"Case Against Faith" Response, Part I.

RhadTheGizmo
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"Case Against Faith" Response, Part I.

Original Article: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_doland/strobel.html

This will probably be among one of my last threads here... I believe that I have found that which I came here to discover-- just have some loose ends to tie up. I appreciate all of you who helped me with my learning, it's definitly been an experience. So, here is my response to the Case Against Faith.

Granted, I am speaking from my own perspective, not from someone else's. I have been, what you might call a 'skeptic' for as long as I can remember, and it is in asking questions that I realized the point of making choices. The objective facts are the same for most everyone, what you choose to do with them.. is a different issue.

A few definitions before I start, feel free to cross reference them with the dictionary. Make sure to cross reference those words within the definition which might be important to understanding the first. So, here we go. I state these, because.. well-- if we all have our own definitions, that might be kind of hard. So I'll be using the language as prescribed by the dictionary. No descriptive linguistics here! (Maybe some).

Reason: 1) Basis for a belief
2) Statement given as justification
3) Sound Judgement; Good sense
Rational: 1) Having or exercising reason, sound judgement, or good sense
Irrational: 1) Not in accordance with reason; utterly illogical
Logic: 1) A particular method of reasoning
2) The system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge or study
Evidence: 1) Grounds for a belief
2) That which tends to prove or disprove something
Tends: 1) To move or extend in a certain direction
Prove: 1) To establish the truth or genuineness of
Semantics: 1) The study of meaning
Empirical: 1) Derived from or guided by experience or experiment
Necessary: 1) Being essential, indispensable, or requisite
Sufficient: 1) Adequate for the purpose; enough
Assumption: 1) Something taken for granted; a supposition
Assertion: 1) A positive statement or declaration, often without support or reason
Axiom: 1) Self evident truth that requires no proof
2) Logic, Mathematics: a proposition that is assumed without proof for the sake of studying the consequences that follow from it
Fallacious: 1) Deceptive; misleading
2) Disappointing; delusive
3) Containing a fallacy
Fallacy: 1) A deceptive, misleading, or false notion

About the Author of "The Case Against Faith"

He seems very logical.

(What, you were expecting more? It was a well structured critique as well as fair in my view.)

He ask questions of the author and his interviewees. These questions appear to be valid for, in one way or another, the interviewee and the author just assume that all reading will accept just because they are given a response. Furthermore, some apparent, common sense, contradictions spawning from the statements that the book makes, are equally challenged. Both these methods of argument I consider valid, so I'm not going to be saying that they are not; I will address to all things I can. So, here I go, I will try to make my answers small, assertions simple, logic clean, and reason clear as I can. (Furthermore.. I will try summarize his arguments his quotes-- therefore I can address what I understand as the spirit of his argument). I do not necessarily write this response to give answers, merely ask more questions, that is.. after all, what I do many times. If you grow tired of not finding a straight answer to the original objection, for instance "Since Evil and Suffering Exist, A Loving God Cannot", then look at the end of each section.. there I will write my understanding of it, but I really feel as if my point by point response will give a more complete picture from which to understand my position. Whether representative of truth or not, this is a map of my reasoning at this point in my life.

Objection 1: Since Evil and Suffering Exist, A Loving God Cannot
(Interview with Dr. Peter John Kreeft, Ph.D.)

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In fact, Templeton says that suffering was a major reason why he turned away from the Christian faith, noting a photograph of an African woman holding her dead baby, who had died of starvation due to severe drought, in her arms. God allowed all of this suffering when all that the woman needed was a little rain. How can there be a loving God if He won't even send a little rain? (p. 14).


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For one, Kreeft says that finite humans are not capable of understanding the plans and reasoning of an infinite God. Kreeft illustrates his point with an analogy:

Imagine a bear in a trap and a hunter who, out of sympathy, wants to liberate him. He tries to win the bear's confidence, but he can't do it, so he has to shoot the bear full of drugs. The bear, however, thinks this is an attack and the hunter is trying to kill him. He doesn't realize this is being done out of compassion (p. 32).


This accurately sums up the argument of Strobel: God knows better than us, we cannot comprehend why these things happen.

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God may well know better than I, and what appears to me to be injustice could all be a part of a greater plan. I am imperfect, and cannot know that which a perfect God may know. However, Kreeft's argument that I cannot know what eventual good may come from some suffering is a fallacious "argument from ignorance."


Agreed. While his answer may be correct, this argument does little to advance the debate since the answer to a valid question is that the answer cannot be comprehended. If this answer were multiplied and given for every question, you might see where this sort of response would lead to.

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The bottom line is that if I am like the bear of Kreeft's analogy, unable to see the greater good to come from apparent injustice, then God should not be surprised that I see apparent injustice as genuine injustice.


Granted. He should not be 'surprised'.

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For there is no reason to assume that there is a greater good to come from injustice.


Granted as well. While I tread lightly on any assertion that there is "no reason" for any assumption, I will accept this assertion because I can think of no counterexample. If one sees something that seems like "injustice" they will not automatically assume that is, in fact, "justifiable".

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It may sound like Strobel, Kreeft, and I are using this woman as a debate tool[...]But these are real issues being raised, and they need to be discussed.


Agreed.

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To explain how suffering can lead to a greater good, Kreeft offers the analogy of when his daughter pricked herself and suffered a small amount of pain, but learned from it (p. 41)[...]A valid explanation for a little pain doesn't explain extensive, intense, and apparently gratuitous pain.


This might be where I would lay down my first contention. If I give an example:
A person asks me, "Look at all this death in Iraq. How can the U.S. be justified in such a war?"
I would answer, "The death in Europe during World War II was 100 fold, would you ask this same question of that war?"

What is valid for one instance of pain is not necessarily valid for another, yet, the element of truth (if accepted in the first explanation) can be applied to the second that being:
Pain or suffering, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that pain and suffering are not without reason or justification; even as the number of death, no matter to what extent, is not reason enough to assume that war is not without reason or justification in a particular case.

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Why have I been fortunate, while so many others have not? Arguing that there must be no God because of the suffering in the world is sometimes called an "argument from outrage." But should one not be "outraged" at the injustice of the world?


Indeed.

Yet, even as you pointed out something earlier as fallacious, so this thing would be fallacious if its purpose is to win an argument. It does not make a logical conclusion, merely that makes the assertion that one should be outraged at such injustice. In this I agree, but if the purpose of it was to imply that there cannot be justification for something that "should cause outrage", then for that I cannot agree.

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Moreover, the fact that the poorest often suffer the most is, to me, very significant. In a debate with William Lane Craig, Corey Washington develops the point:


Significant?

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Relatively speaking, people really didn't suffer.


The disgust I find at one individual dying in a horrible way and another individual dying in a horrible way is not magnified by their socio-economic standing. I realize you may be saying, "as a whole" opposed to individually, and if this is what you meant, I would agree. The fact that their are nations of so much excess that they seem to burst at the seems while there remains nations in our world that are as they are, is a problem that I think needs addressing.

I cannot say I have an answer to correct this state of affairs.. but some day, perhaps I can help in some significant manner.

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So you have to think about what Craig is saying. God's going to allow the innocent, the weak, and the poor to suffer, so the rich can show their colors, can be courageous, and develop themselves into moral beings. That sounds kind of sick to me actually. I think this is totally incompatible with Christianity as you read it. Remember the proverb was that, "The meek shall inherit the earth," not that they shall be destroyed by it.[1]


However.. this statement seems to imply something that I don't believe is relevant to the central question. Let me present it you this way:

If God allows a rich, successful man, to suffer at the hands of another man, so that the one man gets his head sawed off as he screams for the other to stop; would that god be more or less loving than one who would allow such a thing to happen to a man of less riches?

If you mean those instances of suffering apart from the direct actions of another individual-- such as famine, natural disaster, or the such-- then I would suggest that if you accept that letting a rich man be harmed by another is not more or less a reflection on ones character than if that character let a poor man be harmed by another, then I would only go to point to my even earlier statement. When it comes to suffering as a result of natural elements, it is only as an indirect result of the order than humans have set up themselves. It is not that there is not enough food or resources to support or move all individuals into certain areas of greater resources, it is that nations keep people in and others out. There is a unequal dispersal of resource and space because that is what people, as a whole, have created. One might counter, "there is no way that industrialized nations can take in all citizens of these other nations"-- and that might be true.. a sudden influx of a group of people skilled in only non-industrialized tasks, would most certainly put a large burden on the receiving nation. Yet.. once again, this system is as it is merely as a result of the man made system itself.

In my view, "Man" is as much responsible for a person who dies from famine as a man is responsible for killing another. Feel free to disagree. I am stating these things to present reasoning, not to give answers.

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But God could solve the problem, or at least mitigate it a great deal, by sending more rain. Is this really too much to ask of a compassionate, miracle-working God?


I can only point to my earlier question. Would a god who mitigates pain by 'sending rain' be more or less loving even though, at the same time, he doesn't mitigate the pain of every other individual in a less general sense (murder, rape, torture, etc)? Both would be equally as easy for a God of infinite power? I have not stated my belief on God's personality.. or my understanding of the human condition, merely that these actions that you say increase your un-understanding of the possibility of an infinite are not necessarily the only rational conclusion to reach.

In my opinion it would be as hard to understand a god who 'allows' extreme suffering on the grand scale, then it would be as equally hard to believe in a god who 'allows' extreme suffering on the small scale.

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Kreeft says he purposely let his daughter bleed a little, for the learning experience--the greater good to come.


I really do not understand this man if this story is actually true. I would hope that if I was a parent I would not 'let' my kid touch a stove and then follow that up by not tending to his wound just because he will 'learn better'. I would pull his hand away. I would consul him. For he trusts me and would let me tend to his wound.

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The fact that a Christian would save the child if he could implies that Christians don't really believe that an apparently needless death serves any greater good.


Not necessarily.. As with the example of the father and their child: if harm is caused, I will tend to the harm for the harm is real and needs tending too. This would not change the fact that my child may have learned from the experience.

Whether or not their is "good that can comes from bad" exists independently (I would contend) from the "whether one should help to mitigate the bad."

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Kreeft, of course, claims that injustice not rectified in this life will be rectified in the next. He quotes Mother Teresa, who said, "In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth, a life full of the most atrocious tortures on earth, will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel" (p. 47).


This I think belittles pain.

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In other words, in the grand scheme of eternity, the dead baby's needless death is "no biggie."


This I think belittles eternity. For mathematically.. finite life is insignificant next to infinite.

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But doesn't that make this life on Earth rather pointless?


I believe even an atheist would agree with this statement: we are living now, in the present, whether or not mathematically the existence of this time is insignificant to the existence of time itself, does not change the fact that life is real, present, and significant in this one.

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To defer to a person's unverifiable condition after death in order to find any resulting greater good appears remarkably forced--it is tantamount to admitting that there is no greater good to be found.


I must admit.. I always felt that in a moment of suffering, the statement "it's for the greater good" to be insensitive even as other: "it was there time", "you can't change life". In general, I feel, as though, in a moment of suffering, ones purpose should be to be there.. not to make sense of it.

We can now, living apart from it all, with the clarity of mind to look backwards and forwards with thought and deliberation, look at all things and find 'greater good' if we wish too.

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For we have to take it entirely on faith that this otherwise seemingly needless suffering resulted in any greater good at all.


While I have not defined my concept of this 'greater good' yet, I will in time.

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A related question concerns the existence of evil. Kreeft says that the complete elimination of evil would eliminate free will and the chance for true love, and claims that some evil and suffering is necessary to make us who we are:


This I think is a odd statement for him to make.

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It's like that old Twilight Zone television show, where a gang of bank robbers gets shot and one of them wakes up walking on fluffy clouds at the golden gate of a celestial city. A kindly white-robed man offers him everything he wants. But soon he's bored with the gold since everything is free, and the beautiful girls who only laugh when he tries to hurt them, since he has a sadistic streak. So he summons the St. Peter figure. "There must be some mistake." "No, we make no mistakes here." "Can't you send me back to earth?" "Of course not, you're dead." "Well, then I must belong with my friends in the Other Place. Send me there." "Oh, no, we can't do that. Rules you know." "But I thought I was supposed to like heaven?" "Heaven? Who said anything about heaven. Heaven is the Other Place." The point is that a world without suffering appears more like hell than heaven....


This on the other hand.. is a great analogy but not used in the manner in which he did. I will refer to it later.

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But you have to think of the consequences of everything you try to improve.


If God could have 'improved' anything, I think he would have. I think he uses this word rather haphazardly.

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Every time you use force to prevent evil, you take away freedom.


This, however, I agree with.

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If Kreeft believes that an Earth without pain and suffering would be like Hell, what exactly does Kreeft believe Heaven is like?


Once again. I don't agree with the way he used it... for this very reason. But.. I will refer to it later.

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Kreeft also asserts that simply recognizing "evil" as being "evil" in and of itself is a good argument for the existence of God. If there is no God, then there is no absolute definition of what is evil and what is not evil (p. 34).


I think you give a good enough response to this one. "The fact that many concepts don't have an ultimate meaning in a godless universe does not mean that they are without meaning to our biological nature." That is not to say that I don't believe there to be a validity in the concept he touches on, but more on that later.

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Why, then, is it necessary for us to lack absolute proof of God's existence? And what about Satan? Satan, when he chose to rebel against God, had absolute proof of God's existence. And yet he was still free to choose not to follow God. Again, why is it necessary for humans to lack absolute proof of God's existence?


More on this in my section response.

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God is often called our "Heavenly Father." If somebody's earthly father moved to another country and left no forwarding address, but left a few clues lying around as to where to find him, would we consider this earthly father worthy of seeking?


No. More on this in my section response.

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And during this quest, at times beliefs that were held as unquestionable by the majority have been proven false.


Yup.

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And Kreeft must, of course, also realize that 90% of all human beings that have ever lived have not believed in his God. Kreeft seems likely to believe that the followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, pagan religions, and so on are completely wrong, but he is happy to accept their members just for the moment to "prove" how "snobbish" atheism is.


In his defense.. I believe it would have been "snobbish" for a person to come along during the time when 90% of the world believed the world was flat and proceeded to tell them it was round, and that they were irrational, and that only those claiming the world was round were rational.

Because.. the concepts necessary for proving the world was round were not understood, therefore not accepted, at that time. To call someone irrational because they don't understand that mathematics posited the world was round before sailing or space travel 'saw' it, does seem terribly 'snobbish'.

I am not saying that Atheist are like this, merely pointing out that if an Atheist proposed to 'prove' to a theist that they are stupid for not understanding, or accepting, theories that have not been 'proven' themselves.. they would be equally as snobbish.

"To be an atheist", however, is no more "snobbish" then "to be a Christian".. one is just "being". So yes, I would agree with you in some respects that Kreeft is a bit "snobbish" himself, because this is the very thing I think he meant for people to accept.

RESPONSE: Theist choose to address this issue in many ways. Each way would seem to contain a bit of ambiguity sown into the fabric of its position. I will try, the best I can, to relate my position. As much as some might say that my positions are inherently contradictory to the writings of the Bible, I do not believe them to be. I believe them to be supported by the Bible, even as others understand their understandings to be. The question might come up, well then how do you know which is right? And truth be told, I do not. I merely have made the choice to live by those things I have chosen to live by through reasoning-- even as you do.

If you would like to argue the points of the Bible, If you feel that they are inherently contradictory, then I will read your contention and respond; however, you must give the one verse you feel to be most clear in its contradiction to the position I state. This is the only way I can see it be done.. otherwise people will just say: "Look at bibleiscontradictory.com." And I will.. but, how could I get around to all of it? I might be able to address all the questions of the site, but to transport those questions here would grow this thread exponentially.. as well as, even then, not satisfy the one who contested first.

Would it not be more efficient to just take one of your choice to present?

