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Anthropic Argument


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OK, I'll completely analyze the issue of free will being incompatible with morality: 1) Suppose free will is incompatible with perfect morality. Therefore, any morally perfect being (such as God, if

That is an idiotic objection. You can obviously analyze a belief without actually holding such a belief. In fact: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepti

You do not believe in God: why should you now believe in Satan? Do you really believe Satan exists if God doesn't? If you don't, yours is no argument.

If he's so merciful, why does he let such bad things happen to us?

I'm going to offer an answer that will be quite contrary to most answers you'll receive. God did not have you born into a state of poverty, Satan did. Consider what capitalism is. It's an economic system that is COMPLETELY DOMINATED by greed. There is nothing about capitalism that is Christian. It's not about sharing or loving; it's about getting and competing. Why were people born poor? Because someone else was born rich, and nobody wants to give up their cash. (Keep in mind, I'm not advocating communism, or even socialism. Capitalism is bad, but at least it works.)

 

This is the same kind of question as "why do bad things happen to good people"? Because there are bad people, too.

 

Besides, you really have to consider the fact that you don't have it so bad. At least you're not living in a hut constructed from discarded corrugated steel outside some city in Indian, bashing a water main open with a rock so that you can have enough to survive. Or dying of starvation in Africa, your children wandering around mostly naked, without shoes, begging for food and eating whatever trash they come upon as their distended abdomens show absolutely that they are going to die. Or living under some random New York bridge, hoping against hope that you don't freeze to death while you huddle next to a burning barrel on a freezing January night. Or trying to survive on the pathetic little ration of government welfare you managed to pry out of your Chief, living on some damned Canadian Indian reserve, that's so broken down and destroyed the place looks like a war zone.

 

Be glad you're not strapped to a bed somewhere in Thailand, kept drugged and stupefied so that you can be raped again and again and again by perverted western businessmen. Or that you're not sold into sex slavery. Or living in the back room of a laundromat because you were smuggled into America so you could escape poverty in China, and the mobsters who smuggled you in now have you working slave labour to pay them back for their efforts.

 

This list goes on and on.

 

Be glad you're not these people. Yeah, sure, you have trouble making ends meet. Yeah, creditors are calling. It's tough to make rent or mortgage, whatever you have. Health care ain't free, and you've got the flu. Life is raining **** all over you, but you are on top of the world compared to the majority of people in the world.

 

It is a fact that 80% of the world's wealth rests in the hands of 20% of its people. Compared to the majority, you are filthy stinking rich. Come on, you're using a COMPUTER! You have the INTERNET! I'm sure you watch television, too. All those things are unnecessary, none of those things help you survive on a fundamental level.

 

There are people out there who would kill for a sandwich, and you're busy wondering why your life is so hard while typing away on your ridiculously overpriced and unneeded computing device.

 

Edit: I forgot to say, that while people busy praying that God will deliver them from poverty, make sure to mention those people who are in the situations I've just got finished listing.

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If he's so merciful, why does he let Satan exist to do evil things to us?

Well, as Scripture has it, Lucifer was created good and pure. He changed, for various reasons, and God did banish him from Heaven (the Beatific Vision). In so doing, Lucifer determined that he wanted to take over from God: to sit in God's place: to overthrow God, as it were - like some human beings are want to do.

 

It would appear that when God creates Souls or Angels - eternal creatures, they are created to exist eternally. (How strangely consistent!) The destruction of that which is eternal is a contradiction. So, God just keeps Lucifer at bay.

 

This should tell us something about hell.

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God does bad things to those people who don't abide in the truth and he does it to get them back on track. So when a teacher gives punishment to a student it is for his own good and to make him better and it is not considered as bad and this doesn't mean that god will not do things which look "bad" to one, to those people who abide in the truth. A person who abides in the truth shouldn't be disappointed when all of a sudden god takes all of his wealth from him because it is not what matters in the relationship between god and a person. It is like unconditional love. The god may want that money to use it for the good of the whole and a person who abides himself in the truth shouldn't think this has a bad thing and conclude that god hates him or has no mercy on him.

 

For the former case the relationship between god and Isreal given in the book Hosea is a good example and for the latter case Joseph's trouble times is a good example.

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So when do we decide when it is god punishing someone for being immoral and when it is someone or something evil doing bad? Wouldn't an all powerful being allow us to discern something like that easily so as to know what to do in response? Why would this being create us to where we question its existence yet give no way to see if it exists other than another person saying 'believe'. Lucifer I can understand being punished for trying to overthrow a 'king' he was subservient to, but punishment because the god refuses to be proven, or even give any evidence, seems rather arbitrary.

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If a fireman comes into a burning house, and the one to be rescued, refuses rescue, how is it that the rescuer is at fault? What? Because the house the one to be rescued has chosen to live in, could catch on fire?

Because the firemam SET the fire and made the rescuee refuse help.

