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Author Topic: Why do we assume that God is good?
Mucus
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Rakeesh:
Oh, I missread the "non-believers in any given faith" bit.
Its actually a good point, Muslims are non-believers in Christianity and Scientologists are non-believers in God.
However, I usually see "non-believers" as a catch-all grouping for atheists, agnostics, and so forth rather than that, hence the missreading.

Carry-on [Smile]

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advice for robots
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I believe God is good the same way a loving, caring parent is goodóshowing love, helping their kids grow and develop, building up their self esteem, doing all they can for them to help them be happyóand also providing rules and limits and administering discipline where needed for the good of their kids. In other words, an active, involved sort of good that hopefully most of us have experienced to some extent in our own families.

Thatís how I would define good.

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Blayne Bradley
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Yeah but alot of parents are also crazy possessive colosteny bags who cause only pain and suffering, pick your analogies carefully.
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Rakeesh
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He didn't say parent, Blayne, he said, and I quote, "...loving, caring parent..."

You reply way too quickly.

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advice for robots
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EDIT: My parents werenít/arenít perfect either, and Iíve got plenty of my own shortcomings as a parent. But I think itís a good we can all relate to. At least itís a good we all understand and can agree to as being ďgood.Ē
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Javert
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quote:
administering discipline where needed for the good of their kids
I think this is the point where many of us see god, or at least the concept of god that some people hold to, falling from good into evil.
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Because of the administration of discipline itself, or because of the nature of it?
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MrSquicky
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quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
administering discipline where needed for the good of their kids
I think this is the point where many of us see god, or at least the concept of god that some people hold to, falling from good into evil.
I see it more an issue of God not being concerned about the welfare (and especially growth) of his children, but only about their obedience to him; An issue of him, instead of encouraging by people's growth, being threatened by it and trying to punish/otherwise discourage it. Just like a self-centered abusive parent does.

A lot of people seem to me to worship a deity because he is powerful, not because he is good.

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
Because of the administration of discipline itself, or because of the nature of it?

The nature of the discipline that some believers think god takes.

Not the discipline itself. That I could understand, if not completely get behind. It's the whole 'hell' business.

I've said it in other threads: infinite punishment for finite crimes is the most evil concept I have ever come across.

And I understand that not all believers in god also believe in hell or infinite punishment. But many religious texts say it, and many religious believers believe it.

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BlackBlade
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KOM:
quote:
Not to mention keeping himself out of hell for all of eternity.
Your original statement was that God would slay Abraham had he not sacrificed Isaac. Are we talking about afterlives or a scary death?

quote:
Well, yes, actually I think it is. Love is not under rational control. If you have children, will you (without whom they would not exist) demand that they love you more than their spouses and children? I would call that evil; I see no reason to apply any other standard to your god. As for Abraham, he did not write those chapters himself; I am disinclined to trust what the Hebrew propagandists wrote about what he felt after that nasty little trick.
Love for one's spouse over family is not so cut and dry I'm afraid. Many Asian families would say that honoring one's parents is more important than honoring one's spouse. But say we take the Judeo-Christian tradition of cleaving to one's spouse and no other. Our parents give birth to us and raise us, but they do not actually provide life. Life, with God out of the equation, assuming all life didn't just stop then and there, would still be impossible as bodies would not be quickened. Therefore God holds the universe together, and thus has a greater claim to our loyalty than any mortal. I agree with you that a creator who is either as intellectually prone to mistakes as us, or who does not have our interests at heart does not deserve our greatest loyalty.

Benefits being preceded by trial and suffering is something most humans understand the value of. Had God offered Abraham the Abrahamic Covenant and then said that it hinged on him sacrificing his son Isaac we would then rightfully conclude that Abraham could only have been doing the right thing because God bribed him. Instead we find that Abraham based on his history of dealing with God decided to follow God's instructions even the difficult ones without any knowledge of what he stood to gain.

And if you don't trust the historians who reported the incident, then how can we discuss the story at all? Either Abraham saw the experience as a very positive one, or else he intentionally lied about it when he began the oral tradition. Or else Abraham never existed and the whole thing is a myth. Also Mormons claim to have a translation of the book of Abraham that he penned with his own hand.

