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manbearpigg

Problem of Evil

283 posts in this topic

I can't stop believing what I believe.

Of course you can, there is abundant evidence that people do it all the time. Isn't the call to evangelize in Christianity predicated on that fact?

If an atheist believes nothing is after this life, and they say to you that they are glad you find comfort in belief in an afterlife, but then say that they don't believe such and that when you die you die, are they being any less hateful?

Yes, they are being less hateful, both they and the theist have the same fate, neither is 'better'. There is no implicit statement in this scenario indicating that some deserve damnation as determined by the ultimate arbiter of good and evil and worthiness and unworthiness. To me, this is ultimately just yet another contradiction. It is my understanding that the reason that it is just to punish people for their sins is that ultimately God has written in their heart/soul morality and a sense of right and wrong, even in atheists. Yet what this god-given morality in my heart is telling me is on too many points in direct opposition to his supposed word in the Bible and how God specifically has acted (and no, 'who are we to question God' is not an answer at all, it's a red herring when assessing whether God is good or not). To some extent I have to carve out an exception for your specific, less 'fire-and-brimstone' beliefs (is it at least fair to say that the ideas that there is no hell and souls are perhaps destroyed is a minority position within Christianity?), but there certainly is a negativity to, even if I phrase it mildly, 'you are not chosen and are instead damned, and this is just as you deserve it', that is not present in an atheistic mindset.

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Fair enough. In that case, I ask that you keep your pity, I don't need or want it.

Fine.

As a school teacher, one thing I've noticed is that kids can be mean. If someone is "different", they are going to single them out for negative treatment. They don't need religion for it. If someone is fat, or wears glasses, they will be bullied as well. I once taught at a school with students with behaviour issues, and a "Christian" who was (from everything I saw) taught about love and tolerance, then got something against one of those people at his Youth Group and brought himself and fifty cronies to surround the building just to get at one person he didn't like.

I'm not trying to minimise your experience. I'm just saying that kids can be cruel, and being different is going to make it that much worse. And in saying that, I do agree that teaching kids to hate is absolutely wrong, I would never endorse teaching a child to hate, so the kids you experienced problems with must have been taught how to hate at their religion. This is not what I am referring to.

I agree they will pick on those that are different. However I don't see religion doing anything against that. On the contrary, religion is all about making different people act in the same way and crushing difference wherever it's found because it's ungodly or sinful.

Hate, sadly, seems built right into religion. I don't know if they were actively taught to hate by their religion, but I've seen in grown adults (ones that should know better) to use the same reasoning and then quickly add 'oh I'm not being hateful I'm hating the sin not the sinner'. If that's the sort of attitude the adults have, it wouldn't surprise me if that's what kids are being taught too.

That's the problem with introducing kids to religion, because it's not just the love and acceptance, it's the utter nonsense of sin and it's that nonsense that adults use to harm others and kids just do it too. Kid's are simply not mature enough to handle it (then again neither are most adults) and it's better they're not exposed to it at all.

Again, your opinion. I don't agree with it, I don't accept it, and I don't require you to tell me what I believe in.

Of course you don't. The problem is you've not proven me wrong.

Edited by shadowhive

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You are using a lot of words to say that it is not you that gets a reward in Heaven but some robot with your name but no will.

Not a robot, just an elevated me, a different (yet the same) person who I now am. A "glorified" me.

Agree or disagree, I'm not trying to convince you, I'm only stating what the Bible says.

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What you said was what prompted the questions...

Never did I say the passage only referred to two people. That's that!

The pot doesn't have a mind ( or cannot have ) to question who made it... The human is given the mind to question who made them..... World of difference, which is why the analogy is useless

You are overlooking that this is an analogy - a parable, if you will. The focus on this is the creator, not the created. In a parable, the focus is what is looked at - in this case, it doesn't matter whether the created has a voice of its own, that is not the focus of the parable.

And many wont say it

Which is why I only said that "some of them" believe it. Nowhere did I say all, or even most. Only some.

And there always will be so many christians that do in fact do it...

True enough.

Indeed you feel you can accept something with no answers ( Ironically many christians seek the bible for answers ) ..Its not an answer.. I can't picture myself following a faith that tells me I have no right to question it. What on earth is the point in creating you to have a strong intelligent inquisitive mind, if you are told not to use it? You wont be able to answer that one PA, the bible says don't think about it !! Its like being a drone, or a sheep.. Follow like sheep and ask no questions.. That's how I seriously see it all..

It's not that we are discouraged to ask questions, on the contrary we are encouraged to ask questions and seek truth. It's just that some questions have no answer (at least, no satisfactory answer).

