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ChloeB

Act of God

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Why do people call things like catastrophic weather "acts of God", (even insurance policies use that terminology, I believe), while they go around asking for prayers for the people effected? Isn't that kind of like asking to pray for help to the responsible party, (ask the arsonist to help you after he set your house on fire, i.e, who "the act was of".....in these cases - God), yet ask God to help the people he unleashed the disaster on if it is an "act of God"? This makes absolutely no sense.

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It is indeed an absurd concept. I'm frankly glad that there is absolutely no reason to think that a god exist; if they're responsible for natural disasters and other catastrophes, I would be terrified to inhabit the same universe with such a capricious and callous being.

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there was a movie about this a while back, 'the man who sued god', starring billy connelly.

he had a small fishing boat that sank during a storm. his insurance company refused to pay out, citing 'an act of god', so he decided to sue the church instead!

well worth watching, if only for the questions it raises.

(and it's got billy connelly in!)

:-)

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there was a movie about this a while back, 'the man who sued god', starring billy connelly.

he had a small fishing boat that sank during a storm. his insurance company refused to pay out, citing 'an act of god', so he decided to sue the church instead!

well worth watching, if only for the questions it raises.

(and it's got billy connelly in!)

:-)

Rather reminds me of the film God on Trial, in which imprisoned Jews at Auschwitz attempt to effectively sue God for a breach of contract, in that he made a pact with the people of Israel that he would protect them, ergo, allowing the Holocaust is taken as a breach of contract. Amusing, and interesting in its point; even more interesting is that I'm given to understand that some Jews have actually adopted a rather maltheistic view because of it: a view that, though a god may exist, it is malevolent or indifferent towards humanity. A rather grotesque thought, but intriguing all the same.

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I'm given to understand that some Jews have actually adopted a rather maltheistic view because of it: a view that, though a god may exist, it is malevolent or indifferent towards humanity.

.

i've seen the religious try and use this argument as the basis of free-will in the face of the argument that 'everything's done according to god's plan', that his indifference to suffering is just his way of letting us 'get on with it'.

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Why do people call things like catastrophic weather "acts of God", (even insurance policies use that terminology, I believe), while they go around asking for prayers for the people effected?

That's just one school of thought. There are other theologians who claim that it's malevolent daemons pushing around tectonic plates that causes earthquakes. I'm not talking about fundamentalist preachers, but serious, reputable academic philosophers and theologians. It's amazing what people are capable of believing, and teaching.

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Posted (edited)

This makes absolutely no sense.

Maybe it does, and we just don't know how. Doesn't God work in mysterious ways, after all?

What we need is God Himself posting on the forums to give us some answers :tu:

That's just one school of thought. There are other theologians who claim that it's malevolent daemons pushing around tectonic plates that causes earthquakes. I'm not talking about fundamentalist preachers, but serious, reputable academic philosophers and theologians. It's amazing what people are capable of believing, and teaching.

Really?

I used to think natural disasters were just the result of the way God designed nature.

But that's just my opinion.

God knows everything and is in control over everything that exists, isn't that the case?

Edited by Mnemonix

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there was a movie about this a while back, 'the man who sued god', starring billy connelly.

he had a small fishing boat that sank during a storm. his insurance company refused to pay out, citing 'an act of god', so he decided to sue the church instead!

well worth watching, if only for the questions it raises.

(and it's got billy connelly in!)

:-)

I'm glad you brought that up, someone told me about that movie once, in fact, I think on this forum and I looked up a clip from it on youtube and I wanted to see it and forgot to look for it later. You reminded me!! It looked really funny and I love Billy Connelly.

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Posted (edited)

Rather reminds me of the film God on Trial, in which imprisoned Jews at Auschwitz attempt to effectively sue God for a breach of contract, in that he made a pact with the people of Israel that he would protect them, ergo, allowing the Holocaust is taken as a breach of contract. Amusing, and interesting in its point; even more interesting is that I'm given to understand that some Jews have actually adopted a rather maltheistic view because of it: a view that, though a god may exist, it is malevolent or indifferent towards humanity. A rather grotesque thought, but intriguing all the same.

