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What if God does exist. Can sin exist exist then? No?





JessieF
Indi wrote:

Sin can't exist if God doesn't exist. You can still murder, pee on Bibles and badmouth God... but they can't be sins, because you can't transgress against what doesn't exist. The acts exist, the "sin" label cannot. So it's not simply a matter of sin being irrelevant to an atheist... "sin" is simply a meaningless word to an atheist. The acts still exist yes, and they may still be wrong (or may not be, depending on the act), but they're not sins.

Now... what if God does exist. Can sin exist exist then? It turns out... no! But that's a different argument altogether.


I was interested in what Indi meant when they said sin doesn't exist, even if god does. So, I am starting this topic to branch away from the original topic to learn more about how sin cannot exist even if god does.
Bikerman
Well, Indi could base the argument on the following;
a) Sin is only possible if free-will exists
b) An omniscient and omnipotent God precludes the existence of free-will.

Simply put, if you can perform an action that God did not know about in advance then God is not omniscient. If you cannot, then you cannot have sinned, because it was not an act of free-will.

I'll leave it to others to develop this argument.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Well, Indi could base the argument on the following;
a) Sin is only possible if free-will exists
b) An omniscient and omnipotent God precludes the existence of free-will.

Simply put, if you can perform an action that God did not know about in advance then God is not omniscient. If you cannot, then you cannot have sinned, because it was not an act of free-will.

I'll leave it to others to develop this argument.
So should we rename sin and call it "evil choices"? Sin is not possible within the literal interpretation of the Bible, but where does sin come from then? For it to be discussed, it has to have some sort of existence, otherwise discussion about sin is obsolete? The commandments in the Bible would then be obsolete as well.
spinout
remember the song:
heaven's just a sin away yeah yeah....

There are no sins... Of course a god can be upset about how things turn out but there is no right or wrong.

yin and yang - no sin with out heaven - or well just yin and yang!

Allthings are just a way - if it is called god -> so be it.
deanhills
spinout wrote:
there is no right or wrong.
You have to be joking? If there is no right and wrong, why do the words exist in the English language and in this opposite meaning? Do we blame religion for this too?

I think that all of us, with the exception of those who have some abnormalities or social limitations and difficulties, are born with an instinctive knowledge of "right" and "wrong". For example it would be unnatural for us to want to kill someone or do harm, unless we are forced to do so. Society created some rules as well to protect itself from people who go against this logical "right" and "wrong" choices of action. Perhaps Society has gone overboard with too many rules and there seems to be lots of conflict too about interpretation of the rules, but underlying all of that is a good understanding that there is "right" and there is "wrong". We try to do "right".
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:

b) An omniscient and omnipotent God precludes the existence of free-will.

It all hinges on that really.

I disagree though. Just because an omniscient being knows what you will choose, doesn't mean you didn't make the choice yourself.

As an alternate solution to that problem, you might consider multiverse theory. With each choice, the universe splits into multiple universes, one for each possible outcome of the choice. Within each of those universes could be a God who knew the outcome ahead of time. Would there be a different God for each universe in the multiverse, or would it be one God spanning across all of them? Who knows?
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
Well, Indi could base the argument on the following;
a) Sin is only possible if free-will exists
b) An omniscient and omnipotent God precludes the existence of free-will.

Simply put, if you can perform an action that God did not know about in advance then God is not omniscient. If you cannot, then you cannot have sinned, because it was not an act of free-will.

I'll leave it to others to develop this argument.

That's one way to do it, although rather indirect. You can make a more direct argument without introducing free will, and as a bonus, avoid objections by compatibilists.
liljp617
Not the free will thing again NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Shocked

hehe it's been repeated so many time!
deanhills
liljp617 wrote:
Not the free will thing again NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Shocked

hehe it's been repeated so many time!
Well, I guess if you argue it backwards in that there is no sin, then no one needs to be worried about free will.
Bluedoll
“Can sin exsist?” . . . by Bluedoll

Without reading the history of this posting, just going to answer the question ok!

Many people confuse sin with what it really means. To some people, sin is something equitable to evil and in many instances that is exactly what things are. Just plain evil!

However, sin is really about being ‘not perfect’. As we all know, to master something is to be able to perform the greatest of all achievements. Yet, what person can really say they can? Yes, we all have achieved awards and notifications of some sort and many of us go on to higher notable accomplishments and receive titles.

However, is anyone really perfect? If there is, please let that person throw the first stone.

Sin or imperfection can not exist with God and with his works, this is so true.

Why does sin (imperfection) exist in the world as we know it then?

I suppose the answer to that question could be compared to a painter painting on a canvas. Some strokes will not match or fit into the painting and will be rejected. However, with patience, everything will come together to give a final finish to a beautiful work of art.

________________________________________________________________

After reading the posts about free will in regard to (sin) all I will say is free will does exist, if we exercise it. The same goes for everything else.
liljp617
deanhills wrote:
liljp617 wrote:
Not the free will thing again NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Shocked

hehe it's been repeated so many time!
Well, I guess if you argue it backwards in that there is no sin, then no one needs to be worried about free will.


Under the criteria Bikerman laid out (which are the assertions put forth by many religions), no one should worry about free will anyway Razz
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
You can make a more direct argument without introducing free will, and as a bonus, avoid objections by compatibilists.

What would that argument be?
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:
You can make a more direct argument without introducing free will, and as a bonus, avoid objections by compatibilists.

What would that argument be?
Thanks for asking it. I was wondering about it too.
Bikerman
Well,
let's lay out another possible line of argument, in broad strokes.....

a) God is omniscient and omnipotent, therefore he/she/it knows in advance everything that you will ever do, feel or think. Further God has 'chosen' to allow this to happen, since an omnipotent God could obviously have ordained a different set of actions/feelings/thinking. Therefore your actions, thoughts and feelings are a direct result of the will of God (how could it be otherwise?).
b) We have the following definitions of sin from theology:
i. Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God.
ii. A condition of estrangement from God resulting from such disobedience


Now, the question arises, how can one be disobedient in these circumstances?

Now, we can refine this a little by widening the definition of sin to 'doing evil'. That is a broad definition that most people could go along with. The question arises, however, who created evil? Clearly God, as the supreme creator, must have created evil.......
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Well,
let's lay out another possible line of argument, in broad strokes.....

a) God is omniscient and omnipotent, therefore he/she/it knows in advance everything that you will ever do, feel or think. Further God has 'chosen' to allow this to happen, since an omnipotent God could obviously have ordained a different set of actions/feelings/thinking. Therefore your actions, thoughts and feelings are a direct result of the will of God (how could it be otherwise?).

Apparently people are having difficulty understanding the concept of free will with an omnipotent God... Quite simple: God could have ordained all the choices everyone would make, but he didn't, instead allowing people to choose. Why? He wanted to be loved, or so I'm told. Now, if you create something, and force it to love you, that isn't very fulfilling, is it? You can create a little robot that walks around and tells you it loves you, but only because it can't do anything else, that's not very fulfilling. But, if you become the parent of a child, and it grows up a little, and walks around and says it loves you, that's very fulfilling. What's the difference? The child has free will, and can choose not to, but does anyway.

The downside, of course, is that giving the child free will means that the child can also disobey and say it hates you.

Yes, God could immediately remove all evil and sin from the world, but then He'd be left with a bunch of mindless robots, simply obeying the programming given to them, and what's the point of that?
liljp617
I think I'll post/quote this again (of course, as long as Indi doesn't mind Razz), just for the sake of it and because I think it deals with the subject pretty well in a succinct manner:

Indi wrote:
You can't apply human standards of "knowing" to an omniscient being. To be omniscient and to know something is equivalent to making it happen - as soon as you know it will happen, it is a fact, a done deal. It must happen, or you won't be omniscient.

When you say "i know absolutely what that person will do"... you don't. You can't. No matter how well you know someone, no matter how you constrain events so that they can only make that choice, you still don't know what they will do in the same sense that an omniscient being does. Even if you say something apparently tautological - "i know that person will die sometime in the future," as you watch them fall from an airplane into a live volcano - you don't really know. You're using observed evidence to make a very good guess, but it's still just induction.

An omniscient being is not using induction. When they know something, it's literally a priori knowledge. It's true because it's true by virtue of what it is. To borrow from Descartes, consider a triangle. The sum of the angles of a triangle is 180 degrees - and this is true for all triangles, whether or not one actually exists yet or not. When a triangle finally does exist, its angles will add up to 180 degrees. Nothing about the triangle made that true - it was true before the triangle existed.

The same is true for omniscient knowledge. If they know it, it's true because it's true. Nothing you do and nothing about you affected the truth of that. It was true before you existed, and it would have been true even if you hadn't existed (assuming it's possible to have been true without your existence). It's not true "because of you" or "because of your choices"... your choices matched the fact because the fact was true, not the other way around. You didn't "choose" to do X if an omniscient being said you would - you did X because that's what you were going to do, and it's just happy chance that your choices aligned with X to make you think it was your idea.

So, how do you define free will? Are triangles free to make the sum of their angles equal to 180 degree? Even though there is absolutely no possibility of doing otherwise, no matter what their nature is or what their choices are? If so, then triangles have free will I guess. Are you free to do exactly what you are predestined to do without any choice in the matter? If so, then I guess you have free will, too.

But that's a pretty lame definition of free will, if you ask me.
deanhills
liljp617 wrote:
I think I'll post/quote this again (of course, as long as Indi doesn't mind Razz), just for the sake of it and because I think it deals with the subject pretty well in a succinct manner:

Indi wrote:
You can't apply human standards of "knowing" to an omniscient being. To be omniscient and to know something is equivalent to making it happen - as soon as you know it will happen, it is a fact, a done deal. It must happen, or you won't be omniscient.

When you say "i know absolutely what that person will do"... you don't. You can't. No matter how well you know someone, no matter how you constrain events so that they can only make that choice, you still don't know what they will do in the same sense that an omniscient being does. Even if you say something apparently tautological - "i know that person will die sometime in the future," as you watch them fall from an airplane into a live volcano - you don't really know. You're using observed evidence to make a very good guess, but it's still just induction.

An omniscient being is not using induction. When they know something, it's literally a priori knowledge. It's true because it's true by virtue of what it is. To borrow from Descartes, consider a triangle. The sum of the angles of a triangle is 180 degrees - and this is true for all triangles, whether or not one actually exists yet or not. When a triangle finally does exist, its angles will add up to 180 degrees. Nothing about the triangle made that true - it was true before the triangle existed.

The same is true for omniscient knowledge. If they know it, it's true because it's true. Nothing you do and nothing about you affected the truth of that. It was true before you existed, and it would have been true even if you hadn't existed (assuming it's possible to have been true without your existence). It's not true "because of you" or "because of your choices"... your choices matched the fact because the fact was true, not the other way around. You didn't "choose" to do X if an omniscient being said you would - you did X because that's what you were going to do, and it's just happy chance that your choices aligned with X to make you think it was your idea.

So, how do you define free will? Are triangles free to make the sum of their angles equal to 180 degree? Even though there is absolutely no possibility of doing otherwise, no matter what their nature is or what their choices are? If so, then triangles have free will I guess. Are you free to do exactly what you are predestined to do without any choice in the matter? If so, then I guess you have free will, too.

But that's a pretty lame definition of free will, if you ask me.
So possibly we have no free will at all. The only part that we think is free, is our thinking, and perhaps that is just an illusion. Including the way we look at an omniscient God. We're much too limited to contemplate what omniscient really is. And when we think we do, we probably are all barking up the wrong tree. How can a non-omnicient being ever visualize omnicience? We're totally out of our depth here.
ocalhoun
liljp617 wrote:
Quote:
Are you free to do exactly what you are predestined to do without any choice in the matter? If so, then I guess you have free will, too.

But that's a pretty lame definition of free will, if you ask me.


Looking at it from the perspective of the person making the choice and from that moment of time, it does look like that.

But, suppose a non-omniscient observer traveled through time, and observed a choice you made in the future, then came back to the present time. As long as this time traveler doesn't interfere with your choice, he knows exactly what you will choose, but you're still free to choose it.

Yes, with an omniscient anything anywhere in the universe, all your future choices are pre-ordained. But, they are pre-ordained to be exactly what you will choose with your own free will.

Can you change your future path and the choices you will make? No. Because the changes you would make to them have already been made.



I propose to you that the problem people have with an omniscient being and free will is misdirected. Their real problem is with dealing with free will and the nature of time, because they can't reconcile a knowable future with choices that can change the future. So the real problem is not the omniscient being, the problem is the knowable future.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:
You can make a more direct argument without introducing free will, and as a bonus, avoid objections by compatibilists.

What would that argument be?

i was enjoying the free will debate, although i don't intend to join in as it is off-topic here. Actually, i was waiting for someone to actually give a definition of sin that was clear, simple... and not complete nonsense (even if it is actually a canonical church definition). ^_^;

Case in point:
Bluedoll wrote:
However, sin is really about being ‘not perfect’.

