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MrV
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November 27th, 2011 at 3:09:31 PM permalink
Just as there is no positive expectation in craps, so is there no God in this world.

We're it, baby.

Works for me.

see ... PennJillette
"What, me worry?"
FrGamble
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November 27th, 2011 at 3:31:12 PM permalink
Yes there is a God.

There is so much more to this world than what we see or know.

Works for me at least.
AZDuffman
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November 27th, 2011 at 3:35:46 PM permalink
Quote: MrV

Just as there is no positive expectation in craps, so is there no God in this world.

We're it, baby.

Works for me.



The world is flat! If you try to drive beyond the horizon you will fall off. Works for me!

But when you get the chance, please explain how the universe was created if you can neither create nor destroy matter.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
thecesspit
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November 27th, 2011 at 3:42:38 PM permalink
Quote: AZDuffman

The world is flat! If you try to drive beyond the horizon you will fall off. Works for me!

But when you get the chance, please explain how the universe was created if you can neither create nor destroy matter.



(snip my answer)

And I just noticed which area this thread is in... I need to unsubscribe(*) myself from this section to avoid a round of cyclical arguments we've already had several times before, and remember the 5 rules of being on the internet.

(*) Which I can't, I know.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Ibeatyouraces
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November 27th, 2011 at 4:43:59 PM permalink
deleted
DUHHIIIIIIIII HEARD THAT!
EvenBob
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November 27th, 2011 at 4:57:01 PM permalink
This whole thing is getting stupid. If everybody wants
to discuss religion so much, go to a Bible forum.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
MrV
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November 27th, 2011 at 6:49:02 PM permalink
Quote: AZDuffman

But when you get the chance, please explain how the universe was created if you can neither create nor destroy matter.



That isn't the point.

I don't claim to KNOW how the universe, or more likely, the multiverses came into existence, but I put more weight in string theory than I would in the Catholic Church.

Really, this popular notion of a white bearded "god" sending his "son" to earth(if Jesus was really god's son before he came to earth, then who was god's Old Lady?), only to be crucified for "our sins," whatever the hell that means, is beyond absurd.

Almost as stupid as the notion of an afterlife.
"What, me worry?"
rxwine
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November 27th, 2011 at 7:06:47 PM permalink
Quote:

News in Brief
God Loses Decision-Making Coin

HEAVEN–God confirmed that He has misplaced His special decision-making coin. "I have no idea where I put it," a visibly distraught God said of the coin, which He has used for more than four billion years to determine everything from the direction of breezes to genocides. "I remember flipping it last night for [Monroe, MI, couple Mark and Patti Brenton's] attempt at conception, but I haven't seen it since." God said He hopes to locate the coin




That should be enough proof there is somebody in charge.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/god-loses-decisionmaking-coin,3639/
There's no secret. Just know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.
s2dbaker
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November 27th, 2011 at 7:34:40 PM permalink
Quote: MrV

(if Jesus was really god's son before he came to earth, then who was god's Old Lady?)

If you want to talk Mormonism then that's a whole other can of worms.
Someday, joor goin' to see the name of Googie Gomez in lights and joor goin' to say to joorself, "Was that her?" and then joor goin' to answer to joorself, "That was her!" But you know somethin' mister? I was always her yuss nobody knows it! - Googie Gomez
MrV
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November 27th, 2011 at 8:09:56 PM permalink
Quote: s2dbaker

If you want to talk Mormonism then that's a whole other can of worms.



I'll give Mormons credit for watching out for one another, i.e. having and implementing true charity, but that's about it.

Their theology is a whacked out as the Scientologists.
"What, me worry?"
MrV
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November 27th, 2011 at 9:26:53 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

There is so much more to this world than what we see or know.



Really?

Name three things.
"What, me worry?"
FrGamble
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November 27th, 2011 at 9:57:41 PM permalink
Faith, Hope, and Love.

And the greatest of these is love.
MrV
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November 27th, 2011 at 11:07:37 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

Faith, Hope, and Love.

And the greatest of these is love.



So sad to be such as you have openly admitted, priest: never to have seen or known faith, or hope, or love.

I've never spent time in a seminary like you have, so I have no special training or sensitivity in these areas, but I and pretty much everyone I know has, at one time or another, experienced all three of these.

I would agree: love is the most powerful.

