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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » God and worship (Page 1)

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Author Topic: God and worship
Raventhief
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So Clive Candy's thread about how people are unaffected by events which seem to be religious experiences has got me thinking.

Is the existence of god after the Judeo-Christian tradition a sufficient condition for worship? Basically this. If we assume that an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being/force exists, does this lead to the conclusion that we should worship said being?

Related question, if we add the assumption that said being requests worship, does that lead to the conclusion that we should worship said being?

My opinion is no, to both questions. The existence of something infinitely more powerful than me (no matter how good) doesn't affect my actions.
If said being wants me to worship it, I suddenly have a much worse opinion of it. If a being of infinite power cares that tiny little me spends a significant portion of my tiny (in comparison) life saying how wonderful god is, then I think that's really petty. And so petty a being doesn't deserve my worship.

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Raventhief:
So Clive Candy's thread about how people are unaffected by events which seem to be religious experiences has got me thinking.

Is the existence of god after the Judeo-Christian tradition a sufficient condition for worship? Basically this. If we assume that an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being/force exists, does this lead to the conclusion that we should worship said being?

Related question, if we add the assumption that said being requests worship, does that lead to the conclusion that we should worship said being?

My opinion is no, to both questions. The existence of something infinitely more powerful than me (no matter how good) doesn't affect my actions.
If said being wants me to worship it, I suddenly have a much worse opinion of it. If a being of infinite power cares that tiny little me spends a significant portion of my tiny (in comparison) life saying how wonderful god is, then I think that's really petty. And so petty a being doesn't deserve my worship.

Well, if the omniscient, all-power god demands worship, I would be loathe to displease it for safety reasons.
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kmbboots
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If you are positing the "superman in the sky" version of god, then I would agree with you. That is not my understanding of God. And I think that you will find that most religions, even the "superman in the sky" religions also include "good" in their description of God.
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Raymond Arnold
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Most include in their definition "by definition" but haven't given me a really concrete sense of the things God has actually done that made him good.
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kmbboots
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Oops, Raventhief, I see you did include omnibenevolent. Raymond, I think creating the universe is generally at the top of the list. Loving us is also on the list. And if you are looking at scripture from a more tribal point of view, their are all sorts of things - freeing the Israelites from slavery, aid in battle, manna and so forth.
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Lisa
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I think you may have a different understanding of "worship" than we do. We serve God. That's often translated as "worship". And we do so because we share the same goals. And we share the same goals because we think God is omnibenevolent and omniscient.

(Note that omnibenevolent doesn't mean that every individual is always going to appreciate things. My 9 year old daughter doesn't get it when I do things for her own good sometimes either.)

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Raventhief
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
Well, if the omniscient, all-power god demands worship, I would be loathe to displease it for safety reasons.

OK, so it's a worship or die situation. Not interested. That makes god a bully.

As to the things god has done which are good, KM, is it that god is good, so he/she/it is worthy of worship?

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AchillesHeel
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I could never get over this particular bit. God knows all, everything that was is and will be. We have free will, it is the major differance between us and angels. Free will allows us to deny God and commit attrocities against His children. But God already knew all of that now didnt He, the fall of Lucifer, the sins of Eve, the sacrifice of his son Jesus.

If we play tic-tac-toe Im reasonobly certain what will happen, so I dont play that game. Now that being said wtf is God's reason for all of this? or is rationalization reserved for divinity as well.

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Shawshank
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So I haven't posted in probably about a year or so, but I still read the boards fairly often. But I thought I'd offer my own solution to question posed. I really don't know why since we all know how religion threads go anyways. But I thought it might be something I could answer. In the interest of clarity I will say that this semester I'm completing my BA in Religious Studies and a BA in Psychology from a private Christian school, and in the fall I will be starting my Masters work also in religion. I know I've spoken in years past about religious matters, but I will also say that I've become a lot less fundamentalist since then as I've gone through my education.

The answer to the first question- why does God deserve our worship is intimately connected with the answer of AchillesHeel's question.

