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manbearpigg

Problem of Evil

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However, my premise still stands on a key point. A person that is not chosen can't do enough to get into your gods good graces. A person could cure every disease, bring about world peace and end world hunger but if they're not chosen it means nothing in your god's eyes.

I agree with everything you say except this point. I don't think that it's that a person 'can't do' enough to get into God's graces, it's that they 'did not'/'will not', depending on whose perspective you look at it from. God is usually defined as dwelling outside of at least our time, and knew before you were created what free will choices you would make, which apparently did not include accepting Jesus as your savior (I agree with your point that what we consider to be 'good' in this reality doesn't seem that fundamentally related to that by which we are purportedly saved). I've always presumed that since he knows how you will express your free will throughout your life, whatever choosing or evaluating of your 'goodness' has already been done based on everything you have and will do/believe, even though we are still trapped in this reality and sequential time. I do think this theological point does lead to nasty problems such as how can God create us all in some way that we all ultimately do have some chance of being chosen; I don't know if it's logical to think that he can create us so that everyone has a 'fair' chance of being saved unless he can voluntarily turn off his omniscience.

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Philosophically, yes. Theologically speaking, I think free will is a requirement.

Why? Just as an aside, since the inception of Christianity the argument about free will or predestination has always been hard fought. And for the most part the idea of free will has been a minority view. About 300 years ago, in what we today call the "Age of Enlightenment" or the "Age of Reason" an idea was floated that God may not be in total control. This view was championed by Deists, and eventually pushed its way into modern ideas. The Deist movement basically suggested that if God was NOT in control of everything then free will could exist (up until this point, very few conceived of a free world). Slowly this became the popular view, and even worked its way into Christian thought.

Ironically, this movement of Reason eventually led to people thinking of a "clockwork universe" in which it could be argued that if a person knew all of the molecules of the entire universe at any point that they could therefore predict the future movement of those molecules (predestination). The movement that pushed mainstream Christian views to accept free will over predestination has recently argued against that.

Happiness and contentment is not the opposite of natural evil. Natural evil is denoted as unnecessary pain, suffering and death. This has been around a lot longer than humans, which just exacerbates the problem.

Nevertheless, in contrast to the concept of "evil" is the idea that humans are supposed to excel, do great things, prosper, enjoy life, and do all the things expected of happiness....

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I never said there was.... Your point?

You said he demands recognition for being the creator, where is the proof?

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It is unfair IF he lays out a commandment telling everyone to follow him and only him.... How does one expect others to do that IF they never get called? Does this mean those who were never called to follow him, will never make it to heaven? IF so why would he ever do that to anyone, as they are not at fault, he was in control ? Why is it fair for the rest to spend eternity in darkness? ........Why make such a commandment for others to read and follow ? The bible commandments do not say, this is only aimed at a selected bunch...!

Read Romans 9.

So those who were followers and later in life turned away from following god ( also known as atheists, and we know that many atheists were once followers ) God would have known how that went and why it did, before they ever did...

Yes.

God also knows those who were raised as atheists, and he knows exactly why...He knows people are not at fault So as he knows all of it before anyone else, why would he create them to do this?

Read Romans 9!

If there really is a heaven and I believe so, then why would a god who classes himself as all loving ( which means all and not the selected bunch he calls on ) everyone is equal in his eyes, create those knowing he will never call on them...

Read Romans 9!

For eternity they are doomed, while those who were called upon, are not ..No logic involved with that sounds cruel to create people for a full purpose not to be called, which means not to follow him, which means their lives had no purpose.. Pointless creations, for no real reason.. Why bother with a judgement on to these people ? He knew it all beforehand

Read Romans 9!

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You said he demands recognition for being the creator, where is the proof?

You are mistaking what I believe from the Bible with scientific proof. Nowhere have I stated I have empirical proof of what I believe or say here.

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Read Romans 9.

Read Roamns 9

Read Roamns 9

Read Roamsn 9

I am asking you those questions, as I am having a discussion with you and not your bible.. Can you personally answer each questions yourself...?

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It's already been made - not everyone wants an eternal life in heaven.

I didn't dispute that.