And yet ... you have never seen or known them. ("There is so much more to this world than what we see or know.")

As a priest, YOUR love can never be physical, and must remain unrequited and cerebral.

That must really be a bummer, to knowingly deny yourself the ultimate satisfaction in life, all in service of ... a superstition.
"What, me worry?"
NowTheSerpent
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November 28th, 2011 at 12:08:26 AM permalink
Quote: MrV

So sad to be such as you have openly admitted, priest: never to have seen or known faith, or hope, or love.

I've never spent time in a seminary like you have, so I have no special training or sensitivity in these areas, but I and pretty much everyone I know has, at one time or another, experienced all three of these.

I would agree: love is the most powerful.

And yet ... you have never seen or known them. ("There is so much more to this world than what we see or know.")

As a priest, YOUR love can never be physical, and must remain unrequited and cerebral.

That must really be a bummer, to knowingly deny yourself the ultimate satisfaction in life, all in service of ... a superstition.



Have you ever seen wind?
NowTheSerpent
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November 28th, 2011 at 12:10:21 AM permalink
Quote: MrV

Just as there is no positive expectation in craps, so is there no God in this world.

We're it, baby.

Works for me.



Quote: FrGamble

Yes there is a God.

There is so much more to this world than what we see or know.

Works for me at least.



This is degenerate quibbling over the worst red herring in the world. There is God, and I can prove it; There isn't God, and I can prove it. C'mon, guys!
EvenBob
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November 28th, 2011 at 12:56:14 AM permalink
Quote: NowTheSerpent

Have you ever seen wind?



I've passed wind. There's a lot of that going on
in this thread. I get all my religion from reruns
of 'My Name is Earl'. As good a place as any..
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
odiousgambit
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November 28th, 2011 at 3:00:47 AM permalink
Seems like the God-bashers want to explode the concept of God that is so extremely anthropomorphic, with white beard and all that. I would think very few of us here in this forum cling to such a thing. So it's 'creating a straw man' then ripping him to pieces.

I pretty much agree this is a useless thread.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!”   She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
MrV
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November 28th, 2011 at 7:38:49 AM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

I pretty much agree this is a useless thread.



That didn't stop you from responding now, did it?

I started it as a "There is no God" thought piece, as it is what I believe ... or should I say, it is what I do NOT believe.

"Red herring?"

What item of significance might I be attempting to divert attention from?

No, like it or not, whether we believe in god or not IS a fundamental question: better we focus our efforts in making this world a better place, instead of blowing it off in hopes of a mulligan in "the hereafter."
"What, me worry?"
boymimbo
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November 28th, 2011 at 8:20:20 AM permalink
Believing in God or not has nothing to do with "better we focus our efforts in making this world a better place, instead of blowing it off in hopes of a mulligan in "the hereafter.""

You can be a Christian (or any other religion for that matter) and do much for the world today and not blow it on the "hereafter".

Believing in God is a matter of faith and faith alone. If there was physical evidence for a God, everyone would be forced to believe in one. If there was physical evidence for God, and heaven existed, scientists would be proposing methods and string theories and whatever that would be a mechanism for getting one from here to the hereafter. And then God would cease to exist, because it's been explained.

God is the impossible. If God was found to exist, then it wouldn't be God now, would it? Its workings and mechanisms would just become part of our physical universe, and we would call heaven the defined area (we would probably name a dimension "heavenspace") that we go when we die, and we would find some theory that gets us there using some new branch of Physics (godmology). Billions of dollars in research grants would be granted to find the path. We would be attempting to find ways to reverse transit from heavenspace back to our dimensions, and so on and so forth.

God is mystical. Accept that. You can either have God in your heart, or not. I choose in, despite that fact that there might not be God.
----- You want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
ikilledjerrylogan
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November 28th, 2011 at 8:26:48 AM permalink
MrV, repeatedly telling yourself and others "there is no God" won't make the guilt go away. I say this because your hostile behavior in these religious/anti-religious threads appear to be a cry for help.
- Dr Phil
MrV
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November 28th, 2011 at 8:36:14 AM permalink
Quote: ikilledjerrylogan

MrV, repeatedly telling yourself and others "there is no God" won't make the guilt go away. I say this because your hostile behavior in these religious/anti-religious threads appear to be a cry for help.
- Dr Phil



Physician, heal thyself.
"What, me worry?"
WizardofEngland
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November 28th, 2011 at 9:34:24 AM permalink
I believe there is no GOD, and here are my reasons why..