~ Regards,

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Scientifically the greater good cannot be established. Theologically, though, it can. The greater good is eternity. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world but condemn his eternal soul?

And how is it impossible for the Creator to establish heaven/eternity without millions of years of unnecessary pain, suffering and death? There simply was no other method? I can think of several alternatives, and I'm not God (not even close)

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Of course you can, there is abundant evidence that people do it all the time. Isn't the call to evangelize in Christianity predicated on that fact?

Change in belief only happens after an organic process of change. It is impossible for someone (anyone) to simply stand up one day and say "For no apparent reason I'm going to change and believe something else today".

Yes, they are being less hateful, both they and the theist have the same fate, neither is 'better'. There is no implicit statement in this scenario indicating that some deserve damnation as determined by the ultimate arbiter of good and evil and worthiness and unworthiness. To me, this is ultimately just yet another contradiction. It is my understanding that the reason that it is just to punish people for their sins is that ultimately God has written in their heart/soul morality and a sense of right and wrong, even in atheists. Yet what this god-given morality in my heart is telling me is on too many points in direct opposition to his supposed word in the Bible and how God specifically has acted (and no, 'who are we to question God' is not an answer at all, it's a red herring when assessing whether God is good or not). To some extent I have to carve out an exception for your specific, less 'fire-and-brimstone' beliefs (is it at least fair to say that the ideas that there is no hell and souls are perhaps destroyed is a minority position within Christianity?), but there certainly is a negativity to, even if I phrase it mildly, 'you are not chosen and are instead damned, and this is just as you deserve it', that is not present in an atheistic mindset.

Is it "hateful" for a Christian to believe this? Honestly stop and think on that point - there are many adjectives that could be used instead of "hateful". Is this truly the most accurate one?

I would argue not.

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I agree they will pick on those that are different. However I don't see religion doing anything against that. On the contrary, religion is all about making different people act in the same way and crushing difference wherever it's found because it's ungodly or sinful.

Nice choice of words - "crushing difference" - sounds very alarming. And while I agree some religions (more correctly, some churches/places of worship and teaching) do promote this, it is by no means a universal trait. And no, teaching something as "ungodly" does not automatically mean it is therefore hated upon. No matter how often we argue, this point will never change.

~ PA

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And how is it impossible for the Creator to establish heaven/eternity without millions of years of unnecessary pain, suffering and death? There simply was no other method? I can think of several alternatives, and I'm not God (not even close)

Whatever God might have chosen, is irrelevant. It is what God has chosen. You may think of several other alternatives but have you truly thought through all the consequences?

How do you know your alternatives sufficiently answer all questions, while teaching us everything God wanted us to learn? You can't know this. It's impossible. I know you may think these alternatives are great, but at the end of the day, I'm glad you're not God (though it's only a movie, see "Bruce Almighty" to get an idea of how a mere human may end up trying to stand in God's shoes for a day or two.

~ PA

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Nice choice of words - "crushing difference" - sounds very alarming. And while I agree some religions (more correctly, some churches/places of worship and teaching) do promote this, it is by no means a universal trait. And no, teaching something as "ungodly" does not automatically mean it is therefore hated upon. No matter how often we argue, this point will never change.

~ PA

That's because it is alarming. I'm not like you. I don't use subtle double speak to cover that up and I dont try and twist it into being a good thing.

Teaching something is 'ungodly' automatically increases the likelyhood it will be hated on and there is ample proof of this. Even if it's not hated on outright, you don't need to hate to treat people in negative ways and that's always done when something is ungodly. Hate the sin love the sinner is the catch all term that's a prime example of this. It excuses people to treat a person negatively and if questioned it's not done out of hate for the person, regardless of what harm is actually done. I think your belief is rather naive, especially since you've said before you'd be ok with using that line of thought.

Teaching things are ungodly doesn't help anything. It doesn't improve love, tolerance or acceptance. Quite the opposite.

Edited by shadowhive

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Never did I say the passage only referred to two people. That's that!

I never said you did, and that's that .!!

You are overlooking that this is an analogy

No I am not.. The only similar thing in the analogy is both have someone who made them. . What sticks out like a sore thumb is - The pot doesn't and cant do to its maker what humans can to their maker..

The focus on this is the creator, not the created.

The creator will tell its creation not to question him... The potter cannot do the same with a pot....Yet the bible uses a potter and his pot not being able to question its maker Or doesn't ask its maker.. We know a pot cant ask... we know humans can . useless..

It's not that we are discouraged to ask questions, on the contrary we are encouraged to ask questions and seek truth.

