Social Question

jonami's avatar

How can God be real if there is so much suffering?

Asked by jonami (134points) March 25th, 2010

Sometimes I struggle with the fact that there is SO much suffering in our world, how could God be real…...but have you ever noticed how indifferent and apathetic people can be towards say the homeless, or struggling?

Are those people sort of prophets in a sense? The children who die every minute? To break our hearts and make us realize how selfish we are? How apathetic?

If this is true, no wonder we cannot believe in God, because selfishness is the opposite of love.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

183 Answers

j0ey's avatar

God gave human kind free will…therefore he gave us the choice to do the right thing, or the wrong thing.

All that evil and suffering you see are just results of human beings making selfish, unloving choices..

Its people, not God. And if God were to intervene, what would be the point of free will?

jonami's avatar

I agree. It’s just that it would be nice to somehow make it appealing to be totally and completely unselfish, and kind to everyone so everyone could believe in God, and not suffer. I wish I could do that. I tried and then broke down and bought this computer for school. Still, it’s a better way to spread the love and be connected….so it’s hard to say.

Just_Justine's avatar

Because we live on earth with other people.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@jonami: God can be real regardless of the amount of suffering because the existence of God is not linked to the quantity of suffering. I am still not clear on your argument why suffering is incompatible with the existence of God? I am also not clear as to why the suffering level is “so much” instead of “so little”. People have it better now than ever before.

ragingloli's avatar

Maybe he does not give a damn, enjoys watching people suffer, or is the active cause of suffering. Like with the flood, the plagues of Egypt, etc.
The assumption that God is good is a folly.

jonami's avatar

i guess i’m asking about the 21 or so children who die every minute from starvation.

i still don’t understand where that all fits into the equation.

are they jesus? are they suffering because we are so selfish? if so i want to change, and as fast as i can.

jonami's avatar

well the king of egypt was horribly enslaving the israelites. treating them like animals, and not human.

God sent the plagues to prove to the pharoah that he was real, and they were set free.

susanc's avatar

That’s right. God invented other people’s suffering to grant us the exquisite experience of wondering about the meaning of it all.
Yep, it was all for those of us with the wisdom to not be the ones suffering at that particular moment.

—sorry I really do try to be a grownup but sometimes .. I .. just… can’t…—

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I think that its good that God made some suffers in this world, because if there wasn’t any suffering, our world wouldn’t be the same…if everyone was rich, they would only think of themselves and be selfish. So I think it’s just better like this while others try to help :)

Fyrius's avatar

@j0ey
Ah, yes, the standard defence sophistry. Curious how that gets five upvotes. It’s neither original nor sensible.

“All that evil and suffering you see are just results of human beings making selfish, unloving choices..”
What about the earthquakes? Inundations? Hurricanes? Tsunamis? Does human selfishness cause that too?

Fyrius's avatar

@jonami
“well the king of egypt was horribly enslaving the israelites. treating them like animals, and not human.”
So Jehovah punished the Egyptians for keeping and abusing slaves? He didn’t mind when the Israelites did it.

“When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.” – Exodus 21:20–21

Fyrius's avatar

@Thesexier
I doubt that. If everyone were rich, there would be no sense in being selfish, because everyone would have everything they want already.
Not to even mention that god could have created people so that they don’t behave selfishly.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@j0ey “All that evil and suffering you see are just results of human beings making selfish, unloving choices..”

What about children with cancers? That is truly the worst suffering I think that can happen… They don’t even get a chance to live a normal life. What did they do to deserve cancer at such a young age?

JeffVader's avatar

Its really very simple…. there cant be a God. I saw a 10yr old child at the weekend who has a brain tumor & has been undergoing Chemo. I’m sorry but saying crap like “Its God’s will”, or “We’re not meant to understand his plan”, is just a bullshit cop out by people who cant face the reality that shit just happens.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@ragingloli How can a fetus commit a sin? That’s absurd.

JeffVader's avatar

@RandomMrdan Hmmmmmmm….... I think the religious nuts need to stop watching Family Guy, they’re beginning to think Stewie is real.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@JeffVader Agreed, mindsets like that get to me pretty fast… such ignorance.

thriftymaid's avatar

How many times?

DarkScribe's avatar

Of course there is a God. Where else do you think that pain, suffering, bigotry, discrimination, racial hatred, misogyny, child abuse, torture, homophobia, bribery, extortion etc., come from? Read your Bible – it is all taught in there. God is a mean spirited, bad tempered, egotistical, bullying, unreliable old bastard. The proof of that is in the Bible as well. If God was to appear on earth, people would queue up for days for a chance to throw rocks at him. Under law in most civilised nations he would jailed for all manner of criminal offences.

davidbetterman's avatar

@j0ey Is quite right. all the rest of this is just crybaby crap from people wallowing in their own misery and blaming it on a god they either don’t really believe in, or obviously don’t understand in the least.

RandomMrdan's avatar

So, no one has explained how a fetus can sin…anyone?

davidbetterman's avatar

Fetuses cannot sin. Why do you ask?

DarkScribe's avatar

@davidbetterman Fetuses cannot sin. Why do you ask?

How do you know? Maybe they sneak out at night. (Kids do that.)

RandomMrdan's avatar

Then explain why a god would give this fetus birth defects out of no reason. Simply born with disease, abnormalities, which will lead tian early death.

-assuming the parents are healthy and drug free. Why would this unborn child deserve it?

davidbetterman's avatar

@RandomMrdan? Did you ever stop and think how these alleged defects make the parents respond? To the new baby. To one another. Perhaps the baby’s apparent defects and early demise are stepping stones in the parents’ spiritual growth. What an honor for the soul who is that baby to help his folks learn to become more loving then ever they would, had s/he not had these defects.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Are you kidding me? A child should be honored to be born with a cancer?

To be clear, when you see children dying of cancers, you think, “oh, they must be honored to have enlightened their parents”.

What if they were religious…I’d question gods motives at that point and curse him for giving my child a cancer.

davidbetterman's avatar

Yes, sure a child should be happy to be born. With both arms or one. With cancer or none. We are all dealt cards when we come sit at the table. Not everybody draws four of a kind on their opening hand.

And you should really try not to put your experiences on that child who is born with alleged defects. Since they have never known any other way to be, they are not automaically miserable at having been born less than whole.

They have only always known life as they are.

ragingloli's avatar

@j0ey
The problem is that the concept of free will is completely incompatible with an omniscient deity. A god knowing every choice you will make in your life before you even existed means that the path of your entire existence is set in stone, predetermined from the beginning.

Scooby's avatar

There is no such thing as GOD or GODS it’s all just a fairy tale, this is why in the real world such things happen, we all have to find it within ourselves to strive to be decent human beings, this is what our emotions are for, they help guide us through this thing called life, how we all act depends on who WE are, some people take it upon themselves to help the less fortunate, others do not! It’s a human factor, one that is not governed by GOD or faith but who we are as individuals, GOD is easy to blame ask any insurance company who wants to dodge a claim….. :-/

Blackberry's avatar

One of many arguments against the existence of god. We will all be better off if we stop waiting for a god and start helping each other ourselves.

cheebdragon's avatar

How indeed…..~

Cruiser's avatar

There is no God just a fallible desire for something better than the shit sandwich of life.

JeffVader's avatar

@davidbetterman People with opinions such as you’re extolling here are dangerous!

jerv's avatar

This is why I am an Agnostic. If we postulate that God exists, a proposition that I won’t refute (I am not an Atheist!), then it follows that our preconceptions about God are in error.

That means that we do not understand “His” nature, and I personally doubt humanity is even capable of doing so. I put “His” in quotes since we cannot be sure hat God is even male, or whether God transcends gender or what the Truth is.