By the same token, not everyone wants their life snuffed out.

So only brainwashed Christians attend church.... right, so Christians are unable to invite their non-Christian friends to attend... I'll take that into consideration, though if that truly is your belief then I pity you.

It's a youth group. How many youth's choose their religion and how many are whatever it is because their parents are? If you were talking about a group of adults you'd have a point, but you're not.

1- While I believe I am among the chosen, what happens between now and death may change, and I may not be among the chosen, so your point is invalid.

2- I will not rise to the bait you are laying about the "lesser humans". I have not used those terms, and it is deceitful to use such a term to characterise what I clearly do not believe.

1: Funny how there's always a cover isn't there?

2: So what are the non-chose then hmmm? It's not bait. I'm not laying any trap, you're doing that yourself. You're the one that bigs up the chosen. you're the one that dismisses the non-chosen (and uses the bibe as support).

Everyone are equal, regardless of where we may end up.

There was a time when I'd believe you when you said that. I don't anymore.

1- Not YET.

2- Assuming you never do, your words betray you and I do not expect you to request or desire an eternity with the God I believe in. Therefore, why do you demand that my belief on the afterlife be exactly the same as yours?

1: Another cover.

2: I've already said what bothers me about your belief, but I'll say it again: that those are the only two options: an eternity with your god or death. Both of which are absolutely abhorrent.

Blah blah blah blah.....

And yes, I'm being dismissive. I've had enough discussions with you in the past to know that you understand me better than that. But still you choose to go there, so I'll be just as childish as you and go "blah blah blah".....

Funny how you seem to like being dismissive now. Much like the last time when I spoke to you and, despite much thought being put into my response, you completely dismissed it all.

You know something? I don't understand you. You say we're all equal, yet support a god that commits spirtutal genocide. You say everyone shoud be treated equally yet but in your faith are clauses for treating people negatively: clauses you support wholeheartedly dispite that.You say we're all equal, but some are chosen and some are never even given the option.

But no. I'm just being childish for pointing out the contradictions you make.

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You are mistaking what I believe from the Bible with scientific proof. Nowhere have I stated I have empirical proof of what I believe or say here.

What I get from reading your posts (and you guys are doing a fantastic job keep it up) is that you don't believe that your God is omni-benevolent (all-loving). What it sounds like is that your version of God and faith does not require an all-encompassing God of Love that the majority of Christians would argue for.

In that sense I believe my thread has served its purpose in disproving an Abrahamic God of omni-all. the one that most fundamental Christians would argue for.

but seriously, don't you find it at least a little messed up that 75~80% of this world's population (and a much larger figure further down history before the spread of the gospels) of the world is doomed for all eternity? And in reality how many Christians claiming tehy hyave faith ACTUALLY deserve salvation? My dad is a fairly well known pastor so i have met my share of wolf in sheep's wool so to speak. There are many of those who accept Christ that murder, steal, lie, cheat, and hurt others and many non-christians that embody what a good human being is. Isn't that a little TOO messed up that just chance and faith completely discredits a life of good deeds?

PS: i believe this thread has done exactly what i wanted from it GREAT JOB everyone.

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I agree with everything you say except this point. I don't think that it's that a person 'can't do' enough to get into God's graces, it's that they 'did not'/'will not', depending on whose perspective you look at it from. God is usually defined as dwelling outside of at least our time, and knew before you were created what free will choices you would make, which apparently did not include accepting Jesus as your savior (I agree with your point that what we consider to be 'good' in this reality doesn't seem that fundamentally related to that by which we are purportedly saved). I've always presumed that since he knows how you will express your free will throughout your life, whatever choosing or evaluating of your 'goodness' has already been done based on everything you have and will do/believe, even though we are still trapped in this reality and sequential time. I do think this theological point does lead to nasty problems such as how can God create us all in some way that we all ultimately do have some chance of being chosen; I don't know if it's logical to think that he can create us so that everyone has a 'fair' chance of being saved unless he can voluntarily turn off his omniscience.