SUMMARY (Objection 1: Since Evil and Suffering Exist, A Loving God Cannot): I have accepted the Bible as truth. I have accepted that the God written of in its pages, is a real God. As such, I must address this objection within the context of that God, and not any other.

The words used very frequently to describe the Christian God by Christians are: loving, creator, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.

I would agree these are our perceptions of him. As a Christian I accept that he is loving, for if he were any other than there would be no reason, that I can think of other than fear, to care for such a God. As a Christian I accept that he created all things, for if he did not then he is not God. As a Christian I accept that he has the capacity to do everything logically possible, for logically impossible things are logically impossible... while one might like to think a "square circle" could be created, it cannot logically be so since both the square and the circle are words designating concepts solely in the human mind. As a function of omnipotence, I, as a Christian, accept that he has the capacity to know all things, for omnipotence designates capacity for anything. As a Christian, I accept that existence, in all forms, is only sustained by his presence, and therefore, he is present (in some sense) in all things existent.

These are things I have chosen to believe in. So how do I make such concepts agree with the existence of suffering and evil in our world?

Here is my reasoning:

I believe the biggest problem within this debate is that both sides seem to automatically assume, or concede, the proposition that evil is a direct result from God, or in some way related to his wanting for it to go on longer, I do not believe this to be the case. I do believe it to be a reasonable argument to say that 'love' could not have existed without 'choice'. God, being a loving God, wanted that which he created to have to ability to love him back. Thus, freewill was placed into that which he created.

I further believe it to be a reasonable argument that, as a function of freewill, as a function of our heightened stated of consciousness, we are curious beings. We are. I do not believe history would give an example of a "non curious" being, for curiosity is the means by which we live.. it is the reason we attempt to crawl, taste food, walk, and so many other things. I am not discounting the possibility that these could be things as instinctual as a reflex.. yet I believe them both to be equally improvable or untestable theories. Furthermore, I am not saying that free will is curiosity, just that it is a necessary result of freewill. We wish to experience what we have not experienced.

And here is where I move to analogy to present my position:
If a father watches over his son, giving him all those things which are good for him, does this mean that the son will not wants those things which the father cannot give? Of course not. One asks the question.. one wants an answer. Yet, even as a parent cannot explain the experience of being burned by fire, so God could not explain the experience of being apart from him; for the very words used in the descriptions of burning and apartness, would require experience to understand. Or is one born with the innate ability to understand the concept of 'hot', 'burn', 'sting'.

The concept of sin is not one that brings about punishment from God but of de facto separation. Even as one must leave a house to try and live life on his own, so one must leave god to try and live on his. This is how I interpret the seemingly decreasing, direct interaction, interaction that God did with regards from the beginning of the Bible, where it was God having a direct conversation to Cain or the fire cloud above the Hebrews, and the end, where God had to become man to interact.

While many would like to think that we are more civilized now than thousands of years ago, it does not change the fact that we are perhaps even more barbarous now than then. Is killing someone because they are of a different race more or less barbarous than killing indiscriminately?

As a whole, humanity has long since continued on its journey to explore the experience of life as is. I know this might sound like I'm saying, "If only we would all serve God perfectly, then everything would be fine", I do not believe so. It is possible that I could be wrong however, I believe that it is so far removed from where we are that it does not seem a realistic goal. You, even I, explore those things we should not, and do those things we don't feel as if we should do. "I do what I do not want to do.." as Paul once wrote. All evil in the world is a direct result of our actions (as a whole), not of God's. God means only to sustain us until our curiosity runs out and our final choices are made.

Who knows when that might be. When it does come, and the story has been told, one will have made the choice, explicitly or implicitly through their life, which thing he cherishes more. If it his independence, then so be it, God will grant them their independence. If it be dependence, then so be it, God will bring them home. The desire to experience life away from God will no longer be existent, even as a child who has burnt himself enough will not longer wish to explore the curiosity of touching fire.

Hell.. you might say, is an apparent, common sense, contradiction to the concept of a loving God. I would probably agree with you on this point. I cannot imagine that if Man, to live, needs God to sustain him, how God, who is all-loving, can sustain an individual for the purpose of eternal torment/torture.

Yet, the belief in hell (of this sense) is not necessitated by scripture. Yes, there is a concept of "hell"-- but not necessarily one of eternal torment/torture. Feel free to disagree with me, and point out the particular part of scripture you feel to be most obvious on your point.

As I have stated before, when the time comes that our curiosity has been fulfilled, our choices will have been made, the story complete, we will live forever or die forever, wiped from existent by "eternal fire".

These are my thoughts. Part II will come, in time.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


What particular aspects of biology do you speak of?

Particular to the immune system.. I claimed only as much ignorance as you claimed.


Perhaps I claimed too much ignorance. I have the understanding that any Biology BS/Nursing student has concerning the immune system, as well as the advice of some one with greater training (though not an immunologist either). I know generally how the immune system works. As to crocodiles. Their immune system is very similar to ours excepting one additional element, a peptide which kills bacteria and is also able to kill HIV. This was big in the news a bit ago, just search “crocodile immune system”. If god had “given” us that peptide we would be less susceptible to many diseases. They are even looking into using this peptide as a treatment to supplement antibiotics.

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When it came to birthing.. I asked for you to support your argument that "a less painful birthing would only require the existence of wider hips or a wider birth canal."

And that these things could exist without any other contingent changes.

A real world example would help to support the assumption as well as some sort of scientific study.

I have not seen a scientific study.. and as for real world example, I do not know of any bipedal, upright, who examples and instance of painless birth.


I do not ask for painless childbirth, only less painful or at the least less dangerous. Example: Some women are already better “designed” to bear children because of “broader hips”, a larger space for the baby to come out. For some women giving birth is not very difficult at all. These women are a distinct minority. I think this should show that a small difference in bone structure could make a large different in childbirth. I don’t know that there are any scientific studies about this any more than there are scientific studies proving that some men have broader shoulders (better for heavy work) but if you like I will look.

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As for the "limits" objection. I think you misunderstand what I am saying:

I use limits in order to speak of him. I do not mean to say that "God" MUST be existent within my limits or that my limits are absolutely correct. Merely that they are the limits I place on him.

As it is.. the limits I assume are: 1.) He is all powerful, 2.) He choses to act in a constitent, logical/rational manner, 3.) He is all-loving.

Anyways... heh.. I keep on being drawn back here for some reason. A temporary thing I believe.


I think it is not valid to limit god’s consistency, logic or rationality to your own. You are basically saying that because I cannot see how to change a woman’s hips to make child-birthing safer an all-powerful god couldn’t do it either. If he is all-powerful I would think that he would not be limited to human logic or human standards of consistency and rationality.

Edit/addition: If you were an expert on anatomy or immunology than your argument would be stronger but as it is it seems to be more of an argument from ignorance. NOT to say that you are ignorant.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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My Name is Chelsea

My Name is Chelsea wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

 As for the "limits" objection. I think you misunderstand what I am saying:

I use limits in order to speak of him. I do not mean to say that "God" MUST be existent within my limits or that my limits are absolutely correct. Merely that they are the limits I place on him.

As it is.. the limits I assume are: 1.) He is all powerful, 2.) He choses to act in a constitent, logical/rational manner, 3.) He is all-loving.

Anyways... heh.. I keep on being drawn back here for some reason. A temporary thing I believe.


I think it is not valid to limit god’s consistency, logic or rationality to your own. You are basically saying that because I cannot see how to change a woman’s hips to make child-birthing safer an all-powerful god couldn’t do it either. If he is all-powerful I would think that he would not be limited to human logic or human standards of consistency and rationality.

As usual, the theist argument commits an even bigger error that has not been touched on yet. We can call this the panglossian error, it is the assumption that 1) there is an all powerful creator and yet there is an implicit assumption, 2) that the world must somehow still be precisely as it is.

The error is that if 1 is true, 2 must be false. 

So there's no need to argue back and forth about the specifics of how to ease the pain of childbirth... a god could have changed the birthing prodecure completely in order to eradicate all pain, by changing human anatomy itself, or simply getting rid of the need for 'birthing' as we know it altogether....

The only thing left to consider is why theists make this error, and that ought to be simple: there's simply no way to argue from an omnipotent supernatural creator to our world, so the theist has no choice but to work backwards, and try to shoehorn our natural world into a supernatural view... but it can't work.

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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Quote:

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This was big in the news a bit ago, just search “crocodile immune system”. If god had “given” us that peptide we would be less susceptible to many diseases. They are even looking into using this peptide as a treatment to supplement antibiotics.

If they do so.. then.. in line with how they do it.. I will probably need to look at my belief system as previously stated. Yet.. just as science is open to change.. so is my belief system. I fit my belief in a 'God' to the facts.. even as a scientist fits a 'hypothesis' to the facts.

But to argue.. about what 'might be' seems.. unfruitful at this time.

And.. until that time.. your assertion is just that.. an assertion that 'nothing would be different'. It would be the same as if I made the assertion that 'God exists'.

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I do not ask for painless childbirth, only less painful or at the least less dangerous. Example: Some women are already better “designed” to bear children because of “broader hips”, a larger space for the baby to come out. For some women giving birth is not very difficult at all. These women are a distinct minority. I think this should show that a small difference in bone structure could make a large different in childbirth. I don’t know that there are any scientific studies about this any more than there are scientific studies proving that some men have broader shoulders (better for heavy work) but if you like I will look.

This brings up an interesting idea.. one that perhaps I have not thought about before. I do accept the concept of evolution.. let me state that right now. As such.. is how I explain the differences in human anatomy. I believe that you would probably do the same.

But.. your statement here would seem to suggest that you would have it that something else would have been *better* to institute? Evolution has led to some people having wider hips.. some other having narrowing ones.. some men to have broader shoulders.. some others to have more narrow.

For whatever purpose these traits have survived and been passed on. In my 'belief' structure.. 'evolution' was a system, instituted by God, in order to allow man to adapt to an imperfect world which he wished to explore.

All products of that system, therefore, are by product of 'mans' 'choice'. (I do not mean for this conversation to turn to the concept of 'freewill'.. it has been done many times-- it doesn't seem to be lead anywhere purposeful, I'm merely presenting my beliefs.)

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I think it is not valid to limit god’s consistency, logic or rationality to your own. You are basically saying that because I cannot see how to change a woman’s hips to make child-birthing safer an all-powerful god couldn’t do it either. If he is all-powerful I would think that he would not be limited to human logic or human standards of consistency and rationality.

By what other means should I limit him then? If I should not limit him by any means then, as Tod rightly puts, I would not be able to speak of him *at all*. I would not, therefore, have this conversation.

Yes.. one could 'assert' that he could have done something even though that 'one' would not be able to explain how.. but.. in such a case, it serves no purpose within a debate other than to place an assertion.

At least this is how I would see it to be.

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Edit/addition: If you were an expert on anatomy or immunology than your argument would be stronger but as it is it seems to be more of an argument from ignorance. NOT to say that you are ignorant.

And if you were an expert in anatomy or immunology than your arguement would be stronger as well..

Seeing as neither of us our *experts*.. perhaps, according to this suggestion, we are both arguing from ignorance.

You asked a question, or made an assumption, and I addressed it. The question/assumption was concerning these things which I nor you are experts.. and therefore I addressed it.

You tell me now that I have addressed it from ignorance because I am not an *expert*? Then.. so are you arguing.  Unless you claim (as you have already claimed otherwise) that you *are* an expert in such things.  Whether you are *more* knowledgeable in such manner is inconsequential according to this statement.... it only matters if you are an 'expert'-- which could mean one of many things.

 

Sidenote:  I don't mean to be rude.. so please, I pray that you don't take me that way.  I argue, sometimes just playfully, that we are all non-experts to any field except the field of our own sight. We only are 'experts' in our own position in time.. but Time  itself, may prove us the fools.  It has done so before.. I would suspect it would do so again-- of course, I could be wrong. Smiling


 


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: As usual, the theist

Quote:
As usual, the theist argument commits an even bigger error...

I can only assume you are speaking of me... Smiling

 

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...that has not been touched on yet. We can call this the panglossian error, it is the assumption that 1) there is an all powerful creator and yet there is an implicit assumption, 2) that the world must somehow still be precisely as it is.

To make this error I would have to make the assumption that this assumption *IS* necessarily true.  I do not. Nor have I stated it to be the case. (At least I do not believe I have done so.. QUOTE ME! Smiling

 Within the quote you used above.. I explicitly state that this is not necessarily *HOW* he is.. merely that they are assumptions I use to speak of him.  They are assumptions about his *ACTIONS* not about his power or character.

 

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So there's no need to argue back and forth about the specifics of how to ease the pain of childbirth... a god could have changed the birthing prodecure completely in order to eradicate all pain, by changing human anatomy itself, or simply getting rid of the need for 'birthing' as we know it altogether....

True.. but as I have infered from your previous statements.. to speak of a God with absolutely no limits would be to speak of nothing.  Therefore.. if I had stated 1.) God is all powerful, and made no further assumptions for the purpose of our conversations.. indeed.. I would not be able to talk very coherently about him.

Yet.. I assume other things about him, mainly, that he *chooses* to act in a certain way, "logically".  Therefore, to me, it would seem as this would make the debate much more coherent then otherwise.. in which, you rightly state, the conversation would end on such a note as stating.. "God could, by your own assumption, do anything-- therefore, X could be Z.  I do not need to explain any further."

As for the shoehorning bit.. I have already admitted this to be the case.  I shoehorn my belief into the facts.. but even shoehorning has its limits. 


RhadTheGizmo
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Bumpitybumpbumbump.

Yah yah.. I know I'm not suppose to, but I wanted to try.. at least once, even though I might regret it later. Sticking out tongue


My Name is Chelsea
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RhadTheGizmo wrote: If

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


If they do so.. then.. in line with how they do it.. I will probably need to look at my belief system as previously stated. Yet.. just as science is open to change.. so is my belief system. I fit my belief in a 'God' to the facts.. even as a scientist fits a 'hypothesis' to the facts.
So if it turns up in the news in a few years that we are now being treated with this peptide you will rethink your views?

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But to argue.. about what 'might be' seems.. unfruitful at this time.

I guess I just don’t understand what you want from me then. You asked how god could have “done it better” obviously it is impossible for me to answer this question without using a “might be”. If I use a “what is” then it is not a question of how god could have done it better because he already did do it better.

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And.. until that time.. your assertion is just that.. an assertion that 'nothing would be different'. It would be the same as if I made the assertion that 'God exists'.
I do not mean to assert that NOTHING would be different. Quite the opposite. Much would be better. We would get sick and die less. What I mean to say is that if our immune system were slightly different it would not affect free will at all and yet still make the human condition better.

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All products of that system, therefore, are by product of 'mans' 'choice'. (I do not mean for this conversation to turn to the concept of 'freewill'.. it has been done many times-- it doesn't seem to be lead anywhere purposeful, I'm merely presenting my beliefs.)

By what other means should I limit him then? If I should not limit him by any means then, as Tod rightly puts, I would not be able to speak of him *at all*. I would not, therefore, have this conversation.
I would hope that we could limit him to what we can imagine. Surely if we can imagine it an all-powerful god could accomplish it.

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Seeing as neither of us our *experts*.. perhaps, according to this suggestion, we are both arguing from ignorance.

You asked a question, or made an assumption, and I addressed it. The question/assumption was concerning these things which I nor you are experts.. and therefore I addressed it.

You tell me now that I have addressed it from ignorance because I am not an *expert*? Then.. so are you arguing. Unless you claim (as you have already claimed otherwise) that you *are* an expert in such things. Whether you are *more* knowledgeable in such manner is inconsequential according to this statement.... it only matters if you are an 'expert'-- which could mean one of many things.
I am not saying that I am an expert, far from it. I guess I just don’t see how it is at all possible for me to answer your question. I can see many ways god could possibly have done things better but I am not an expert in those fields so I can prove to you that it is possible. I can show that scientists think it is possible and to me that means that an all-powerful god could accomplish it. But I can never answer your question satisfactorily with in the limits you place.
I don’t think limiting an all-powerful god to your own knowledge is valid. Surely we must have some limits to discuss him but those seem unnecessarily narrow.

