How could God allow 26 pilgrims to die in a crash - times online "debate"
I wish to highlight a "debate" in a British online newspaper (the Times) that I think that people here may be interested in. I don't have the collective knowledge or ability to reason that the pro's here have (although I try my best) but this online publication is well renowned as is it's broadsheet. This maybe seen as a "why don't you fight you own battles", however I think that bringing in heavy artillery is justified with regard to a "fight them on the beaches...we will never surrender " mentality (unless there is evidence to the contrary, ofcourse). Why should we sit back and take it?
If this is not within the remit of the site or is posted in the wrong forum then I apologise.
Atheists don't need a reason to not believe in gods any more than you need a reason not to believe that garden gnomes come alive at night and war with dopplegangers from other dimensions.
That is true but theists don't propose the existence of a god for no reason. It may not be encumbent upon you to disprove the existence of a specific god but it is encumbent on you to
(1) Explain the existence of the universe;
(2) Explain the apparent fine-tuning and biophilic nature of the universe;
(3) Provide an account for abiogenesis;
(4) Explain the existence of consciosness;
(5) Provide an epistemology and ontology for moral value.
These are fundamental concerns that any thoughtful and minimally educated person is concerned with. Theists provide an answer to these matters. You may not like their answers but that is besides the point. You are at least obliged to refute the theistic answers to these questions. Ideally you would also provide a set of naturalistic replacements to pave the way for a "deconversion". Being derogatory and nasty doesn't make the grade.
The theists offers nothing in regards to any of these questions. He simply inserts the term god into the unknown area, without offering any useful information, and then smiles blankly thinking he has provided some basis for something. I can do the same with the term 'gid' which is defined as the natural means by which all these things have occured. Just as much useful information is conveyed by my saying 'gid' is the natural means by which the universe came to be, life began, in which we base morality, etc. as is when the theist envokes 'god' as an answer. Absolutely none.
Basically, the term 'god' is interchangable with the phrase 'I don't know'. Just claiming theism provides an answer to the questions without showing how 'god' is an answer does not "make the grade".
Quote:Since there is no way to know for sure what qualities this alleged god might have it is ludicrous to assume that it has peoples well being in mind.
This is an excpetional standard of evidence that not even science demands. No result in the physical or life sciences is expressed in terms of certainty. No empirical result is known "for sure". Inductive logic doesn't allow for certainty. It offers only probabilities.
You can not ascribe a probability to the qualities of an undefined subject. Any attempt to find the probability of a 'gods' qualities is useless unless we know what a 'god' is.
Some theists infer the nature of their god based on the features of the physical universe (including humans themeselves). For example, the physical universe is amenable to understanding through reason and its consistency permits us to identify and express its laws (using mathematics). This suggests a god that is benevolent.
How does this suggest a benevolent god?
The universe could instead be like a surreal nightmare with cause comnpletely dissociated from effect. Human may well have been so limited in their cognitive capacities that the formulation of Newton's Laws was impossible.
And could have been perfectly fine with this if it was the environment as they knew it. Humans could simply have been different entities that existed in such a universe. What is the reason in thinking that knowing anything about one's environment, existence, nature, has any bearing on benevolence?
Quote:And even if it has humans best interests in mind, what if it has plans so far reaching as to be perfectly reasonable to mangle and murder his own followers.
What if it does? You position implies you are in possession of some moral standard which is not only shared by all humans but is also applicable to supernatural beings. Where did you get this standard from?
Since 'supernatural being' is self-contradictory there is no way to answer this question.
The real question should be why should one think that what is moral for some type of being that is not human has any relation to what is moral for a human? So you are right, even if there were a 'god' we would have no reason to equate its morals and our own, or to assume morals even exist removed from our perspetive as humans at all. This is one of many reasons why 'god' is not useful as a grounding point for human morality.
Quote:It does put question on the validity of faith and prayer.
It makes doubtful your personal conception of faith and prayer. If your conception of deity is some being that you ask for stuff and they are given to you (like a genie) then you have found a counterexample in the tragedy of the pilgrims. None of the major monotheistic religions invest in prayer and faith protection from all suffering and tragedy. These are pagan ideas. Magick and witchcraft are supposed to provide their practitioners with the sort of protection you are alluding to. Judaism, Christianity and Islam offer no such "deal".
In other words, nothing can ever contradict that prayer works because anytime the prayer doesn't work was a time when 'god' didn't answer a prayer and anytime the prayed for thing occurs is a time it did. What a splendidly useless concept.
Quote:What are the odds these pilgrims were praying to their god the very moment they died?
They may very well have but not for the reasons you suggest. Prayer is different from ceremonial magick, talismans, amulets and sacrifices -- in intent and phenomenology.
Or, just by chance, they were praying to a non-existent 'god'. Ockham approves.
Quote:Isn't a lifetime of faithful works and humanitarian endevours able to stand for something?
You are in essence saying "If I were God..". You have a standard of virtue and reward in your head and you are questioning why god doesn't conform to your standard. What is the signfificance of your standard of value?
No, what is being said is, "If a god is good by the definition of good as I, human being X, know it then a god would not do this thing." You are right that one would have no reason to hold a god to this standard, but then what you must accept is that you are left with a god which is not relevant to us as humans (only morally here but in any significant way when we dig deeper).
Quote:Does this alleged god care at all? Is it even there? If it is, is it listening?
This is more of the "If I were God..." line of reasoning.
This is more you can't understand gods will/morality line of reasoning.
“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins
As the deity in question, I have received many such questions in the time since you guys started doing stuff like "thinking" and "writing", but today I have finally decided to break my silence. I feel that, in today's world, now is the right time to finally speak up and explain myself. The Rational Responders should feel honored that I, God, have chosen their forums as the medium of my divine message. So, without further ado, I will now provide the answer to one of the deepest theological questions in the history of history.
Q: Why did those people die in that crash? Why does anyone die? Why do bad things happen to good people?
A: Well, to be honest, I'm stoned pretty much 24/7. I wasn't even paying attention. I think there was an infomercial on. I mean, I tried to keep my eye on what was going on down there, but whatever they were selling was really shiny... so... yeah. So, there you go. The solution to the Problem of Evil: God was hittin' da bong.
Götter sind für Arten, die sich selbst verraten -- in den Glauben flüchten um sich hinzurichten. Menschen brauchen Götter um sich zu verletzen, um sich zu vernichten -- das sind wir.