I think ultimately the idea of being chosen simpy doesn't fit with free will. The whole chosen thing means that, out of x amount of people only a small number are chosen to have the chance to be saved. Ultimately that doesn't make sense because then you have the rest of people who just seem to be surplus to requirement. So everyone should start with the same opportunity and then it goes from there, dependant on what they do/don't do.

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Why? Just as an aside, since the inception of Christianity the argument about free will or predestination has always been hard fought. And for the most part the idea of free will has been a minority view. About 300 years ago...

Yes, you are quite right. I could never wrap my head around Calvinism and predestination.

Nevertheless, in contrast to the concept of "evil" is the idea that humans are supposed to excel, do great things, prosper, enjoy life, and do all the things expected of happiness....

I don't want to seem to be picking on you, but you're the only one making a theodicial argument. You seem to be denying one of Gods omnimax properties, specifically omnibenevolence. That's fine, but if that's the case (God is not all-loving) then why worship God?

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I am asking you those questions, as I am having a discussion with you and not your bible.. Can you personally answer each questions yourself...?

All the questions you asked are obviously not new answers, for Paul himself felt he needed to answer those questions also. I figured that you and I know each other so well that you would anticipate my reply, because I have given this reply countless times in the past. Anyway, I'll pick up from verse 10 of Romans 9 (bold is biblical quote, if you don't want to read the Bible, read my comments on them, at least):

10 Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13 Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

Paul starts in verse 10 by appealing to the Old Testament story of Esau and Jacob. In this Old Testament story, Esau lost his birthright to Jacob, even though he was the firstborn and therefore rightful heir. Paul states clearly in verse 11 - before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad - in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works..... Again this is a very clear statement concerning God's purpose of election in choosing one over the other, not because of anything they had done (works), indeed before they were born or had done anything to deserve it or not, God had chosen one over the other. One could argue that it related specifically to Esau and Jacob and does not directly relate to us today (a valid observation, but for the rest of the passage - which broadens the context to beyond Old Testament patriarchs)..... Continuing on to the next set of verses:

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

Paul again draws on Old Testament references, quoting the story of Pharaoh and Moses from Exodus 33 in stating "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy". He repeats this in various wording in this section multiple times. And in verse 17, again talking of Pharaoh - I (God) raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power..... Did Pharaoh have a choice in the matter? I would argue that he did not, especially when Exodus notes that Pharaoh was about to let the Israelites go, except for God's intervention in hardening Pharaoh's heart (however, there is a point worth raising on this issue - I'll discuss this shortly). Moving on to verse 19, and this is where I find the passage getting really interesting:

19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?

Paul specifically addresses the argument that many today use - "if God made me like this, how can God still blame me for my actions". And the simple answer Paul gives - who are you to talk back to God. God, the King, the creator. You can't understand God. He's too big for you, you're just a human. It's not an answer a lot of people like (heck, I don't like it either, and I'm a Christian). It's not exactly an ideal answer, and I sure wish anywhere in the Bible there was a better answer provided, but this is the answer given. Paul then uses an analogy that any in the day could understand - how can a pot say to a potter "why did you make me like this". The potter can make grand pots or common use pots (a decorative vase, or a chamber pot for example). The pot has no say in the matter - it's all up to the creator of the pot! God, the creator. In any case, I'm going to move on to the next few verses:

22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

I'll end my discussion here after these verses. Here, Paul theorises why people are actually created for destruction - why would God make people destined for destruction? What if God created these "objects of his wrath - prepared for destruction" to show the "riches of his mercy" to those whom he "also prepared in advance for glory". He prepared certain people for destruction, in order to show glory to those who also were prepared for glory - in other words, how can we who are saved truly appreciate the massive gift of eternal life that God has given us if we didn't have an alternative (destruction) to compare it to.

With all that said and done, I am not averse to the idea of predestination and free will existing together in some form on God's plane of existence. In an earthly world, one cannot have both, but with God all things are possible. There is some evidence of this dual predestination/free will issue in the book of Exodus. As mentioned above in my discussion on Romans 9, Pharaoh is said to be close to releasing the Israelites, and he very well might have, except for the matter that "God hardened Pharaoh's heart". There are several occasions where this happened - Exodus 4:21, 7:3-4, 9:12, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:4, 14:8, 14:17. However - it must also be noted here that while God did harden Pharaoh's heart, there are also other places where Pharaoh hardened his own heart (sometimes within the same section that God hardened it. For examples of this, see - Exodus 8:15, 8:32, 9:34 - see also 1 Samuel 6:6.