Ah, so if i try to save a drowning child and fail, my rescue attempt - because it wasn't perfect - is a sin?

Bluedoll wrote:
Sin or imperfection can not exist with God and with his works, this is so true.

Correct me if i'm wrong, but... aren't we an example of God's works?

So either we are perfect, in which case, sinless... or we're not perfect, so imperfection - and hence, sin - can exist in God's works.

So either God sins, or we don't.

Not really the argument i was thinking of, but, what the hell. ^_^;
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:
You can make a more direct argument without introducing free will, and as a bonus, avoid objections by compatibilists.

What would that argument be?

i was enjoying the free will debate, although i don't intend to join in as it is off-topic here. Actually, i was waiting for someone to actually give a definition of sin that was clear, simple... and not complete nonsense (even if it is actually a canonical church definition). ^_^;

Sure, I'll throw the church definition out there, because, after all, if we're going to disregard church teachings, what's the point of arguing about sin anyway?

Sin is any act (, thought, or lack of action) that is against God's commandments, and takes you further away from God.
Quote:

Case in point:
Bluedoll wrote:
However, sin is really about being ‘not perfect’.

Ah, so if i try to save a drowning child and fail, my rescue attempt - because it wasn't perfect - is a sin?


No, it's not, don't be silly.
As long as you tried your best, that's all that is asked of you. If you saw the drowning child and just made a halfhearted rescue attempt, or just decided not to try at all, that would be a sin.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:

Sin is any act (, thought, or lack of action) that is against God's commandments, and takes you further away from God.

This is a good one, but perhaps we can make it even simpler.

Sin is any act (thought, or lack of action) against divine law.
JessieF
ocalhoun wrote:

No, it's not, don't be silly.
As long as you tried your best, that's all that is asked of you. If you saw the drowning child and just made a halfhearted rescue attempt, or just decided not to try at all, that would be a sin.


What if you can't swim, it happened out in a lake, and there's no boat, and no one else around?
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
Sure, I'll throw the church definition out there, because, after all, if we're going to disregard church teachings, what's the point of arguing about sin anyway?

Sin is any act (, thought, or lack of action) that is against God's commandments, and takes you further away from God.

The reason i frown on church definitions is because church definitions are - the vast majority of the time - vague, contradictory and downright nonsensical.

Case in point: isn't God supposed to be everywhere? How can one get "further away" from a thing that is everywhere?

Now, i know you're going to object that this "further away" is meant metaphorically... but that's exactly the problem. You can't define something by metaphor. At best you can give an idea about it or some aspect of its definition. And this is the problem with church definitions: they really don't have any damn clue what they're talking about. They just offer flowery metaphors to get around admitting that they don't really understand.

This is not about disregarding church teachings, it is about disregarding church pretentiousness. We want the actual definition of what sin is as sin is understood by the church... not what the church says the definition is. We want to pin down what sin is, as actually used in doctrine, not what the church says it is.

Now if religion were as honest and clear as most human institutions, then we wouldn't have a problem: what the church says sin is would probably be the same as what it actually means by sin. But anyone who has seriously studied religion knows that clarity is not a virtue lauded by most religions, if any.

ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:
Case in point:
Bluedoll wrote:
However, sin is really about being ‘not perfect’.

Ah, so if i try to save a drowning child and fail, my rescue attempt - because it wasn't perfect - is a sin?


No, it's not, don't be silly.
As long as you tried your best, that's all that is asked of you. If you saw the drowning child and just made a halfhearted rescue attempt, or just decided not to try at all, that would be a sin.

Hey, don't call me silly. That wasn't my definition, it was Bluedoll's. Are you saying his definition of sin is silly?

Are you offering a new definition of sin that includes "not trying your best"? If so, then if i try my absolute best to prove that God is imaginary, i am not sinning? And if i make a half-hearted effort at helping homeless people off the streets, i am sinning?

What if i try my absolute best at trying to cure cancer... while completely ignoring starving people? Is that not sinning, or is it? What if i try my absolute best at rollerblading... while completely ignoring starving people?
Solon_Poledourus
In my experience with religion, any time I have asked for a clear definition from a church official about anything(I'm speaking generically of the christian doctrine here), the answer is always ambiguous. Not to mention that the definition changes, depending on which church official you ask. When I ask for a definition, I don't want ambiguity, I want a definition. And I want an answer that will be the same even if I travel 5000 miles away and ask a different church official the same question.

On the other thread about sin, the definition of "a transgression against god" was given. That's more or less what I use as a definition. But what actions are actually transgressions against god? Is the a clearly defined list? Is the ten commandments it? As Indi asked:
Indi wrote:
What if i try my absolute best at trying to cure cancer... while completely ignoring starving people? Is that not sinning, or is it? What if i try my absolute best at rollerblading... while completely ignoring starving people?

Leaving out the rollerblading and curing cancer for a second, is it a sin to ignore starving people? Is that a transgression against god? If so, I'd like to see where that is written in christian doctrine. Or is that just something they decided was a sin? If that's the case, what's stopping them from deciding that rollerblading and curing cancer are both sins unto themselves?

If god doesn't exist, then you can't transgress against god, as has been stated on here already. That's just kind of a no-brainer. Fortunately, some of the actions that fall under the "sin" category, also fall under the "crime" category. Without god, we still have crimes that one can be punished for, but not sins.
deanhills
So Indi, what would your definition of sin be?
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

Case in point: isn't God supposed to be everywhere? How can one get "further away" from a thing that is everywhere?

Rolling Eyes
Emotionally, as in emotionally distant. Habitually, in that sinning tends to distract and turn one away from God. And, indeed, metaphorically, in that it places a barrier in between one and God.

No, it will not literally move you further away from God, who is omnipresent anyway... perhaps 'further away' was a bad choice of words to express this.
Quote:

Hey, don't call me silly. That wasn't my definition, it was Bluedoll's. Are you saying his definition of sin is silly?

Are you offering a new definition of sin that includes "not trying your best"? If so, then if i try my absolute best to prove that God is imaginary, i am not sinning? And if i make a half-hearted effort at helping homeless people off the streets, i am sinning?

What if i try my absolute best at trying to cure cancer... while completely ignoring starving people? Is that not sinning, or is it? What if i try my absolute best at rollerblading... while completely ignoring starving people?


I suppose I am, at least in the case of that example.
There are both positive and negative commandments in scriptures. In addition to all the 'thou shalt not's, there are some 'thou shalt's, if you get my meaning. Now, if there was something that God commanded you to do (spread the gospel, or help the needy for examples) and you didn't do it, that would be a sin. Also, if you 'tried' to do it, but didn't really try very hard, that would also be a sin, just like how your boss at work would fire you just the same whether you didn't put enough effort into your work, or if you simply didn't try at all. And, no, I don't think there's any commandment to prove that God is imaginary, but there isn't any commandment not to either, so you can do that or not do that, as you choose, and not be sinning either way.
I don't think that would be a sin, because you're doing your best to help people. I'd assume that you're free to choose who to help and how, as long as they are truly in need of help. Of course, if a starving person came up to your door, and asked for a little food, and you didn't give any because you were too busy with cancer... that might be a little different.
Since being your best at rollerblading doesn't help anybody, while helping the hungry would, that would probably be a sin.
The whole 'doing your best' thing depends on what you're trying to do. If you're trying your best not to sin, to do good things instead, that's great. If you're trying your best to do evil things that's a sin. And if trying your best at something that neither helps nor hurts anybody prevents you from doing things that you should be doing, then that is also a sin.



Solon_Poledourus wrote:

Leaving out the rollerblading and curing cancer for a second, is it a sin to ignore starving people? Is that a transgression against god? If so, I'd like to see where that is written in christian doctrine. Or is that just something they decided was a sin? If that's the case, what's stopping them from deciding that rollerblading and curing cancer are both sins unto themselves?


Matthiew 25:41-46 wrote:

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Sufficient?
^.^
Solon_Poledourus
ocalhoun wrote:
Sufficient?
^.^

I suppose it is Very Happy . I guess I could have looked it up myself, as well.
Really, what I was wondering, was that there seems to be alot of "it's a sin to..." or "it's a sin NOT to..." being preached, and much of this is not found in scripture. It's just things a church official tells someone, and they accept it. I'm just curious how that works, because a catholic church in Maryland might say it's a sin to eat corn on Tuesday(for example), while a catholic church in London might disagree, and since it's not actually in scripture, how do we know if it's a true transgression against god? If it's not in scripture, can we just disregard it even if it comes from the pope?
ocalhoun
Solon_Poledourus wrote:

If it's not in scripture, can we just disregard it even if it comes from the pope?

Well, coming from an evangelical background, I find the idea that any ordinary human being able to speak with equal authority to scripture is ridiculous.

Sure it's fine for someone to be 'in charge', and it's good to have someone to give guidance, but nobody should just be able to decree what's a sin and what's not without backing it up with some kind of scripture. A good spiritual leader would mostly just point you to the part of scripture that deals with what you're asking, not just arbitrarily tell you what's a sin and what's not, and he or she would definitely back what they say up with scripture, usually without even needing to be asked to.
Indi
deanhills wrote:
So Indi, what would your definition of sin be?

i have given it a couple times already: sin is any transgression against God. That includes doing things that God doesn't want done, not doing things that God wants done and any other act that hurts God directly or indirectly.

ocalhoun wrote:
Quote:

Hey, don't call me silly. That wasn't my definition, it was Bluedoll's. Are you saying his definition of sin is silly?

Are you offering a new definition of sin that includes "not trying your best"? If so, then if i try my absolute best to prove that God is imaginary, i am not sinning? And if i make a half-hearted effort at helping homeless people off the streets, i am sinning?

What if i try my absolute best at trying to cure cancer... while completely ignoring starving people? Is that not sinning, or is it? What if i try my absolute best at rollerblading... while completely ignoring starving people?


I suppose I am, at least in the case of that example.
There are both positive and negative commandments in scriptures. In addition to all the 'thou shalt not's, there are some 'thou shalt's, if you get my meaning. Now, if there was something that God commanded you to do (spread the gospel, or help the needy for examples) and you didn't do it, that would be a sin. Also, if you 'tried' to do it, but didn't really try very hard, that would also be a sin, just like how your boss at work would fire you just the same whether you didn't put enough effort into your work, or if you simply didn't try at all. And, no, I don't think there's any commandment to prove that God is imaginary, but there isn't any commandment not to either, so you can do that or not do that, as you choose, and not be sinning either way.
I don't think that would be a sin, because you're doing your best to help people. I'd assume that you're free to choose who to help and how, as long as they are truly in need of help. Of course, if a starving person came up to your door, and asked for a little food, and you didn't give any because you were too busy with cancer... that might be a little different.
Since being your best at rollerblading doesn't help anybody, while helping the hungry would, that would probably be a sin.
The whole 'doing your best' thing depends on what you're trying to do. If you're trying your best not to sin, to do good things instead, that's great. If you're trying your best to do evil things that's a sin. And if trying your best at something that neither helps nor hurts anybody prevents you from doing things that you should be doing, then that is also a sin.

It seems to me that you are not trying in the least to actually find a definition of sin - you are doing the opposite. You are going case-by-case and saying "i think this is a sin, i think that is not a sin..." without ever giving any concrete way to make that determination... just going by what feels like sin.

For example, you say Bluedoll's definition of sin is silly "in the case of that example". If it's the definition of sin, then it shouldn't be silly in any examples... therefore it's not the definition of sin.

Going case-by-case is a valid way to figure things out if we can't come up with a definition of sin, but i don't really think we're there yet. But even if we do have to go case-by-case, going by what feels like sin is of no practical use to anyone. i mean, if anyone can feel what is and what is not a sin... Christianity is a rather useless religion, at least for the purposes of moral and practical guidance.

And let's face it, all of the examples you listed above are just what feels right to you, not necessarily what feels right to others or what is actually Biblical. For example, trying to prove that God doesn't exist is quite explicitly a sin in the Bible. And if my questing happens to conclude that God doesn't exist, and i tell others, that's not just a sin, that is the unforgivable sin!!! The worst sin in all of Christian doctrine.

In the second example, this would also be a sin, and ironically due to the very verses you quoted in the same post. The Bible makes no allowances for "the greater good" - if you walk past suffering people and do nothing, badda boom, sin. It doesn't matter if you happen to be on the way to the lab to cure cancer. That is your interpolation, it's not in the Bible. Common sense dictates "help thyself before thou helpest others" - this is why, for example, they tell you on airlines in an emergency to secure your oxygen mask first... then your neighbours that need help. If you don't, if you try to fix the mask on a nearby child before yourself, for example, you may save the child then pass out yourself... resulting in your death and the death of three or four other children that you could have saved if you'd stayed conscious. But the Bible doesn't work that way - by Biblical logic, you should fix the oxygen masks on your neighbours first... and GOD will take care of you!