If we are going to discuss the merits of the Christian God it's pointless to say the stories are only shades of the true version. If we can't take at least some of those stories as being true on the important concepts we can't draw any conclusions, for all we know the Hebrew historians were very unfavorable when they portrayed God.

Also, it's not surprising that an experience like Abraham's, a task tailored for him would not necessarily speak volumes for you or me. Nevertheless plenty of people have made sacrifices comparable to Abraham's for God and claim similar benefits for having done so.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
... Life, with God out of the equation, assuming all life didn't just stop then and there, would still be impossible as bodies would not be quickened. Therefore God holds the universe together, and thus has a greater claim to our loyalty than any mortal.

Luckily, immortals are somewhat outside of these claims, since their bodies can be quickened by decapitating a nearby immortal.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
... Life, with God out of the equation, assuming all life didn't just stop then and there, would still be impossible as bodies would not be quickened. Therefore God holds the universe together, and thus has a greater claim to our loyalty than any mortal.

Luckily, immortals are somewhat outside of these claims, since their bodies can be quickened by decapitating a nearby immortal.
Well yes, that goes without saying.
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King of Men
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quote:
Love for one's spouse over family is not so cut and dry I'm afraid. Many Asian families would say that honoring one's parents is more important than honoring one's spouse. But say we take the Judeo-Christian tradition of cleaving to one's spouse and no other. Our parents give birth to us and raise us, but they do not actually provide life. Life, with God out of the equation, assuming all life didn't just stop then and there, would still be impossible as bodies would not be quickened. Therefore God holds the universe together, and thus has a greater claim to our loyalty than any mortal.
You make three mistakes in this paragraph. First, you are failing to distinguish between "having a claim to love" and "punishing for not loving". The first is reasonable. The second is evil. Second, you are taking as - hah - Gospel that your god is indeed required for life. For this you have only the word of your god, whose goodness, and therewith truthfulness, you should not be assuming for this discussion. Third, you are failing to address the point I made, namely that even the actual giving of life, creation if you prefer, does not give you the right to demand love and punish if it is not received. Even for an infallible creator.

quote:
And if you don't trust the historians who reported the incident, then how can we discuss the story at all?
The same way that we discuss any other historical incident we know from sources we cannot cross-check: By applying ordinary source criticism. We ask "Does this course of events accord with what we know of the actors' general culture? Does their motivation as reported seem reasonable? Does the story have elements which are common to myths? Does the reporter have a particular agenda or bias that we should correct for? Was he an eyewitness, a member of an oral tradition, or a historian writing from secondary sources? Why is he telling us this in the first place?" And so on. Really, you must have learned this in school.
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Tresopax
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quote:
No, it doesn't.
Yes, it does. [Wink]

(Isn't arguing so much easier when you skip the part where you give logic to back up your assertions?)

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Tresopax
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quote:
Why do people almost except for crazies unanimaniously agree he is bad? Because through his actions over 6 million people died.

God killed 2 million people the situations are very similar, why should we logically conclude he is good when his teachings are all logically 'evil'?

An important factor is WHY Hitler killed all those people. A large part of what made him so widely villified was that, beyond killing those people, almost everyone agrees that his justification for that killing was both evil to an extreme. The U.S. killed a ton of people with our atomic bombs in WWII, but there is a lot less agreement over whether or not that particular action was evil.

Consider also that God's actions are justified in ways that human actions could never be, because God can presumably see perfectly what effects his actions will cause. God could, in theory, kill one man to save three men, and know for sure that doing so would save lives. Man, on the other hand, can only speculate that killing one man might save the three others, because human beings don't really understand what effects their actions will have. It seems to me that, because of this, we'd not expect God's actions to follow the same guidelines than human beings are supposed to follow to compensate for our capacity to misunderstand what we should do. (It's sort of like how you might tell a child "never drink alcohol" because a child would not know when to stop, but you might simultaneously think it is okay for adults to drink alcohol because they have better understanding and self-control. Because children and adults have different degrees of understanding, they need to follow different rules.)

