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Is there a God?
Yes 33%  33%  [ 29 ]
No 49%  49%  [ 43 ]
Don't Know 17%  17%  [ 15 ]
Total votes : 87
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 2:34 am 
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A world without suffering would be a world without life. This is becoming absurd.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 2:39 am 
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If God can create a universe, why can he not create a world with life and no suffering.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 2:54 am 
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I dunno, I wouldn't want to live in a world w/o suffering though. Humans suffer, that's one of the things we do.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 2:58 am 
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Some humans molest children. That is just what they do. Does that make it right?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 3:28 am 
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No, of course not. But how would you solve the problem without creating worse problems? The parents must be free to some degree to molest their children. If they are found out, the community should punish them (not that another community's business is any of mine though), and the children given to family/friends/neighbors, put up for adoption, or given to an orphanage.

A world with child molestation though is not necessarily imperfect as a whole.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 3:31 am 
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As I have said earlier, if God can create a universe, why can he not create a world with life and no suffering.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 5:36 am 
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Suffering is caused by freedom to choose. We have free will to choose between "bad" and "good". Without freewill we are just automatons, and this is no life.
As for what is bad or good......
Try and alleviate suffering Amnesy,
MSF, The IFRC,
etc, etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 1:16 pm 
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Lliam wrote:
Suffering is caused by freedom to choose. We have free will to choose between "bad" and "good". Without freewill we are just automatons, and this is no life.


What makes you think you have free will? I don't believe in fate in the sense of "destiny", but we are just walking test tubes. I'd be willing to bet that if we were able to gather perfect information about all matter on Earth (too bad we can't), had perfect knowledge of how living systems operate (obviously we don't, yet) and could process it all (not happening until we can produce computers the size of planets), we'd be able to know the future at least a few weeks in advance. Of course, every time you allowed an actual human to look at the results you'd have to recalculate everything. :P

This whole "debate" is starting to remind me of Singer's views on our moral obligation to help the suffering, and especially of his argument that proximity makes no difference. One counterpoint of mine was that Singer does not specify any particular ways we must relieve suffering. A homeless man in your city may be from a broken family or have suffered some other personal crisis; helping the proverbial drowning boy also directly relieves his suffering. They may or may not have been responsible for getting themselves into those situations, but at least their environments are similar to yours, and drowning and homelessness is typically an anomaly that can be helped, at least if you're in a large city in a decent country. :roll: On the other hand, much foreign aid simply consists of feeding people; this may sound cold, but it seems to me that if you live in a desert, on a mountain and/or under a corrupt regime, you don't really have any business complaining about not having enough food to eat and raise your 13 children with. It's like a Canadian complaining about the cold.
Easy to shoot that down though, along with any free will argument; people in situations like that (hungry/being shot at) don't really have the means to leave and they didn't choose where to be born. Most of the people being killed in Sudan aren't, say, native New Yorkers. :P


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 2:20 pm 
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somebody wrote:
Couldn't you say the same thing about proving a positive then? If I asked whether you could prove that Antec did produce a Sonata case today, I imagine you would say that the cases being produced aren't actually real. They are in fact illusions.

Probably couldn't say that, at least not without being an irritating little shit. You could just call them and ask what their production schedule is like; preferably, you'd be able to walk into their factory and see some being made, or at least check the time stamps, if they use them. Don't know if Antec produces their own Sonata cases or just cleans up and resells some well-made but noname cases, either. :)
Two different contexts anyways. I was a bit off topic myself, it's impossible to prove/disprove intent without physical evidence or some mighty credible witnesses. The Antec case thing is more like "some flamingos are pink" versus "all flamingos are pink" versus "no flamingos are black"... the first is trivial to prove, second and third are extremely difficult and nearly impossible respectively.

somebody wrote:
Straker wrote:
i wouldn't be an atheist if we managed to find any civilization at a similar level to our own.