God is love. That's where it begins in my eyes. God's very ontology is defined by that of love. God doesn't NEED our worship. There's nothing that we do that he needs. He's so much bigger and greater than us. A lot of people will say that God created humanity so that we could worship him. That's simply not true. Or we exist so that God could have relationship with something. But God's trinitarian nature makes for this unnecessary, since God exists in relationship within himself. He was never lonely, he could live in relationship with just himself. The way I look at it is like this: God thought of us. He conceived of you and me in his mind. He began to think about us and loved us. In fact he loved us so much that he brought us into creation. He brought about creation for our sakes, not for his. God loved us so much that brought us into existence so that we can know God's love for us. I really do think that that is the goal of existence. It's also important to note that simply by the creation of the Other God, for the sake of love, gives up some sense of his Godhood. Before creation was all that was, but afterwards there existed Him and something else. But it was for the sake of love.

So he created the physical reality, and an intelligible one at that, in which humans might exist. A physical reality that was able to be manipulate on some level by the beings which inhabited it.

God desires what Martin Buber describes describe an I-thou relationship rather than an I-it relationship. Simply put, the I-thou relationship is where one values the relationship for the subject itself. I value my friendship with you because I value you yourself. An I-it relationship is: I value you because of the function or role that play. Thus, God gave us free will. God might have all foreknowledge, but God exists outside of time and experiences all time like an Eternal Present or an Eternal Now, and thus our free will is able to be maintained since he doesn't ordain the future.

Then comes the problem of evil. God doesn't create evil, and good exists independently of evil. But God did create the potentiality of evil by virtue of the existence of free will. Thus came the downfall of man. Man sinned, and evil came upon the world.

Yes, God does allow evil to exist but only because he cannot give free will and take it away at the same time. That's just stupid. The real issue of sin and evil is not some sort of divine legal status as guilty or not guilty. It was simply that humans needed to be reconciled back to God. Sin should be understood in relational terms. It's not merely some checklist of behaviors, but rather is anything that is outside of His will. Since God is love- anything outside of his love is inherently unloving since God cannot do anything unloving. And evil is understood the result as a privation of that perfect relationship between God and man.

Thus the God-Man came into being. A being that was both fully man and fully God allowed for the reconciliation of God and man. And through the death of the God-man all of mankind was now able to enter into the right relationship with God. And as we move further and further into that relationship, we become more and more loving. The very ontological status of a person can be fundamentally changed as a result of what happens in the God-Man relationship.

So I worship God because of what he has done for, what he is doing on my behalf, and what he will continue to do for me. God's love is not contingent on my worship of him, but when I worship God I allow Him to do what he wants with me. And I am transformed into a better human being. I love God because he first loved me, and he has brought me into existence to demonstrate His love for me.

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Raventhief
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OK, I'll do my best to start from the same set of assumptions you are using. I probably won't be completely successful, but I'll try.
Starting with Achilles, if angels have no free will, then the original sin, the war in heaven beginning with Lucifer was not an act of rebellion, but simply the angel Lucifer following what it was intended to do by god. Since man's sin was instigated by Lucifer, then again, god's will was involved.

Shawshank, the problems of free will and evil are not so easily explained. Free will implies the choice to do either A or B. If it is known what I will choose, then there is no choice.
The evil defense you proposed implies that all evil stems from man and his free will. As a counterexample, I would point to Haiti and other natural disasters.

Now, your statement that the goal of existence is to know god's love, this seems an easy thing to do. I know my friends' and family's love from how we treat each other and how we feel near each other. From god I feel... well nothing. I see no god, I hear no god. It would be an easy thing (it seems) for god to treat us all in a way that shows love, or even to show us his existence, if that was the entire goal. There must be more to it.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Raventhief:
If it is known what I will choose, then there is no choice.

Untrue. If I know you loathe vanilla and love chocolate, you still have the choice to pick the vanilla cone and not the chocolate one. Every bit as much as if a stranger walked up and gave you the same two choices.
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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Raventhief:
If it is known what I will choose, then there is no choice.