Fyrius's avatar

You know, there’s a psychological term for the kind of mind-set that knows about all the misery in the world but still wants to believe the one inflicting it all on us is fundamentally a good person.
It’s called Stockholm Syndrome.

majorrich's avatar

Funny, we were discussing something like this in Sunday School. God can be a mean SOB and he gets yanked off and does terrible things. But then he remembers his promises. The book of Job should be retitled ‘Why do bad things happen to good people’. Reading the book straight from the Bible may not make a lot of sense, but there are many concordances and thesis’ written about this enigmatic book that help it make more sense to the modern mind.

Sometimes I feel like we sing praises and worship Him to keep him from getting pissed off and squashing us like (in the cosmic sense) the ants we are.

RandomMrdan's avatar

@majorrich that statement makes sense for people, but the innocence of a child is not deserving of a terminal illness. What lesson will that child learn?

I can’t see how a god can exist that would allow suffering like that.

RandomMrdan's avatar

I can see how religious people would say someone is being “tested” and put through “trials” to test their faith.

But what kind of test is a terminal brain tumor in a childs head?

majorrich's avatar

I believe, Children who are pure by nature, go to heaven where they have perfect bodies and will never know pain. They don’t have to pass through life making choices and getting cancer later in life when they know a different life and how they are supposed to feel. I suffer a great deal knowing what a man of my age should feel like. Men my age are still in the prime of their lives, but cancer has me confined to a house, a chair a gurney every 6 months to suffer poison in my veins. They get a free pass. We don’t. I can only hope that I can set an example to others in my situation of how a man faces infirmity and eventual death with strength of faith and the hope a new perfect life waits for me someday.

Fyrius's avatar

@majorrich
Stockholm syndrome.

wonderingwhy's avatar

who’s to say god isn’t the cause of such suffering? besides, what does suffering have to do with the existence or non-existance of god anyway?

majorrich's avatar

@Fyrius I was more thinking Lima

j0ey's avatar

@ragingloli….Just because a “being” knows what we are going to choose does not take away from the fact WE have free will and a choice… The fact that he knows what we will choose and he does not intervene or change our decision is a function of free will in its self. Because he could intervene and he would know the outcome if he did.

@Fyrius…God has never promised in any of the holy books that there would not be suffering in the world. And why should we assume that God should make a perfect environment for men to survive in anyway?...Why should he have made the perfect world?....How are we to know that the planet isn’t a being in itself? we are destroying it, why shouldn’t it retaliate.

And everyone that uses the “children with cancer” argument against God. I know this may sound harsh, but we ALL have to die on this planet…WE ALL HAVE TO DIE. There is no alternative. Are we going to blame God for aids too? Are we going to blame God for all the famine in third world countries? For car accidents? We live and we die, thats how it goes.

In conclusion, God owes humanity nothing. He has given us this planet, life, a brain to use, now hes just sitting back and watching us all fuck it up.

I think we have all become like spoiled little children expecting that if we do have a father he will give us everything on a silver platter. If he gives us broccoli instead of chocolate one day, he must not really love us, or be our real father.

phillis's avatar

Why do people blame God/someone else for the problems they created themselves?

ragingloli's avatar

@j0ey
We do not have a choice. Having a choice would mean that the outcome would be inherently unpredictable, including god, right up to the moment the ‘choice’ is made.
The very fact that god is (allegedly) omniscient, means he knew the outcome long before the creation of the world. This means the ‘choices’ and its outcomes were determined aeons before you were born, and you have no way to deviate from the preordained path. If you had, god could not know it and would thus not be omniscient.
Then there is the fact that this universe is based on cause and effect which is the means the preset path is played out. God allegedly created the universe, so he knowingly set up the universe in precisely the way necessary for the ‘choices’ and outcomes to occur.
This means, not only do you not have free will and your existence is predetermined, it was god him/her/itself who determined your fate, right at the point of creation.
In conclusion, everything you do right or wrong, everything that leads up to either your salvation or damnation, was determined and decided on by god.

j0ey's avatar

@ragingloli well, just because God knows whats going to happen does not change the concept of free will for me…even if it is an illusion. Maybe we are just here for his entertainment. If he did create the universe and everything in it, does he REALLY owe his creation anything? Just because we think we deserve it…..if he created me because he wants to see me get hit by a car, so be it. I wont know any different anyway.

Fyrius's avatar

@j0ey
“Why should he have made the perfect world?”
All I can say is that not to do so would be an act of supreme dickheadedness.
And it would be supreme hypocrisy to pretend to be such a nice god who loves us and wants us to be happy, while building us a planet with earthquakes and hurricanes and tsunamis, and then filling it with viruses and pestilence. Not to mention creating an ecosystem based on death.

“How are we to know that the planet isn’t a being in itself? we are destroying it, why shouldn’t it retaliate.”
I must have heard that wrong. Did you just ask me how we can know that the earth is not a living being?
Have you ever heard of geology? Or for that matter, of biology? There is absolutely nothing life-like about this planet. It’s made of rock. No living cells.

“Are we going to blame God for aids too? Are we going to blame God for all the famine in third world countries? For car accidents?”
I do intend to, yes.
Imagine that a human had the power to rid an entire world of problems that cause so much death and pain and devastation and misery, with just the push of a button, and he would refuse to do it. Would he not be partially responsible for the next death he could have easily averted?
This is not a father making us eat broccoli instead of chocolate. This is the kind of father who keeps us tied up in his basement and forces his own faeces down our throats while we hang there helplessly. It’s not for our own good, it’s just pointless, cruel abuse.

“We live and we die, thats how it goes.”
And why do you suppose that is? Why aren’t we immortal?
We die of old age because our cells degenerate over time as they reproduce themselves. A natural defect. Which Jehovah deliberately built into us, if he’s the one who created us.

Idknown's avatar

@j0ey As of this weekend, a man accidentally killed his step-daughter while backing out of the neighborhood church. UNDER the supposed ‘God’s’ own roof, he mowed down his step-daughter. The news reported that a boy saw the whole thing and was reported to say: “I saw angels took her away to heaven.”

Good to know God’s showing his face around here…

To be certain: I am not attacking you @j0ey, I am simply stating that my first thought was – under his own damned roof! wtf?

I take it a point not to have these conversations. There’s no point guys! Evolution – well why can’t we just say God started it? Really – how can you argue against faith? Faith – strong enough for suicide bombers to give up their lives. How can you argue? Why do you even try?

Although – I love atheist banter as much anyone else – I just see no point in wasting your time.

Why even go with children?

Let’s go with 9/11 – (sorry from NYC) – God sent those men to destroy the towers… how does that fit in the plan? I guess it did teach us a lesson… to go to war, and up airport security.

Thanks God.

Oh also – I read somewhere that God loves me unconditionally. That’s my free pass to heaven if it exists. Unconditionally: unconditional – not contingent; not determined or influenced by someone or something else.

So it really shouldn’t matter if I repent or not right?

DarkScribe's avatar

@j0ey Why should he have made the perfect world?

For the same reason that craftsmen and most artisans do – pride in their workmanship.

Fyrius's avatar

@Idknown
You’re right, of course. Arguing against faith is hopeless.

Coloma's avatar

Life happens, and I agree, it is mans ego, not ‘God’ that is responsible for suffering.

Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people, it just is the way it is.

But..we ALL play a part every minute of every day. You can langusih in angst and misery and negativity at world condition or…you can go out with a SMILE on your face, humor and lightheartedness and actually be the one that makes a difference in the moments you are provided,

I know much of my ‘purpose’ is to spead cheerful and humorous enegey…I am constantly told that I just ’ made somes day’ with my happy & humorous energy.

BE the change you wish to see in others!

