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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » A Hypothetical: What if God Proved His Own Existence? (Page 3)

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Author Topic: A Hypothetical: What if God Proved His Own Existence?
Graeme
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Foust, the toughest thing about this kind of exercise is to imagine the motivations of a being so unlike ourselves that it's almost impossible to do so. I concede that it is possible that an omni-being could create the universe and not care one whit for what happens in it. In that case, it created the universe on a whim. But the moment I concede that, I think of the following:

Why would it create the universe in the first place? (Again, I'm falling back on a human model of motivation, which may well be totally inappropriate for an entity with no restrictions.)Even if it were because of a whim, a whim is a desire, albeit a spontaneous and unpremeditated one. This desire suggests interest; it's hard for me to get rid of this association.

Second, the omni-being created the universe with certain properties at the exclusion of others. What determined which properties were included in the creation? Perhaps the being snapped its fingers and said, "Let there be randomness." But here again, when I think of this possibility, I'm struck by the fact that an omniscient being would know all the possibilities: nothing could be truly random for it. (Or at least it has a perfect conception of every combinatorial set, and the being is okay with any of them. This would also be a preference.) So the act of creation itself seems to include preferences, which I hold to be at least a subset of morality.

It would be a whole lot easier if this being stopped being hypothetical, created a hatrack account, and put this issue to bed.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Maybe this being was absolutely fascinated by the movement of hydrogen atoms, the upper atmosphere of gas giant planets and the composition of sheep skat, and everything else is just "there" and of zero interest.

Or to put it in better terms: we might not be that interesting.

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Scott R
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quote:
It's not that I don't think a Pat Robertsonesque God would be bad (though I do), and it's not that I'm claiming such a being shouldn't be God (though I think they shouldn't), it's that by my definition of what it takes to prove Themself God, They cannot represent something immoral.
Note: Eric James Stone's That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made has an interesting treatment of this-- an alien that claims to be God, and demands that all creatures of its race worship it and only it.

Problems arise when a converted Mormon alien refuses to do so.

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Scott R
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By the way, you can get That Leviathan... for free on Amazon right now.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Or to put it in better terms: we might not be that interesting.

Could god make moral dilemmas so boring, He would never be arsed to consider them?
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King of Men
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quote:
As to whether it's right or wrong for an ant to go this way or that (and this is starting to sound like a Dr. Seuss poem to me), I think it can be right or wrong. For example, in one direction lies a food source; that is the right direction for the ant to go; that is the good choice; that is the moral choice.
You confuse is and ought; instrumental and terminal. Food is a means to an end, in this case presumably the survival of the ant colony. To get food is good only to the extent that it promotes a good cause. Is the survival of an ant colony good? Why should it be? What if it means the death of a thousand snails (who might, indeed, be the food source in question)? What makes the ants' survival good and the snails' not, or at any rate expendable? These are moral questions that have absolutely nothing to do with the efficiency of the ant as a food collector.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Foust, the toughest thing about this kind of exercise is to imagine the motivations of a being so unlike ourselves that it's almost impossible to do so.
I'm not sure why its motivations would matter.
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Stone_Wolf_:
Or to put it in better terms: we might not be that interesting.

Could god make moral dilemmas so boring, He would never be arsed to consider them?
Had to look up "arsed"...but yes. Like, the moral choice of adultery is a huge deal here, but think of it more like, does it matter which ant in the ant farm fertilizes the eggs (assuming that's how it's done)? It is entirely possible that all this crap we worry about so much is completely below the radar of a supreme being. Sure, it matters to us, but so does matching outfits and small yappy purse dogs with pink rhinestone collars (to some of us) or which platform to buy Skyrim on.
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Graeme
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KOM:
quote:
You confuse is and ought; instrumental and terminal.
Please elaborate. That is, I understand the distinction between means and end, but I'm not clear on how you think I'm confusing is and ought.

Tom:
quote:
I'm not sure why its motivations would matter.
The omni-being's motivation matters insofar as its reason for creating the universe is ipso facto proof of its interest in the creation. And, if it has an interest in the creation, I claim that it has some set of preferences, or moral judgments, for creation.
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TomDavidson
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You continue to equate preferences with moral judgments, and I'm not sure that's defensible.
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kmbboots
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Graeme, are you suggesting that whatever the omni-being prefers is, in this hypothetical universe, by definition moral?

Being preferences=morality?