But it makes sense though, wasn't there a covenant with God and weren't they the chosen ones, the Holocaust would seem like a deal-breaker. But what you said in your earlier post about being glad you didn't believe God exists and how some Jews started to view God as malevolent, to me, if you believe there is a God above that controls everything and is as the bible describes, to me, it would be nearly impossible to not see the negative side if these tragedies and horrors are orchestrated by this God's hand or in the very least allowed to happen to God's children who believe he protects them, yet he allows this to them. Weather is to me especially hard to explain, the holocaust they'll just blame on an evil man, Hitler, and free will, but the weather, well that's God's territory and "God's acts" like flooding the world. No evil man or evil mankind to blame for that. And that people accept that these are acts of God, their God, and then run into the lap of that very same party that has hurt them and plea for protection and assistance is symptomatic of what you'd see in Stockholm syndrome - trauma bonding.

Edited by ChloeB
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Maybe it does, and we just don't know how. Doesn't God work in mysterious ways, after all?

I've been this annoying and asking questions since I was a little kid, and this is what I was always told, he works in mysterious ways. That's just what people say when they know there is no answer or they can't come up with one. It also says, you'll just buy into anything if you believe God wants it, which can be dangerous.

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Posted (edited)

That's just one school of thought. There are other theologians who claim that it's malevolent daemons pushing around tectonic plates that causes earthquakes. I'm not talking about fundamentalist preachers, but serious, reputable academic philosophers and theologians. It's amazing what people are capable of believing, and teaching.

Wow, but that's what demons and devils are for - for things that you don't to be blamed on God and that you can't hold humans responsible for, so enter demons, Satan, and such.

Edited by ChloeB
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Posted (edited)

God knows everything and is in control over everything that exists, isn't that the case?

If he's in control over everything that exists, if we are just pawns in his game of chess, wouldn't he be responsible for everything then, the good and the bad? People want to sing praise and give credit, gratitude, and thanks for the good things, but are very uncomfortable and try very hard to separate God from the bad things. Do control and responsibility/accountablility go hand in hand?

Edited by ChloeB

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Do control and responsibility/accountablility go hand in hand?

You could say that, but I'm as clueless as you are.

I have the same questions, so you'd best wait for some religious expert can answer your questions.

Just giving out some pointers.

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(48.2) 3:2.10 Thus it is that your detached, sectional, finite, gross, and highly materialistic viewpoint and the

limitations inherent in the nature of your being constitute such a handicap that you are unable to see,

comprehend, or know the wisdom and kindness of many of the divine acts which to you seem fraught with

such crushing cruelty, and which seem to be characterized by such utter indifference to the comfort and

welfare, to the planetary happiness and personal prosperity, of your fellow creatures. It is because of the

limits of human vision, it is because of your circumscribed understanding and finite comprehension, that

you misunderstand the motives, and pervert the purposes, of God. But many things occur on the

evolutionary worlds which are not the personal doings of the Universal Father.

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There are other theologians who claim that it's malevolent daemons pushing around tectonic plates that causes earthquakes. I'm not talking about fundamentalist preachers, but serious, reputable academic philosophers and theologians.

The word 'theologian', to me, might as well be interchangeable with 'magicologist', or 'pataphysicist'. They can be as "reputable" as they like, but they've earned no reputation from me apart from general charlatanism and very vivid imagination.

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(48.2) 3:2.10 Thus it is that your detached, sectional, finite, gross, and highly materialistic viewpoint and the

limitations inherent in the nature of your being constitute such a handicap that you are unable to see,

comprehend, or know the wisdom and kindness of many of the divine acts which to you seem fraught with

such crushing cruelty, and which seem to be characterized by such utter indifference to the comfort and

welfare, to the planetary happiness and personal prosperity, of your fellow creatures. It is because of the

limits of human vision, it is because of your circumscribed understanding and finite comprehension, that

you misunderstand the motives, and pervert the purposes, of God. But many things occur on the

evolutionary worlds which are not the personal doings of the Universal Father.

Are we expected to dignify this with a response?

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its just the insurance companies weaseling out of signing the cheque book ....

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Posted (edited)

http://www.urantia.o...-attributes-god

(47.6)3:2.8 The planetary creatures of God’s spirit indwelling, scattered hither and yon throughout the universes of space, are so nearly infinite in number and order, their intellects are so diverse, their minds are so limited and sometimes so gross, their vision is so curtailed and localized, that it is almost impossible to formulate generalizations of law adequately expressive of the Father’s infinite attributes and at the same time to any degree comprehensible to these created intelligences. Therefore, to you the creature, many of the acts of the all-powerful Creator seem to be arbitrary, detached, and not infrequently heartless and cruel. But again I assure you that this is not true. God’s doings are all purposeful, intelligent, wise, kind, and eternally considerate of the best good, not always of an individual being, an individual race, an individual planet, or even an individual universe; but they are for the welfare and best good of all concerned, from the lowest to the highest. In the epochs of time the welfare of the part may sometimes appear to differ from the welfare of the whole; in the circle of eternity such apparent differences are nonexistent.