Do not worry that I have taken offense, I also do not mean to give any.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


RhadTheGizmo
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Hi Chelsea.. glad to see

Hi Chelsea.. glad to see you're still around and I hope this post finds you well.

Quote:
So if it turns up in the news in a few years that we are now being treated with this peptide you will rethink your views?

I would.  I might be more inclined to accept my father's point of view or perhaps some unthought of viewpoint.  Who knows..

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I guess I just don’t understand what you want from me then.

A logical argument.  I do not consider this a logical argument--this is just a theoretical:

"You know God created only humanity, yet scientist believe that they can and will find extraterrestial life.  Therefore God cannot exist."

No..  the 'possibility' that something might come about is not, in and of itself, reason to infer a necessary conclusion.

Now.  This would be a logical argument:

"You believe God created only humanity, yet scientist believe that they can and will find extraterrestial life.  If they do, then the God you believe in cannot exist as you believe in him."

This is how I view the: "Scientist think that they can use the peptide existent in crocs for humansin a way that it would be just as permanent, effective, and with no drawbacks-- therefore God could have done it at the beginning as well."

The fact that scientist "think" they can do something is not reason enough to "know" that God could do it.

Now.. you say later that "God" should only be limited by our imagination.  This would be true for someone who believed him to be only "omnipotent" with no other limitations.

I believe that he has limited himself to the realm of logic.. and therefore through logic is how I must speak of him.. not merely 'imagination'-- but through correct inferences and deductions.

I can imagine that I have the ability to fly through the power of my mind... does this make this a logical concept? No, I do not believe so.

Let me give you an instance of a logical argument that has worked on me concerning God.

"You believe that God is all loving, all powerful, and logical.  Then how is it you can believe that God would create a place of eternal torment for a 'ternal' sin?"

Well.. I cannot, which is why I choose not to believe in the common concept of a hell.. and rather choose to believe within the concept of annihilationism put together with some other concepts..

Likewise.. one could make the logical argument:

"God is all loving, all powerful, and logical.  Here is a real life instance in where man as 'objectively improved man'-- why did not God do this first?"

Another:

"God is all loving, all powerful, and logical.  Therefore why would he create X when Y is clearly possible?"

Once again.. I must point out.. I do not mean to try and 'prove' that exists... merely that the belief in him can be a rational one and not merely come down to:

"I have faith that he has his reasons for X, and therefore I do not need to think of anything more."

While I would not judge someone who had this belief.. I wish merely to address the complexity of the issue-- and that it isn't as simple as many around here like to say it is..

"all theist are irrational"-- "theism is irrational".. etc.

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You asked how god could have “done it better” obviously it is impossible for me to answer this question without using a “might be”.

As pointed out above.. it is not.

If.. however.. (as I believe this conversation usually comes down to) you come to the realization that "might be" is the "ONLY" way in which to show that god "could have down it better".. then you might consider the possibility that you would have to accept the otherside of that qualified statement.. that there "might not be".

Thus is the concept of "might".

But this only applies if you truly believe "might be" is the only way you can argue the "irrationality" of a "all loving, all powerful, logical" God.

Once again.. I agree with you if this were a conversation about a God whose only characteristic is "all powerful".. yet-- this is not.  I believe as an "all powerful" God he has chosen to limit himself "logically" ("logically as we understand it.. not how it "might have been&quotEye-wink.

Omnipotence means only limited by imagination.. and if we can imagine it.. how much more so could God? (Since I agree that he is omnipotence.. a valid argument would be if you could present a "better form of logic" which "might be" and would thus allow us to make completely difference inferences and judgements of God's character.. but-- that would be tough for me to comprehend.)

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I do not mean to assert that NOTHING would be different. Quite the opposite. Much would be better. We would get sick and die less. What I mean to say is that if our immune system were slightly different it would not affect free will at all and yet still make the human condition better.

I think you misunderstand me.  When I said your assertion was "nothing would be different" I was refering to your assertion concerning the ramifications of peptide production being interlaced into human DNA (just as the crocs).

Granted.. my wording wasn't very clear, and for this I apologize.

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I would hope that we could limit him to what we can imagine. Surely if we can imagine it an all-powerful god could accomplish it.

Very very true.  But since I have also assumed that he has chosen to limit himself to logic.. unless you can "imagine" a different logical system which he could have limited himself to.. then.. we will continue to use our system.

(Any change to the logical system would create a.. very strange conversation-- indeed.)

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I guess I just don’t see how it is at all possible for me to answer your question. I can see many ways god could possibly have done things better but I am not an expert in those fields so I can prove to you that it is possible.

If I was God.. perhaps I could have done things better and perhaps I couldn't have.  As a human I can only "judge" a concept from where I am.. using the faculties which I have.

I realize that there is a lot of horrible stuff in the world.. and there are many different ways to view it.

But.. I just happen to believe.. that there is not only "one" rational way in which to view the human experience.

..it would seem that (some) atheist would like to believe that there is only one rational way.. that way being the scientific way.. using scientific defined limits to beliefs.. theories.. etc.

I do not.  Which.. I suppose is what I'm trying to understand.  Perhaps my logic does fall apart at somepoint.. but I will keep searching until it does or does not.

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But I can never answer your question satisfactorily with in the limits you place.

When speaking of rationality.. the only limits are those dictated by logic.. I believe that you can make an argument.. I just can't think of one.

But.. then again.. perhaps you can't-- yet that does not mean that the 'limits' themselves are inaccurate or irrational.

If I said the number 4 is equal to 2+2.. disprove it using mathematics.. would you consider my 'limits' to be inaccurate or irrational? or perhaps.. over-limiting the discussion?

'God' concept is a self sustaining.. just like math.  As long as the 'God concept' is consistently applied as stated.. the concept is rational.  I believe this to be true.. but perhaps I am not.

I will it leave it to those people of better logic.. better knowledge then me to point out my mistakes.. we shall see.

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I don’t think limiting an all-powerful god to your own knowledge is valid.

Imagination only.

But.. once again.. "all powerful" is not the only assumption I have explicitally stated for the purpose of this conversation..

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Surely we must have some limits to discuss him but those seem unnecessarily narrow.

Logic?

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Do not worry that I have taken offense, I also do not mean to give any.

None taken, as always. Smiling

Take care.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: Hi

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Hi Chelsea.. glad to see you're still around and I hope this post finds you well.
Thanks. Busy but well. Also I only just noticed your post.
Quote:

Likewise.. one could make the logical argument:

"God is all loving, all powerful, and logical. Here is a real life instance in where man as 'objectively improved man'-- why did not God do this first?"
What do you mean by objectively improved man?

Quote:
"God is all loving, all powerful, and logical. Therefore why would he create X when Y is clearly possible?"

While I would not judge someone who had this belief.. I wish merely to address the complexity of the issue-- and that it isn't as simple as many around here like to say it is..

"all theist are irrational"-- "theism is irrational".. etc.
I agree with you here, theism is not equal to irrational. This has gotten me a lot of crap from atheists.

Quote:
If.. however.. (as I believe this conversation usually comes down to) you come to the realization that "might be" is the "ONLY" way in which to show that god "could have down it better".. then you might consider the possibility that you would have to accept the otherside of that qualified statement.. that there "might not be".
Maybe you misunderstand me, or maybe vice versa. But I am not saying things “might” be better that is very definite. There is no might not. I am saying things could be better, this does not necessitate a “could not”. I am very sure that life COULD be better, why is that? Because in many ways life is not terribly great now. : )

Quote:

But this only applies if you truly believe "might be" is the only way you can argue the "irrationality" of a "all loving, all powerful, logical" God.

Logic is based on premises, if god had done things differently, the premises would be different because the world would be different, therefore the logical conclusions would be different.
Quote:

I realize that there is a lot of horrible stuff in the world.. and there are many different ways to view it.
I guess I don’t see a way to look at the suffering in the world and at an all-loving and all-powerful god and reconcile it.

Quote:
When speaking of rationality.. the only limits are those dictated by logic.. I believe that you can make an argument.. I just can't think of one.

But.. then again.. perhaps you can't-- yet that does not mean that the 'limits' themselves are inaccurate or irrational.

'God' concept is a self sustaining.. just like math. As long as the 'God concept' is consistently applied as stated.. the concept is rational. I believe this to be true.. but perhaps I am not.

I will it leave it to those people of better logic.. better knowledge then me to point out my mistakes.. we shall see.


I am not an expert in logic but I am not sure that the “god concept” is being consistently applied.
A God is all-loving
B God is all-powerful
C God is logical
D there is suffering
E there is no suffering.

If A then god would not wish his creations to suffer
If B then god has the power to prevent suffering
If A and B then E
But obviously we already know that E is not the case rather D is. Therefore god is lacking either A, B or C.
Now I am not a logic expert so I hope there are no flaws but I do know that it makes sense to me.


Quote:
Take care.
You too

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: What do you mean by

Quote:
What do you mean by objectively improved man?

For instance.. if man masters genetic engineering and applies a starfish genetic ability to regrow limbs to a human with no glaring drawbacks.


This would be an "objectively improved man" as used in that statement.  (This is not the only way to argue.. but it is one valid one.)


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I agree with you here, theism is not equal to irrational. This has gotten me a lot of crap from atheists.

Smiling


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Maybe you misunderstand me, or maybe vice versa.

It's possible.


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But I am not saying things “might” be better that is very definite. There is no might not. I am saying things could be better, this does not necessitate a “could not”. I am very sure that life COULD be better, why is that? Because in many ways life is not terribly great now. : )


I'm sorry.. I interpreted your use of "might be" in earlier posts (I believe) in a way exclusive of "could be".  "Might be" and "Could be" are indeed.. very different.


As for the rest of your quote:


I believe life could be better as well (as a theist.. of course I believe this).. does that mean it COULD BE better at this very instant, without any drawbacks? Well.. this is the argument at hand.


Fine.. say.. "Well.. God could have made it so that there was no pain."


Fine.. but is the system that allows pain good or bad? Is there good pain as well as bad pain?


Or is pain just pain.. and we define it as good or bad even based on the context.  Or.. is this not how things are?


In anycase.. I keep on saying.. that if every instance of life was mutually exclusive.. every concept.. then indeed.. perhaps a logical, all powerful god SHOULD have done X (X being something imagined better) instead of Y.


But things are not mutually exclusive.. and there is a web of interconnects.  So we must address the logical consequences of your imagination.


For instance:  Some people might say.  "God should have made no pain."


Then I would say: "Go ask the people that can feel no pain and ask them how they feel about it."


Counter: "Then God should have created it without ANY drawbacks."


Counter: "How when such things would have logical consequences X Y Z."


Counter: "By being illogical."


Counter: "But then that would have consequences x y z."


Counter: "Not if God changed the system of Logic."


Counter: "How?"


Counter: "By making it not so."


Counter: "Well.. if he did so, I would not be able to know it, or imagine it, for I can only think of this life, which is mainly logical.  It would be as fruitless in the debate as saying "I don't exist.  The existence axiom only applies to a rational world, but perhaps this world is irrational."


Anycase.. it's.. a weird conversation.  Sorry if that was a bit weird for you.. heh, I'm just talking with myself.


Quote:
Logic is based on premises, if god had done things differently, the premises would be different because the world would be different, therefore the logical conclusions would be different.

Logical constructs are based of premises.  Logic itself is merely a system of inferences and deductions, made into a system of generally applicable rules, based of reason.


Perhaps logic could be different... but I cannot even imagine how it would be so.  A place where inference and deductions could not be made in the same way they are now... would be.. very chaotic.. irrational even.


Heh. In my imagination that is.


Quote:
I guess I don’t see a way to look at the suffering in the world and at an all-loving and all-powerful god and reconcile it.

all loving, all powerful, logical.


The last one is important.  For if it is not there.. then God is only limited by your ability to state a clearly defined 'magination'.


"God could have made it so that arms would grow back if taken away."


It COULD BE mutually exclusive if God did not choose to act in a logical manner.


But.. if he did not choose to act in a logical manner.. then, definitely, this God would be illogical.  I do not believe an all loving God would create man to think logically.. even though he, definitively, cannot be understood, in some part, logically.


I reconcile the two because I have.  It is a circular statement.. but it is the only way I can think of it.


One can look at the same world and see "God created suffering".. and another can see "Man created suffering allowed by God."


Quote:
If A then god would not wish his creations to suffer
If B then god has the power to prevent suffering
If A and B then E
But obviously we already know that E is not the case rather D is. Therefore god is lacking either A, B or C.
Now I am not a logic expert so I hope there are no flaws but I do know that it makes sense to me.

First premise I can agree with.

Second I agree with.

The third I cannot.. because it assumes that there is NO other relationships within the equation.


A doctor does not want his patient to suffer.

A doctor has the power to stop suffering. (i.e. kill).

If A and B, then why does the doctor not kill the patient? Is it purely based upon the doctors conception of laws of the land? Or some sort of comparative relationship between suffering and something else?


In the same way I believe God weighs his will for his creation "not to suffer" with his will for his creation to "freely will and act."



Heh.. I'm typing this response during a free period at the school I'm substituting at.  Perhaps I should get back to work. Smiling

 


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


Quote:
What do you mean by objectively improved man?


For instance.. if man masters genetic engineering and applies a starfish genetic ability to regrow limbs to a human with no glaring drawbacks.
Well then it is pretty much impossible to give an example at this time. We aren’t even close  to “god level” in terms of techonology. : )


Quote:
Fine.. say.. "Well.. God could have made it so that there was no pain."
Fine.. but is the system that allows pain good or bad? Is there good pain as well as bad pain?
Or is pain just pain.. and we define it as good or bad even based on the context. Or.. is this not how things are?

Now you are limiting suffering to pain.

Quote:
In anycase.. I keep on saying.. that if every instance of life was mutually exclusive.. every concept.. then indeed.. perhaps a logical, all powerful god SHOULD have done X (X being something imagined better) instead of Y.

But things are not mutually exclusive.. and there is a web of interconnects. So we must address the logical consequences of your imagination.

For instance: Some people might say. "God should have made no pain."

<snip>

Counter: "Well.. if he did so, I would not be able to know it, or imagine it, for I can only think of this life, which is mainly logical. It would be as fruitless in the debate as saying "I don't exist. The existence axiom only applies to a rational world, but perhaps this world is irrational."

Anycase.. it's.. a weird conversation. Sorry if that was a bit weird for you.. heh, I'm just talking with myself.
I would point out that when you have an argument with yourself, especially when trying to prove a point you always win. Winning an imaginary argument with yourself is not terribly convincing. : )

Quote:

Logical constructs are based of premises. Logic itself is merely a system of inferences and deductions, made into a system of generally applicable rules, based of reason.

Perhaps logic could be different... but I cannot even imagine how it would be so. A place where inference and deductions could not be made in the same way they are now... would be.. very chaotic.. irrational even.

Logical constructs are based on premises. If the world was different the premises would be different and the conclusions would be different, the logical process would be the same.

Quote:
Quote:
I guess I don’t see a way to look at the suffering in the world and at an all-loving and all-powerful god and reconcile it.


all loving, all powerful, logical.
I really don’t see how god being logical makes anything better.


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"God could have made it so that arms would grow back if taken away."
I also don’t see what is illogical about limb regeneration.

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I reconcile the two because I have. It is a circular statement.. but it is the only way I can think of it.
If you are ok with circular reasoning, no matter how illogical, then I don’t know what to say.