Untrue. If I know you loathe vanilla and love chocolate, you still have the choice to pick the vanilla cone and not the chocolate one. Every bit as much as if a stranger walked up and gave you the same two choices.
Your knowledge of his hypothetical loathing is not the same as knowledge of his impending choice.
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Shawshank
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Raventhief, for your first objection I would just reiterate what rivka said. There are people in my life that I know really well- and I pretty much know what they are going to say and do before they do it. That doesn't mean that they don't choose to do it. It comes to how God experiences time- I think God views all moments as being simultaneous and is inherently timeless and thus observes all events at the same time. Thus he can know all without destroying free will.

As for natural disasters and things like that- I would say that the problem of sin entering into the world was originally a position of man's unloving desire. When evil entered into the world at all (acting through men as a medium of sorts) it disrupted the entirety of creation. Now I mean that on an ontological level rather than a Pat Robertson "well they prayed to the devil..." type of crap you hear.

As for love, I'd argue that it's inherently not a feeling. It's inherently a commitment rather than some sort of emotional state. I think that God does show his existence to us and does demonstrate his love for us, sometimes its just difficult to see.

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Raymond Arnold
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What's kind of weird is that I don't believe in free will in the first place, but if I were to assume that it DID exist, I have no problem with the notion of an all knowing God knowing what you're going to choose without messing with free will at all. Knowing that a choice is going to be made is no different from knowing that any other action is going to occur. If I get a time machine, go to the future, and see who wins the next Superbowl, and then come back, that doesn't mean that the players don't have to work just as hard.

I still think that the entire idea of free will is nonsensical, but that's another story.

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Shanna
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Rivka, what you're describing is knowledge of a preference not knowledge of what will happen. Its one thing to know someone LOVES chocolate ice cream and its another to jump in a time machine and watch them pick chocolate ice cream at the store.

I agree with the idea that since the angels don't have free will, if Satan existed, then all of his actions are in accord with how he was created. But I also prefer the idea that Satan isn't evil but rather fulfills an important function of a tester of mortal man. He's more like that horrible math teacher in high school who loved pop quizzes. When someone fails a test, its no one's fault but their own.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
Rivka, what you're describing is knowledge of a preference not knowledge of what will happen. Its one thing to know someone LOVES chocolate ice cream and its another to jump in a time machine and watch them pick chocolate ice cream at the store.

And if you did, they would have every bit as much free choice as they did before you jumped into the DeLorean.
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Raventhief
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If Satan is the tester and evil is the result of failing the test, then without the test, there is no evil. If Satan is merely fulfilling it's function, and it's function comes from god, then (by transition) god is the source of all evil (as well as good).

I also don't believe in a free will because despite all my trying, I still believe in a clockwork universe. Because, if it is "known" (100% certainty, no other possibility) what the outcome of a choice will be, then, definitionally there was no choice, there was only one possibility. The vanilla vs chocolate example, you might look at my choice and say, "I knew you were going to pick that," but you didn't. You simply believed something which turned out to be correct.

Shawshank, ahhh original sin. All evil derives from the choice Adam and Eve made to partake of knowledge rather than remain children. If we take the story literally, man exercised his god-given free will and damned himself by doing so. How is this different from giving man free will and then saying, "you can't use it."?

And then your final point. God does show himself and his love to us. You just need to want to see it. If this is the goal of existence, why make it difficult? God set up this universe, so it could have been easy to see.

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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
I also don't believe in a free will because despite all my trying, I still believe in a clockwork universe. Because, if it is "known" (100% certainty, no other possibility) what the outcome of a choice will be, then, definitionally there was no choice, there was only one possibility. The vanilla vs chocolate example, you might look at my choice and say, "I knew you were going to pick that," but you didn't. You simply believed something which turned out to be correct.
Say you have a perfectly random coin. You flip it. It has a 50/50 chance of being heads up until the moment you flip it. You flip it three times, and the results are heads, tails, heads.

