16 Things Atheists Need Christians to Know (in Off-topic)


Lord Bob September 15 2011 7:33 PM EDT

From: http://www.iamanatheist.com/16_things.html

I found this on Reddit and thought it was good enough to pass along. Enjoy!

1. Please stop hedging when you mention our lack of belief. Atheists are atheists. We're not "self-described," nor do we "claim" to be atheists. You don't want us to start saying things like, "This is my friend, Julie. She calls herself a Christian," do you? Then man up, brace yourself, and use the a-word all by itself. Practice in front of the mirror if you need to. You'll know you have the proper calm, factual tone when the glass doesn't shatter.

2. Please stop capitalizing the word "atheist." Unless it comes at the beginning of the sentence, you're just wasting ink. We know you're probably trying to be polite, but it doesn't work that way. There is no guy named Athe.

3. Some of you keep insisting that we're angry at your god. And then you laugh at us for being so silly ヨ being angry at someone we don't even believe in. Well, you're right. That would be pretty darned silly. That's why we don't do it. Are you annoyed at Zeus? Do you have a grudge against the faerie folk? Of course not. It's the same for us ヨ how could we feel anger or hatred toward a non-existent being? (Some of his followers cheese us off, but that's another story.)

4. Stop saying that deep down inside, we really do believe in your deity. Belief in the kind of guy who can create an entire universe with the force of a few well-turned phrases is not the sort of secret that fits neatly into a back pocket, as it were. If we thought this fellow was real, we'd be the first to know. And people don't tend to keep that particular nugget of information to themselves. Ever notice that?

5. Please understand that "You're such a nice person! I can't believe you're an atheist!" is not a compliment. More importantly, please understand that we understand that. Believe me, every single one of us has considered replying, "And you're so smart ヨ I can't believe you're a Christian!" How about we all agree to not go there?

6. The only thing all occupants of foxholes have in common is access to weapons and a willingness to fight. It might be the better part of wisdom not to provoke them by insisting that you know more about their beliefs or lack thereof than they do.

7. How can our lives have any purpose without God? One word: chocolate.

8. It's sweet of you to worry about us, really it is. But it's not terribly helpful to tell us that we should go ahead and believe in your particular faith "just in case." Just in case what? In case a deity who can't distinguish heartfelt faith from apple-polishing affectation happens to be running the show?

9. Let's make a deal: we promise to stop asking that stupid question about whether God can make a rock so big he can't lift it. In exchange, please stop saying, "Well, God doesn't believe in atheists!" and then laughing like Shakespeare came back to life just long enough to write one last comedy.

10. Please quit asking us how or why we "turned our backs" on God. The whole point of being an atheist is that we don't see any reason to think we did any such thing.

11. Anyone who was born in an English-speaking country and is more than two minutes old has heard about God and Jesus. It's annoying when you assume that atheists just haven't heard enough about them, and that's why we're still atheists. Many of us have done extensive research on the subject of religion. Many of us credit our atheism to exactly that.

12. Please stop telling your atheist acquaintances that you'll miss us when you get to heaven. No, you won't. If you turn out to be right, you'll be in heaven ヨ the place where, by definition, people don't feel sad. And if we're right ヨ well, guess who won't be feeling much of anything?

13. If you've ever said, "You can't prove there isn't a God" ヨ first of all, congratulations. You're officially four years old. Second, we never said we could. But until you can show some serious proof that there is one, we see no reason to believe. There's nothing wrong with taking a leap of faith, provided you acknowledge that's what you're doing. Atheists simply prefer other forms of exercise.

14. Stop asking us how we can be moral without God. It's simple. We're awake, and we're not idiots. That's all it takes to figure out that sharing the planet with so many other people is a lot more pleasant when we also share some basic ideas about acceptable behavior. I don't like being stabbed; therefore I support laws against stabbing and promise not to stab anyone myself, no matter how much I may feel like doing so. See how easy?

15. So far as being a Christian is concerned, you're either a member of a persecuted minority, or part of a solid majority. Figure out which one of those is the case, and then live with it. You don't get to switch back and forth depending on whether you think you can smother dissent better at any given moment by either whining that everybody's always being mean to you, or bellowing that this is your house and you make the rules.

16. Speaking of persecuted minorities: Christianity used to be one. Did you fight your way to freedom of faith just so you could treat nonbelievers the same way they used to treat you?

Reyth September 15 2011 7:41 PM EDT

16 more arguments with God Himself. God always wins.

Lord Bob September 15 2011 7:50 PM EDT

16 more arguments with God Himself.
Somebody didn't read #3!

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 15 2011 7:55 PM EDT

number 11 makes me think of this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us/28religion.html

Lord Bob September 15 2011 7:58 PM EDT

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us/28religion.html
モAtheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. Thatメs how you make atheists.ヤ
*smile*

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 15 2011 8:28 PM EDT

Only if you admit that all other religions have you beat if this were a gamble. Because if you're right, and we're wrong, no harm no foul; we weren't going anywhere anyway. But, if we're *right*; then you're screwed. I've always thought that if I wasn't Christian I'd try to find a religion that I could at least try to believe in, to increase my chances in an afterlife, good resurrection or something. Because you're basically going to horse race and putting you're money on a rock.

I know none of this really matters b/c you'd stake your "salvation" on there not being a god just as much as I would that there is. But, it is a funny way to think of it.

( Disclaimer: I don't mean to offend anyone with this, I just find it a funny way to look at things, and thought I would share. )

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 15 2011 8:33 PM EDT

^ see number 8. ; )

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 15 2011 8:35 PM EDT

I don't care if he's saved ( I mean I care a little, it'd be nice, but whatever. ) I just always found in funny from a stand point of logic. If there's a religion that said you could do whatever you want and get into heaven, then why practice it? Might as well put your chips on a different religion.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 15 2011 8:38 PM EDT

So far as being a Christian is concerned, you're either a member of a persecuted minority, or part of a solid majority

This is the only part I disagree with. People should be able to minorly adjust their views based on as they grow, whether that be spiritually or other. I know I definitely have. Also, what if we don't identify with any know christian sect?

Zenai September 15 2011 8:45 PM EDT

From a Philosophical standpoint I find this to not only be funny but downright hysterical! Even as a "Believer" I have heard fellow believers ask some of dumbest questions or make some of the most idiotic statements I have ever heard. There have been points in time where I have had to stop turn around and tell someone, "You really need to go back and reread "X" section of the bible." Missionary's get me the most though, "You MUST believe!" No they don't even if WE think they should. If and When they are ready to listen THEN you say "You must believe and here is why." Anyway I'm rambling but I have to say again this is funny and I agree everyone has the right to believe however they so choose and until they decide to change that belief back off.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 15 2011 8:53 PM EDT

This is the only part I disagree with. People should be able to minorly adjust their views based on as they grow, whether that be spiritually or other. I know I definitely have. Also, what if we don't identify with any know christian sect?

i took that as swinging back and forth as it is convenient rather than changing opinions through growth.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 15 2011 8:54 PM EDT

i took that as swinging back and forth as it is convenient rather than changing opinions through growth.

If that is indeed the case then I don't like this either. I probably just misread it.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] September 15 2011 9:20 PM EDT

I agree with most of these, but the logic involved in #14 threw me for a loop.

Humans indeed share a similar sense of subjective morality. Most nations, regardless of ethnic, cultural, or religious background, believe that murder is wrong. What is not easily agreed upon is why murder is wrong - for a Christian, it is because murder is against God's nature, for an atheist, it is because the societal benefits of not murdering each other makes sense to any reasonable human being.

However, where I believe that the atheist argument breaks down is when it assumes that because murder is wrong from a strictly personal standpoint ("I don't enjoy being murdered, therefore we should not murder"), it does not allow for a quantifiable standard of objective morality. At the heart of the atheistic argument is the ability for each individual to decide what is right or wrong from moral standpoint for themselves.

This view has certain pitfalls that I think make the case for an objective morality outside of man. A person may decide that murder is wrong, another may decide that it is right for his or herself - the atheist worldview has, to my knowledge (little as it most certainly is), no logically sound way of providing an objective standard to prove that the latter view has no validity.

Just my thoughts, I'd be glad to hear the flip side of the coin (without getting into too lengthy of a discussion, hopefully!)

Tal September 15 2011 9:23 PM EDT

Marlfox, take animals for an example of why to not murder. Humans are the only known animal that kills its own species. Animals can not be christian, nor can they be atheists... However even they know to not kill each other.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 15 2011 9:24 PM EDT

Wow, that was really deep Marl... I didn't even read any of the reasons. Just the 'complaint' as was like, yup, that's stupid... moving on. ( By stupid, I mean it would be stupid for a religious person to do that. )

Sickone September 15 2011 9:24 PM EDT

As an agnostic atheist (or "practical atheist", if you like - as in, there is a chance some form of deity might exist, but the chance is infinitesimally small, and even if such deity does, it should not change any of my behaviours anyway), there's really just one single thing I really, really need to say to any follower of any particular religion :

"If you stop trying to impose your beliefs on others that want no part of it AND if you also do not try to change the laws so that they fit your particular brand of religion (as opposed to what would benefit mankind as a whole), then we don't have a problem and you can keep believing whatever the heck you want to believe, it is none of my concern.
Otherwise, we have a BIG problem, and you better damn well believe that I will hunt down and crush every little bit of your influence every chance I get and to the best of my abilities, make you doubt your faith, and expose every little bit of inconsistency inherent in your sacred texts to you until you either give up or stop believing".

Or, in simpler words - leave me alone and I leave you alone, screw with me and I screw with you.
Pretty fair, wouldn't you agree ?
:P

Phoenix [The Forgehood] September 15 2011 9:29 PM EDT

Because if you're right, and we're wrong, no harm no foul; we weren't going anywhere anyway. But, if we're *right*; then you're screwed.

I've always thought of it in the way that if there was a caring and compassionate god, then certainly god would see it fitting to allow us athiests to repent rather than send us straight to hell. And if that doesn't happen, what kind of god are people worshipping?

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 15 2011 9:31 PM EDT

I'm pretty sure that's not the commonly accepted belief among most christian sects.

Sickone September 15 2011 9:33 PM EDT

Humans are the only known animal that kills its own species.

That is patently false.
Plenty of other animals hurt and even kill members of their own species at various times in their lifespan.

For instance, one of the most common example is the lion - a new male will kill the offspring of the female after claiming her.
Quite a few insects also kill their partners after mating (it's usually the female killing the male).
Groups of monkeys sometimes do go to war with nearby groups, and will sometimes not stop at exterminating the entire opposing fighting force, but also wipe out every last member of the enemy group.
Several species (birds, mammals, reptiles) will start their lives by either devouring or killing most of their siblings.

And that's just a few examples.

Phoenix [The Forgehood] September 15 2011 9:37 PM EDT

To that I'd say either that their beliefs need a bit of tweaking as god is supposed to be caring, compassionate, and will never turn his/her/its back on you, or that we'll find out when we die so the entire argument is moot.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 15 2011 9:41 PM EDT

To that I'd say either that their beliefs need a bit of tweaking as god is supposed to be caring, compassionate, and will never turn his/her/its back on you, or that we'll find out when we die so the entire argument is moot

Yeah whether they're right or wrong I don't really care for discussing. But, there's a reason they believe it. It's not just b/c they hate all non-Christians and they want them to go hell. Also judging certain beliefs of a religion at face value is bad, no matter what the religion.

Alright, got to roll... I'm boarding!!! Have a good discussion.

Reyth September 15 2011 9:44 PM EDT

If anyone writing in this thread or just reading it is actually sincere about knowing if God exists, there is one 100% sure way to find out. However, it takes real courage from the heart to do this. Those that do not have the courage will simply make excuses.

Here is the 100% surefire method:

Simply say, "God IF you exist, show Yourself to me and I will believe in you."

There is only one requirement for it to work: you have to mean what you say with your heart.

I know because I used to be an athiest and I did the above with sincerity. God took over and did the rest.



Sickone September 15 2011 9:49 PM EDT

However, where I believe that the atheist argument breaks down is when it assumes that because murder is wrong from a strictly personal standpoint ("I don't enjoy being murdered, therefore we should not murder"), it does not allow for a quantifiable standard of objective morality. At the heart of the atheistic argument is the ability for each individual to decide what is right or wrong from moral standpoint for themselves.