Quote:
One can look at the same world and see "God created suffering".. and another can see "Man created suffering allowed by God."
If god is all powerful and created man then I see those as being the same thing. God created us with the capacity to suffer, if he hadn’t we wouldn’t.


Quote:
Quote:
If A then god would not wish his creations to suffer
If B then god has the power to prevent suffering
If A and B then E
But obviously we already know that E is not the case rather D is. Therefore god is lacking either A, B or C.
Now I am not a logic expert so I hope there are no flaws but I do know that it makes sense to me.


First premise I can agree with.

Second I agree with.

The third I cannot.. because it assumes that there is NO other relationships within the equation.
What are the other relationships? How does it affect the equation? God is logical therefore his all-powerfulness is limited, therefore he isn’t all-powerful?


Quote:
A doctor does not want his patient to suffer.

A doctor has the power to stop suffering. (i.e. kill).

If A and B, then why does the doctor not kill the patient? Is it purely based upon the doctors conception of laws of the land? Or some sort of comparative relationship between suffering and something else?
this makes many assumptions: first that killing is the only way to stop suffering, second that killing in itself does not cause suffering. Also doctors are not a good analogy for god because doctors are not all powerful, or all knowing, or all loving, or even necessarily logical.

Quote:
In the same way I believe God weighs his will for his creation "not to suffer" with his will for his creation to "freely will and act."


This is a new dimension, free will. So you are saying that even though god is limitless he limits himself to protect free will? Why?

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


RhadTheGizmo
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Wow.. I believe my last

Wow.. I believe my last post might have been my MOST misunderstand.  

 

Quote:
Well then it is pretty much impossible to give an example at this time. We aren’t even close  to “god level” in terms of techonology.

It might be impossible, at this time, to use type of argument.  Remember, this was merely addressing the "might bes" and "could bes".. it wasn't saying that it was the only form of a valid argument.  "For instance".. is how I started it off.


Quote:
Now you are limiting suffering to pain.

I think you are misunderstanding my example as a claim that this is all there is to suffering.


Pain, physical, is only on aspect of one form of suffering.


I was giving an example.. contending that things are not as simple as they seem.


Suffering.. is a pretty broad word.. I chose not to address it because it is so broad.


Quote:
I would point out that when you have an argument with yourself, especially when trying to prove a point you always win. Winning an imaginary argument with yourself is not terribly convincing. : )

Heh.. I will take this as a joke. Smiling


And.. 'winning an imaginary argument with yourself' is perhaps the most convincing thing you can do to convince yourself. Smiling


In anycase.. the purpose was just to provide my perspective on the complex nature of what would seem to be a simple assertion.


Quote:
Logical constructs are based on premises. If the world was different the premises would be different and the conclusions would be different, the logical process would be the same.

So what premises are you supposing? "God could have created man with the innate ability to regrow limbs without any drawbacks."


Fine.  For the sake of conceding something large.  I'll concede this point.


Now what? The alter-argument would be one that doesn't change the fundamental nature of God in the slightest.  Consider this...


If God created man in such a way that he could regrow limbs.. but man wanted to experience life without this ability.. would God keep him from doing so?


Granted.. only within this particular construct of an all-loving, all powerful, logical God.


You might say... "Why would 'man' want to experience this?"


I might ask.. "Why would 'man' want to experience war? drugs? hate? etc."


Fine.. you may get on my case for my use of "want".. but in the end-- it seems to me as there is no other explanation then someone "wants" to do these things.. because 'man' does in fact, do them on occasion.


In some theist constructs, life is the exploration of evil and it's consequences.. by choice.


We.. as group.. have all chosen this.  This is why.. I believe.. the Bible puts so much weight on the concept of "no one being perfect"... not even close.


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I really don’t see how god being logical makes anything better.

Without a premise of "logical" then anything could be done.. and you would not need to think of the consequences because there would not "necessarily" be any.


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If you are ok with circular reasoning, no matter how illogical, then I don’t know what to say.

Circular reason CANNOT be illogical.  It's just fallacious.


A dog is a chicken because a dog is a chicken.. is a perfectly logical statement in and of itself.


Every person (I believe).. when it comes down to it.. accepts circular reasoning of some sort-- they might not realize it however.


Quote:
If god is all powerful and created man then I see those as being the same thing. God created us with the capacity to suffer, if he hadn’t we wouldn’t.

See the example above as well as my contention against the use of the word suffering.


Suffering is broad and to some degree subjective.  Define it as you mean to use it.. if you wish to use it.


Quote:
What are the other relationships? How does it affect the equation? God is logical therefore his all-powerfulness is limited, therefore he isn’t all-powerful?

I clarified this somewhere.  I stated.. according to my way of thinking (logical I believe).. if God was not logical.. I would not be able to comprehend him in the slightest.. and therefore I would not be able to even SPEAK of him.


(Tod speaks of this before).. if I said he was "all-loving and all-powerful".. within this concept alone.. if I didn't assume he was also logical.. then it would mean nothing.. because "all-loving" and "all-powerful" would not have any inferences or deductions.


Now.. I do not mean to imply that God "MUST BE" anything.  I do believe.. however.. that he has chosen to be logical so that I may understand him.


What are the other relationships you ask?

Implications according to freewill.  Relationship of pain, good and bad.  Concept of suffering to begin with. To name a few..


Quote:
this makes many assumptions: first that killing is the only way to stop suffering, second that killing in itself does not cause suffering. Also doctors are not a good analogy for god because doctors are not all powerful, or all knowing, or all loving, or even necessarily logical.

I know lots of people like to jump over the God/doctor analogy.. but.. in this case.. I'm not saying God is a doctor.. the example is merely setup to point out that contention was overlysimplified in my mind.  As you rightly point out.. there ARE different ways to stop suffering.  Some are probably better then killing.


But.. this just leads us back to the conversation we were having before.. as to what way is "comparatively better".


But in anycase.. I won't address this anymore until you define suffering as you wish to use it.


Because if its something like.. "unjustified pain".. then I cannot win.. by definition.


It would be as if to ask me to justify murder.. which, by definition is "unjustifiable."


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This is a new dimension, free will. So you are saying that even though god is limitless he limits himself to protect free will? Why?

It is definitely a new dimension.. but a valid deduction, I believe, from my original premises.


God is all loving, and as all loving (even I, a part-loving individual) want the object of love to love one back.  We assume, of course, that "freewill" is a requirement of love.


So.. if "freewill" were limited, in any sense, then God would either be, if not lying to us then, lying to himself about the "love" that could exist.


The way I think of it.. is.. if god completely limited freewill.. I wouldn't know it.. and I would "love" God-- but God, being "all knowing" as you say, would know that the "love" was not what it could have been-- and in my opinion.. would not even closely resemble the concept we have of it now.

 


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Rhad, I think I am starting


Rhad,

I think I am starting to understand what you are saying. What is pleasure without pain? What is good without evil? What is love if it is forced? This I can understand. We cannot value good if we do not know that it is good, we can not know that it is good without evil to compare it to. Is this what you mean?

Free will, the ability to chose, the ability to experience the bad so you can appreciate the good is what makes it all worth it? This I can agree with but it doesn’t really necessitate a god. Smiling So that is all good so far, unless you believe that god is all-knowing as well. That makes true free will difficult to imagine. It still also leaves me with the problem that the balance between joy and suffering is not terribly balanced. But putting that aside, is there a reason to believe in god?

Chelsea

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


todangst
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My Name is Chelsea

My Name is Chelsea wrote:

Rhad,

I think I am starting to understand what you are saying. What is pleasure without pain? What is good without evil?

Gonna jump in here and make some comments: 

This argument commits the Panglossian error of presuming that an omnipotent god must work through contrivance: i.e. through contrasts.

 If there is such a god, we wouldn't have to learn the good by contrast with the bad.

In addition, there are necessary elements within the contrast model... we need not have rape just to learn that not being raped is good. We could just do away with rape, murder, abuse and disease, and still learn through contrast. 

 

 These errors have been pointed out 100,000 times here, but theists have no choice but to keep repeating it.

 

Quote:
 

 What is love if it is forced?

Here's the ultimate irony: There is no free will involved in christian theism.

 Consider our 'choice"

'ou're free to love me, or burn forever in torment.'

That's not choice.

That's coercision.

The worst coercision imaginable. 

If "god" wanted to give a choice, he'd not place any negative ramifications on your 'choice'

Again, as usual, every theist claims falls to pieces upon the slightest examination. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: I think I am

Quote:
I think I am starting to understand what you are saying.

Understanding eachother is always such a difficult task.. it's why people talk so much. Smiling


I'm still trying to get my head around you.. but I'm trying.


Anyways.. onto your questions.


Quote:
What is pleasure without pain?

Valid question.  I believe pleasure is pleasure regardless of pain.  I can tell you one thing to (something I believe) to be certain.. one will treasure the pleasure all the more if he feels pain.


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What is good without evil?

Same as above.  Good is good.  But someone will probably treasure the good all the more if there is evil.


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What is love if it is forced?

I don't believe it is anything.. but thats just me.


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This I can understand. We cannot value good if we do not know that it is good, we can not know that it is good without evil to compare it to. Is this what you mean?

I don't wish for you to mistake what I am saying as "Bad" is necessary for "Good" or "suffering" for "pleasure".. I am just saying.. if you were given good and pleasure.. I see it as reasonable to believe you would be curious as to see what is X and Y (in this case.. evil and suffering.. but.. in my mind.. I think 'man'.. in general.. really thinks that he will find something 'better' on the otherside of 'evil'.  Kind of like the drugaddict that doesn't see that the highs are just lows-- and the dictator who thinks his empire is better than equality).  


Quote:
Free will, the ability to chose, the ability to experience the bad so you can appreciate the good is what makes it all worth it?

"So that I can appreciate"? No.  "So that I can appreciate it to such an extent that I am no longer under the delusion that there is "better" beyond the "bad"-- yes."


Quote:
This I can agree with but it doesn’t really necessitate a god. Smiling

Nothin I say ever does.. I don't believe anyways. Smiling


Quote:
So that is all good so far, unless you believe that god is all-knowing as well.

I believe he can be.  Yet.. if I said he "had to be".. well then this would go against the concept of "all powerful", wouldn't it?


Quote:
But putting that aside, is there a reason to believe in god?

The only reasons I find to believe in God are the reasons you find yourself.


The human experience is the human experience.. the human experience is a fact.  How one decides to interpret it is up to the one.


I just don't like it when atheism put them higher, a general rule, on the "rationality scale" then theist.  To me.. both belief systems are rational-- it's just a choice about.. what you want to believe in.. and how you wish to view things.


"Good" people.. are both atheist and theist.


As for "salvation".. I leave that up to God.  I can only live my life according to the choices I make.


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Rhad wrote: "Fallacies"

Rhad wrote:
"Fallacies" pertain to the ability to convince.  Not the validity of logic.
Not true in the case of "the logical fallacies" which are specifically errors of logic.

Quote:
Ability is not limits, as I contested to tod, it is merely ability.
Does god have the ability to be all-knowing? Or is he in fact all-knowing? If god has this ability, can he then NOT know some things at different times? Is it possible for god to deliberately forget that he has the ability to know everything? If he did this, would he still be god? How would he get back his ability to be all-knowing if he didn't know he had it to begin with? If god is in fact all-knowing, how can it be said that he has the ability to be all-knowing? God can choose to not be all-knowing?

Quote:
everything is an "argument of ignorance" however, in most cases, people just accept what you have accepted and therefore both individuals go on their merry way.
I cannot let this slide. This is a horrible misdescription of the argument from ignorance. If it were correct, are you not commited to a most extreme form of nihilism where nothing is known to be true. And if this is so, have you not given yourself every reason to not believe anything? And would this not include a belief in god? This sort of comment is tantamount to admitting that neither you nor anyone else knows what he is talking about. "Everything is an argument from ignorance" = shut up.


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Quote: Not true in the

Quote:
Not true in the case of "the logical fallacies" which are specifically errors of logic.

You are right, to some extent.  I should have said "truth of the issue."


But.. for instance.. one type of logical fallacy which is technically useless in convincing someone of something.. yet is still 'logically correct' is circular reasoning.


a = b = c = a


Is circular reasoning.. does that mean it isn't logical?


Quote:
Does god have the ability to be all-knowing? Or is he in fact all-knowing? If god has this ability, can he then NOT know some things at different times? Is it possible for god to deliberately forget that he has the ability to know everything? If he did this, would he still be god? How would he get back his ability to be all-knowing if he didn't know he had it to begin with? If god is in fact all-knowing, how can it be said that he has the ability to be all-knowing? God can choose to not be all-knowing?

An an omnipotent God could choose not to know something.. otherwise "to know" would be necessary.. and therefore he would not be omnipotent.


You ask a couple of question.. "how would he still be God?" This depends on how you define God.  I suppose if you define him as "omniscient".. then he couldn't still be God.  But-- then again.. I don't think omniscience is a requirement of the use of the word "God".


There is another one.. "even he did have it to begin with, how would he know he is all knowing?"


I know that I can, in fact, drive at the age of 16.. even though I have never done it before.  


In order to be all knowing one must not be "all knowing".. just "know" that he could "know" anything he/she chooses.


Quote:
I cannot let this slide. This is a horrible misdescription of the argument from ignorance.

It is indeed.


Quote:
If it were correct, are you not commited to a most extreme form of nihilism where nothing is known to be true.

This is exactly what I was doing.  Nihilism seems to be an honest form of skepticism.. yet.. it's not very practical.  That is why I always qualify my statements.. I "cannot know something to be true"-- yet I do choose to believe, or accept, certain things are-- such as.. you're existence as a real and freewilling person.


Quote:
And if this is so, have you not given yourself every reason to not believe anything?

Just because I cannot "know" something.. does not mean I cannot "believe" something.


I cannot "know" that my parents love me.. but "I believe" they do.


Quote:
And would this not include a belief in god?

Like I said above.  Don't misinterpret my humility for absolute skepticism.


Quote:
This sort of comment is tantamount to admitting that neither you nor anyone else knows what he is talking about. "Everything is an argument from ignorance" = shut up.

I would never say this if this is what I truly meant.  


The quote, I believe, was in response to one contending that I was speaking from ignorance.. and so I just turned it around.


We might all be speaking from ignorance with regards to absolute truth.. but that doesn't mean there isn't some sort of benefit from debate if there are some commonly held assumptions between the two.


I don't know God exist.  Someone else doesn't know God exists.


We both however believe that God exists.. and therefore can speak of him in whatever form we believe him to exist.


Same goes for math.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: I

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
I should have said "truth of the issue."

one type of logical fallacy which is technically useless in convincing someone of something.. yet is still 'logically correct' is circular reasoning.

a = b = c = a

Is circular reasoning.. does that mean it isn't logical?

You're not clarifying yourself very well here. Of course your example is logical, and it convinces me that a=c among other things. Another example is tautology. It would be foolish to debate the truth of a tautology since a tautology is always true.

Quote:
In order to be all knowing one must not be "all knowing".. just "know" that he could "know" anything he/she chooses.
I considered this, the ramifications of omniscience as an ability...as demonstrated with my first questions, the difference between god actually knowing everything or being capable of knowing everything.

If not omniscience then omnipotence. You seem to think omnipotence is a required descriptor of god. If god is omnipotent, if he has the ability to do anything (and I'll conceed here to exclude absurdities like making a square circle, though I do not in fact conceed this), does god have the ability to make duplicates of himself? Can god cut himself in half so that each part of him can only do certain things and neither part can do everything? Would this get rid of god? Does god have the ability to get rid of other abilities? Can he get rid of the ability to get rid of abilities? Can he get rid of the ability get rid of abilities then follow this with getting rid of the ability to get abilities back? Would this get rid of god? Can god get rid of himself?

Quote:
Quote:
I cannot let this slide. This is a horrible misdescription of the argument from ignorance.

It is indeed.

