• BrianW
    This is the point of this thread:

    I have this friend, who says, "if God is omnipotent why doesn't He end all suffering?"
    I reply that, we humans are the instruments of our own pain and suffering. That, the order of intelligence and harmony observed in operation through all of God's creation (or Reality/Existence) would fail if there was no consistency. Therefore, it is impossible for God (Reality/Existence) to act different from their absolute nature by succumbing to human eccentricities. God (Reality/Existence) must allow the law of cause and effect (action and consequence) to operate appropriately and comprehensively thereby manifesting the extent of absolute justice. God's mercy is expressed in the wisdom manifest in a life that allows us to understand that we, ourselves, are the instruments of our own salvation and damnation.

    Then the friend says, "If God is good, He should save us from suffering. It would be an act of love, how can it be against the laws of cause and effect?"
    To that I reply that, first, our definition of good is explicitly a polar opposite of evil. They exist in the same continuum within human perspective and cannot be expressed as distinct factors. That is, good is 'not evil' and evil is 'not good' in the fundamental sense of their meanings. So, how can God be good or evil? God being absolute as well as the creator of everything must have existed before anything. That is, God existed before humans or their dichotomy of good and evil, and exists beyond them as well, else, that dichotomy (or human perspective) would also be absolute, but it isn't. It is wrong to conflate human conditions (the relative) with God (the absolute). Absolute love or unity is expressed through unbiased operation of universal laws.

    What is the point of all this?


    One of the misconstrued aspects about perspective lies in the concept that, because everything we appreciate is relative, then, there's an endless dichotomy of conditions and interactions plaguing the field we refer to as knowledge. It is true that, limited capacities must possess limited knowledge. Philosophy, being a human endeavour, must just as much be expressed through limited perspectives.
    Does this mean we cannot relate with the absolute? No. We most certainly can.
    How? By creating a representative identity of the absolute and through strict laws of interaction map out conditions which surpass our limited appreciation. These laws are called logic. Logic must always define limits and it is from such that the concept of 'beyond those limits' emerges.
    It would be careless for someone to confound the appreciation of limits with the concept of 'beyond those limits'.

    Diligent philosophers are known to avoid succumbing to such traps. It is also possible that such diligence is a consequence of many trials and errors through a progression of varying degrees of success. This is because, from the many connotations of logic, anyone can find a way to skirt around its proper comprehensive identity or application and impose their own idiosyncratic imprint. However, it would always fall short of defining one key ingredient, that is, the principles underlying the operation of reality and existence. That is, it could not explain that which is beyond our relativity.
    Also, if we restrict logic to the context of human reason, then, every human interpretation becomes valid because the comparative factor is of little significance when the mental processes inherently possessed participate fundamentally alike. Both smart and stupid people apply reason, the difference being the conditioning which determines their outcomes.

    The choice to skirt around proper definitions and avoid adherence within the full complement of logic is insignificant child's play and un-philosophical (of no real value to philosophy). It is why philosophers worth any salt go to great pains to map out their perspectives. Personally, I think we have too many fields of philosophy to entertain a venture into the unnecessary. Therefore, instead of confounding human reason with logic, it is best to find that common path which philosophy finds utility in by serving the many instead of unwarranted self-aggrandizing displays of knowledge. Service to others is the reason why philosophers work hard to reach the understanding of those others.
  • BrianW
    As to the terms form/formless, cause/causeless, something/nothing, etc, if they are to be a dichotomy of polar opposites within a given continuum, they must each define a condition. Unfortunately, the very definition and application of the term reality or existence negates the idea of formless, causeless and nothing. This is because reality and existence or anything that is, must be assertive, inherently by itself as an identity (a kind of self-affirmation) and upon others (through influence and interaction). This is also the basis of concepts such as consciousness, mind, soul, spirit, etc, - they relate to the various conditions manifest in human activities.
    We may not be able to comprehend or appreciate certain forms, causes or things, but they do not become formless, causeless or nothing based on that merit.

    [The terms formless, causeless, nothing are used informally to denote certain relative conditions which are thinly related to the distinct meanings they are derived from. For example, formless does not explicitly imply a lack of form, rather, a lack of appreciation of form. The difference may be minor but catastrophic to the understanding if not clearly designated.]