A "true" Christian is also supposed to believe that not just murder, but almost any killing whatsoever is wrong.
That doesn't stop a lot of Christians not just from serving in the armed forces, but also it doesn't stop them from going into combat situations and actually killing people that might have not done much of anything wrong in the first place at all, but were just in the wrong place at the wrong time (namely, in the enemy's armed forces in times of conflict).
EVERYBODY eventually does reach a moral decision regarding what's right or wrong for himself, with whatever generally accepted moral standards merely as a starting point, not the absolute, immutable and final authority on the subject.

How would you say would different people react to various "moral choice" scenarios DIFFERENTLY just because they happen to believe in a particular god or gods, or no god at all ?
If you could save one single person and kill another, when the alternative is to let both die, what would you do ?
If you could save hundreds or even thousands by doing nothing while letting somebody die, would you ? What if instead of letting them die, you would actively have to kill them ?
How about saving 90% of the world's population now, but in the process guaranteeing that the entirety of the human race will become extinct in a couple of generations ?
And so on and so forth.

It doesn't really matter whether the "moral starting point" is written in the holy book of some religious order his parents followed or it was merely common sense, ultimately, MORALITY IS ALWAYS RELATIVE.
Sure, in 99.99999% of the cases, the "moral" thing to do for 99.99999% of the people might be exactly the same, but that doesn't mean morality is absolute. There is no such thing as absolute moral values. There's only "currently commonly accepted moral values for this particular group of individuals".

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] September 15 2011 9:52 PM EDT

Marlfox, take animals for an example of why to not murder. Humans are the only known animal that kills its own species. Animals can not be christian, nor can they be atheists... However even they know to not kill each other.

I don't believe this line of reasoning is accurate. Not only (as Sickone pointed out) do many animals kill each other (within the same species), but animals (unlike humans) are not reasoning beings capable of logical thought - they cannot be held to a higher moral code, should one exist.

However, I believe that your example in fact illustrates a belief amongst many atheists that morals can be derived from the natural world. This is an erroneous argument, as I believe many philosophers have recognized. If our moral system were nothing more than that of dogs, cats, and fishes, we would have none. Animals follow their natural impulses, and we have examples of what disastrous ends that egocentric train of thought leads us to throughout history.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 15 2011 10:18 PM EDT

for a Christian, it is because murder is against God's nature, for an atheist, it is because the societal benefits of not murdering each other makes sense to any reasonable human being.

where do you get your information exactly? if there is an atheist handbook i have never heard of it.

you also seem to think that christians developed morality?

some of the most truly, consistently moral people i have met in my 44 years on this planet have been atheists. a person can be moral just because they are moral rather than doing so because they were told.

Lochnivar September 15 2011 11:22 PM EDT

What are these 'morals' you people keep talking about?

Anyway, where do the agnostics sign-up?

Admiralkiller September 15 2011 11:23 PM EDT

I refuse to participate in this post. (besides this comment)

Lord Bob September 15 2011 11:59 PM EDT

Only if you admit that all other religions have you beat if this were a gamble.
But we're not in agreement that it's a gamble.

And even if it were, your logic is flawed. You're assigning equal weight to every theistic religion, then stacking them all together against atheism. It doesn't work that way. There are two positions here, the belief that god exists vs. the belief that god does not exist. And even those don't necessarily start out or end at 50/50. This isn't a coin toss.


I've always thought that if I wasn't Christian I'd try to find a religion that I could at least try to believe in, to increase my chances in an afterlife,
So you "believe" because you're trying to avoid punishment then?


On to Marlfox:
What is not easily agreed upon is why murder is wrong - ...for an atheist, it is because the societal benefits of not murdering each other makes sense to any reasonable human being.
At the heart of the atheistic argument is the ability for each individual to decide what is right or wrong from moral standpoint for themselves.
I know Dude already questioned this, but I think it's important, so I'm following up:
Did you get any of this from an actual atheist? Or are you simply repeating something you heard from a very Christian-centered source? You seem to be under the assumption that atheism implies moral relativism.

Lord Bob September 16 2011 12:04 AM EDT

If anyone writing in this thread or just reading it is actually sincere about knowing if God exists,
Nope, we atheists already have it figured out.

Also, your post really has nothing to do with the topic at hand, which is the misconceptions Christians have about us and the mistreatment that follows. Proselytizing is not welcome on this thread.

If you have something to contribute to the topic, however, welcome!

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] September 16 2011 12:24 AM EDT

Morals don't exist, we made it up

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 16 2011 1:34 AM EDT

Marl, don't assume that's the atheist argument when it was made in jest. I'll offer this parallel in the same lulz manner since it's quite relevant. Do you need to tell everyone not to kick you in the junk or do you assume they know it's not nice? ;)
This one is for those thinking the good book keeps us in line. We have laws. Laws to which personal and biblical morality so often take a back seat. Thank God for that. See what I did there? We've had laws long before monotheism, taoism, and most other -isms. The morality basis of the world no-stab-zones is of such moot point in the grand scope of history that it's dumbfounding for there to be polarized views as to why others choose not to murder in our modern era. Even a caveman thought not to do it.
Since it's very unPG I won't link. Google,"5 thing you won't believe aren't in the bible" as I want our apple shiners to read No.1.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] September 16 2011 4:24 AM EDT

but animals (unlike humans) are not reasoning beings capable of logical thought

Completely untrue as well.

Citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_cognition#Reasoning_and_problem_solving

I'll let the information speak for itself as I have nothing to add, everything is right there.


As far as the OP is concerned, I'm in agreement with everything. If I -had- to label myself I'd be the same as sickone an agnostic atheist, for basically the same exact reason as well. Personally I see no reason to believe such beings exist, I've researched every major religion (and quite a few obscure ones) over the years and I've come to the conclusion that the possibility of any one of them being correct is improbable.

For some background information, I was raised as a non-denominational christian, both of my parents are quite religious and tried to raise me as such. I was forced to go to church until I was about 15-16, but I had been questioning things they were (pr)teaching to me since as far back as I can remember. As a kid none of it made any sense from any logical standpoint. Adam and Eve? Noah's Ark? Jesus? Really? Not to mention all the completely messed up stuff that is in that book, things like incest, human sacrifice (It was a test from god, its ok!), many different wars and battles, the entire book of revelations. Really I could go on all day with that. As I child I understood what I was reading, and I could not accept these things as truth nor could I understand why anyone would. Just because something is written, doesn't make it true or right.

I have no problem with anyone believing in whatever they want to believe in, I'm 100% all for it. Just leave me out of it, because honestly it doesn't concern me. I don't see any reason believe, its as simple as that, nothing anyone could ever say would change my mind.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] September 16 2011 8:29 AM EDT

where do you get your information exactly? if there is an atheist handbook i have never heard of it.

I was quite a bit more vocal about my reservations with atheism in several discussions here on CB in the past; not to mention two years of lurking on reddit. I do not doubt that my knowledge of the subject is limited, and I'd be glad to learn from other atheists. However, in my limited experience, most arguments on the subject of morality boil down to:

1). Morals are entirely relative - no individual is held to a higher standard.

2). Morals are derived from society/culture - we are held to a higher standard, but not an objective one.

3). There are no morals.

I'd be happy to hear other views on the subject!

you also seem to think that christians developed morality?

Certainly not. I do not believe murder is wrong because it is in the Bible - it's in the Bible because it is wrong.

some of the most truly, consistently moral people i have met in my 44 years on this planet have been atheists. a person can be moral just because they are moral rather than doing so because they were told.

No doubt! My best friend (who recently moved away to college) is an atheist, and he was one of the most principled people I have ever met - my argument is not that atheists are immoral people, but they cannot justify their morality.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] September 16 2011 8:55 AM EDT

A "true" Christian is also supposed to believe that not just murder, but almost any killing whatsoever is wrong.

I do not think this is the established view among Christians in the US (who are some of the most rabid supporters of the military, from my experience). However, I think that murder (unjustified killing) is wrong; but not necessarily all forms of killing are wrong. To beat on an old cliche, if a murderer was in your house, your moral obligation is to protect your family. (I'll discuss this further below).

How would you say would different people react to various "moral choice" scenarios DIFFERENTLY just because they happen to believe in a particular god or gods, or no god at all ?
If you could save one single person and kill another, when the alternative is to let both die, what would you do ?
If you could save hundreds or even thousands by doing nothing while letting somebody die, would you ? What if instead of letting them die, you would actively have to kill them ?
How about saving 90% of the world's population now, but in the process guaranteeing that the entirety of the human race will become extinct in a couple of generations ?

These examples actually point to a moral law. The only reason there is a dilemma in any of these situations is because there are morals; because we recognize that every human being has dignity and worth. Merely because there are intensely difficult questions concerning morality doesn't invalidate the existence of a higher moral law anymore than my inability to solve a Calculus III problem means that I cannot find the solution to 2 + 2.

I do not claim to have the answers (I don't!), but in a world where absolutes collide on a daily basis, the difficulty of the moral questions involved does not negate the fact that there is an objective moral code.

[I'm going to go ahead and stop responding for now, otherwise I'll be here all day. Feel free to CM/PM me if you want to continue the discussion!]

Demigod September 16 2011 8:58 AM EDT

they cannot justify their morality.

Wait, you justify your morality solely because of the Bible? Then if "Thou shalt not steal" were oddly missing, you'd find yourself at a loss to justify why it's not okay to rob people? I have a feeling you justify morality the same way atheists do, just with the good book as backing. Whether the morality comes from social empathy or not is arguable and irrelevant: the end result is the same.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] September 16 2011 9:03 AM EDT

Certainly not. I do not believe murder is wrong because it is in the Bible - it's in the Bible because it is wrong.

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 9:35 AM EDT

Excellent post, LB, really enjoyed it. I found 8, 12, 13, and 14 to be particular gems.

@Marlfox: A lot of posts went after this, but I think I see a potential issue pretty early on in one of your statements:

it does not allow for a quantifiable standard of objective morality.

There's the problem -- morals aren't objective, they're subjective. Or, as novice put it, we made 'em up. All the way back to Hammurabi and Justinian (heck, probably way further than that, I'm just name-dropping), morals have been set up just so we can get along.

And Hammurabi's code was set up "B.C." (way, BC, almost as far back from zero as we are beyond it now). So, by definition, they weren't "Christian" policy.

As for everything else, the only thing that sticks out in some posts discussing points opposite those of an atheist is the use of "we", or any sort of "us" vs "them" attitude. God/Jesus (and I'm not talking about actual necessary existence -- whether fictional or not) doesn't believe in us vs them. God believes in Love. He believes in Love as much as Aragorn loves Arwen (taking the fictional viewpoint) and He believes in Love so much that He sent His only Son to die (for the folks who believe that all really happened).

Either way, God is Love.

And either way, "we" and "they" have nothing to do with it (another reason number 8 is such a dead-on wonderful point). Anyone who thinks it does might want to brush up on their New Testament and get over that particular foible of apostolic evangelism.

Sickone September 16 2011 12:21 PM EDT

the difficulty of the moral questions involved does not negate the fact that there is an objective moral code

And what would that "objective" moral code be ?
Because "murder is wrong" is inherently subjective, depending on how you DEFINE "murder", for instance.
Try to put it into your words, try to explain why they're objective rather than subjective, then try to explain how those rulesets you listed would apply to the previously described "hard" choices.

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 12:51 PM EDT

I think defining morals as objective is the whole point, sort of an intentional "begging of the question".

God exists, so morals are objective...
(insert a beg of the question)
...Morals are objective, so there must be a God to define them, and without that God, there can be no morals.
(and so on)

Tidy little circular definition. And it's one I don't mind at all -- providing no one tries to foist it upon me.

The 16 "things" listed in the OP boil down to one larger sentiment, in my opinion -- "stop bothering me". If you are happy with your faith, etc. GREAT! It has nothing to do with me! In fact, if am at ease with my atheism, the best-case-scenario for a Christian trying to convince me of things is to come off as insecure in his/her own faith.

And at worst, he/she will come off as an aggravating doucheington.