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Constipatron
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Juxtapose,

Apologies accepted. I think I was typing slower than I was thinking and somehow got less into the post than what was intended; the occasional unfortunate, automatic assumption that people can read what Iím thinking between the lines without my typing it (I hear thatís generally a female problem, much to my dismay!). You have my apologies for not explaining my reasoning more clearly.

I agree that as social beings we rely on each other for quite a few things: teaching during our developmental years is somehow crucial (if done without ignorance) as is the very need to have friends, to share ideas, or to disagree peaceably. Once weíre born weíre almost hopelessly imprinted with our parentís behaviors, beliefs, examples (to name a few) that all contribute to the traits we invariably inherit, develop or discard later in life. Or I should say, weíre exposed to it and unable to discern the differences till a greater level of conscience has developed.

I think maxims all have limitations of use - good for one application but not necessarily for another. Weíre not bound to really find a Ďfix-allí formula to cover everything. I agree that ďif everyone else is doing X, itís probably a good idea for me to do X alsoĒ does make a pretty poor justification for a lifetime commitment.

In my own pursuit of my own beliefs, moral code, or whatever youíd like to call it, I found that I could no longer stand on what my parents instilled upon me as a child. That was quite a while ago and Iím still trying to find my way. But, the tidbits Iíve been able to glean from my life experiences leads to my conclusions that I possess now and probably will change at a future time as I continue to progress, or digress.

Thatís why I said what I said, that only the person searching can decide for themselves through intelligent searching, prayerful scripture study, or whatever other means. Coming from my point-of-view, take judgment at the end of this whole mess: say person X stands before God to take responsibility for his life, good or ill. Can that person stand on his friend Zís experiences, habits, etc? Can someone say honestly that someone else caused X to do something or to believe in a certain thing? I think, yes and no; true, Zís influence guided Xís life, to an extent, because he chose to let it influence him. And thereís the choice X made, thus taking Zís example, making it his own and therefore responsible for himself before God. I think thatís what I was getting at, but then, I probably butchered my analogy to further compound the issue.

If worshiping God, or a non-entity was actually pointless, then Iíd agree that the time spent in that worship would be better spent elsewhere. However, from my understanding, thereís no point to life without the reality of an after-life, a hope in a better world where things might actually make better sense. I think thatís one aspect of atheism that Iíve never really understood. If this life doesnít mean anything down the road, whatís the point of living?

Well, religious faithful will undoubtedly have their own problems and struggles that non-believers have. They may even have a harder time of it because theyíre trying to live a standard they donít immediately see the result of. Believers definitely donít have a monopoly on struggles, weaknesses, and faults. I shouldíve said what I did a bit differently, because I know of a few people in my life that arenít believers, yet live very structured and orderly lives. But on the other hand, Iíve seen non-believers lead very traumatic lives because they have no moorings to keep them from the troubles they experience. With God in their lives, is it safe to rule out that they couldíve done better than they had whereas their lack of Him in their lives contributed to a whole list of chaos and turmoil?

I will agree that non-believers have many directions to pick from. I often wish that Iíd been born a non-believer before joining church because they seem to be somehow sturdier than those born into the Church. Their faith is that much stronger because they lived and searched, knowing what their lives were before they found God. To a degree I think some theists would lead chaotic, unstructured lives, but itís definitely not the catchall phrase that I may have inadvertently implied. Itís entirely possible to believe that most people would live very sound lives were their no such thing as God or Satan. We learn through trial and error on our own without anyone tugging on our strings, so to speak.

I believe it is possible to convince others of the truth of my beliefs, but only if theyíre in a frame of mind to receive it. In my experience, I havenít come across anyone whoís converted from my own beliefs just from my sharing with them. I usually get the condescending nod and smile, accompanied with the pat on the head (exaggeration, sureÖ). I personally donít know too much about C.S Lewis to really understand his conversion, but I can understand the concept of what youíre saying.

Ah, I'm probably mucking things up anyway. Sorry.