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Xavier
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quote:
The omni-being's motivation matters insofar as its reason for creating the universe is ipso facto proof of its interest in the creation. And, if it has an interest in the creation, I claim that it has some set of preferences, or moral judgments, for creation.
I'm not sure if this follows anyway. If he's omni, then when he created the universe, he already knew at the time the entire future behavior of every being that will ever live in this universe. Hell, he even knows the future behavior of every single sub-atomic particle (I presume omniscience overrides the Heisenberg uncertainty principle).

If he already knew exactly what will happen, then whatever occurs is precisely what he wanted to occur. If it was not, he would have created the universe in a different way.

So to me, it looks like an Omnimax creator cannot have an active set of preferences except for us to do exactly what he already knows we are going to do.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I rather thought that was bollix too, but, when you are discussing omnipotent beings, their preference is reality. If it pleases an all powerful being that we sacrifice sheep, or trim off the extra bits of our penis or wear a hat or only marry people of the opposite gender or face east and pray twice daily, or marking our doors so our sons don't get killed it seems plausible that not offending said all powerful being -is- moral.

I mean, morality without omnimax is basically how our actions effect other people/our selves. What makes something wrong morally is if it harms someone, but the idea behind an all knowing all powerful being is that they are uniquely qualified to judge us. That and they made everything, so, unless they are patently unfair, i.e. it made people gay and then orders people to go against their nature just for fun, they really would know what is best.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I don't buy that it automatically means that if an all powerful being created a system that means they control every part of it. It could be that the being made a floor and a top and then spun it with no clear control over which way the top spun or where it would end up.
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Xavier
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If you are Omni, you not only control the laws of physics that decide which way the top spins, but you already know exactly where it is going to end up because you are ALL KNOWING. Neh?

If your omnipotent/omniscient being is able to create a system where it doesn't know something, then we're entering "a rock so big even he can't lift it" territory.

Edit: A common way to weasel out of this paradox seems to be to redefine omniscient to "knowing all that can be known" and presume things like future human behavior are somehow not in this category. Or positing a willful limiting of omniscience to allow for free will. If either of these are in play, I guess I'll bow out. Both those ideas seem pretty lame to me, and we are no longer talking about an omniscient being.

[ November 16, 2011, 05:06 PM: Message edited by: Xavier ]

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Shawshank
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Why does defining omniscience as 'knowing all that can be known' destroy omniscience?
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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Graeme:
[QB] KOM:
quote:
You confuse is and ought; instrumental and terminal.
Please elaborate. That is, I understand the distinction between means and end, but I'm not clear on how you think I'm confusing is and ought.
You appear to be reasoning thusly: If the ant zigs, it will find food (a factual is statement), therefore it is good if it zigs (a moral ought statement). Your therefore rests on a premise you haven't supported, or even mentioned: That it is good if the ant eats. Why should that be good? It certainly has nothing to do with the factual, the is, that a zig will lead it to food; but this is the only premise you gave in support of your assertion that a zig is the right and good thing for the ant to do.
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Graeme
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Even though an omni-being will know what will happen, it created a specific creation to begin with. It chose one form of creation over another; that's a value judgment.

KM, yes, I am suggesting that. Because even the judgments that humans would make would derive from a nature that itself was ultimately created, through whatever intermediary chain of events, by the creator.

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Xavier
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quote:
Why does defining omniscience as 'knowing all that can be known' destroy omniscience?
Not sure if you caught me mid edit (took a few tries to get it to a point where I'd stop touching it). It's more that adding human behavior into the category of "things that can't be known" that seems lame to me.
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Graeme
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KM: Thanks for the clarification.

You're right that additional premises are needed; I omitted them to shorten my previous posts. The missing premise is that a creature's continued existence is desirable, from that creature's POV. From the creator's POV, the continued existence may or may not be desirable. But at the very least, the initial existence of the creation was found desirable by the creator, else the creator wouldn't have created it.

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Stone_Wolf_
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If you create a creature and give it free will, thus making its actions unpredictable, you void the warranty of your all knowing status?

I don't buy it. Nor do I buy that it is lame.

How about this: He can see the future past our free will, but chooses not to.

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deerpark27
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Culture metabolizes the in(de)finite.
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deerpark27
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Some run hot, some cold.
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deerpark27
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Depends on the environment.
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deerpark27
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Somewhere in between
10Ghz and paleological eons
lies Worldplay.