Quote:
If it were correct, are you not commited to a most extreme form of nihilism where nothing is known to be true.

This is exactly what I was doing.  Nihilism seems to be an honest form of skepticism.. yet.. it's not very practical.  That is why I always qualify my statements.. I "cannot know something to be true"-- yet I do choose to believe, or accept, certain things are-- such as.. you're existence as a real and freewilling person.

Just because I cannot "know" something.. does not mean I cannot "believe" something.

Of course. But what's relevant is how you come to a belief. All beliefs are not equal. The idea that they are is another implication of nihilism.

Quote:
And would this not include a belief in god?

Like I said above.  Don't misinterpret my humility for absolute skepticism.


Quote:
Quote:
This sort of comment is tantamount to admitting that neither you nor anyone else knows what he is talking about. "Everything is an argument from ignorance" = shut up.

I would never say this if this is what I truly meant.

I'm sure it is not what you meant to mean. But that is what that means. Try saying what you mean.Laughing

Quote:
The quote, I believe, was in response to one contending that I was speaking from ignorance.. and so I just turned it around.
The turnabout was not fair play in this instance. It commits you to all sorts of things you are not commited to.

Quote:
We might all be speaking from ignorance with regards to absolute truth.. but that doesn't mean there isn't some sort of benefit from debate if there are some commonly held assumptions between the two.
I still think you are making some kind of rhetorical mistake here and this comment convinces me. Speaking from ignorance is not the same thing as arguing from ignorance.

Quote:
I don't know God exists.  Someone else doesn't know God exists.

We both however believe that God exists. and therefore can speak of him in whatever form we believe him to exist.

Same goes for math.

Reminds me of a George Carlin joke. If you're ever in court and someone says "Tell us what happened in your own owrds." You should say "argle bickny bipple skooble bla."

So what is a god anyway?


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todangst wrote: Gonna jump

todangst wrote:


Gonna jump in here and make some comments:

This argument commits the Panglossian error of presuming that an omnipotent god must work through contrivance: i.e. through contrasts.

If there is such a god, we wouldn't have to learn the good by contrast with the bad.

In addition, there are necessary elements within the contrast model... we need not have rape just to learn that not being raped is good. We could just do away with rape, murder, abuse and disease, and still learn through contrast.

---

If "god" wanted to give a choice, he'd not place any negative ramifications on your 'choice'

Again, as usual, every theist claims falls to pieces upon the slightest examination.


These are good points but I felt it was better to wait to make them after I was sure I understood his position correctly.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: I'm

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


I'm still trying to get my head around you.. but I'm trying.
Let me know if you succeed because I still don’t have myself figured out. : )

 
Quote:
Anyways.. onto your questions.
really those were meant as rhetorical questions. : )

Quote:

I believe pleasure is pleasure regardless of pain. I can tell you one thing to (something I believe) to be certain.. one will treasure the pleasure all the more if he feels pain.

Good is good. But someone will probably treasure the good all the more if there is evil.

I don't wish for you to mistake what I am saying as "Bad" is necessary for "Good" or "suffering" for "pleasure".. I am just saying.. if you were given good and pleasure.. I see it as reasonable to believe you would be curious as to see what is X and Y (in this case.. evil and suffering.. but.. in my mind.. I think 'man'.. in general.. really thinks that he will find something 'better' on the otherside of 'evil'. Kind of like the drugaddict that doesn't see that the highs are just lows-- and the dictator who thinks his empire is better than equality).

Oops. You lost me again. : )
So suffering isn’t necessary for pleasure and bad isn’t necessary for good. So if god didn’t need to allow bad into the world for us to understand good, why did he allow it in? Freewill? Could we still have freewill even if we didn’t have “bad” in the world? Could free will be the choice between good thing a and good thing b? (I feel like dr seuss.)


Quote:

"So that I can appreciate"? No. "So that I can appreciate it to such an extent that I am no longer under the delusion that there is "better" beyond the "bad"-- yes."
But if you get rid of the bad then there could be no such delusion.


 
Quote:
The human experience is the human experience.. the human experience is a fact. How one decides to interpret it is up to the one.

I just don't like it when atheism put them higher, a general rule, on the "rationality scale" then theist. To me.. both belief systems are rational-- it's just a choice about.. what you want to believe in.. and how you wish to view things.
I think it is that most atheists think that belief in a god when contradictory evidence exists is irrational. Not that I am saying that that means they are right. Personally I find it impossible to reconcile most religious teachings with a believable god.


Quote:
"Good" people.. are both atheist and theist.
Agreed. I think goodness is independent of either, neither is more likely to be good. Smiling


Quote:
As for "salvation".. I leave that up to God. I can only live my life according to the choices I make.
Did you say before that you don’t believe a hell exists?

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: You're not

Quote:
You're not clarifying yourself very well here. Of course your example is logical, and it convinces me that a=c among other things. Another example is tautology. It would be foolish to debate the truth of a tautology since a tautology is always true.

Like I said.. I should have said "truth of issue".  You were right in pointing out my mistake on my wording.

Quote:
If not omniscience then omnipotence. You seem to think omnipotence is a required descriptor of god.

No.. it is a premise I choose to accept for the "God" which I believe in.  Is it possible that God (If he exists)  is not omnipotent? Sure.

Quote:
If god is omnipotent, if he has the ability to do anything (and I'll conceed here to exclude absurdities like making a square circle, though I do not in fact conceed this), does god have the ability to make duplicates of himself? Can god cut himself in half so that each part of him can only do certain things and neither part can do everything? Would this get rid of god? Does god have the ability to get rid of other abilities? Can he get rid of the ability to get rid of abilities? Can he get rid of the ability get rid of abilities then follow this with getting rid of the ability to get abilities back? Would this get rid of god? Can god get rid of himself?

Theoretically, yes.

Except this one:
"Can he get rid of the ability get rid of abilities then follow this with getting rid of the ability to get abilities back?"
Can God split himself in half so that one part merely continues existence in an unconscious manner and the other becomes completely human with no more abilities then anyone else.

If this was the case.. I do not believe the "completely human" form would be able to "get his ability back".. and that "completely human" form would not be "God" anymore.. merely "Man".

This is of course.. completely theoretical application of the premises.

Quote:
Of course. But what's relevant is how you come to a belief. All beliefs are not equal. The idea that they are is another implication of nihilism.

All beliefs are not equal with regards to practicality, some are.  

Like I said.. I'm not completely nihilistic.. but I am willing to go down that path for a person who "question" my belief's rationality just because he claims to be a "skeptic".

Quote:
I would never say this if this is what I truly meant.

I'm sure it is not what you meant to mean. But that is what that means. Try saying what you mean.

Smiling

Quote:
The turnabout was not fair play in this instance. It commits you to all sorts of things you are not commited to.

Exactly.  But, my purpose was not to committ to it persay, (the concept that just because we "speak from ignorance" we cannot speak at all), I was pointing out to the other person that if they were to apply this to me (the definition I just stated) then they should apply it to themselves as well--because they were not, in my opinion, at that time.

Quote:
I still think you are making some kind of rhetorical mistake here and this comment convinces me. Speaking from ignorance is not the same thing as arguing from ignorance.

It's possible that I'm making a mistake.

Quote:
Reminds me of a George Carlin joke. If you're ever in court and someone says "Tell us what happened in your own owrds." You should say "argle bickny bipple skooble bla."

So what is a god anyway?

God is the one supreme being.

By definition. Smiling


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Quote: todangst

Quote:
todangst wrote:

    Gonna jump in here and make some comments:

    This argument commits the Panglossian error of presuming that an omnipotent god must work through contrivance: i.e. through contrasts.

    If there is such a god, we wouldn't have to learn the good by contrast with the bad.

    In addition, there are necessary elements within the contrast model... we need not have rape just to learn that not being raped is good. We could just do away with rape, murder, abuse and disease, and still learn through contrast.

    ---

    If "god" wanted to give a choice, he'd not place any negative ramifications on your 'choice'

    Again, as usual, every theist claims falls to pieces upon the slightest examination.


Quote:
These are good points but I felt it was better to wait to make them after I was sure I understood his position correctly.


They are good points if they accurately describe what I believe.. but as Tod many times does.. he assumes I believe what I do not, and intreprets what I am not saying as what I am.

Smiling


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Quote: really those were

Quote:
really those were meant as rhetorical questions. : )

I know. Smiling  I couldn't let you get away with them. Eye-wink

Quote:
Oops. You lost me again. : )
So suffering isn’t necessary for pleasure and bad isn’t necessary for good. So if god didn’t need to allow bad into the world for us to understand good, why did he allow it in? Freewill? Could we still have freewill even if we didn’t have “bad” in the world? Could free will be the choice between good thing a and good thing b? (I feel like dr seuss.)

Within the system God created.. "bad" was necessary for man to "freely" choose to "freely" choose only good.

In my opinion. Smiling

Quote:
But if you get rid of the bad then there could be no such delusion.

If there is no possible thing you can do to be "bad" then there is no choice to be "good".

Bad will always exist as definitively what is "not good".  But it will not necessarily be "chosen" by man to indulge in.

Quote:
I think it is that most atheists think that belief in a god when contradictory evidence exists is irrational.

That's fine that they believe that.  It's just not the objective definition.

Besides.. if this is the definition.. it is pretty limited and makes for some strange consequences.. for instance.

If I had said that the world was a round a thousand years ago because that is how I perceived the sky.  I would be irrational because "contrary evidence" existed?

Quote:
Not that I am saying that that means they are right. Personally I find it impossible to reconcile most religious teachings with a believable god.

Hmm.. fascinating.

Quote:
Did you say before that you don’t believe a hell exists?

If by hell you mean.. "A place of hellfire that burns people forever for the purpose of everlasting torment?" No... I do not believe in such a place.

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

Kind of summarizes up my view.. but of course.. I reserve the right to contend a particular point. Smiling


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: Within

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Within the system God created.. "bad" was necessary for man to "freely" choose to "freely" choose only good.

In my opinion. Smiling

If there is no possible thing you can do to be "bad" then there is no choice to be "good".

Bad will always exist as definitively what is "not good". But it will not necessarily be "chosen" by man to indulge in.

If by hell you mean.. "A place of hellfire that burns people forever for the purpose of everlasting torment?" No... I do not believe in such a place.

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

Kind of summarizes up my view.. but of course.. I reserve the right to contend a particular point. Smiling


OK sum up and see if I got this straight. Bad must exist so that humans have the choice between bad and good. This is the basis on which they will be judged. If there was no choice there could be no judgment and no reward/punishment.

Further, people who do not get judged worthy don’t go to hell, they just cease to exist.

If I have it right (if I don’t, no need to answer these questions):
On what basis does god decide who is saved? Belief in him? Good deeds?


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I think it is that most atheists think that belief in a god when contradictory evidence exists is irrational.

That's fine that they believe that. It's just not the objective definition.

Besides.. if this is the definition.. it is pretty limited and makes for some strange consequences.. for instance.

If I had said that the world was a round a thousand years ago because that is how I perceived the sky. I would be irrational because "contrary evidence" existed?
Perhaps I should have worded myself more precisely. It is irrational to believe in a god for whom contradictory evidence exists and of course you are aware of this evidence. Obviously if you haven’t seen the evidence it isn’t irrational.


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Not that I am saying that that means they are right. Personally I find it impossible to reconcile most religious teachings with a believable god.

Hmm.. fascinating.
Is this a request for more information? Smiling

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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Quote: Bad must exist so

Quote:
Bad must exist so that humans have the choice between bad and good.

Bad exists as the logical opposite of good.  It must exists if the world is logical.

Would it be more clear if instead of "bad" I used "not good"?

Not good exists as the logical opposite of good.

If you feel that my statement and your statement are inline.. then okay. Smiling

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This is the basis on which they will be judged.

I personally believe that the basis of being judged, according to my belief that God is all powerful, will be upon the ability of one to reconcile one's morality with God's.

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If there was no choice there could be no judgment and no reward/punishment.

The first part of this sentence is correct.. the latter.. not sure.  Does 'man' gain something by being returned to the close relationship he originally had? Or has he just learned something?

As for punishment.  Only if you consider choice for something other than God wanted as punishment.

For instance, if God wants you to "return to that relationship that once was".. and you don't.. is it punishment that God allows you to cut that last thread of connection and thus become "nonexistent"?

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Further, people who do not get judged worthy don’t go to hell, they just cease to exist.

"Judged worthy" I disagree with... I believe God looks at ones heart and judges whether they choose him or not.

As for "hell".. complicated.

I can be anything from "the sinful human experience" or "total seperation of God".

The verse concerning hell in the Bible usually exist within parables.. and if not so.. can be interpreted in a few ways.

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Perhaps I should have worded myself more precisely. It is irrational to believe in a god for whom contradictory evidence exists and of course you are aware of this evidence. Obviously if you haven’t seen the evidence it isn’t irrational.

The people who saw the sun rise in the east and set in the west.. and the stars retrograde.. and.. whatever other observations they had.. could rationally have been split into two groups-- one who believes these things happened because the earth circled the sun.. the other because the sun and stars circled the earth.

Both have "seen" the same evidence... and I'd suspect, both would probably deem eachother "irrational" based on the intensity of their aforementioned belief.

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Is this a request for more information? Smiling

Smiling No.. not necessarily.. I just find it interesting. Eye-wink


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


Quote:
Bad must exist so that humans have the choice between bad and good.

Bad exists as the logical opposite of good. It must exist if the world is logical.

Not good exists as the logical opposite of good.

If you feel that my statement and your statement are inline.. then okay. Smiling


OK so you are basically saying that not good must exist as a logical opposite to good. This logic is of course based on the premise that the world is the way it currently is. So circular reasoning again? The world must be the way it is because that is the way it is?

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I personally believe that the basis of being judged, according to my belief that God is all powerful, will be upon the ability of one to reconcile one's morality with God's.
How is one to know what god’s morality is?

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If there was no choice there could be no judgment and no reward/punishment.

The first part of this sentence is correct.. the latter.. not sure. Does 'man' gain something by being returned to the close relationship he originally had? Or has he just learned something?
Lets not get too picky now. Smiling If there was no choice there could be no judgment and no sorting between going to god and ceasing to exist. I am not trying to prove that ceasing to exist is necessarily an evil thing.

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For instance, if God wants you to "return to that relationship that once was".. and you don't.. is it punishment that God allows you to cut that last thread of connection and thus become "nonexistent"?
It is not that I don’t want to return to a relationship, I just don’t believe there is a relationship to return to. If I knew there was a relationship (and it was a good relationship) then I would of course want to return.

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"Judged worthy" I disagree with... I believe God looks at ones heart and judges whether they choose him or not.
Do mean choose him as in “Jesus come into my heart” or choose him as in live a moral life, whether or not you believe he exists? Or something else.

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The people who saw the sun rise in the east and set in the west.. and the stars retrograde.. and.. whatever other observations they had.. could rationally have been split into two groups-- one who believes these things happened because the earth circled the sun.. the other because the sun and stars circled the earth.

Both have "seen" the same evidence... and I'd suspect, both would probably deem each other "irrational" based on the intensity of their aforementioned belief.

The situation you describe is not seeing “CONTRADICTORY evidence”. If the evidence they see supports their beliefs than it is not irrational to hold on to those beliefs. Personally if some one looks at evidence, understands it, sees that it contradicts their beliefs but refuses to change those beliefs that is irrational. If they do not see that it contradicts then they are not. Personally I give people more leeway on the question of irrationality than many atheists. I do not expect miracles. You can assume that if a person does not see evidence as being contradictory then I do not think they are being irrational. Some times people try a little too hard to shoe horn things in, and interpret facts in very strange ways. I am not sure what I would call that.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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Quote: OK so you are

Quote:
OK so you are basically saying that not good must exist as a logical opposite to good. This logic is of course based on the premise that the world is the way it currently is.