Edited by CS Lewis

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(47.6)3:2.8 The planetary creatures of God’s spirit indwelling, scattered hither and yon throughout the universes of space, are so nearly infinite in number and order, their intellects are so diverse, their minds are so limited and sometimes so gross, their vision is so curtailed and localized, that it is almost impossible to formulate generalizations of law adequately expressive of the Father’s infinite attributes and at the same time to any degree comprehensible to these created intelligences. Therefore, to you the creature, many of the acts of the all-powerful Creator seem to be arbitrary, detached, and not infrequently heartless and cruel. But again I assure you that this is not true. God’s doings are all purposeful, intelligent, wise, kind, and eternally considerate of the best good, not always of an individual being, an individual race, an individual planet, or even an individual universe; but they are for the welfare and best good of all concerned, from the lowest to the highest. In the epochs of time the welfare of the part may sometimes appear to differ from the welfare of the whole; in the circle of eternity such apparent differences are nonexistent.

You haven't answered my question: are we expected to dignify this with a response? You post nonsense as if it were relevant to our discussion; but frankly, if this carries on much longer I'll certainly be tempted to report you for simply spamming the topic with irrelevant tripe.

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Posted (edited)

Honestly, I find it really baffling when people pray or send out their prayers to others after natural disasters. If a deity exists and it created everything than it is responsible for how the world works and for any natural disasters that occur. It would be responsible for all of tsnuamis, tornadoes and hurricanes that kill millions. But it seems like a lot of people don't want to believe that or they believe that this is punishment for sinful behavior (nevermind the fact that innocent children are killed)

Edited by RavenEyes19

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Honestly, I find it really baffling when people pray or send out their prayers to others after natural disasters. If a deity exists and it created everything than it is responsible for how the world works and for any natural disasters that occur. It would be responsible for all of tsnuamis, tornadoes and hurricanes that kill millions. But it seems like a lot of people don't want to believe that or they believe that this is punishment for sinful behavior (nevermind the fact that innocent children are killed)

Or a "test from God", as some say.

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Honestly, I find it really baffling when people pray or send out their prayers to others after natural disasters. If a deity exists and it created everything than it is responsible for how the world works and for any natural disasters that occur. It would be responsible for all of tsnuamis, tornadoes and hurricanes that kill millions. But it seems like a lot of people don't want to believe that or they believe that this is punishment for sinful behavior (nevermind the fact that innocent children are killed)

Indeed, the notion is perplexing: why pray for disaster victims and/or survivors? (A more fundamental question of could is why pray at all?, but I'll let that pass.) After all, according to standard doctrines held by those in the prayer position, the victims (i.e., those that died in the disaster) are already dead, ergo, are already under the direct judgment of God, ergo, prayers won't help them. And in the case of survivors, sure, granted they may have survived, but clearly whatever suffering the disaster caused them is God's intent, no? God is supposed to get his way no matter what, right? Why should he give a damn about helping the victims of the disaster which he was chiefly responsible for to begin with? As I believe was stated earlier in this topic: praying to God to help disaster victims/survivors is tantamount to asking an arson to help the victims/survivors of the fire he started. Or perhaps more appropriately, like asking Hitler to help the Jews who survived Auschwitz or Dachau; or Pol Pot or Kim Jong-il to help the survivors of their regimes. In short: while I suppose it's possible to request their help, the odds of any of them actually helping—particularly considering they're all dead—are exceptionally slim, to say the least.

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Posted (edited)

Chloe

The term act of God is used in law for the same reason any other boilerplate legal term is: there is a history of court rulings which establish with precision and near-certainty what the term means.

In America, when you enter into a contract, and you (not both parties working together) wrote the language in the contract, then if there is any ambiguity in that language, the court will (according to an established rule) disambiguate the language contrary to your interests.

So, for example, a life insurance company once had to pay on a policy it intended for human beings, even though the decedent was a goldfish. The person who bought the policy never said the goldfish was a human being, and the insurance policy never said the insured could only be a human being. The insurance company drafted the contract, and so the company had to pay.

As the example illustrates, the rule is intentionally "punitive." For good reason, the law wishes to encourage people who draw up contracts to say what they mean and mean what they say. So, even if the outcome is absurd, like insuring the life of a goldfish based on human life tables, the ambiguity was there as a matter of fact, and the beneficiary collects as a matter of law.