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Constipatron
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Javert,

I meant that when presented with the opportunity to ask God through prayer, sincerely, those Iíve come across balk, close up, or predictably become hostile towards me at the suggestion of asking a being they canít physically see or touch. If they could look beyond the fallibility of man and their own weakness they might find something worthwhile. Thatís what I meant, although Iím aware that not ALL people looking for religious answers will see it that way and not ALL knowledge or confirmation comes from some divine revelation. Takes time, I imagine, nothingís immediate. Even St. Paul (all the twelve, for that matter) wasnít immediately converted to God. Paul spent TWO YEARS in the wilderness, of which we canít say for certain he experienced out there.

ďIf I call someone's belief illogical, it is only because they don't seem to make logical sense within their own framework. If I call someone's belief 'foolish' or 'stupid', I only do so if the believer is acting in those ways because of their belief.Ē

What makes logic or illogic? Both terms, I think, are very subjective to a personís point-of-view, regardless of their personal beliefs. Were I to discuss things to a deeper level, it makes logical sense to me because everything falls in place, but then I may not see what Iím missing. I usually tend to admit when I donít know something and I try not to discuss things I havenít puzzled out myself, which involves asking others what they think. How is someone supposed to act if not because of his or her belief? If thatís all they know, they can hardly dissemble from it, can they? Not without great effort and possibly confusion.

Actually, what I meant in saying that there are many examples, parallels or witnesses to the existence of a God wasnít quite how it came out. I look outward from my own being, to the things deep within the earth, those marvelous things around me, the people, animals, seasons, etc, to the cosmos beyond and think that with these things (only some of which can be fully explained by science) as witnesses to the reality of a supernal being. Thatís what I meant, not that the mere volume of believers in Christianity, or any other religion validating its so-called truth. The more I learn about life and all that entails, Iím more and more convinced, or rather, Iím vindicated in my own knowledge that God does indeed exist.

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Constipatron
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Mucus,

Atheism and religion arenít that hostile, true. Perhaps I used Ďhostileí in the wrong sense. Theyíre definitely not seeking religious blood. Hostility takes many forms, even on-line, though it is on the low rung or not. Iím trying to understand atheism and other perspectives better these days. Those I know in person, however, tend to disregard my faith for naught without due consideration that I may have a point here and there.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Constipatron:
I think thatís one aspect of atheism that Iíve never really understood. If this life doesnít mean anything down the road, whatís the point of living?

If it helps you understand, from my POV, atheism is not about wish-fulfillment. It *might* be nice having an afterlife or reincarnation, but that does not necessarily make it true.

quote:
Originally posted by Constipatron:
I meant that when presented with the opportunity to ask God through prayer, sincerely, those Iíve come across balk, close up, or predictably become hostile towards me ...

Under what kind of circumstances did you present them with such an opportunity? Also, where?

[ March 25, 2008, 01:55 AM: Message edited by: Mucus ]

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Blayne Bradley
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I notice that my latest post hasn't been answered. Interesting.
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Constipatron
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Mucus,
ďIf it helps you understand, from my POV, atheism is not about wish-fulfillment. It *might* be nice having an afterlife or reincarnation, but that does not necessarily make it true.Ē
Thatís understandable to see it that way. Iíve never really had a moment of doubt of an afterlife, myself. Especially when my grandmother and father passed away. I was drawn to the very question of whether Iíd see them again or not. What conclusion I came to, through various experiences, the main one being mostly through prayer, was an surety that there is an afterlife and the scriptures concerning it are true: we, all of us, will be there. I can understand itís a bit difficult to swallow from anyone who doesnít believe in it, or sees it from the outside. The way the Spirit has worked in my life is key to understanding things not yet tangible.

Usually when speaking to a non-believer, it was usually at their home or at work. The most recent example being a co-worker where we happened to get onto the topic of religion and itís validity or invalidity. He said he was open to the topic, expressed interest in how religion works, but despite anything I said, point or no point, he couldnít allow himself to take it further. *Shrug* I merely offered an alternative experiment for him, of which he had no desire to follow, to the point of some annoyance on his part, I think. That's fine with me, actually. I wasn't trying to convert him, or anyone else for that matter, in the least. Unlike many religious people I've met, I've no desire to yell 'hell and damnation' on someone who chooses not to believe what I believe. Arguement and condescention rarely convince anyone of the truth.