All of that has not thing one to do with me -- I didn't ask to be nagged in the first place, and everyone should mind their own business. Christians who really insist upon spreading the Good Word, fine. Proclaim the Word and then stop. You don't get extra points for pushing harder or actually winning converts (that old-line thinking ranks right up their with the Inquisition and indulgences). This isn't the 1500s any more, and you aren't Spanish conquistadors using Jesus as a thinly-veiled ruse to exploit gold and other resources from the ignorant natives.

A comfortable atheist's eyes are wide open, and they think differently than you might. There is nothing wrong with that, and there is nothing you should try to do about that.

IPoop September 16 2011 1:37 PM EDT

couple of bits made me chuckle thanks for posting!

**Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[2] Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.[3] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[4][5] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.[5][6] - stolen from wiki**

Seen as these has got into a little debate id just like to say i dont get/understand atheists.
What sort of a person describes themselves as anti something others imagine/make up in theyre opinion?
People dont call them selves anti aliens. Are there groups of people that meet to deny ET?

Its like being called a non believer, a non believer in a thing with no proof makes no sense either. Atheism/non believer etc are tags given to you by religious people so that they can argue there point and let you argue yours back.


I forget whos post it was i read down to just ... but humans are also not the only species on earth that kill other humans. Loads of animals kill and mame there own kind (and eat them! - if you fell for that matrix cockroach line to most animals are like humans spreading out to).
A famous comedian summed this epiphiney up perfectly ... that perfect morning you wake up, the sun is breaking up over the horizen, theres a few wispy cloads around and its going to be a lovely warm lazy day. A Lark starts singing, a few blackbirds start, some starlings add to the noise in a growing crescendo of beautiful dawn chorus.
Its just a good job you dont speak bird because that lovely chirping is nature and theyre telling each other to [Admin edit] and keep out of their patch or they will kill them at full voice ... nature aint nice

Demigod September 16 2011 2:15 PM EDT

What sort of a person describes themselves as anti something others imagine/make up in theyre opinion?

It's not anti-theism, it's atheism. It's not against religion, it's lack of religion.

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 2:28 PM EDT

iPoop,

**Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[1] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[2] Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.[3] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[4][5] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.[5][6] - stolen from wiki**

OK. I don't mind those definitions. Seems an awful long way around to the basic meaning of the word's root parts:

a = not
theism = divinity/god

Seen as these has got into a little debate id just like to say i dont get/understand atheists.

That's your Constitutional right.

What sort of a person describes themselves as anti something others imagine/make up in theyre opinion?

I don't know. I don't see any atheists going around here describing themselves. In fact, by definition, an atheist should never need to define their stance. Their stance is the default. So, the only time they would ever need to define themselves would be in order to help someone questioning them understand. To put it another way, if you don't ever want an atheist to define themselves, that's easy -- don't force them to by shining an opposing light on it.

Also, where did the prefix "anti" suddenly come from? No one here is talking about "antitheism" (if they are, they are wildly off-topic). We're talking about "atheism". There's a rather large difference, one it would behoove you to understand.

As for opinion, I think you will find (at least in my posts), I state quite clearly that others are entitled to their opinions. Have at it, I don't mind! But it ceases to be mere personal opinion when someone annoys me telling me what they believe (and thinking I should believe it too, or that I really do believe it way down deep inside). It ceases to be opinion at that point. It becomes aggravation to me.

People dont call them selves anti aliens. Are there groups of people that meet to deny ET?

I don't know. On the flip-side, are there large masses of people who meet as a community and unequivocally state aliens DO exist? Are there those that go around killing each other in the name of said aliens? Do the alien-believers annoy the non-believers by insisting the aliens can and must exist? Don't stop the question when you've only asked half of it.

IPoop September 16 2011 2:35 PM EDT

That's exactly what I was trying to point out was wrong thank you. You said its a 'lack of religion'. How can you lack something you don't even think is real.
A vegan is someone who doesn't eat meat.
A religious person believes in faith.
An atheist doesn't believe in something they believe id made up - its a double negative

Lord Bob September 16 2011 2:42 PM EDT

Are there groups of people that meet to deny ET?
Another common misconception about us: we aren't a congregation. There really aren't groups of people that meet to deny the gods either.

Compared to nearly every actual religion, atheists are grossly unorganized and unconnected. We are not a monolithic group. We don't share a common membership. We don't get together on Sundays to talk about not praying to a god. With rare exception, we are merely a very scattered collection of individuals. It's not a religion.

Lord Bob September 16 2011 2:45 PM EDT

A vegan is someone who doesn't eat meat.
A vegan is someone with a lack of meat in their diet.

An atheist doesn't believe in something they believe id made up - its a double negative
I don't believe in Mickey Mouse because he is made up.

These words do not conflict the way you think they do.

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 2:46 PM EDT

No, they don't believe in the first place.

You are making atheists sound backwards by basically saying "religion came first". Incorrect. Lack of religion came first, and an atheist goes along with that. Nothing/void/vacuum ALWAYS comes first. It is the default.

Like I said, an atheist wouldn't even NEED a word, wouldn't even need a definition, if it weren't for the (later developed) existence of belief in a divinity.

IPoop September 16 2011 2:55 PM EDT

Yeah on the whole I do agree atheists don't meet up - a few /very small minority do though. It was a bad example, I was just trying to say loads of people don't believe in ET but they don't have a group name they say they are, its simply they arent/don't think they exist. Atheism is an opposite which means the other side is an opposite and so an option.
Yes I know I'm not very eloquent sorry

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 2:58 PM EDT

Only if you admit that all other religions have you beat if this were a gamble. Because if you're right, and we're wrong, no harm no foul; we weren't going anywhere anyway. But, if we're *right*; then you're screwed.

Pfft. ;)

It's not all other religions. Just a few.

If I die holding my weapon in my hand, I get to go to Valhala. Regardless of my Belief in the Norse Gods. That's just how their system works. :P

And who knows we could actually be run by a benevolent supreme being, that accepts *everyone* in Paradise after death.

Who knows. ;)

IPoop September 16 2011 3:05 PM EDT

I'm on a mobile so can't really try to explain myself easily but the last line of your reply was sort of what I was trying to get at Sut. Why atheism when something that is imaginary came a long after. Atheism exists because its the opposite of something that's made up ... pointless to name yourself as anti a pretend thing because the pretend thong now has a legitimate opposite ..atheism

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 3:06 PM EDT

Atheism is an opposite which means the other side is an opposite and so an option.

Atheism isn't an opposite to Christianity though. ;)

But it's a belief system all the same. You need faith to believe no Gods exist. ;)

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 3:08 PM EDT

iPoop,

I thought of a little scenario to help explain what I mean about "nothing" being the default...

Imagine a day, way back, when homo sapiens first began to walk the earth. Homo sapiens were self-aware, able to think. Sapient. It's right there in the name.

Additionally, imagine this is a day before mankind thought to worship the sun, moon, earth, faeries, aliens, animals, mythological characters, or a heavenly presence. No belief in any special divinity. No god or gods.

At this point in time, every man, woman and child of the homo sapien genus-species was an atheist. By definition.

In daily existence, no one of these early humans would ever walk up to another and say, "I am an atheist", because that would not make any sense. There was no need to use that word any more than someone would walk up to another person and say, "I am not an astronaut." While it would have been true for any human to say they were not, in fact, an astronaut, there was no reason to say it because there was no "astronaut" to "not".

That's already proof right there that atheism has nothing to do with the fact that belief systems DO now exist, but I'll continue.

Fast forward my scenario, and, for hypothetical simplification purposes, let's say there were only ten people on earth at that time. One of them decides to worship the moon, and two others join him. Another decides to worship the sun, and two others join her. Three others decide to worship nature, leaving us with:

3 moon folks
3 sun folks
3 nature folks
1 unchanged human

When one of the nine believers asks the remaining human (who simply did not go out of his way to believe in something) what he believes, he now has to define himself EVEN THOUGH HE IS NOT THE ONE WHO HAS CHANGED AT ALL. He is still the default. He remains an atheist. It is an interesting concept -- the requirement to suddenly have to define that which always was, the requirement for an uttered word.

So, he will say, "I don't believe in what anyone else does. I am not that. I am not theistic. I am an atheist. I am still whatever we were before. I didn't become what we were before simply because you rest are now something not-from-before."

By your reckoning, he has now become silly -- defining himself against what he doesn't believe in in the first place.

By my reckoning, he is simply remaining at the default state -- nothing could be more natural or logical.

And that default state is atheism.

Does that make more sense?

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] September 16 2011 3:09 PM EDT

The reason its called atheism is simply because there's so many people who believe something. I assume most people don't believe in aliens at least in this sense and so we don't have a name for people who don't believe in aliens.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 3:09 PM EDT

No, they don't believe in the first place.

They do. ;)

Atheism isn't ignorance. An Atheist doesn't not follow Christianity (or any other religion) just because they don't know about it. It's a conscious belief that no supernatural being/creator can exist. In any form.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 3:09 PM EDT

At this point in time, every man, woman and child of the homo sapien genus-species was an atheist. By definition.

They were just ignorant of faith. ;)

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 3:15 PM EDT

iPoop:

Why atheism when something that is imaginary came a long after.

See my previous illustrative post.

There is no such thing as "Why atheism". Atheism was there first, and the word would never even need to have existed, then or now, of theism had not come about. Now the word is only necessary for explanatory purposes. Passive, not active. Because it is the default.

Every human baby is born an atheist. Every human baby is also born a-feline (not a cat) and a-canine (not a dog). But a baby would never need to be described as being a-feline or a-canine because no human babies BECOME dogs or cats later (Brundle-flys, maybe, but that was a special case. *smile*).

A human baby may, however, become theistic. Hence the need for the opposing word before such time as that is the case (if the question arises).

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 3:15 PM EDT

I really wish I could edit my posts. :(

In the nice example above, that one unchanged dude isn't an Atheist, it's not the default.

When he replies "I don't believe in what anyone else does" that still doesn't make him an atheist. He could have his own, individual belief.

He must turn round and say to them. "I believe none of your beliefs are correct/exist. Nor can they ever." (In essence, I'm sure that could be written far more eloquently! lol!)

Then he would be an Atheist. ;)

IPoop September 16 2011 3:16 PM EDT

Sorry Sut but why by definition are they atheist even before god etc came along? Atheism, god etc didn't exist. To be labled that makes no sense then.and if you don't believe in god now surely you are what they were back then. You call yourself the opposite of something you think isn't ....

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 3:20 PM EDT

They do. ;)

Atheism isn't ignorance. An Atheist doesn't not follow Christianity (or any other religion) just because they don't know about it. It's a conscious belief that no supernatural being/creator can exist. In any form.

GL, you are mixing belief with thought/knowledge.

I never said atheism was ignorance. I said it was lack of belief, not lack of knowledge.

And I believe your definition is incorrect. An atheist does not think a Great Maker CANNOT exist. They just do not believe in one. There's a massive difference between those two things.

So I will stand by my statement that every early man, before theism, was atheist. Not ANTI-theist, just A-theist. No belief in a divinity. Whether that be because the concept of divinity exists and they didn't buy it or the entire concept simply did not exist yet is immaterial.

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 3:26 PM EDT

GL, judging by your capitalization of "atheist", it would appear you didn't read the OP, so I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the definition of "atheist". I think you are incorrect in your statements and you think I am incorrect in mine. *shrug*

iPoop, sometimes opposites are defined by being the opposite of something, and sometimes they are defined as being the opposite of something. Sometimes they are a root word with a prefix tacked on the front, and sometimes they are entirely different words. I am not sure I see how that has anything to do with the fact that atheism, at its most basic, means "not believing in divinity/god".

If the opposite of something is required, then what do you call a clean slate such as a human baby? Assuming one is either theist or atheist, which is a baby? A baby cannot have a belief system yet -- their mind is empty of such things. So, which is it?

I'm a computer guy. I think in terms of THREE logical expressions, true, false, and null. Null is NOT false, and null is NOT the opposite of true. Null is the default: no answer. Every answer starts as not-an-answer. I see atheism as "null", theism as "yes", and anti-theism" as "no".

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 3:26 PM EDT

An atheist does not think a Great Maker CANNOT exist. They just do not believe in one.

It takes belief to support that a supernatural creator cannot exist.

"I don't believe any Great Makers exist" is the same as "I belive any Great Makers cannot exist".