Considering this dual hardening, it is possible to argue that both free will and predestination exist, but it is impossible for us to say that we alone choose, for this is simply not the case. God chooses. Anyway, that's how I would answer :tu:

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android

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I didn't dispute that.

By the same token, not everyone wants their life snuffed out.

True enough, but if your life was snuffed out you really wouldn't have a chance to complain, would you.

It's a youth group. How many youth's choose their religion and how many are whatever it is because their parents are? If you were talking about a group of adults you'd have a point, but you're not.

Clearly you've never lived in South-west Sydney and places like it. Here where I live, Christianity is a minority and shares the spotlight with Buddhism and Islam, and depending on which suburb it may be greater still (I've taught at schools where 400 kids are enrolled but on Eid [Muslim Holy Day] only 15 kids turn up because the other 385 students are celebrating their religion). My area is not like yours, where Christianity appears to occupy 99% of people. So believe me when I say that a youth group here may have nothing to do with the religion that the kids grew up with. Sure, some of them that attend are from Christian families, but often these kids bring their school friend, and often these school friends are not Christian (in my experience working at this church with a high Vietnamese population, the kids usually have Buddhist or atheist parents).

1: Funny how there's always a cover isn't there?

2: So what are the non-chose then hmmm? It's not bait. I'm not laying any trap, you're doing that yourself. You're the one that bigs up the chosen. you're the one that dismisses the non-chosen (and uses the bibe as support).

1- Just logic.

2- The non-chosen are non-chosen, they are not lesser humans.

1: Another cover.

2: I've already said what bothers me about your belief, but I'll say it again: that those are the only two options: an eternity with your god or death. Both of which are absolutely abhorrent.

1- Just the truth, you claim you haven't heard the call of God, and for all I know that may never change. But I've found that with God I should never say never. After all, before Paul's conversion he was known as Saul and was one of the fiercest opponents of Christianity, killing believers because he thought it was right.

2- Sorry you feel that way.

Funny how you seem to like being dismissive now. Much like the last time when I spoke to you and, despite much thought being put into my response, you completely dismissed it all.

You know something? I don't understand you. You say we're all equal, yet support a god that commits spirtutal genocide. You say everyone shoud be treated equally yet but in your faith are clauses for treating people negatively: clauses you support wholeheartedly dispite that.You say we're all equal, but some are chosen and some are never even given the option.

But no. I'm just being childish for pointing out the contradictions you make.

First, I do apologise for my snide remarks, it was 7am and the filter between my thoughts and words was not at peak efficiency. Nevertheless, I do get tired of your rhetoric. You are unable (or unwilling) to move past your past experiences with Christianity and whether you see it or not you paint all Christians with the same brush. I am not like them, have never been like them, and my beliefs do not promote negativity, despite your assertions to the contrary. You cannot move past that, which just gets me frustrated. But I apologise for letting that frustration show in such a manner.

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android

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What I get from reading your posts (and you guys are doing a fantastic job keep it up) is that you don't believe that your God is omni-benevolent (all-loving). What it sounds like is that your version of God and faith does not require an all-encompassing God of Love that the majority of Christians would argue for.

In that sense I believe my thread has served its purpose in disproving an Abrahamic God of omni-all. the one that most fundamental Christians would argue for.

I believe God is a God of love, but in my opinion that does not necessitate that he simply lets us do what we want and get away with it. Just because God doesn't forgive everyone of everything they did does not mean he loves some people more than others.

but seriously, don't you find it at least a little messed up that 75~80% of this world's population (and a much larger figure further down history before the spread of the gospels) of the world is doomed for all eternity?

You have it mixed up, before the gospels God still had ways of reaching humankind. As for a percentage of the world to be doomed or saved, ultimately it's up to God.