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Constipatron:
I merely offered an alternative experiment for him, of which he had no desire to follow, to the point of some annoyance on his part, I think. That's fine with me, actually.

Part of that annoyance, I would imagine, comes from your assumption that he (or your average non-believer) hasn't prayed sincerely for an answer.

Certainly some atheists have never prayed, and have no desire too.

But many, at least the overwhelming majority of those that I know and have met, have sincerely prayed for answers from your or any other god. And received nothing in response.

I have done so myself. On numerous occasions. And, to be honest, it gets tedious.

So when someone tells me that all I need to do is pray, I admit to being a bit annoyed sometimes too.

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
No, it doesn't.
Yes, it does. [Wink]

(Isn't arguing so much easier when you skip the part where you give logic to back up your assertions?)

Okay-- I'll go first, and invite you to give your reasoning afterwards.

quote:
being all-knowing and all-powerful necessarily implies that one is good.
Knowledge and power do not lend themselves naturally to good behavior. History is filled with people(s) whose power corrupts their good intentions; or whose power makes their greedy intentions a reality, and makes everyone around them miserable.

I do not grant that maximum knowledge and maximum control over one's surroundings/circumstances implies inherent (or inherited) goodness. I think that unless you add some caveats to your original statement (e.g., 'The presence of omniscience and omnipotence define "good."), it is inherently, plainly, obviously false.

***I think that good behavior, on the other hand, will lead, eventually, to both omniscience and omnipotence-- with omnipotence being defined as 'able to control all that can be controlled.' It's a very Mormon-centric belief, though.

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:

I don't think I have oversimplyfied, I think that according to biblical literature and its current interpretations answer me this: If an individual completely rejects jesus's sacrifice, rejects god, rejects the bible and all morals that supposedly stemming from it completely in heart and soul what happens to this person when he dies?

Can anyone answer this?
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Scott R
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In Mormon theology, it depends on how much the person knows about Jesus' sacrifice. Greater knowledge about Christ and his gospel imparts greater moral responsibility, and graver consequences when those responsibilities aren't met.
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Blayne Bradley
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What about if I put Richard Dawkins as an example? Or any average 21st North American who meets my criteria?
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Scott R
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My answer would still be the same.
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
In Mormon theology, it depends on how much the person knows about Jesus' sacrifice. Greater knowledge about Christ and his gospel imparts greater moral responsibility, and graver consequences when those responsibilities aren't met.

Then shouldn't the answer be, if you want to save everyone, to never tell anyone about Christ ever again? [Wink]
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I notice that my latest post hasn't been answered. Interesting.
The most interesting part is that it has been answered. Read more, post less, Blayne. You're embarrassing yourself.
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Mucus
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Blayne/Scott R: For the record, Richard Dawkins (and a fair number of atheists including myself for that matter) do not "reject" these things.

We do not "reject" God, God doesn't *exist*. For that matter, he doesn't believe that Christ existed in the way that Christ is normally depicted or that the "good" morals in the Bible come from a non-human source.
Describing atheists as "rejecting God" is kind of missing the point. (it also places undue emphasis on the Christian God for that matter)

quote:
Originally posted by Constipatron:
...
Usually when speaking to a non-believer ... but despite anything I said, point or no point, he couldnít allow himself to take it further.

The problem is that you've conflated as you put it "opportunity to ask God through prayer" with "you asking him to pray/convert". Many people have a distinctly negative view of active attempts to convert and/or missionaries.

[ March 25, 2008, 10:05 AM: Message edited by: Mucus ]

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
I notice that my latest post hasn't been answered. Interesting.

I have a post on page 2 addressed to you in part, that you never specifically answered. Sometimes people simply miss things.

KOM: In regards to my mistakes.

1:
quote:
"having a claim to love" and "punishing for not loving". The first is reasonable. The second is evil.
It could be evil except that to neglect to express love for God is synonymous with cultivating a self absorbed personality and a general enmity for others. Those attributes eventually without fail express themselves in terrible ways worthy of punishment. Hence when we neglect to love God to the fullest meaning of that phrase we find ourselves deserving of reproof.