They're interchangeable. Both explanations of the Atheist belief system.

I never said Atheism was ignorance either. :( Sorry if it came across as that. I ment that a state of unknowing about Great Makers is different to the state of deciding they can't exist.

You can be ignorant of their existence without believing they cannot be.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 3:27 PM EDT

GL, judging by your capitalization of "atheist", it would appear you didn't read the OP

:P

Did it on purpose. But not to antagonise anyone. :(

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 3:35 PM EDT

Gl, you state:

It takes belief to support that a supernatural creator cannot exist.

Exactly, that is why an atheist does not believe such a thing, because it would require belief (or is there a word missing here).

That's what I said: an atheist does not believe a Creator CANNOT exist, they just see no reason to believe in one currently. No belief in a divinity, the very definition of atheism.

I think one thing that is actually quite subjective about this is the definition of "divinity". A dog that has been kicked around its whole life might very well not belief in anything divine. Then, if that dog got a nice master, an apparently omniscient and omnipresent deity who cared for the dog, that dog might suddenly believe in the divine. In that way, the dog has gone from being an atheist to believing in its master.

Let me ask you the baby question. I'm assuming that if I asked you whether a baby was theist or atheist you would answer "not applicable", going by what you have stated?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 3:43 PM EDT

Yup. The baby would have to make that decision and choice themselves, after considering the options.

And I think it boils down to our definitions of atheism. For me, it's a belief system that flat out states no Gods can possibly exist.

(I know not really the be all and end all, but a quick dictionary.com C&P!)

1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

That to me isn't;

they just see no reason to believe in one currently

That's more agnostic to me (which is what I class myself as)

"a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience."

With an emphasis on the "human knowledge" bit.

While I might (and do) claim that the Christian God as defined cannot exist, I don't go so far as to claim the belief that no Gods can exist.

Which is what an atheist does.

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 3:43 PM EDT

(And by the way, I don't know if my definitions of how I am describing things are standard, if there even are standards, or what. I'm not even sure I would call myself an atheist.)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 3:44 PM EDT

Ninja'd! :D

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 16 2011 3:47 PM EDT

i have noticed a trend where some religious people do think of it as a war. they see themselves on one side of the battle lines and atheist or even science on the other.

i cannot speak for other atheists, but as for myself i care little what you guys do as long as it doesn't affect me. so, in my experience we atheists aren't the ones worrying about being "anti" anything.

as for the morality issue, why should we have to justify it. i don't ask you to justify your faith?

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 3:53 PM EDT

Yeah, GL, I think I am morphing atheism a bit into agnosticism, but taken on base word parts, "atheism" should really just mean "no belief in divinity". Technically, a word doesn't care about how something might meet its definition, so it doesn't matter (to me) where "no belief" comes from.

I realize that in the practical usage of the word, though, that there is an active component to it. The passive side trails off into being agnostic, which I suppose classifies me pretty well, too.

As far as how folks should communicate about it, I think dude just summarized my thoughts exactly.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 3:59 PM EDT

:)

Those poor witnesses! "Witnesses are told they are under a biblical command to engage in public preaching."

Am I wrong in equating "no belief in divinity" to "belief in no divinity"?

Is there a practical difference between the two I'm missing? :(

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 4:26 PM EDT

Am I wrong in equating "no belief in divinity" to "belief in no divinity"?

GL, first off I think I have been the more "wrong", especially now that you've reminded me of good ol' agnosticism. *smile* Your definitions and interpretations are more in line with true, "active" atheism, I think.

And you aren't wrong in equating anything, but there is something we should try to be clear on.

I HAVE been treating "divinity" as "a divinity", not the concept of divinity. There's a big difference, and it is the one we have been running into here, between:

I don't believe there is a divinity.
I don't believe in divinity itself (so therefore can never belief in anything truly "divine".)

I have been leaning toward the first, meaning even simple ignorance of the concept of divinity would make true, and you (more accurately, I think), have been leaning toward the latter. The second one builds in a lack of ignorance, a disbelief in the face of knowledge, not lack of belief because of simply not knowing.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 4:31 PM EDT

:)

It's very easy to fall into the atheism versus Christianity trap, I do it all the time. I blame it on being raised in a country dominated by a single religion.

But you're not really an atheist if you only oppose Christianity and are open to (for example only!) the Norse religion and the prospect of going to Valhala.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 4:35 PM EDT

As an utter aside, but slightly relevant to the topic at hand, has anyone read the new Ian M Banks Culture novel?

It's based around a virtual war, where cultures (no the Culture! :P) have created their own Heavens and Hells as virtual reality constructs.

And with technology able to in essence copy people, you can send someone to a virtual heaven/hell, and even bring them back from them.

It's a fascinating take on the afterlife. :)

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] September 16 2011 4:39 PM EDT

Am I wrong in equating "no belief in divinity" to "belief in no divinity"?

Yes. Here's an example of what I interpret that difference to be, "I do not hold any beliefs concerning the divine." and "I believe there is no no such thing as divinity."

Phoenix [The Forgehood] September 16 2011 4:44 PM EDT

Am I wrong in equating "no belief in divinity" to "belief in no divinity"?

I'm thinking the difference is something like this:
1) you could simply say that you don't care and therefore you don't have a believe in the divine. There may be a god, but to you it's a moot point if one exists or not.
2) you believe there is no divine. Period.

The difference seems subtle.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 16 2011 4:45 PM EDT

Thank you, I knew something looked off there. ;)

If you do not hold any beliefs in the divine, then you can't believe they don't/can't exist.

Maybe the 'no belief' should rather have been 'do not believe'.

Demigod September 16 2011 4:46 PM EDT

MP, your #1 is agnosticism, not atheism.

Phoenix [The Forgehood] September 16 2011 4:48 PM EDT

Also, as far as morality being in the bible goes, do you think that stealing is always wrong? How do you define stealing? Would saving a life justify a petty crime?

Lord Bob September 16 2011 6:08 PM EDT

If you do not hold any beliefs in the divine, then you can't believe they don't/can't exist.
This is agnosticism. As is the belief that we cannot know whether a god exists and not taking a stand.

Sickone September 16 2011 8:27 PM EDT

Am I wrong in equating "no belief in divinity" to "belief in no divinity"?

Basically, yes, they're not quite the same thing, but they're easy to confuse. Boolean logic very poorly describes the religious stances spectrum (that last word alone should tell you quite a bit).
There's a very long way from "I completely believe X can not possibly exist" (best describing militant anti-theists), "I all the way through "I have seen no evidence that X exists, but there's a non-zero chance it might exist" somewhere in the middle (best describing some form of agnosticism), down to "I completely believe X exists" (best describing religious zealots), with many, many additional points of view in between.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectrum_of_theistic_probability


Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung: "I do not believe, I know."

De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. "I don't know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there."

Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. "I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God."

Completely impartial. Exactly 50 per cent. "God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable."

Leaning towards atheism. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. "I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical."

De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. "I don't know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."

Strong atheist. "I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one."

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] September 16 2011 8:42 PM EDT

This is way too christian oriented.

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 16 2011 9:15 PM EDT

Sut, thank you so much for mentioning Hammurabi, and yes there had to have been laws before him. Had to! We just haven't found them.

MP, what I take from that commandment is taking something that isn't yours is wrong and, most importantly, knowing what you did is wrong with the threat of epic karma. If you think you were doing right with holy might, it's subjective, as there is no God.

Myself like to say I am neither agnostic or atheist. Can you deny my belief? Some tried. ;)
When the plague questions my "belief" would go on to say "If God is everything, and science is the study of everything, then science is the study of God." since I can make prepared statements too. Don't think science is god, but like putting it in that context. No one today has told me that God is not everything, but made everything, which gives me hope most christians know what a loaded question is.
Attacking those of #8, #11, #13, and the absurdities of #15 really tries my patients to hate filled ends. Additions to that science line have included longer tellings of:
1. "I believe in God when believing everything around you has power, influence, and existance. [insert list of common day crap here]. If that's not believing in the work of God then I don't care to know what God you work for."
2. "It is man that gave form to that which has form already thus citing God as a solitary upright being of any sex is going against his will via the first commandment. Seeing the ultimate being as the swinging ghost limb in the room and every facet of imagery there in is completely wrong, yet you ask me to believe that because a book written by political minds told you so!"
3. "I love Jesus without the threat of hell. He's a good speaker. Why should I sing to him when he knows what's in my heart and when I'm already saved? I'll only be damned tomorrow if I damned myself today. Now stop damning me."
4. Holding a banana, intelligent design trolling, and asking,"Can you prove this isn't a God?" then added the cherry asking her to help me find jesus while putting more of God's light in my soul. Was outside a Kroger's lol was a good day.

There are two phrases have live by for years. "I can tolerate anything but absolute ignorance." & "Hate it when I'm right."
Put me in the good book beside Kanye. :P

QBsutekh137 September 16 2011 10:31 PM EDT

AdminNat:

>This is way too christian oriented.

Really? The rest of the world seems WAY more c-o than this. I'm enjoying my stay here. That can't be a bad thing.

Folks are downright friendly in these parts (in the good, approved-of way.)

Lord Bob September 16 2011 11:36 PM EDT

This is way too christian oriented.
Are you referring to the Spectrum that Sick One posted? Then it's odd that you would say that, considering it was written by Richard Dawkins and presented in his magnificent book, The God Delusion, which I cannot recommend highly enough.

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 17 2011 12:00 AM EDT

Nat hates the 3rd world reminders. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 17 2011 4:09 AM EDT

:D

Awesome Sick! ;)

Sickone September 17 2011 5:36 AM EDT

This is way too christian oriented.

You probably mean "way too Abrahamic religion oriented", don't you ? ;)

Because Judaism, the many Christianity forms and the few Islam forms basically believe in the same main deity, and they only differ on the fine print of who the prophets were, who the favoured people are and what that deity actually wants its followers to do.

Yes, Muslims believe in exactly the same "God" as Christians do. How funny is that ?
It's actually quite clearly stated in the holy books that it really is the exact same "God".
And the Jewish Torah, the Christian Old Testament and the Muslim Qur'an are also basically the same book (just slightly different emphasis here and there) :D
The Muslim-Christian conflict is basically not *that* far from something like a conflict between Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 17 2011 11:27 AM EDT

The Old Testament no longer exists as anything but a history lesson. ;)

It's all new testament now, with 100% less smiting!

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 17 2011 11:29 AM EDT

(Basically the Christian God reinvented himself, if you ascribe to the notion that the bible was written by god, through man, and is totally different now to the other versions of itself you've mentioned above. ;) )

QBPit Spawn [Abyssal Specters] September 17 2011 7:33 PM EDT

It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.

As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. "Climb in!" shouted a man in the boat. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.


The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the helicopter went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned.

Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. "Heavenly Father," he said, "I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?" God gave him a puzzled look, and replied "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"

QBOddBird September 17 2011 11:23 PM EDT

But it's a belief system all the same. You need faith to believe no Gods exist. ;)

This is very nice, and describes me perfectly. I'm a philosopher, not an atheist nor religious - I don't believe that there is a God, nor that there isn't, but instead I prefer to think on the topic without any resolution.

In truth, I prefer the pragmatic approach - since we cannot prove that there is or is not a god, then shouldn't the real question be "what practical difference would believing in a god have upon my life?"

Lord Bob September 17 2011 11:47 PM EDT

It had been raining for days and days, and a terrible flood had come over the land. ... "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you expect?"
Bob approves!

I don't believe that there is a God, nor that there isn't, but instead I prefer to think on the topic without any resolution.
An agnostic then. Got it.

the real question be "what practical difference would believing in a god have upon my life?"
I'd like to address this as well, but I'll do it when Floyd Mayweather isn't about to walk out to the ring.

QBOddBird September 17 2011 11:51 PM EDT

Bah, I didn't want to use a label. People tend to smack one of those on you, and then disregard your point of view. ;)

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 18 2011 12:06 AM EDT

ignorable, anti-label agnostic! ; )

Lord Bob September 18 2011 12:07 AM EDT

People tend to smack one of those on you, and then disregard your point of view.
That wasn't my intention.

QBOddBird September 18 2011 12:14 AM EDT

Not to worry, it wasn't taken that way. I was simply giving an explanation of why I prefer not to simply state "I am _______."

