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EvenBob
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 enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
thecesspit
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
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.
Quasimodo? Does that name ring a bell?
s2dbaker
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.
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
Nareed
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).
Donald Trump is a fucking criminal
FrGamble
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
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 ...
"What, me worry?"
thecesspit
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
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.
Donald Trump is a fucking criminal
EvenBob
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 enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal

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