this wouldf be if there was no risk to him) and tell them that He is a police officer and that if they go through with the crime he would know them and be able to identify them, and not only that, he would warn whoever they were going to comit the crime against of their intended actions.

 

The two people planing the crime would still be free to comit the crime, but they would do so knowing that they would be caught and that the crime could be stopped.

 

Now, imagine that cop not attempting to prevent that, but then lying in wait to catch these people.

 

Which of these seems more Just to you. Would trying to prevent a crime seem less cruel than letting it happen just to catch two otherwise innocent people. Who is the real criminal to be punished in this (the serpent, but he just gets away with having to crawl around - which serpents seem to do quite well with as it helps them in their hunting - so this is less of a punishment to a serpent than a reward, wher as humans get constant punishment in the form of origninal sin).

 

There is an erroneous idea that suffering is evil. The comission of sin is evil: that is, going against the instruction of God.

:doh: I didn't say that suffering is evil! :doh:

 

Please read what I am arguing for. This counter argument by you is now an official strawman. Please stop trying to imply that I said that suffering is evil. I DID NOT SAY THAT! :angry:

 

Considering: "As God is all knowing, He would have know that these events would have occurred. As He knew that these events would have occured and lead to suffering, and that there are valid actions that God could have taken to prevent them and chose not to do so, then He can be seen as cruel in that He knew ahead of time and had the power and opportunity to prevent the suffering and did not." (spelling corrected)

 

Above there is the erroneous statement that God is cruel, that is inclined to suffering, where clearly God gave instructions on how to avoid evil and its consequences (Gen 2:17): the valid action that God took, without destroying free will, but that Adam and Eve choose to disobey.

(thanks for the corrected spelling BTW - I have a mild dysphasia/dyslexia)

 

It wasn't a statement that God is cruel, but a conclusion (there is a difference).

 

Imagine this scenario:

You are in charge of a train yeard. You release a set of carriages from where they are and let them roll down a hill to where they are needed. However, you see two people crossing the tracks where they shouldn't be, but you have the oppertunity to switch the carriages to another track so it won't hit them but it will still end up at the other end where you wanted them to be (maybe by way of another switch).

 

Now, would you be considdered cruel if you just let the carriages continue on the track they are on and thus let them hit the people crossing (they were not supposed to be there, so it could be argued that it was there fault they got hit). Or, would you see it as being the better thing to do to switch the carriages to the other track to avoid it hitting the people (nad then calling in the train yard guard to arrest the people for tresspasssing).

 

See, God could have taken actions to avoid or mitigate the suffering caused by Adam and Eve, and yet still allowed them to commit sin. God chose to "let the carriage continue on the same track" even though He could have switch it. BY this fact alone I can call God cruel as He chose the resulting action that caused the most suffering (He could have intervened at the last minut before they took a bite, but once their intention to do so was known - and as God is all knowing, He would have knowntheir intention, there would have been no way to hid it). As less suffering could have been cause, then that extra suffering is unnecesary, and as God chose to have that extra (and unnesesary) suffering occur, then He is cruel by that alone.

 

This of course is just one example of unnecesary suffering caused by God that is in the bible.

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This is incorrect. Adam and Even had the ability to sin from the start, and exercised it in the original sin. Before they were judged by God and expelled from the Garden of Eden, they were already suffering: Adam and Eve were hiding in fear (Genesis 3:8-10). Eating the fruit gave them knowledge, not ability. They suffered as a result of the original sin. And they knew what not to do:

 

Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

 

Per the Bible, Adam and Eve did not know what not to do, even though they were told. For example, if someone tells you in Chinese not to do something, you've been told what not to do but you don't know what not to do. Anyhow, before eating the fruit Adam and Eve did not have knowledge of good and evil and so couldn't have known that it is good to obey god and sin to disobey god. It is only after they ate the fruit that they realized that they did something "wrong".

 

There is an erroneous idea that suffering is evil. The comission of sin is evil: that is, going against the instruction of God.

 

Suffering isn't evil, true, but causing or allowing unnecessary suffering is evil. Think of the Golden Rule. Now, not only did God allow Adam and Eve to sin (as above, they couldn't have even known it was a sin), but after that he cursed the whole of creation as a punishment for it, specifically going out of his way to create thorns and such. This punishment would be overly harsh (and so cruel) even for a real crime such as murder.