Wouldn't you be committing the lottery fallacy?

Strictly speaking, sure would, but come on. You could put an equally low probability on waking up and seeing the sky on fire, or being struck by lightning from a clear sky, and something like that would probably make me question my beliefs as well. The lottery fallacy works well for most cases (since people really do just say shit like "so many stars and planets and we're the only ones out here!! wow!!!"), but in practice, "God" isn't the one spelling words in your alphabet soup, dealing you a royal flush, giving you a warning instead of a speeding ticket...
What I said was more related to the other factors involved than the simple odds. I mean, the odds of you sitting right where you are at the time you read this are infinitely low as well and noone would ever make a big deal out of that. :P


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 1:10 am 
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Straker wrote:
What makes you think you have free will? I don't believe in fate in the sense of "destiny"

How does free will equate with fate? Surely they are diametric points of view? (i'm probably missing something subtle here!). So if you don't believe in "destiny" then do you believe your decisions can influence your future?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 5:27 am 
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"(i'm probably missing something subtle here!)"

I believe he's saying that our behavior is influenced entirely by our environment and phenotype (and genetics being a product of the environment). If one knew everything, one could predict the future.

This is a little different from the belief that our souls were magically added to our bodies. And of course when we die, the souls enter the after life - life on Earth having been a test or stage of life. I don't rule out an afterlife and have a superstitious tendency I suppose, but I'm not a believer in one.

I must say, Straker, those were two very impressive posts. I'm impressed by some other of your posts as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 5:10 pm 
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Lliam wrote:
Straker wrote:
What makes you think you have free will? I don't believe in fate in the sense of "destiny"

How does free will equate with fate? Surely they are diametric points of view? (i'm probably missing something subtle here!). So if you don't believe in "destiny" then do you believe your decisions can influence your future?


Sorry, it was just the way the sentence came out, wasn't trying to equate fate and free will at all. I was just saying that I don't really believe in free will, but I didn't want anyone to think I was supporting destiny or synchronicity or any other silly hippie crap as soon as I mentioned fate. :P
I just think that, since every single thought we have is based on physical/chemical events in our brain (even if the actual processes turn out to be more complicated than we could possibly imagine right now), and the rest of the universe has already been set in motion, if we had the perfect knowledge I described there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to accurately predict the future (at least, as long as you didn't tell anyone else about it afterwards, or peek at anything that will affect your personal life). I don't see any easy way to avoid this unless there really is a god, or we do have souls or some other completely random factor exists. At the same time I don't think it takes any of the magic or anything out of life; maybe I'll get hit by a garbage truck and become a motivational speaker, and I may or may not ever be able to stop procrastinating (regardless of whether or not I make a conscious effort or spend money on voodoo/counseling/whatever), but whatever happens is still what was "supposed" to happen. And I'd still disagree with statements like "he's a born leader" on the same basis; maybe the circumstances of one's birth and the path of their life led to them being a successful leader without having to put as much effort in as other people have, but it's not like being anointed. The way I think of it, all that knowing your own future would do is condemn you to follow the same path if you wanted it to happen (or end up being one of those homeless people that thinks he's the mayor/president). I'm rambling because I can't really put my finger on it, I guess you'd need to bring a huge notebook with you to write down everything you're supposed to do and when, but unless your goal is to completely derail fate out of spite or something, I'd think you'd do just as well (with much lower stress!) by forgetting you saw anything. :P


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2004 5:31 pm 
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Trip wrote:
I believe he's saying that our behavior is influenced entirely by our environment and phenotype (and genetics being a product of the environment).
etc


aw thanks. :D
Yeah, I wouldn't even bother arguing that our behavior is entirely determined by our environment as opposed to our genetics. Since whatever happened to create the universe was presumably a one-time thing, with perfect knowledge nature vs nurture (versus anything else for that matter, like the sun exploding or the earth being hit by a comet or being part of an alien experiment) should be irrelevant since they become different forms of the same thing.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 6:09 am 
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double post