And in reality how many Christians claiming tehy hyave faith ACTUALLY deserve salvation? My dad is a fairly well known pastor so i have met my share of wolf in sheep's wool so to speak. There are many of those who accept Christ that murder, steal, lie, cheat, and hurt others and many non-christians that embody what a good human being is. Isn't that a little TOO messed up that just chance and faith completely discredits a life of good deeds?

Jesus preaches about wolves in sheep's clothing. He calls them "hypocrites" and hasn't got much joy for them. As I said above, ultimately it's up to God, but if a follower is not really following God but only paying lip-service while they go on to murder/steal/lie/cheat/etc without remorse then they don't really know what it means to be repentant.

Just a few thoughts,

~ Regards, PA

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Yes, you are quite right. I could never wrap my head around Calvinism and predestination.

At heart, I have to say I'm a Calvinist when it comes to these things, but in saying that I am not opposed to the idea of free will and predestination side-by side. Take the following section of film (start at the 1-minute mark, that's what I'm focusing on):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrlTeoFcf-Q

Gandalf and Frodo are speaking with one another, and Frodo exclaims "I wish the Ring had never come to me, I wish none of this had happened". Gandalf's reply:

"So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, in which case you also were meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought."

Note that on one hand, Gandalf says that all we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us. Then in the next breath he says "Bilbo was meant to find the ring, in which case you also were meant to have it". He concludes by saying how encouraging this thought is. I'm not sure whether it was intended for free will and predestination to be examined in this quote, but the two harmoniously exist in this quote.

I don't want to seem to be picking on you, but you're the only one making a theodicial argument. You seem to be denying one of Gods omnimax properties, specifically omnibenevolence. That's fine, but if that's the case (God is not all-loving) then why worship God?

Just because not everyone makes it to heaven and not everyone has perfectly happy lives does not therefore indicate that God is not all-loving.

~ Regards,

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True enough, but if your life was snuffed out you really wouldn't have a chance to complain, would you.

True enough. But I find comfort in believing in an afterife being reunited with lost loved ones (as most do). I fail to see how your idea of life after death (an eternity with god or death) provides any such thing.

Clearly you've never lived in South-west Sydney and places like it. Here where I live, Christianity is a minority and shares the spotlight with Buddhism and Islam, and depending on which suburb it may be greater still (I've taught at schools where 400 kids are enrolled but on Eid [Muslim Holy Day] only 15 kids turn up because the other 385 students are celebrating their religion). My area is not like yours, where Christianity appears to occupy 99% of people. So believe me when I say that a youth group here may have nothing to do with the religion that the kids grew up with. Sure, some of them that attend are from Christian families, but often these kids bring their school friend, and often these school friends are not Christian (in my experience working at this church with a high Vietnamese population, the kids usually have Buddhist or atheist parents).

No I don't. In the first case because Sydney has better weather year round than here (especially now which is a mix of wind, rain and snow to varying egrees). But as to the religion side: I live in a village. It has two churches and that's it. Attendance for both (last I heard was pretty low. Most people here don't go to church at all (bar weddings and funerals). So theres not much comparison to draw from there. Things in that respect seem completely different.

1- Just logic.

2- The non-chosen are non-chosen, they are not lesser humans.

1: Of course

2: Why? In human terms yes. But in god's terms? The non-chosen are absolutely lesser by being non-chosen.

1- Just the truth, you claim you haven't heard the call of God, and for all I know that may never change. But I've found that with God I should never say never. After all, before Paul's conversion he was known as Saul and was one of the fiercest opponents of Christianity, killing believers because he thought it was right.

2- Sorry you feel that way.

1: Perhaps. However, I dont think I'd want to be called, simpy because it sounds awful and your god wouldnt be happy until I was destroyed from the inside out.

2: Why?

Let's say a person took over Australia and turned it into a dictatorship and the regime was 'do as I say or I'Il kill you' would you think that's acceptable? It doesn't have to be Australia, it coul be anywhere. My point is if a leader decided to slaughter their people, it would be condemned.

Now your god wants people to do as it says. If they don't they die. To me, it's eactly the same sort of situation, only on a much bigger scale and so is far worse.