My logic is based on the premise that the world is logical as we understand it.

I do not state that it "must have been" this way.. I have just stated, earlier in my posts, that I cannot imagine a world in which logical relationships exist.

Indeed.  God doesn't need to be logical.  Yet, if we understand things in a logical manner, then God must act in a manner which is logically understandable for us to understand him.

These are both circular logic.. but nonetheless true.

Like I said.. at some point.. most people are brought to circular logic.  For instance:

How do you know logic is valid?

Any reasoning you use will be based off logic.. and therefore is already accepting what you set out to prove.  It is a choice, a practical one indeed but a choice nonetheless, to accept this premise.

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How is one to know what god’s morality is?

At this point? I do not believe one can "know" what morality he perceives to be his and what morality is "God's".. that is not to say that at some point one may be able to "know".

We live our own lives and live "morally" based upon our perception of the world.  Some people feel its okay to lie in order to serve oneself.. I do not.  My basis? Feelings and interpretation of my individual experiences and perceptions.

No matter in what position one is placed in.. he is still privy to this choice (I believe).

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Lets not get too picky now. Smiling If there was no choice there could be no judgment and no sorting between going to god and ceasing to exist. I am not trying to prove that ceasing to exist is necessarily an evil thing.

Heh. Smiling I'm sorry. I was just contending the use of the word "punishment".. not the other one of "judgement".

"Punishment" would imply (I believe) that at least one party does not wish for that which he is receiving.

"Judgement" however.. is the "Judging" to discern exactly one one wishes-- existence with God or the completion of the other path towards nonexistence.

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It is not that I don’t want to return to a relationship, I just don’t believe there is a relationship to return to. If I knew there was a relationship (and it was a good relationship) then I would of course want to return.

This, in my opinion, would be a rational way to judge for an all-loving God.

If you perceive "initial relationship" to be good... so it will be granted.. if not.. then not.

IF you recall.. we have spoken of "Human experience".. in the sense that "human experience" is (with regards to my opinion) the exploration of evil that must be brought along for a sufficient time so that all may know, or perceive through experience, and therefore freely choose between which end he/she wants.

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Do mean choose him as in “Jesus come into my heart” or choose him as in live a moral life, whether or not you believe he exists? Or something else.

I mean him as in "Whatever God defines as sufficiently "him"".  No, I do not believe that one must accept my concept of Jesus, or my concept of God.. so if that's what you were asking.

I believe the God I speak of to be a Christian God.. but perhaps he isn't.

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The situation you describe is not seeing “CONTRADICTORY evidence”. If the evidence they see supports their beliefs than it is not irrational to hold on to those beliefs. Personally if some one looks at evidence, understands it, sees that it contradicts their beliefs but refuses to change those beliefs that is irrational.

I can accept this.  Yet.. I do not concede that "God concepts" are as simple as "contradictory evidence" next to "no evidence".

People just choose to accept different types of evidence.

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I do not expect miracles. You can assume that if a person does not see evidence as being contradictory then I do not think they are being irrational. Some times people try a little too hard to shoe horn things in, and interpret facts in very strange ways. I am not sure what I would call that.

Indeed.. it's a fine line.

Well thats it.

I can't promise I'll continue posting.  I got caught up in some debate I didn't feel good about (from a personal perspective).. and so I might need to take some space again.

Take care.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: How do

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

How do you know logic is valid?

Any reasoning you use will be based off logic.. and therefore is already accepting what you set out to prove. It is a choice, a practical one indeed but a choice nonetheless, to accept this premise.
Perhaps my difficulty in this discussion has been that I view logic very differently then you. I see logic as a tool. I am not convinced that logic necessarily proves anything. I don’t see that all reasoning is based off logic.
 
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This, in my opinion, would be a rational way to judge for an all-loving God.

If you perceive "initial relationship" to be good... so it will be granted.. if not.. then not.

IF you recall.. we have spoken of "Human experience".. in the sense that "human experience" is (with regards to my opinion) the exploration of evil that must be brought along for a sufficient time so that all may know, or perceive through experience, and therefore freely choose between which end he/she wants.
So if you did a good enough job morally when you die you get the choice? Or you make the choice when alive and then god judges? Is there something about a relationship with god that would make people choose otherwise?


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I can accept this. Yet.. I do not concede that "God concepts" are as simple as "contradictory evidence" next to "no evidence".

People just choose to accept different types of evidence.

I am not sure what you mean by the first part but the second part is very true.

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Well thats it.

I can't promise I'll continue posting. I got caught up in some debate I didn't feel good about (from a personal perspective).. and so I might need to take some space again.

Take care.


Sorry to hear that. Take care.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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Quote:

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Perhaps my difficulty in this discussion has been that I view logic very differently then you. I see logic as a tool. I am not convinced that logic necessarily proves anything. I don’t see that all reasoning is based off logic.

I agree in all but one of the points.

Logic is a tool and conclusions are "necessary" only insofar as the logical construct allows them to be.

I can create a "logical construct" to make the most absurd of conclusions-- doesn't make them anymore relevant or real just because they might be logical.

As for the statement "any reasoning you will use will be based of logic".. I believe this statement to be true. While people may not be aware of the logical processes that there reasoning is based off of.. all "reasoning" (present participle) is logic based (I believe).

 Unless you can give me an example of non-logic based reasoning.. which I'm open to hear and change my belief if it so happens.

Thats what I'm here for.  Learning. Smiling

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So if you did a good enough job morally when you die you get the choice?

Hm?

No.. I believe the choice is made implicitly through your life. I do not know by what morality people may be judge.. only that I can only live by the morality I perceive as moral at this time.

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Or you make the choice when alive and then god judges?

Live life morally... I think a good atheist and a good theist can agree on this. It's just what I believe. To me, it just seems more relevant and practice to accept a positive assertion (that God exists) as opposed to a universal negative one (that no gods exist).

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Is there something about a relationship with god that would make people choose otherwise?

Consider for a moment, can you think of anyone that wouldn't want to live for eternity if they could not "be more elite" then someone else? "superior"? etc.

I think there are some things in this world that people are unwilling to give up, regardless of whether or not they know of it's consequences, because they don't believe it to be 'wrong'.

Once again.. my assertion that a "elitist" concept is morally wrong.. and at the "end of time" people will have been judged whether they would rather have an eternity of non elitism or non existence.. is just a belief.

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I am not sure what you mean by the first part but the second part is very true.

By the first part.. I meant to contend that I do not believe the argument that believing in a "God concept" is irrational is as simple as "A person accepts X even though they have NO evidence and there is 100 times of Contradictory evidence."




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RhadTheGizmo wrote: As for

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


As for the statement "any reasoning you will use will be based of logic".. I believe this statement to be true. While people may not be aware of the logical processes that there reasoning is based off of.. all "reasoning" (present participle) is logic based (I believe).

Unless you can give me an example of non-logic based reasoning.. which I'm open to hear and change my belief if it so happens.
Good point. Within the definition of logic there can be no reasoning without logic. My bad. Perhaps I should have said not all decision making, choosing, or conclusions are based on logic.


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No.. I believe the choice is made implicitly through your life. I do not know by what morality people may be judge.. only that I can only live by the morality I perceive as moral at this time.

Live life morally... I think a good atheist and a good theist can agree on this. It's just what I believe. To me, it just seems more relevant and practice [practical?] to accept a positive assertion (that God exists) as opposed to a universal negative one (that no gods exist).

OK so we live our life, make our choices and God judges them. So does he judge based on effort or based on a certain code of morality? Basically what I am getting at is does it give a person an advantage to be of a particular religion and thereby know god’s rules or does god just look at whether a person tried to live a moral life dependent on what they saw to be moral?

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Consider for a moment, can you think of anyone that wouldn't want to live for eternity if they could not "be more elite" then someone else? "superior"? etc.

I think there are some things in this world that people are unwilling to give up, regardless of whether or not they know of it's consequences, because they don't believe it to be 'wrong'.

Once again.. my assertion that a "elitist" concept is morally wrong.. and at the "end of time" people will have been judged whether they would rather have an eternity of non elitism or non existence.. is just a belief.

I doubt there are very many who would be unhappy at the thought that a god was more elite than them. Only meglomaniacs try to put themselves above god.

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By the first part.. I meant to contend that I do not believe the argument that believing in a "God concept" is irrational is as simple as "A person accepts X even though they have NO evidence and there is 100 times of Contradictory evidence."


OK so basically you don’t agree that by believing god a person automatically is irrational, or accepts x without any evidence and plenty of contradictory evidence. Agreed.
I think many theists have evidence that they think is very good supporting their belief in god. Many theists have not seen evidence to the contrary or have not really thought about evidence they have seen or perhaps have not thought much about what they believe at all. In such cases (and others cases as well) a theist does not hold an irrational belief.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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Quote: Good point. Within

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Good point. Within the definition of logic there can be no reasoning without logic. My bad. Perhaps I should have said not all decision making, choosing, or conclusions are based on logic.

Agreed. Smiling

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OK so we live our life, make our choices and God judges them. So does he judge based on effort or based on a certain code of morality? Basically what I am getting at is does it give a person an advantage to be of a particular religion and thereby know god’s rules or does god just look at whether a person tried to live a moral life dependent on what they saw to be moral?

My belief?

That we are judged upon our effort to live in accordance with the morality we understand, as well as the morality we understand's ability to reconcile with what is actually 'moral' (in the absolute sense).

I do not believe a person "gains an advantage" when it comes to this "final judgement".

.. on a personal note, however, I do believe that the beliefs one has (stereotypically of course) does have a certain representative characteristics with regards to how one views morality and the purpose therein.

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I doubt there are very many who would be unhappy at the thought that a god was more elite than them. Only meglomaniacs try to put themselves above god.

I don't mean that.  I mean.. do you know of many people who seem to enjoy belittling other people? Who enjoy the concept of being above other people? Who believe they are 'better' or 'more significant' than other people?

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OK so basically you don’t agree that by believing god a person automatically is irrational

Correct.

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or accepts x without any evidence and plenty of contradictory evidence.

Incorrect.  I stated that the answer to this question is always more complicated than the question usually suggests.

"Evidence" can be as simple as a "feeling"--definitively "evidence" is merely the "grounds for a belief".  While I believe there could be "contradictory evidence" for a particular belief, I do not believe that anyone holds a belief "without any evidence".

Yet.. this particular question, when used, (in my opinion) requires the qualification "without any scientific evidence to prove their belief within a scientific study".

It's a huge qualification... but I'm pretty sure that's what people mean.

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I think many theists have evidence that they think is very good supporting their belief in god. Many theists have not seen evidence to the contrary or have not really thought about evidence they have seen or perhaps have not thought much about what they believe at all. In such cases (and others cases as well) a theist does not hold an irrational belief.

I agree with this as well.


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Quote:
Good point. Within the definition of logic there can be no reasoning without logic. My bad. Perhaps I should have said not all decision making, choosing, or conclusions are based on logic.

Agreed. Smiling
I had to go way back to figure out how we got in to this discussion anyway Smiling Basically you were supporting the use of circular reasoning. I can agree that if you want to logically support the validity of logic you wind up with circular reasoning. However, I think that the use of logic can be supported with out using logic itself. Finally I personally cannot trust any conclusion that is arrived at by circular reasoning. If circular reasoning is the only sort available to support the existence of a god, or any attributes of said god, then I don’t think I will become a theist any time soon. Smiling

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That we are judged upon our effort to live in accordance with the morality we understand, as well as the morality we understand's ability to reconcile with what is actually 'moral' (in the absolute sense).
What is the absolute morality, and how do we know what it is? If I am to be judged by a set of rules it is only fair that I know what the rules are.

 
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OK so basically you don’t agree that by believing god a person automatically is irrational

Correct.

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or accepts x without any evidence and plenty of contradictory evidence.

Incorrect. I stated that the answer to this question is always more complicated than the question usually suggests.

"Evidence" can be as simple as a "feeling"--definitively "evidence" is merely the "grounds for a belief". While I believe there could be "contradictory evidence" for a particular belief, I do not believe that anyone holds a belief "without any evidence".
What you have said here is what I meant.

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Yet.. this particular question, when used, (in my opinion) requires the qualification "without any scientific evidence to prove their belief within a scientific study".

It's a huge qualification... but I'm pretty sure that's what people mean.
It may be that some people, many atheists, do have this unsaid qualification. I do not.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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Quote:

Quote:
I had to go way back to figure out how we got in to this discussion anyway Smiling Basically you were supporting the use of circular reasoning. I can agree that if you want to logically support the validity of logic you wind up with circular reasoning. However, I think that the use of logic can be supported with out using logic itself. Finally I personally cannot trust any conclusion that is arrived at by circular reasoning. If circular reasoning is the only sort available to support the existence of a god, or any attributes of said god, then I don’t think I will become a theist any time soon. Smiling

I invite you to look at the thread forming about "Question regarding existence".

To some extent (it would seem) that everyone accepts certain assumptions based upon nothing more than "feeling" or circular logic. Then, they go on to live there life based around the truthfulness of these assumptions.

I do believe that any sort of "spiritual" experience cannot be forced or proven-- and is most likely an individual choice on how to perceive experience.

We've accepted things before upon mere choice based upon personal perception.. so, I find it (sometimes) disingenuous when someone claims that such based choices are irrational by nature.

..then we are all irrational-- and all basing our lives around invalid "truths".

(Granted.. my claims here are dependent upon the other thread.. but Shhh.. don't tell anyone Smiling

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What is the absolute morality, and how do we know what it is? If I am to be judged by a set of rules it is only fair that I know what the rules are.

Heh.. like I said before-- we can only perceive morality as we perceive morality. Let God (if he exists) be the judge afterwards.

Perhaps you have perceived morality right.. or perhaps you have perceived it wrong.. perhaps your perception was the way in which to "know the rules"-- perhaps not.

The thing is that one cannot KNOW if he is doing good in the absolute moral sense-- but at the very least we can DO what we perceive to be so.

I take moral concepts from the Bible.. as well as general observation of the world.. and I try to live accordingly with what I perceive to be good-- I can do no else (well, I could choose to be selfish.. even though I perceive this to be immoral-- but I try not to at least).

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It may be that some people, many atheists, do have this unsaid qualification. I do not.

Then you believe that no christian has ("real&quotEye-wink evidence for their belief-- only "perceived" evidence? or were you trying to say something else?


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: ..then

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


..then we are all irrational-- and all basing our lives around invalid "truths".
I have never claimed otherwise. “Man is a rationalizing creature, not a rational one.” Heinlein (not sure I got that quote quite right.) I am not an atheist as a sort of protest to the irrationality (as I see it) of religion. I am an atheist because I have not been convinced that god exists. The irrationality of religion is something that stands in the way of convincing me.

 
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Heh.. like I said before-- we can only perceive morality as we perceive morality. Let God (if he exists) be the judge afterwards.

The thing is that one cannot KNOW if he is doing good in the absolute moral sense-- but at the very least we can DO what we perceive to be so.

I take moral concepts from the Bible.. as well as general observation of the world.. and I try to live accordingly with what I perceive to be good-- I can do no else (well, I could choose to be selfish.. even though I perceive this to be immoral-- but I try not to at least).

This unfair system (at least it seems unfair to me) was the first reason I started to move away from Christianity.

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Then you believe that no christian has ("real&quotEye-wink evidence for their belief-- only "perceived" evidence? or were you trying to say something else?