Last edited by Rory B. on Fri Oct 08, 2004 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Some real in-depth intellectual arguments for God
PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 6:13 am 
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I'm posting an opening statement from a debate ("Does the Christian God Exist?") between Dr. William Lane Craig, a prominent Christian theologian, against a Dr. Edwin Curley, who will be defending the position of unbelief in any sort of God. The entirety of the debate can be viewed at http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcrai ... ley00.html
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dr. Craig's Opening Statement

1. Good Evening! I want to begin by thanking MC–Grads for inviting me to participate in tonight's debate. And I want to say what a privilege it is to be debating so eminent a scholar as Professor Curley. When I was a doctoral student writing my dissertation on the cosmological argument for God's existence, Dr. Curley's work on the famous philosopher Benedict de Spinoza was a valuable resource to me in trying to analyze Spinoza's own argument for God. So it's a genuine honor to be sharing the podium with Dr. Curley tonight.

2. Now in tonight's debate it seems that there are two basic questions that we need to ask ourselves:

(I.) Are there any good reasons to think that God does not exist?

And

(II.): Are there good reasons to think that God does exist?

3. Now with respect to the first question, I'll leave it up to Dr. Curley to present the reasons why he thinks that God does not exist. Atheist philosophers have tried for centuries to disprove the existence of God. But no one has ever been able to come up with a convincing argument. So rather than attack straw men at this point, I'll just wait to hear Professor Curley's answer to the following question: What good reasons are there to think that God does not exist?

4. So let's move on, then, to that second question: Are there good reasons to think that God does exist? Tonight I'm going to present five reasons why I think that God exists. Whole books have been written on each one of these, so all I can present here is a brief sketch of each argument and then go into more detail as Dr. Curley responds to them.{1} These reasons are independent of one another, so that if even one of them is sound, it furnishes good grounds for believing that God exists. Taken together, they constitute a powerful cumulative case that God exists.

5. 1: God makes sense of the origin of the universe. Have you ever asked yourself where the universe came from? Why everything exists instead of just nothing? Typically atheists have said that the universe is eternal, and that's all. But surely this doesn't make sense. Just think about it for a minute. If the universe never began to exist, then that means that the number of events in the past history of the universe is infinite. But mathematicians recognize that the idea of an actually infinite number of things leads to self–contradictions. For example, what is infinity minus infinity? Well, mathematically, you get self–contradictory answers. This shows that infinity is just an idea in your mind, not something that exists in reality. David Hilbert, perhaps the greatest mathematician of this century states, "The infinite is nowhere to be found in reality. It neither exists in nature nor provides a legitimate basis for rational thought. The role that remains for the infinite to play is solely that of an idea."{2}

But that entails that since past events are not just ideas, but are real, the number of past events must be finite. Therefore, the series of past events can't just go back forever. Rather the universe must have begun to exist.

6. This conclusion has been confirmed by remarkable discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics. The astrophysical evidence indicates that the universe began to exist in a great explosion called the "Big Bang" about 15 billion years ago. Physical space and time were created in that event, as well as all the matter and energy in the universe. Therefore, as Cambridge astronomer Fred Hoyle points out, the Big Bang Theory requires the creation of the universe from nothing. This is because, as you go back in time, you reach a point in time at which, in Hoyle's words, the universe was "shrunk down to nothing at all."{3} Thus, what the Big Bang model requires is that the universe began to exist and was created out of nothing.

7. Now this tends to be very awkward for the atheist. For as Anthony Kenny of Oxford University urges, "A proponent of the Big Bang theory, at least if he is an atheist, must believe that the universe came from nothing and by nothing."{4}

8. But surely that doesn't make sense! Out of nothing, nothing comes. So why does the universe exist instead of just nothing? Where did it come from? There must have been a cause which brought the universe into being. And from the very nature of the case, this cause must be an uncaused, changeless, timeless, and immaterial being which created the universe. It must be uncaused because there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. It must be timeless and therefore changeless––at least without the universe––because it created time. Because it also created space, it must transcend space as well and therefore be immaterial, not physical.