Drop the story of how awful everything is and show up with goodwill and good humor!

j0ey's avatar

@Idknown…..you actually think GOD sent those planes into the towers???...HUMAN BEINGS (actually you might want to do some research into that one too, I strongly doubt the media told you the complete truth).....that dude that ran over his step-daughter???...HUMAN BEING. ....Murder of any kind?? HUMAN BEING.

A Church??? building full of HUMAN BEINGS reading a book.

Im just going to say it again.

IF God does exist…he owes humanity squat. And every bad thing that happens on this planet is our own mistake and our own problem.

and besides, for all the suffering…there are some happy times, and we are probably responsible for that too.

God gave us life…what more do we want?

and yeah even the catholic church now believes that God will probably save everyone with his grace….even if your not a catholic…you just have to be putting in an effort

I find it funny how the people that DONT believe in a God are the ones that want him to be perfect…and treat us all like royalty.

@fyrius…You dont think I was talking about the planet in biological terms do you? We are talking about the existence of God here. If God exists why cant the planet have a soul?

I would say strongly believing there is no God takes just as much faith as believing in one….there is no physical proof either way. Maybe Richard Dawkins can be your Jesus?

ragingloli's avatar

@j0ey
It does not take faith to not believe in something for which there is no evidence. It does not take faith to not believe in dragons, unicorns, invisible teapots orbiting mars or pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. Especially not when the things this god has allegedly done have been proven to be wrong and the traits of this god are logically contradictory.

Idknown's avatar

@j0ey Haha – that’s a good point. I was mixing up my hate for religion with the actual idea of God. So I rescind my statement to say: The belief of God can often be a dangerous one. Even so, this danger comes from misinterpretation of God’s will, one which God has not deemed to reveal as to which is the truth of his will. But again – you’d just say: Why should he reveal his will? To which Fyrius will say: Because he’s God, the good guy right? And you’re right, as an Atheist, I tend to agree – If God exists, he should be the good guy.

The guy killed his step-daughter by accident. So many things could have happened if there was a supernatural ability to stop that.

With our favorite movie: There was one scene where the Comedian was about to shoot the Viet woman who had his unborn child. He shot her. Dr. Manhattan, asked him why he did that. He said that it was just as much Dr. Manhattan’s fault because he could have stopped him, he could have turned the bullet into flowers, but he didn’t. That is the truth…

So why do people who don’t believe in God want him to be perfect?
Simply because that would be a reason to believe. For a God that has no hand in our meaningless lives – what does it matter if we believe or don’t believe? If a Church going Man can kill his own step-daughter just as easily as a drug addict dies from overdose… what’s the point?

I think that the idea of God is man made. But the image and the force behind this hoax is unstoppable. For all the bad that religion is done, (crusades, salem witch trials, galileo and friends, etc) – it’s easy to forget the good. Churches give shelter, and also give a community a sense of love – even if its manufactured by each other. So in the end, I just respect what other people believe and I leave them to it. But then you have people who are so adamant – and I just have to disagree.

Regarding your conversation with @Fyrius, There is a belief out there that Gaia exists. It’s been pretty predominant in a lot of Final Fantasy games as well. I think that’s just as valid of a belief as the one true God himself!

I don’t think Science is a faith… we actually understand and can prove certain things far better than we can prove God’s doings. Although again – you’d just say something like we can’t possible comprehend this Almighty’s doings…

I have no counter argument for that.

j0ey's avatar

@Idknown great answer…I really liked that. And agree with everything you say. If you haven’t noticed by the way in which I am arguing I believe in a creator and that is basically it. And until they can prove that the initial BIG BANG was caused by nothing, or caused by itself, then I will assume the cause to be personal..(see the Kalam cosmological argument)

Religion is the hoax, Religion is the man made madness…Not God.

Coloma's avatar

@Fyrius

” Religion is the manmade madness..not ‘God.’”

ZING!

Fyrius's avatar

@j0ey
“If God exists why cant the planet have a soul?”
You’re right about this one. If god exists, why can’t the planet have a soul, why can’t the easter bunny lay eggs, and why can’t hippos turn purple when you look the other way? If god exists, that pretty much means nothing is too absurd to be true anyway.
But in this thread I’m operating on the assumption that god exists without logic first leaving the universe.

“I would say strongly believing there is no God takes just as much faith as believing in one….”
This is a tired old load of bullshit that’s being refuted somewhere on the internet at least three times a minute. So allow me to copy-paste myself.

“Credibility is not absolute, but relative. The absence of absolute certainty does not mean all hypotheses are equally probable. In the absence of definite evidence, you are not allowed to believe whatever you like.
There are definite probabilistic rules to determine how plausible an idea is, and thus even in uncertainty there are formally correct ways to judge whether something should be believed or not. Thus there are almost-certainly-true statements such as “taking an aspirin will help against this headache you’re giving me” and there are almost-certainly-false loads of drivel such as “there is a worldwide conspiracy to keep people from knowing the earth is a disk”. Even if you can’t claim complete certainty about the truth of either.

Understanding of probabilities makes all the difference between a reasonable assumption and blind faith.”

@Coloma
Kindly do not confuse me with @j0ey. I for one believe god is just as much man-made madness as the rest of religion.

DarkScribe's avatar

George Carlin says it all – he explains it beautifully.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o

j0ey's avatar

@DarkScribe….i love that guy….well he agrees with me that Religion is bullshit. so thats nice.

Idknown's avatar

@j0ey So your God is Dr. Manhattan… lol.

Maybe God got bored of us eons ago and went elsewhere to enjoy himself.

Probably left after the Romans stopped having orgies.

j0ey's avatar

@Fyrius do you know the probability of the universe starting to existing by itself with no other cause?.....its more complicated than what you might think….go look at some quantum physics.

j0ey's avatar

@Idknown haha probably

you see now you understand me haha

Coloma's avatar

@Fyrius

Yikes….so sorry, I kindly retract that slip o’ the eye!

Fyrius's avatar

@j0ey
No. Do you?
For that matter, do you know the probability of the universe starting to exist because there already happened to exist a conscious being capable of creating universes, who decided to create the universe? And do you know the probability that that being was already there?
The answer is no, by the way. No, you don’t know either probability. How would you go about calculating it?

Not to even mention that prior probability is irrelevant if something has already happened. Probability is only useful for predicting the unknown. We already know there is a universe, so the posterior probability of it coming into existence is 1.
To settle the did-god-start-the-universe issue, we should try to assess the probability that the universe came into existence because there happened to already exist a conscious being able and willing to create a universe somehow, and this being created it, and compare it to the probability that the universe came into existence in any other way. Perhaps you’ll understand that the latter is much less improbable than the first, if only for being less absurdly specific.

DarkScribe's avatar

@j0ey do you know the probability of the universe starting to existing by itself with no other cause?..

I’d rate it as far more probable than of a fully functioning (but lazy and with an attitude) omnipotent entity starting to exist by itself with no other cause.

j0ey's avatar

@Fyrius haha thats a nice bit of essay writing there.

actually the probability of everything being how it is without any kind of intelligent design behind it is about 1 in 10^150…...thats demski’s figure btw.

Do you know the complications with saying that the big bang just happened? it is just as likely that a bit of something in some kind of vacuum just EXPLODED, than something that we cannot comprehend caused it to happen.

Do not just assume God is a man with a beard floating up in the clouds with yellow lightning bolts….you might be surprised at who/what God is.

ragingloli's avatar

@j0ey
What is that probability based on? Care to give some references?
And even if that number is somehow accurate, how do you rank the probability of a supernatural, all powerful, all knowing, sentient, self aware and intelligent superbeing, which is an awfully specific and extraordinary claim, just somehow existing and then creating the universe?