Why do horrible things happen?

September 11th?
The Hollocaust?
Glee?

Any self respecting GOD would not allow any of these things to have ever occurred.
http://wizardofvegas.com/forum/off-topic/general/10042-woes-black-sheep-game-ii/#post151727
ikilledjerrylogan
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November 28th, 2011 at 9:40:56 AM permalink
lol @ glee. I guess the miracle would be that anything truly good can happen without a God.
timberjim
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November 28th, 2011 at 12:41:32 PM permalink
Quote: boymimbo

Believing in God or not has nothing to do with "better we focus our efforts in making this world a better place, instead of blowing it off in hopes of a mulligan in "the hereafter.""

You can be a Christian (or any other religion for that matter) and do much for the world today and not blow it on the "hereafter".

Believing in God is a matter of faith and faith alone. If there was physical evidence for a God, everyone would be forced to believe in one. If there was physical evidence for God, and heaven existed, scientists would be proposing methods and string theories and whatever that would be a mechanism for getting one from here to the hereafter. And then God would cease to exist, because it's been explained.

God is the impossible. If God was found to exist, then it wouldn't be God now, would it? Its workings and mechanisms would just become part of our physical universe, and we would call heaven the defined area (we would probably name a dimension "heavenspace") that we go when we die, and we would find some theory that gets us there using some new branch of Physics (godmology). Billions of dollars in research grants would be granted to find the path. We would be attempting to find ways to reverse transit from heavenspace back to our dimensions, and so on and so forth.

God is mystical. Accept that. You can either have God in your heart, or not. I choose in, despite that fact that there might not be God.



I promised myself not to get involved in any of these type of threads, but I had to commend you for how well you expressed your (and my) sentiments.
MrV
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November 28th, 2011 at 2:14:47 PM permalink
Quote: boymimbo

If God was found to exist, then it wouldn't be God now, would it? Its workings and mechanisms would just become part of our physical universe, and we would call heaven the defined area (we would probably name a dimension "heavenspace") that we go when we die, and we would find some theory that gets us there using some new branch of Physics (godmology). Billions of dollars in research grants would be granted to find the path. We would be attempting to find ways to reverse transit from heavenspace back to our dimensions, and so on and so forth.



You say this as if it were a bad thing.

I would very much like to be proven wrong (but I won't be).

Personally, I would like for something other than string theory, but thus far it ain't happening.
"What, me worry?"
progrocker
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November 28th, 2011 at 2:37:58 PM permalink
The stance that God's existence is faith based alone, and therefore neither provable nor refutable, is sort of the easy way out of the argument and is surely not the stance of all theists. For instance, the Catechism of the Catholic Church decrees that God's existence is demonstrable and can be derived from man's reason alone. Not all of the Protestant sects have rejected that line of thinking. The resulting arguments presented from theologians like Saint Thomas Aquinas are pretty interesting, but still have not convinced me. I think the problem of Evil (stylized here as the production of 'Glee', but should refer to non-human caused suffering such as natural disasters) is still the biggest hang up for me, and hasn't been satisfactorily addressed by theists (although Aquinas did try).
Solo venimos, solo nos vamos. Y aqui nos juntamos, juntos que estamos.
FrGamble
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November 28th, 2011 at 8:47:08 PM permalink
Quote: progrocker

The stance that God's existence is faith based alone, and therefore neither provable nor refutable, is sort of the easy way out of the argument and is surely not the stance of all theists. For instance, the Catechism of the Catholic Church decrees that God's existence is demonstrable and can be derived from man's reason alone. Not all of the Protestant sects have rejected that line of thinking. The resulting arguments presented from theologians like Saint Thomas Aquinas are pretty interesting, but still have not convinced me. I think the problem of Evil (stylized here as the production of 'Glee', but should refer to non-human caused suffering such as natural disasters) is still the biggest hang up for me, and hasn't been satisfactorily addressed by theists (although Aquinas did try).



I agree that faith and reason need to go together, in fact I think we need to recover Cardinal John Henry Newman's understanding that a decision for faith itself is an act of reason. There are other ways to use our human reason but in every instance of its use we take evidence, facts, logic, etc. and putting them together come to new conclusions. These conclusions become our knowledge. Our knowledge of the higher things like the existence of God is reached through faith based on reasonable conclusions arrived at by examining the evidence all around us. Faith is not blind and faith in God is not unreasonable.

