• Henri
    87
    Being a soft atheist is the rationally consistent result of being an agnostic.VagabondSpectre

    An agnostic can say that he or she neither believes nor disbelieves that God exists. She just doesn't know what to think about it. If I would to classiffy myself prior to getting to know that God exists, I would say I was that kind of agnostic.

    How do you understand that God exists?VagabondSpectre

    You probably (or maybe) won't like the answer, but the answer is - supernaturally. You cannot know that God exists until God decides to show to you that He exists.

    I am not talking about one specific way of God doing it. If you go to a Christian church, for example, and talk to a large number of people who all say they are convinced that God exists, you will hear different ways each of them got the conviction. Some ways may be similar to each other, but generally, God reveals His existence in myriad of different ways.
  • VagabondSpectre
    829
    God reveals His existence in myriad of different ways.Henri

    Like when Joseph Smith read from the golden plates out of a top hat because god said nobody else was allowed to see?
  • Henri
    87


    Not every story a man can tell is true. But that's neither pro or con for God's existence.
  • charleton
    843
    And as a miracle, it's basically one more clue for existence of God.Henri

    ROTFLMFHO
  • Banno
    2.3k
    There is really no deep thought, examination, inspection of our reality behind it.Henri

    Well, thank you. Very kind. I do think that pain here and now is more pressing than the perfection of God's plan. Doubtless if I were a more thoughtful person I would be less troubled by the problems of this world. then I could say things like "My thoughts and prays are with you" while failing to do anything practical.

    But I think I prefer my approach.
  • jorndoe
    507
    , the opening post mostly seems like some (self-serving?) postulates without justification.

    Anyway, we can't talk about atheism without first having talked about theism:
    You make some fantastic claims.
    You call yourself theist.
    I don't believe your claims.
    You call me atheist.

    1. there are good people and other animals suffering
    2. either all suffering, without exception, is warranted (strong assertion, all instances)
    3. or there exists some unwanted suffering to do away with (light assertion, some instances)
    4. it stands to reason that there is unwanted suffering, that can possibly be relieved by humans (like some has been)
    5. consistent with a largely indifferent universe, and non-teleological biological evolution

    Other than civilized societies, what — anywhere — cares about me/you/us?
  • Banno
    2.3k
    Oh, I rather think it may be.
  • Banno
    2.3k
    We are but humble thorns drifting on winds of fate. Pricks of the divine thralled to prod and poke the most devout as a test of piety. In truth we are very close to the arch-angels of old; lacking free will of our own we act as the natural destructive tools of our lord unto the righteous Jobs among us.VagabondSpectre

    But are we appreciated for our efforts? Not a bit.
  • Henri
    87
    I do think that pain here and now is more pressing than the perfection of God's plan.Banno

    What you wrote is a knee jerk reaction. Much more emotional than result of an effort to understand how God can create a world with evil in it.

    Not to mention that you are basically saying that in case God exists you are more moral than Him. Aside from illogicality that creation could have more empathy and love than all-powerful creator who gave creation said empathy and love, what you wrote is blasphemous, yet you are still alive and everything you have, including opportunity to publicly stand against God and present "your approach", is given to you by that very God.

    But regardless, there is no known natural law that says that if God exists, there would be no evil in any part of His creation, at any time. "Evil objection" is an offhand objection against presumed character of God, not an argument against existence of God.
  • Henri
    87
    There are good people and other animals suffering... Other than civilized societies, what — anywhere — cares about me/you/us?jorndoe

    "Suffering objection", like "evil objection", is at best offhand objection against presumed character of God, not an argument against existence of God.

    Suffering and evil reveal seriousness of our reality, and to understand why God allows them, for some time within His creation, takes effort.

    You don't expect to pick up a book on advanced mathematics and instantly understand how to solve complex equations. Why would you expect to get such hard fact of our reality as suffering and evil without a serious effort?
  • ProbablyTrue
    140
    "Evil objection" is an offhand objection against presumed character of God, not an argument against existence of God.Henri

    If the objection is an accurate one based on the character of a specific god as portrayed via its followers and its "holy texts", then it is not offhand. It at least shows that this specific god is either evil and a liar or at most doesn't exist at all.

    Out of curiosity, what would you consider a legitimate argument against the existence of god?
  • Banno
    2.3k
    Much more emotional than result of an effort to understand how God can create a world with evil in it.Henri

    A fair point. I've noted how much effort is required in order to believe consistently that God can create a world with evil in it. Rather more effort than is rational.

    Not to mention that you are basically saying that in case God exists you are more moral than Him.Henri
    I'm saying that since he endowed us with free will, it is we who choose what is good and what is evil. God may well disagree, but then a read of any one of his autobiographies will show that he has a rather nasty disposition. One hopes he has been misquoted.

    "Evil objection" is an offhand objection against presumed character of God, not an argument against existence of God.Henri
    Just so; If he does exist, he is not a nice fellow.
  • jorndoe
    507
    Hey , I notice you didn't quite respond to the dilemma; it consist in two incompatible possibilities.
    Which one would you like to entertain, the strong or the light assertion?