And that's why the rollerblading case is also a sin, but let's consider your standard, rather than the Biblical one. As i mentioned, the Bible makes no truck for the greater good, or any kind of long term or utilitarian thinking when it comes to helping people at all. But suppose i was working hard on my rollerblading with the intention of becoming a big rollerblading star, and make millions of dollars, and eventually open foundations to help thousands of people. Now by the Bible standard it's still a sin, but by your standard - which you applied to the previous example - it's not. And it's not a matter of percentages is it? Because which is more likely, someone finding a cure for cancer, or someone making millions as a celebrity then helping people with those riches? Clearly the latter... there are a whole lot more celebrity philanthropists running around than there are people who have cured cancer.
deanhills
Indi wrote:
deanhills wrote:
So Indi, what would your definition of sin be?

i have given it a couple times already: sin is any transgression against God. That includes doing things that God doesn't want done, not doing things that God wants done and any other act that hurts God directly or indirectly.
Think I prefer the definition of transgression against divine law. For example, which God are you talking about here? Wouldn't divine law cover all religions much better?
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

It seems to me that you are not trying in the least to actually find a definition of sin - you are doing the opposite. You are going case-by-case and saying "i think this is a sin, i think that is not a sin..." without ever giving any concrete way to make that determination... just going by what feels like sin.

Yeah, I'm not trying to define sin...
<.<
I thought I already did that, though we did have some issues with the wording.
I was trying to give examples of that definition applied to the situations you mentioned. And, of course, since some of those examples were borderline, and difficult to figure out, interpretations and opinions will vary sometimes.
Quote:

In the second example, this would also be a sin, and ironically due to the very verses you quoted in the same post. The Bible makes no allowances for "the greater good" - if you walk past suffering people and do nothing, badda boom, sin. It doesn't matter if you happen to be on the way to the lab to cure cancer. That is your interpolation, it's not in the Bible. Common sense dictates "help thyself before thou helpest others" - this is why, for example, they tell you on airlines in an emergency to secure your oxygen mask first... then your neighbours that need help. If you don't, if you try to fix the mask on a nearby child before yourself, for example, you may save the child then pass out yourself... resulting in your death and the death of three or four other children that you could have saved if you'd stayed conscious. But the Bible doesn't work that way - by Biblical logic, you should fix the oxygen masks on your neighbours first... and GOD will take care of you!

No, you keep trying to make it more extremist than it really is. By the definition I gave it would still be better to put your own mask on and then save them all, instead of saving just one and dying.

Just because it is a sin to not help someone does not mean you have to help them at the expense of helping others, especially when the choice comes down to saving one, or saving one and all the others.
This also applies to the drowning child example. If you could save the kid, but didn't that would be a sin, but if you couldn't and didn't (perhaps you can't swim?), how could you be held responsible for that?
Quote:

And that's why the rollerblading case is also a sin, but let's consider your standard, rather than the Biblical one. As i mentioned, the Bible makes no truck for the greater good, or any kind of long term or utilitarian thinking when it comes to helping people at all. But suppose i was working hard on my rollerblading with the intention of becoming a big rollerblading star, and make millions of dollars, and eventually open foundations to help thousands of people. Now by the Bible standard it's still a sin, but by your standard - which you applied to the previous example - it's not. And it's not a matter of percentages is it? Because which is more likely, someone finding a cure for cancer, or someone making millions as a celebrity then helping people with those riches? Clearly the latter... there are a whole lot more celebrity philanthropists running around than there are people who have cured cancer.

Well, adding the whole rich philanthropist thing in rather complicates the scenario... In the original example, it wasn't mentioned so the choice would be obvious.

You can't focus exclusively on only helping those in immediate need at the expense of even more people in greater need later on. (as in the airplane example)
However, you can't exclusively focus on helping people in the long-term future either, because that brings a great risk of never actually getting a chance to fulfill your plans. (as in the rollerblader example, where you might get injured or killed before becoming rich and famous, or you might just never get rich and famous at all... and then what reason do you have for having ignored all the needy while you were focusing on your talent?)

You just need to balance the two extremes out and use a little common sense.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
No, you keep trying to make it more extremist than it really is. By the definition I gave it would still be better to put your own mask on and then save them all, instead of saving just one and dying.

Perhaps, but the definition you gave is not actually the definition of sin as used by any major religion (or, more precisely, it was what they claim the definition is, but it is functionally nonsense). And that's the problem - i could make up a definition and then show how it applies or doesn't apply... but that's not really a useful exercise.

As i said, any definition of "sin" should accurately reflect how the various religious actually use the term... not what they say the definition is. It is not only common, it is damn near universal in religion to claim the definition of a word is one thing, but actually use it in practise a different way.

ocalhoun wrote:
You just need to balance the two extremes out and use a little common sense.

And yet again - common sense is your addition to the equation, it has not part in the actual usage of the word sin. What is the common sense reason for picking up sticks on the Sabbath to be a capital offence, but raping a young girl to cost you only a 50 dollar fine (and you get the girl you raped as a wife)?
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

And yet again - common sense is your addition to the equation, it has not part in the actual usage of the word sin.

Perhaps, but anything adhered to without the tempering of common sense will end up unreasonable.
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:

And yet again - common sense is your addition to the equation, it has not part in the actual usage of the word sin.

Perhaps, but anything adhered to without the tempering of common sense will end up unreasonable.
Tell that to quantum physicists! The fact is that 'common sense' is often neither..
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:

And yet again - common sense is your addition to the equation, it has not part in the actual usage of the word sin.

Perhaps, but anything adhered to without the tempering of common sense will end up unreasonable.
Tell that to quantum physicists! The fact is that 'common sense' is often neither..

I'd call some of the conclusions of quantum physics unreasonable, however true they may be...
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:

And yet again - common sense is your addition to the equation, it has not part in the actual usage of the word sin.

Perhaps, but anything adhered to without the tempering of common sense will end up unreasonable.
Tell that to quantum physicists! The fact is that 'common sense' is often neither..

I'd call some of the conclusions of quantum physics unreasonable, however true they may be...

Well the conclusions of physics are totally reasonable, so I fail to see your problem.
Reason has the meaning of explanation for observed phenomenon when used as a noun, and to determine by logical thinking when used as a verb. In both senses quantum physics is totally reasonable. It just isn't intuitive.....
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:

And yet again - common sense is your addition to the equation, it has not part in the actual usage of the word sin.

Perhaps, but anything adhered to without the tempering of common sense will end up unreasonable.
Tell that to quantum physicists! The fact is that 'common sense' is often neither..

I'd call some of the conclusions of quantum physics unreasonable, however true they may be...

Well the conclusions of physics are totally reasonable, so I fail to see your problem.
Reason has the meaning of explanation for observed phenomenon when used as a noun, and to determine by logical thinking when used as a verb. In both senses quantum physics is totally reasonable. It just isn't intuitive.....
Quantum physics has its place in progress, but for day to day surviving intuition and instincts have to be much more reasonable. We can survive without the study of quantum physics, but take away intuition and instincts, common sense and we are much more vulnerable as a species.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:

And yet again - common sense is your addition to the equation, it has not part in the actual usage of the word sin.

Perhaps, but anything adhered to without the tempering of common sense will end up unreasonable.
Tell that to quantum physicists! The fact is that 'common sense' is often neither..

I'd call some of the conclusions of quantum physics unreasonable, however true they may be...

Well the conclusions of physics are totally reasonable, so I fail to see your problem.
Reason has the meaning of explanation for observed phenomenon when used as a noun, and to determine by logical thinking when used as a verb. In both senses quantum physics is totally reasonable. It just isn't intuitive.....
Quantum physics has its place in progress, but for day to day surviving intuition and instincts have to be much more reasonable. We can survive without the study of quantum physics, but take away intuition and instincts, common sense and we are much more vulnerable as a species.
Nonsense. You wouldn't survive a week without quantum physics. Try imagining where you would be if every electronic device suddenly winked-out of existence. Modern society depends almost completely on the technological results of quantum physics.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
You wouldn't survive a week without quantum physics. Try imagining where you would be if every electronic device suddenly winked-out of existence. Modern society depends almost completely on the technological results of quantum physics.
I've survived without the knowledge of quantum physics for most of my life, and probably will continue to do so until I die. Society may be dependent on its technological results for its conveniences, but not for its survival as a species. It would still be able to survive without the study of quantum physics. If you take away society's intuition, instincts and common sense however it will be in much greater trouble. Human beings will probably become like "on-off" switch robots. There won't be forums of debate. There won't be "sin" or a need for figuring out what sin is. It would be 100% survival of the fittest and destruction of the weak.
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
You wouldn't survive a week without quantum physics. Try imagining where you would be if every electronic device suddenly winked-out of existence. Modern society depends almost completely on the technological results of quantum physics.
I've survived without the knowledge of quantum physics for most of my life, and probably will continue to do so until I die. Society may be dependent on its technological results for its conveniences, but not for its survival as a species. It would still be able to survive without the study of quantum physics. If you take away society's intuition, instincts and common sense however it will be in much greater trouble. Human beings will probably become like "on-off" switch robots. There won't be forums of debate. There won't be "sin" or a need for figuring out what sin is. It would be 100% survival of the fittest and destruction of the weak.
Err...who suggested 'taking away' anything? How could you possibly achieve such a thing? It is surely a ridiculous proposition.
Our intuition/instincts are the result of millions of years of evolution. In most regards they serve us well for life. In some regards they don't. Civilisation can be seen, from one angle, as a struggle against instinct. We routinely 'overcome' basic instincts on a day to day basis.
Human progress relies on the fact that we can overcome our instincts and notions of common sense. I, for one, do not wish to live in a world ruled by either.
Solon_Poledourus
Bikerman wrote:
Civilisation can be seen, from one angle, as a struggle against instinct. We routinely 'overcome' basic instincts on a day to day basis.
Human progress relies on the fact that we can overcome our instincts and notions of common sense.
I've tried to make the point before that Humans have the ability to overcome basic instincts, such as our penchant for war and greed, etc. I have routinely been told by more than a few people in this forum that it's impossible, it's part of nature.
ocalhoun
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Civilisation can be seen, from one angle, as a struggle against instinct. We routinely 'overcome' basic instincts on a day to day basis.
Human progress relies on the fact that we can overcome our instincts and notions of common sense.
I've tried to make the point before that Humans have the ability to overcome basic instincts, such as our penchant for war and greed, etc. I have routinely been told by more than a few people in this forum that it's impossible, it's part of nature.

Yes, and humans can also overcome instincts about what not to do...
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Human progress relies on the fact that we can overcome our instincts and notions of common sense. I, for one, do not wish to live in a world ruled by either.
I am quite happy with my instincts. My perception of instincts is mostly positive. Why would you want to overcome your instincts? Is there something negative about them? Where does the negativity come from? From the instincts themselves or from your perception of the instincts? How would humans make more progress by overcoming their instincts? Are you saying that we have come as far as we have by negating our instincts?
Bikerman
deanhills wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Human progress relies on the fact that we can overcome our instincts and notions of common sense. I, for one, do not wish to live in a world ruled by either.
I am quite happy with my instincts. My perception of instincts is mostly positive. Why would you want to overcome your instincts? Is there something negative about them? Where does the negativity come from? From the instincts themselves or from your perception of the instincts? How would humans make more progress by overcoming their instincts? Are you saying that we have come as far as we have by negating our instincts?
Yes I am. Violence, sexual predation, selfishness - these are all part of our 'instinctive heritage'. Civilisation relies on either repressing or redirecting our instincts - through such things as organised sports and state legal/judicial systems.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Human progress relies on the fact that we can overcome our instincts and notions of common sense. I, for one, do not wish to live in a world ruled by either.
I am quite happy with my instincts. My perception of instincts is mostly positive. Why would you want to overcome your instincts? Is there something negative about them? Where does the negativity come from? From the instincts themselves or from your perception of the instincts? How would humans make more progress by overcoming their instincts? Are you saying that we have come as far as we have by negating our instincts?
Yes I am. Violence, sexual predation, selfishness - these are all part of our 'instinctive heritage'. Civilisation relies on either repressing or redirecting our instincts - through such things as organised sports and state legal/judicial systems.
Does this then mean that when you wake up in the morning that your instincts tell you to kill, rape and plunder? That sounds a bit insane doesn't it? Those are more like animal instincts anyway? I'm talking about instincts that come from reason or learned behaviour as human beings are more than animals. If you are a normal and sane human being I can't imagine your instincts would be to kill another human being. More like to manipulate (human beings already start with that when they are babies). To help others as that is good for us and make us feel good. For example when some of the big scientists made discoveries, they would have used their instincts to decide which experiments to choose to get to those discoveries.
Solon_Poledourus
deanhills wrote:
Does this then mean that when you wake up in the morning that your instincts tell you to kill, rape and plunder?
That's "compulsion", not "instinct". When someone hits you in the face, instincts tell you to either run or fight back. Instincts tell you to fight until that guy is dead, but training, and overcoming those instincts keeps you from doing so(and the reason you don't feel the need to kill a guy that hits you is because your ancestors have overcome that instinct and passed on their wisdom, for the most part).
deanhills wrote:
Those are more like animal instincts anyway?
Gorillas don't wake up thinking about murder, rape and plunder either(otherwise they'd be doing it all day). But they will kill if they feel threatened, and they will kill for food. That's instinctive.
deanhills wrote:
I'm talking about instincts that come from reason or learned behaviour as human beings are more than animals.
No instincts come from reason or learned behavior. That's the "overcome" part. Instincts are a natural survival reaction to a situation.
deanhills wrote:
If you are a normal and sane human being I can't imagine your instincts would be to kill another human being.
Unless they threaten your children(for instance), then the parental instincts come out and most times, will result in that person dying(or an attempt at such).
deanhills wrote:
More like to manipulate (human beings already start with that when they are babies).
Manipulation is another instinct, a very complex and highly sharpened one at that. Cats are good at it too. If you don't believe me, go to Egypt where there are more cat statues than people statues. Wink
deanhills wrote:
For example when some of the big scientists made discoveries, they would have used their instincts to decide which experiments to choose to get to those discoveries.
I think this falls into the "educated guess" category. Instincts are used in science, but I don't think in this case.
ocalhoun
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Those are more like animal instincts anyway?
Gorillas don't wake up thinking about murder, rape and plunder either(otherwise they'd be doing it all day). But they will kill if they feel threatened, and they will kill for food. That's instinctive.