Idknown's avatar

@j0ey I think you’re neglecting the question he asked you… You asked him what are the probability of impossible event A happening, as a proof that god does exist. He then asked you what was the probability that event Z happening, as proof that your first question was irrelevant.

You are stuck on event A without answering the second part of his question, which I think is valid.

Fyrius's avatar

@ragingloli
@Idknown
^ What they said.

If you get five dice and roll each, in hindsight the probability that you would get the exact outcome you got, just by normally rolling them, is 1 in 7776. That doesn’t mean a miracle just happened.
Would you sue a lottery for cheating, because the odds that that particular guy would win were 1 in 1000 000?

jonami's avatar

I think everyone has drastically misunderstood my original intention…...

I am not stating that this IS how it is, or isn’t….....

I am just wondering
what IF our selfishness causes suffering?

Because HOW could God want children to suffer?

Even knowing how 21 children die every minute from starvation, many people would throw their food away or take it for granted.

I don’t believe in religion at all but I do believe we should give up our lives and do things for others, and give up our possessions and give the money to the poor. I believe that if we were all like Jesus then people could believe in God.

I have met a man who was homeless and when someone offered them a thousand dollars for a place to stay, they preferred it go to others, such as the children in Africa, who eat dirt for the vitamin b12.

Why aren’t we all like this? If we were more people could see how Jesus is real. Jesus saved my life.

j0ey's avatar

ok Dembski’s number in short:....he worked out a formula that he thinks would determine, (without begging the question) if something is designed, or happens at random. He came to 1 in 10^150 which he calculates from the number of particles in the universe, the duration of the universe in seconds, and the number of changes per second a particle can experience…...in short.

We are looking for answers to the universe with human concepts at the end of the day. It is impossible to work out a probability of something when it does not fit into our reality. The whole issue with what there was before the universe is based on this. therefore I cannot answer the other parts of the question….no one can….and until they can, I will continue to beleive that the cause of the universe is personal….go read about the modern kalam cosmological argument….

j0ey's avatar

@jonami yeah i thought we were getting a bit off track…sorry.

jonami's avatar

oh, no need to apologize to me, joey
:)

Fyrius's avatar

@j0ey
Protip: There’s no way any of us can know the number of particle in the universe. There’s also no way any of us can know the age of the universe down to single seconds, let alone its total duration.
And I’d still like to know, in the impossible case that anyone would have those numbers, what to do with them to get the probability of the universe not being designed.

But of course, as a theologian, Dembski is a specialist in being full of shit and getting away with it.

ragingloli's avatar

@j0ey
And probably ignoring that the universe is based on the laws of physics.
I too could look at a stone and calculate an infinitesimally small probability for the occurance that the atoms in that stone arranged themselves in that exact order.
But the rock, as the universe, formed according to the laws of physics, the atoms in the rock had to arrange themselves in that fashion, by virtue of being subject to the laws of physics. Even considering the probabilistic noise caused by quantum randomness, the probability of the rock forming the way it did is close to 100%.

And by the way, that value only makes a claim about the probability of the universe developing the way it did, not about the probability of its natural origin.

Pandora's avatar

@jonami When I was a child I remembered being upset to learn about the cruelities of life. It made me sad to think the world was in such a mess. I first wondered myself, why doesn’t God fix it all. But then I wondered why should he. The most import thing that came to mind my mind is, why can’t we put more effort ourselves into fixing our own problems.
Honestlly, I was about 8 at the time. If I could come to that conclusion at 8, then I think as adults we can do the same.
I think good and evil, ying and yang or whatever anyone calls it, will always exist.
If we were all angels then we would be in Heaven next to God.
My dad use to say the only way for man to be pure in thought is to give up all desire.
Funny thing is once we give up all desires, one of the desires to go is the desire to live.
Think of how your life would be if you desired nothing. Sex, food, going out for a good time, music, painting, enjoyment of the sun, even the desire to help others, and the desire to learn. There is no way to make desire work without have good and bad.
Animals aren’t good or evil but their desire to live and reproduce makes them kill to eat and rape to reproduce. Because we can think, those things would make us evil.

jonami's avatar

I am very grateful to God that I am so lucky to have a place to sleep, food when I need it, and health.

Basically, I’m wondering, why ME? I am not deserving of this level of happiness.

mattbrowne's avatar

Crises are the mothers of innovation. Our distant ancestors in Africa suffered greatly about 3 million years ago because of dramatic climate change. These hominids had to come down their trees and explore new lands to survive. They had to develop language to survive. Without the environmental pressure and the suffering we all might still be Australopithecines with small brain unable to log onto Fluther.

Our large brains can actually prevent a lot of suffering today by thinking and planning ahead. Like offering health insurance to all Americans.

davidbetterman's avatar

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

God knowing what you are about to decide does not make your Free Will any less applicable. Since you don’t know what you are about to do, your life is still unpredictable and not predetermined.

Who says this place Earth is not perfect. I say it is perfect.

ragingloli's avatar

@davidbetterman
“God knowing what you are about to decide does not make your Free Will any less applicable.”
Yes it does.
The apple does not know in which direction he will fall, or even if he will fall at all and not just hover around.
But because of gravity, he can only fall down. He will fall down. That is predetermined. Lack of knowledge does not change it.

jonami's avatar

I guess I should have taken Whitman into consideration: “argue not concerning God.”

arguing is childish. perhaps i should go somewhere where there is some wisdom. the Bible.

davidbetterman's avatar

@ragingloli Lack of knowing your future isn’t any different when someone actually does know your future.
Falling down in an environment that includes gravity is just a silly example.

Pandora's avatar

PS, Sorry for the misspelling above. I’m a bit tired today. So spelling natzis’ calm down.

ragingloli's avatar

@davidbetterman
No it is not. The apple does not know what will happen. To the apple, the subjective probability of falling in any direction is 1/((360°)²+1). But the actual probabilities of the movement of the apple is not 1/((360°)²+1). The actual probability to a party who knows where the apple will fall (knowledge, which in this case is based on the laws of gravity) of the apple falling down is 1, while the probabilities of all other directions are 0.

In the same way, because you do not know what you will chose, you assign subjective probabilities to your choices and outcomes that are lower than 1. But the actual probabilities to someone who knows what choices you are going to or not going to make are 1 for one specific choice, and 0 for all others.

A pity you can not see this.

jonami's avatar

“Whoever wants to save his life will lose it. And whoever gives his life for me will save it. It is worth nothing for a man to have the whole world, if he himself is destroyed or lost. ”

I am destroyed and lost. So now what? Start reading the Bible? I don’t know, I feel better already since picking it up. As soon as school is over I am going to give my computer away too. I feel like I’m wasting my life.

I will say a prayer for all of you, and myself,

that Jesus will save us from ourselves.

Right now, Jesus will save you.

Fyrius's avatar

@Pandora
“When I was a child I remembered being upset to learn about the cruelities of life. It made me sad to think the world was in such a mess. I first wondered myself, why doesn’t God fix it all. But then I wondered why should he.”
Stockholm syndrome.

“Honestlly, I was about 8 at the time. If I could come to that conclusion at 8, then I think as adults we can do the same.”
Fun fact: I’ve talked to a guy who once came to the conclusion that there were animate glue bottles with blond dreadlocks living in his bedroom wall, recording a radio channel there, when he was around that age.
Now that you mention it, I wonder why so few adults ever come to the same conclusion.

@jonami
“perhaps i should go somewhere where there is some wisdom. the Bible.”
“wisdom”
“the Bible”
Good luck finding wisdom in there.

Coloma's avatar

I am seeing the endless debates posed here like all the breakdowns the infamous ‘they’ have calculated.

We spend 7 years of our lives brushng our teeth, 5 years showering, 3 years licking stamps, 1 year swatting flies…and the rest?