    (By the way, the problem of evil is different.)

    Is all suffering (without exception) part of the plan of this supposed deity you mention, or is it up to us to come up with relief as best we can (e.g. medical research)?
    I can tell you what's readily evident, you can't miss it: we already do medical research, educate veterinarians and social care workers, put in place negligence laws, etc; sure doesn't seem that relief from schizophrenia is "coming from above" as it were.
    5. consistent with a largely indifferent universe, and non-teleological biological evolution
    But, hey, maybe you can somehow justify that all suffering (without exception) is warranted?
    (If so, then what the heck is the deal with teratoma anyway?)
  • Banno
    2.3k
    the heck is the deal with teratoma anyway?jorndoe

    that's not a bad question, either way. they don;t seem to be a good example of intelligent design.
  • Henri
    87
    If the objection is an accurate one based on the character of a specific God as portrayed via its followers and its "holy texts", then it is not offhand. It at least shows that this specific God is either evil and a liar or at most doesn't exist at all.ProbablyTrue

    It is offhand. Because, I guess you are reffering to the Bible and Bible is quite complex book. You can't just pick it up and read it however you like, and automatically understand what's written in it.

    In one of the first pages of the Bible God says: "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread."

    Bread here is not only food but also word of God. Jesus is both Word of God and bread of life, for example. And that's one of various ways that reveal "bread" to mean God's message, not only food.

    What God is saying right in the beginning, apart from us having to work to physically sustain ourselves, is: "By the sweat of your face you shall understand word of God." God doesn't say it is impossible to understand His message, but that it's not something one can just take as if it's on a plate.

    You can read a passage here or there and make a conclusion about God. But you would be making your judgement hastily, especially if you are coming with the heart ready to judge God.

    For the time being, God is allowing man's pleasures to be fulfilled, including man's pleasure to judge God Himself. That's not the only or main reason why God's word is not readily available to be understood, but it is part of both the complexity and seriousness of our reality.

    Out of curiosity, what would you consider a legitimate argument against the existence of God?ProbablyTrue

    I can't think of any reasonable argument against the existence of God. Arguments can be made for agnosticism without atheism, but I don't see reasonable argument for atheism. At least among reasoning I have heard or read.

    If you have great reasonable argument for atheism, share it. Maybe I'll conclude that it's reasonable or I'll point out why I think it's not.
  • jorndoe
    507
    Does this make sense?

    Fortunately debilitating depressions hit less than, say, half the world's population.
    Therefore they're not necessary conditions.
    Therefore unnecessary suffering exists.

    † that's not the actual number, it's just for the sake of argument

    Some measure of relief can be attained from medical science or whatever research.
    Humans can sometimes help, where indifferent nature (or some supposed deity) has produced unnecessary suffering.
  • jorndoe
    507
    , why do you just defer to The Bible? :o
    What's wrong with all these texts anyway...?
    (As an aside, I'm kind of partial towards The Silmarillion myself.)
  • Henri
    87
    Is all suffering (without exception) part of the plan of this supposed deity you mention, or is it up to us to come up with relief as best we can (e.g. medical research)?jorndoe

    All suffering is part of what God is ultimately doing with this creation. Not that God personally causes suffering but God allows suffering to exist.

    Everything you mention as humanity's effort - for example medical research, educated veterinarians and social care workers, negligence laws put in place, etc - is given for us to do as part of God's decree.

    That turns things back to suffering and evil, with question if everything is under God's control, why does God allow suffering and evil?

    And that's a big subject, not for this thread. There is a quote from Old Testament: "For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow."
  • Bitter Crank
    5k
    Henri, Henri. I have no objection to either the belief or the disbelief in Gods. It is quite possible that the gods, or God, exist. But from what I can tell, there is no justification in the western tradition, at least, for thinking that anyone can know anything about God.

    Why is that?

    Because, by the western tradition God is unknowable. Hindu gods actually live in their temples; there they are, made of ivory, gold, metals, fabrics, etc. Not so with God.

    God has all sorts of descriptive terms heaped up. Immortal; omnipresent; invincible; omniscient; eternal; omnipresent, perfect, glorious, etc. By thinking of God in these terms, God is placed well outside our knowing. We can't conceive of what a being is like who is eternal, knowing everything that was, is, and will be, is present everywhere, both in the past and the future, and is fully capable of changing everything around, should that be deemed... whatever it is that God deems.

    Believers should stop talking about God AS IF God is a knowable object, and AS IF they have a slice of that understanding on their plate. I'm not claiming that you don't have that understanding. I'm claiming you CAN'T have that understanding. Neither can I, of course.
  • Bitter Crank
    5k
    See, Henri, believers have the word of God that tells them what they should do. The ONLY thing believers need to worry about (with respect to God) is whether they are doing what God told them to do. Following this advice should simplify your life considerably.
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