Yeah, I hate it when people blame uniquely human evils on 'animal' instincts.
deanhills
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Does this then mean that when you wake up in the morning that your instincts tell you to kill, rape and plunder?
That's "compulsion", not "instinct". When someone hits you in the face, instincts tell you to either run or fight back. Instincts tell you to fight until that guy is dead, but training, and overcoming those instincts keeps you from doing so(and the reason you don't feel the need to kill a guy that hits you is because your ancestors have overcome that instinct and passed on their wisdom, for the most part).

I was replying to Chris regarding his statement about "Violence, sexual predation, selfishness - these are all part of our 'instinctive heritage'."

Solon_Poledourus wrote:
No instincts come from reason or learned behavior. That's the "overcome" part. Instincts are a natural survival reaction to a situation.

I don't agree. Most of our instincts come from learned behaviour. Some of the learned behaviour is conscious and others subconscious. Some of our instincts that are subconscious can reveal themselves in the extreme when provoked, i.e. someone jumping over an eight foot fence, without previously thinking that they could do so. Adrenaline helping in that direction.

Solon_Poledourus wrote:
deanhills wrote:
If you are a normal and sane human being I can't imagine your instincts would be to kill another human being.
Unless they threaten your children(for instance), then the parental instincts come out and most times, will result in that person dying(or an attempt at such).

Absolutely agreed. If you are threatened, instincts would take over completely and many times in the negative. World of emotions.
Solon_Poledourus
Solon wrote:
No instincts come from reason or learned behavior. That's the "overcome" part. Instincts are a natural survival reaction to a situation.

deanhills wrote:
I don't agree. Most of our instincts come from learned behaviour. Some of the learned behaviour is conscious and others subconscious.
Yeah, I shouldn't have said they don't come from learned behavior. But they definitely don't come from reason.
Indi
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:

And yet again - common sense is your addition to the equation, it has not part in the actual usage of the word sin.

Perhaps, but anything adhered to without the tempering of common sense will end up unreasonable.

The goal here is to discover the definition of sin, not to cast judgement on it. If it is irrational, so be it. The same could be said for the vast majority of religious concepts, so it's not really shocking if this turns out to be true for sin.
deanhills
Indi wrote:
As i said, any definition of "sin" should accurately reflect how the various religious actually use the term... not what they say the definition is. It is not only common, it is damn near universal in religion to claim the definition of a word is one thing, but actually use it in practise a different way.
Isn't that inevitable though? For example atheists would define sin completely differently than theists do. Sin would be "there is no sin" as theism would be to atheism?

For interesting sake, what would the atheist definition be of sin? From the point of view that they do not believe in God? If they do not believe it God, how could they possibly define sin as:
Indi wrote:
sin is any transgression against God. That includes doing things that God doesn't want done, not doing things that God wants done and any other act that hurts God directly or indirectly.
Indi
deanhills wrote:
Indi wrote:
As i said, any definition of "sin" should accurately reflect how the various religious actually use the term... not what they say the definition is. It is not only common, it is damn near universal in religion to claim the definition of a word is one thing, but actually use it in practise a different way.
Isn't that inevitable though? For example atheists would define sin completely differently than theists do. Sin would be "there is no sin" as theism would be to atheism?

For interesting sake, what would the atheist definition be of sin? From the point of view that they do not believe in God? If they do not believe it God, how could they possibly define sin as:
Indi wrote:
sin is any transgression against God. That includes doing things that God doesn't want done, not doing things that God wants done and any other act that hurts God directly or indirectly.

No, it's not inevitable. An atheist may not believe that sin exists, but that doesn't mean they can't share the same definition as people that do. i don't believe fairies exist, but my definition of fairy is the same as people who believe they do. i just believe they are fictional, not real.

There is a difference between accepting a definition, and accepting a reality. i accept the Christian definition of God, i don't accept the reality.

The problem here is that the definition they say doesn't match the definition they use. Which is not really a shocker, because most religious people are in a haze about their own beliefs. As they would put it, they accept them on faith... not on any reasoning. That's fine for them individually... but when they have to communicate with each other and with people who don't share their religion, problems arise.

So what do we do? Well, to me the problem seems obvious: there are two choices, the definition they use and the definition they claim, so we should pick one of those two rather than making up our own, right? But which? Well, the definition they claim makes no sense. The definition they use does. Seems a pretty open and shut case. Thus, i select the definition they use; or more specifically, the simplest definition that matches what the vast majority of religious people seem to mean when they use the term. Yes, it doesn't match what they say the definition is... but we already know that definition makes no sense, so, no problem there, really. Is there any place that "sin" is used (literally, not metaphorically), that doesn't mean a transgression against divine law? Is there anywhere in any monotheistic religion that transgressing divine law is not the same as transgressing God (and pick your god(s) according to the religion in question)?
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:
Well, the definition they claim makes no sense. The definition they use does.
And what definition would that be, exactly?
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:
Well, the definition they claim makes no sense. The definition they use does.
And what definition would that be, exactly?
I have the same question. And although I could follow the debate, I can't wrap my mind around Atheists selecting a definition of sin, choosing which of the many to select, and then saying it does not exist at the same time. If an atheist should quote this definition, then does it not imply that he/she believes in God? Or in the very least gives substance to the existence of God?

Quote:
sin is any transgression against God. That includes doing things that God doesn't want done, not doing things that God wants done and any other act that hurts God directly or indirectly.

Perhaps the definition needs to be amended with an intro that sin is limited to religious beliefs and excluded from non-religious beliefs?
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:
Well, the definition they claim makes no sense. The definition they use does.
And what definition would that be, exactly?
I have the same question. And although I could follow the debate, I can't wrap my mind around Atheists selecting a definition of sin, choosing which of the many to select, and then saying it does not exist at the same time. If an atheist should quote this definition, then does it not imply that he/she believes in God? Or in the very least gives substance to the existence of God?

Uh, I meant the definition that Indi says religious people use.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Uh, I meant the definition that Indi says religious people use.
My understanding was that Indi said that the definition was the same regardless of beliefs, there could only be one definition.
Afaceinthematrix
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Gorillas don't wake up thinking about murder, rape and plunder either(otherwise they'd be doing it all day). But they will kill if they feel threatened, and they will kill for food. That's instinctive.


You may be surprised to find out that that may not be the case.

First off, other apes, besides humans, (this actually applies to many different animals), have wars among each other. Chimpanzee wars aren't too uncommon. Animals have come together for the purpose of killing each other...

Second, I'm not too sure about rape but I can tell you one thing: bonobos are sex fiends. Read the link that I am about to post and then maybe you can open up the possibility of bonobos thinking about rape:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo#Sexual_social_behavior


Finally, how do you know what animals think?
ocalhoun
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Gorillas don't wake up thinking about murder, rape and plunder either(otherwise they'd be doing it all day). But they will kill if they feel threatened, and they will kill for food. That's instinctive.


You may be surprised to find out that that may not be the case.

First off, other apes, besides humans, (this actually applies to many different animals), have wars among each other. Chimpanzee wars aren't too uncommon. Animals have come together for the purpose of killing each other...

Second, I'm not too sure about rape but I can tell you one thing: bonobos are sex fiends. Read the link that I am about to post and then maybe you can open up the possibility of bonobos thinking about rape:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo#Sexual_social_behavior


Finally, how do you know what animals think?

So, the more human-like an animal is... Twisted Evil
deanhills
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Finally, how do you know what animals think?
I was wondering the same even before I got to this question in your posting, but not as a question to Solon but one to you. I was wondering how you know so much about animal behaviour? Specifically the sentence about animals coming together to kill each other.
Indi
deanhills wrote:
And although I could follow the debate, I can't wrap my mind around Atheists selecting a definition of sin, choosing which of the many to select, and then saying it does not exist at the same time. If an atheist should quote this definition, then does it not imply that he/she believes in God? Or in the very least gives substance to the existence of God?

"Atheists" are not "selecting" a definition of sin - the definition of sin is "selected' by theists in the way they use the term. It just so happens that an atheist is identifying how they use the term.

i would never presume to define any concepts of any religion. All i do is listen to them as they define their own concepts, then repeat what they said in clearer terms (because the religious are rarely, if ever, clear).

And it doesn't matter whether you're atheist or not, it's plain to see that what religious people claim as the definition is not what they use as the definition. Even a theist (perish the thought!) can see that. It doesn't require an atheist perspective, it just requires a "look-at-what-they-mean-not-what-they-say" perspective.

Then you just look at how they use the word. Again, you don't need a theist or an atheist perspective to do that - you can do it with a computer: just list all possible, reasonable definitions, then look at popular usage and knock off the definitions that don't apply. What you're left with is the definition in usage.

Not everything boils down to atheist-vs-theist - not even when gods are involved. Some things are so obvious, they transcend (a)theism.

...

Now, if theists choose to reject the definition i offer because it was offered by an atheist, fine - no skin off my ass - but the fact will still remain: that is the definition they use, whether they accept it as such or not. Their denial won't change that fact.

deanhills wrote:
Quote:
sin is any transgression against God. That includes doing things that God doesn't want done, not doing things that God wants done and any other act that hurts God directly or indirectly.

Perhaps the definition needs to be amended with an intro that sin is limited to religious beliefs and excluded from non-religious beliefs?

That is implicit in the "against God" part. In fact, it is implicit in every single appearance of God (or "divine law") above.

ocalhoun wrote:
Uh, I meant the definition that Indi says religious people use.

Are you going to make me keep repeating it in the hopes that it will change someday?

The definition they use: Sin is any transgression against God. (Since we are talking about a monotheistic religion, you could also say "sin is any transgression against divine law". In a monotheistic religion, the two forms are functionally interchangeable. But i think the first form is clearer and better reflects the spirit of the concept.)

The definition they claim: varies, but usually, sin is any immoral act.

ocalhoun wrote:
Afaceinthematrix wrote:
Solon_Poledourus wrote:
Gorillas don't wake up thinking about murder, rape and plunder either(otherwise they'd be doing it all day). But they will kill if they feel threatened, and they will kill for food. That's instinctive.


You may be surprised to find out that that may not be the case.

First off, other apes, besides humans, (this actually applies to many different animals), have wars among each other. Chimpanzee wars aren't too uncommon. Animals have come together for the purpose of killing each other...

Second, I'm not too sure about rape but I can tell you one thing: bonobos are sex fiends. Read the link that I am about to post and then maybe you can open up the possibility of bonobos thinking about rape:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo#Sexual_social_behavior


Finally, how do you know what animals think?

So, the more human-like an animal is... Twisted Evil

Yes, because ant wars happen due to the facts that ants are so human-like. Oh, excuse me, the queen is calling for her sweet mucus....
deanhills
Indi wrote:
The definition they claim: varies, but usually, sin is any immoral act.
I prefer this one. I've always thought it to be this way, regardless of religion. Sin to me has always been common sense immoral actions. It's only during this forum that I learned that sin is generally seenin context of actions against God.
ocalhoun
Indi wrote:

The definition they use: Sin is any transgression against God. (Since we are talking about a monotheistic religion, you could also say "sin is any transgression against divine law". In a monotheistic religion, the two forms are functionally interchangeable. But i think the first form is clearer and better reflects the spirit of the concept.)