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deerpark27
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wordplays lie
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PMH
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(Sorry for not necroing this thread. ;-)

Finally, after 2+ pages, we managed to get to:
quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
How is it a meaningful question without taking into consideration what we believe about the nature of God?
It doesn't matter to his hypothetical. In this hypothetical, "God" is an all-powerful and all-knowing being who created the Universe and gets to determine what happens to you in the afterlife, and moreover claims to be an arbiter of morality. Whether you accept such a being as "God" or not is completely irrelevant to the question, which is: do you believe you would refuse to cooperate with an all-powerful being, thus suffering an eternity of agony for no concrete reason -- and if so, how do you reconcile that with not acting more passionately against injustice here in the real world?
Yes, thank you for putting it so clearly.
...and:

quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
... "Given a gun pointed at your head, would you behave a certain way?" ...

...so now we can discuss that:

In the context of un-resistable force and an alternative of infinite pain, the only people who would not comply ..
(in order to not besmirch their soul or whatever)

..are those who see morality as divorced either from reality or from the issue of the connection between their choices and the outcomes of those choices as experienced by them ..

..ie, either an unquestioning True Believer..
(ie, who thinks that morality comes from "god")

..or a liberal/progressive/altruist.
(ie, who doesn't understand that morality is for guiding one's own life, constrained only by respecting the equal rights of others)

...so the question becomes

"Why would a rational person allow injustice to exist in the world?
(w/o exhausting an arbitrary amount of his resources - including his happiness - in order to combat it)?

And the answer to that is that people would do well to realize that the injustices of the universe are not claims on them or their time or wealth.

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deerpark27
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There is no concept of force without the concept of resistance.

Infinite pain is no longer pain (in the way you intend it). Pain is only meaningful, as a concept, if we posit a beginning and, more importantly, an end of it. Otherwise it's just a "life".

A universe is neither just nor unjust. It simply is.

Rationality is an attitude, not a belief--and neither allows nor forbids anything (other than the principle of non-contradiction)

Humans exist, justice is a word for an act.

Every single unjust act, even the smallest, is a claim made on what it is to be human.

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Foust
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quote:
And the answer to that is that people would do well to realize that the injustices of the universe are not claims on them or their time or wealth.
Ah, Randians. Experts at confusing throats with Gordian knots.
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Foust
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I asked on the previous page:

Graeme, do you think a creator would take an interest in whether a meteor hits the northern or southern hemisphere of Mars? If so, is that a moral distinction?

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Graeme
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Foust,
In this hypothetical universe, all individual events that occur are part of the sum total of creation. The omni-being created all of it, including asteroids and their collisions. Because the creator made the creation in one particular way and not another, that preference manifests a value judgment. Also, as I mentioned, because the omni-being's awareness is unlimited -- unlike that of human beings, who must ration their focus -- it isn't unreasonable to assume that the creator would take an interest in everything that passes in its creation. As the author of Hebrews says, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (Hebrews 4:13, KJV).

So to specifically answer your question, yes. The creator would take an interest and it would reflect a moral distinction. As an omni-being, it already knows which hemisphere will be struck. It determined which one, as the creator. That reflected a choice among alternatives, hence a value judgment.

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Foust
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But you're skimming over the second question.

I agree that preference for X over Y indicates a value judgement, but value judgements and moral judgements are not identical. I make value judgements when I choose clothing: long sleeve button ups and cotton pants over t-shirts and cut-off jean shorts. I value one kind of clothing over another.

How do you jump from that to moral judgements?

And, to re-iterate a point from earlier in the thread, there is no logically necessary connection between a creator and specifically moral judgements of any sort (as opposed to value judgements akin to what shirt I will wear today) let alone any specific version of morality.

Not to mention that a creator creating does not even necessarily indicate a value preference. The creator could be akin to Spinoza's god, who creates and expresses itself because that is what it does, and could do nothing else.

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Graeme
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FOUST wrote:
quote:
I agree that preference for X over Y indicates a value judgement, but value judgements and moral judgements are not identical. I make value judgements when I choose clothing: long sleeve button ups and cotton pants over t-shirts and cut-off jean shorts. I value one kind of clothing over another.

How do you jump from that to moral judgements?

It's not so much a jump as a slide along a spectrum. It's hard for me to think of moral judgments as anything other than value judgments. True, in everyday speech we call wearing one color over another a preference, but choosing to tell the truth rather than lie a moral choice. (Although, as Stone Wolf pointed out, in some cultures the choice of clothing is an explicit moral choice.) But they both reflect our value judgments, our sense of what is best. Their scope differs, certainly, but not their essential character.

Let me ask what you think, though: what is a moral judgment other than a value judgment?