Lord Bob September 18 2011 12:19 AM EDT

but I'll do it when Floyd Mayweather isn't about to walk out to the ring.
HOLY CRAP!

I'm not going to ruin it for anyone who wasn't seen it yet. But I've never seen anything like THAT in the history of Boxing.

Sorry for the hijack. I'll address what promised to after the fallout of this amazing excellence.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 18 2011 1:44 AM EDT

People tend to smack one of those on you, and then disregard your point of view. ;)

It's not that we disregard you because you're agnostic. We disregard you because you're an odd bird.

QBOddBird September 18 2011 2:16 AM EDT

rewd

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 18 2011 3:34 AM EDT

Lolz! ;)

AdminNemesia [Demonic Serenity] September 19 2011 3:34 AM EDT

Late response, just got back from vacation. ^_^

Yes I meant all three, I usually just lump them all together. It was just annoying me a bit because by the descriptions given here it would label me as an atheist but that is rather incorrect as I do have my own set of beliefs.

Reyth September 26 2011 7:28 PM EDT

I apologize. I didn't mean to post badly in your thread. Maybe this will make it up:

God is all powerful to reveal Himself. athiests are just those that haven't asked Him to do so or otherwise disposed themselves to accept the knowledge of His existence.

My apologies once again.

Sickone September 26 2011 7:32 PM EDT

Fundies say the damndest things...

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 26 2011 7:39 PM EDT

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us/28religion.html

&

God is all powerful to reveal Himself. athiests are just those that haven't asked Him to do so or otherwise disposed themselves to accept the knowledge of His existence.

don't really seem to be reconcilable.

QBOddBird September 26 2011 8:33 PM EDT

God is all powerful to reveal Himself

Then why doesn't he do it already, I'm waiting

Reyth September 26 2011 8:54 PM EDT

OB, you have asked Him to reveal Himself?

What I did was say the following: "God, if you exist, show Yourself to me and I will believe in You."

The only requirement is that you mean it from your heart.

I will tell you that there is no force stronger in this or any other world than the desire of God to reveal Himself to His creatures. If you ask Him to do so he will do so infallibly if you just will be sincere.

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 26 2011 9:27 PM EDT

Who are you to make demands of God!? Holding your believe in our lord hostage unless he meets you...begone repetitive heathen! *douse with the holy hose*

Lord Bob September 26 2011 9:33 PM EDT

I apologize. I didn't mean to post badly in your thread. Maybe this will make it up:
You apologize for your previous post, then commit the exact same offense. At this point you're trolling. You're also proving the very point I was trying to make with this thread. If you want to address that subject, please do. If not, leave this thread.

QBOddBird September 27 2011 11:47 AM EDT

Reyth - in another thread, I said this.

I cannot choose to be Christian, despite really wanting to in order to please my family, because I find myself without the faith or belief necessary. I do not think the Christian God, if he existed, would want someone to join up with the church and represent his followers if he couldn't even convince himself in the existence of his own deity.

I have wanted God to reveal himself for a long, long time, because I find it difficult to draw up faith in a being that does nothing to provide evidence for his existence. As far as I can see, revealing himself is the ONLY way I could possibly have a basis for that faith, and it has not happened yet.

Sickone September 27 2011 1:05 PM EDT

Hey, like they say... "God and/or Jesus sounds like a cool enough guy, but I can't stand the fanbois".

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] September 27 2011 1:21 PM EDT


Historically, OB has proven to be open to pretty much any "expose yourself" demands.

QBOddBird September 27 2011 5:29 PM EDT

Hey, like they say... "God and/or Jesus sounds like a cool enough guy, but I can't stand the fanbois".

Yep. Although there are a lot of scriptures that lead me to believe he's not even really a 'cool enough guy.'

Historically, OB has proven to be open to pretty much any "expose yourself" demands.

Historically and presently. ;)

Sickone September 27 2011 6:59 PM EDT

Although there are a lot of scriptures that lead me to believe he's not even really a 'cool enough guy.'

Jokingly : Eh, I hear most "western" Christians really like to ignore the bulk of the Old Testament, so I wasn't going to bring that sort of embarrassment up :P

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] September 27 2011 7:08 PM EDT


New Covenant, baby, we get the Jesus-pass _and_ we can hang someone overnight!

Reyth September 27 2011 8:47 PM EDT

"I have wanted God to reveal himself for a long, long time, because I find it difficult to draw up faith in a being that does nothing to provide evidence for his existence. As far as I can see, revealing himself is the ONLY way I could possibly have a basis for that faith, and it has not happened yet."

Wanting Him to show himself is good. Asking Him is even better and if you are sincere in your request, it is guaranteed to work.

QBOddBird September 27 2011 8:51 PM EDT

so what do i get to collect if the guarantee fails

AdminQBnovice [Cult of the Valaraukar] September 27 2011 9:10 PM EDT

Your circular logic merit badge

Reyth September 27 2011 9:22 PM EDT

If you are sincere and it fails then obviously He doesn't exist.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 27 2011 9:45 PM EDT

i am fairly certain the fault would lie with ob on that one, what good is omnipotence if you don't use it?

Sickone September 28 2011 12:40 AM EDT

If you are sincere and it fails then obviously He doesn't exist.

How odd. Even I don't have the gall to say "God" certainly doesn't exist, but you just did claim it's obvious he doesn't. Umm... so, now what ?

QBOddBird September 28 2011 1:07 AM EDT

In other news



good luck watching that video without suicide

Reyth September 28 2011 1:07 AM EDT

That's the deal. I said to God "IF you exist, show Yourself to me and I will believe in You". If we mean it, He will.

The above can easily be said by an athiest because of the word "IF".

Lochnivar September 28 2011 1:24 AM EDT

i am fairly certain the fault would lie with ob on that one, what good is omnipotence if you don't use it?

See, omnipotence isn't the problem it used to be. They have these little blue pills now... err, so I've heard...

Fishead September 28 2011 1:46 AM EDT

They were skittles... I swear...

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 28 2011 8:03 AM EDT

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
~Epicurus~ 341-270BC

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 28 2011 8:08 AM EDT

Free Will Gun.

That's the cop out.

God can still be Omnipotent and Omnibenevolent, and there can still be Evil in the world.

All due to our Free Will...

It's all our fault really. The Christian God remains squeeky clean of all wrongdoing.

Even knowing that giving us free will would lead to such Evil, as he's Omniscient.

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 28 2011 10:54 AM EDT

Posted that because I thought it was a pretty good for that era. Don't hold it against me. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 28 2011 11:23 AM EDT

Don't get me wrong, it's an awesome quote. ;)

Lochnivar September 28 2011 11:59 AM EDT

Free will, bah!

I don't have free will, I have rent, utilities, and illegitimate children!

Sickone September 28 2011 10:45 PM EDT

The problem with the omnipotence/omniscience/benevolence combo of the alleged deity vs the "Free Will" [FW] thing is slightly less obvious, but there still is a problem.

For instance...

If the actions resulting from FW would indeed be unpredictable, then the omniscient deity could AT BEST have perfect knowledge of the past and present, but NOT of the future, so it's not completely omniscient.
If they are predictable, then there's no FW to begin with, so the deity is certainly not completely benevolent.

Also, how exactly does FW enter into the equation of children born deformed, or even stillbirths based only on genetic defects ? It's not like the father or the mother "WILLED" either or both of their defective gametes into creating a defective zygote, especially if there were many more gametes available that would have resulted in offspring with no problems.

And then, there's the issue of illnesses like cancer, which are basically mostly random mutations which lead to a cell that will not "obey" apoptosis and the Hayflick limit, instead multiplying like mad. How's THAT exactly linked to free will again ? Are each of our cells now endowed with free will or what ? It's obviously a design flaw, so the so-called omniscient and omnipotent deity wasn't either, or alternatively, he wasn't benevolent at all.

Or, hey, better still, what about natural disasters where hundreds, thousands, or even close to millions die ? Where's the free will aspect in ANY of that ? Why isn't the so-called benevolent deity protect all those innocent from such disasters ? Why can't the tectonic plates shift slowly instead of suddenly and start earthquakes/tsunamis, why can't the mountains drain slowly instead of starting floods, why can't there be regular rain in the Sahara desert ? It's not like it's punishing nor rewarding anyone anyway, is it ? And if you say "but you can't make every place perfect", well, DUUH, omniPOTENT ? Not so omnipotent anymore, or is it ? Or maybe not benevolent at all ?

Also, sure, say that there is evil because of free will... then why don't "accidents" happen to bad people ? It's not like you really have to WAIT until the "end of days" to punish them at least a little bit. Hey, how about some random toe stumps every time somebody seriously thinks about robbing a bank ? What about some toothaches when they prepare to steal a purse ? Why don't bank robbers regularly trip on some banana peels when trying to exit the banks ? Why don't the guns jam whenever an innocent is about to be shot by a bad guy ? Or better still, why don't they backfire ?
It's one think to have FREE WILL, it's another thing to NOT PUNISH the actions until after death.

And so on and so forth.

Oh, and let's say that somehow miraculously this deity still manages to explain ALL of that above, and that somehow he can BOTH predict exactly what you do AND at the same time ALSO really leave you the choice (by, say, being able to predict each and every possible combination of actions at the same time)... but since he REFUSES to interact in most of the day-to-day business of people except MAYBE those few key points/actions that would lead to an end result he can't or won't like... how exactly does that make him benevolent again ? And he HAS to interact and BREAK the "free will" thing every now and then for that to happen, otherwise he would have absolutely no control over the end result, in which case... WHY BOTHER EVER ASKING HIM FOR ANYTHING IF YOU KNOW HE WILL NOT GRANT IT ANYWAY UNLESS IT SUITS HIS PURPOSES ?

Bottom line, even if "God" really DID exist, and even if he really HAD something that you COULD probably call omnipotence and omniscience, and just enough very long term and extremely inscrutable benevolence... given the constraints, HOW EXACTLY does believing in him help you (either morally or practically) in your day-to-day life anyway ?!?

No, seriously, what difference does God's existence or NON-existence make, from a practical standpoint, before your death ?
I'll tell you what : none. Zilch. Nada. ZIP. Nothing whatsoever.
So, rationally speaking, you have absolutely no reason to bother to believe he exists even if you have a good reason to think he might.
IF he really DOES exist, then you might as well "honestly convert" (silently) in the split second you are about to die, and it's all the same in the end... isn't it ?
:P

QBOddBird September 29 2011 12:52 AM EDT

Besides, if there was a perfect God, then this would have to be the most perfect world - to create something less than perfect would imply that he did something imperfect, which would mean he himself wasn't perfect.

So either this is the most perfect possible world, or there is no perfect god.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 2:12 AM EDT

Sickone so if I don't cause the sun to rise tomorrow, how can I know it will rise? You're argument is bad. Not saying I agree or disagree about whether God is either omniscient or that FW does exist, just that your argument is flawed.

Sickone September 29 2011 2:47 AM EDT

Sickone so if I don't cause the sun to rise tomorrow, how can I know it will rise? You're argument is bad.

*Your* counter-argument is bad, for starters, because it does not follow a similar logic. *I* am not omnipotent+omniscient+benevolent, I am merely human.

I could not "cause" the sunrise, nor could I stop it from happening even if I wanted to.
I am clearly NOT omnipotent.
I also do not know with 100% certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow.
I am clearly NOT omniscient.

I might be 99.999999...% sure that the sun will rise tomorrow, because the sun has always risen for as long as I lived, and I have read records of people observing the sunrise every day of their lives, and I consider fairly accurate the theory that the Earth is a nearly spherical large spinning object, both around itself once a day and around the Sun once a year, so I conclude with nearly but not absolute certainty that the Sun will most likely rise tomorrow.


I do not need to cause the sun to rise to be almost certain that the sun will rise.


And even if I THINK that I *could* cause the sun to rise on command, as unlikely as that sounds, I would need to do a series of tests which would ascertain the likelihood that my hypothesis is correct.
I would first need to repeatedly prevent the sun from rising when everybody expects it to, I also need to repeatedly cause the sun to rise when it shouldn't, and I should also do it enough times to be confident enough of the result.
And even then, I *still* can not be ABSOLUTELY, 100% certain that the sun obeys my command.