So, isn't that basically the same as what we've been using this whole time?
Indi
deanhills wrote:
Indi wrote:
The definition they claim: varies, but usually, sin is any immoral act.
I prefer this one. I've always thought it to be this way, regardless of religion. Sin to me has always been common sense immoral actions. It's only during this forum that I learned that sin is generally seenin context of actions against God.

That's totally understandable. It's much easier to justify God to others if you characterize him as someone who just hates immoral actions. Hell, who can not like a person against immoral actions, right?

But when you have to give that up, and admit that God's will doesn't really map all that well to (im)morality, and that ultimately you're just doing what he wants, regardless of whether it's morally right or wrong... well that makes things really difficult for the theist. Like, how do you look an atheist in the eye and justify just doing what you're told... when you can't even justify by saying it's moral?

Actually, if you watch atheist-vs-religion debates carefully, you will spot that as a common atheist tactic: undermine the religion's claims to morality, and then you leave them admitting they're just mindlessly following orders.

ocalhoun wrote:
Indi wrote:

The definition they use: Sin is any transgression against God. (Since we are talking about a monotheistic religion, you could also say "sin is any transgression against divine law". In a monotheistic religion, the two forms are functionally interchangeable. But i think the first form is clearer and better reflects the spirit of the concept.)

So, isn't that basically the same as what we've been using this whole time?

Yes, that's the point. If it wasn't what everyone has been using, then it would be a lousy definition, wouldn't it?
ocalhoun
^I think that's rather missing the point that they believe that God is the one who decides what is moral and immoral.
God cannot give them an immoral command, because of their definition of morality.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
^I think that's rather missing the point that they believe that God is the one who decides what is moral and immoral.
God cannot give them an immoral command, because of their definition of morality.
I like this point. In addition, the laws can only be those that are interpreted to be God's laws. And the interpretations have gone through lots of adjustments over hundreds of years. So they are really "people who believe in God"'s laws. Their interpretation of what the God's laws are.
Bannik
ocalhoun wrote:
^I think that's rather missing the point that they believe that God is the one who decides what is moral and immoral.
God cannot give them an immoral command, because of their definition of morality.


god doesn't give an immoral command god can only give moral commands as he is pure good anything else is the absence of god like darkness is the absence of light, immorality is the absence of god. (basically anyone who does evil or wrong is not doing what god wanted he is doing exactly the opposite)


ps - i am not religious i hate religion but i want Indi too grace us with more of his wisdom, I feed on Indis wisdom, it gives me the horns.
Bikerman
Bannik wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
^I think that's rather missing the point that they believe that God is the one who decides what is moral and immoral.
God cannot give them an immoral command, because of their definition of morality.


god doesn't give an immoral command god can only give moral commands as he is pure good anything else is the absence of god like darkness is the absence of light, immorality is the absence of god. (basically anyone who does evil or wrong is not doing what god wanted he is doing exactly the opposite)
If immorality is the absence of God then all atheists such as myself are immoral - which is rather disturbing since I think I am a fairly ethical sort of person.
The idea that God is pure good, that this good defines morality and that the absence of God is therefore the absence of morality is an old one, but one which you incorrectly summarise. An absence of morality would not be immorality - it would be amorality.
Bannik
Bikerman wrote:
Bannik wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
^I think that's rather missing the point that they believe that God is the one who decides what is moral and immoral.
God cannot give them an immoral command, because of their definition of morality.


god doesn't give an immoral command god can only give moral commands as he is pure good anything else is the absence of god like darkness is the absence of light, immorality is the absence of god. (basically anyone who does evil or wrong is not doing what god wanted he is doing exactly the opposite)
If immorality is the absence of God then all atheists such as myself are immoral - which is rather disturbing since I think I am a fairly ethical sort of person.
The idea that God is pure good, that this good defines morality and that the absence of God is therefore the absence of morality is an old one, but one which you incorrectly summarise. An absence of morality would not be immorality - it would be amorality.


a typical reply by a sinner.....


dont take me too seriously i get high very often
deanhills
Bannik wrote:

ps - i am not religious i hate religion but i want Indi too grace us with more of his wisdom, I feed on Indis wisdom, it gives me the horns.
I'm quite curious. Who is Indi exactly? Can you supply factual proof of Indi's existence as a God? Smile
Indi
Bannik wrote:
ps - i am not religious i hate religion but i want Indi too grace us with more of his wisdom, I feed on Indis wisdom, it gives me the horns.

^_^;

deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
^I think that's rather missing the point that they believe that God is the one who decides what is moral and immoral.
God cannot give them an immoral command, because of their definition of morality.
I like this point. In addition, the laws can only be those that are interpreted to be God's laws. And the interpretations have gone through lots of adjustments over hundreds of years. So they are really "people who believe in God"'s laws. Their interpretation of what the God's laws are.

But we know that all of this can't be right - and it's easy to prove, too... it just takes a little while. But I'll see if I can compress it.

First of all, we have to undermine God's "godness" (that wasn't a typo, I mean "godness", not "goodness"). As a god, God is allegedly enormously good, powerful and all-knowing... and if that's true, then for sure God would be the perfect person to set policy for what is moral and what is not. Only we know it can't be true, because of the problem of evil. God can't be all three of good, powerful and all-knowing... he has to be, at a maximum, only two out of the three. And if we can strike down any one of those three qualities, we can rule out God as a perfect choice for moral lawmaker: if he's not all-knowing, then his judgement may be flawed; if he's not all-powerful, then his judgement may be swayed (as a simple case study of why this is so - think of Supreme Court Justices... they get life appointments so that their position is as secure as possible, to minimize the likelihood of coercion); if he's not good, well, then, duh.

So God isn't a perfect choice... but he might still be the best choice we've got. In other words, he may not be enormously good, powerful and all-knowing, but he may still be more good, powerful and all-knowing than we are. Now we can use the same problem of evil to undermine that, but in a slightly different way. We all know that immoral things happen all the time, and needlessly so. And some of these needless immoral events occur on such an immense scale that practically the whole world watches them unfold, and it would have taken trivial intervention to prevent them if one had even remotely god-like power. This leaves us with a dilemma: either we go on saying that maybe God just doesn't know about the immoral things happening on our human scales, or he doesn't care, or - the preferred religious answer - they're happening for a "reason". The responses to those three possibilities are:
  1. If he isn't aware of the human scale of events, then how can he be the right person to dictate morality for it?

    To put it on a scale that we can understand: if you don't know what's going on in your neighbour's house, then how can you possibly dictate whether the parents have a right to tie the child up? "But Indi," you say, "When is it ever right to tie a child up?" To which i would answer: "i am not omniscient, so i cannot think of every single possibility that might possibly come up. But there may be a good reason. We'd just have to gain an understanding of what is going on in that house before we can judge whether the parents actually have one or not." And sure enough, maybe it turns out that the child has a muscular problem that prompts dangerous thrashing about that harms others and itself... the restraints are for the child's protection. The bottom line is that if you're not aware of what is going on, you are not the right person to dictate what should and shouldn't be done.

  2. If he doesn't care about human suffering, then how can he be the right person to decide anything for humans, morally?

    He may be the perfect person to make amoral decisions for us, but not moral ones.

  3. And finally, if he really is allowing suffering for a "reason", then how can he be the right person to say that we are wrong for doing the same damn thing?

    If he's using people as ends to means - whatever his cosmic "reason" for that may be - then he has no right to say that we can't do the same thing. i can murder people for money, and God has no moral right to say no.

So the bottom line is that God can't be the one handing out the moral rules. There's just no way. The best arguments that you can make - and yes, many religious people do make these argument - is that we should obey God's moral precepts because God is really powerful (or at least, more powerful than us), or because he made us and we should be grateful because of that. But i think you can see how absurdly immoral those lines of reasoning are.

To lay it out bluntly: if you are taking moral policy from God, then you are an immoral person.

Luckily, despite what they say, most religious people nowadays do not take moral policy from their religion. Most say they do, and most even think they do, but most don't. Most don't even have a clue about what the real moral precepts in their own religions are. The just take society's morals - which are actually constructed by philosophers over the centuries, particularly the last 200-300 years (not counting Plato) - and say they got them from religion.

And this is easy to prove. Take Christianity for example: just pick a random Christian from off the street and ask them what God says about rape or slavery or abortion. 99 times out of 100, they'll say God says it's wrong, and quote something lamely vague like "do unto others". Then you'll show them that's not true: that God not only has no problem with rape, slavery or abortion, but that he enthusiastically supports it. Then they'll be surprised, and walk away the wiser. Then you'll encounter the same damn people a week or two later, ask them the same damn question, and they'll say again that God says it's wrong again.

In summary: God cannot be a good choice as a source of moral guidance. In fact, if you really are taking moral policy from God, you are an immoral person. But most people are not immoral people, and even though they say they take moral policy from God, they really don't.
deanhills
Indi wrote:
[So God isn't a perfect choice... but he might still be the best choice we've got. In other words, he may not be enormously good, powerful and all-knowing, but he may still be more good, powerful and all-knowing than we are. Now we can use the same problem of evil to undermine that, but in a slightly different way. We all know that immoral things happen all the time, and needlessly so. And some of these needless immoral events occur on such an immense scale that practically the whole world watches them unfold, and it would have taken trivial intervention to prevent them if one had even remotely god-like power. This leaves us with a dilemma: either we go on saying that maybe God just doesn't know about the immoral things happening on our human scales, or he doesn't care, or - the preferred religious answer - they're happening for a "reason".


Indi wrote:
In summary: God cannot be a good choice as a source of moral guidance. In fact, if you really are taking moral policy from God, you are an immoral person. But most people are not immoral people, and even though they say they take moral policy from God, they really don't.

I posted my reply a while ago, and since then we had an interesting thread about absurdism (thread link: http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-108192.html. There is no meaning other than the ones we create ourselves. We cannot understand who/what God is. If He is all powerful and all-knowing, how can we know Him? Most of what appears everywhere about God, is created by humans and interpreted by humans. So people are really taking moral policy from their own creation/interpretation of what God's moral policy is supposed to be.
Indi
deanhills wrote:
Indi wrote:
[So God isn't a perfect choice... but he might still be the best choice we've got. In other words, he may not be enormously good, powerful and all-knowing, but he may still be more good, powerful and all-knowing than we are. Now we can use the same problem of evil to undermine that, but in a slightly different way. We all know that immoral things happen all the time, and needlessly so. And some of these needless immoral events occur on such an immense scale that practically the whole world watches them unfold, and it would have taken trivial intervention to prevent them if one had even remotely god-like power. This leaves us with a dilemma: either we go on saying that maybe God just doesn't know about the immoral things happening on our human scales, or he doesn't care, or - the preferred religious answer - they're happening for a "reason".


Indi wrote:
In summary: God cannot be a good choice as a source of moral guidance. In fact, if you really are taking moral policy from God, you are an immoral person. But most people are not immoral people, and even though they say they take moral policy from God, they really don't.

I posted my reply a while ago, and since then we had an interesting thread about absurdism (thread link: http://www.frihost.com/forums/vt-108192.html. There is no meaning other than the ones we create ourselves. We cannot understand who/what God is. If He is all powerful and all-knowing, how can we know Him? Most of what appears everywhere about God, is created by humans and interpreted by humans. So people are really taking moral policy from their own creation/interpretation of what God's moral policy is supposed to be.

i don't see what absurdism has to do with any of this. Absurdism is the notion that the meaning of existence - of life, the universe and everything, as the quote goes - is beyond human grasp. Alright, fine... but that doesn't make it beyond God's grasp, does it? We don't need to know or understand what the "reason" God has for doing anything is, we just need to ask: does he have a reason? If no, then he's just letting us suffer for no reason at all... therefore he's immoral. If yes, then he's using us for some unknown (to us) reason... therefore he's immoral. So, again, in summary: God cannot be a good choice as a source of moral guidance.

But, as you say, he isn't really. Most of "God's moral laws" are human inventions, and people are really using other means to generate moral judgements... then claiming the result came from God. That's not necessarily immoral, although it is silly.
Denvis
This is how I think of it.

1. Humans have free will
2. As long as free will exists sins will exist
3. If god exists there are sins because there is free will
4. If god does not exist there are still sins because there is free will

The word "sin" can be replaced, it is only a word.

Weather we live in a deterministic world or indeterministic world, I believe we have free will therefore we have sins.
Bikerman
Denvis wrote:
Weather we live in a deterministic world or indeterministic world, I believe we have free will therefore we have sins.

Err...how can you possibly have freewill if the universe is deterministic?
Denvis
Bikerman wrote:
Denvis wrote:
Weather we live in a deterministic world or indeterministic world, I believe we have free will therefore we have sins.

Err...how can you possibly have freewill if the universe is deterministic?


The result may still be the same but we control how we get there. If there's more than one choice I consider that free will
Bikerman
Denvis wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Denvis wrote:
Weather we live in a deterministic world or indeterministic world, I believe we have free will therefore we have sins.

Err...how can you possibly have freewill if the universe is deterministic?