2:
quote:
Second, you are taking as - hah - Gospel that your god is indeed required for life. For this you have only the word of your god, whose goodness, and therewith truthfulness, you should not be assuming for this discussion
Well I have the word of my God and the fact that you and me are alive discussing this very point. It's hardly possible much less reasonable for God to turn off the switch and then tell us all, "See see?" My point was not to posit that God must exist for life to occur, it was to explain that at least for the Christian God, since he claims to be our spiritual father, were that true it would hardly warrant a neutral attitude towards him initially.

3:
quote:
Third, you are failing to address the point I made, namely that even the actual giving of life, creation if you prefer, does not give you the right to demand love and punish if it is not received. Even for an infallible creator.
I disagree. Since God claims to have created us and has instilled a part of himself in us, to not love him at all is to not love one's self completely. Part of the reason we can love at all is that that is part of the nature God has given us. Now sure you will contend that you do not believe God exists at all and therefore He is completely uninvolved in who you are, but again my point is that just creating us, given the fact that there is joy to be found in the human experience in of itself warrants some adoration if there is indeed a creator. So yes, for simply creating us God deserves love, and since failing to love him involves becoming a defective member of society, he can rightfully punish those who do not love him.

We've already talked numerous times on the point of people who know not God and are therefore entitled to some mercy when they sin.

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Occasional
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Javert, not really. Because the related theology is if you don't have the opportunities given to you to know and follow Jesus Christ than you can never acheive more than the lowest eternal common denominator. In other words, you would be one step closer to the worst state of existance - Outer Darkness. That is achieved by conscious rebellion against God.

In other words, the more you have then the more you get. The more you fail and the more you fall. The less you have, the less you will get even if you can lose less. Ever read the parable of the Talents in the New Testament? Basically the same idea.

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Javert:
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
In Mormon theology, it depends on how much the person knows about Jesus' sacrifice. Greater knowledge about Christ and his gospel imparts greater moral responsibility, and graver consequences when those responsibilities aren't met.

Then shouldn't the answer be, if you want to save everyone, to never tell anyone about Christ ever again? [Wink]
Er...salvation works a little differently in Mormonism than in other religions, I think.

Eventually, everyone will have to make a choice about whether they will follow Christ or not. Much of our education about Him may not come in this life. It is not a given, within Mormonism, that the next life will be easier than this one to make that choice; we will still have free will and opposition.

We tell people now about Christ because we believe knowledge about Him can make people happier than they could be without him. (For some value of happy.)

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Javert
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I was kidding, Occasional.

quote:
It could be evil except that to neglect to express love for God is synonymous with cultivating a self absorbed personality and a general enmity for others.
No it's not.

Neglecting to express love for a specific person/entity does not make you self absorbed by default.

Neglecting to love anyone other than yourself does that. Unless you definition for god is "everyone else", in which case you're using a strange definition.

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Scott R
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quote:
Neglecting to love anyone other than yourself does that. Unless you definition for god is "everyone else", in which case you're using a strange definition.
Well... I won't say that God is everyone else.

But rememeber: Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

[Smile]

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Neglecting to love anyone other than yourself does that. Unless you definition for god is "everyone else", in which case you're using a strange definition.
Well... I won't say that God is everyone else.

But rememeber: Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

[Smile]

So as long as I love all people I'm covered?
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Rakeesh
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Whether or not you're 'covered', Scott pretty clearly addressed your original point, Javert.
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Whether or not you're 'covered', Scott pretty clearly addressed your original point, Javert.

Maybe a bit. But I can still love everyone on the planet and still not love your (or Scott's, or anyone else's) god. And that in no way makes me concerned only with myself. (Which I think is one of BlackBlade's points.)
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Scott R
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quote:
So as long as I love all people I'm covered?
I don't know. It's not my call.

From the same sermon I took my quote from, Christ says that it doesn't matter whether or not you know it's Him you're serving; your place in the afterlife is determined by how you treat people. However, he says in Mark 16 that belief in Him (along with baptism) is essential to salvation.

Mormonism puts strong emphasis on works-- both daily righteousness (loving/helping others) and ordinances (baptism). I think both are necessary for salvation, but I'm not at all sure about the quantity or mixture of each.