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Graeme
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I'm not familiar with Spinoza's god, but from your description it seems to be essentially the same as what we call the universe: an autonomous entity that exists and functions according to certain laws because that's just the way it is. I don't think such an entity fits into the present hypothetical of an omni-being that chooses to make a specific creation.

I do agree that moral judgments presuppose choice, though; Spinoza's god wouldn't be making either.

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PMH
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quote:
Originally posted by deerpark27:
There is no concept of force without the concept of resistance.

maybe in Physics, but not in the context of this thread

If a guy points a gun at you & demands all your money, you can perfectly well choose to (not resist but) comply.

So I see this comment as out of context.
quote:
Infinite pain is no longer pain (in the way you intend it). Pain is only meaningful, as a concept, if we posit a beginning and, more importantly, an end of it. Otherwise it's just a "life".
Where did you get that?

First off, there are no concrete (ie, not abstract, as is mathematics) infinities..
..so we are (surprise!) debating in fairy land.

2nd: The concept of pain arises from direct perception of internal states; one cannot, eg, be wrong if he thinks he's in pain.

...so the concept of pain doesn't require anything of the (your) sort.

Perhaps you're arguing that the perception of pain would diminish over time.

I don't recall having heard of such.

...and anyway, I would think that the experience over the time of its diminishing would be roughly as terrible as "infinite" pain.

..but I'm getting sucked in to fairy land.
:The problem with Foust's hypothetical is that morality is for guiding one's life in actual reality - in more or less the normal course of events (eg, as opposed to "lifeboat situations") -- which is thoroughly not the case for any hypothesizing about "god"(s), infinite carrots & sticks, etc.
quote:
A universe is neither just nor unjust. It simply is.
Yes; sorry: I fell into hyperbole.

...but, OTOH, what I was referring to was, obviously, Foust's ~injustice(s) in the world~.

(& so, again, out of context)

quote:
Rationality is an attitude, not a belief--and neither allows nor forbids anything (other than the principle of non-contradiction)
Rationality is a practice.

Non-contradiction tends to affect quite a lot of other things..
..although it gives one only coherence, not correspondence.

For anything you want to allow or forbid, you can construct a faith that will accomplish that.
(and find people who will believe it)

quote:
Humans exist, justice is a word for an act.
I can't figure out why you said this.

quote:
Every single unjust act, even the smallest, is a claim made on what it is to be human.
Sure: that humans can be unjust.
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deerpark27
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"What is a moral judgment other than a value judgment?"


What is the opposite of a moral judgement?
An immoral judgement

What is the opposite of a value judgement?
A value judgement

That's the difference.

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Scott R
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For those that don't know:

I'm not sure deepark enters conversations to engage them, so much as write poetry that's tangential to the topic being discussed. So...interacting with him means participating in a kind of virtual performance art.

For what it's worth, he's shown some talent as far as poetry goes. It's not my thing, but I understand other people enjoy it.

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advice for robots
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I think it's quite entertaining to watch someone try to respond to deerpark. [Big Grin]
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PMH
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Thank you, ScottR!

I thought his reply of 22:10 (my time) ydy was substantial enf to respond to; not sure about his of 09:22 today (nor to whom it was addressed).

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
I think it's quite entertaining to watch someone try to respond to deerpark. [Big Grin]

*pops corn and sits back*
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Sean Monahan
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quote:
Originally posted by PMH:
I can't figure out why you said this.


[ROFL]
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deerpark27
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[Someone types: Memory neither, it wouldn't have any. No pain and no memory. Nothing existential.]

++ (Vaguely addressing the horizon) Blown apart, out here in the open (opens his arms wide) with our presuppositions of transcendence (looks up) ghosts in the machine of the monotheistic religions (points at the pigeons) buttressed by the hegemony of infinitesimal mathematics (points at the setting sun), where there is no longer any space for finitude, for the ontologically determinate (scratches his crotch) the absolutely valid, out here among....

-- (Interrupting) The pigeons. Among the pigeons. All the dust (waving arms in dust).

++ I remember (searches his canvas bag) how it went, the real Greek, it was all counting, to be counted, like later on, when it might matter.

-- Dust's unbelievable under here.

++ (Pulling "Ideas" book from bag) It's the birds. Birdshit. Your dust. Evidently, we've zigged instead of zagging, the horizon beckoning, and now and now and now something's wrong.

-- It's too dry. You're obsessed with the bloody pigeons. It's all flakes.