9. Moreover, I would argue, it must also be personal. For how else could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect like the universe? If the cause were an impersonal set of sufficient conditions, then the cause could never exist without the effect. If the sufficient conditions were timelessly present, then the effect would be timelessly present as well. The only way for the cause to be timeless but for the effect to begin in time is if the cause is a personal agent who freely chooses to create an effect in time without any prior determining conditions. And, thus, we are brought, not merely to the transcendent cause of the universe, but to its personal Creator.

10. Isn't it incredible that the Big Bang theory thus fits in with what the Christian theist has always believed: that in the beginning God created the universe? Now I put it to you, which do you think makes more sense: that the Christian theist is right or that the universe just popped into being, uncaused, out of nothing? I, at least, have no trouble assessing these alternatives.

11. 2: God makes sense of the complex order in the universe. During the last 30 years, scientists have discovered that the existence of intelligent life depends upon a delicate and complex balance of initial conditions simply given in the Big Bang itself. We now know that life–prohibiting universes are vastly more probable than any life–permitting universe like ours. How much more probable?

12. Well, the answer is that the chances that the universe should be life–permitting are so infinitesimal as to be incomprehensible and incalculable. For example, Stephen Hawking has estimated that if the rate of the universe's expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have re–collapsed into a hot fireball.{5} P.C.W. Davies has calculated that the odds against the initial conditions being suitable for star formation (without which planets could not exist) is one followed by a thousand billion billion zeroes, at least.{6} [He also] estimates that a change in the strength of gravity or of the weak force by only one part in 10 raised to the 100th power would have prevented a life–permitting universe.{7} There are around 50 such constants and quantities present in the Big Bang which must be fine–tuned in this way if the universe is to permit life. And it's not just each quantity which must be finely tuned; their ratios to each other must also be exquisitely finely tuned. So improbability is multiplied by improbability by improbability until our minds are reeling in incomprehensible numbers.

13. There is no physical reason why these constants and quantities should posses the values they do. The one–time agnostic physicist P.C. W. Davies comments, "Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact."{8} Similarly, Fred Hoyle remarks, "A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super–intellect has monkeyed with physics."{9} Robert Jastrow, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, calls this the most powerful evidence for the existence of God ever to come out of science.{10}

14. So, once again, the view that Christian theists have always held, that there is an intelligent Designer of the universe, seems to make much more sense than the atheistic interpretation that the universe, when it popped into being, uncaused, out of nothing, just happened to be, by chance, fine–tuned for intelligent life with an incomprehensible precision and delicacy.

15. 3: God makes sense of objective moral values in the world. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist. Many theists and atheists alike concur on this point. For example, the late J. L. Mackie of Oxford University, one of the most influential atheists of our time, admitted: "If...there are...objective values, they make the existence of a god more probable than it would have been without them. Thus, we have a defensible argument from morality to the existence of God."{11} But in order to avoid God's existence, Mackie therefore denied that objective moral values exist. He wrote, "It is easy to explain this moral sense as a natural product of biological and social evolution."{12}

16. Professor Michael Ruse, a philosopher of science at the University of Guelph, agrees. He explains:

Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself,' they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction...and any deeper meaning is illusory.{13}

Friedrich Nietzsche, the great atheist of the last century who proclaimed the death of God, understood that the death of God meant the destruction of all meaning and value in life.

I think that Friedrich Nietzsche was right.

17. But we've got to be very careful here. The question here is not: Must we believe in God in order to live moral lives? I'm not claiming that we must. Nor is the question: can we recognize objective moral values without believing in God? I think we can.