Nor do I care much. It's not up to me to judge others' worthiness. That's a duty I'm willing to leave to God.

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Sid Meier
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I saw alot of next and I do not believe I saw my name written anywhere depicting that its a response to my thing.

My eyesight has gotten really bad lately so ive been trying not to strain my vision, but basically I do not believe that my question as been answered correctly, the answer I am looking for is thus:

If one in your view rejects God does he go to Hell? This should be a fairly yes or no kind of answer and shouldn't take more then a sentence to answer, if it takes 4-5 paragraphs to answer then something is wrong with your answer.

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Scott R
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What do you mean, "rejects God?"

How much did the person know about God before he rejected him? What kind of influences pushed him toward rejecting God? When he rejected God, had he previously loved God?

The scenario you posed needs some more crunchiness.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
If this life doesnít mean anything down the road, whatís the point of living?
I think this is a very good question. But I think a better way of asking it is this: if we're only alive for the sake of the end of the road, what's the point of living? Why not just start at the end?

If the journey itself has no value, why travel? Why visit Paris if you're just going to come back home?

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Sid Meier
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
What do you mean, "rejects God?"

How much did the person know about God before he rejected him? What kind of influences pushed him toward rejecting God? When he rejected God, had he previously loved God?

The scenario you posed needs some more crunchiness.

Okay, lets put it this way, you have person A who knows about Christianity, who knows about Christ, and knows that in theory he sacrificed himself for everyone else's sins, who has seen a bible, knows about it, knows about the dead sea scrolls, but has only read parts of it. Who upon considering everything considers all of it a waste of time, does not believe in Jesus's supposed ed message, doesn't believe that the Judeo Christian God exists, and considers organized religion fraud at worst and profound wastes of time at best.

And you have Person B, who is for random example a Baptist, tries to show person A about Gods everlasting love, tries to talk to him about Jesus, engage him in conversation and at times even against person A's wishes prays for him even openly infront of him despite A's obvious ire, and goes as far as trying to invite him or her into bible studies etc.

Person A, while touched that a friend would go so far for him/her still respectfully declines while not openly saying he rejects Jesus's message he/she nonetheless prefers valid ethics to biblical morals, rejects organized religion doesn;t believe jesus is god or a form of god or even a holy person of any way shape or form, and doesn't believe that god as humans currently know it exists the way people think god or god(s) exist.

Is that specific enough for you?

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Rakeesh
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The question about how much the person knew about God is not really meant as, "How many facts and ideas about a given religion does the guy know?" It's a question between the person and God.

You can't look at a guy and say, "He knew all about God but rejects Him. He is going to hell." That's not something us meatbags can gauge.

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advice for robots
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In response to Sid Meier: If a person who previously felt like they knew God rejected him, would they even want to go to heaven, where they would be with God? Wouldn't they have also rejected the desire to be in heaven, much less believe in it?
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Rakeesh
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I think what he's actually asking is, "Would this person be sentenced to eternal damnation and torment," more than, "Does he go to heaven or hell?"
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Tresopax
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quote:
Okay-- I'll go first, and invite you to give your reasoning afterwards.
I gave my reasoning in my first post. Here is what I attempted to argue:

"After all, if there is standard of "good" against which God could be measured, it would have to be an objective fact not only what is good but also that good itself is good. In order to be all-knowing, God would have to always know both what is good and also that good is preferable to not good. Given this, it logically follows that God would always intend to do good.

So that would only leave the possibility that God intends good but is somehow unable to do it. That directly conflicts with the omnipotence of God. If God knows what good is and knows that good is preferable to not good, and if God can do anything He intends to do, then He would definitely do good."