And so, like the sands of time through the hour glass….is Fluther going to take up all the rest of the days of your lives! lolololololol

I’m outta here…suns shining! ;-)

AstroChuck's avatar

Free will is a myth.

davidbetterman's avatar

@ragingloli We aren’t apples.

@AstroChuck Shame you have lost yours. Whose will then do you obey?

majorrich's avatar

I know better than not to do as my wife commands.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
Would you please define the term “free will” for me?

davidbetterman's avatar

@Fyrius “Free Will” means that each instant, when you make a choice, it is your choice. It is a reasoned, rational choice based on logical deductions as opposed to instinctual reactions. And, until you make the choice, there is no telling how you will choose. because you have Free Will.

It is not god’s choice. Nor your mom’s choice. It is your choice, due wholly to the fact that you are a creature imbued with Free Will. (Although you are free to choose as you think they might want you to choose)
You are slave to no one, except yourself. (Although you can choose to be a slave…[see marriage])

Even you really don’t know how you will choose, until you choose. And if there is anyone who does know already what choice you are going to make, they seem to be withholding that info.

You are a Free Spirit, as are we all. May your “Free Will” always choose your heart’s delight.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
“And, until you make the choice, there is no telling how you will choose. because you have Free Will.”
I believe this is the part that @ragingloli has been talking about. If you have free will, there’s no telling what you’ll choose until you have chosen. But if that’s true, can there exists any being that already knows what you’re going to choose before you’ve actually taken the decision?

AstroChuck's avatar

@davidbetterman- Show me how I’m wrong. What makes you choose left over right? It’s upbringing, surroundings, your chemical makeup, your belief system etc., all things you have no control over, The concept of free choice is flawed. There is none.

davidbetterman's avatar

There are many decisions other than the simple basics which you need to make. You have complete control over these decision, just as you have complete control over the little ones (even if that choice is to put those decisions on a sort of auto pilot, should you choose). @AstroChuck
Unless all your choices are made in this manner, and then it would just be silly to continue.
@Fyrius That being who already knows your choice is the one who imbued you with Free Will in the first place. It is an insidious circle.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
It’s also a logical contradiction.

We have free will, which means the outcome of our decisions cannot possibly be known beforehand, and this free will has been given to us by a being who knows the outcome of our decisions beforehand. Something about that train of thought is a bit fishy, wouldn’t you say?

davidbetterman's avatar

Ahh…so now you begin to understand that there is indeed a leap one must take… on the road to enlightenment.

Good luck on your road!

Fyrius's avatar

You have to give up logic for it? You have to accept logically impossible things as true?

Fat chance.

davidbetterman's avatar

LOL…No.

You will find that there are some things going on that are happening outside of your ability to reason given the training you have had up to now.

Just as when you were a baby, and the principles of logic you now understand held no sway for you then…So too will you one day see that there is more to what you think is logic. There is indeed magic.

AstroChuck's avatar

@davidbetterman- You are living an illusion, dude.

davidbetterman's avatar

LOL…And it is quite a real illusion, too my friend!

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
With all due respect, I believe my training in the ways of reason and logic has been quite more extensive than yours.
One of the things I’ve learned is that there is no logic so advanced that you can’t explain it to a sufficiently patient and open-minded neophyte. I could explain Bayesian probability assessment to a ten year old who’s willing to learn.
I’m still listening to what you have to say for your ideas.

Pandora's avatar

@Fyrius, I have memories of people and thoughts going way back till I was about 4 years of age. I was the youngest of 5 and wasn’t allowed to do much but sit back and listen an observe since my elder siblings loved to tell me I was to young to be involved in what they were doing or too young to understand things, unless they needed me to do something that I could get away with because I was the youngest.
I really don’t care if you believe me or not. Or if you believe in God or not. I was simply answering the question. Which you can read above.
But needless to say, I saw people for what they were. Flawed. And I have always reached the conclusion that people are to blame for either their own miseries (as I witness every time my brothers got in trouble for being idiots) or for the miseries of others, (bullies at school) or in my case also a horrible mean nurse who took out her fustrations on me when I was sick in a hospital.
Same as when people are ugly on here they are too blame for their own ugliness.

Fyrius's avatar

@Pandora
I respect you for being able not to care what I believe. It’s an ability I have yet to learn.

And that being so, I’m going to have to point out that there is much suffering in the world that really can’t be blamed on people.
A prime example is the earth having an ecosystem based on death. The only way for any animal not to die a slow death of starvation is constant murder. And this is the natural state of affairs in the world, that has been that way for millions of years before the first primates came around.
If you realise this and still think the whole thing was made that way by someone benevolent, I can only call that Stockholm syndrome.

Fyrius's avatar

By the way, I’m surprised the following obvious and very relevant fact has not been mentioned by anyone yet in a 105 reply thread. Correct me if I missed it.

If all misery in the world is there because we’re inherently imperfect beings, that means Jehovah screwed up. Can we be blamed for the consequences of his design errors?
If someone who was born blind gets hit by a truck, is that his fault, for not seeing it coming? Of course not. You can’t reasonably expect someone not to be hampered by their limitations. It’s an exceptional achievement if people manage to overcome their limitations.
Likewise if Jehovah created us with selfish, sinful urges, and then gave us free will, he couldn’t reasonably expect every last one of us never to be selfish or sinful. In his omniscience he must have seen coming that if he created us that particular way, the world would become a mess. And he went on with it anyway.
If we would have been created as a naturally altruist species of saints instead, all the free will in the universe wouldn’t end us up with the sort of mess we’ve been in throughout history.

But we’re not a species of saints. We’re a species of sophisticated primates, with aeons’ worth of genetic baggage, from evolving in a universe where being a selfish bastard pays off and being a saint will only get you killed. Our only hope of becoming saint-like is by transcending what we are like by nature.
From the Christian point of view, our only hope of becoming saint-like is by turning our back on the way Jehovah made us and doing a better job than he did.

majorrich's avatar

@Fyrius
Lima Syndrome LOL

Pandora's avatar

@Fyrius Nope but I might be suffering from Irratable Bowel Syndrome from all the crap I’m getting for answering honestlly. You should at least carry a tums or something.

Fyrius's avatar

@Pandora
You do sound butthurt.

Okay, sorry, that was just a bad pun.

davidbetterman's avatar

@FyriusWith all due respect, I believe my training in the ways of reason and logic has been quite more extensive than yours”

LOL…

“One of the things I’ve learned is that there is no logic so advanced that you can’t explain it to a sufficiently patient and open-minded neophyte.”

ROTFL

Pandora's avatar

@Fyrius and you sound like someone who doesn’t believe in God. And I have no problem with that. You can believe or in this matter not believe in that. But the question wasn’t about whether one believes or not. Or is it you can’t read? If you want to post a question about believing in God and compare it to Stockhom Syndrome than no one is stopping you from making your own post. But to try to belittle someone because you don’t agree with their beliefs only shows your level of immaturity. You have a chip on your shoulder and I really don’t care but I would like to respectfully suggest you take it somewhere else.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
I’ll take that as my cue to stop listening to you.
I’m willing to put up with people believing bizarre things, but now you’re just being rude.

Which is incidentally what I’ve been to @Pandora in this thread, I suppose, albeit in a quite more sophisticated and meaningful way.

But @Pandora, please don’t think I’ve been picking on you just because you believe something I don’t believe. My reasons for criticising you were much more methodological in nature. I think you hold beliefs for the wrong reasons, and in spite of excellent reasons to reconsider them.
I’m quite respectful of logically consistent and well motivated beliefs I do not personally hold. I just can’t help myself from pointing out the flaws in someone’s reasoning when I see them. And when those flaws are so blatant that the beliefs in question cannot fit into the category of beliefs I can respect, I get a bit derisive sometimes.