Years later you invent a time machine and go back to watch those three coin flips. They're just as random as they always were. The only difference is this time you know which way the randomness will turn out. I don't think there's anything contradictory about that. (I'm pretty sure there are events in the universe at the quantum level there are truly random, and I'm reasonably sure we have theoretical ideas on how time travel could actually work in some specific circumstances, so this discussion might have an actual scientific answer. Any resident physicists have any concrete insight here?)

My take on free will is that either decisions are deterministic, or they are (to some degree) random. I honestly cannot fathom how you could possibly "make" a choice that wasn't already determined by who you are as a person. If you have two identical children born/raised in identical circumstances, and one makes a good choice and one makes a bad choice, what does that possibly say about them? Either one somehow had an inclination towards badness that the other did not, or the choice was random. Neither amounts to something you can blame them for.

Random choices would be relevant to discussions involving omniscience or time travel but they still don't impress me as anything special about the human race that makes it worth putting us through extra suffering, especially if you can rewrite physics on a whim.

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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Because, if it is "known" (100% certainty, no other possibility) what the outcome of a choice will be, then, definitionally there was no choice, there was only one possibility.
This does not necessarily hold true, depending the nature of time and whether or not God is bound by it like humans are.

In a similar way, if it is "known" (100% certainty, no other possibility) what the outcome of a choice was, then it does not follow that there was no choice, that there was only one possibility.

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natural_mystic
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I remembered an article by R. Adams about "middle knowledge" and free will. Trying to find it I came across the excerpt below (excerpted from an article at http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/free-will-foreknowledge/). I think this a nice presentation of the argument for the incompatibility of free will and an omniscient god. The article goes on to examine the attacks on the individual premises (e.g. 1 is attacked on the grounds that god does not exist in time).
quote:

Basic Argument for Theological Fatalism

(1) Yesterday God infallibly believed T. [Supposition of infallible foreknowledge]
(2) If E occurred in the past, it is now-necessary that E occurred then. [Principle of the Necessity of the Past]
(3) It is now-necessary that yesterday God believed T. [1, 2]
(4) Necessarily, if yesterday God believed T, then T. [Definition of “infallibility”]
(5) If p is now-necessary, and necessarily (p → q), then q is now-necessary. [Transfer of Necessity Principle]
(6) So it is now-necessary that T. [3,4,5]
(7) If it is now-necessary that T, then you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am. [Definition of “necessary”]
(8) Therefore, you cannot do otherwise than answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am. [6, 7]
(9) If you cannot do otherwise when you do an act, you do not act freely. [Principle of Alternate Possibilities]
(10) Therefore, when you answer the telephone tomorrow at 9 am, you will not do it freely. [8, 9]


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Tatiana
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God teaches us to worship because it's how we can become happy, not for his sake at all, but for ours. When we spend our time in thankfulness for the blessings we have, and glorying in the beauty of the universe, bathing in universal compassion, and in awe of his infinite love, doing our best to render loving service to all his children, well that is true happiness. That's why he teaches us to worship. Because it exalts us, not him. He's already exalted, you know?
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MightyCow
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I'm much happier as an atheist than I ever was worshipping.
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
I could never get over this particular bit. God knows all, everything that was is and will be. We have free will, it is the major differance between us and angels. Free will allows us to deny God and commit attrocities against His children. But God already knew all of that now didnt He, the fall of Lucifer, the sins of Eve, the sacrifice of his son Jesus.

If we play tic-tac-toe Im reasonobly certain what will happen, so I dont play that game. Now that being said wtf is God's reason for all of this? or is rationalization reserved for divinity as well.

My mom would sometimes leave the room when I was a child, and then come back in to find my hand in the cookie jar, even though I knew all of the reasons I wasn't suppose to do that. She would come right back in and catch me, because she knew I was going to do that. I always did.

That in no way meant she made me do it, or that I didn't have the choice not to do it. It didn't invalidate my free will.

Just because God knows what happens next doesn't mean he made those choices for us.

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Sterling
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...So why is there free will?