In regards to the problem of evil, if Aqunias and Augustine couldn't convince you I have no chance. Therefore I'm not even going to try to make a coherent arguement. Instead lets look at the options: (1) Either there is some plan that I am not privy to that somehow allows all this suffering in life, even that not caused by my own or others misuse of free will, to lead to my salvation in a place where there is no more suffering and pain and in this Heaven the sufferings of the present will seem as a blink of an eye or like the pains of childbirth quickly forgotten in the face of something so wonderful as new life. (2) Or the sufferings I endure and the evil of this world are not good or bad but just reality, a horrible and inescapable accident of life that is filled with no ultimate meaning or purpose and any of my pursuits to overcome it will have no lasting effects for me or others who suffer evil as death only brings an end and nothingness.

Now, I have shown many times my ignorance towards the view of atheists and have been humbled in trying to express their varied views on how they deal with the problem of evil, but this is how I see their view, maybe they can correct it. By the way I like option #1.

Finally, I do not think a general theist, especially one who believes in a distant god, can have an adequate answer to the problem of evil. I think you need a God very personal, very loving, and very close to humanity; so close that this God would be willing to share in our suffering for you to come close to any adequate answer.
MrV
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November 28th, 2011 at 9:06:24 PM permalink
Why would the concept of "evil" somehow tend to prove the existence of god?

All morality is relative.
"What, me worry?"
EvenBob
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November 28th, 2011 at 9:51:47 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

faith based on reasonable conclusions arrived at by examining the evidence all around us.



The same faith that persecuted Newton and Gallileo, after examining
their evidence? The two men who are regarded by most as the
greatest scientists who ever lived?

You want us to trust the flawless reasoning and deductive powers
of a church that was so ignorant and full of itself that it would have
seen these men dead if they could have arranged it?

I don't think so.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
progrocker
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November 28th, 2011 at 10:01:59 PM permalink
Quote: MrV

Why would the concept of "evil" somehow tend to prove the existence of god?


The Problem of Evil is a classic non-theist argument, not the other way around.
Solo venimos, solo nos vamos. Y aqui nos juntamos, juntos que estamos.
MrV
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November 28th, 2011 at 10:49:06 PM permalink
*googles "problem of evil" on wiki; reads for ten seconds ... now an "internet expert."

Got it.
"What, me worry?"
progrocker
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November 29th, 2011 at 5:55:43 AM permalink
Wikipedia covers it about as well as an Intro to Phil course would. It really does take only about 10 seconds to understand, as it is summed up well right here:

If you want to delve deeper, the Standford encyclopedia is a good place:
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/
Solo venimos, solo nos vamos. Y aqui nos juntamos, juntos que estamos.
MrV
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November 29th, 2011 at 6:43:45 AM permalink
The Problem of Evil is just one small facet of the problem.

The question is: is our lifetime "IT?"

Is that all there is?

Assuming you answer in the affirmative, then: When and how was our universe created, and by what power?

No question that the issue is mind boggling, but that need not necessarily lead to an answer draped in superstition, i.e., default to "god."
"What, me worry?"
s2dbaker
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November 29th, 2011 at 11:09:15 AM permalink
I wish I could write like this: permission slip
Someday, joor goin' to see the name of Googie Gomez in lights and joor goin' to say to joorself, "Was that her?" and then joor goin' to answer to joorself, "That was her!" But you know somethin' mister? I was always her yuss nobody knows it! - Googie Gomez
progrocker
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November 29th, 2011 at 2:13:51 PM permalink
Haha, reminds me of dontevenreply.com or that guy that tried to pay a bill with a spider drawing.
Solo venimos, solo nos vamos. Y aqui nos juntamos, juntos que estamos.
Garnabby
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November 29th, 2011 at 4:35:23 PM permalink
Quote: MrV

Personally, I would like for something other than string theory, but thus far it ain't happening.