First, I do apologise for my snide remarks, it was 7am and the filter between my thoughts and words was not at peak efficiency. Nevertheless, I do get tired of your rhetoric. You are unable (or unwilling) to move past your past experiences with Christianity and whether you see it or not you paint all Christians with the same brush. I am not like them, have never been like them, and my beliefs do not promote negativity, despite your assertions to the contrary. You cannot move past that, which just gets me frustrated. But I apologise for letting that frustration show in such a manner.

~ Regards, PA

The apology is noted.

I don't paint all christians with the same brush. If they give me evidence that they are not the same as those past christians, I accept that. The problem is that you cling to the same belief that caused those past negative experiences. Now as I've said before, as long as you hold that belief, you're painted the same way. That's not my fault, that is your own. You choose to support that negative belief. You don't have to, but you do all the same. You give up that negative belief and I'll gladly treat you differently. As it stands your belief absolutely promotes negativity. Shame you blind yourself to it because you don't go around beating people.

I do tire of your attitude that your belief isn't a negative one simply because you don't beat people with it. Especially when you've made it clear you'd willingly use that belief negatively if it was in church. I fail to see why acting negatively becomes acceptable if done either in the name of a religion or only in a religious setting. It's negative across the board, full stop no exceptions.

Edited by shadowhive

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Just because not everyone makes it to heaven and not everyone has perfectly happy lives does not therefore indicate that God is not all-loving.

Heaven is irrelevant when it comes to the evidential problem of natural evil. Natural evil is not frustration about not obtaining what we want, or not avoiding what we don't want. The issue is not minor annoyances or a general dissatisfaction with life. The problem is hundreds of thousands of years of unnecessary human pain and suffering and millions of years of unnecessary non-human pain and suffering.

This is a problem. God's problem.

p.s. Tolkien, as a devout Roman Catholic would have eschewed any form of predestination as heresy.

Of course he could write anything he wanted in a novel.

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True enough. But I find comfort in believing in an afterife being reunited with lost loved ones (as most do). I fail to see how your idea of life after death (an eternity with god or death) provides any such thing.

And if your belief brings you comfort then go for it. You'll die believing you'll see your loved ones again, and if I'm right that will be the last thing you'll ever do or think, you won't be able to regret not having that afterlife.

No I don't. In the first case because Sydney has better weather year round than here (especially now which is a mix of wind, rain and snow to varying egrees). But as to the religion side: I live in a village. It has two churches and that's it. Attendance for both (last I heard was pretty low. Most people here don't go to church at all (bar weddings and funerals). So theres not much comparison to draw from there. Things in that respect seem completely different.

Ok so not much religion at all. Still, I would envisage a very different place to one where you're just as likely to run into a Buddhist as you are a Christian, and that was originally my point - the kids who go to this youth group are not necessarily church-kids.

2: Why? In human terms yes. But in god's terms? The non-chosen are absolutely lesser by being non-chosen.

I disagree, I don't think they are lesser than anyone else. I don't go around snobbing my nose at non-Christians out of some sense of superiority or being "greater" than them.

1: Perhaps. However, I dont think I'd want to be called, simpy because it sounds awful and your god wouldnt be happy until I was destroyed from the inside out.

The future brings what the future brings, and as I said, you may not ever change your view and in all likelihood you never will. I just won't say "never"....

2: Why?

Let's say a person took over Australia and turned it into a dictatorship and the regime was 'do as I say or I'Il kill you' would you think that's acceptable? It doesn't have to be Australia, it coul be anywhere. My point is if a leader decided to slaughter their people, it would be condemned.

Now your god wants people to do as it says. If they don't they die. To me, it's eactly the same sort of situation, only on a much bigger scale and so is far worse.

The difference is that the hypothetical dictator who took over Australia (or any other country) would be a human being, a created being just like me and you. This dictator has no Right to take the life of millions for not following him. On the other hand, God is the creator. We exist because he created us. And since he did create us in a sense he owns us in the same way as an artist owns a painting they drew.