It's one thing to say that x knows that y will do something, even with 100% certainty; you can certainly say that x's knowledge doesn't lead to y's decision. But if x made y, if x's knowledge of y's actions is a direct result of having cast the first card from which the entire game is forecast...

I've come to my own hypotheses, for what they're worth, but I'm curious what others' take is before I share them. Why create a creature that is capable of willfully choosing that which is evil or that which will make it unhappy?

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Frisco
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It's much more comforting for me to believe that there's nobody in charge up there.

So if I ever found out that someone created this mess *on purpose*, my first reaction would be, "You've got some 'splainin' to do!"

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rivka
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Sterling, because having the ability to fail makes success worth something -- worth quite a lot, actually.
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Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
Why create a creature that is capable of willfully choosing that which is evil or that which will make it unhappy?

Because it's funny?
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rivka
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*sigh*
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
And if you did, they would have every bit as much free choice as they did before you jumped into the DeLorean.

But it's not just time travel and foreknowledge we're talking about. If we're talking about a god, not only did that god know what your decision was going to be, it created you in such a way that you would make that decision.

To me, it looks quite a bit like the hypothetical god decided what it wanted me to do and then created me to do those things. Or am I wrong?

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0Megabyte
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To be perfectly fair, it seems rivka and alot of others don't believe that's correct.

It's fun to use such a thing, but since we're talking about a hypothetical omnipotent entity, is it not possible it didn't create you in a manner that means you must make that decision?

Heck, in this universe we can't even predict subatomic particles accurately. Who says the decisions we make are any more determined?

At least, hypothetically.

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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by 0Megabyte:
Heck, in this universe we can't even predict subatomic particles accurately. Who says the decisions we make are any more determined?

In the universe as it appears to be, I agree with you. But in a universe that was created by an ALL-KNOWING and ALL-POWERFUL being, I seriously can not see how those things couldn't be determined.
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0Megabyte
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However, on the other hand, the ability to fail for the sake of making success sweeter is... an interesting view.

But if a person were to do it the way many seem to believe it was done, with success being heaven and failure being eternal torment, they'd be thought of as a sadistic monster.

Then again, when I did believe in God's existence, I would have pointed out that God wasn't what a lot of people seemed to believe He was anyway. (as seen by the existence of all those Protestants out there!)

[Big Grin]

Regardless, making success sweet is one thing. But the world isn't fair about it either way. There isn't any equity here, not really. People don't have the same chance as each other, for various reasons.

Without a properly fair starting point from which to proceed, success and failure don't have much meaning anyway, and failure becomes all the more cruel.

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AchillesHeel
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God is good, and Satan is bad... but if God made Satan and entirely allowed him to fall already knowing it would happen then God is to blame for evil. This point has already been made but bare with me. How is God good when He is responsible for evil? if I put a plasic tube into a hamster cage and use it to remotely flood the enviroment with water but come in at the last second to save the hamster, am I good? Does omnipitance place God above morality and the clash of right and wrong for no more reason than He made them in the first place? the more I think about the more it just seems like an eighth grade science project.
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Raventhief
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
In a similar way, if it is "known" (100% certainty, no other possibility) what the outcome of a choice was, then it does not follow that there was no choice, that there was only one possibility.

You just said "if there is no other possibility, it does not follow that there is only one possibility." And I have to argue that that is wrong of logical necessity. "No other" and "only one" are logically equivalent.
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Raventhief
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quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
[QUOTE]Say you have a perfectly random coin. You flip it. It has a 50/50 chance of being heads up until the moment you flip it. You flip it three times, and the results are heads, tails, heads.

But this is the entire question. We say that a coin toss is random because there are 2 outcomes and we from our perspective cannot predict the outcome with any statistical meaning. However, a perfect observer could do so. If it was known beforehand precisely the force and angle with which the coin was struck, the exact atmospheric conditions, and the exact moment and angle at which the coin would be caught, then figuring out which side the coin would land on would be a trivial exercise. An omniscient being is a perfect observer, by definition.