There will always be new theories, that's the nature of theory, itself; and why those are never called other than theories. To that end, perhaps it would be better to seek the underlaying axiom (which then unifies but doesn't those theories, even the so-called wrong ones, which exist also, nonetheless.) I mean, to start with some simple form of such an axiom (which already unifies but doesn't those theories), to then progress toward its complex form (which still unifies but doesn't those theories, while having allowed for some space in which to do that work). Eg, to avoid the odd argument, "You can't get there from here."

And this, a glorified gambling message-board. You, a fairly-sharp guy, have to figure that you're putting your such questions to the wrong "bunch". It certainly doesn't appear to me that anyone here is quite-so inclined, as to just leave the "establishment" behind at some point, and get on with really trying to answer those. We have, apparently and loosely, a priest who supports the gambling industry; some scientists/philosophers who support it; as well as a few mathematicians. The "glorified" aspect of the thing as, of course, today's internet and news -providers conveniently cater to the real, and detailed, discussions of those sorts of fields. Today, eg, i heard that a lot of healthcare professionals have stopped using the word "overdose" because no amount of street-drugs, etc, is safe. (Maybe this is where the government-funded GA movement got it wrong, trying to pick and choose who has those problems?)

So, maybe what you're getting at here is some relationship between gambling, and the things discussed most-often around the home-game tables? Or the spiel of the upwardly-mobile casino-dealers, lol, trying to "grease up" the players?
Why bet at all, if you can be sure? Anyway, what constitutes a "good bet"? - The best slots-game in town; a sucker's edge; or some gray-area blackjack-stunts? (P.S. God doesn't even have to exist to be God.)
Mosca
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November 29th, 2011 at 6:13:13 PM permalink
Quote: progrocker

Haha, reminds me of dontevenreply.com or that guy that tried to pay a bill with a spider drawing.



Same guy.
A falling knife has no handle.
FrGamble
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November 29th, 2011 at 7:40:09 PM permalink
I think it is fair to say that the problem of evil is the greatest argument against a belief in God. However we have to make a few distinctions. There is an intellectual problem of evil - the rational explanation of how God and evil can co-exist. Then there is the emotional problem of evil - the emotional dislike of a God who would permit suffering. I think the harder problem for us to handle is the emotional problem of evil especially because the intellectual problem is not as simple or logically clear as Epicurus puts it.

You see the intellectual problem that obviously God cannot exist as all-powerful or all-good if there is such thing as evil has a hidden assumption that needs to be mentioned. The implicit suggestion in the above logical argument is that God cannot possibly have a morally sufficient reason for permitting evil in the world. If God did have a morally sufficient reason for allowing evil than He could not only exist but exist as an all-good and all-powerful being. So the problem of evil does not make the existence of God logically impossible.

By no means is the theist out of the woods by demonstrating that God is still possible in the face of evil, because the much stronger argument against God is that while logically possible the existence of evil that is permitted makes the idea that God has a good reason for allowing it highly improbable. This is where the emotional problem of God enters in. It is a longer discussion to figure this one out, but there is an answer that I believe is found in Jesus. The answer to the problem of evil is not even close to be answered by atheism. I'll close with a quote from William Lane Craig on the issue and a link to his site if you want to delve deeper into this issue:

"So paradoxically, even though the problem of evil is the greatest objection to the existence of God, at the end of the day God is the only solution to the problem of evil. If God does not exist, then we are lost without hope in a life filled with gratuitous and unredeemed suffering. God is the final answer to the problem of evil, for He redeems us from evil and takes us into the everlasting joy of an incommensurable good, fellowship with Himself. " Problem of Evil
EvenBob
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November 29th, 2011 at 7:42:27 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

I think it is fair to say that the problem of evil is the greatest argument against a belief in God.



Before I respond, I need to know what you consider
evil. It means different things to different people.
Please give a couple examples.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
MrV
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November 29th, 2011 at 8:52:55 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

If God does not exist, then we are lost without hope in a life filled with gratuitous and unredeemed suffering.



Not hardly.

"It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I’d been happy, and that I was happy still."

--- Albert Camus



"What, me worry?"
EvenBob
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November 29th, 2011 at 9:13:02 PM permalink
Quote: MrV

for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe. To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I'd been happy, and that I was happy still."