What was your point again ?

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 29 2011 3:49 AM EDT

Ignoring the Sun's perspective that nothing rises and that the gigantic burning space orb doesn't move for anything less than the galatic center. As God, you don't cause the sun to rise around the earth, you do the opposite. Then chuckle over those not in on the joke. How can you know the Sun will rise? Science! If the sun doesn't "rise" the fireball either exploded, got sucked into a blackhole, or our planet got backhanded like a tetherball to catastrophic extremes.
In which case it's God's will. Or the Sun has the free will to do evil and we should send space missionaries to preach the 6th commandment.
As for the perfect world. What if the world is moving towards perfection as time goes on, part of that divine plan thingymahbob, and we need to suffer & die to keep the circle in equilibrium? Any perceived flaws(beauty,ugly,earthquake,snooki)are of the human perspective. Then our dreams to what we consider perfection is the flawed system. ;)

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 4:48 AM EDT

That you're wrong that's my point. Leaving god out of this, I don't see how someone of your intelligence thinks something can't be omniscient, if free will exists... it doesn't even makes sense. It'd say it doesn't make sense from a logical one, but it doesn't make sense from any point. Imagine if you could see all events that happened in time. Say it was your super power. You're separated from this world and cannot alter it. Then would you not be omniscient, but free will could exist right?

Sickone September 29 2011 6:14 AM EDT

Leaving god out of this, I don't see how someone of your intelligence thinks something can't be omniscient, if free will exists... it doesn't even makes sense. It'd say it doesn't make sense from a logical one, but it doesn't make sense from any point. Imagine if you could see all events that happened in time. Say it was your super power. You're separated from this world and cannot alter it. Then would you not be omniscient, but free will could exist right?

So, what IS "free will", actually ?

Do you understand it to be a voluntary choice between multiple possible futures (and hence, non-deterministic) ?
That is what most people understand when you say "free will".
It means that at any given point in time, at least two possible outcomes of every possible action do exist, no matter how small the differences might be.
In that case, NOBODY can be *perfectly* omniscient (know everything that ever was or will be), because NOBODY can predict the exact outcome of each and every one of those choices before they happen.

Or do you rather understand it to be a completely deterministic process (in other words, knowable with absolute certainty) that merely has the outwards appearance of choice ?
THAT is the only way ANY entity could EVER attain perfect omniscience, if each and every action was perfectly determined based on the previous situation. It doesn't matter how complex the system might be, it could be that the exact position of one single atom millions of light years away could influence a choice made by somebody here and now, the only thing that matters is that if you KNOW every last bit of the universe, you can ALWAYS determine what happens next, if only you had enough "processing power".
As long as the universe is deterministic, there is only one possible outcome for each and every action, so free will is merely an ILLUSION.


Free will (non-deterministic universe) on one hand, and *perfect* past, present AND FUTURE omniscience (deterministic universe) on the other hand - they are two INCOMPATIBLE situations.
You can have one or you can have the other, YOU CAN NOT HAVE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME.

You can however have free will and perfect omniscience UNTIL the present moment, without KNOWLEDGE of the future. At best, you could have knowledge of many or even all possible futures, but you can not possibly know which one WILL become "the" future.

Alternatively, you could define "free will" as being the APPEARANCE of choice (even if in reality, there is no choice at all and everything really is pre-determined), but that would be a pretty lame cop-out.

Sickone September 29 2011 6:24 AM EDT

Just to re-stress that, the key point is omniscience with regards to the FUTURE. I have no problems with omniscience as long as it's limited to the past/present.

Omniscience which includes the FUTURE is mutually exclusive with free will.

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] September 29 2011 7:23 AM EDT

To any given four-year-old, _I_ have future omniscience, because given a completely free choice between boiled beets or cupcakes for breakfast, I know what he will choose.

Think of future-oriented omniscience as a result of the other superpowers. If you know enough about someone you can know with absolute certainty what choices they will make. If your superpower is "knowing everything", then one of the things you always know is what they will choose in every situation -- not because the choices they make are fated, from their own perspective, but because you know "everything".

AdminNightStrike September 29 2011 8:41 AM EDT

If you know enough about someone you can know with absolute certainty what choices they will make.

You're entering Matrix territory...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enjXPXBw3e4

Specifically, "...denial is the most predictable of all human responses..."

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] September 29 2011 8:58 AM EDT


God is a better-informed Mentalist.

Sickone September 29 2011 8:59 AM EDT

To any given four-year-old, _I_ have future omniscience, because given a completely free choice between boiled beets or cupcakes for breakfast, I know what he will choose.

For his first choice, sure. His second, almost certainly. His 50th choice, maybe not so sure. His 200th choice ? Hmm, shaky. His 500th choice ? Are you still sure ? How about his 1000th choice ?

You don't KNOW what he'll choose. You have a very high confidence in what he will choose, but every now and again, you WILL get one result you were not expecting, and you have no way of knowing WHEN you will get it.

That's not omniscience, that's statistics.

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] September 29 2011 9:05 AM EDT


Only because I don't know everything. If I did ...

Sickone September 29 2011 9:30 AM EDT

Only because I don't know everything. If I did ...

If you DID know everything, there are two possibilities - classical mechanics (deterministic) or quantum mechanics (non-deterministic).

In the former, you can know with absolute 100% certainty what will happen next, and free will does not exist under the definition accepted by most people.

In the latter, you may have a 99.9999999999999...9999999999% chance of guessing right what will happen, but there will always be that last 0.0000...0001% in which you DO NOT get it right.

QBOddBird September 29 2011 10:27 AM EDT

As for the perfect world. What if the world is moving towards perfection as time goes on, part of that divine plan thingymahbob, and we need to suffer & die to keep the circle in equilibrium? Any perceived flaws(beauty,ugly,earthquake,snooki)are of the human perspective. Then our dreams to what we consider perfection is the flawed system. ;)

Lol, this doesn't even address the argument proposed

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 10:34 AM EDT

Now you guys are getting into what Asimov already covered in the Foundation books: psychohistory. Given enough knowledge (read: a large enough mob of people), one can predict what the future holds. The further out, the less accurate, and the smaller the mass of people, the less can be known.

I have to agree with Sickone, overall. It's just statistics. And in a quantum universe, EVERYTHING is a statistical distribution. Sure, for larger objects the odds of something strange happening is on the order of 10^-34 (Planck's Constant), but truly anything _can_ happen, and no amount of knowledge in the Universe can guess what that is going to be. For one thing, there is the Uncertainty Principle. There are things that can simply NOT be known at the same time, by definition, because the simple act of knowing/observing one thing precludes knowledge about another. For a simpler scenario, consider molecules of water as a boiling pot reaches 100 degrees C. Yes, overall one can "know" the water will boil, and what that entails en masse. But no one can know what molecule will bust our first (especially since molecules are overcoming state with vapor pressure even at room temperature). There is no way of knowing what any single molecule or atom is going to do, and the smaller things get, the more purely statistical things become.

That's not illogical. It's quantum mechanics.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:04 AM EDT

To give another example of what Sick was talking about (and it's been one of my longest running debates about why this specific God cannot exist in its currently defined form...), consider your lunch break tomorrow.

Lets assume two things.

Firstly, that an Omnisient being exists. And that tomorrow, you're trying to decide whether to go to MacDonalds or Burger King for lunch.

Now, you have 'free will'. No outside influences (well, that's another sticking point for free will, but that could be a thread all of its own) are effecting your decision. You don't have any money off vouchers, no one is holding a gun to your head, and the omnsicient being doesn't strike one outlet with a Thunderbolt.

So lunch time rolls round, and you're stuck. Which will you choose? It's your choice, your free will.

And you decide to go to Burger King.

An example of free will in action.

Or is it.

There exists an omnsicient being, how by definition, knows everything. What you will do, what you won't do, what you're considering to do. Everything.

So today, the day before you go to Burger King for lunch, this being *already* knows you're going to Burger King. Hell, it knew it before you were born. Before your parents were born even.

From the start of its existence, it knew, that tomorrow, you could go to Burger King for lunch. You wouldn't go to MacDonalds, or the local Kebab Shop. Burger King. And only Burger King.

It *knows* this to be true. That cannot change in any fashion.

As this was known aobut before your birth, the only outcome is that as your life is already known, it is now predetemrined.

While you might be ignorant to this fact, and delude yourself into thinking you have free will, you don't.

There is *no* way you could go to anywhere other than Burger King for lunch tomorrow.

Free Will cannot co-exist with Omnsicience. The moment a single entity in our universe has total knowledge of *everything*, then the entire future becomes known, static and fixed.

QBOddBird September 29 2011 11:07 AM EDT

Free Will cannot co-exist with Omnsicience.

:D

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 11:20 AM EDT

GL: You were always going to choose Burger King. It's free will, but it was always going to happen that way. Me being all knowing, already knew this. But I didn't make you make your decision. Free-will and deterministic are not opposing forces. Maybe we should be debating what we determine to be free will.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:31 AM EDT

You didn't effect me Titan, but there was no way for me to go to MacDonalds.

It was predetermined before I was born.

The only 'free will' I have is a delusion that I can actually choose anything.

My life is set in stone, and have been for etenrity.

And you didn't effect it in any way. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:32 AM EDT

A quick Dictionary.com on Free Will. ;)

the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.

QBOddBird September 29 2011 11:32 AM EDT

GL is correct, Titan. If an omniscient being knows you are going to do something, then by virtue of their omniscience you are going to do that thing, even if you are choosing to because you have "free will." There's no real choice there, only the illusion of choice.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 11:34 AM EDT

I don't see how someone else knowing I am going to do something stops me from having free will. The two are entirely unrelated. "Free will" is a personal liberty.

And the whole concept of someone else knowing already is fodder for time paradoxes for that very reason -- it is the confluence of my individual free choice and someone else knowing (and potentially changing what I would have done).

When, in the Bible, God decides to give us free will, He is stating, "Yeah, I know what you are going to do, but that in no way stops you from making your own choice."

I write computer programs. I know what they are going to do because when it comes to a finite set of commands, one can "see the future". That doesn't mean the code itself isn't making the decisions, though. I just happen to know what the decisions are going to be. And in the sense that a computer does not have realized sentience, it's will is not "free". But the will and the knowledge of what will happen are still entirely unrelated (or at least don't HAVE to be related).

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 11:37 AM EDT

the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.

Sure. And someone knowing my choice is not the same as them "determining" it.

Are you saying that because I know dropping hammer will involve it hitting the ground that I am "determining" every time someone drops a hammer? That no one actually has free will when it comes to dropping a hammer because gravity has already decided the outcome? That's rubbish.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:37 AM EDT

Free Will is the ability to choose the outcome of an event, without any sort of influence. By definition, it can't be predertermined.

If the outcome of the event is already predetermined, then the individual cannot effect the outcome of the event in any way, even if they are unaware of the predertermined result.

They have no free will to effect the outcome.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:39 AM EDT

Are you saying that because I know dropping hammer will involve it hitting the ground that I am "determining" every time someone drops a hammer? That no one actually has free will when it comes to dropping a hammer because gravity has already decided the outcome? That's rubbish.

Do you know this will happen? Are you 100% sure that there won't be a time that a hammer is dropped and it will float? However that may occur?

I coudln't claim that sort of prescience. I would argue that in 99.9999~% of the time, when a hammer is dropped it *should* fall. But I coudln't dare claim to know it will. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:40 AM EDT

Also, in the hammer dropping example, what sort of free will are you trying to exercise?

What's the second (or multiple) choices *you're* trying to chose to effect?

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 11:41 AM EDT

Free Will is the ability to choose the outcome of an event, without any sort of influence. By definition, it can't be predertermined.

I disagree, especially with the whole "by definition" part.

If your definition of "predetermined" means "pre-influenced" and "pre-guided", then yes, free will gives over to coercion. But if my "predetermined" one means "pre-known", how does that involve cause and effect? See my hammer analogy. I "pre-know" what will happen to a dropped hammer. That doesn't mean I have influence over the drop nor the decision to drop it.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:43 AM EDT

It's a best guess Sute, unless you can see the future. ;)

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 11:44 AM EDT

Do you know this will happen? Are you 100% sure that there won't be a time that a hammer is dropped and it will float? However that may occur?