18. Rather the question is: If God does not exist, do objective moral values exist? Like Mackie and Ruse, I just don't see any reason to think that in the absence of God, the morality evolved by homo sapiens is objective. After all, if there is no God, then what's so special about human beings? They're just accidental by–products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. On the atheistic view, some action, say, rape, may not be socially advantageous, and so in the course of human development has become taboo. But that does absolutely nothing to prove that rape is really wrong. On the atheistic view, there's nothing really wrong with your raping someone. Thus, without God there is no absolute right and wrong which imposes itself on our conscience.

19. But the problem is that objective moral values do exist, and deep down we all know it. There's no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world. Actions like rape, torture, and child abuse aren't just socially unacceptable behavior––they're moral abominations. Some things, at least, are really wrong. Similarly, love, equality, and self–sacrifice are really good. But if objective values cannot exist without God, and objective values do exist, then it follows logically and inescapably that God exists.

20. 4: God makes sense of the historical facts concerning the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The historical person, Jesus of Nazareth, was a remarkable individual. New Testament critics have reached something of a consensus that the historical Jesus came on the scene with an unprecedented sense of divine authority, the authority to stand and speak in God's place. That's why the Jewish leadership instigated his crucifixion for the charge of blasphemy. He claimed that in himself the Kingdom of God had come, and as visible demonstrations of this fact, he carried out a ministry of miracle–working and exorcisms. But the supreme confirmation of his claim was his resurrection from the dead. If Jesus did rise from the dead, then it would seem that we have a divine miracle on our hands and, thus, evidence for the existence of God.

21. Now most people would think that the resurrection of Jesus is just something you believe in by faith or not. But, in fact, there are three established facts, recognized by the majority of New Testament historians today, which I believe support the resurrection of Jesus: the empty tomb; Jesus' post–mortem appearances; and the origin of the disciples' belief in his resurrection. Let me say a word about each one of these.

22. Fact # 1: On the Sunday following his crucifixion, Jesus' tomb was found empty by a group of his women followers. According to Jacob Kremer, an Austrian scholar who has specialized in the study of the resurrection, "By far most scholars hold firmly to the reliability of the Biblical statements about the empty tomb."{14} According to the New Testament critic, D.H. van Daalen, it is extremely difficult to object to the empty tomb on historical grounds; those who deny it do so on the basis of theological or philosophical assumptions.

23. Fact # 2: On separate occasions different individuals and groups saw appearances of Jesus alive after his death. According to the prominent, skeptical German New Testament critic Gerd Ludemann, "It may be taken as historically certain that...the disciples had experiences after Jesus' death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ."{15} These appearances were witnessed not only by believers, but also by unbelievers, skeptics, and even enemies.

24. Fact # 3: The original disciples suddenly came to believe in the resurrection of Jesus despite having every predisposition to the contrary. Jews had no belief in a dying, much less a rising, Messiah, and Jewish beliefs about the afterlife precluded anyone's rising from the dead prior to the end of the world. Luke Johnson, a New Testament scholar at Emory University, muses, "Some sort of powerful, transformative experience is required to generate the sort of movement earliest Christianity was..."{16} N. T. Wright, an eminent British scholar, concludes, "That is why, as an historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him."{17}

25. Therefore, it seems to me, the Christian is amply justified in believing that Jesus rose from the dead and was who he claimed to be. But that entails that God exists.

26 5: God can be immediately known and experienced. This isn't really an argument for God's existence; rather it's the claim that you can know God exists wholly apart from arguments simply by immediately experiencing Him. This was the way people in the Bible knew God, as Professor John Hick explains:

God was known to them as a dynamic will interacting with their own wills, a sheer given reality, as inescapably to be reckoned with as a destructive storm and life–giving sunshine...To them God was not...an idea adopted by the mind, but an experiential reality which gave significance to their lives.{18}

Now if this is so, then there's a danger that proofs for God could actually distract our attention from God Himself. If you're sincerely seeking God, then God will make His existence evident to you. The Bible promises, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4. 8). We mustn't so concentrate on the proofs that we fail to hear the inner voice of God speaking to our own heart. For those who listen, God becomes an immediate reality in their lives.