Thats why religion was born. Some people can't handle
the 'benign indifference' and have to invent a god
that covers every aspect of 'creation'. I see benign
indifference also, but it empowers me. How could it not..
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
thecesspit
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November 29th, 2011 at 10:31:24 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

"So paradoxically, even though the problem of evil is the greatest objection to the existence of God, at the end of the day God is the only solution to the problem of evil. If God does not exist, then we are lost without hope in a life filled with gratuitous and unredeemed suffering. God is the final answer to the problem of evil, for He redeems us from evil and takes us into the everlasting joy of an incommensurable good, fellowship with Himself. " Problem of Evil



But this argument is merely saying "The universe would be better (*) if God exists, so let it be so".

Wishing something to be so, does not make it such (unless you are Captain Picard, or well, God).

(*) better for the speaker at least.
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
rxwine
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November 30th, 2011 at 3:41:49 AM permalink
If death is "turning off the switch of consciousness" and/or the journey to permanent nothingness, imagine all the fretting and pining you will do because of the meaningless of it all?

?

?

?

None. You won't fret. No more than you remember fretting and pining before you're born.

That doesn't mean that death is nothingness, but that certainly won't be a problem if it is.
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s2dbaker
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November 30th, 2011 at 6:15:20 AM permalink
"Evil" is pretty simple to define. It's stuff that happens that you don't like. This could be in the form of a plague or a birth defect or even spitting on the sidewalk. Doesn't much matter what "evil" is, it's anything that sucks.

With a God, Goddess or any number of dieties, the evil is allowed to happen even though the omnipotent beings could easily prevent it.

Without a God, Goddess or any number of dieties, the evil is just stuff that happens that you don't like.
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Nareed
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November 30th, 2011 at 7:15:29 AM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

In regards to the problem of evil, if Aqunias and Augustine couldn't convince you I have no chance.



Odd to see those two in the same sentence...

Anyway, there is no problem of evil, not as regards why evil exists: people choose to be evil. It's really that simple. Why people choose evil, though, is not simple at all. That might be the problem, figurign such thigns out, but not why evil exists. Why does good exist? Because people choose to be good, too. In fact, a great many more people choose good consistently.

Quote:

Instead lets look at the options: (1) Either there is some plan that I am not privy to that somehow allows all this suffering in life, even that not caused by my own or others misuse of free will, to lead to my salvation in a place where there is no more suffering and pain and in this Heaven the sufferings of the present will seem as a blink of an eye or like the pains of childbirth quickly forgotten in the face of something so wonderful as new life.



Have you any idea how horrible that sounds?

Consider: 1) this being you worship chooses for you to undergo pain and suffering and won't even tell you why.
2) He also promises a bright, unseen, future free of the suffering and pain he chooses to inflict on you now.
3) You have no choice in the matter. Ask "why do I suffer?" and god's answer seems to be "you suffer because I tell you to suffer."

But again let's divide pain and suffering in two parts according to causation:

1) Natural causes. This includes anything from minor congenital defects to an asteroid strike on the Earth. There is no reason for such things, they just happen because the forces loose in the universe exist as they do, not as we'd like them to be.

2) Human causes. This includes everything from petty larceny to genocide. This constitutes evil. Unlike genes, or the structure fo a planet, or the path of an asteroid, people have rational minds and the ability to make decisions.

Now, consider two scenarios:

A) You're sleeping quietly in bed when an earthquake strikes Before you can react and find a way out, your house collapses on top of you and you're trapped.
B) You're sleeping quietly in bed when a thug sets off a bomb in your house. Before you can even think "bomb", your house collapses on top of you and you're trapped.

Now, as far as you're concerned the outcomes in both scenarios are the same. It doens't matter whether the house fell due to the mindless forces of nature, or the twisted actions of a criminal. You're trapped and helpless just the same.

Now suppose in both scenarios you get rescued. You've suffered some harm, but no lasting physical damage. Psychologically, though, you're badly shaken. Then does it matter what casued your rpedicament? It sure does. Seeing the criminal caught and convicted could help ease your condition. But whereas you can cathc a bomber and try him, you can't catch a fracture on the Earth's crust and you dammned well can't put it in prison.

So maybe you'd feel better if you coudl believe the quake was the result of something other than a mindless sereis fo events. Perhaps if it were an act of a sentient being, done on purpose for some reason that escapes your mind or that simply isn't available to you. Perhaps then you could do somethign about it, other than move to a seismically stable area of make sure your house is built to withstand the Big One.