Yes. Go ahead and change the scenario to, "I have a time machine, and I watch a person drop a hammer at some point."

So, for that time, that choice, I know with 100% certainty that the hammer will be dropped, and I understand the mechanism by which it drops (gravity). The mechanism isn't even important in the time travel scenario, because if I see it drop, then it has dropped.

And just because I observe the drop does not mean I have necessarily influenced it at all. You are putting "might" over "will". I COULD change the hammer drop, so I COULD affect free will (time travel powers make one have that ability), but it doesn't mean the free will itself no longer exists.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 11:46 AM EDT

Also, in the hammer dropping example, what sort of free will are you trying to exercise?

I don't know what you are talking about. I never mentioned MY free will. I am talking about the free will of the person I am watching drop the hammer (who is not me). What does my free will have to do with anything in that scenario?

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 11:47 AM EDT

If what you are really saying here is that GOD has no free will, then yes, I believe that irony to be true.

But God watching someone ELSE, even with knowledge of what they will do, in no way must affect that free will choice of the other.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:48 AM EDT

I still think your analogy is a bad one. What 'choice' is the hammer dropper exercising?

So you see into the future, see someone drop a hammer.

That hammer will always drop, exactly as you have seen it. No matter what the hammer dropper was actualling intending or chosing to do with it.

(This is ignoreing the ability to see into the future to change the future. That's different to omniscience, so for this, we'll have to say you cannot effect the future in any way from your viewing of it)

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 11:49 AM EDT

(from my own point...)

...but it doesn't mean the free will itself no longer exists.

...especially if I have a self-imposed "non-interference" policy. Which God does. That's the whole point and why it is a big deal. God clearly says "I can do whatever the heck I want, including meddling with what YOU lot want, but I'm not going to."

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:51 AM EDT

But God watching someone ELSE, even with knowledge of what they will do, in no way must affect that free will choice of the other.

But it must. ;)

Another simple exercise.

I'm going to type a capital letter at random on the next line below.

L

Totally at random, no outslide influence. I used my free will to chose which letter out of 26 to type.

But the outcome of that choice was already known prior to the creation of the world.

At no point in time did I have the option or ability to type anything else other than an L. Becuase this event was predetermined by knowledge.

I might think it's my own choice, but I coudln't have typed an A, or another other letter. There was no choice. therefore I couldn't exercise any free will.

But typing the letter L wasn't influenced in any way, by anything.

If that makes sense. ;)

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 11:52 AM EDT

That hammer will always drop, exactly as you have seen it. No matter what the hammer dropper was actualling intending or chosing to do with it.

Right, or not drop, or whatever. Coke vs Pepsi, BK vs McD. Whatever.

Why are you bringing intent into this? That's the whole point -- intent doesn't matter. The person can drop the hammer (or not) for whatever reason they desire. It is their free will, and I can't affect it. All I do is know what happened. If I travel through time and know who won the Super Bowl, I didn't affect any of the myriad decisions made on the field as the final score comes to fruition. All I know is what happened. The players have free will to do whatever they want, unaffected by me.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:54 AM EDT

There aren't any decisions. No choices can be made about anything.

There are no options.

As everything is predetermined and already known.

One static story we are just acting out. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:55 AM EDT

(I should add, I don't support the notion that an omnsicient being exists)

QBOddBird September 29 2011 11:55 AM EDT

If what you are really saying here is that GOD has no free will, then yes, I believe that irony to be true.

I'm in agreement here

I disagree, especially with the whole "by definition" part.

I think we're running into a conflict of definition for Free Will here - you want to say that if you are able to determine your course of action, then it's free will, and he's saying that if your course of action is already known, then since you don't have the ability to choose a different one (thus violating what's already known) then you don't have free will.

And I'm in agreement with GL on this one, because by the property of knowing your action the omniscient being restrains you TO that course of action without necessarily realizing any kind of interference.

Off to class!

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 11:56 AM EDT

I don't see how someone else knowing I am going to do something stops me from having free will. The two are entirely unrelated. "Free will" is a personal liberty.

Exactly. If I someone had my body moved to another universe, and was granted vision to all time and places on earth, I would be all knowing of those actions. However, I would have no bearing on free will. Just b/c something is per-determined doesn't mean there's not free will. I think it's silly to think things are per-determined, no matter what your faith. Things can only happen once, therefor they were always going to happen that way.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 11:57 AM EDT

GL, you're talking this into a meaningless direction. You're saying because something will have come to pass at some point, then what does pass was never a choice in the first place.

If you made the choice with no outside influence, then you made the choice with free will. Full stop. Merely stating that the outcome of the choice will at some point be in the past doesn't mean it wasn't a choice to start with. You're basically saying there is no such thing as cause and effect simply because it will all become "history" at some point. That's pure, mental-masturbatory semantics. Even _I'M_ not THAT pedantic. *smile*

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 11:57 AM EDT

If what you are really saying here is that GOD has no free will, then yes, I believe that irony to be true.

See now this is where the logic part ends and the Christian part ends. I think that anyone who has read the bible beliefs that God (if they believe in him) granted us pseudo-free will. Meaning that the actions are our free choice, until he decides other wise.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 11:59 AM EDT

Schrödinger's cat ;)

(I'm sure we've had this exact same discussion berfore here! :P)

a system stops being a superposition of states and becomes either one or the other when an observation takes place.

;)

Once an event with multiple possible outcomes has been observed, it becomes fixed.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 12:01 PM EDT

See now this is where the logic part ends and the Christian part ends. I think that anyone who has read the bible beliefs that God (if they believe in him) granted us pseudo-free will. Meaning that the actions are our free choice, until he decides other wise.

Well, I was actually going into a completely different, philosophical direction in saying: can someone who knows the future, even for one's own self, have free will (it's basically a self-reference paradox, like Russell's set-based paradoxes).

I wasn't referring to the fact that God can change His mind about whether or not he decides to meddle with his creations in some way (which of course He can -- He can do whatever He pleases).

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 12:02 PM EDT

You're basically saying there is no such thing as cause and effect simply because it will all become "history" at some point.

Only if omniscience exists.

If there exists a being that is Omniscient, then there is no cause and effect. There is just one static story or play, where the actors follow thier lines without fault.

>you're talking this into a meaningless direction.

I think Omniscience is meaningless. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 12:04 PM EDT

Another edit.

Just knowing the outcome of a single event doesn't reul out the existance of free will. Free will couldn't be applied ot that event, but it could to others.

The problem is with Omniscience.

It 'observes' the outcomes of *every* event, and removes free will entirely.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 12:05 PM EDT

Once an event with multiple possible outcomes has been observed, it becomes fixed.

You just stated the definition of "history". Which is fixed, yes.

So what? I'm not talking about history, or the future. Free will, if it speaks to any tense, is the _present_.

To put it another way, you're making seeming paradoxes where there aren't any. By your definition, a clock can never actually strike midnight, because by the time it does, and we observe it, it is no longer midnight.

You're really talking math and the concept of limits, the very concepts which overcame things like Zeno's Paradox involving the tortoise and Achilles.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 12:05 PM EDT

Well, I was actually going into a completely different, philosophical direction in saying: can someone who knows the future, even for one's own self, have free will (it's basically a self-reference paradox, like Russell's set-based paradoxes).

Oh wow that some deep you know what. Let me mull that over for a bit.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 12:08 PM EDT

I think Omniscience is meaningless. ;)

I disagree. As a mental exercise, one can consider Time itself to be omniscient and unmeddling. Time will bear out what happens, and once something is in the past, it is fixed. That, however, has no bearing on a PRESENT choice. For that incalculably small moment (the "present" is, by definition, the most vanishingly small of the tenses!), even Time itself doesn't know what is going to happen, because it hasn't been written yet.

And in that present moment, free will is alive and well, even though what is going to happen will have happened very, very soon.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 12:10 PM EDT

Let me mull that over for a bit.

Okay 5 minutes, seems enough for me :P.

What if God has free will over his actions, and can see the outcome of each action he chooses, and what people will do under said choices. Basically like a big tree of decisions and he can see all of them at any given time?

Lord Bob September 29 2011 12:12 PM EDT

GL,

I am going to eat a doughnut at 5:06 PM today. I CHOOSE to eat a doughnut at 5:06 PM today. I will do this. You know now, before the fact, that I will do this. You are fully aware before I eat the doughnut at 5:06 PM that I will eat a doughnut at 5:06 PM today.

Now, does the fact that you now know that I WILL, absolutely 100% will, eat a doughnut at 5:06 PM mean that I never made that choice to begin with?

Regardless, for me the answer is irrelevant, because I believe there is no omniscient deity that knows every choice I'll ever make anyway.

Lord Bob September 29 2011 12:14 PM EDT

Well, I was actually going into a completely different, philosophical direction in saying: can someone who knows the future, even for one's own self, have free will (it's basically a self-reference paradox, like Russell's set-based paradoxes).
At the risk of sounding like I'm defending faith (ha!), I have to say that this sounds a lot like the "can god create a rock so big..." paradox.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 12:14 PM EDT

LB, I don't know it. You could fall down dead before eating it, someone else could eat it, or a rock could fall on it and destory it. Whatever. ;)

Now if I *did* know it, then you have no choice but to eat that doughnut. No matter what you thought you could choose to do. ;)

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 12:16 PM EDT

Now if I *did* know it, then you have no choice but to eat that doughnut. No matter what you thought you could choose to do.

This is not the logic you're looking for.... *waves hand*

Fate !not contradict Free Will. Only one thing can happen, if you know what will happen, then nothing changes.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 12:18 PM EDT

So what? I'm not talking about history, or the future. Free will, if it speaks to any tense, is the _present_.

Time frame has no bearing on it.

It's trite to say that a present that is known prior to its time is just the future. ;)

If the outcome of an event can't be changed, then there's no free will used.

Doughnuts, Superbowl or Maccy D's.

If there's no actual choice, how can you chose something?

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 12:19 PM EDT

What if God has free will over his actions, and can see the outcome of each action he chooses, and what people will do under said choices. Basically like a big tree of decisions and he can see all of them at any given time?

Exactly, Titan (at least the last part). That's how I define the omniscience we are referring to -- knowing every possible branch of every possible choice structure. To expand on my "Time" definition, and that Time essentially IS omniscient, God is like Quantum Time -- not only knowing single lines of existence, but knowing ALL lines in ALL Universes.

So, is that free will? The opening line of the quote above doesn't really go with the rest. God CAN see the outcome of every action, including his own, all the way down the tree -- so does he have free will?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 12:20 PM EDT

Only one thing can happen, if you know what will happen, then nothing changes.

Exactly.

There can only be one outcome to an event.

And with free will, the outcome of an event is determined by the indivudal involved, at the moment of the event.

With Omniscience, this is bypassed as the outcome of the event is predetemrined before the event comes to pass.

I think I'm all out of ways to explain my PoV, so will probably have to stop here. :(

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 12:21 PM EDT

It's trite to say that a present that is known prior to its time is just the future. ;)

If the outcome of an event can't be changed, then there's no free will used.

This logic... it hurts my brain... must resist urge to lose cool...

The event can be changed, up until the point it happens. When it happens it is past, where it can be known and documented. Now imagine if someone had the ability to know what happens at all times. He'd know you were always going to drop that hamburger, eat at BK, whatever. You're always going to make the choice you make, predeterminism that can be seen from an omniscient being; however, you always made the decision out of your own accord.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 12:22 PM EDT

It's not enough for an Omnsicient being to know all the 'branches'.

To be Omnsicient, it needs to not only know those, all the potential choices, but to know the single, actual choice.

If it doesn't, then it can't claim omsicience.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 12:23 PM EDT

The branches only serve as branches for his own choices in my mind. He knows what every other decision will be once he makes a decision.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 12:23 PM EDT

The event can be changed, up until the point it happens.

That's the point.

With omnsicence, the point it happens is the moment the knowledge is gained. Prior to the event actually happeneing.

It's this that removes the choice from the event.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 12:24 PM EDT

If there's no actual choice, how can you chose something?

But there is a "choice", GL. You keep defining things in such a way as to say there isn't, but just because you say "Omniscience about a choice makes it no longer a choice" doesn't make it true. I disagree with your basic premise, so there is no reason to keep repeating it as if I am at some point going to simply "see it your way". I certainly understand you aren't going to see it my way, because the definitions (which are no truer or empirical than mine) you are using preclude it.

