Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Debating Theistic Views {Stub}

The comments that follow pose debates about the validity of theistic views... This post is a place holder for those debates!


fox said...

I can clearly see (from your posts) that u are Skeptic and anti-religious, being skeptic proves that u use your mind regarding belief issues, and all people should, but I must ask, did u read or tried to know anything about your religion before u took your opposing stand against it??

Devil's Mind said...

Lets first agree that, for someone to subscribe to a certain religion they have to agree to all of its clauses.. So while i might agree to parts of my "inherited" (ie. that of my parents) religion, i dont fully agree to all of its clauses!

- I reject the anthromorphic definition of GOD (ie. a GOD with human-like features like consciousness, love, parenthood, judgement) which is the basis of many religions

- I reject any need for repenting one's past actions which is found in most conventional religions

These are two examples of clauses found in religions which i reject! So yes, I know some details about my "inherited" religion!

On a differen note, I believe that its even unnecessary for me to consider any religion... I think I can have my own system of beliefs without being based on the already existing\establish\aknowledged systems of beliefs!!

fox said...

Yes, I agree upon the fact that you disagree with some points in your religion, but in order to enforce your stand (not for others, but rather for yourself), look for the reasons behind those points, as why god is defined with human features, you should look for the justifications for such matter and discuss it with people, those matters you specified can be a topic for argument, but I will avoid this argument so we wont be distracted from the main theme.

I believe that the truth is one, not relative and not according to anyone's opinion!!, I would like to mention an experience I've been through; I was summoned to a meeting I was compelled to attend, the reason behind this meeting was to discuss the contravention in my inherited religion (which is Islam by the way), after the meeting I really considered this meeting as an enlightenment, the main theme of the topic discussed was that: each person must use the mind power he had been given to seek the truth!! Unfortunately its not clear to us, thus it is hard to find!! Needs a lot of work, I believe that in your case you decided to make your own truth (which is your system of believes), I understand that you reject some points in your inherited religion, but is the religion you made for your self is true?? According to you it might be, but others might disagree with it, and thus it would be seen as false as you see your own inherited religion, so knowing whose right and whose wrong needs more than just a personal point of view.

Finally lets disagree upon something, no you shouldn’t believe in all aspects of a religion in order to subscribe to it!! Because unfortunately many hypocrites had altered many aspects in the religion in a way that meets their goals in the past and thus not all the aspects of religion are true, the only thing we can use as a reference and as a guide is our mind, to decide whether some matters are true or false.

As an example: I don't believe in fate (which is by the way considered on of the "columns of the belief structure" in any religious school book you can find) and yet I do consider my self a believer!!

note: i mean by using your mind, (not) to form an opinion and stick to it, but to research your religion and whenever you meet a theory try to reason with it, find whether it's logical or not, and also discuss it with other people who are using their minds, and they are hard to find!!

Devil's Mind said...

You raised some good points: some of which have already been addressed before, others will hopefully be addressed in future posts...

The reasons for my rejection of anthromorphic definition of GOD needs to be discussed further (hopefully in a future post, after i unload my thoughts on the topic of skepticism)... But untill then I'd like to point you to one of my previous posts that is slightly related... Most importantly consider how the problem of evil and the problem of hell negate the main premises of religions...

fox said...

ok i read both the problem of evil and hell, and i would like to debate both:

First, lets start with the problem of evil:
1. If God exists, then there would be no evil in the world.
2. There is evil in the world.
3. Therefore, God does not exist.

I do believe that god opposes evil, and supports good, but tell me, what's the definition of good if there was no evil, what good is if there were no evil, god created every thing in equilibrium, he created heaven and hell, angels and devils, as well as good and evil, god could eliminate evil, and make the world a good place, but this raises another question!! Why did god created minds for us!! What's the use of them, if the world is all good, no contravention, why didn’t god create us as an intelligent creatures so that we grow without worries and live happily ever and after until we die, I believe that god wanted to give us the choice here, he created good and evil, providing us with alternatives, and gave us the power of mind to choose make our choice good or evil, also created heaven and hell as a consequence for our choice.

Now the problem of hell:
why an omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent God would create souls foreknowing those souls would end up in Hell.