Quote:

(2) Or the sufferings I endure and the evil of this world are not good or bad but just reality, a horrible and inescapable accident of life that is filled with no ultimate meaning or purpose and any of my pursuits to overcome it will have no lasting effects for me or others who suffer evil as death only brings an end and nothingness.

Now, I have shown many times my ignorance towards the view of atheists and have been humbled in trying to express their varied views on how they deal with the problem of evil, but this is how I see their view, maybe they can correct it.



For one thing by not lumping natural occurences with human-made decisions. Being born with a defect that gives you a deformed, useless left hand is nto the same thing as having a mad man chop off your hand.

The responses to both types of harm, if I may simplify, vary tremendously. In some cases solving the harm wrought by human action is easier, in some cases it's harder. As regards crime, for example, we've learned that doling out any punishment for criminal behavior works better than handing out harsher punishments (and that's an interesting topic all by itself).

But back to your hypothetical, that god makes you suffer for some reason designed to fulfill some purpose and intended to let you into a paradise free fo pain and suffering. When something bad happens that is of natural causes, and which couldn't be prevented, regardless of what you rpefer to believe, the fact is all we can demonstrate is that it just hapepned, and there was no reason behind it at all.

To think that some sentient, volitional being did something horrible to you on purpose, strikes me as akin to how abused people learn to accomodate their abuser. You begin to look for faults inside yourself, when you're not to blame at all. Or you find excuses for the abuse.

So give me some random, meaningless, "it just happened" kind of thing any day. I can deal with that. I cannot deal with the kind of cryptical good-intentioned physical and psychological torture you ascribe to god.

PS sorry for the delay. I was very busy and tired the past two days (but I don't blame it on god).
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FrGamble
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November 30th, 2011 at 12:52:45 PM permalink
I do think we are closer to the center of the arguments for or against God here in a discussion about suffering and the existence of evil than we ever were in scientific discussions about the big bang and the order of nature. The question of suffering seems to me to be the fulcrum of our lives. Everything hinges on how we answer this fundamental and inescapable question that every human being must face.

It seems that in the face of natural and/or moral evil we can lean towards an absurd and horrible idea that life is indeed riduculous, random, and meaningless or we can lean towards another seemingly absurd and horrible idea that there is an unknown purpose and significance to my suffering.

Here are a few of the things that make my personal see-saw lean towards the second option:

- the heroic value of not running from suffering. In my opinion the only rational response to a world view that saw suffering as meaningless would to be avoid it all costs. Heros and virtue are often found in the paradox of willingly embracing suffering as a sacrifice for others. A gernade rolls into camp and the one who sees a purpose behind suffering dives on it. The man who loves his wife and would refuse to be even dragged out of her hospital room and checks every box for every organ he could possibly give including his heart is one who sees the significance of sacrificial suffering. Saints suffer and witness to the fact that even if they did not see the reasons during their lifetime, their sacrificial embrace of unavoidable suffering has proved to be precious.

- the purification that comes through suffering. Everyone needs to be reminded of what really matters in life and often times it seems like natural disasters and other evils we encouter purify us of the idea that the most important thing is a silly online argument on a gambling forum. Life is short and fleeting, suffering reminds me not to waste too many precious moments with things that don't matter in the end.

- the idea that love is strengthened and deepened through suffering. If we think of our closest friends or the ones we love most in this world they are often the very same people we have shared the greatest sufferings with. When we go through difficulties together a bond is forged that lasts forever. This is where the importance of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ comes in for me, having a God who shares in my suffering with me shows me a depth of love and concern that is staggering.

I'm wondering what some of the thoughts behind leaning towards option one would be?
MrV
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November 30th, 2011 at 1:31:03 PM permalink
Ridiculous.

"Suffering?"

Why wear a cloth made of hair when a Joseph Abboud or a Calvin Klein is available?

Life is what you make it: so make it smooth and easy ...
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thecesspit
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November 30th, 2011 at 2:23:26 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble


It seems that in the face of natural and/or moral evil we can lean towards an absurd and horrible idea that life is indeed riduculous, random, and meaningless or we can lean towards another seemingly absurd and horrible idea that there is an unknown purpose and significance to my suffering.