To use an analogy, I own a clay model Viking boat. I fashioned it several years ago while I was at my cousin's place. This boat took upwards of 20 hours to be shaped and moulded to be just perfect (I was only a beginner trying a pretty complicated piece, a craftsman would take far less than 20 hours, but I was still extremely proud of that boat). Now, if I wanted, I could get that boat, throw it in the rubbish or step on it and destroy it. As the creator, that is my Right. If I sell it to someone, then I give away my Right of Ownership and that person can do whatever they want with it. On the other hand, if someone walked into my house, took the boat off my shelf and destroyed it I would be furious - it was not their property, they had no Right.

The principle here remains the same - God owns us, he has not sold us to others so he still owns us. If God wants to destroy us, as the Creator he has that Right. If someone else wants to destroy us (eg, a dictator) then they have no Right, on the basis of ownership. But God offers a way for us to live, by following His rule and bringing Him the glory He deserves (sorry, that's kind of preachy, I'm simply pointing out what I believe).

The apology is noted.

I don't paint all christians with the same brush. If they give me evidence that they are not the same as those past christians, I accept that. The problem is that you cling to the same belief that caused those past negative experiences. Now as I've said before, as long as you hold that belief, you're painted the same way. That's not my fault, that is your own. You choose to support that negative belief. You don't have to, but you do all the same. You give up that negative belief and I'll gladly treat you differently. As it stands your belief absolutely promotes negativity. Shame you blind yourself to it because you don't go around beating people.

I do tire of your attitude that your belief isn't a negative one simply because you don't beat people with it. Especially when you've made it clear you'd willingly use that belief negatively if it was in church. I fail to see why acting negatively becomes acceptable if done either in the name of a religion or only in a religious setting. It's negative across the board, full stop no exceptions.

What more can I say that hasn't already been said. We're going in circles and neither of us is going to change on this issue. Best wishes,

~ Regards, PA

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Heaven is irrelevant when it comes to the evidential problem of natural evil. Natural evil is not frustration about not obtaining what we want, or not avoiding what we don't want. The issue is not minor annoyances or a general dissatisfaction with life. The problem is hundreds of thousands of years of unnecessary human pain and suffering and millions of years of unnecessary non-human pain and suffering.

This is a problem. God's problem.

I still maintain that the fact we suffer in this world does not indicate a God who does not love us. It only indicates a God who has an agenda other than our health and well-being in this our physical existence.

p.s. Tolkien, as a devout Roman Catholic would have eschewed any form of predestination as heresy.

Of course he could write anything he wanted in a novel.

Indeed, though predestination and free will has been a debate raging for thousands of years among Christian scholars (including early Church fathers, and Catholic Bishops throughout the ages). Indeed if you go back 300 years to the Age of Enlightenment you may just find that the predominant belief in Christianity was that of predestination, and that it was this movement that led to the prominence of free will specifically because they rejected the authority of the Christian God.

~ Regards, PA

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Predestination is serious problem. Let's not consider for a moment predestination of humans, but lets take example of Satan. He knows the Sripture by heart. He knew that Jesus will appear on Earth, yet in his best power he was unable to stop Jesus, although i think that in a moment of Jesus death, Satan thought he succeeded to separate man and God. But anyway, Satan knows and understands what will happen in Relevation. He knows it is forseen that he will come to Earth to pose as Christ, to deceive all mankind. Right this moment, he is doing everything in his power to prepare humans for his grand return, so that he can rule over unified earth. And that after some time, he knows Christ will return and remove him from power. So if he knows all that... why doesn't he do the opposite? Wouldn't that be defeat of God if first the false Second coming, and after that true Second coming, never happens?

Wouldn't Satan be able to completely destroy Gods prophecies and therefore Gods credibility if Satan repents today?

I think it's probably logical fallacy: If Satan repents, he has to admit that God is right, but by doing so he would prove God is wrong.

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Predestination is serious problem. Let's not consider for a moment predestination of humans, but lets take example of Satan. He knows the Sripture by heart. He knew that Jesus will appear on Earth, yet in his best power he was unable to stop Jesus, although i think that in a moment of Jesus death, Satan thought he succeeded to separate man and God. But anyway, Satan knows and understands what will happen in Relevation. He knows it is forseen that he will come to Earth to pose as Christ, to deceive all mankind. Right this moment, he is doing everything in his power to prepare humans for his grand return, so that he can rule over unified earth. And that after some time, he knows Christ will return and remove him from power. So if he knows all that... why doesn't he do the opposite? Wouldn't that be defeat of God if first the false Second coming, and after that true Second coming, never happens?