And perhaps by my own standards you would be well advised to take my harshness as your cue to stop listening to me, too. I’ll leave that up to you.

Pandora's avatar

Wow I’m not sure that was an appology. Sound like when a guy smacks you and then says, I’m sorry but you made me angry.

Pandora's avatar

@jonami I’m sorry for going off subject here. So I will stop now. I know I hate it when people go off on their rants and stopped answering my question.

j0ey's avatar

@Fyrius @ragingloli…..yes Dembski did take into account the laws of physics…and yes, seeing as though it is the man’s life work, I’m pretty sure the number actually means something. Even if it is a very small probability that all this happened by chance, it DID happen. Just like winning the lottery, you can do it by just guessing the numbers but you will be more likely to win if you KNOW the numbers already…..obviously…I feel bad for Dembski that random people on fluther make such light of his work.

I’m sick of this argument…Go do some actually reading on the subject, and stop denying the existence of God just because you hear its the “intelligent” way to view the world…do some research people…(and no not just on Wikipedia). And when you can find a reasonable explanation for the universe basically causing itself to exist, let me know…Humans can’t explain everything (we are just glorified monkeys after all), and until they can, I will assume that there is something else out there…THE END.

Fyrius's avatar

@Pandora
You can consider it an apology of sorts, insofar as I think I have anything to apologise for.

I know I could be more level-headed in my approach to failures of rationality, and I admit that is a flaw on my part. You are better than I am at leaving people alone with their being wrong. I’m sorry for pressing the issue. I acknowledge that I need to learn not to do that.

But in the meantime you’ve shown you’re a sloppy epistemologist – in other words, you don’t seem to put much effort into not being wrong – and although my delivery may leave things to be desired, I believe my criticism of that was very much justified.

Pandora's avatar

Troll in the room

DarkScribe's avatar

@ragingloli But because of gravity, he can only fall down. He will fall down. That is predetermined. Lack of knowledge does not change it.

Why do you assume that the apple is a “he”? It might be a committee of female apple-seeds in a fat suit.

Blondesjon's avatar

Because, with so much suffering in the world, some folks need God to be real.

personally, i drink, but to each his own.

jerv's avatar

@Blondesjon “If God didn’t exist, we’d need to invent Him.” – Voltaire

Blondesjon's avatar

@jerv . . . he’s on my list of people i’d like to get in a bar fight with.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Blondesjon he’s on my list of people i’d like to get in a bar fight with.

Hell, if I met him in a bar I’d buy him all that he could drink. I was inspired by him as a child – loved his letters. (Or were you referring to God and not Voltaire?)

escapedone7's avatar

This is a young person still in school, who says she feels “destroyed and lost” and is pondering the suffering in the world. She’s having an existential crises of sorts, which is not an easy time. The desire to give her computer away after school is both impulsive but also a sign of distress. Can we set aside the theological cerebral masturbation enough to pretend like we care for a moment?

Fyrius's avatar

@j0ey
There’s something I think you should know about “scientists” who support ID as a theory.
I once took Creationism seriously, long ago, when I didn’t know much about it yet. I don’t do that any more.

In recent history, the greatest supporters of ID have pretended under oath to be experts in things they didn’t know the first things about, willingly spread misinformation about evolution theory, willingly supported fallacious arguments anyone with a degree should be able to see through, and generally shown themselves capable of any kind of dirty trick to give laypeople the illusion that there’s any scientific credibility to the notion that the universe was created by a conscious being. They are the single most intellectually dishonest organisation I know of. And that’s quite a title.

You’ve probably been told about the scientific division between ID and evolution. In reality, there is no such disagreement. Nobody in the scientific world takes ID seriously.
There once was a serious scientific disagreement like that, after Darwin first published his ideas. When it was still a hypothesis. In the century and a half between then and now, such mountains of evidence have been found that the debate has been over for a very, very long time. And in case you couldn’t guess, Creationism lost.
Modern biology relies on evolution theory, and with that framework everything can be explained remarkably well. There is no reasonable doubt left.

If you don’t believe me, buy a scientific journal in the field of biology, any one. And then look if there’s any publication in it that does not hinge upon evolution theory. I think you’ll find that Creationists do not research anything.
And how could they? The idea is a scientific dead end. It offers no prospects for further investigation. It makes no testable predictions. It’s about as productive as giving up trying to understand, and indeed it arguably comes down to just that.

All that is left of Creationism is sophistries, lies and misrepresentations.
An example of a common Creationist misrepresentation is the idea that evolution theory says life formed the way it is “by chance”, rather than by a deterministic selection process.
An example of a common Creationist lie is the rumour that there are no transitional fossils, while innumerable transitional fossils have been found.
An example of a sophistry is that scientists can’t know what happened if they weren’t there when life formed, and god was there. I’m not even going to bother with that one.

Having learned all of that after years of seriously debating sincere Creationists, I’m not very tempted to take Dembski’s “life’s work” very seriously at all, until someone (i.e. you) can give me any reason to believe he didn’t pull those numbers out of his bum. Because I definitely wouldn’t put it past the Creationists any more to just make shit up.

Not to even mention that I’ve already explained why this number that he cannot possibly know is moot because it’s a prior probability for something that has already happened.
Making this a sophistry, based on a lie.

DarkScribe's avatar

@escapedone7
Can we set aside the theological cerebral masturbation enough to pretend like we care for a moment?

This is a thread, people responding have several choices, basically either respond to the original question, or follow comments in the thread. There are no rules for participation in an online forum that demand only a response to the OP. If there were the forum would implode in a matter of hours. You can stop masturbating if you wish, (and can manage to do so) I am merely having fun – no masturbation required.

Blondesjon's avatar

@DarkScribe . . . The outcome of a bar fight in the places I frequent usually end up with the combatants becoming instant friends and the rest of the evening turning into a shitfaced blur. So, uh, both.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Blondesjon Oh. So you accidentally wandered into a gay bar one night did you? (Just kidding…)

(In the dim dark past when I would involve myself in such things, – my Navy days – bar fights meant Shore Patrol and a night in the brig. )

Coloma's avatar

@Fyrius
@Blondesjon
@DarkScribe

Wow…what a motley crew on board. Arrogant, crude and obnoxious, a winning combination to be sure!

Too bad, I’d have liked to share more myself, but..uh uh…not in this den of vipers.

DarkScribe's avatar

@Coloma Too bad, I’d have like to share more myself, but..uh uh…not in this den of vipers.

Yes, it is not a place for the faint of heart. People are mean here.

By the way, is it raining? I thought that you were going out to play in the sunshine?

(If I am a viper, where is my den? I want to check out the furniture. Is it oak?)

Coloma's avatar

@DarkScribe

Been out all afternoon…a bit of rain…nice anyway.

Yep, snakes in the grass….sssssssneak up on the lambs! lolol

escapedone7's avatar

@DarkScribe You are right. Everything you say is right. You are the closest person in the universe to achieve omniscience. You win. You must have balls the size of coconuts. I am very impressed with how perfectly right you are about everything you say.

Happy?

DarkScribe's avatar

@escapedone7 You win. You must have balls the size of coconuts.

Why are you interested in my testicles? Why are you talking about them. (Should I be concerned?)

escapedone7's avatar

I’m hungry.

Coloma's avatar

So many men with Viagra mind…permanent erection of ego. lolol

DarkScribe's avatar

@Coloma First you are thinking about testicles, now it’s about Viagra. I am starting to wonder about you.

Coloma's avatar

@DarkScribe

No, thats escapedone7, I just commented on the out of control ego erections!

DarkScribe's avatar

@Coloma No, thats escapedone7, I just commented on the out of control ego erections!

You’re not the same person? ok.

Is there such a thing as a flaccid ego?