27. So, in conclusion, we've yet to see any arguments to show that God does not exist, and we have seen five reasons to think that God does exist. And, therefore, I think that theism is the more plausible world–view.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The entirety of the debate can be viewed at http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcrai ... ley00.html


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 8:36 am 
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Yes, and his name is Mike C. or Silent Mike as people silently pray to him.

In the beginning there wasMike. And Mike said let there be SPCR, and Mike saw that it was good.
Alpha 1:1


All joking aside the points Mike makes about the Catholic church I agree with. Missionaries have done selfless acts for centuries and helped poor areas and communities far better than their own govt./fellow countrymen suited them. But like Mike said, the organized procedures and heads of state I have a problem with, on the Protestant side of the canvas. When some strange little girl walks up to me and hands me a flower and smiles or a 20 year old flirts with me like I was 20 myself or when I do something nice for no good reason at all, just to be selfless, I know God is all over the place.

In a frosty nutshell: God exists and I think he is very regretful he created mankind.

Nice to see you here Aphonos, I’d thought you had left.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 12:10 am 
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Straker, so you think a little uncertainty provides meaning, perhaps even a sense of superstition or religion (b/c we end up begging/praying for nature/God to grant our wishes)?

Ie. an agrarian lifestyle leading a man to pray for rain.

Rory B., all that about the universe is interesting, but we still have a lot to learn about the universe.

Anyway, if there must be an origin to the universe, then "who created God?" If he doesn't need an origin, then neither does the universe (this was used against me a few posts up).

We just have to accept that we don't understand everything. Not understanding adds a sense of greatness. The universe seems to be created, it's organised/complex/beautiful/whatever.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 6:23 am 
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Trip,

In another of Dr. Craig's debates, an opponent tries to make the case that the universe it actually not temporal. He proposes the idea of negative time. Since time is just a way of describing sets of simultaneous events that happen in sequence or something like that, Dr. Craig's opponent is in effect proposing negative events, which is just another way of saying there is an infinite regress of events. Dr. Craig responds by describing why the idea of negative events is preposterous. Since I'm not the expert on these things, you'll have to read the transcript of the debate for yourself. That said, I think you'll find it interesting.

The Craig-Smith Debate: Does God Exist?
http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcrai ... ith00.html

The response I've always used to your challenge is that you're still trying to impose on God the limits of time and space. However, to have created those things, he must have been separate from those things. The burden of proof is thus on you to describe how your claim that the universe doesn't need an origin is even relevant to our discussion since it's already been shown that the universe HAS an origin ("The Big Bang") which we cannot escape and thus we must account for. Unless, of course, you've got this big earth-shattering disproof of Big Bang Theory that you'd like to share with us.

I hope you'd agree with me, though, that if the Christian God exists, He has been VERY good to us.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:24 am 
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Rory B. wrote:
....The burden of proof is thus on you to describe how your claim that the universe doesn't need an origin is even relevant to our discussion since it's already been shown that the universe HAS an origin ("The Big Bang") which we cannot escape and thus we must account for....


The Big Bang is not necessarily the beginning of the Universe. It may be the beginning of "The Universe as we know it" but there's no logical reason to believe that there was nothing at all before it.

What the Big Bang is, from our perspective, is the point in which the laws of space, time, cause-and-effect, etc, as we know them, cease to apply, thus making any scientific study of events it before impossible. (And thus leaving those events in the realm of philosophy and theology)

The Big Bang could have been just part of an endless cycle of Big Bangs following Big Crunches, going back to infinitity.



Even if you could prove that either way, it has no bearing on the existence of God anyway....