I reject your initial dichotomy that you present, that life is either random or planned; meaningless or meaningful (objectively).
"Then you can admire the real gambler, who has neither eaten, slept, thought nor lived, he has so smarted under the scourge of his martingale, so suffered on the rack of his desire for a coup at trente-et-quarante" - Honore de Balzac, 1829
Nareed
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November 30th, 2011 at 2:29:35 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

The question of suffering seems to me to be the fulcrum of our lives.



On the contrary. Pain and suffering are incidentals in lifes, which we go to very great, and very natural, lengths to avoid.

Quote:

It seems that in the face of natural and/or moral evil we can lean towards an absurd and horrible idea that life is indeed riduculous, random, and meaningless or we can lean towards another seemingly absurd and horrible idea that there is an unknown purpose and significance to my suffering.



Again, you're conflating natural disasters, which are neither a moral question nor evil, with purposeful human action, which is a moral question and can be evil.

Natural disasters and afflictions are largely random. You may have a rare genetic defect because a cosmic ray struck your father's gonads at a bad time. That's random. You may drown because you were caught in a flash flood. That's alrgely random.

Human actions are not random, or not necessarily so. If someone mugs you, assaults you or kills you, there' s avery definite purpose in mind, not a random occurence.

So kindly stop treating them as if they are the same thing.

Quote:

- the heroic value of not running from suffering. In my opinion the only rational response to a world view that saw suffering as meaningless would to be avoid it all costs. Heros and virtue are often found in the paradox of willingly embracing suffering as a sacrifice for others.



Sacrifice is not a virtue. Sacrifice is the act of surrendering a value. For example:

Quote:

A gernade rolls into camp and the one who sees a purpose behind suffering dives on it.



Someone who sees value in the lives of his buddies dives on it, because he knows any other soldier in the unit would have done the same thing.

Quote:

The man who loves his wife and would refuse to be even dragged out of her hospital room and checks every box for every organ he could possibly give including his heart is one who sees the significance of sacrificial suffering.



You said it: someone who loves his wife. Choosing the life of the person you love most in the world, that is of the person you most value, over your own is not a sacrifice. You're not giving up your life for her, you're saving her life at any cost.

Hree's what would be a sacrifice: if your wife and a stranger needed your kidney to remain alive,a nd you chose the stranger over your wife. Then you would be sacrificing the person dearest to you in the world. Worse yet, you'd have to try to keep on living for years afterwards knowing you chose to let her die when you could have saved her. That ought to guarantee a lot of suffering, pain and anguish.

Quote:

- the purification that comes through suffering. Everyone needs to be reminded of what really matters in life and often times it seems like natural disasters and other evils we encouter purify us of the idea that the most important thing is a silly online argument on a gambling forum. Life is short and fleeting, suffering reminds me not to waste too many precious moments with things that don't matter in the end.



That's as bad as the argument that you need evil in order to know good.

Look, in past times people suffered a great deal physically from ailments they could do nothing about. Rich, poor, good, evil, young, old, everyone suffered about the same. Children often died very young. Famine was an ever present possibility. War was almost constant. You get the picture, I trust. Today in Western coutnries, at elast, even in underdeveloped ones, this is no longer true. SO we no longer need to put a high moral value on pain and suffering, because we succeed a little bit mroe each day in banishing such things from our lives.

Now we can concentrate on what really matters: achieving happiness and satisfaction, rather than avoiding pain.

Pain and suffering are a temporary, unusual thing in our lives, not the constant. as it should be. These days a child dying young is a tragedy. As recently as the XIX Century it was normal and even expected.


Quote:

- the idea that love is strengthened and deepened through suffering. If we think of our closest friends or the ones we love most in this world they are often the very same people we have shared the greatest sufferings with. When we go through difficulties together a bond is forged that lasts forever. This is where the importance of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ comes in for me, having a God who shares in my suffering with me shows me a depth of love and concern that is staggering.



I'd better not even touch this one. I can't do it and stay civil.
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EvenBob
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November 30th, 2011 at 2:57:22 PM permalink
Quote: FrGamble

we can lean towards an absurd and horrible idea that life is indeed riduculous, random, and meaningless or we can lean towards another seemingly absurd and horrible idea that there is an unknown purpose and significance to my suffering.



Neither idea is correct. Life is what it is, either you
can accept it or you can't. True religion teaches
acceptance. Bad religion has you railing against
everything and everybody who doesn't agree
with you, like Christianity and Islam do.
"It's not called gambling if the math is on your side."
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