Then that must be in the contradicting part of the bible, for it sure as heck isn't in Romans 9...Romans 9 tells you - Who are you to question god? If I said to you - Who are you to question me? That is arrogance and a way for me to dodge questions I cannot answer

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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Teaching things are ungodly doesn't help anything. It doesn't improve love, tolerance or acceptance. Quite the opposite.

Which is where the prime bone of our contention lies.

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Change in belief only happens after an organic process of change. It is impossible for someone (anyone) to simply stand up one day and say "For no apparent reason I'm going to change and believe something else today".

Then I think we're in agreement: you can stop believing what you believe.

Is it "hateful" for a Christian to believe this? Honestly stop and think on that point - there are many adjectives that could be used instead of "hateful". Is this truly the most accurate one?

I would argue not.

You may be right on that, especially specific to your own beliefs that does not seem to include some of the usual components that I find most objectionable. But the quote I responded to did not refer to just the binary 'hateful'/'not hateful', it was 'more' or 'less' hateful; it is more 'just' to chop off a thief's fingers as opposed to burning him alive in a vat of acid, even though neither reaches the bar of being a 'just' punishment for the crime IMO. There is no grading of anything afterlife-wise under the atheistic viewpoint, we all die and nothing after that point has anything to do with what we did or did not do in this life. That is not the case under Christianity, I apparently will be damned and will deserve it, and even if you don't understand why I deserve it, if you believe in a just god it seems you have no choice to agree that this is a just fate for me.

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I never said you did, and that's that .!!

So why bring it up?

No I am not.. The only similar thing in the analogy is both have someone who made them. . What sticks out like a sore thumb is - The pot doesn't and cant do to its maker what we humans can to their maker..

The creator will tell its creation not to question him... The potter cannot do the same with a pot....Yet the bible uses a potter and his pot not being able to question its maker Or doesn't ask its maker.. We know a pot cant ask... we know humans can . useless..

What a pot can or cannot do is irrelevant to the parable.

Then that must be in the contradicting part of the bible, for it sure as heck isn't in Romans 9...Romans 9 tells you - Who are you to question god? If I said to you - Who are you to question me? That is arrogance and a way for me to dodge questions I cannot answer

As I said, not all questions have answers, and some answers we do not like. Yet we are still encouraged to ask questions and seek.

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Which is where the prime bone of our contention lies.

How so?

Teaching someone is ungodly benefit that person but it sure does give people an excuse to treat them in various negative ways. Again, I've seen this first, second and third hand.

So the question is: does teaching something is ungodly result in improved love/acceptance/tolerance? Yes or no?

Edited by shadowhive

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Then I think we're in agreement: you can stop believing what you believe.

Eventually, given enough organic change, true enough. But one cannot simply turn around and say "I believe differently".

You may be right on that, especially specific to your own beliefs that does not seem to include some of the usual components that I find most objectionable. But the quote I responded to did not refer to just the binary 'hateful'/'not hateful', it was 'more' or 'less' hateful; it is more 'just' to chop off a thief's fingers as opposed to burning him alive in a vat of acid, even though neither reaches the bar of being a 'just' punishment for the crime IMO. There is no grading of anything afterlife-wise under the atheistic viewpoint, we all die and nothing after that point has anything to do with what we did or did not do in this life. That is not the case under Christianity, I apparently will be damned and will deserve it, and even if you don't understand why I deserve it, if you believe in a just god it seems you have no choice to agree that this is a just fate for me.

I still cannot agree that my view is any different to an atheist. We believe the same thing, except I believe in an alternative of everlasting life. I don't see how this difference makes one view more hateful than another. I just can't.

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How so?

Teaching someone is ungodly benefit that person but it sure does give people an excuse to treat them in various negative ways. Again, I've seen this first, second and third hand.

So the question is: does teaching something is ungodly result in improved love/acceptance/tolerance? Yes or no?

Regardless of what we may believe about a person's actions, first and foremost they are human beings deserving of respect and tolerance. If something they are doing is "ungodly", it does not therefore give any of us the Right to hurt them or disparage them.

To your question - I would say neither. It neither harms nor improves. How a person approaches that might shift it one way or another (either towards hatefulness or towards tolerance), but in and of itself, it does neither.

I already know you're going to disagree with that point, so I'll make my objection now and be done with it.

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The Shining Path Buddhists don't believe in God but believe in everlasting life. In fact they think it can't be avoided. Many Buddhists think everlasting life is very much to be avoided, and do all sorts of things to try to escape it. None of them believe in God, although even deists are considered good Buddhists.