++ (Reading from book, but obviously upside-down) "So when he says that the universal is the object of science he is not contradicting himself, for he has not denied that the universal has some objective reality but only that it has separate existence. It is real in the individual: it is not..." (Stops and squeezes eyes in deep concentration)

-- (Mimics) It's snot, an effervescence of the demiurge, to whom we owe our fleeting passage in this underworld...(searches pockets)..nary a carrot nor a candy to twist our fickle fates (pulls out an old broken cellphone and flips it open)...Beam Me Up, Yahweh!

++ (Opening his eyes) Transcendence. Not communion. Utterance.

-- (Holding out finger) Pull my finger.

++ Wait.

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Orincoro
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Now he's just emboldened.
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deerpark27
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I'm not sure how long I can keep this up for.

The omni-actual vs. the omni-potential, that is.

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BlueWizard
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The problem with the original question is that it is asked in a way that serves a predetermined agenda. In asking, you've only allowed one possible or acceptable answer.

Let's be more neutral about this, what if God come back to earth and says, these religious leaders are hucksters and frauds who are trading on my name for power and money.

My commandments were clear (New Testement), you are to love one another, be charitable, and be compassionate, and you are to leave the judgement to me.

What if God says that the religious people were simply following a false God, a morally corrupt set of self-serving lies, and only the atheists are truly worth of heaven because the lived their lives honestly and followed no false God. They will be judged on their character, not whether they bowed down to one religious fanatic or another, or one controlling dogma or another?

What then?

I think my scenario is just as valid as the original premise. I think God and Jesus are appalled at the corruption that humans have perpetrated in their name.

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man, especially a rich man of allegedly God, to get into heaven.

Not everyone who says to me(Jesus)"Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Heavenly Father. When the day comes, many will say to me(Jesus), "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and in your name perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Out of my sight; your deeds are evil?" (Mathew 7)

That's what I see happening on judgement day. The self-righteous will be doomed, and those who lived their quiet lives morally, with compassion and charity, will be the favored ones independent of any religious dogma that may have been force or was attempted to be forced upon them.

I believe in God, but I absolutely and fervently do not believe in "God, Inc.".

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I think my scenario is just as valid as the original premise.
No, it's a completely different premise. The moral hingepoint in yours is a very different thing.
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BlueWizard
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Further, why does God have to prove himself to the world?

I think it far more intriguing if humans somehow prove the existance of God by finding the "God Particle" or proving the existance of the Spiritual World, of life after death.

I also find O.S.Card's version of God (in a sense) in the 3rd and 4th books of the Ender series in the concept of "Outside", meaning the source of all life for every atom, cell, particle, animal, and being.

I think this non-personified 'God' as being far more likely than the hyper-personified God we have in virtually all religion.

The problem is, in the original post, it was asked, what if God proved his existance and said all the money grubbing, power mad, judgmental televangelists are right, and that, as an example, gay is not OK.

But that is not actually a question, it is a statement.

Now I ask, what if the existance of God is proven, and he say exactly the opposite of what we find in the original post.

It is conceivable, that Christians will be doomed for perverting the real message, while atheists will be saved for living good lives. Though neither in totality.

The original post lays out a core question, then rather than let us address that core question, he/she give a preferred answer, and asks us what we think about their preferred outcome.

Well my reactions is that exactly the opposite is just as likely.

[ November 21, 2011, 02:59 AM: Message edited by: BlueWizard ]

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BlueWizard
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
I think my scenario is just as valid as the original premise.
No, it's a completely different premise. The moral hingepoint in yours is a very different thing.
Oddly, I have a nit to pick. I can accept you saying -

It is a completely different premise.

because it is after all a completely different premise.

But, I object to the 'NO' at the beginning. That implies that NO, my premise isn't valid, and I think it is valid. But, as you said, the moral hinge-point and the core premise are the opposite of the original. Opposite but still equally valid to an objective mind.

It is possible that by worshiping Jesus, rather than being saved, you are instead doomed. I personally think that Jesus would be appalled at how his name and message are being used.

I'm not dictating that as reality, merely saying it is as likely as any scenario.

It is equally possible that atheists are more likely to get into heaven than religious people, within the framework that I previously laid out. Again, I'm not saying it is true, just that it is as likely as any other scenario, and just as valid a philosophical point to be discussed.

What if Christians have it completely backwards?

My personal belief is NOT in a hyper-personified God, but rather in a universal undying perpetual spiritual essence that plays neither judge nor jury, nor does it favor some over others, nor seek vengeance or retribution.

Again, more akin to O.S.Card's "Outside".

The OP is saying what if God proves his existance, and confirm existing religious Dogma?