The result may still be the same but we control how we get there. If there's more than one choice I consider that free will
Therefore it is not deterministic - you can't have it both ways...
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Therefore it is not deterministic - you can't have it both ways...

Personally, I think the idea of a deterministic universe is ridiculous, but it could be explained...

Think of this as an analogy: You're watching a security camera video of a thief robbing a convenience store. You can fast forward, and know every action that person will take, but the thief is still acting with his own free will. He made the choice, you just know what the choice is.

Suppose for a moment that you were completely outside of the influence of time... that you could see everywhere and everytime at once. It wouldn't look like you know things before they happen, you could see the whole stream of events spread out like a picture in front of you. That doesn't change the way it events play out. Sorry, that's very confusing, I probably made it worse... but it did give me an idea for an interesting new topic...
Bikerman
Hmm...but humans do not have the power to 'step outside spacetime' so the problem remains - either determinism or free-will - not both.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm...but humans do not have the power to 'step outside spacetime'

But what if there was something that could...
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm...but humans do not have the power to 'step outside spacetime'

But what if there was something that could...
What if there was an Invisible Pink Unicorn?
Denvis
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm...but humans do not have the power to 'step outside spacetime'

But what if there was something that could...
What if there was an Invisible Pink Unicorn?


What if there was a God.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Suppose for a moment that you were completely outside of the influence of time... that you could see everywhere and everytime at once. It wouldn't look like you know things before they happen, you could see the whole stream of events spread out like a picture in front of you. That doesn't change the way it events play out. Sorry, that's very confusing, I probably made it worse... but it did give me an idea for an interesting new topic...
This is so well put Ocalhoun. On the one hand humans say that the Universe is limitless, they can't see the boundaries of it, and humans are really quite a speck of nothing in it, but then scientists go on to evaluate it as though they are in a big picture mode, looking from the outside in, but how can they do that when they can't fathom the boundaries of the Universe? I really believe that there is a vision possible that completely supercedes our own limited thinking. And that that vision is outside "thinking" as we know it, we cannot visualize it or contemplate it scientifically.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm...but humans do not have the power to 'step outside spacetime'

But what if there was something that could...
What if there was an Invisible Pink Unicorn?

Why not? It doesn't particularly matter what that being is. It might not even matter if there is one or not.

The real questions are:
1- Is the future knowable?
2- Is the known future certain, or just a possibility that might change?

Oh, and by the way, The Invisible Pink Unicorn does exist... We're great friends.
Here's a picture:

Look right there, in between those two trees... and remember, he's invisible! ^.^
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm...but humans do not have the power to 'step outside spacetime'

But what if there was something that could...
What if there was an Invisible Pink Unicorn?

Why not? It doesn't particularly matter what that being is. It might not even matter if there is one or not.

The real questions are:
1- Is the future knowable?
2- Is the known future certain, or just a possibility that might change?

Well, the answers (using what physics currently knows) are;
1) No, but intelligent predictions can be made
2) No, yes.

At the elementary level (quantum) then we have indeterminacy...
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:

Well, the answers (using what physics currently knows) are;
1) No, but intelligent predictions can be made
2) No, yes.

Well, if the first answer is no, then the second question is void of any meaning...
Quote:

At the elementary level (quantum) then we have indeterminacy...

A good point... No doubt you remember my thread about the relation between indeterminacy and an omniscient being.
peaceupnorth
Indi wrote:
This leaves us with a dilemma: either we go on saying that maybe God just doesn't know about the immoral things happening on our human scales, or he doesn't care, or - the preferred religious answer - they're happening for a "reason". ...
...

In summary: God cannot be a good choice as a source of moral guidance. In fact, if you really are taking moral policy from God, you are an immoral person. But most people are not immoral people, and even though they say they take moral policy from God, they really don't.

Indi said a lot in the post I'm quoting from. More than I care to dissect, but in response to the points he made above:

Many spiritual teachers have talked about a law: "As you sow, so shall you reap," Jesus included. Maybe all the nasty things are happening for a reason, then: people are being "served" what they "ordered" in the distant past (in bodies previous to this one, even).

God is said to be "the most good" because he (I'll just use this pronoun for now... use "it" or "she" if you like) gives life and sustenance to the whole universe... "saint" and "sinner" alike. Everything is sustained by him. However, from our limited perspective it may seem like he's being mean to us. However, the same teachers have all said that there is an "afterlife" of some sort, that we are not our body only. And that suggests that we had an "before-life" too, where we may have broken some laws or accumulated some debts which we must pay in this life, like it or not. God is supposed to be just and honorable, fair and impartial, and also omnicient and all-loving. Sometimes mom puts her kids in situations they don't like: going to dentist, having a bath etc. She does it for their own good.

(As an aside, godly impartiality is actually an argument against religion, which is usually quite partial, and believes God to be too. Oh well, they'll get served, we should love em anyway... or we'll get served!)

Whether you believe it or not, this perspective is a pretty reasonable answer to Indi's thesis, and it is not a new one, I'm not making it up.

And God did give us a way out of this system. He sent down prophets and teachers (and yes, they are still around, alive today, humbly doing their godly work) to guide us back to him, out of our ignorance. Find a good one, who's gone the whole way, and you may find all these contradictions coming to an end. Maybe everything IS working out for the best, and it is just happening slower than we'd like it to. The souls will learn their lessons, the hard way if necessary. It's ok, they are indestructible.

From the perspective of "As you sow, so shall you reap", a sin is something that often harms others, and always ourselves. These are "transgressions against God" because God is said to be omnipresent, serving all, providing justice and also mercy to all (when merited). Gives "enough for every man's need, not every man's greed." Thus selfishness is sinful, overindulgence in pleasuring oneself is sinful, greed is sinful, ego is sinful. All our injustices must be rewarded in kind, so that we may eventually learn to be perfect "even as our father in heaven is perfect."

Maybe a long journey...

BTW, Don't go quoting the old testament in rebuttal to this post, cuz I'm in agreement with whoever says that the figure called god in those books isn't the most loving chap. Maybe they were confusing something else with "the most benevolent."

Good night friends!
Indi
peaceupnorth wrote:
Many spiritual teachers have talked about a law: "As you sow, so shall you reap," Jesus included. Maybe all the nasty things are happening for a reason, then: people are being "served" what they "ordered" in the distant past (in bodies previous to this one, even).

God is said to be "the most good" because he (I'll just use this pronoun for now... use "it" or "she" if you like) gives life and sustenance to the whole universe... "saint" and "sinner" alike. Everything is sustained by him. However, from our limited perspective it may seem like he's being mean to us. However, the same teachers have all said that there is an "afterlife" of some sort, that we are not our body only. And that suggests that we had an "before-life" too, where we may have broken some laws or accumulated some debts which we must pay in this life, like it or not. God is supposed to be just and honorable, fair and impartial, and also omnicient and all-loving. Sometimes mom puts her kids in situations they don't like: going to dentist, having a bath etc. She does it for their own good.

(As an aside, godly impartiality is actually an argument against religion, which is usually quite partial, and believes God to be too. Oh well, they'll get served, we should love em anyway... or we'll get served!)

Whether you believe it or not, this perspective is a pretty reasonable answer to Indi's thesis, and it is not a new one, I'm not making it up.

No, it's not really all that reasonable.

So you want to say that God allows suffering to happen because some greater cosmic law (basically karma) causes "balance" automatically? That he is able and willing to take away our suffering, but letting us suffer for our benefit, because of the lessons karma will teach us? i'll just point out that he's still letting suffering happen, for no good reason. Any benefits that we might get from suffering because of karma... why doesn't he just give them to us without the need for the suffering?

The old "God-as-parent" argument - which goes that parents have to let us suffer somewhat to learn even though they don't want to - doesn't work. God is not like a mom putting kids in situations they don't like for their own good. Think about it. Why doesn't mom fix the kid's teeth, clean away the kid's germs, etc. without the unpleasantness? Answer: because she has no control over it. God does. God didn't have to give us teeth that rot or create germs that kill us. He just did it for the hell of it, apparently. Parents have to let their kids suffer because they are bound by laws (of physics, biology, psychology, whatever). What laws bind God?

You talk about "accumulated debts" that we must pay. But who do we owe these debts to? See, this argument - which is not new, as you say, and is very, very old, and really foundational in a lot of eastern religions, actually - is really an attempt to take the blame off God by putting it on some kind of cosmic law that he is helpless to follow. Call it karma or whatever, by blaming this mindless accounting system, you can say that God is just keeping the universe "balanced". But who made the system? Who makes God follow it? God's god? It's either that or he's just following it because he feels like it... which brings us full circle back around to him using people for his own ends.
deanhills
Indi wrote:
You talk about "accumulated debts" that we must pay. But who do we owe these debts to? See, this argument - which is not new, as you say, and is very, very old, and really foundational in a lot of eastern religions, actually - is really an attempt to take the blame off God by putting it on some kind of cosmic law that he is helpless to follow. Call it karma or whatever, by blaming this mindless accounting system, you can say that God is just keeping the universe "balanced". But who made the system? Who makes God follow it? God's god? It's either that or he's just following it because he feels like it... which brings us full circle back around to him using people for his own ends.
Sounds more like people accumulated debt, than God accumulated debt. People judging people and the heavier the judgment, like with the Catholic church on a daily basis, the heavier the guilt and indebtedness. Finally this seems to be a nice source of revenue for psychologists and psychiatrists in the end. Our own judgment of ourselves torturing ourselves.
peaceupnorth
I like the thoughtfulness in your response, Indi, thanks it got me thinking...
Indi wrote:
Any benefits that we might get from suffering because of karma... why doesn't he just give them to us without the need for the suffering?
Theoretically, this world would be like a game. Something ocalhoun said a while back, about God giving us an independent consciousness because otherwise we'd be just mechanical robots. Every game has rules, and one of them is karma or cause and effect (every action has equal opposite reaction.) So God lets us play our little game, even if we get in trouble with it. From an eternal soul's perspective, our suffering is a mere discomfort. Perhaps that is how we will eventually see it if we learn to live more as souls or spirits rather than bodies. It's not like we haven't been given ample instruction and guidance through different people who were said to be God's mouthpiece. Just that one teaching: "love your neighbour as yourself"... if everyone just attempted to follow that one for a day, imagine the suffering that would be relieved! Then how about "be ye perfect"?
I think it is the rare person who actually goes inside and hears God's word that is always inside everyone. Then one realizes these laws and rules of the game, and starts to enjoy it again, as was intended. The rest of us have forgotten that inner link, and go on suffering in the world.
Indi wrote:
The old "God-as-parent" argument - which goes that parents have to let us suffer somewhat to learn even though they don't want to - doesn't work
...
Parents have to let their kids suffer because they are bound by laws (of physics, biology, psychology, whatever). What laws bind God?
Yeah that's a really good response. Of course, God could unmake the universe at will, no problem, and change everything too. But perhaps he is already doing that, and if he is infinite, then of course he is doing that. The question isn't "what laws bind God", it is more like "Is there anything this infinite being cannot do?" If he COULDN'T do something, then he wouldn't be all-powerful.
Indi wrote:
Call it karma or whatever, by blaming this mindless accounting system, you can say that God is just keeping the universe "balanced". But who made the system? Who makes God follow it? God's god? It's either that or he's just following it because he feels like it... which brings us full circle back around to him using people for his own ends.
An all-powerful God wouldn't be bound by any system at all, but instead could create an infinite variety of systems of any description. Our reality happens to be "as you sow so shall you reap." BUT! It doesn't have to be.

You make a good point... if God created suffering, then he doesn't deserve to be called "all goodness, mercy, peace and love" now does he?

So why has God (or godlike-analogues) been repeatedly called that by people all over the globe, from Native Americans to Japanese?

Maybe it is the experience of people who have learned to "abide in God," "love hm with all mind and soul," etc..? I mean, if you are in a state of endless bliss, of course you would be very happy and grateful and call that being infinitely merciful!

God, an all-mighty being, could not be bound by any labels, I would say. It would be at the same time infinitely merciful and infinitely cruel. There would be nothing it would lack. And if we go to it, in full submission and assimilate our being in the infinite One, then we would be able to have it all too, more goodness and beauty than a puny human mind could ever fathom. And once that occurs, it is likely that the truth in the saying "God is Love" would become apparent. Who could be a more caring friend, than one who gives you Everything freely, including his own self?
Indi
peaceupnorth wrote:
Theoretically, this world would be like a game. Something ocalhoun said a while back, about God giving us an independent consciousness because otherwise we'd be just mechanical robots.

That's the basis of another long-running fallacy used to justify suffering: that God "had" to give us "free will" (for whatever reason) and that suffering "has" to exist because free will does. Rubbish. Free will means you can choose to do anything you want, it doesn't mean you will be able to do it. You (presumably) have free will right now, right? Alright then: freely choose to name five even prime numbers. Or, freely choose to write a poem that will change the destiny of the human species. Freely choose to go back in time and shake hands with Roger Bacon.