Like I said, at this point it's semantic pedantry.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 12:24 PM EDT

The branches only serve as branches for his own choices in my mind. He knows what every other decision will be once he makes a decision.

Unless he knows *prior* to making the decision, he's not omniscient.

Lochnivar September 29 2011 12:24 PM EDT

Fate !not contradict Free Will. Only one thing can happen, if you know what will happen, then nothing changes.

Free will = journey
Fate = destination

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 12:25 PM EDT

With omnsicence, the point it happens is the moment the knowledge is gained. Prior to the event actually happeneing.

Ok GL, say you got a video of an world from a different universe. The video was of all actions of a world there for a day 1 week from now. Don't ask how I got the tape. Now you can't intermingle with them to affect their decisions. You are omniscient of that day. Yet every person you see in that video has free will, they chose their actions by their own accord.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 29 2011 12:26 PM EDT

Like I said, at this point it's semantic pedantry.

I'm sad I can't articulate my stance any differently. It's time for me to leave this here. :(

I've no desire to mire anyone in a ping pong over semantics! ;)

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] September 29 2011 12:26 PM EDT

Unless he knows *prior* to making the decision, he's not omniscient.

I never claimed God was omniscent of his own actions, I think that is impossible from a logic stand point. He is simply omniscient of every action we will make given a certain situation.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 12:28 PM EDT

I think I'm all out of ways to explain my PoV, so will probably have to stop here. :(

GL, your POV reduced to some pretty basic things.

You basically define omniscience as the destroyer of free will. That's fine. I;ve no idea why you see it that way or what you are basing it on, but you do. Fine. So, of course, in an omniscient world there is no choice and no free will. Again, simply because you have defined it that way.

I personally think you are conflating two entirely unrelated things, so no logical discussion or progression is going to help us meet in the middle. As I said before, I thing your original premise is wrong. More than wrong, it's meta-wrong because the two things have nothing to do with each other. Choice does not need to have any relationship to omniscience any more than the actions we do today have to have anything to with history. Can they be related? Sure. But they don't need to be joined into any sort of axiomatic, "by definition" logic.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 12:31 PM EDT

To put it another way, I get what you are saying and always have, so there is no need to feel you have failed to communicate your point. I simply disagree with you, and that's OK. No harm, no foul.

iBananco [Blue Army] September 29 2011 1:01 PM EDT

As a member of the world, by learning the fate of the current world, you have changed the current world, and therefore do not know the fate of the current world. Assuming you skip this roundabout paradox by specifying that you know precisely how this current world in which you are omniscient will behave, then you will have already taken your own decision given that you are omniscient into account.

IPoop September 29 2011 2:06 PM EDT

IPoop September 29 2011 2:06 PM EDT

doh i really do give up trying to post links or vids on this website

QBPixel Sage September 29 2011 3:41 PM EDT

Found a logical analysis of God's omniscience and free will. It's pretty straightforward: http://carm.org/if-god-knows-our-free-will-choices-do-we-still-have-free-will

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 29 2011 4:44 PM EDT

Correct OB that perfect world bit had nothing to do with the topic. Was food for thought and here's another plate. Somewhat relative to that excellent comic above.
If the omniscient one has already seen his ant hill movie. Created the set design, birthed the actors, wrote the script, know the scenes by heart, and previewed everything. It's perfect and he wouldn't change a thing. Why bother watching twice?
To mute and lull yourself to sleep with perhaps. Well, guess once more before returning to Blockbuster.
He is kind, so he rewinds. ;)

Lord Bob September 29 2011 4:55 PM EDT

10 points to iPoop for the Mr. Wiggles comic. That's my favorite weekly comic strip.

QBOddBird September 29 2011 5:28 PM EDT

The perfect world bit is Humeian philosophy regarding the nature of god, and infinitely more relative to this thread than pretending god is a director who doesn't like to watch his own movies. :)

QBJohnnywas September 29 2011 5:32 PM EDT

Free will? Nah, God is a woman and I'm married to her.

QBsutekh137 September 29 2011 5:36 PM EDT

Nice link, Pixel, very clear (to me, anyway). It even incorporates Bast's ice-cream-in-front-of-a-child scenario! *smile*

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] September 29 2011 6:36 PM EDT


I concur!

And isn't the important question, really: If God will "know all" of every bad decision and its outcome before we make it, and he won't intervene in our bad decisions because we have Free Will, why does he always seem so shocked and appalled by our behavior?

There's an awful lot of "You ought to be ashamed of yourself" and "You're grounded, young man!" in The Good Book for someone who already knew what would happen.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 29 2011 7:39 PM EDT

i like to focus on all of the begatting.

Sickone September 29 2011 7:54 PM EDT

Two name-drops:
* Minority Report
* The Watchmen

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 29 2011 8:47 PM EDT

Maybe God's feature film Perfect Universe would have lots of death and cinematic explosions both big and small....oh wait, it totally does. ;)

QBPixel Sage September 30 2011 6:22 AM EDT

@Bast: That is an interesting question, and one worth exploring. Does God actually seemed so "shocked and appalled by our behavior?" Or does the Bible display His full understanding of the matter? If He knew something they were going to sin, does that negate the importance of His disciplinary actions?

One question whose answer would more completely satisfy our curiosity is this: If God knew humans would sin and become subject to damnation, why create any in the first place? I did some digging, and found a pretty satisfying answer here: http://www.gotquestions.org/if-God-knew.html

@!Gun: Not really understanding your film metaphor. As far as I know, God's role in the universe is much more powerful and transcendent than that of a director of a film. Our role in the universe is much more complex and real than that of an actor in a film.

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] September 30 2011 6:37 AM EDT


That was a satisfying answer? It satisfies the earlier "free will v. omnipotence" question, but "Oh well, bad things. Manifest plan. What can you do?" is just what is supremely annoying about the childishness of The Cosmic Babysitter's followers.

And if it's the answer to all the temper tantrums and smiting, then the "plan to manifest His glory in all its fullness" is giving himself an excuse to show off his mad skills? That's putting your kids in a situation in which you _know_ they will misbehave _so_ you can beat them.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] September 30 2011 7:52 AM EDT

In addition to Bast's response, consider Satan again for a minute.

Unlike Humans, Angels have/had no free will. That was a gift only Humans were given.

So, with no free will, Satan had no choice but to sin and fall.

God knew this, God allowed it and actually God designed and created this.

Poor Lucifer.

Gods greatest Angel, designed and created specifically to fall and tempt mankind for the rest of eternity.

What a benevolent creator there...

QBsutekh137 September 30 2011 12:17 PM EDT

Bast,

There's an awful lot of "You ought to be ashamed of yourself" and "You're grounded, young man!" in The Good Book for someone who already knew what would happen.

I actually don't see that so much in the New Testament (seriously, you can pretty much forget the Old T, it's junk in terms of love, behavior, forgiveness, and salvation).

Jesus preached about love, died for our sins, and preached forgiveness. No matter what you do, you can ask God for forgiveness and get it. You have to mean it in your heart, sure, but that seems pretty fair. *shrug*

When Jesus got pissed or showed disappointment was in people doubting him or lacking the courage to stand up for/with him. Well, that, and hypocrisy. Jesus hated that crap.

As for angels, where does it say angels DON'T have free will? It is not explicitly stated (that I know of) to say they definitely do not, so that means they could. In any case, God knew what was going to happen before he even created Luci, so that speaks more to the "Does God Himself have free will?" question.

QBPixel Sage September 30 2011 2:24 PM EDT

@GL: Angels don't have free will? If there is a Biblical passage that supports this claim, please share!

@sutekh137: I wouldn't say the old testament is "junk in terms of love, behavior, forgiveness, and salvation." If anything, there are plenty of examples that demonstrate God's love and forgiveness and expectations of human behavior. Plus, the OT is vastly important in terms of understanding God's plan for salvation in the NT. And let's not forget - God has given the power of judgement to Jesus! (http://www.neverthirsty.org/pp/corner/read/r00274.html)

@Bast: You ask some good questions, mister. And they require some thought! I've discussed this with a friend. Below is a combined philosophical effort that will hopefully bring us closer to a "satisfying" answer.

Your question seems to be composed of 2 parts.

1. Why does God allow evil?
2. Why does God punish us for sinning when He already knows we will?

Essentially, God is "omnibenevolent" or, wholly good. Therefore, we can say that in agreement with His nature, He will create the situation which results in the greatest good. We clearly have free will, so are then left with the question of, "Why is free will better than no free will?"

God created us with the ability to love, which cannot exist without free will. Since He allowed us to love and thus to choose our own actions, sin became a possible byproduct. In the case that we chose to sin against God, He would show us the greatest act of love of all - the sacrifice of His own Son for those who would believe and choose Him over sin.

Without free will, we cannot make any true choices. We lose the capability to choose peace, righteousness, integrity, compassion, and, perhaps most importantly, we lose the ability to love. Yes, along with that free will comes the ability to choose violence, anger, and hate, but who is willing to argue that a world filled with automatons is better than a world filled with conscious beings who can demonstrate love to each other?

As for the second question, I would not say that the ultimate goal is to "show off God's mad skills". Rather, I will say that the ultimate goal is to create a situation that will result in the most good being brought about. Based on the answer to the previous question, we can say that free will is good, so we will take that for a given.

So now, let's use Bast's example of a parent and his children. Every parent tries his best to teach their child what is right and wrong. That parent also cannot control what his child does all the time (lest it remove their free will). Therefore, at some point, that parent needs to step back and let his child take responsibility for their own actions. So that parent will, say, let his child play with another kid, while watching from a distance to see what the child does. Does the parent "know" his child will do something bad? Yes, of course. No parent believes his child is completely perfect. But this is necessary to allow his child free will, greater responsibility, and to grow and mature.

However, if his child hits the other child, would it be good parenting for the parent to just sit back and say, "Oh, I knew my child would do something bad, so I can't discipline him." No, of course not! The parent disciplines his child to teach him right and wrong and ultimately, attempt to teach the child to do what is right. Such discipline is an act of love and brings about good by both teaching his own child right and wrong, and setting an example for the other kid who is watching.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] September 30 2011 2:37 PM EDT

However, if his child hits the other child, would it be good parenting for the parent to just sit back and say, "Oh, I knew my child would do something bad, so I can't discipline him."

so the better parenting seems to be it is okay to hit as long as you ask for forgiveness later and really mean it?

bast is all female btw, you cannot get that menopausal without a preponderance of estrogen! ; )

QBsutekh137 September 30 2011 2:44 PM EDT

I suppose you are right, Pixel -- the OT, at the very least, provides background. I will admit I am simply biased against it because of how it gets misused. People who call themselves true Christians quoting the fire and brimstone aspects of the OT really get under my skin. Christ, their religious namesake, wasn't even in the OT (at least not as a fully manifest character living out his destiny), yet the messages he teaches in the Testament that really matters (at least for Christ-based denominations) get largely overlooked, IMO.

QBPixel Sage September 30 2011 5:22 PM EDT

>so the better parenting seems to be it is okay to hit as long as you ask for forgiveness later and really mean it?

Well, the idea here is to step back and let the child make their own decision. It is okay to "step back" for the reasons mentioned in the previous post. However, the parent does not "advocate wrongdoing," even if they know that at some point the child may do so. If anything, the parent has taught the correct morals to the child beforehand which the child chose to disobey.

Lord Bob September 30 2011 5:41 PM EDT

Well, this thread has been thoroughly derailed.

Gunny Pew Pew [Red Permanent Assurance] September 30 2011 6:08 PM EDT

Your welcome.

QBOddBird September 30 2011 7:24 PM EDT

His welcome?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] October 1 2011 4:50 AM EDT

Pix, looking for an answe to your question, I stumbled upon this;

http://thewordofme.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/did-god-give-us-free-will/

Quite interesting are the exerts from Revelations;

All people living on the Earth will worship [The Devil], except those whose names were written before the creation of the world in the book of the living

;)

I'll try some more to find any reference about Angels and free will.
This thread is closed to new posts. However, you are welcome to reference it from a new thread; link this with the html <a href="/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=003Dmp">16 Things Atheists Need Christians to Know</a>