What I am saying is, what if God proves himself, and denies and condemns existing religious Dogma?

I think that is just as valid a question to ask and the original question.

But then, that's just my opinion.

[ November 21, 2011, 03:24 AM: Message edited by: BlueWizard ]

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Marlozhan
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Why does being omniscient preclude the possibility of his creations having free will? I don't agree that having omniscience means you must control all that happens. You can be aware of what humans will choose, without forcing them to do so. This makes sense if God values what WE gain by exercising our free will, not what he gains from it.

While God can allow humans to have free will, he can arrange the circumstances of the universe, because he knows all that will be chosen, so that his purposes are not frustrated. He doesn't force individuals to make choices, but he can prevent individuals for ruining things for everyone else in the long run, by using this omniscience to arrange circumstances.

i.e., God says, "I know Person A is going to murder Person B before they have learned all that they could learn in life. I am not going to force Person A to not make the choice to murder. If I did, my creations no longer have free will. But I can arrange circumstances so that the lessons Person B was robbed of will be provided in some other way. I knew this would be the case from the beginning, but rather than rob free will, I allowed free will and provided alternate means."

Saying that God controls all human choices, because he is omniscient, is like saying an omniscient chess player (A) only wins because he controls his opponent's (B) choices. An omnsicient chess player can win every time, without interfering with the other player's choices, simply by knowing what choices to make to win. Player B may often rejoice when he takes Player A's queen or castle, thinking he has gotten an advantage. Yet, Player A worries not at all, because allowing his queen or castle to be taken is exactly what needed to happen to work towards him winning. However, Player B has retained his free will. Sure, Player B's options became more limited with each turn, as he moved closer to defeat, but his ability to choose was never robbed or infringed on. Only the circumstances were controlled by Player A. Player A did not control Player B's choices. Assuming there is a God, the very fact that we can ask ourselves whether or not we would agree with God when he appears shows that He allows us to retain free will.

Thus, Player A can always make sure his purpose in winning is never frustrated, while allowing Player B to remain a sentient being with free will.

Now why would God create beings with free will, even though these beings would often make choices that were contrary to God's purposes? Why wouldn't he make humans unable to choose against His will, to make things run smoother? Love for human beings seems to be the only motivation that makes sense. This must be His top priority. If His top priority was order, or control, or power, or popularity, then it would make sense to create beings that were all subservient without will. But if He loves us humans and wants us to have the same joy that He has in being a free individual, then He would organize circumstances in a way that allows each of us to be truly free, while at the same time making sure one person's choices did not rob another person of eternal joy.

Just as chess player B thought he was winning when he took the queen, we often think things aren't working the way they "should" in this life, because of our limited perspective. But in the end, if God is omniscient and omnipotent, then everything must work toward His purposes, which include each of us retaining free will, while also receiving perfect mercy and justice.

It is the ultimate juggling act to both allow free will for His creations, and also prevent the choices of some ruining it for everyone else.

If God couldn't do this, then there would only be two other alternatives: 1) Free will with the resulting chaos ruining God's plans, thus preventing Him from being omnipotent/omniscient; OR 2) Free will would be taken away to maintain order, thus making our choices nothing more than an illusion meant to please a being who likes to watch his elaborate creations function (similar to a man who invents an intelligent robot and enjoys interacting with it, even though he knows its interactions are all an illusion based on preprogramming).

I can see God sitting up there and watching anyone who opposes Him saying, "Ha! I did this terrible thing, what are you going to do about it?", and God saying, "I knew you would choose that, which is why I made this other choice to deal with your choice,"...and the other person saying, "Yeah, well I have a plan to foil that, too," and God saying, "I have always known that, and have taken that into account too," etc.

Thus, those who try to oppose God can only hurt themselves, because they can't foil God, and those who follow God still retain their free will and can, in essence, mutually win the chess game right along with God.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
But, as you said, the moral hinge-point and the core premise are the opposite of the original. Opposite but still equally valid to an objective mind.
*sigh* No. You have missed the point of the question completely. It is not "hey, wouldn't it be funny if it turned out that God was a jerk?" It is, rather, "I expect that many of you would say that you would refuse to accept the status quo were it revealed that God is a jerk. Why, then, do you accept the status quo now?"

------------------------

quote:
However, Player B has retained his free will. Sure, Player B's options became more limited with each turn, as he moved closer to defeat, but his ability to choose was never robbed or infringed on.
Player B never made a meaningful choice, and was robbed of the ability to do so. Ergo, he had no free will.
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