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 1:46 pm 
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Trip wrote:
Straker, so you think a little uncertainty provides meaning, perhaps even a sense of superstition or religion (b/c we end up begging/praying for nature/God to grant our wishes)?

Ie. an agrarian lifestyle leading a man to pray for rain.


er, maybe, but what's that have to do with what I said? :P
noone knows anything about their future, whether pondering that leads to blind faith, hopelessness or inner peace just depends on the person i think.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:45 pm 
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Straker wrote:
At the same time I don't think it takes any of the magic or anything out of life; maybe I'll get hit by a garbage truck and become a motivational speaker, and I may or may not ever be able to stop procrastinating (regardless of whether or not I make a conscious effort or spend money on voodoo/counseling/whatever), but whatever happens is still what was "supposed" to happen.


If we knew too much of our destiny, we would no longer dream and hope of our destiny, provided the destiny could not be altered. It might cease to be great, if something else wonderous and great was not involved: ie., you're destined to develop a silver tongue (an amazing and wonderous ability).

My train of thought was that we enjoy pursuing, once we achieve or come to understand whatever it is, then we move on to find something else. We enjoy the amazing and the wondrous, or pursuing the amazing and wonderous.

I think that's related to a man worshipping God or believing in the supernatural. As Rory B. said, God is above time and space. Not only do we not understand him, we cannot understand him.

Nature is out of the control and understanding of the farmer; it is great, wonderous, magical, etc. If he understood nature, it would lose its greatness.

It's greatness and the farmer's desire to influence it/fear of it/love of it/etc. leads him to dream and to become religious/superstitious/paranoid delusional. Heh, or perhaps the mundacity of the agrarian routine leads him to create a more interesting reality.

EDIT: I think that's my train of thought. I'm way too tired right now though.

Rant to be continued...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 12:33 am 
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Trip wrote:
I think that's related to a man worshipping God or believing in the supernatural. As Rory B. said, God is above time and space. Not only do we not understand him, we cannot understand him..

If you cannot understand God, how do you know that it is "above time and space".


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 4:50 am 
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Actually, if the accounts given in the Bible are trustworthy, then we have an extremely valuable resource to understand all that we really need to understand about God. For more to this end (for those of you who are truly interested in learning more and not just debating until everybody agrees with you) a good web site is http://www.tektonics.org which is a Christian apologetics website dealing with the truthfulness (basis in fact) of the Bible. You might also be interested in the "What is Faith?", "What is Love?", and "What is Truth?" articles because the definitions of those words have kind of shifted over time from their original meanings as they apply to the Bible.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:57 am 
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I think us trying to understand him is like and old computer like and 8088 trying to run windows XP, is not possible.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 9:52 am 
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It might be useful to remind ourselves that we are a product of the Universe. Logic and physical laws are human constructs, and do not necessarily have any bearing on that which lies outside of human perception.

Apologies to frosty, but perhaps I could better express what he is trying to say. Continuing with the electronic products theme: using the mind to understand the total Reality could be likened to using a transistor radio to hear every wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum all at once. Even with the most powerful instruments and computers we will ever devise, we will only discover more questions than answers. We can not even understand ourselves.

The tiny amount of intelligence with which Nature has equipped each of us gets a taste of knowledge and becomes delusional about its abilities to find, consume and digest it. Listening to various philosophies and cosmologies is like watching children play - so cute! Religions began from outstanding visionaries trying to help us find a way out of the sandpit.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 10:17 am 
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No need to apologize, you said it better than me Alleycat. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 11:53 am 
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frosty wrote:
I think us trying to understand him is like and old computer like and 8088 trying to run windows XP, is not possible.

Were you attempting to answer my question? If so, your answer is inadequate. If you know cannot know something, then you cannot know that it is "above time and space".