Coloma's avatar

@DarkScribe

It’s rare.

That would be called humility! lol

Fyrius's avatar

@escapedone7
“This is a young person still in school, who says she feels “destroyed and lost” and is pondering the suffering in the world. She’s having an existential crises of sorts, which is not an easy time. The desire to give her computer away after school is both impulsive but also a sign of distress. Can we set aside the theological cerebral masturbation enough to pretend like we care for a moment?”
You’re right about this.
In my eagerness to rub in how little sense religion makes, I managed to completely miss this part of the thread. I feel horrible about it.

mattbrowne's avatar

@davidbetterman, @Fyrius – Whether free will is a complete illusion or not is still an open academic question. But we know for certain is that free will does have limitations. Each instant, when you make a choice, is it really your choice? Suppose you decide not to breathe for an hour before watching tv. Won’t work. You are not free not to breathe. Same when you touch a very hot object. You will pull back. Now the question is about more complex behavior. Can a heterosexual Catholic priest decide not to fall in love with a woman? And not to have sex with her if she asks him to?

Maybe our free will only has limited veto power as explained here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet#Implications_of_Libet.27s_experiments

Idknown's avatar

@mattbrowne You can too keep your hand on a burning hot object. Physically possible, it is a matter of will power. Will I do it? Why would I? It is not in my best interest, but I am certainly allowed to, and able.

One of my co-workers jumped off a bridge this last Thanksgiving. I supposed the taking of your own life is a testament of free will. For you and me, it ranks as high as putting your hand onto a hot object. But he did it. Whatever it was that drove him to it – he made that choice.

What you describe are instincts. Those take a lot of will power to break. I do agree with you that probably no one has to power to suffocate oneself through holding their breath – hence the need to die by rope.

Idknown's avatar

@escapedone7 Hi. Welcome to the thread!

I don’t understand why when people have conversations that get heated, which to me sounds like a great debate about to unwind, there are always people who come in to keep the peace, and break up the debate.

I do not think @Fyrius is personally at war with anyone. People yet take his comments to be… personal.

I think the best debater here has got to be @j0ey. This guy not only prevents his side against the opposition, but manages to stay SUPER friendly. He does not take anyone’s comments personally, and continues on the debate. Much can be learned from that.

I digress. The point is @escapedone7, I just feel so unsatisfied when you came marching in and declared @DarkScribe‘s coconut sized dongles victorious. I think that’s unfair to those who took the time to write rebuttals, and all you really did was degenerate the thread further and also made it quite personal.

Of course, who cares about my opinion…

mattbrowne's avatar

@Idknown – I wasn’t talking about a candle. I think it depends on the temperature.

Idknown's avatar

@davidbetterman “You will find that there are some things going on that are happening outside of your ability to reason given the training you have had up to now.”

I totally agree with you that there are things that humans cannot understand. Whether or not that is the hand of God, remains to be determined.

But I find the best way to amplify your response to @Fyrius is to ask: If Earth is in the Milky Way Galaxy, and that’s in the Universe, then what holds the Universe?

I can’t fathom it – because no matter what you say, I’d ask: Well – what holds that? The idea of an infinite space, un-contained – totally boggles my mind, and I cannot comprehend that.

So I guess I’m just re-iterating the fact that even logic has its limits on certain things.

Idknown's avatar

@mattbrowne Well the point remains the same. What I mean to say is – if you had the will power to dip your hand in Lava – then you can.

Instinct tells you not to – but you can over-ride that with will.

Fyrius's avatar

@Idknown
Fun fact / random useless anecdote:
There exists an ancient myth about a Roman soldier who demonstrated the bravery of the Romans in an enemy camp by publicly sticking his right hand into a flame and not taking it out until it was entirely burned away.

Of course, there’s no way to know if that really happened that way.

majorrich's avatar

We reach an impasse at the conflict between omnipotence and free will. God is Omnipotent, but we are granted free will and as such a random element is injected into our short little lives. Disease and chance happenings are also random parts of the world we inhabit and unfortunately bad things happen to people who probably don’t deserve it. I’ll make an example of myself again. I am by no means a sinless man, nor do I pretend to be. I feel that because I asked for forgiveness and try not to continue my sinful nature I am a reasonably good man. 4000 miles away, a man in Panama is also a pretty good man. We both have wives, children families. We met by accident in a forest and I shot him in the face neck and chest at a range of less than a meter. I watched him die. Did he deserve to die? Probably not. Did I have a choice? No. He happened to be holding his muzzle low and I had mine high. Chance brought us together and we had no control over the circumstances. After 20 years I recalled this incident in therapy for depression. I had compartmentalized this memory to avoid the pain. Now I feel I need to confess and be forgiven for 20 years of denial. Did I deserve to suffer? Probably not. Did I have a choice? No. My belief system is morally against taking life. I was terrified, I was not looking to kill anybody. I barely remember the shots. Just watching him drop in slow motion and fall at my feet. How can I gain personal absolution for this? Probably can’t. I have to accept that the random element of free will placed us in a situation where only one of us would run away physically undamaged.

In growing up, and in life, humans are brought by the compounded random elements into situations where either a choice brings about bad things for someone. Or the random elements of an ecosystem that has organisms that by their existence cause disease and death to humans and animals. Learning to accept this reality is part of our growth process. A bitter pill to swallow, but something we all must face in our own way.

God or no God. the above is what I feel are a summation of all that has been said.

Thammuz's avatar

How can God be real if there is so much suffering?

Does he have to be real? Or even better: Wether he is or not, there is still suffering, right?

If the premise is that there is suffering, of all kinds, free will and non free will related (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc etc) I send you to master Epicurus, and his great reasoning (at least on this particular subject):

Is god both willing and able to prevent evil? Then whence cometh evil?
Is god able, but not willing? Then he is evil
Is god willing, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent
Is god neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?

That’s pretty much it. These are the ways god can exist given the premise. We do know there is suffering, from the premise, all the rest we can only speculate by starting from that point.

As for the way you feel about this dilemma, @jonami, i can only say that wether god exists or not is really not the problem, The problem is that he’s surely not doing much to help, at the moment.

We can only count on us, or at least so suggests the evidence, and this is true regardless of god’s existence.

I have read all of the posts above and it has been a fairly enjoiable read, but i do like pontless querrels so that’s just me, BUT i won’t get dragged into that debate.

I think the debate has degenerated in a dickfight between 5 year olds, and, while i would normally join the argument and be obnoxious and arrogant as ever, it really doesn’t appeal to me now. If i can’t be the one making it degenerate into a flamewar i’m not interested.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Pandora That one is definitely a troll,

“Troll in the room”

jonami's avatar

religion is man-made, like this argument.

God is love.

DarkScribe's avatar

@jonami God is love.

God is love for a price – like hookers but without as much in the way of satisfaction. (Though in both cases you risk a sticky ending…)

escapedone7's avatar

Aww I think @jonami deleted her account.

davidbetterman's avatar

Bye bye @jonami God is Love, and Love is Free. There is no price.

Hookers are not love for a price. they are sex for a price. There is no love involved, unless the John is a sicko.

DarkScribe's avatar

@davidbetterman God is Love, and Love is Free.

No price? So there is no hell, the promises of torture and damnation if you don’t meet his demands are not true?

There is no God, but if there was a God then he most definitely demands a very high price to not harm you. A sort of protection racket. I see no indication of love from God anywhere in the Bible, it is all threats, bribery and demands.

davidbetterman's avatar

Of course there is a God. But there is no protection racket. If you choose to learn from the bible instead of personal experience, that is okay, I guess. But why would you think made up stories used to assuage primitive people, told and re-told for hundreds and hundreds of years before one day actually being written down, and then those writings being made into versions… why would you base your interpretation of God on such books?