Similarly, I believe (despite my best efforts) that we humans are equally slaves to our desires. If the sum total condition of a man's life, ancestry, and the conditions around him were known with perfect precision, down to a subatomic level, I believe it would be known what he would do before he did it. However, I believe such knowledge is beyond human capacity. It would not be beyond the capacity of the perfect observer (god), again by definition.

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fugu13
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quote:
However, a perfect observer could do so. If it was known beforehand precisely the force and angle with which the coin was struck, the exact atmospheric conditions, and the exact moment and angle at which the coin would be caught, then figuring out which side the coin would land on would be a trivial exercise.
This is not agreed on. In particular, strong modern interpretations of quantum mechanics involve an element of true randomness -- unpredictable even given initial conditions. While a coin flip would be largely deterministic (since quantum effects could generally be integrated out), it would not be wholly so.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Yes, God does allow evil to exist but only because he cannot give free will and take it away at the same time. That's just stupid.
Do you believe God blinded Saul, Shawshank?

----------

quote:
In particular, strong modern interpretations of quantum mechanics involve an element of true randomness -- unpredictable even given initial conditions.
Are we willing to grant that the traditional Judeo-Christian God, as He is normally imagined, is not victim to the Uncertainty Principle? Or is He not in fact truly all-knowing?
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Mucus
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Maybe he has a Heisenberg compensator
(Either that or we truly have an answer to the question, "What does God need with a starship?")

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Raventhief:

Is the existence of god after the Judeo-Christian tradition a sufficient condition for worship? Basically this. If we assume that an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being/force exists, does this lead to the conclusion that we should worship said being?

Related question, if we add the assumption that said being requests worship, does that lead to the conclusion that we should worship said being?

I think the problem with this question is how we're defining "worship." I was always uncomfortable with the image of a God who wanted me to bow down and lick his feet. And I figured if He really wanted that, then maybe I didn't want Him. That's the images I drum up when I think or worship, though, so I tend to answer no to both questions.

Or worship could just mean that we follow his supposed laws and generally try to be nice to one another.

I'm not entirely convinced that the existence of God or lack thereof really matters in how we live our lives and treat one another.

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fugu13
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TomD: it is implicit in Raventhief's argument that everything is deterministic, not that the complete observer (and incredibly fast calculator) is not subject to the uncertainty principle. Indeed, he's making the argument that nothing is actually random, not that god can somehow see around randomness (whatever the heck that means).

I suspect there are numerous adherents to traditional Judeo-Christian philosophy who would not attribute to god the ability to know truly random things before they happen, but only the ability to know the probabilities. All-knowing isn't well-defined; more specifically, not everything we can talk about being "known" with language is something that actually can be known, just like the fact we can say the words "the set of all sets that do not contain themselves" does not mean such a beast can exist.

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Raventhief
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
This is not agreed on. In particular, strong modern interpretations of quantum mechanics involve an element of true randomness -- unpredictable even given initial conditions. While a coin flip would be largely deterministic (since quantum effects could generally be integrated out), it would not be wholly so.

I'm well aware of quantum mechanics. I daresay I know more about it than most. And the only honest thing you can say about quantum mechanics is that it's a statement of ignorance. I feel your statement should read "quantum mechanics involve an element of true macroscopic randomness -- unpredictable with current levels of science." It is entirely possible (likely, IMO) that even quantum randomness is predictable given a thousand more years of scientific advance. Quantum (or even sub-quantum) level instrumentation should make it possible to predict even what we now call "quantum randomness".
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Raymond Arnold
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I went out of my way to say "perfectly random coin" because I was making up a hypothetically perfectly random situation. I'd have used some specific example from quantum mechanics except I don't know any specific examples from quantum mechanics. The coin is not victim to atmospheric pressure and gravity, it is random simply because I say it is.
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fugu13
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quote:
I'm well aware of quantum mechanics. I daresay I know more about it than most. And the only honest thing you can say about quantum mechanics is that it's a statement of ignorance. I feel your statement should read "quantum mechanics involve an element of true macroscopic randomness -- unpredictable with current levels of science." It is entirely possible (likely, IMO) that even quantum randomness is predictable given a thousand more years of scientific advance. Quantum (or even sub-quantum) level instrumentation should make it possible to predict even what we now call "quantum randomness".
Some do interpret it that way. That is not, however, the mainstream interpretation. The mainstream interpretation right now is that some things are truly random. Part of the reason is, deterministic interpretations tend to require large numbers of additional particles that have, for some reason, gone long-undiscovered. This is not a statement of ignorance, but a statement of the strongest interpretation that fits the known facts.