I never said that. What I am trying to say, and evidently failing at Smiling is that I think real evidence exists that supports Christian beliefs, I think that many Christians have what they believe to be hard evidence for the core Christian beliefs. I think that personal experience can be even more convincing that scientific evidence. I think that all of this means that religious people in general are not irrational. I am trying to say that I have no idea what evidence or reasons an individual has for their faith. I prefer to give them all the benefit of the doubt rather than lumping them together and calling them irrational. I know that some of them are irrational about their beliefs but that proves nothing about the group. I think that many atheists put far too much store in science and logic forgetting that both are only tools and have their limitations. This does not mean I believe in a god, I haven’t seen anything that convinced me yet but that does not make me positive that nothing ever will. I think atheists (ones who support evolution) do use a bit of faith. I think we have to have faith that scientists know what they are talking about. I do think that this uses only a small fraction of the faith necessary for religious belief.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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Quote: Bad exists as the

Quote:
Bad exists as the logical opposite of good.  It must exists if the world is logical.

This is a painful error for me to see. According to this "logic" non-existence must also exist for the world to be logical since there is existence.

Your "logic" leads to contradicition. I therefore declare, via reducio ad absurdum, that you MUST be wrong.


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Quote: I have never claimed

Quote:
I have never claimed otherwise. “Man is a rationalizing creature, not a rational one.” Heinlein (not sure I got that quote quite right.) I am not an atheist as a sort of protest to the irrationality (as I see it) of religion. I am an atheist because I have not been convinced that god exists. The irrationality of religion is something that stands in the way of convincing me.

Hmm.. yah, the quote sounds familiar.

As for me.. I am not an atheist because, as I see it, they are both equal in rationality.

Atheist accept things based upon feeling-- even though, it could be argued, there is evidence that can be interpreted to the contrary.

Theist accept things based upon feeling-- even though, it could be argued, there is evidence that can be interpreted to the contrary.

I really do feel that in objective, "rational", terms.. atheist and theist, in and of themselves, are equal.

.. let me state again-- a theist who believes that everyone else MUST see things as he/she or that person is irrational/stupid-- then this person, to me, would be illogical and irrational.

Yet the same goes for an atheist.. since, I would contend that they are equivalent, in and of itself, respective of rationality.

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This unfair system (at least it seems unfair to me) was the first reason I started to move away from Christianity.

To me it doesn't seem so fair.  It's unfair if one assumes that God HAS NOT made it known.

I am saying that there is just no way of knowing if he has.  Perhaps he has and we have chosen to ignore it or not perceive it as clearly as he can present it.. or perhaps he just gives "hints".

People don't "get" math.. even though math is presented in about as clear a manner as anything can be.

I would agree with the former.. God has made in know.. but us, being freewilling individuals, can choose to not see it that way.

Eitherway.. its based on assumption. Yet, let me say, that I might agree with you.. if I believed that God has not made it "knowable"-- then, it is unfair to judge us by such.

Yet.. in the context of this discussion.. I haven't even defined morality.  It could be as narrow as a trillion different acts that you should not do and should do in any given situation...

..or it could just be.. "love".

..fascinating.

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I never said that. What I am trying to say, and evidently failing at Smiling is that I think real evidence exists that supports Christian beliefs, I think that many Christians have what they believe to be hard evidence for the core Christian beliefs.

Agreed.

Smiling

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I think that personal experience can be even more convincing that scientific evidence. I think that all of this means that religious people in general are not irrational. I am trying to say that I have no idea what evidence or reasons an individual has for their faith. I prefer to give them all the benefit of the doubt rather than lumping them together and calling them irrational.

Agreed.  (sidenote: You're very good with words.. I'm just dense. Eye-wink

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I know that some of them are irrational about their beliefs but that proves nothing about the group.

Agreed.

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I think that many atheists put far too much store in science and logic forgetting that both are only tools and have their limitations.

Hmm... somewhat agree.

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This does not mean I believe in a god, I haven’t seen anything that convinced me yet but that does not make me positive that nothing ever will.

Can't argue this.  We all see and perceive what we see and perceive.. Smiling

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I think atheists (ones who support evolution) do use a bit of faith.

Don't agree.  But thats a sidenote. Smiling

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I think we have to have faith that scientists know what they are talking about. I do think that this uses only a small fraction of the faith necessary for religious belief.

I'm not sure it does.. Once again.. as you've stated before.. some people consider their perception of evidence concerning the existence of God to be as real as that of a rock = billions of years of cosmic evolution.

In such a way.. faith, if any, would be equal.

I.. do not feel that my perception of evidence is related as such.. yet.. neither do I believe anything else is certain. Eye-wink


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Quote:

Quote:

This is a painful error for me to see. According to this "logic" non-existence must also exist for the world to be logical since there is existence.

Your "logic" leads to contradicition. I therefore declare, via reducio ad absurdum, that you MUST be wrong.

Heh. Um. If you understand what I'm saying and you still believe I'm wrong.. then I'm afraid you are lacking in one of the most fundamental of logical tennants.

I am not saying that "non existence" exists.. I am saying that the phrase "not existence" logically MUST exist if the word "existence" exists.

Likewise, "Bad" (the word..) exists as the logical opposite of the word "Good".. even as "Good" exists as the logical opposite of bad (not not bad).  For, whenever we something (X).. through implication there must be a not-something (not X).

I am not saying that BAD, as in "bad actions", MUST be acted.. but the concept definitely must.

If you have understood otherwise.. then forgive me for being unclear-- nevertheless, I do believe you understood the statement wrongly; and then proceeded to present your interpretation as if it was the only interpretation of the statement.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: As for

RhadTheGizmo wrote:


As for me.. I am not an atheist because, as I see it, they are both equal in rationality.

Atheists accept things based upon feeling-- even though, it could be argued, there is evidence that can be interpreted to the contrary.

I really do feel that in objective, "rational", terms.. atheist and theist, in and of themselves, are equal.
 
Here I have to disagree. I do not accept anything based on feeling. My position is more a lack of acceptance. This is a difficult concept and a bone of contention but atheists don’t have faith in “no god” we don’t have faith in any god. Some atheists who claim to know that there is no god perhaps have faith but that is very few atheists. It is not irrational to not believe in something for which you have seen no evidence.

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To me it doesn't seem so [un?]fair. It's unfair if one assumes that God HAS NOT made it known.

I am saying that there is just no way of knowing if he has. Perhaps he has and we have chosen to ignore it or not perceive it as clearly as he can present it.. or perhaps he just gives "hints".

People don't "get" math.. even though math is presented in about as clear a manner as anything can be.
Perhaps, but I don’t judge anyone for eternity based on their understanding of math. If I am going to judge some one on a set of absolute rules I am going to make sure they know the rules. If god has made the rules known he hasn’t tried to hard to make sure we all know them. Unless his rules are fairly general and boil down to “be nice”.

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Eitherway.. its based on assumption. Yet, let me say, that I might agree with you.. if I believed that God has not made it "knowable"-- then, it is unfair to judge us by such.
Knowable and known are different things.

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Yet.. in the context of this discussion.. I haven't even defined morality. It could be as narrow as a trillion different acts that you should not do and should do in any given situation...

..or it could just be.. "love".

..fascinating.
Perhaps you should define it if you mean something other then the general concept of morality

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I
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I think that many atheists put far too much store in science and logic forgetting that both are only tools and have their limitations.

Hmm... somewhat agree.
Somewhat?

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I think atheists (ones who support evolution) do use a bit of faith.

Don't agree. But thats a sidenote. Smiling
Not all atheists but anyone who does not understand biology and still thinks evolution is true has to take the word of scientists. That is a form of faith. A very weak one though.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: Here I have to

Quote:
Here I have to disagree. I do not accept anything based on feeling. My position is more a lack of acceptance. This is a difficult concept and a bone of contention but atheists don’t have faith in “no god” we don’t have faith in any god. Some atheists who claim to know that there is no god perhaps have faith but that is very few atheists. It is not irrational to not believe in something for which you have seen no evidence.

I do not wish to go into a debate, here, about whether or not you necessarily accept things based on feelings.  Still, skim over the thread about existence..

I think that, fundamentally, the choice about how one views existence (as an external thing or an internal thing), is very subjective, arbitrary-- based on nothing more than 'feelings' or 'perceived socialization.'

It's as basic as this.. the only evidence you see is the evidence you see-- but then, upon what evidence do you base your "belief" that other people see life in the "real" sense that you do? That they are external entities as opposed to a giant figment of your imagination? (Think.. hallucination.. yet on a grand scale.)  Any case.. these are questions for a different time-- perhaps.

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Perhaps, but I don’t judge anyone for eternity based on their understanding of math.

Neither do I.

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Unless his rules are fairly general and boil down to “be nice”.

Something like that (I believe).  To make state my belief more simply.. I believe that if the choice WAS presented as easily as 2+2.. people would still give the same answer even if the choice WAS NOT presented as easily.

Of course.. this is just my belief.  Yet.. this is the only way I can think of an "all loving" God.  If God is "all loving" then the choice upon which to "eternity" rests is not him "choosing" a person but whether that person "choose" him.

And by "choose".. I mean.. as clear as the choice would be if "God" were standing in front of a person and stated: "Now you know the choices (God or not).  So what do you choose?"

Granted.. perhaps it won't be an explicit choice.. yet, by "judge".. I do mean "judge the heart with regards to the choice one would/could/will make."

It's all conceptual and conjecture (based upon my understanding of a Christian God).. yet.. it works for me-- "this" is something worth believing for me as well as beneficial effects on my life.

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Knowable and known are different things.

Exactly.. I do not believe God can MAKE a person "KNOW".. even as a math teacher cannot make a person "know" math.  They both, however, can make it knowable.

Then its just a matter of degrees.. which.. from our perspective.. would seem to be purely subjective.

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Perhaps you should define it if you mean something other then the general concept of morality

Me personally? "Be loving" would probably entail it pretty well.  Yet, that's just my opinion..

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Somewhat?

I was just qualifying.. "just in case". Eye-wink

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Not all atheists but anyone who does not understand biology and still thinks evolution is true has to take the word of scientists. That is a form of faith. A very weak one though.

Ah.. understood.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: I do

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
I do not wish to go into a debate, here, about whether or not you necessarily accept things based on feelings. Still, skim over the thread about existence.
I only meant to say that I do not not accept the existence of god on the basis of feelings. Which is the only subject necessary to the comparison of the rationality of atheists and theists.

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I think that, fundamentally, the choice about how one views existence (as an external thing or an internal thing), is very subjective, arbitrary-- based on nothing more than 'feelings' or 'perceived socialization.'

It's as basic as this.. the only evidence you see is the evidence you see-- but then, upon what evidence do you base your "belief" that other people see life in the "real" sense that you do? That they are external entities as opposed to a giant figment of your imagination? (Think.. hallucination.. yet on a grand scale.) Any case.. these are questions for a different time-- perhaps.
sounds like the solipsism thread. Smiling I have some thoughts but I always hate jumping in.

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Me personally? "Be loving" would probably entail it pretty well. Yet, that's just my opinion..

What is love? Smiling

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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Quote:
I only meant to say that I do not not accept the existence of god on the basis of feelings. Which is the only subject necessary to the comparison of the rationality of atheists and theists.

I would state not so.. because the way I see it.. if I am right.. how can atheist judge theist harshly for accepting things (e.g. God) upon nothing more than "personal feelings" even though they themselves accept things (e.g. non-solipsism) based upon nothing more than "personal feelings"?

(The conversation is perhaps a bit more complex.. just pointing out my opinion on it. Smiling

And "shhhh"... again-- this is not my purpose in the solipsism thread-- mainly I'm just trying to confirm what I believe to be the case. I can't see any rationalization for holding concepts of "morality" without having accepted "non-solipsism"... which to me.. is the equivalent of accepting "God" in terms of evidence and rationalization.

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sounds like the solipsism thread. Smiling I have some thoughts but I always hate jumping in.

Yah.. so do I. It's rough jumping in on threads.. :/

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What is love? Smiling

I don't know.. one thing for sure (not really)-- love is not selfish or self-centered. Smiling


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: I would

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
I would state not so.. because the way I see it.. if I am right.. how can atheist judge theist harshly for accepting things (e.g. God) upon nothing more than "personal feelings" even though they themselves accept things (e.g. non-solipsism) based upon nothing more than "personal feelings"?
When atheists do this perhaps they are being a bit hypocritical. But I do not think that it is basing belief on personal feelings that atheists are judging harshly. I think it is the ignoring of contradictory evidence that bothers them so much. A person who believes the world is real is not ignoring contradictory evidence.


Even then I don’t think all atheists really care about that. If someone wants to believe that the world is flat or the sun rotates around the earth, I don’t really care. If someone believes there is a god that cares about them, I don’t really care and in some ways I almost envy them. I only care when theists decide that there beliefs should be everyone’s, that their beliefs are good enough reasons for laws, that my children should be taught that the earth is flat, or worst, that their beliefs are an excuse to kill. And that is still not because they are theists, if a racist, misogynist or any other “ist” does it, it bothers me equally.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


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Quote:

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I think it is the ignoring of contradictory evidence that bothers them so much

I would contend this is not it-- I think at the basis of any many attacks against a theistic rationality is that atheist do not believe that "personal feelings" are not strong enough evidence to hold a belief by.

As for contradictory evidence (scientific).. there is NO contradictory evidence to the existence of god-- there might be, however, contradictory evidence to "a particular belief about God".

For instance... those who believe the earth is 6000 years old, there is contradictory evidence to this.

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A person who believes the world is real is not ignoring contradictory evidence.

They are ignoring, however, a lack of evidence for that belief.

There is NO valid evidence (I would contend, besides personal feeling) that would suggest that anyone is real but yourself. Unless, you have seen the world through someone else's eyes.. the only 'evidence' you have is of your own personal point of view and your trust in someone else's word that they do experience life as you (i.e. circular justification).

But thats a side issue. There are "logical" arguments against a particular belief about God.. and this may suggest that a person holding a illogical concept of him would be irrational (if he knew it was illogical or was being hypocritical and expecting others to except on the bases of his "illogicism&quotEye-wink.

And.. while I know you're not necessarily saying it.. I feel as if you see theist as people who do not "see contradictory evidence" as if "contradictory evidence" is a factual thing with regards to their beliefs-- when it is not necessarily so, because its (just as) possible for them to interpret the "evidence" differently.

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Even then I don’t think all atheists really care about that. If someone wants to believe that the world is flat or the sun rotates around the earth, I don’t really care. If someone believes there is a god that cares about them, I don’t really care and in some ways I almost envy them.


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I only care when theists decide that there beliefs should be everyone’s, that their beliefs are good enough reasons for laws, that my children should be taught that the earth is flat, or worst, that their beliefs are an excuse to kill.

I agree with this a hundred percent. Yet, perhaps the same way you feel if a theist says "You're ignorant-- look at the stars, aren't they amazing? God made it this way-- you're stupid for being Nature did." is the same way I feel when an atheist says "You're ignorant-- look at the stars, aren't they amazing? Nature made it this way-- you're stupid for believing God did."

With regards to the belief in God or the non-belief in God.. there is no "contradictory evidence".. only "evidence" which we then choose to interpret in one way or the other.

Unless you can give some sort of evidence that suggests there is no God? But as many people on this post rightly point out.. evidence does suggest anything about the non-existence of something.. only the existence of it.

For instance: Pink unicorns. There is no evidence to suggest they exist. Therefore how can there be "contrary evidence" to Pink Unicorns?

Now, am I equating Pink Unicorns existence to God existence in terms of rationality? Don't know-- depends on what a person believes about pink unicorns. Smiling

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And that is still not because they are theists, if a racist, misogynist or any other “ist” does it, it bothers me equally.

Ditto.

Note: I hope I don't get into trouble with my Pink Unicorn/God comparison. Merely.. I'm stating one should hold judgment (and I'm not saying that you are judging.. I'm speaking generally) until one knows what ones beliefs are concerning a thing you might consider non existent.. before one deems the belief as "objectively irrational" (not whether you'd call them irrational or not).

In anycase.. I'll point out again-- something I definitely agree with yet (some) atheists like to tag a negative connotation to:

A belief in God is born out of a 'want' to believe in "him".