God is foreknowing but he didn’t choose hell for certain people, he gave us the power of mind to choose for our selves, and warned us about the consequences, let me clear this with a simple example; let say that I warned you about a pit in the path you are heading (because I'm omnibenevolent regarding you, bala gafye 6ab3an) , but with the mind you were given, you decided to ignore me and walk through that path, now I know that you will fall in the pit (as I'm omniscient), but this doesn’t mean that I pushed you through that pit!! So when you fall in that pit, logically, whose fault is that, so what I knew??!! I warned you didn’t I?? this is the case!!, yes god does know that certain souls are heading towards hell (as is all-knowing) but god did warn those souls! Those souls chose their path, god didn’t put them there.

This question also raises another question!! If god is all-loving, why not love god back??

fox said...

hey ps: i ment unintelligent in " why didn’t god create us as an intelligent creatures" please pardon any other mistakes :s i should read through my comment before publishing :/

Devil's Mind said...

In response to your "pit" debate about the problem of hell, it is important to note that GOD created hell and heaven (according to the religious stories), so in a sense he actually did "push you in the pit", because when he created this "pit" he knew that you will fall in it!

When this hypothetical GOD created the world, he knew that the outcome will not be good for all of the creatures; Still knowing that, he decides to creat this world, so we can say that he is the cause of that bad outcome!!

I sometimes make this analogy: A programmer writes this code: "PRINT 'Hello World': END" and then before running the program said: "If the computer shows the words 'Hello World', I will destroy it because its a bad computer", after running the program it display 'Hello World', so he destroys the computer!!

This is the way i view the religious story of GOD, because all humans are just acting out what their nature dictates!!

fox said...

You noted that "GOD created hell and heaven" but in the following sentence about the pit (referring to hell), and knowing that some people will fall in it, you forgot to mention that god also created heaven for you, so the question is for you now, why did you choose hell over heaven??!!

What I noticed about the problem of hell, is that the writer didn't mention heaven at all!!, he only concentrated on the negative things god created for us which I consider as misleading and subjective!! when you give an argument for readers you should give them the complete picture, not only the negative aspects of it, don’t you agree with me?

Do you have any notes regarding the problem of evil??

Devil's Mind said...

As i previously said, if God created this world, then he is the cause of its existance (premise), so he is the cause of everything in it including -but not limited to- evil in it... In the religious sense, if a man kills another man then he should be punished, but God deserves punishment just as much as -if not more- than the person because he caused it! Actually God is even more responsible for the evil in this world than the humans themselves are, because humans are limited creatures with limited knowledge and lack of insight, while God (by religious definition) has infinite knowledge and insight, so as i was trying to say: God is responsible for evil more than humans are!

Finally, regarding heaven not being mentioned: God (by religious definition) needs to be fair to all humans, so while he might do good to some (ie. heaven) he is being mean to others (ie. hell), so God isnt justified to hurt some just because he pleased others as well as ignoring his own responsibility to all that he caused!

fox said...

I don't really think that you are seeing my point here, so let me state it again, god didn't please some people and damn others, god gave us our lives, he gave us the bless of the mind power, also presented us with alternatives, in which one lead to happiness and the other lead to sadness, the choice between those two alternatives is up to us!! and the consequence is our responsibility.

Also I would like to state the god is our creator, our souls is his!! to keep or take those souls is up to him, you can't punish or even judge him at all for it, and the comparison with a man killing another man is wrong because the victim here doesn't belong to the killer, to avoid misconception regarding the word "belong" ill give an example to illuminate my argument: if I grabbed a hammer and wrecked your car, then I will be punished, but if I used that hammer and wrecked mine, then I wont be held accountable for my action, but why is that?? because my car(belongs to me) is mine to do whatever I want with it, right?, now some people raise the argument that it's not god's right to create us in order to destroy us!!, it's as to build something in order to destroy it!! but our destruction and damnation is not what god created us for, I do believe you think that (as well as the writer of the two problems) because you only see the bad things in the world, you avoid thinking that god is also responsible for all the blesses in this world, avoid thinking that god gave you the mind you're using, the food you're eating and many other blesses that you don't put into consideration, and for such matters, it's integral to consider the whole picture, we do owe god for our creation and blessing thus it's his right to judge us!! But what do god owe us so we could judge him??

I know that such arguments never end, because by nature we are subjective regarding our thoughts!! Even when presented in objective arguments, especially when these thoughts reflect ourselves, accepting the fact that our ideas are wrong, is (by us) considered as submission, thus we would never change our thoughts by 180 degrees!!
It's only possible if we figured out those ideas on our own!!