quote:
Knowledge and power do not lend themselves naturally to good behavior. History is filled with people(s) whose power corrupts their good intentions; or whose power makes their greedy intentions a reality, and makes everyone around them miserable.
I don't think we can use any human example as a comparison because, although some humans can be more powerful or knowledgeable than others, none come anywhere close to being omniscient or omnipotent. In the case of knowledge, there have been many people who are extremely extremely knowledgable by human standards, yet clearly still did not understand what was good or saw the benefit to being good. That's in part because understanding what is right and wrong can be far trickier than scientific or other academic knowledge, because it essentially involves trying to predict the future consequences of actions. An omniscient being would perfectly understand those consequences in a way no human ever could. In the case of power, there's a similar problem. People who abuse their power are not really all-powerful. They are more powerful than the average human being, but at the very least they lack some power of self-control. Excessive power also seems to distort a person's view of the world - that is to say, I think it prevents them from understanding goodness, among other things, correctly. They see things as right which aren't right at all. I don't think this would be an issue with God, since He is supposed to be all-powerful AND all-knowing at the same time. He can't really have a distorted view of the world; his viewpoint is supposed to be perfectly accurate.
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Scott R
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Thanks for explaining, Tresopax.
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I think what he's actually asking is, "Would this person be sentenced to eternal damnation and torment," more than, "Does he go to heaven or hell?"

Well, I think the underlying question is, "Will we as believers in God write someone off as hellbound if they reject God?"

My answer to that is no. Or at least, we'd better not. No person can possibly make that call for another person. If we do try to, we are in a world of hurt.

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
1:
quote:
"having a claim to love" and "punishing for not loving". The first is reasonable. The second is evil.
It could be evil except that to neglect to express love for God is synonymous with cultivating a self absorbed personality and a general enmity for others. Those attributes eventually without fail express themselves in terrible ways worthy of punishment. Hence when we neglect to love God to the fullest meaning of that phrase we find ourselves deserving of reproof.
Right. You have now redefined "loving your god" in such a way that it just means "being a decent human being". I do not think this is a reasonable use of the words in question.

quote:
2:
quote:
Second, you are taking as - hah - Gospel that your god is indeed required for life. For this you have only the word of your god, whose goodness, and therewith truthfulness, you should not be assuming for this discussion
Well I have the word of my God and the fact that you and me are alive discussing this very point. It's hardly possible much less reasonable for God to turn off the switch and then tell us all, "See see?" My point was not to posit that God must exist for life to occur, it was to explain that at least for the Christian God, since he claims to be our spiritual father, were that true it would hardly warrant a neutral attitude towards him initially.
You are conflating two issues. One issue: For the purposes of this discussion, please cease to assume the truthfulness of your god. Your "and the fact that we are alive now" is completely circular. The only way this is evidence of your god's claim to have created us is if your god is truthful in claiming to have created us. Second issue: Claims to love from creation, which I address below.

quote:
3:
quote:
Third, you are failing to address the point I made, namely that even the actual giving of life, creation if you prefer, does not give you the right to demand love and punish if it is not received. Even for an infallible creator.
I disagree. Since God claims to have created us and has instilled a part of himself in us, to not love him at all is to not love one's self completely.
Yes, well? I have many flaws, which I see no need to love.

quote:
Part of the reason we can love at all is that that is part of the nature God has given us.
Sez... your god. Do I really have to belabor this point again? A further point: According to your god, part of the reason we can kill is that it is part of the nature your god claims to have given us. Does it follow that we should kill your god? (Assuming for the moment that we were able to do so.)

quote:
Now sure you will contend that you do not believe God exists at all and therefore He is completely uninvolved in who you are, but again my point is that just creating us, given the fact that there is joy to be found in the human experience in of itself warrants some adoration if there is indeed a creator.

Once more: Your god may reasonably have a claim to some gratitude. Maybe, maybe not; you can argue it either way. But that does not give it the right to punish if it does not receive such gratitude. And as for love, that's not under conscious control anyway; I can no more choose to love than I can choose to be sexually attracted to men. (And as a side note, I did actually attempt this once, and it didn't work.) What sort of creature demands, on pain of infinite punishment, something that is worthless unless freely given, and that in some cases cannot be given whether freely or not?

NB: I am assuming in this paragraph the usual English meaning of the word 'love'. If you want to use some other meaning, could you please use the paraphrase? For example, if you want "love God" to mean "play Dance Dance Revolution every Saturday", please use the latter phrase and not the former.

As a side note, you did not respond to my point about source criticism.

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