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God does bad things to those people who don't abide in the truth and he does it to get them back on track. So when a teacher gives punishment to a student it is for his own good and to make him better and it is not considered as bad and this doesn't mean that god will not do things which look "bad" to one, to those people who abide in the truth. A person who abides in the truth shouldn't be disappointed when all of a sudden god takes all of his wealth from him because it is not what matters in the relationship between god and a person. It is like unconditional love. The god may want that money to use it for the good of the whole and a person who abides himself in the truth shouldn't think this has a bad thing and conclude that god hates him or has no mercy on him.

 

For the former case the relationship between god and Isreal given in the book Hosea is a good example and for the latter case Joseph's trouble times is a good example.

So is it not possible for God to cause harm to innocent people?

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Infants born with severe spinal deformities are euthanized in the Netherlands because their suffering is great and they have no chance of long-term survival. I cannot understand how they can, as infants, be said to have deserved this fate as punishment or to benefit in any way from being 'taught a lesson' by their suffering. So since such infants and others like them unquestionably exist, and since they demonstrate the existence of morally unjustified human suffering which is not the responsibility of any human evil which we can causally trace, a God who is the omnipotent and omniscient controller of the universe is also morally evil, which is contrary to the God-hypothesis, which states that he is infinitely good.

 

So, there is no entity which fulfills the definition of God as omnipotent, omniscient, and infinitely good.

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Infants born with severe spinal deformities are euthanized in the Netherlands because their suffering is great and they have no chance of long-term survival. I cannot understand how they can, as infants, be said to have deserved this fate as punishment or to benefit in any way from being 'taught a lesson' by their suffering. So since such infants and others like them unquestionably exist, and since they demonstrate the existence of morally unjustified human suffering which is not the responsibility of any human evil which we can causally trace

 

If we were to trace back the cause of these deformities and then ask what purpose is there for allowing such a causal power to exist, perhaps we might explain the existence of such suffering without rushing to blame a presumed creator.

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If God is merciful why does He let anyone harm us?

 

It would be a greater evil not to give anyone the power of choice because then we would be zombies incapable of love or self-determination.

Isn't it possible to have free will but also to not allow suffering?

 

Free will does not necessarily imply that I will be able to carry out anything I will -- only that I be able to make the attempt. I could, for example, freely will to run up my walls and onto the ceiling, and I could cheerfully make the effort as much as I want.

 

Likewise, I could freely will to go shoot my neighbors, but if God intercepted the bullets just before they hit, nobody would say I was acting deterministically or lacked free will. I wasn't acting as a zombie with no free will at all. I did exactly what I wanted, but just didn't succeed.

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Isn't it possible to have free will but also to not allow suffering?

 

Free will does not necessarily imply that I will be able to carry out anything I will -- only that I be able to make the attempt. I could, for example, freely will to run up my walls and onto the ceiling, and I could cheerfully make the effort as much as I want.

 

Likewise, I could freely will to go shoot my neighbors, but if God intercepted the bullets just before they hit, nobody would say I was acting deterministically or lacked free will. I wasn't acting as a zombie with no free will at all. I did exactly what I wanted, but just didn't succeed.

The flaw is that you are pleading for some sort of imaginary universe where our physical laws of nature do not apply.

 

Imagine the scenario you are proposing:

Every time a bullet was fired, even at point blank range, for the purpose of murder, it would somehow disappear or have no effect on the flesh. Bullets fired for good purposes however, would have effects.

 

Hammers/axes/knives/cars used for evil purposes would have no physical effects. Weilded for good they would.

 

Presumably sound waves from harmful words would be dissipated before reaching ears.

And on and on and on.

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If God is merciful why does He let anyone harm us?

 

It would be a greater evil not to give anyone the power of choice because then we would be zombies incapable of love or self-determination.

 

Can't god design a system better than the man-made ones that already exist? Take the Linux system, for example. Users may read, write, and create their own files as they wish. Users may give other users permission to read, write, or create files in the places they control, should they so wish. But in the system god designed, users may take, destroy, and do whatever they like with not just the other users' files but their possessions and even their bodies as well. Users can threaten other users with destruction or death or the death of loved ones, and in that way severely limit the free will of users in the system God designed. I think the man-made system is better, and more consistent with both morality and free will.

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The flaw is that you are pleading for some sort of imaginary universe where our physical laws of nature do not apply.

 

Imagine the scenario you are proposing:

Every time a bullet was fired, even at point blank range, for the purpose of murder, it would somehow disappear or have no effect on the flesh. Bullets fired for good purposes however, would have effects.

 

Hammers/axes/knives/cars used for evil purposes would have no physical effects. Weilded for good they would.

 

Presumably sound waves from harmful words would be dissipated before reaching ears.

And on and on and on.

 

God is omnipotent, isn't He? Are you saying He can't overcome laws of nature to stop evil? He is powerless in the face of a murderer with a gun?

 

And what of the cases in which no external force is there -- the innocent baby with a painful terminal illness? How does free will make that necessary?

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So is it not possible for God to cause harm to innocent people?

 

If one person has abided in the truth and if god does things which look harm to one, to him which is for the greater good of all people then I don't call it harm and that person shouldn't have to suffer from it.

 

I personally believe that we don't have free will and we are more like zombies. We can not control the things which are happening around us but what we can control is our attitudes towards it.