So the only thing I would like to add is that we should use our minds to seek the truth, and as a skeptic I believe you are doing it already.

Note: just to make sure, in the third paragraph, I was talking about people in general, I didn't imply in any way, to specify you or any other people who don’t share my ideas.

Are we on the same track here??

Devil's Mind said...

I think i do understand what you're saying, although i dont agree to all of it!

I understand what you are saying about seeing the "whole picture", that i am focusing on the negative side and neglecting the positive side... But my point is, if God was as perfect as they say he is, then the picture should make sense from every angle you look at it... If the whole picture was perfect then every part of the picture should be perfect as well, so any defect even in a tiny part of the picture means that the whole picture is less than perfect!

we do owe god for our creation and blessing thus it's his right to judge us!! But what do god owe us so we could judge him??
I think this is untruthful... We dont owe God our existance, God created us, we didnt ask for it! This hypothetical God created us without our pre-consent...

The final point of choice and why we have minds: To start with, the problem is that i believe that humans are incapable of neither choosing nor thinking (in the deep sense of the word)! I believe that our thoughts and choices are nothing but side-effects to natural processes and past occurrences...

Forgetting this argument for the moment: But assuming that we can make choices, and God knows these choices before we make them... Then if God created "bad" people, knowing before hand that they are going to make bad choices that leads to their saddness, this shows that God actually wants them to suffer!!

Finally, I think that neither religious nor non-religious people can ever be sure about the existance of (or non-existance of) this hypothetical God... Thats is to say, even if we showed that the story of this hypothetical God is actually plausible\believable and that it is not paradoxical this DOESNT prove that it is true, rather that it is plausible!! Same goes for athiests who argue that the world could be without the hypothetical God in religions, but they could only prove that it is plausible but not that its true!

So the only thing I would like to add is that we should use our minds to seek the truth, and as a skeptic I believe you are doing it already.
I respect that, thats why schools of thought exist! Diversity is natural and important...

fox said...

Yes god is perfect and god did create the perfect world, but before I state my definition of a perfect world, I would like you to define yours, please tell me what a perfect world is, without relying on your experience in this world, what I mean is when you rate a picture as perfect, in other words you mean flawless right? Because you don’t see any flaws in it, the flaws you saw in other pictures, you used the flaws you experienced as a reference when you judged that picture as perfect, so if we were originally created in a perfect world how would you know that it is perfect if you never witnessed the imperfect, for example in this "perfect world" all people are rich (because it's a perfect world), so how would you conclude this world is perfect now?, based on the fact that everyone is rich!!?? How did you know that all people are rich if there were no poor!! The term rich here will become meaningless! Because there are no poor people to use them as a reference for your judgment, so I really would like you to define the perfect world for me, without using any experience in this world as a base for you judgment.

I believe the perfect world is the world with perfect equilibrium, where you see the rich and the poor, the evil the good, and this is the world god created for us!! God did create a perfect world!!

Also regarding the note you mentioned that states that god created bad people, we were all born sinless, we all were born clean, and you know that since you know some details about your inherited religion, those people decided to become bad by their own decision and everyone who is mentally healthy is responsible for all his/her actions.

Devil's Mind said...

You seem to forget that I dont believe in a "perfect god", but rather people who believe in god claim that he is perfect...

I think that our world is objectively perfect, because i believe the truth is perfect, and that everything that actually happens is true... so everything that happens is perfect!

The problem is, religious people have drawn a picture of what is perfect which is different than our current world (ie. a world were no one kills another, no injustice happens, no one cheats\lies, ..etc), and so i disagree with them! In a certain way, religions tell us that the hypothetical God believes that our world is imperfect (and those people who bring about bad things should be punished)... If God himself sees the world as imperfect, then he is imperfect himself (in his own definition)!!

I believe that if you plant good, you harvest good!(*) And if God thinks we're not good people, thats because he didnt plant good seeds!

You say that if there was no evil there would be no good (in the same way, if there was no poor people there would be no rich ones), so in a certain way it is *necessary* evil! If we agree to that, then why should anyone be punished for what is necessary?!

(*)by cause and effect rule

fox said...

You are contradicting yourself here, in your last post point you stated that you consider the world perfect (as being true), but in the one before you argued that since god is perfect, the world must be perfect, and it's not according to you, you didn’t tell me that the idea of imperfection wasn’t yours but rather form the religious people you noted in your last comment, and by the way I don’t agree with those religious people, I noted before that we shouldn’t absorb religious principles the way they are, since they were distorted, so I might share the same religion with those religios people, but yet I don’t agree with them to all the aspects of it, and I wont.