    Therefore, in the same way it would be mistaken to limit God, Reality and/or Existence within the dichotomy of good and evil, it is just as wrong to include formless, causeless and nothing within the points included in the continuum of reality and existence. It must be used within the bounds of human relativity and not be applied to a concept which transcends it.
    Another example would be the perspective that, a line contains infinite points. We cannot, also, contend that a line contains no points. Either it contains (in this case, points) or it doesn't. If the latter, then we can no longer be implying a line. This is expressed by the Law of Non-contradiction.
  • BrianW
    Neither God, Reality and/or Existence is the sum of all the aspects. They contain everything but are not defined by those things. If such was the case, then the incessant change observed in phenomena would warrant an incessant re-definition of God, Reality and/or Existence. In principle, the absolute is beyond the relative(s) and cannot be determined by it/them.

    Unity is the expression of wholeness, comprehensiveness and, primarily, indivision.
    Multiplicity is the expression of variety or variation. It also gives rise to relativity.
    As with everything else, they are perspectives.

    So, can a unity become a multiplicity? No.
    For example, a human being connotes the unity of all the processes, mechanisms and faculties possessed by such. However, in shifting perspective to the various processes, mechanisms and faculties do we imply the human has become these multiple aspects? Obviously not. The unity referred to as a human being is a distinct identity which is affirmed separately from its constituent parts or any other identities regardless of the numerous points of similarity or intersection they may have.

    The same applies to duality. For example, light and dark are a duality because they are alternate perspectives not because they oppose each other. In fact, they have a very distinct and unified relation where each phenomenon participates in giving rise to the other. Vibration or activity is fundamental to all phenomena. However, the relation between higher and lower vibrations is what gives the perspective we call light and dark. Dark is never the absence of light, rather, it is the lack of appreciation of it. The lack may be due to deficient capacities, tools, mechanisms, etc. Hence, the terms opposite, alternate, contrary, etc., must bear the appropriate connotation. Otherwise, they mislead.

    In conclusion, only perspective can be shifted from that of unity to that of multiplicity (duality, triplicity, etc).

    Also, those teachings which express the three-fold relation (or any other quantifiable relation) are in no way implying the breakdown of any unity into triplicities (or whichever degree of multiplicity).
    The three-in-one relation (of God, Reality and/or Existence) is always a perspective of the characters, activities or influences expressed by the absolute identity.
    God, Reality and/or Existence, if a unity, remains as such even when they express duality or triplicity in character, activities and/or influences.
  • Terrapin Station
    That, the order of intelligence and harmony observed in operation through all of God's creation (or Reality/Existence) would fail if there was no consistency.BrianW

    If I were your friend I'd ask you to explain that, because it reads as if you're getting kind of word-salady and diverting to something irrelevant to what the question had been.
  • BrianW

    If he asked, I would answer by saying, if the laws of nature were subject to whims instead of being based upon definite and unyielding directives then the chaos which humans exhibit would also be expressed by them. I think the rest of my statements express how I perceive paradoxes (the question was "what if God exists and doesn't exist?").
  • Terrapin Station

    It's just the Euthyprho problem in that case, right?

    And he would ask, "So God isn't actually omnipotent? There is something (natural law, logical law, etc.) that's more powerful than God?"

    The usual approach to that is to say that natural law/logical law is as it is because it's God's nature for it to be that way, but that doesn't really solve the problem, because we'd just be asking on the one side why God's nature is such that He allows so much suffering, when God could presumably be otherwise, and on the other side, you'd have to say, "But He couldn't be otherwise, because that's the way He is" (which suggests that He isn't omnipotent--something overrides it somehow)
  • BrianW

    Depends on your conception of God.
  • Terrapin Station

    It would just be resting on other persons' conceptions. If the God they presented is or is not supposed to be omnipotent, etc.
  • BrianW

    Exactly. That's why we worship our own deities.
  • BrianW

    Christian, Islam, Judaic deity/deities - are presumed omnipotent.
    Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu - presumed omnipotent; other Hindu deities - not so much.
    Norse, Roman and Greek deities - not omnipotent.

    It all depends on the individual's conception of deity.
  • Terrapin Station

    Isn't your friend talking about your conception of a deity?
  • BrianW
    Me, personally?

    I prefer the principle of absoluteness. To me, Reality/Existence is absolute. Everything else is relative. However, even my concept is just that, a concept. I wouldn't take it to be anything more.

    The only logical part is, as Socrates would have it, "can we believe in creation and not in a creator?" The only difference between a religious person and I is how much ungrounded premises we're willing to accommodate. I prefer minimum to none.
  • creativesoul
    The willful pursuit of ignorance...
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