Just because God decides that you "have" to be able to want to cause suffering, doesn't mean that he has to allow it to happen. You can use your independent will to choose to cause whatever harm you want, and he can still stop it.

Even with totally independent wills, suffering is still unnecessary.

peaceupnorth wrote:
Every game has rules, and one of them is karma or cause and effect (every action has equal opposite reaction.) So God lets us play our little game, even if we get in trouble with it. From an eternal soul's perspective, our suffering is a mere discomfort. Perhaps that is how we will eventually see it if we learn to live more as souls or spirits rather than bodies.

Alright, let's consider that possibility.

Suppose i took a group of children, who had no idea of what was going on, and put them in a locked room. i want to teach them to choose foods that are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, but low in monounsaturated fatty acids, and on the table there's an array of foods, but no labels saying which are high in what kind of fatty acid. Furthermore, i don't even explain to the kids what i really want them to learn. i just lock them in the room with the food, with no explanation. Every time one of them eats the wrong food, i wait an hour, then deliver painful shocks to them.

Do you think those kids will thank me for the lesson when i finally let them out and explain what was going on? Do you think they will be comforted when i say that, in the grand scheme of things, a few shocks isn't all that much suffering when looked at over the scale of a lifetime? And even if the kids finally do grow up and thank me for teaching them the value of picking the right foods... do you really think that what i did was morally acceptable?

This is not a game. Even if it turns out after we die that our bodies and this world was all just a fiction... the suffering we feel is still real. Everyone who loses someone dear to them - especially if they suffered horribly or painfully, or died terrified and alone - suffers real emotional pain... which doesn't just "go away" if they find out long after that their loved one still exists as some kind of spirit somewhere in the cosmos. Think about it: a child that thinks they saw a parent horribly hurt will be traumatized for life, even if they find out immediately after that the their parents weren't really hurt... the trauma still remains. All of the pain and suffering we feel now will be permanently seared into our being, even if the cause of that pain and suffering was just a fiction... and if we live on as immortal beings, we'll carry the memory of that suffering with us forever. And for what? A game that God is "letting" us play?

peaceupnorth wrote:
It's not like we haven't been given ample instruction and guidance through different people who were said to be God's mouthpiece.

You mean like this? "I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord's work." Guess who that quote is from.

No, i say all this instruction and guidance from people who either claimed to be - or were claimed by others to be - a mouthpiece of God is all worthless bunk, because we have no way of sorting out who is really supposed to be a mouthpiece of God. You say Jesus seems an obvious choice? i say Hitler is better. Prove me wrong. If you say something like: "but Hitler lost, therefore he didn't have God's favour", i say "but Jesus was crucified, too, and Hitler accomplished a whole lot more than Jesus ever did, so clearly God favoured him more"... and so on.

peaceupnorth wrote:
Just that one teaching: "love your neighbour as yourself"... if everyone just attempted to follow that one for a day, imagine the suffering that would be relieved! Then how about "be ye perfect"?

Actually, neither of those bits of advice are really good. They're pretty awful, in fact, but debunking them here would take way too long.

peaceupnorth wrote:
I think it is the rare person who actually goes inside and hears God's word that is always inside everyone. Then one realizes these laws and rules of the game, and starts to enjoy it again, as was intended. The rest of us have forgotten that inner link, and go on suffering in the world.

Then why doesn't God just beam down and show us what we've forgotten to prevent all this unnecessary suffering?

peaceupnorth wrote:
You make a good point... if God created suffering, then he doesn't deserve to be called "all goodness, mercy, peace and love" now does he?

So why has God (or godlike-analogues) been repeatedly called that by people all over the globe, from Native Americans to Japanese?

The answer to that seems obvious, and it has nothing to do with learning to "abide in God". Fear.

Just check your history. People called even the cruelest kings, tyrants and dictators loving and benevolent while they were in power. Certainly they did so whenever they were in the presence of these monsters, and when are you not in God's presence, hm?
Bannik
peaceupnorth wrote:


So why has God (or godlike-analogues) been repeatedly called that by people all over the globe, from Native Americans to Japanese?


its in our nature to do so, we create the manifestation of god so that ppl have something too fallow, so it was easier too control...think about it why is it that god ALWAYS has human qualities like anger and love...i mean no offense but shouldn't god be above that? god is basically human with all the best qualities that the culture considers (cultures who love war had war gods , those who loved erm farming had farming gods etc) its all a human creation
JessieF
Denvis wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Hmm...but humans do not have the power to 'step outside spacetime'

But what if there was something that could...
What if there was an Invisible Pink Unicorn?


What if there was a God.


What if there wasn't one. Laughing

ocalhoun wrote:
Suppose for a moment that you were completely outside of the influence of time... that you could see everywhere and everytime at once. It wouldn't look like you know things before they happen, you could see the whole stream of events spread out like a picture in front of you. That doesn't change the way it events play out. Sorry, that's very confusing, I probably made it worse... but it did give me an idea for an interesting new topic...


I understand what you're saying here, but I don't believe this is determinism. I can't quite figure out why, but it doesn't seem to fit with me.

I don't believe in fate/destiny/determinism. I believe in Cause and Effect. Every little thing ("things" being your options/choices) you do has a consequence. A split second before you make a quick decision that could change your life instantly you have choices. The result is because of that choice, not fate.


I believe in karma, but not in the spiritual sense. If you treat someone else poorly you can't expect them to treat you kindly.

peaceupnorth wrote:
So God lets us play our little game, even if we get in trouble with it.


So life is a silly little game between god and the devil, eh? I am guessing this game is called "Chess". The devil is red and god is white. Smile

Life is already hard enough without god's extra, pointless rules that teach us to murder each other.
peaceupnorth
JessieF wrote:
JessieF wrote:

What if there wasn't one. Laughing


peaceupnorth wrote:
So God lets us play our little game, even if we get in trouble with it.


So life is a silly little game between god and the devil, eh? I am guessing this game is called "Chess". The devil is red and god is white. Smile

Life is already hard enough without god's extra, pointless rules that teach us to murder each other.


One premise that is made is that everybody and everything has a spirit, soul... something that does not age or die. Soul being permanent is obviously more ultimately important than the ever-changing body and mind.

Many people don't have any belief in this side of a human being. Others may believe in something like it, but blindly since they have never made much effort to develop it or get in touch with it inside themselves. It is something that can be experienced, first hand, and doing so banishes all suspicion of self-delusion or placebo... it is something very potent and real.

Soul is also said to be a part of the "oversoul" that is God.

Anyway, with this premise in mind, "sin" is that which separates our consciousness from the "one consciousness." Ie, if God is in all, then certainly it is sinful to consider someone else inferior to oneself. Or covet his/her spouse. Or to pursue material goals at the expense of one's higher truth.
OraShadow
No offence to the smart Atheist or whatever out there, but I find that stupid. If god does exist, then sin can't be real? No? That's like in, the first chapter of the Bible. The Devil tricked God's perfect Creations, Adam and Eve, into commiting an act against God, a sin. So...God does exist and so does Sin...This doesnt seem very "smart" but there's nothing to be "smart" about.
Bikerman
OraShadow wrote:
No offence to the smart Atheist or whatever out there, but I find that stupid. If god does exist, then sin can't be real? No? That's like in, the first chapter of the Bible. The Devil tricked God's perfect Creations, Adam and Eve, into commiting an act against God, a sin. So...God does exist and so does Sin...This doesnt seem very "smart" but there's nothing to be "smart" about.

Err...OK, let's examine this.
a) Why do you think Genesis is true and not a folk-tale? You seem to be taking that stance that 'because the bible says so then it is true'.
b) If Adam and Eve were perfect then how could they sin?
Greatking
Well to make this more effective i think it should be looked at from the point of GOOD and EVIL.

Now if there is no GOOD definitely there can not be EVIL, cos how can you know good if you do not know evil and how can you know good.

It is evil that brings sin therefore if evil does not exist, sin will not exist.
Indi
JessieF wrote:
I don't believe in fate/destiny/determinism. I believe in Cause and Effect. Every little thing ("things" being your options/choices) you do has a consequence. A split second before you make a quick decision that could change your life instantly you have choices. The result is because of that choice, not fate.

(Determinism is cause and effect. Fate and destiny arise automatically if you believe in cause and effect. You can't have cause and effect without fate and destiny, and you can't have fate and destiny without cause and effect. All "fate" or "destiny" is, is the later effect of the causes happening now.

The only way you can deny fate or destiny is if you deny cause and effect.)
Ophois
Indi wrote:
(Determinism is cause and effect. Fate and destiny arise automatically if you believe in cause and effect. You can't have cause and effect without fate and destiny, and you can't have fate and destiny without cause and effect. All "fate" or "destiny" is, is the later effect of the causes happening now.

The only way you can deny fate or destiny is if you deny cause and effect.)
I believe JessieF was talking about the theological definition of fate, or predetermination. The idea that god has it all planned out in advance.
Indi
Ophois wrote:
Indi wrote:
(Determinism is cause and effect. Fate and destiny arise automatically if you believe in cause and effect. You can't have cause and effect without fate and destiny, and you can't have fate and destiny without cause and effect. All "fate" or "destiny" is, is the later effect of the causes happening now.

The only way you can deny fate or destiny is if you deny cause and effect.)
I believe JessieF was talking about the theological definition of fate, or predetermination. The idea that god has it all planned out in advance.

It's all the same line of reasoning: determinism with a god just makes the god aware of what the destiny is (and, possibly, the original architect of that destiny if you go back far enough), but nothing else changes. If you buy into determinism, you must buy into "fate" or "destiny" - whether a god is aware of or the architect of that fate or destiny or not.
OraShadow
Bikerman wrote:
OraShadow wrote:
No offence to the smart Atheist or whatever out there, but I find that stupid. If god does exist, then sin can't be real? No? That's like in, the first chapter of the Bible. The Devil tricked God's perfect Creations, Adam and Eve, into commiting an act against God, a sin. So...God does exist and so does Sin...This doesnt seem very "smart" but there's nothing to be "smart" about.

Err...OK, let's examine this.
a) Why do you think Genesis is true and not a folk-tale? You seem to be taking that stance that 'because the bible says so then it is true'.
b) If Adam and Eve were perfect then how could they sin?


Why I think the Bible and it's contents are real and such is a very long discussion that I do not wish to get involved with, but I will answer the second question. Adam and Eve were perfect until the 'serpant'(satan) told them to sin agaisnt god, and eat fruit of a tree that God ordered them not to eat off of. God gave them the right to choose just like us today, and theres really not much more I can say, because it's just that simple.
Bikerman
OraShadow wrote:
Why I think the Bible and it's contents are real and such is a very long discussion that I do not wish to get involved with, but I will answer the second question. Adam and Eve were perfect until the 'serpant'(satan) told them to sin agaisnt god, and eat fruit of a tree that God ordered them not to eat off of. God gave them the right to choose just like us today, and theres really not much more I can say, because it's just that simple.
Hmm...it is only that simple if you believe in the literal truth of the Genesis account. To be honest I think that is a pretty unsustainable belief system - as most Christians have come to realise over the centuries. If you DO believe in the literal truth of Genesis (ie you are a creationist) then there are so many problems with that belief that it is difficult to know where to start.
One place you COULD start is by looking again at Genesis. There is no hint or indication in Genesis that the serpent (nahash נחש) is Satan. That comes from the later book - Revelations - written (thousands of?) years afterwards. To the best of my knowledge Jews (and remember that Genesis is essentially THEIR account) do not believe that the serpent is Satan - that is a later Christian re-interpretation.

Alternatively you could consider that the serpent lures Eve by promising access to forbidden knowledge. If Eve was indeed 'perfect' then we are forced to the conclusion that 'perfection', from a Christian point of view, is dependent on ignorance. That seems to me to be a strange definition of perfection.
Indi
Bikerman wrote:
Alternatively you could consider that the serpent lures Eve by promising access to forbidden knowledge. If Eve was indeed 'perfect' then we are forced to the conclusion that 'perfection', from a Christian point of view, is dependent on ignorance. That seems to me to be a strange definition of perfection.

(In addition to ignorance, Christian perfection also seems to involve being monumentally stupid enough to listen to the coaxings of a complete stranger to break the one rule of an omnipotent, omniscient GOD. "Durr, maybe he won't notice?"

i'll pass on Christian perfection, thank you.)
Jamestf347
Indi said a lot in the post I'm quoting from. More than I care to dissect, but in response to the points he made above:

Many spiritual teachers have talked about a law: "As you sow, so shall you reap," Jesus included. Maybe all the nasty things are happening for a reason, then: people are being "served" what they "ordered" in the distant past (in bodies previous to this one, even).