Now finally regarding your last point, I will repeat a theory I already stated before, yes evil is necessary because it provides equilibrium, but it's not necessary for you to choose it!! That life! A test where you have two alternatives and you must choose between them, you know the consequences for each choice, and you were given a mind to make your choice and decided for your self, and best proof for this theory is that we do actually have a mind, you do criticize the life test and yet you do agree with the tests you attend to in your life (as academic exams), you do believe that whether you failed it's your fault, and you know for certain that there must be people that would actually fail and yet you blame them, why don’t you blame the system as you do regarding the life test!? If people didn’t subscribe the educational system and it's tests they will end up as illiterate (which leads to a bad consequence) now if we didn’t subscribe to the life test we will face bad consequences, and many people too, the people who are living in the middle, who are neither believers nor theists, do you see the resemblance here??

Devil's Mind said...

The point was that religious people claim that God is perfect while we are not, which i think is self-contradictory!

There is two things that we seem not to agree upon. The first one of which is that I dont really believe that humans are capable of choice... In other words, I think we react rather than act...
The other one which that we are caused by God, so if humans were capable of committing evil then God had that initial seed of evil!

Additionally, if God knew that we will make bad choices, why did he create us? He could have not created us and spared us the pain of hell!! I know that, at least in your view, we choose to do bad things and are responsible, but if God really knew that the result will be bad for some, why didnt he spare them?

fox said...

Then I should refer to the example I used in that matter, why don't we cancel the educational system as well? Since in that system (that promises you with a bright future if you passed in it, it's guaranteed that some people would fail and become miserable.

Regarding the two points you stated:

I do believe that we are capable of making choice, otherwise what's the function of the mental abilities we posses.

Also, humans and god are separate! god created us not gave birth to us, he created us as capable of committing evil so we would see the difference between us and him, so he would be superior.

ps: since you already posted another article, maybe we should drop this argument, as other blog fans of yours can now see both "points of view" of atheists and believers as well, and it's a good outcome from this argument, you can debate my points back because I don't intend to close the subject after I stated my points, I just think that this argument won't end by itself, I'll leave you the closure :)

tc :)

Devil's Mind said...

Allow me address some points:

First, our real life tests are used to pass judgement, and eliminate the incompetent... Thats the natural way of life, which as u said resembles the way of seperation between Hell and Heaven! The question is why do some have to suffer? In real life, there are limited resources and so people have to compete for those resources... Same goes for the Heaven\Hell dilemma! But God (supposedly) has infinite resources, and since he created us, he has to take care of us and seek our best interest!(*) Thats why i dont think Hell is a bad thing... Another point lies in that any human being, no matter how evil can only perform a finite amount of sins, so the punishment needs to be finite as well!!

(*)You might disagree. This arguement is based on the consent-based fair action.. Thats to say, if i would do an action that affects you, I have to take your pre-consent to that action! For someone to give consent he naturally would believe that this action is in his interest! But the hypothetical God didnt take our pre-consent, thats why i think he should seek our best interest!!

"so he would be superior"
Second, why does God need to show his 'muscles' to us?! Is it justified to creat evil just to prove a point?!
This also poses the question of why he crated us? Does he need us? I think every action has a purpose, so saying that God didnt need us should mean that he should have never created us!!

Finally, I would to point out that this discussion focus on the religious side of the arguemnt: That is to say, we both argued wether or not the religious story is plausible or not! I think we both agree that the religious story with slight modifications could be plausible (quoting: and by the way I don’t agree with those religious people, I noted before that we shouldn’t absorb religious principles the way they are, since they were distorted)

I argued with you if Hell is a fair punishment or not; I argued with you if existance of evil means an unomnibenevolent God...

But even if we proved that the religious story was plausible (ie. makes perfect sense without contradictions), this doesnt prove that its true!

Imagine that somebody told you that they made 3 millions dollars in one night! Someone might argue that this story is plausible, and that it is actually possible to make 3 million dollars in one night... But even so, this doesnt prove that its true!

The thing is, the atheist story is also plausible, but nontheless not provable as well!! (Agnosticism)

Last but not the least, a new post doesnt imply that a certain discussion "expired" :D so feel free to argue (although as u said, both views have already been laid out to readers)!!