If you know more about it than most, then you should know you're taking a viewpoint that is not in the scientific mainstream. It is entirely possible, just not one you should treat as obviously true, like you are doing.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I suspect there are numerous adherents to traditional Judeo-Christian philosophy who would not attribute to god the ability to know truly random things before they happen, but only the ability to know the probabilities.
But when you expand it -- into, say, a Schroedinger's Cat situation -- I suspect there are very few Christians who'd say that God is unable to tell whether the cat is alive or dead.
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Raventhief
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
If you know more about it than most, then you should know you're taking a viewpoint that is not in the scientific mainstream. It is entirely possible, just not one you should treat as obviously true, like you are doing.

Don't do this. You're making it personal. Yes, my interpretation is not the mainstream one, I'm well aware of that, and I couched my entire statement in opinion language. That doesn't make anything I said less true.
Quantum mechanics is an incomplete science. "Most likely interpretation" is itself an admission of incomplete knowledge. Just like every science in history, it will stand as our interpretation until there is a better one, and just like every science in history, it will fall when the next one comes along. All I say is that another one will come, and quantum uncertainty will become less uncertain.

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MightyCow
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If one can say that God is "outside of time", and stipulate that even though God knows everything we will do it doesn't overcome our free will somehow, then one could just as easily say that God is "outside of randomness" and in the same way sidestep any notion that God may be unable to perfectly predict our choices due to the inherent randomness in the universe.

In short, all this God stuff, being completely unscientific and without a shred of evidence on way or another, is nothing more than a thought experiment, and as such can turn out any way a person wants, based on the rules and loopholes one sets up for God.

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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Sterling, because having the ability to fail makes success worth something -- worth quite a lot, actually.

Certainly that's an reasonable conclusion with regard to what we see in life. But I can't help but feel it sets up a "stone so big God can't lift it" problem: if God is omnipotent, surely He could make effortless, inevitable success equally meaningful in any way that matters?
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Raymond Arnold
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quote:
Don't do this. You're making it personal. Yes, my interpretation is not the mainstream one, I'm well aware of that, and I couched my entire statement in opinion language. That doesn't make anything I said less true.
Quantum mechanics is an incomplete science. "Most likely interpretation" is itself an admission of incomplete knowledge. Just like every science in history, it will stand as our interpretation until there is a better one, and just like every science in history, it will fall when the next one comes along. All I say is that another one will come, and quantum uncertainty will become less uncertain.

You may very well be right (in fact, I think you probably are), but that doesn't change the fact that for right now, the best science we have says that certain things in the universe probably are truly random. And regardless, by making the argument that nothing unpredictable exists at all, you're undermining your original point, which was that the observation of an outcome eliminated the possibility of alternate outcomes. Not that alternate outcomes were impossible to begin with.

If we're starting with the assumption that randomness and/or free will exists (and quantum mechanics right now seems to indicate that the former is at least possible), then it doesn't matter whether the universe happens to also be a 4 dimensional landscape that lets an omniscient being see which random events will end up in which direction.

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rivka
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Sterling, I have no problem with the notion that certain consequences are inherent in themselves, and omnipotence doesn't change that.
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scifibum
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quote:
if God is omnipotent, surely He could make effortless, inevitable success equally meaningful in any way that matters?
Not if the meaning is intrinsic to effort and evitability. [Wink]

(I think there are theological systems that do this question a reasonable amount of justice considering their starting premises, but it's all rather pointless if you don't grant the premises. Balancing an equation can be a fun exercise but the results aren't always meaningful.)

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