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2004 7:15 pm 
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Trip wrote:
If we knew too much of our destiny, we would no longer dream and hope of our destiny, provided the destiny could not be altered. It might cease to be great, if something else wonderous and great was not involved: ie., you're destined to develop a silver tongue (an amazing and wonderous ability).

oh, no problem then. what I was saying doesn't even really affect this; if you thought you knew your destiny and got bored or frustrated you'd probably fuck it up anyways (but in reality, that would be what was supposed to happen anyways of course). :)

somebody wrote:
If you cannot understand God, how do you know that it is "above time and space".

you just answered it yourself, maybe that was why you left the question mark off? this is oversimplifying it a bit but if God were just a really big, really smart person we probably would have seen him by now. put another way, a long-standing historical/psychological/scientific problem that applies to pretty much every discipline is that it is possible to more or less fully understand anything beneath yourself, but never possible to understand anything equal to or above yourself completely (where "yourself" is pretty much anything, but the most obvious examples are people and computers). how do you explain a three-dimensional world to a hypothetical 2D person that lives in a sheet of paper?
anyways. those examples sort of beat around the bush. what answers it for me (well, would if I happened to be religious) is that God theoretically has perfect knowledge, this alone violates the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as well as causality. and i can literally picture him running back and forth in Minkowski spacetime trying to get everything created in a "week" just so the bible makes sense, but even this only goes so far (and i'd be rather displeased at the limitations of this if i happened to be a god myself :) ). not even going to say anything about omnipotence or omniscience. i think it *could* eventually be possible for humans to travel between alternate universes/realities, but this would require literally converting entire stars to energy instantly, just to keep any sort of portal open for a fraction of a second. so i think it's safe to say any God would have to have some sort of trick up his sleeve there too. most importantly, though, one would obviously need to be above the laws of physics just to be able to define and modify them in the first place. i can't think of a better way to word it without sounding like i'm making too many assumptions, but it seems to me that trying to alter the laws of physics while also being subject to them would be like trying to cause fusion by banging two rocks together really hard... tilting at windmills. too bad, would be funny accidentally freezing/crashing/deleting yourself along with all of existence while you got the hang of things. :P

or... shit, i didn't even need those two paragraphs. we don't need to understand something before we can know anything in particular about it, based either on observation, or logical consequences of other rules, as the case may be.
sorry for tangents, three hours of sleep makes me rambly


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 5:48 am 
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Those who say we can't fully understand God are getting close, but have missed the mark somewhat. The reality is, what myself and other Christians are trying to say is that what we know about God has been given to us through revelation Not the Book of Revelation, just revelation in general. Since our own understanding can't lead us to the conclusion that God is responsible for all of this (because our own understanding is limited by what we know, and what we know is limited by what we can see, touch, taste, or otherwise sense) we can't get to God by our own understanding. Instead, he had to come to us, revealing himself and parts of His plan to people a long time ago. Those people were commanded to write what they were given, and it is from those writings that the Bible was assembled as a library of useful writings for knowing who God is, discerning things about His nature and His will as it applies to mankind. The point is, without this revelation (things we can't see for ourselves being revealed to us), we WOULD be lost. And rejecting the revelation isn't something to be taken lightly.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:46 am 
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Rory B. wrote:
Those who say we can't fully understand God are getting close, but have missed the mark somewhat. The reality is, what myself and other Christians are trying to say is that what we know about God has been given to us through revelation Not the Book of Revelation, just revelation in general. Since our own understanding can't lead us to the conclusion that God is responsible for all of this (because our own understanding is limited by what we know, and what we know is limited by what we can see, touch, taste, or otherwise sense) we can't get to God by our own understanding. Instead, he had to come to us, revealing himself and parts of His plan to people a long time ago. Those people were commanded to write what they were given, and it is from those writings that the Bible was assembled as a library of useful writings for knowing who God is, discerning things about His nature and His will as it applies to mankind. The point is, without this revelation (things we can't see for ourselves being revealed to us), we WOULD be lost. And rejecting the revelation isn't something to be taken lightly.

What evidence do you have for the validity of the Bible?


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