Like any other noun phrase, the meaning of act of God is not the sum of its parts. Obviously, ao'G arose among folks who believed that there was somebody named "big-G God" and that big-G did things over which people had no control. So, that scenario, regardless of whether it is factually true, carves out a different set of risks than, say, an act of war, and a different set of reasons why one party might be involuntraily unable to perform its obligations under a contract than, say, a labor strike.

Suppose I want to to refer to those risks, and exactly those risks, and that I have the choice between writing "natural disaster" and "act of God." I know that if anything at all comes up that invites the court even to ask whether such a thing was intended, then it will or it will not be included, whichever one costs me more more money.

Even Richard Dawkins' lawyer will choose "act of God."

Hope that helps, and that all is well.

Edited by eight bits
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Rather reminds me of the film God on Trial, in which imprisoned Jews at Auschwitz attempt to effectively sue God for a breach of contract, in that he made a pact with the people of Israel that he would protect them, ergo, allowing the Holocaust is taken as a breach of contract. Amusing, and interesting in its point; even more interesting is that I'm given to understand that some Jews have actually adopted a rather maltheistic view because of it: a view that, though a god may exist, it is malevolent or indifferent towards humanity. A rather grotesque thought, but intriguing all the same.

Along the same theme ... kinda ... I loved this one by Will Eisner ....

A Contract with God, and Other Tenement Stories is a 1978 graphic novel by American cartoonist Will Eisner. It is a short story cycle that revolves around poor Jewish characters who live in a New York City tenement. Eisner produced two sequels set in the same tenement: A Life Force in 1988, and Dropsie Avenue in 1995. Though the term "graphic novel" did not originate with Eisner, the book is credited with popularizing its use.

250px-Contractwithgod.png

wiki link

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Posted (edited)

Like any other noun phrase, the meaning of act of God is not the sum of its parts. Obviously, ao'G arose among folks who believed that there was somebody named "big-G God" and that big-G did things over which people had no control. So, that scenario, regardless of whether it is factually true, carves out a different set of risks than, say, an act of war, and a different set of reasons why one party might be involuntraily unable to perform its obligations under a contract than, say, a labor strike.

These folks you mention here, the folks who believed and still believe that the "big-G God" does things which people have no control. Catastrophic weather to me is a unique situation. You mentioned Richard Dawkins, I saw something come up on his site about prayer again, but they asked if those 3 girls who were held prisoner all those years and years never prayed and that they must have called out to God for help and where was God then and if that isn't obvious that God doesn't listen or respond to prayers and what makes anyone so ignorant to think he would listen their prayers and do they think they are more deserving than any one of those 3 girls. But as with situations like this, the will always play the free will card and blame it on evil men, and maybe true. As I said, disastrous weather is a different case entirely. The Bible establishes that God does use weather to unleash havoc on the world, the flood. There is no excuse to enter human involvement in this one, and of course that's why the phrase is used for insurance purposes - to indicate an act of no human involvement, but why I'm interested in the phrase goes much deeper than the legal use of it. The only way to blame human involvement for acts of weather is maybe something like damage to the environment and global warming leading to more extreme weather disturbances, and oh holy hell, so many of these same people who are praying for the disaster victims lose their minds at the suggestion of global warming and that man has any part of that, so they can't use that excuse, and the only option left is God's hand if you believe in the biblical version of big-G God. I'm watching the news and seeing this horror in Oklahoma, children found floating in a pool drowning from that tornado and thinking how disgustingly arrogant and shallow people are who drop to their knees to thank God for blessing them with a stupid touchdown or go on and on about how blessed they are in their life, stating their blessings and end it with God is good and can sit there with a clear conscience and see innocent children dying like they have in the path of their God's destruction and pray to that God for those very people. I saw one of the search and rescue people on the news actually say they knew they'd find more survivors, that God is good, well what the hell? Where was this God while those poor kids were drowning in that pool? Why does he enter now with the cameras rolling and suddenly provide assistance in finding survivors while turning his back on those yesterday who died, innocent childen? Even if they believe this God played no part in the tornado, they surely believe their God Almighty is capable of saving lives; they're on the news claiming saying he is capable and that God is good and going to be guiding the search parties with some supernatural aid to find those lost but still alive, NOW their God gets involved, It's pure sickening madness to me.

Edited by ChloeB
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