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The Shining Path Buddhists don't believe in God but believe in everlasting life. In fact they think it can't be avoided. Many Buddhists think everlasting life is very much to be avoided, and do all sorts of things to try to escape it. None of them believe in God, although even deists are considered good Buddhists.

The entire purpose of Buddhism is to escape the cycle of suffering and rebirth, thus reaching Nirvana (extinguishing of self). Correct me if I'm wrong on that.
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Regardless of what we may believe about a person's actions, first and foremost they are human beings deserving of respect and tolerance. If something they are doing is "ungodly", it does not therefore give any of us the Right to hurt them or disparage them.

To your question - I would say neither. It neither harms nor improves. How a person approaches that might shift it one way or another (either towards hatefulness or towards tolerance), but in and of itself, it does neither.

I already know you're going to disagree with that point, so I'll make my objection now and be done with it.

Sometimes the act of treating them as ungodly itself is hurtful and disparaging enough.

You're right in that. I see the shift towards hatefulness (and evil actions done in the name of 'love') is increased by it. Certainly, people seem more likely to do such actions than they would otherwise. I don't see how it can shift things the other way and have certainly never seen it. I have, however, seen people say theyre 'tolerant' on the one hand, while with the other they're not.

I really don't know why you try and make a harmful believe into, at best, something neutral and , at worst, something good.

Edited by shadowhive

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Why bring up what you call hypothetical ?

I was originally tackling your post and what you actually believe, you brought up about how others could argue it was aimed at just two people.. I read this and point out that you are not one of them, as you believe it is still for all

.What a pot can or cannot do is irrelevant to the parable.

It was the main reason as to why the analogy was made up..To point out a pot wont question its maker, so humans should not question their maker..

As I said, not all questions have answers, and some answers we do not like. Yet we are still encouraged to ask questions and seek.

They do, its just those that wrote the bible cannot give them

Yet we are still encouraged to ask questions and seek.

In selected parts only ! Be careful what you do ask, or you will be told to know your place

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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The entire purpose of Buddhism is to escape the cycle of suffering and rebirth, thus reaching Nirvana (extinguishing of self). Correct me if I'm wrong on that.

There is a good deal of disagreement about the meaning of Nirvana, and to become Bodhisattva rather than escaping Samsara (the rebirth cycle) is the objective of probably the majority.

What you described is generally felt by scholars to be closest to Gautama's original teaching.

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I already know you're going to disagree with that point,

You're right in that.

And thus we really have nothing more to say on this... Best wishes,

~ PA

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I was originally tackling your post and what you actually believe, you brought up about how others could argue it was aimed at just two people.. I read this and point out that you are not one of them, as you believe it is still for all

Fair enough.

It was the main reason as to why the analogy was made up..To point out a pot wont question its maker, so humans should not question their maker..

I disagree. It was saying that a human questioning God is about as fruitful as a pot questioning a potter - ie, useless.

They do, its just those that wrote the bible cannot give them

Not quite, the Bible cannot provide every answer imaginable, but it provides us everything we NEED.

In selected parts only ! Be careful what you do ask, or you will be told to know your place

Sometimes "who are you to talk back to God" is the only answer given. Most of the time this is not so.

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There is a good deal of disagreement about the meaning of Nirvana, and to become Bodhisattva rather than escaping Samsara (the rebirth cycle) is the objective of probably the majority.

What you described is generally felt by scholars to be closest to Gautama's original teaching.

I was, of course, referring to the original Buddhism (what is called Theravada Buddhism). The idea of a Bodhisattva hails from the idea of Mahayana Buddhism (and yes, from what I understand that is a later interpretation of Buddhist thought, not held by the original Buddha). And from what I understand, a Bodhisattva is simply an Enlightened human who has reached Nirvana, but for the benefit of others has chosen to delay their release and willingly stepped back into the cycle of suffering. For a Mahayana Buddhist attempting to escape the cycle of suffering, an Enlightened soul willing to forgo their release for the benefit of others must sound a very praiseworthy individual.
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Vietnamese Buddhism came from China, so it is mainly Mahayana, and Guanyin is immensely popular, although most of the traditional Chinese deities have been "bodhisattva-ized." Daily Buddhist practice here is very Taoist, making it much more colorful than Thai practice.

The idea of becoming extinct is I think a Western translation of things the first missionaries didn't really understand, as even the most severe Thai monk will raise his eyebrow at that. Perhaps Emerson and the Transcendentalists were closer to the idea. The self never existed in the first place, so saying it becomes extinct or merged into a greater sea is kinda meaningless. What ends is the cycle of desire and delusion and rebirth.

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