And I do not believe that reason must be checked out at the door when choosing to believe in "him", nor  do I believe one must stay close-minded (blind) with regards to external evidence.


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I see this thread has come

I see this thread has come back to life, though, it seems to going mostly in circles.  A page or so ago, RtG said that God chooses to limit himself to the logical, if I recall correctly.  (I'm lazy to go back and get the quote).  I believe Todangst had responded to this long ago.  What is "logical"?  Are things "logical" or "illogical" independent of God?  Or does God decide what is "logical" or "illogical"?

 If God decides what is or isn't illogical, then God decided to limit himself arbitrarily.  Which seems to me to be very peculiar for an all-powerful entity to do.  This is one of those things that I can definitively prove is false, I can't definitively proove that an all-powerful God wouldn't arbitrarily limit himself, but I see no good reason to believe this is true.  Also, it makes discussing what God can and cannot do within the confines of logic is silly for it was God himself that made those limits and he could have done otherwise.

 Or, if you want to say that what is "logical" or "illogical" is independant of God, then you loose a need for a god.  What can and cannot be, can and cannot be period, without a god to decide it. What use then is a god?

 


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RhadTheGizmo wrote:

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

For instance: Pink unicorns. There is no evidence to suggest they exist. Therefore how can there be "contrary evidence" to Pink Unicorns?

Some people, mainly theists, will argue that an "argument from silence" is ZERO evidence. I disagree. I can agree that an "argument from silence" would generally not be considered "conclusive", but NOT ZERO evidence. If pink unicorns had ever existed, it is not unreasonable to suspect that we would have found some evidence for it. Therefore, the lack of evidence for them, is in my opinion, "contrary evidence" of the existence of them. Not conclusive, we could still find some evidence tomorrow, but not zero evidence.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Now, am I equating Pink Unicorns existence to God existence in terms of rationality?

Basically, yeah. Your agument is basically, "I don't know for sure it doesn't exist, therefore I will choose to believe it does". I just don't happen to choose to believe in things based on non-evidence of their non-existence.

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
For instance... those who believe the earth is 6000 years old, there is contradictory evidence to this.

Very good. You are correct. Similarly, there is contradictory evidence of many things in the Bible, making the existence of Biblegod unlikely. Of course you can use an ad-hoc arugment and say that all those things that are contradictory are false, and the stuff that isn't notably contradictory is true. But that pure ad-hoc.

So, in my view, I don't believe I can disprove the existence of any possible "god", depending on what you might define a "god" to be. But I can say that no "god" that I have been offerred is very compelling. This is similar to the argument of Stenger's _God: The Failed Hypothesis_. He says he isn't able to disprove any possible god, he can only work with what hypothesis he has been offered. And, working from the Abrahamic religious hypothesis, predictions about the universe can be made. And if they do not pan out, (which they don't), the Abrahamic God becomes a failed hypothesis.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: Unless,

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
Unless, you have seen the world through someone else's eyes.. the only 'evidence' you have is of your own personal point of view and your trust in someone else's word that they do experience life as you (i.e. circular justification).

 I believe you are confusing "circular" with "based on axioms".  (I'm not sure if there is a better term for "based on axioms".)  "Presuppositionalist Christians" argue that everyone has assumptions, and this much is true.  I have utterly no way to know for certain that I'm not a "brain in a vat" or in "The Matix".  For all I have to judge the world is sensory input, and therefore have no alternate verification that my sensory input is valid.  I am forced to assume that sensory input provides useful information about my environment, while simultaneously realizing that is is imperfect.  But I've never heard anybody rationally argue for any other base axiom.  Presuppostionalists claim their base axiom is God, but, how did they learn about God except via their senses?  They had to *first* trust their senses before they could know anything about God.  So, God cannot be their base axiom.


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Quote: I see this thread

Quote:
I see this thread has come

I see this thread has come back to life, though, it seems to going mostly in circles.  A page or so ago, RtG said that God chooses to limit himself to the logical, if I recall correctly.


I did.

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I believe Todangst had responded to this long ago.

I don't believe so.

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What is "logical"?  Are things "logical" or "illogical" independent of God?  Or does God decide what is "logical" or "illogical"?

"Logical" is the word I use to describe a generally applicable system of use for inferences and deductions.  A system derived by the natural order of human consciousness in order to systematically apply cause and effect relationships that it sees in life and allow it for theory as well.

It is an axiom, I believe,  within this theology that whatever God would have created we would have made some sort of system by which to understand and then, would have given it a name.  God created and "logic" is the means by which we understand creation.  

God has the option to act "outside of logical structure" both before and after "creation"-- yet if this were the case.. how would we be able to speak of him at all? In illogical terms?

..I can't imagine.  This conversation would definitely be without purpose if we did choose to take it down that path.  In my opinion (and it is a premise) and all loving would wish that those he wishes to love him can comprehend, in part, him.

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If God decides what is or isn't illogical, then God decided to limit himself arbitrarily.  Which seems to me to be very peculiar for an all-powerful entity to do.  This is one of those things that I can definitively prove is false, I can't definitively proove that an all-powerful God wouldn't arbitrarily limit himself, but I see no good reason to believe this is true.  Also, it makes discussing what God can and cannot do within the confines of logic is silly for it was God himself that made those limits and he could have done otherwise.

As I stated, my reasoning behind the premise that God limited himself within the confines of logic is because it is the system by which man understands creation, therefore, to act in a logical manner allows man to understand God in the same way that he understands creation.

Granted.. just a rational.

While you are right.. it makes discussing God within the confines of logic.. but the question is, how else would you have it?  I keep on premising that God CAN if he wanted to, act outside of what we consider logical.. yet if that were the case.. why would I choose to assume that as opposed to trying to explain it logically?

And even if he did-- how would I be able to make any deductions or inferences based upon an illogical action?

Can God make a square circle? As a logical conclusion to the premise of (omnipotence) yes.  But what does this answer provide with regards to conversation or understanding? If God wants to be understand, in part, he must act in a logical manner.. for that is how we understand things.

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Or, if you want to say that what is "logical" or "illogical" is independant of God, then you loose a need for a god.  What can and cannot be, can and cannot be period, without a god to decide it. What use then is a god?


I believe anything CAN be existence apart from God.  I choose, however, to believe that it IS existent as a function of him.

For instance, in this particular theology, for logic to exist God must have created something for which logic to have come about.

Nevertheless, outside of the particular theology (and equally possible), for logic to exist something (not necessary created by God) must be from which "logic" is derived.

"Logic" is not a thing.. it is a tool.. a methodology by which we understand. IT is not created by God.. it was created by man.

Any case.. all this theology is self-sustaining-- it's based on unprovable (at this time) premises.. but, as I've stated before, everyone accepts externally unprovable premises.. it is the basis by which we function to accept for the sake of moving forward (IMO).

And yes.. heh... the thread has come back to life. Smiling Just for a time I assure you.. I will definitely have to give up this forum sooner or later.


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Quote:

Quote:
Some people, mainly theists, will argue that an "argument from silence" is ZERO evidence.

I'm not one of them.

Quote:
I can agree that an "argument from silence" would generally not be considered "conclusive", but NOT ZERO evidence.

Argument from silence means nothing to me.  It is not objectively evidence, it is not objectively "not evidence", it is not necessarily anything.. one can choose to "interpret" it in whatever way they see fit--

Does the fact that the criminal does not respond to questions mean he is guilty or not guilty? or just does it have no necessary implications?

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If pink unicorns had ever existed, it is not unreasonable to suspect that we would have found some evidence for it.

You are making assumptions about pink unicorns which I have not stated.  Perhaps one believes they were only a very small number of them only a very short period of time.  It is not unreasonable to believe in this case that no evidence would be found of them.

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Therefore, the lack of evidence for them, is in my opinion, "contrary evidence" of the existence of them.

If someone claimed that they were rampant.. and existed for millions of years.. perhaps you could claim that it was "contrary evidence".  Yet, would you use this belief and apply universally? In such a case.. would there have been "contrary evidence" to the existence of intermediate human species before there was "evidence" of it?

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Not conclusive, we could still find some evidence tomorrow, but not zero evidence.

Like I said.. I think no evidence is just no evidence-- and with this mentalities ability to apply to a concept of God.. is much more difficult.  For what one might consider evidence of God.. another might not.

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Now, am I equating Pink Unicorns existence to God existence in terms of rationality?

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Basically, yeah. Your agument is basically, "I don't know for sure it doesn't exist, therefore I will choose to believe it does". I just don't happen to choose to believe in things based on non-evidence of their non-existence.

No.. not necessarily.  I think I'm saying something more along the lines of this:

I can think of no reason which is necessarily held in accordance with rationality for which to believe he exists or not exists.  Therefore, given the choice between the two.. I choose to believe that he exists-- because of personal feelings regarding the implications of the lack of existence.

For me.. its like choosing between a hamburger and some other choice.. sure.. it's rational to choose either one.. for me, however, I feel that one is better than the other.

This is how I believe the choice has always been.. and always will be. To chose to believe two clear choices of differing implications but equal in rationality. (This is a very fundamental understanding of God vs not God.. not necessary the Christian God)

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For instance... those who believe the earth is 6000 years old, there is contradictory evidence to this.

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Very good. You are correct. Similarly, there is contradictory evidence of many things in the Bible, making the existence of Biblegod unlikely.

Depends on how one interprets the Bible as well as the relationship between God and the Bible (with regards to divine inspiration or divine dictation).

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Of course you can use an ad-hoc arugment and say that all those things that are contradictory are false, and the stuff that isn't notably contradictory is true. But that pure ad-hoc.

Nope.  Just taking the position that the definition of something as 'contradictory evidence' towards god requires certain assumptions about that God (and, in this case the Bible) which have not be stated as necessary, or necessarily held.

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So, in my view, I don't believe I can disprove the existence of any possible "god", depending on what you might define a "god" to be. But I can say that no "god" that I have been offerred is very compelling.

I'd agree with the first part of the statement.. the second part is dependent upon the word "compelling".. which is subjectively defined. This I would agree with as well.

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He says he isn't able to disprove any possible god, he can only work with what hypothesis he has been offered. And, working from the Abrahamic religious hypothesis, predictions about the universe can be made. And if they do not pan out, (which they don't), the Abrahamic God becomes a failed hypothesis.

I've been presented with his argument before.. I would consider it a strawman.. since he holds "necessary" many things which are "not necessary" regarding the Abrahamic God.


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: Unless, you have

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Unless, you have seen the world through someone else's eyes.. the only 'evidence' you have is of your own personal point of view and your trust in someone else's word that they do experience life as you (i.e. circular justification).

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I believe you are confusing "circular" with "based on axioms".  (I'm not sure if there is a better term for "based on axioms".)  "Presuppositionalist Christians" argue that everyone has assumptions, and this much is true.  I have utterly no way to know for certain that I'm not a "brain in a vat" or in "The Matix".  For all I have to judge the world is sensory input, and therefore have no alternate verification that my sensory input is valid.  I am forced to assume that sensory input provides useful information about my environment, while simultaneously realizing that is is imperfect.

You are not forced to assume anything regarding the existence of people as externals from your mind.  This is a choice.  Perhaps you have always held it.. but it is no less a choice.  You could easily think otherwise and be no less irrational.. however, you'd might become more narcisistic or sociopathic if you truly believed it as you now believe the contrary.

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But I've never heard anybody rationally argue for any other base axiom.

I've never heard anyone rationally argue for this axiom in the first place.  To accept solipsism you do not have to "accept" that your sensory input is any different then it is.. it would just be understood differently.

A punch is still a punch.  Pain is still pain.  But with regards to morality, it would take on a completely different connotation.

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Presuppostionalists claim their base axiom is God, but, how did they learn about God except via their senses?

Definitely.. I have not stated that one can believe in God and can be a solipsist.  I am just comparing the belief or non belief in God to the belief or non belief is solipsism.  They are both choices.. based upon the same evidence.. it just a matter of how one chooses to interpret that evidence.

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They had to *first* trust their senses before they could know anything about God.  So, God cannot be their base axiom.

Agreed.


RhadTheGizmo
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Oh.. and glad to see your

Oh.. and glad to see your still around CoF. Hope your doing well. Smiling

[edit with regards to one of the final lines]

This one:

A punch is still a punch.  Pain is still pain.  But with regards to morality, it would take on a completely different connotation.

It should read:

A punch is still a punch.  Pain is still pain.  Yet these would be understood as subconscious abuses against one self-- they are internally real-- whether or not "the thing" causing the pain is "externally real" or not.

However.. with regards to things like morality-- to accept one or the other would have great implications with regards to this particular "concept". (as well as others) 


My Name is Chelsea
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RhadTheGizmo wrote: I would

RhadTheGizmo wrote:
I would contend this is not it-- I think at the basis of any many attacks against a theistic rationality is that atheist do not believe that "personal feelings" are not strong enough evidence to hold a belief by.
I don’t think any one can speak for all atheists or even most, we are as diverse in our “beliefs” as Christians are. In speaking for myself a person’s beliefs on any subject don’t really bother me as long as they remain a private matter. Well that is not strictly true. When people have beliefs that are hurtful that just pisses me off, don’t get me started on racism, sexism, anti-gay or any number of topics. But with that qualification I don’t really care what you believe. If you are unwise enough to voice derogatory beliefs in my presence I am likely to speak up but if you believe in God, fine by me. I don’t care if you are rational or not, deluded or not as long as you are happy and are not infringing on anyone else’s happiness.

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As for contradictory evidence (scientific).. there is NO contradictory evidence to the existence of god-- there might be, however, contradictory evidence to "a particular belief about God".
This is the whole point. When atheists are talking to theists almost always they are talking about a particular god or a particular attribute god is believed to have.

 
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They are ignoring, however, a lack of evidence for that belief.
You can’t ignore something that doesn’t exist. Smiling Lack of evidence is very different from contrary evidence.

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But thats a side issue. There are "logical" arguments against a particular belief about God.. and this may suggest that a person holding a illogical concept of him would be irrational (if he knew it was illogical or was being hypocritical and expecting others to except on the bases of his "illogicism&quotEye-wink.

And.. while I know you're not necessarily saying it.. I feel as if you see theist as people who do not "see contradictory evidence" as if "contradictory evidence" is a factual thing with regards to their beliefs-- when it is not necessarily so, because its (just as) possible for them to interpret the "evidence" differently.
Nope I am just saying they look at the evidence and honestly don’t think it is contradictory.

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I agree with this a hundred percent. Yet, perhaps the same way you feel if a theist says "You're ignorant-- look at the stars, aren't they amazing? God made it this way-- you're stupid for being Nature did." is the same way I feel when an atheist says "You're ignorant-- look at the stars, aren't they amazing? Nature made it this way-- you're stupid for believing God did."
I can see why this would be offensive, that is why I have never said anything close to it. I think at this point it is important to point out that there are atheists and there are atheists. There are atheists who post on these boards and there are far more who don’t. I am more like the ones who don’t, except more bored Smiling. I think most atheists don’t really care that the majority of people around them are religious.

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Unless you can give some sort of evidence that suggests there is no God? But as many people on this post rightly point out.. evidence does suggest anything about the non-existence of something.. only the existence of it.
I have never, ever, suggested that there is evidence that proves or even indicates that there is no god of any sort.

 
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In anycase.. I'll point out again-- something I definitely agree with yet (some) atheists like to tag a negative connotation to:

A belief in God is born out of a 'want' to believe in "him".

And I do not believe that reason must be checked out at the door when choosing to believe in "him", nor do I believe one must stay close-minded (blind) with regards to external evidence.
I would have to blind myself to the evidence I have seen to believe in the Christian god but I am fully aware that my experiences are different from others, the way I look at the world around me is different so I can understand why others do believe, I used to myself. Sure many atheists think you have to check reason at the door and that any theist is generally irrational but I am not one of them.

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein