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Good and Evil


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1 hour ago, Islander said:

This is an old argument. I meant human recorded history. You have, some 5000 years ago a nomadic tribe that just invented a God like no other in recorded history? A perfect God, omniscient,  omnipotent, just, righteous, without flaw, eternal and, since then, the belief that He created all things. Couple that with  an earth and ecosystem like no other within billions on light-years, in perfect balance and capable of sustaining intelligent life. 

I will leave you with a quote from David Berlinski who is an atheist/agnostic but rather intellectually honest,  contrary to the likes of Dawkins 

"Has anyone provided proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close. Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close. Have our sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close. Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough. Has rationalism and moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough. Has secularism in the terrible 20th century been a force for good? Not even close, to being close. Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy in the sciences? Close enough. Does anything in the sciences or their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even in the ball park. Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on".

David Berlinski, The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions

Berlinski is begging the question, and never gets around to dealing with it head on.

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6 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I disagree with Bertrand Russell there. I would take the emotional states of those living in them into account and run a comparison of joy and suffering to figure out which is better. Of course that is not strictly quantifiable but it is a starting point. I suppose you can argue that pain being evil and pleasure being good are just opinions but they are opinions almost universally agreed upon and those who do not agree are often sadists and masochists who derive pleasure from said pain.

Emotion versus logic.  When Berty was emotional, what did it get him?  Disappointment.  He never did manage to ban the bomb.  Universal opinion is mostly poppycock.  A fallacious appeal to vox populi vox dei.

6 hours ago, The Nehor said:

The idea that God revealed some morality is dubious to me. Jesus did not bring a new morality. There is no moral proposition he taught that was novel. He had some extremes of emphasis that shocked some listeners but that is not saying it is new. The laws of morality are the same in every society. Some just have messed up rankings of the various laws. How many societies endorse cowardice? Believe being cruel for the sake of being cruel is a good thing. If there is cruelty there is always some justification. It may be a bad justification but it is there. If one has to believe in God to have any morality then followers of God should seem utterly foreign to everyone else. I am not talking “peculiar”; I mean downright alien. I have friends with no religious affiliation that comprehend why I do what I do. Where does belief in God create this morality?

As to the oft-repeated refrain that without God it is logical not to have any morality we have the whole of human history to counter that point. Even if it were a logical proposition (I do not believe it is) humans are not driven primarily by reason. I know of a few atheists that have told me that if I genuinely believed my religion I would work night and day all day spreading it and practicing it to the point of exhaustion and would focus on nothing else. There is logic to that statement but I am human and could not tolerate that kind of schedule for long.

Certainly people have preferences, but those vary from those who prefer a totalitarian dictatorship to those who prefer anarchy, and each can vocalize his reasons.  At least in Soviet dictatorship one had a guaranteed job and a quiet, crime-free society (only govt officials were allowed to cheat -- the "new class").  No surprises.  While in an open society such as ours, there is always the constant danger of unexpected shifts in leadership, business disasters, unemployment, lack of medical care, war, etc.  No consistent planning.

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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Did you read Nehor's comment?

How does this answer his point?   As it stands, it does not.

Too many replies. I answered a similar question to some one else. Not enough time to answer everybody :)

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Berlinski is begging the question, and never gets around to dealing with it head on.

He can't.  The argument against the existence of God runs out of fuel sooner or later when confronted with astronomically impossible probability of a superbly fine tuned universe,  calibrated with exquisite mathematical precision, to allow intelligent life on a blue rock, at optimal distance from the right star. But he just can't stomach having to bow down before an Almighty God. 

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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

quiet, crime-free society

Or so it was claimed, but they still built their apartments in Moscow with bars across the windows on the ground floors to prevent burglaries. 

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8 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

God does not create purpose in the universe.  He is master and practitioner of universal law, a law which precedes His entry into celestial dignity.  For Him at least, there is a real difference between good and evil.  For us lesser beings, the distinction is not so clear.  We have to feel our way by experience and by consultation with the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps, when we are more evolved, such distinctions may become more clear -- say in the Resurrection -- but until then we see through a glass darkly.

And so how does that mean purpose exists? Why does that mean we humans cannot create it otherwise?

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3 hours ago, Islander said:

He can't.  The argument against the existence of God runs out of fuel sooner or later when confronted with astronomically impossible probability of a superbly fine tuned universe,  calibrated with exquisite mathematical precision, to allow intelligent life on a blue rock, at optimal distance from the right star. But he just can't stomach having to bow down before an Almighty God. 

The argument from fine-tuning is a good one.  Especially when formulated by a good astrophysicist (Hoyle & Wickramasinghe were first to do the calculations).  But that doesn't get us any further than advanced intelligence, which even Richard Dawkins admitted could be god-like.  Such gods are finite and entirely naturalistic, though very advanced.  Perhaps something like LDS Gods.

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3 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

And so how does that mean purpose exists? Why does that mean we humans cannot create it otherwise?

The purpose of the universe preexists God.  He merely acts to enable it, the same way human parents act to enable their children.  It is part of the great chain of being.

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24 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The purpose of the universe preexists God.  He merely acts to enable it, the same way human parents act to enable their children.  It is part of the great chain of being.

Even more ironic, then. Suppose the bolded is true, but that God does not yet exist. Then why would we humans not be able to have purpose, and why would Good and Evil not exist? These are not rhetorical questions. 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

   You are missing the point that I have been striving to make.

No I don't think so.

6 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

 The claim of the theist is not that their beliefs are objective but that their moral code is revealed by a deity that does know it all. They acknowledge in and of themselves that they are incapable of divining a complete and objective moral framework.

I already addressed this and you seemed to ignore my point.

6 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

But who is to say that Trotsky, Lenin, and Stalin were immoral? That was my point about the cannibals. Who is to say that their life style is immoral?

Why do we need an authoritarian to identify evil? I have no problem pointing out the devastating problems of genocide with existing moral codes like the Golden Rule and I can justify them through reason. I can provide my reasoning to anyone else so that they can have the tools to arrive at similarly genocide-rejecting conclusions independently of any authoritarian declarer. And of course I am not the only one who can do this. I am not a special guardian of esoteric, elite tools. They are available to any reasonable person who values life and at minimum, their own life. 

6 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

 When diametrically opposed moral differences arise who is to be the arbiter? Who gets to decide whether life really has intrinsic value, or whether certain lives, such as the aged or unborn have little to no value.

When diametrically opposed theists conflict, who gets to be the arbiter? Which God prevails?

Neither need prevail and the conflict need not turn on theism. Use a common ground like the Golden Rule and create a solution that you could abide, foreseeing the possibility that said solution can be used not just for you but enforced upon you including if you were in any other social position. The Golden Rule can be used and is used to value all human life, including the aged and unborn.

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5 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Even more ironic, then. Suppose the bolded is true, but that God does not yet exist. Then why would we humans not be able to have purpose, and why would Good and Evil not exist? These are not rhetorical questions.

God has a Father, just as we have a Father God, in an infinite regress.  The purpose is built-in.  Our parents (both heavenly and earthly) merely give us a leg up on that eternal path.

Just so, there is always free choice among opposites.  In each of us, there is a spark which is coeternal with all the Gods, and always has been.  It only needs enabling to be brought to full flower.  Yet we can choose the wrong path or miss the boat or be left out in the cold -- our own choice.

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33 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

God has a Father, just as we have a Father God, in an infinite regress.  The purpose is built-in.  Our parents (both heavenly and earthly) merely give us a leg up on that eternal path.

Just so, there is always free choice among opposites.  In each of us, there is a spark which is coeternal with all the Gods, and always has been.  It only needs enabling to be brought to full flower.  Yet we can choose the wrong path or miss the boat or be left out in the cold -- our own choice.

For the record, this is not what you just said.

6 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The purpose of the universe preexists God.  He merely acts to enable it, the same way human parents act to enable their children.  It is part of the great chain of being.

Nothing can preexist an infinite regress. 

Anyways, what is it that makes it impossible to have purpose if God does not exist? What makes it impossible for there to be good or evil to exist if God does not exist? You still haven't answered these questions.

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13 hours ago, Islander said:

This is an old argument. I meant human recorded history. You have, some 5000 years ago a nomadic tribe that just invented a God like no other in recorded history? A perfect God, omniscient,  omnipotent, just, righteous, without flaw, eternal and, since then, the belief that He created all things. Couple that with  an earth and ecosystem like no other within billions on light-years, in perfect balance and capable of sustaining intelligent life. 

I can't imagine anyone really thinks the God described in the OT matches that.  But hey, if you think so, then in my mind that's great other than you have some seriously explaining to do.  How is God omnipotent or just if he commands the slaughter of entire populations?  Oh never mind that.  I know what type of answer will come.  It's just disappointing.  

13 hours ago, Islander said:

I will leave you with a quote from David Berlinski who is an atheist/agnostic but rather intellectually honest,  contrary to the likes of Dawkins 

"Has anyone provided proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close. Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close. Have our sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close. Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough. Has rationalism and moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough. Has secularism in the terrible 20th century been a force for good? Not even close, to being close. Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy in the sciences? Close enough. Does anything in the sciences or their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even in the ball park. Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on".

David Berlinski, The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions

 

Thanks for the quote.  No doubt you come off as a fan of Berlinski.  

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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I can't imagine anyone really thinks the God described in the OT matches that.  But hey, if you think so, then in my mind that's great other than you have some seriously explaining to do.  How is God omnipotent or just if he commands the slaughter of entire populations?  Oh never mind that.  I know what type of answer will come.  It's just disappointing.  

Thanks for the quote.  No doubt you come off as a fan of Berlinski.  

The answer is disappointing because you're applying 21st century culture and morality and, because you do not believe in a God that is omnicient and knows what is the absolute good in every situation. The destruction of wicked people that practiced human sacrifices (children, mind you) was not immoral.  The Allies HAD to kill 4.3 million German soldiers to stop a mad man and a mad nation. But I guess some would argue about such. 

Beyond that, without a decidedly Judeo-Christian worldview,  the concept of what's good and evil, moral and immoral does not emerge. So, you reject the Lawgiver but find useful the application of His laws? Interesting.

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28 minutes ago, Islander said:

The answer is disappointing because you're applying 21st century culture and morality and, because you do not believe in a God that is omnicient and knows what is the absolute good in every situation. The destruction of wicked people that practiced human sacrifices (children, mind you) was not immoral.  The Allies HAD to kill 4.3 million German soldiers to stop a mad man and a mad nation. But I guess some would argue about such. 

Beyond that, without a decidedly Judeo-Christian worldview,  the concept of what's good and evil, moral and immoral does not emerge. So, you reject the Lawgiver but find useful the application of His laws? Interesting.

"Without a decidedly Judeo-Christian worldview, the concept of what's good and evil, moral and immoral does not emerge"?  Sounds like the type of dogma that amounts to nonsense.  Good and evil, moral and immoral has emerged outside of this worldview you mention.  More than half the world continues on and has been raised outside of it.  

Morality is not relative in my view.  it's objective.  Proposed slavery, proposed rapes and slaughters by God's commands are not moral.  Everyone agrees with that.  

Edited by stemelbow
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14 hours ago, Islander said:

He can't.  The argument against the existence of God runs out of fuel sooner or later when confronted with astronomically impossible probability of a superbly fine tuned universe,  calibrated with exquisite mathematical precision, to allow intelligent life on a blue rock, at optimal distance from the right star. But he just can't stomach having to bow down before an Almighty God. 

I know God exists

I experience him daily in the still small voice. He has changed my life.

But the argument you presented above is a horrible one.

The counter is very simple.

Since we have evolved to be perfectly adapted to this environment, of course it appears that the environment is tailored for us when it is we who are tailored for the environment.

Oops. Back to the drawing board.

There can be no logical proof for God. He must be experienced directly.

Mystically.

Through the spirit.

That's it.

Some folks don't get that. That's why we have postulated the Millenium and work for the Dead.

Our Paradigm is perfectly logical and justifiable if you allow for the reality of spiritual experience.

And contemporary philosophy allows for that perfectly through the radical empiricism of William James and in general,  phenomenology and postmodernism.

You want logical arguments? They are there just not where you looking for them. They require a little work to figure out.

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Islander said:

The answer is disappointing because you're applying 21st century culture and morality and, because you do not believe in a God that is omnicient and knows what is the absolute good in every situation. The destruction of wicked people that practiced human sacrifices (children, mind you) was not immoral.  The Allies HAD to kill 4.3 million German soldiers to stop a mad man and a mad nation. But I guess some would argue about such. 

Beyond that, without a decidedly Judeo-Christian worldview,  the concept of what's good and evil, moral and immoral does not emerge. So, you reject the Lawgiver but find useful the application of His laws? Interesting.

Interesting.  God can kill every single child on the face of the earth, because some were practicing human sacrifice (children mind you).  So which group is moral and which group is immoral???

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19 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Some people believe that God sets all the rules, and establishes goodness.

And we say we are God and that we do.

19 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

If there is no God, how are such rules established?  That is the question we are addressing.

Okay then I will leave you to it.  Pointless though because there is a God and we are it.

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14 hours ago, Islander said:

Too many replies. I answered a similar question to some one else. Not enough time to answer everybody :)

Nice problem to have.  Some people would love to have that much attention.

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11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The purpose of the universe preexists God.  He merely acts to enable it, the same way human parents act to enable their children.  It is part of the great chain of being.

The universe has no "purpose" other than the the purposes of the living beings who live in it.  The universe, itself, is just a place, supposedly the one ("uni") place with every other place that is in it.

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24 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I know God exists

I experience him daily in the still small voice. He has changed my life.

But the argument you presented above is a horrible one.

The counter is very simple.

Since we have evolved to be perfectly adapted to this environment, of course it appears that the environment is tailored for us when it is we who are tailored for the environment.

Oops. Back to the drawing board.

There can be no logical proof for God. He must be experienced directly.

Mystically.

Through the spirit.

That's it.

Some folks don't get that. That's why we have postulated the Millenium and work for the Dead.

Our Paradigm is perfectly logical and justifiable if you allow for the reality of spiritual experience.

And contemporary philosophy allows for that perfectly through the radical empiricism of William James and in general,  phenomenology and postmodernism.

You want logical arguments? They are there just not where you looking for them. They require a little work to figure out.

 

 

The fact that God must be experienced directly does not rule out logical proof for God. 

God is a word we use to refer to the most supreme kind of being in all of existence, and logically there must one kind that is the most supreme kind of being.  Do you know of any kind more supreme than our kind?

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34 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I know God exists

I experience him daily in the still small voice. He has changed my life.

But the argument you presented above is a horrible one.

The counter is very simple.

Since we have evolved to be perfectly adapted to this environment, of course it appears that the environment is tailored for us when it is we who are tailored for the environment.

Oops. Back to the drawing board.

There can be no logical proof for God. He must be experienced directly.

Mystically.

Through the spirit.

That's it.

Some folks don't get that. That's why we have postulated the Millenium and work for the Dead.

Our Paradigm is perfectly logical and justifiable if you allow for the reality of spiritual experience.

And contemporary philosophy allows for that perfectly through the radical empiricism of William James and in general,  phenomenology and postmodernism.

You want logical arguments? They are there just not where you looking for them. They require a little work to figure out.

 

 

And...the big problem with the experienced directly--well it simply could be nothing but imagination, feelings and not much more.  That is you simply assume God then when you feel inspired and imagine he's working inside you, or whatever, you confirm your assumption--confirmation bias.  

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22 minutes ago, Ahab said:

And we say we are God and that we do.

Okay then I will leave you to it.  Pointless though because there is a God and we are it.

True.  God really is simply all that we make him to be.  He's conceived in the consciousness of individual humans.  Sure humans talk about what they perceive him to be and let that dialogue influence how they view him.  If there is a god, he's likely no where near as described by any religion or any religious person. 

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11 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

Even more ironic, then. Suppose the bolded is true, but that God does not yet exist. Then why would we humans not be able to have purpose, and why would Good and Evil not exist? These are not rhetorical questions. 

 

 

If God didn't exist then we wouldn't exist because we are God, the same kind of being as our Father in heaven.  The word God is used not only as a reference to our Father in heaven but also as a reference to that kind, our kind, of being.

So without us what would you have?  Maybe some other kinds of beings, and I think probably so, but I don't think any of them would refer to themselves as God.

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An artist paints a portrait over many days. He finds it to be unsatisfactory and destroys it and starts over. Is that destruction moral or not? Good or Evil ? 

An artist paints a portrait over many days. A vandal breaks in to the art studio after hours and destroys the painting. Is THAT act moral or not ? Good or Evil? 

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