God is said to be "the most good" because he (I'll just use this pronoun for now... use "it" or "she" if you like) gives life and sustenance to the whole universe... "saint" and "sinner" alike. Everything is sustained by him. However, from our limited perspective it may seem like he's being mean to us. However, the same teachers have all said that there is an "afterlife" of some sort, that we are not our body only. And that suggests that we had an "before-life" too, where we may have broken some laws or accumulated some debts which we must pay in this life, like it or not. God is supposed to be just and honorable, fair and impartial, and also omnicient and all-loving. Sometimes mom puts her kids in situations they don't like: going to dentist, having a bath etc. She does it for their own good.

(As an aside, godly impartiality is actually an argument against religion, which is usually quite partial, and believes God to be too. Oh well, they'll get served, we should love em anyway... or we'll get served!)

Whether you believe it or not, this perspective is a pretty reasonable answer to Indi's thesis, and it is not a new one, I'm not making it up.

And God did give us a way out of this system. He sent down prophets and teachers (and yes, they are still around, alive today, humbly doing their godly work) to guide us back to him, out of our ignorance. Find a good one, who's gone the whole way, and you may find all these contradictions coming to an end. Maybe everything IS working out for the best, and it is just happening slower than we'd like it to. The souls will learn their lessons, the hard way if necessary. It's ok, they are indestructible.

From the perspective of "As you sow, so shall you reap", a sin is something that often harms others, and always ourselves. These are "transgressions against God" because God is said to be omnipresent, serving all, providing justice and also mercy to all (when merited). Gives "enough for every man's need, not every man's greed." Thus selfishness is sinful, overindulgence in pleasuring oneself is sinful, greed is sinful, ego is sinful. All our injustices must be rewarded in kind, so that we may eventually learn to be perfect "even as our father in heaven is perfect."




thats logical... but idk i suppose its up to anyone
Indi
Jamestf347 wrote:
Maybe all the nasty things are happening for a reason, then: people are being "served" what they "ordered" in the distant past (in bodies previous to this one, even).

When is causing harm to someone "punishment", and when is it just sadistic? If a person is spanking a child, when is that "punishment", and when is it abuse?

You can think about that on your own time, but for the sake of expediency, i will give my answers here. Causing harm is punishment if and only if all of the following conditions are satisfied, otherwise its sadism:
  • The harm is being caused by someone who has the moral right to meet out punishment. (It is OK for a judge to assign prison time, wrong for a vigilante mob to do the same.)
  • The victim knows that they have done wrong, and the suffering they are receiving is due to that. (It is not cool to torment a mentally-challenged person who doesn't understand what they've done wrong.)
  • The suffering caused is the minimum necessary to prevent the person from doing the crime again. (Executing a child for being cheeky is obviously far beyond what we would call justifiable punishment, but, ironically, is what God recommends.)
Let's apply these standards to your claim about God.

In the first point, God obviously has the moral right to meet out punishment, especially if he has the characteristics he's usually described as happening, so that's open and shut. So far, so good.

But what about the second point? If i am suffering now for some crime i committed in the distant past - maybe even in another body - well i really don't know what that crime is. Do you? Do you know what crimes you did in your past lives that warrant your suffering now? Does anyone? Or are you just assuming you did something wrong because you're being punished? Let's use a real example: do you think that Natascha Kampusch understood why she was being punished when she was abducted at age 10 and turned into a sex slave for eight years?

Well... it looks like God monumentally fails point two, but what about the third point? Punishment should strive to prevent further suffering, not cause it. Is that the way it works in the real world? People who suffer hard lives, do you think they are they more or less likely to be criminals (and thus, cause more suffering for other people)? Well, as i would hope you know, the more people suffer throughout life, the more likely they are to cause further suffering. In other words, even if it is true that i did horrible things in past lives, the more God "punishes" me for that, the more likely i am to do more horrible things in this life. God's "punishment" is not only ineffective, it's causing the bloody problem!!! It's the equivalent of punishing a rapist the same way a demented parent punishes a young child they catch smoking, by saying: "OK, i'm going to teach you not to rape any more... by forcing you to go out and rape day in-day out until you absolutely can't stand it anymore." It doesn't work (most kids subjected to that "punishment" end up becoming smokers), and it causes harm to others unnecessarily in the process!

In other words, if the suffering in the world really is God's "punishment" for past life crimes... God a bloody moron! And his "punishments" are not only ineffective, they are causing more harm than they cure!

But most importantly, because no one knows why they are being punished, the suffering God is "serving" us is not "punishment"... it's just sadism.

Jamestf347 wrote:
However, the same teachers have all said that there is an "afterlife" of some sort, that we are not our body only. And that suggests that we had an "before-life" too, where we may have broken some laws or accumulated some debts which we must pay in this life, like it or not.

Actually, your logic is flawed. It doesn't follow that because we have an afterlife, we must have had a "before-life". That's just illogical. It is quite easy to have an afterlife and no before-life: all it would require is for our "souls" to come into existance at conception (which, coincidentally, many religions believe).

If you want to believe you had past lives, fine. But don't pretend you have a logical reason for it.

Jamestf347 wrote:
Sometimes mom puts her kids in situations they don't like: going to dentist, having a bath etc. She does it for their own good.

Ah, the old "God-as-parent" argument. i really should get on writing a one-time rebuttal to this old saw for the sticky thread. In the meantime, try this explanation of why "god-as-parent" does not work.

Jamestf347 wrote:
Whether you believe it or not, this perspective is a pretty reasonable answer to Indi's thesis, and it is not a new one, I'm not making it up.

No, it's not a reasonable answer, and yes, i know it's not new because it's been shot down over and over and over and over.

The bottom line is that what you are trying to do is shift the blame for suffering off of God to put it on humans. Even without analysing the nature of your argument, clearly it's a cowardly and immoral argument. Because if God is really wiser and greater than us - and if we really are God's "children" - then God really should be taking some bloody responsibilty for our suffering, shouldn't he?

You want to analogize God as a parent? Well then riddle me this: what kind of parent will stand by and do nothing while one of their children tortures their siblings, in the hope that it will teach one or more of them some lessons?

Claiming that God gives enough for "every man's need" is particularly disgusting. He most certainly does not, and any honest analysis of the world will show that. Have you never heard of famine? What about malaria vaccine - did God give just enough of that for "every man's need"? Ridiculous.

The bottom line is this: if God wants to punish me or anyone else for crimes in past lives, he had better bloody well come down and tell us what those crimes are. We deserve at least that much, and we do it for our punishments. Apparently we humans respect our worst rapists and murders as people more than God respects any of us.
drums4him
many people define sin as something that is evil, but what is evil???
a "Christian" definition would define sin as "something that is apart from God; a stronger way to state this is, something that is opposite of God." if God is light, then sin would be darkness and so on...
a short but a powerful story, maybe fictional for people say it was Albert Einstein said it, but from what i know, an old monk in the 1400-1500 wrote this in his journal, but the modern version is...

The university professor challenged his students with this question. Did God create everything that exists?
A student bravely replied yes, he did!"
"God created everything?" The professor asked.
"Yes, sir," the student replied.

The professor answered, "If God created everything, then God created evil since evil exists, and according to the principal that our works define who we are then God is evil."
The student became quiet before such an answer.

The professor was quite pleased with himself and boasted to the students that he had proven once more that the Christian faith was a myth.

Another student raised his hand and said, "Can I ask you a question professor?" "Of course", replied the professor. The student stood up and asked, "Professor, does cold exist?"

"What kind of question is this? Of course it exists. Have you never been cold?" The students snickered at the young man's question.

The young man replied, "In fact sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat. Everybody and every object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (- 460 degrees F) is the total absence of heat; all matter becomes inert and incapable of reaction at that temperature. Cold does not exist. We have created this word to describe how we feel if we have too little heat.

The student continued. "Professor, does darkness exist?"

The professor responded, "Of course it does".

The student replied, "Once again you are wrong sir, darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light we can study, but not darkness. In fact we can use Newton's prism to break white light into many colors and study the various wavelengths of each color. You cannot measure darkness. A simple ray of light can break into a world of darkness and illuminate it. How can you know how dark a certain space is? You measure the amount of light present. Isn't this correct? Darkness is a term used by man to describe what happens when there is no light present."

Finally the young man asked the professor. "Sir, does evil exist?"

Now uncertain, the professor responded, "Of course as I have already said. We see it every day. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. "These manifestations are nothing else but evil."

To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is not like faith, or love, that exist just as does light and heat. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."

The professor sat down.

instead of going into a large and deep theological debate, i would think this would sum it up:


Evil is indeed the absence of God in your life.
Fear is the result when God is absent from your life.
Joy is the result of being one of God’s children.
Faith is when you lean on God and know that He is in control. Very Happy
Bikerman
a) This has been posted several times.
b) Use quote tags for extended quotes like this and say where you got it from. If you don't know how then ask.
c) There is no reason to think it had anything to do with Einstein
http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp
d) It is a pretty stupid professor being portrayed here - hardly difficult to beat in debate - even by schoolboy logic.
e) Do you seriously think that this is a defensible conclusion? That evil is the absence of God in your life? Can you understand why an atheist might be just a little put-out by that suggestion?
jeffryjon
First we have to define sin. Not in a predefined context placed by society, because this way we'll tie ourselves up in knots. One society says something is pure and good and another says the same thing is corrupted and evil. This comes about because most people have been led to misunderstanding the word.

The word sin is used widely in mathematics (although the spelling differs). It originated as a term for archery. We aim at the bulls eye with our bow and arrow and the amount by which we miss the bulls eye creates an angle of error, or sin.

Sinning is about missing the mark. If we set out to do or achieve something and get distracted in another direction, we have sinned. God expects us to make mistakes when we undertake a new venture. Learning to walk would be an example. We fall thousands of times before getting the hang of it. With practice, we sin less until we get things STRAIGHTENED out.

So yes, an omniscient God can see your mistakes or sins in advance and keep replaying situations in our lives until we get it right. After this, there is no sin in relation to the particular lesson we were learning.
Bikerman
Some useful information and some entirely bogus.
Let's start with the useful.
Yes, the word sin is from the Hebrew 'het' which means missing the mark.
However - the stuff on maths is bogus.
I presume you are referring to 'sine' - a trig function?
This comes from the Latin 'Sinus' meaning 'bend'. The latin probably comes itself from the Sanskrit 'Jayb' which means 'bossom of a garment' or 'bowstring'.
Sine has nothing to do with error, and everything to do with the shape of a bowstring.
jeffryjon
yes indeed Chris sine mathematical is the angle between the straight line and the line of error (mathematician would say triangulation).

In Sanskrit sini is directly related to the weapon of a bow (which fires the arrow) and sinivali (same root spelling) is related to the mathematical sine (and 'springing up like a monkey with a bow' - monkeys being greatly revered as warriors who'll take on any task in Indian mythology).

The Sini themselves were a tribe of warriors or Kshatriyas.

Sini is also the root of the word sinivasa - vasa relating to the feathers of an arrow.

There are many references to the links between archery and trigonometry among the scripts of the Brahmins - some of which I've had privilege to have explained to me in my many years in India.

I am as interested as you in getting to the truth or 'keeping it real' as I guess we've both experienced much bogus baloney on the path.
Bikerman
jeffryjon wrote:
I am as interested as you in getting to the truth or 'keeping it real' as I guess we've both experienced much bogus baloney on the path.
Yes, an ever increasing amount, as the internet makes 'truth warriors' out of everyone with an opinion Smile
I don't understand the sine 'line of error' relationship - perhaps you could elaborate? As I understand it the sine is simply a relationship between two lines in triangulation (opp/hypot).
jeffryjon
OK Chris, I'll do my best though most of my knowledge on language is based on times before it was over-formalized.

Try thinking of the hypotenuse as 'hypothesis' or an idea.

Adjacent is the side-issue or idea that 'may' distract us from the original idea - and these distractions may have a greater or lesser degree of 'sin' (from the original idea of course). Many references in scriptures to the 'true' path (or true line) being straight and narrow and 'many are those who will fall by the way' (is that getting distracted?)

Opposite is the distance opposing the idea (obviously dependent on how long someone has ventured in the 'sin-full line adjacent to the true line)

So, trying to keep on track let's bring in another image - that of a map.

We draw a line (on the map or in thought) from A to B. It's a straight line. Then we get sidetracked (distracted, 'adjacented', followed side-issues).

The further we stray from the original line, the further we have to travel to get back on track to point B (paying for our sins so to speak).

Hope this brings some clarity.

I once read somewhere that we're punished by our sins not for them - can't remember where as I was probably sidetracked from making a note of the author - oh well
Bikerman
Hmm...I think that is all a bit tenuous to be honest.
'Opposite' to the hypotenuse, for example, is not opposite in any spatial sense, neither is adjacent so in any spatial sense.
That's without even considering that the shortest line between two points is not a straight line unless you restrict yourself to Euclidean geometry (ie it isn't a 'universal' from which we can abstract 'higher' truths).
bukaida
Light will not exist if darkness doesnot exist. If god is true, then so is EVIL. The opposite always coexist to bring balance.
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