 

So who is to blame if that person cries like a coward when god does things which look bad to one rather than accepting it with a smiling face. Who asked him to suffer in the first place? So i don't blame god for it. We have to blame for oursleves for not developing a calm mind like that.

 

Read this excerpt from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, the roman emperor

 

" We ought to observe also that even the things which follow after the things which are produced according to nature contain something pleasing and attractive. For instance, when bread is baked some parts are split at the surface, and these parts which thus open, and have a certain fashion contrary to the purpose of the baker's art, are beautiful in a manner, and in a peculiar way excite a desire for eating. And again, figs, when they are quite ripe, gape open, and in the ripe olives the very circumstance of their being near to rottenness adds a peculiar beauty to the fruit. And the ears of corn bending down, and the lion's eyebrows, and the foam which flows from the mouth of wild boars, and many other things--though they are far from being beautiful, if a man should examine them severally--still, because they are consequent upon the things which are formed by nature, help to adorn them, and they please the mind; so that if a man should have a feeling and deeper insight with respect to the things which are produced in the universe, there is hardly one of those which follow by way of consequence which will not seem to him to be in a manner disposed so as to give pleasure. And so he will see even the real gaping jaws of wild beasts with no less pleasure than those which painters and sculptors show by imitation; and in an old woman and an old man he will be able to see a certain maturity and comeliness; and the attractive loveliness of young persons he will be able to look on with chaste eyes; and many such things will present themselves, not pleasing to every man, but to him only who has become truly familiar with nature and her works...."

 

So the fact that there were people like this and still may be, in some part of the world shows that we can have a pleasant mind even when one is hurting that person.

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The whole Stoic notion that 'nothing bad happens; its unpleasantness is just the result of our opinion of it,' is quite odd, given the way that bad things can compel the negative feelings we have about them. Even the effort expended to regard with equanimity having your eye balls ripped out of their sockets with tongs must be an extremely bad to endure, even apart from the experience of pain it is being summoned to resist. The whole Stoic approach makes the error of overextending our capacity to regulate our response to negative experiences within a very limited range so that it seems as though we can regulate our response infinitely to transform death by slow torture into nothing very bothersome.

 

The problem with the whole idea that God might have some secret purpose for allowing evil in the world which we cannot discern is that it posits one metaphysical entity (the true and deeper purpose which excuses evil but which is invisible to our intellects) to prop up another metaphysical entity (an infinitely good God superintending a palpably evil universe), so it really can't count as a rational answer. Similarly, the whole idea that human evil might somehow account for all the misery in the world, from hurricanes to cancer, again relies on positing some invisible causal link between human evil and these events, so again it just attempts to explain one mystery by another.

 

Humans could easily have the free will to be significantly evil with their evil free choices being just the choice of Glinka's operas over Wagner's as musically superior. This exhibits extremely bad taste, and persisting in calling the former better than the latter would be perverse, but it wouldn't hurt anyone the way the human ability to build concentration camps does. Since God already limits the capacity of humans to do evil (e.g., even if I am in a very bad mood I still can't kill everyone in China), why isn't he morally obligated to limit his capacity to the maximum? A universe in which the evil necessary to sustain morally significant human free will could allow us by its causal laws to allow us to do nothing worse than kill an ant out of sheer maliciousness, but to lack the power to do anything worse. The fact that God has failed to design such a universe means that he has made more evil possible in the world than would be required to make morally significant human free will possible (either killing the ant or not), so he is evil, which is contrary to the definition of anything which could count as God.

 

So there is no God.

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If one person has abided in the truth and if god does things which look harm to one, to him which is for the greater good of all people then I don't call it harm and that person shouldn't have to suffer from it.

 

I personally believe that we don't have free will and we are more like zombies. We can not control the things which are happening around us but what we can control is our attitudes towards it.

Suffering and pain are physiological, not mental. Are you suggesting that if I'm tortured, I can choose not to feel the agony of it, since I'm an innocent person?

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Suffering and pain are physiological, not mental.

 

No both play their part in causing the effect of pain. Some patients feel intense pain in some part of their body even though they don't have any injuries or physiological damage to that part of the body. Physiology may determine whether the pain is less or more but it can not define pain. It is mainly a mental qualia.

 

Are you suggesting that if I'm tortured, I can choose not to feel the agony of it, since I'm an innocent person?

 

Yes you can choose to experience it the way you want. Ofcourse having some extra muscles on your body which makes it as hard as a rock will reduce the amount of pain you feel. If you are very angry with the person who tortured you then his or her picture keeps coming in front of your eyes and it will disturb your mind and you will start to suffer more but instead if you think it was all god's plan and it was not the person's fault to torture you and if you are not angry with that person then the pain will disappear as soon as it came and you will have a pleasant mind. It all depends on our preconceived notions of it our likes and dislikes, our wants and don't wants. So one must be prepared to accept all the events that is happening to one with a calm mind and not let our anger grow when it doesn't go the way we wanted it to go.

 

So yes if we can make up our mind then we can choose not to feel the pain of it. I find that people who undergo various taboos don't feel any pain as their body and mind are quite used to it.

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