 

Considering: "As God is all knowing, He would have know that these events would have occurred. As He knew that these events would have occured and lead to suffering, and that there are valid actions that God could have taken to prevent them and chose not to do so, then He can be seen as cruel in that He knew ahead of time and had the power and opportunity to prevent the suffering and did not." (spelling corrected)

 

Above there is the erroneous statement that God is cruel, that is inclined to suffering, where clearly God gave instructions on how to avoid evil and its consequences (Gen 2:17): the valid action that God took, without destroying free will, but that Adam and Eve choose to disobey.

 

Ah, but the consequences were not the problem, it was God's overreaction that was the problem. It's the difference between warning someone that your cookies are moldy and they'd get sick if they eat them, and hunting them and their children down and torturing them for the rest of their lives for eating your cookie.

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:doh: I didn't say that suffering is evil! :doh:

 

Please read what I am arguing for. This counter argument by you is now an official strawman. Please stop trying to imply that I said that suffering is evil. I DID NOT SAY THAT! :angry:

I was responding to iNow post. It's just that I was not able to quote him (just inserted it in post #86).

 

He didn't say "temporary" suffering. He said, "unnecessary" suffering. If it's unnecessary, then it is inherently evil since existence does not necessitate it, and an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omnipresent god could allow existence without "unnecessary" suffering.

 

Well, every example of suffering in the discussion has been temporary. So if temporary suffering is not inherently evil, then there is no conflict with omnibenevolence.

 

As for "unnecessary", that's a rather futile line of attack. How can we possibly determine if something is unnecessary from the standpoint of eternity?

Edited by needimprovement
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I think Epicurus already summed this up far better than I could, and he did it way back in 300BC:

 

 

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?

Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?

Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?

Then why call him God?

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Well, every example of suffering in the discussion has been temporary. So if temporary suffering is not inherently evil, then there is no conflict with omnibenevolence.

 

As for "unnecessary", that's a rather futile line of attack. How can we possibly determine if something is unnecessary from the standpoint of eternity?

 

Sounds like your basically going in the "God decides what is good" circle. I'd rather not be your pivot man in that deal.

 

From the standpoint of eternity, this life means nothing. To me suffering is useful in the prevention of further damage to someone. I think most people can play god for a moment and think of some simple rules that would make much more sense than what we see.

 

 

Ex: Rape. Man rapes a woman - she suffers emotionally and physically and may result in the birth of a person more likely to rape.

 

New Rule: Man tries to rape woman - his penis explodes(OK, hurts very much). Suffering for the man. From this suffering, he learns not to try it again and she is saved from suffering.

 

Can we say this would be superior morally to the current situation?

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Needimprovement, when you rhetorically ask, "How can we determine what amounts to unnecessary suffering from the standpoint of eternity," you make the mistake of accepting as already proven exactly what is still in dispute, which is the existence of a Deity which permits us to treat the 'standpoint of eternity' as a real perspective able to create real problems for philosophical arguments. But until we have established that God exists, the 'standpoint of eternity' which could make it really impossible to determine whether any particular suffering was ultimately necessary or justified or not is simply not available as a context to impeach any reasoning based on ordinary, human-scale, empirical data.

 

So as far as we can understand the concepts of cause, effect, necessary suffering, and unnecessary suffering, the Haitian earthquake doesn't seem necessary, redeemed by other forces, or excused by some distant good it produces by any ordinary reasoning we can apply.

 

An example of an empirically testable instance in which an evil, say the pain of a vaccination, would be justified by the ultimate good caused by it, say immunity against some much worse infection, shows what could count as a real reason for excusing evil. But to posit that if we could somehow see all the intricate interconnections of the causal strands of the universe we would realize that the world would be a much worse place if Kennedy hadn't been assassinated on November 22, 1963 just amounts to supporting one fantasy, the existence of a magical being, God, by another fantasy, our ability to know that a causal network we cannot comprehend can somehow provide a sufficient support for a miraculous being like God.

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Well, every example of suffering in the discussion has been temporary. So if temporary suffering is not inherently evil, then there is no conflict with omnibenevolence.

 

What of my example -- torturing someone for 40 years? It is temporary suffering, as is any suffering by any one individual on this earth. But isn't there a difference between the temporary suffering of a vaccination and the temporary suffering of 40 years of torture? Can we not consider whether vaccination overall reduces suffering? This is why no one but you cares about temporary suffering -- all of it is temporary -- and we're talking about necessary and unnecessary suffering.

 

As for "unnecessary", that's a rather futile line of attack. How can we possibly determine if something is unnecessary from the standpoint of eternity?

 

Fair enough, but we can still say that as far as we can tell god is evil because he allows apparently unnecessary suffering. I know that I could prevent most of this suffering were I to be omnipotent, so I guess I'm just a better person than God is, or at least more clever. For example, I could run a computer simulation with the people being code, and with a permissions system like in Linux so that people cannot harm each other without permission. They'd still have free will, just like we still have free will even though we can't hold our breath for 5 hours, but they would be unable to do things like rape.

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The main thing I have trouble with isn't temporary suffering, it's permanent suffering. How could a human deserve to suffer forever? I can see God giving us free will and that free will could result in suffering of both the guilty and the innocent but to burn in hell forever? If that doesn't make god evil I can't imagine what would.

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The main thing I have trouble with isn't temporary suffering, it's permanent suffering. How could a human deserve to suffer forever? I can see God giving us free will and that free will could result in suffering of both the guilty and the innocent but to burn in hell forever? If that doesn't make god evil I can't imagine what would.

 

I believe it was Thomas Hobbes who replaced everlasting suffering with finite suffering in a Hell that lasts forever, because

 

The Children of this world, that are in the state which Adam left them in, shall marry and be given in marriage: that is, corrupt and generate successively; which is an Immortality of the Kind, but not the Persons of men.

 

Hobbes does not believe that eternal suffering can be compatible with a benevolent God, so he replaces it with finite suffering in a Hell constantly replenished with the spawn of the evil.

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I believe it was Thomas Hobbes who replaced everlasting suffering with finite suffering in a Hell that lasts forever, because

 

 

 

Hobbes does not believe that eternal suffering can be compatible with a benevolent God, so he replaces it with finite suffering in a Hell constantly replenished with the spawn of the evil.

 

 

Could you expand on that a little? I'm not familiar with Hobbes or the concept of a finite hell....

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I think Epicurus already summed this up far better than I could, and he did it way back in 300BC:

Yes, Epicurus has the same unsupported assumption that you do. Namely that the temporary existence of evil is malevolent. Without supporting that assertion, the argument has no teeth.

 

I will grant you that if evil were to be permanently ascendant, your argument would have something. But we haven't seen to forever yet, and according to Christian doctrine, evil loses.

 

Per the Bible, Adam and Eve did not know what not to do, even though they were told. For example, if someone tells you in Chinese not to do something, you've been told what not to do but you don't know what not to do. Anyhow, before eating the fruit Adam and Eve did not have knowledge of good and evil and so couldn't have known that it is good to obey god and sin to disobey god. It is only after they ate the fruit that they realized that they did something "wrong".

Nonsense. That is not what "knowledge of good and evil" means at all. Adam and Eve were not created so retarded that they didn't know up from down or obedience from disobedience. Your arbitrary interpretation of the name of the tree flies in the face of all Jewish and Christian tradition. Unless you can support it beyond "this is the hunch I had when I read it" or "this is what I read on Internet Infidels," it's not even worth rebutting.

 

Suffering isn't evil, true, but causing or allowing unnecessary suffering is evil. Think of the Golden Rule. Now, not only did God allow Adam and Eve to sin (as above, they couldn't have even known it was a sin), but after that he cursed the whole of creation as a punishment for it, specifically going out of his way to create thorns and such. This punishment would be overly harsh (and so cruel) even for a real crime such as murder.

In light of the totality of scripture, the thorns and such are best understood not as God throwing a tantrum, but rather as a necessary step in the redemption of man.

 

Col 1:24: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ

 

Ah, but the consequences were not the problem, it was God's overreaction that was the problem. It's the difference between warning someone that your cookies are moldy and they'd get sick if they eat them, and hunting them and their children down and torturing them for the rest of their lives for eating your cookie.

Again, suffering is better understood as a necessary surgery than a torturous punishment.

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Could you expand on that a little? I'm not familiar with Hobbes or the concept of a finite hell....

So Hobbes said that infinite suffering is clearly not compatible with an omnibenevolent God -- at best, you should suffer for a finite length of time proportional to your sins.

 

So, those who sinned will go to Hell, where they burn in a lake of fire or whatever. However, they do not stay there forever -- they burn up and die after a length of time, proportional to their sins.

 

However, since some religious texts require an eternal Hell, Hobbes added a workaround: those in Hell would have children, and those children would live for a while in Hell and have their own children.

 

Thus, Hell would be eternal, but there would be no infinite suffering for sinners.

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Yes, Epicurus has the same unsupported assumption that you do. Namely that the temporary existence of evil is malevolent. Without supporting that assertion, the argument has no teeth.

Oh, how deliciously rich. Double standards, much? The guy here arguing in favor of god is giving me a hard time for making an unsupported assumption with no teeth. Oh, the sweet sweet delicious irony... B)

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