Wouldn't Satan be able to completely destroy Gods prophecies and therefore Gods credibility if Satan repents today?

I think it's probably logical fallacy: If Satan repents, he has to admit that God is right, but by doing so he would prove God is wrong.

This of course is working under the (admittedly common) assumption that Satan is in rebellion against God. I certainly agree that he's here to tempt us (though I'm not sure I agree with the whole Eschatological approach of coming to earth and posing as Christ, that is only one interpretation of the End Things). But while it is a common Christian belief that Satan rebelled against God and is trying to overthrow him, this is not how it has always been perceived. The Jews see Satan as God's prosecuting angel - far from a fallen angel, Satan is acting within the scope that God assigned for him as our accuser. I'm inclined to see it this way. One or two verses from Revelation is not enough to justify a whole doctrine on Satan's rebellion, in my opinion.

~ Regards, PA

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Here you have this archangel (Lucifer) whose name implies great brilliance. So he surely understands the difference between him, as a finite, created being, and God, an infinite, uncreated being.

(No matter how big the number, the difference between a finite number and the infinite is always infinite.)

That such a smart being would rebel and even begin to imagine a whisper of a chance just makes no sense at all. It goes beyond believability. Poor Christians are stuck with having to defend this.

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The difference is that the hypothetical dictator who took over Australia (or any other country) would be a human being, a created being just like me and you. This dictator has no Right to take the life of millions for not following him. On the other hand, God is the creator. We exist because he created us. And since he did create us in a sense he owns us in the same way as an artist owns a painting they drew.

The principle here remains the same - God owns us, he has not sold us to others so he still owns us. If God wants to destroy us, as the Creator he has that Right. If someone else wants to destroy us (eg, a dictator) then they have no Right, on the basis of ownership. But God offers a way for us to live, by following His rule and bringing Him the glory He deserves (sorry, that's kind of preachy, I'm simply pointing out what I believe).

~ Regards, PA

Although i am a Christian, i don't agree with this statement. I am also a father, and through my blood my children were born, does that give me the right to destroy my children? If God pledges that He will respect human free will, then how can He destroy who is innocent without becoming unjust? Something which is unsentient can be considered property, but by becoming sentient, i received rights to be judged by Justice, and to be able to argue with God.

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I don't see where it follows that anyone or anything, no matter who "owns" whom, has the right Christians say their God has.

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Here you have this archangel (Lucifer) whose name implies great brilliance. So he surely understands the difference between him, as a finite, created being, and God, an infinite, uncreated being.

(No matter how big the number, the difference between a finite number and the infinite is always infinite.)

That such a smart being would rebel and even begin to imagine a whisper of a chance just makes no sense at all. It goes beyond believability. Poor Christians are stuck with having to defend this.

In my post couple of pages ago (which i correctly assumed no one will bother to read and understand) I explained by pure logic, among other things, that free will + eternity to explore it = rebellion. Rebellion absolutely must happen, if there is free will.

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Although i am a Christian, i don't agree with this statement. I am also a father, and through my blood my children were born, does that give me the right to destroy my children? If God pledges that He will respect human free will, then how can He destroy who is innocent without becoming unjust? Something which is unsentient can be considered property, but by becoming sentient, i received rights to be judged by Justice, and to be able to argue with God.

I am not advocating killing your own children. Creation and procreation are two entirely different things! Your child was the result of the amalgamation of your and your partner's DNA/genes.

That said, God has never pledged to respect human free will - free will is not ever directly addressed in the Bible. And as a sentient being, you are of course within your right to argue with God. However, in Christian thought, once you have sinned you cannot enter heaven and if you were judged by Justice alone, you would be doomed to die - we all would. But God also judges by Mercy, through the sacrifice of Jesus. If a person dies innocent (the only chance of this being if they die while not developing the cognitive ability to consciously disobey God - generally by being too young) then God would see them as innocent and Judge them thusly.

Edited by Paranoid Android

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