As for no price…there is always a price.

Hell…that’s right there, is no Hell, other than the hell you might choose to put yourself through voluntarily.

The promises of torture and damnation if you don’t meet his demands are not true?

That is true, they are not true.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
“Of course there is a God.”
Don’t say that like it’s self-evidently true.

FutureMemory's avatar

@DarkScribe No price? So there is no hell, the promises of torture and damnation if you don’t meet his demands are not true?

There is no God, but if there was a God then he most definitely demands a very high price to not harm you. A sort of protection racket. I see no indication of love from God anywhere in the Bible, it is all threats, bribery and demands.

I am in full agreement with these statements. Carry on.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Fyrius But it is self-evidently true.

@FutureMemory Your agreement does not make those statements any the less untrue.

Fyrius's avatar

Gee, it’s been a while since I had to point this one out. Nostalgia.

@davidbetterman
It should be self-evident that the number one subject of heated disagreement on the internet is not self-evidently true. If it were, how could so many people get it wrong? There must at least be some wrong but credible reasons to believe otherwise. It must at least be possible to deny it without being barking mad.

“The sky is blue” is self-evidently true. Anyone can go outside on a clear day and see for themselves that yes, indeed, it’s blue. It’s childishly easy to verify for yourself, and nobody in their right mind could ever end up believing it’s not true. This is what “self-evidently true” means.

Most facts are not like that, not even unequivocally established facts. Tinfoil hats being useless is not self-evidently true. Sex leading to pregnancy is not self-evidently true. The earth being round is not self-evidently true.

The existence of god is definitely not self-evidently true.

Give your opponents some credit. I know you don’t agree with us, but we’re not crazy.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Fyrius “If it were, how could so many people get it wrong?”
Just because many many people are in agreement, this does not make them correct.

I hear no barking mad going on here, other than from you, perhaps.

Of course you’re not crazy to disbelieve in God’s existence. you are merely deluded.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
“Just because many many people are in agreement, this does not make them correct.”
It does mean it’s not self-evidently wrong.

And I’m a perfectly well-behaved golden retriever, I do not bark.

davidbetterman's avatar

Perhaps you should try barking more, instead of bottling it all up @Fyrius.

One interesting aspect of not believing in God is the big surprise awaiting you when you die. And you finally actually meet her.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
It’s going to be even more interesting when you die and it turns out god was a golden retriever in a suit all along.

That day, the heavens resonate with the syllable “FFFUUUUU-”

Thammuz's avatar

@davidbetterman Greatest. Cop-out. EVER.

You know someone’s not worth having an argument with when he runs back to the descartes method:

a: “This is self evident”
b: “No, it isn’t”
a: “Yes it is, and you’re stupid/ignorant/delusional for not seeing it.”

Fucking fail.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Fyrius LOL

@Thammuz Actually, Descartes was a pretty cool guy who was quite the debater.
As for this subject matter, there is no real debate here.

I don’t believe I used your 2nd letter a, that you are delusional. I don’t believe anyone is delusional in regards to their perceptions of whether there exists a creator being. You do or you don’t and then who cares. I have my beliefs and they are proven correct too often not to flow with them. And the same is true for others who don’t share my beliefs. I’m really glad so many people truly don’t believe God exists, as that means there is more for me and the others. Thanks, I say.

There is either God exists. God doesn’t exist. Maybe God exists. That’s all there is. There is no argument that will sway and indeed there is no reason to do so. Everyone is going to know the answer to this one sooner or later.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
“Everyone is going to know the answer to this one sooner or later.”
Assuming there is an afterlife.

Thammuz's avatar

@davidbetterman You’ve broke my bullshit alert, i’ll send you the cheque for it.

You said:
Of course you’re not crazy to disbelieve in God’s existence. you are merely deluded.

And now:
I don’t believe I used your 2nd letter a, that you are delusional. I don’t believe anyone is delusional in regards to their perceptions of whether there exists a creator being.

This is the DEFINITION of backpedalling, You’re not worht my time. I’d say what i think about your behaviour, but it’d be removed by the mods.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Fyrius Your assumptions play no part in the existence of the afterlife. It exists in spite of the disbelief of untold millions of humans.

@Thammuz You are too funny. “You’re not worht my time…”
Were I not worth your time you would cease communication. I understand your game.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
And what about your assumptions?
Has it ever even occurred to you that you may not be right?
If you would be completely wrong, would you even notice? Could you tell a correct belief and a false belief apart?
Because you continue to miss the point more astronomically than you could miss it if you were aiming in the opposite direction and the point were on a different planet altogether.

I’m giving you one more chance to say something remotely intelligent, and then I’m abandoning the thread. And my optimism about human rationality.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Fyrius LOL at you giving me a chance. Obviously I am not basing my beliefs on assumptions, but rather proofs. As you are in now way shape nor form ready to hear these proofs, they will not be forthcoming. I will be happy to explain reality to you when you are more receptive.

DarkScribe's avatar

@davidbetterman There is either God exists. God doesn’t exist. Maybe God exists. That’s all there is. There is no argument that will sway and indeed there is no reason to do so. Everyone is going to know the answer to this one sooner or later.

No, not so. No one will know as in order to know there would have to be at least intellectual life after death. If a brain injury now can leave a person in a near vegetable state until that person dies, then I think the total decay or cremating of the brain doesn’t offer much hope of intellectual happiness after death. That is logic. If you think that life after death also involves total refurbishment to a “might have been” life-time state then I think that you are getting desperate and almost comically reaching.

davidbetterman's avatar

@DarkScribe It is unfortunate that you have chosen such a limited view of reality. But it is yours, so enjoy the darkness.

Fyrius's avatar

…right.

I’ll be going, then.

Idknown's avatar

@davidbetterman

Wow – you’ve got some nice beliefs. Wish I could have that kind of fanaticism.

I mean the thing I hate about not believing in God, is the cold feeling I get, knowing there’s nothing after death. It’s a pure pity I have to only settle with one life, and make the best of it. Eternal life under God’s kingdom sounds like a heck of a better time.

Then again, so does going to Middle Earth… I can’t decide between the two, I’m such a LOTR fan…

DarkScribe's avatar

@davidbetterman But it is yours, so enjoy the darkness.

I have no darkness – it is why I can see the reality.

It is you perhaps who should “Entrer dans la lumière”.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Idknown Actually, you only think you have to settle for the one life. Reality is not dependent on what you believe.

@DarkScribe Nice of you to say so!

Idknown's avatar

@davidbetterman And the same to you :).

This is where I will succeed where @Fyrius fails. (I mean that in a nice way.) Earlier on, @Fyrius and I determined that it was pointless to have this debate as you can’t fight faith. “Faith: complete confidence in a person or plan” Keyword Complete.

At this point I would like to acknowledge @j0ey‘s point earlier that Science is a faith. I do have compete confidence in it, and so do believe. Religion is a faith. You have complete confidence in it, so you believe. The differences are moot. I will say Science is a faith based on hard facts that we can prove. You will have your rebuttal: we cannot begin to understand God’s workings, etc. The point is: You understand the logic @Fyrius was trying to point to you.

You are right: Reality is not dependent on what you believe.

If there is a God – he/she will exist regardless of my belief. If there is no God – he/she will not exist regardless of your belief.

So in the end – we agree to disagree.

davidbetterman's avatar

aND THERE YOU HAVE IT!

Janka's avatar

It seems logically impossible to me that there exists a God that is both benevolent (as we understand it) and all-knowing/all-powerful. To make God consistent with suffering, you need to release one or several assumptions. The most typical way to go about it is to claim that God is benevolent, but His benevolent is not exactly the same that we’d mean with it. The next most typical, I think, is to conclude that God does not exist.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther