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Who are right, believers or atheists?
We don't know how the universe works, and science does not yet have all the answers, so all we can do is assume what we believe in is true.
Some things can't be explained, but does that mean there is no logical explanation?
These are some questions for you:
1. Does God exist?
2. Do we have free will?
3. What do you think happens after death.
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?
These questions are brought up so many times here, but I would like to know your opinion.
Let's find out on what people's beliefs are based on.
Unknown. Until proven positive by God himself (if portrayed accurately), unknowable.
Unknown. If subatomic particles are truly acting randomly it is possible. If everything has a cause, then no.
Nothing outside of normal, everyday events in the natural world. Note you DID say "what do you think".
No. But do you mean "can't be explained" or "I don't know an explanation"? And considering the odds of winning the lottery, is there anything at all that could be considered "too good to be a coincidence"?
So, you are an agnostic?
Say we do have free will, and it is not affected by the behavior of atoms in our brains, do you believe that everything has a cause? What do you think?
Not talking about the rest of the world; what happens to people when they die? For example; I see the world in my point of view; what happens after death? Will it be just blank, like I am in sleep, only I will never get up?
If that POV is gone, for me, it's same as end of the universe, right? What do you think?
Yeah, I meant "I don't know an explanation?"
Today I read an article about some weird coincidences. Here is the link: Insane coincidences you wont believe actually happened
Anyone trying to reason rather than feel their way about the God question is an agnostic. Defined as someone without belief about a god's existence.
Say the moon is green cheese, too. Your will is most certainly affected by the behavior of atoms in your brains; atoms that release the electrons that constitute thought. Atoms that are part of the chemical structure of your brain and most definitely influence what and how you think. So when your suppositions are included into the question it becomes meaningless as we already know that your will IS affected by brain tissue, molecules, chemicals and atoms.
You no longer exist; how can there be anything from your point of view? A point of view without mind, body or existence of self is a conundrum.
*shrug* Concidences, or at least our concept of them, are primarily a matter of probability. As there can be almost nothing as improbable as the specific collection of atoms that make up the person labelled Amazing Thinker, the idea that some things are too improbable to be considered coincidental isn't worth much. (Keep in mind that our best information to date is that there is no god to put the Amazing Thinker together.) You might also consider that most really weird "coincidences" come about only with diligent effort on our part. Meaning that we make the coincidence into a coincidence. The cabin boy from the book is an example; it is only through massive research and effort that we "unearth" this "coincidence" - without that effort it would be no coincidence at all. Now add in that, just like prophecies, if they are vague enough we can always find something coincidental about it as we are making up the story and defining what is "coincidental".
I said the same thing about coincidence in my reply to EncephaloiDead. We don't consider how many times it doesn't happened but only the times it does.
Philosophically speaking, If everything happens for a reason, and is already planned, so the molecular changes that leads to our decisions are supposed to happen.
Also, it can be that science is just an explanation to what there is, it's not the "ultimate truth." Just saying!
That's the kicker, yes. If there is a cause (not a "reason" dreamed up by an intelligence, but a "cause") for everything then you have no free will. A technical point, perhaps, as the cause cannot be determined by us, but a point.
But. If some subatomic actions have no cause, as is now believed, then perhaps free will is still possible.
Back to the topic of life after death; Do you believe that we are nothing more than a bag of chemicals? Well, we are, but what makes us a living thing? What is life?
Our sum total information at this time is that life is a chemical reaction. Nothing supernatural there - no "soul" existing in another dimension, no "mind" occupying another universe, no "god" we are a minute part of.
Just a chemical reaction, no matter how repugnant the thought that we are not the most important thing in the universe might be.
One day perhaps we'll find that "soul" or "mind", floating in another dimension or something, but until then the total of our information is that we are a bag of chemicals.
Something that might help here is to try and define what "life" is? Can You? Can you even make a decent effort?
May be it's a form of energy that is not know to science. Soul is just a label!
Then, if it's not known to science, how can it be known to people, and how would those people assume it is a form of energy?
I am not talking about a divine form of energy called soul, but life is some kind of energy, and every living thing in the universe has it, even plants.
We can't explain the invisible energy that keeps us alive, and separates us from the non living, how can we deny in a invisible force called god?
Even planets and stars can have life. Earth could be a living thing!
A few centuries ago people believed that plants were non living things.
God may be real!
Sorry, but that kind of energy has not been shown to exist.
That's because there isn't an invisible energy to explain.
Easily. There is no evidence of gods or invisible forces.
That's getting silly.
But, not likely.
So because 'that kind of energy' has never been shown to exist, there's no relevance in considering it? There was a time when frequencies of light and sound beyond our capability to sense them were not known, or had never been shown to exist. The same goes for just about everything we now know. And its people who dared ask these questions that led to our heightened understanding.
There is no structural difference between a living thing and a dead thing. Yet when something is alive it exhibits homeostasis, organization, growth, metabolism, adaptation, response to stimuli, and reproduction. These are the characteristics that defines something as biologically 'alive'. When its dead none of these things are happening, yet all the same components are still in place. Much like an electronic component that lacks an electrical current. The components are there, but the activity isn't.
Life actually acts much like 'energy' as we have observed it elsewhere. Thinking like what you've shown here is just the kind of thing that hinders progress by attempting to stifle these kinds of wonderings.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” - Albert Einstein
Perhaps so. It is impossible to prove something does not exist without have a definition of that something.
As we have no definition of what a "soul" is, it cannot be disproved, and endless ideas on what it could be can be found. Nevertheless, our best guess to date is that it does not exist.
We can't explain how life works, but some people know to claim everything. They say god can't be real because the idea of a invisible force in the universe is too ridiculous, but may be universe is a living thing.
Yes, it is not possible to prove something doesn't exist without we knowing it.
It takes a lot of 'blindness' not being able to see what science can't see either and then come here and say that we are not particularly interesting or important in this universe...So wildeness, I ask you, how do you "know" that?
Go out to space and stop just past Pluto. Look at the earth. A tiny speck if you can see anything at all. And that from just the edge of our solar system.
You could pile souls fifty miles high on the surface of the earth and it wouldn't amount to anything more than a virus on the butt end of the universe, if that. Can you really think we are significant to anything but ourselves?
1. mind- will an emotions
3. soul-your identity
Even if our decisions are a result of the atom and molecular changes in our brains, what about the external things that affects our decisions; like our memories, and the incidents that lead to those memories?
Have you seen The Adjustment Bureau?
Don't know who told you the behavior of particles have no cause but that's just plain not science.
And even if that were true how in the world would it give you free will? Do you control it? No. So your free will would be random will. Hardly useful you.
There is no such thing as random and no such thing as free will. There is will and it is a manifestation of conditioning both genetic and environmental. We choose the things we like but we never choose what we like.
Actually, some particles do come into and go out of existence without a causal relationship with anything. There is no cause for their appearance or disappearance.
Given: a massive computer, bigger than the whole universe. Feed into it all every bit of information about every particle or energy beam following the big bang.
IF there is a cause for everything that happens (as opposed to the random appearance of some particles), THEN the entire future of the universe could be calculated and show by that super computer, long before it ever happened. That we cannot ever have such a computer does not change the basic tenet that the entire future of the Universe was "written" in the first few seconds of the big bang.
And THAT means no free will. Your every move was dictated by the make up of the universe at the time of the big bang.
If big bang was the beginning, what was there before?
You answered your own question; big bang was the beginning; before that was nothing. Not empty space, nothing.
Although current theory, I think, is that a singularity preceded the big bang, although I've never seen a coherent definition of what a singularity is. A mathematical point of zero dimension containing all the universe. I guess if it's of zero dimension that's a pretty good definition of "nothing", at least to a layman like me.
It's hard to define nothing. How long was there nothing?
If there was nothing, what led to big bang?
Nothing. Including no time, so the question of "how long" is meaningless.
No cause necessary - either goddunnit (defining god as what made the universe) or it happened all by itself without a cause.
You mean that the universe created itself, and the evolution begin, and everything just fell into place. Why would that happen?
Nothing happens without a cause.
If god made the universe, who created him? when?
May be time is a virtual unit. There is no now or when.
"Nothing happens without a cause"
You know this...how? You have checked and found causes for all known subatomic actions? You have checked the inside of a black hole or a singularity to make sure that everything in those strange and exotic places has a cause? You know that a supernova can never distort space to the point where laws cease to work and things happen without cause?
Very, very easy to make the statement, because everything in our world of macro, but not mega-solar sizes and small energies always has a cause. But there are many, many places where physics has not gone and we don't know what we'll find.
Surprisingly, time seems NOT to be a construct of man's mind, but an actual "dimension", required for space to exist. Indeed, we see reference more and more to the "space/time continuum" because time is an integral part of that continuum.
If god made the universe, I would have no idea who made him or IF he was made at all. Any God will by necessity have originated outside our space/time continuum (see that?) and will not be subject to the laws within it. Perhaps he existed "forever" if the word has any meaning at all outside our universe. Certainly He existed "before" time existed (created in the big bang along with space and natural laws).
Because, things happen, and they don't need a reason to happen, they just do.
Out of curiosity, what do you base this assertion on?
How can a "timeless" or non temporal cause create a beginning/ time effects? Infinite regress is illogical so why did it wait if it had all the necessary components? You realize you are logically proving God?
You are asking questions for which there can be no answer in English, and we don't (as far as I know) have one in the language of math, either. Nevertheless, I can try and explain my own thoughts and limited understanding on it.
You ask how a cause created a beginning, but there was no cause (assume no god for the moment). It happened, but without a cause behind it. And "when" (remember, there is no time yet, so that when is inaccurate) it did, time came into being; from that moment on time exists.
You ask why it waited, but without time there is no "wait", either. The "moment" the singularity formed was the "moment" it banged, whether an independent watcher "waited" a second or a billion years for it to happen. All actions took place "simultaneously" (even though that word is meaningless without time, too) but never at the same "time".
And if you don't get it, well, I'm not sure I do either. But I do know the words don't fit what happened (see - even "happened" implies time, but there was none).
Its a problem of semantics on my end trying to incorporate what you wrote.
I am tired now and this is long haired stuff, so I will bookmark your post for later, so I can truly understand your thoughts.
I am trying to think of something of an easy allegory for myself to relate.
Imagine a fiddle and a fiddle player. If it were an automatic EDIT Mindless) timeless fiddle playing machine...it would not have just chosen to pick up a fiddle and start fiddling a tune at a specific EDIT (FINITE BEGINNING) point in time ( a timeless cause- creating a EDIT (FINITE BEGINNING) and time unless it chose too.
That analogy s*cked, but best I can do at this time and it may not be correct.
Sorry about the all caps, but what you are getting IMO is a Kalam with agency. Personally I am a PSR Leibniz, but I saw your arguments.
Seems more likely that a timeless fiddle, playing music that can be heard in a reality of time, would be playing from the beginning of time to the end, no matter when it started. If it only played one note, say a quarter note, that note would still play for all time. Maybe your fiddle is what we take for the background microwave radiation from the big bang?
Either that or it would never be heard at all as it played for less than a planck time period, or approximately 5X10^-44 seconds.
I am getting too old for this lol. Reality is starting to feel like a merry go round. Night
Me, too! The old head just spins round and round and round...
G'night, Phoenix - sleep well. Maybe clamp the head to the bed, or at least a pillow?
I took two Tylenol PM's so you win this time, everything looks chinese and sounds greek. Gnight
A (mindless) timeless - time creator - created time - spontaneously - at a finite beginning.
and I asked: Why did it wait?
And you made an argument.
I was also thinking. How come it still ain't waiting, if its a mindless, timeless, time creator, that spontaneously creates time at finite beginnings? ie What's so special 13 billions years ago - to a timeless time creator? All the conditions have always been met - that's it's nature.
see? It sure looks like you logically proved God.
A Kalam/Wilderness Cosmological Argument with Agency
unfortunate the big bang theory rested easier..with society
public schools are constantly changing history?? why because they are beating around the bush.lol
A causal relation involves two THINGS, the cause and the effect. That makes causes between things IN the world. If God is that there is something and not nothing, that makes God beyond cause and effect, because God is not a THING. Things are finite. So, we cannot use a FIRST CAUSE ARGUMENT. God is a mystery. The question, "Why is there something and not nothing" is natural to make. But we are trying to understand using categories, (cause and effect, for example) that apply to things. But we want to know why there are causes and effects and not nothing. But there is no answer. Logical positivism tried to say that the question is meaningless because there was no way to determine whether one explanation or another is true or false. But the question is full of meaning not in the sense that you could provide an answer or not like of relations between things, but that it concerns that you are, that other things are, and no way of getting beyond that is apparent. That is an "Ultimate Concern". Which is concern about God. I have never liked atheism. It seemed too absolute in its certainty. It is true, no God being has been ever found, and even if we did, why would we adore it and worship it? Why is there that God and not nothing? I remember having that thought one day on the playground when I was in first grade. Why is there something and not nothing. Why am I and not nothing? What will I be when I die? Am I really just a finite being? Is my sense of personal identity a kind of illusion that prevents me from knowing who and what I am? Am I the Universe, and my individual consciousness is just a limited perspective of a small piece of that universe sensitive to other parts of the universe? We have all these eyes peering out of the world and seeing other eyes peering out at the world, and we think we are distinct. Am I the world? Even if I am, why am I and not nothing?
Because if there were ever a time or state of absolute nothing. then nothing could exist now. So there has to always have been something. But that does not mean there always has to have been a conscious god. Energy is a good candidate for something that has always existed in one form or other.
At least we know it exists and can not be created or destroyed. But we do not know a conscious god has ever existed.
and many many times, we do not like the what we chose
But you are forced to make a choice and then you make the one you like best. What was your point?
deterministic model: Mathematical model in which outcomes are precisely determined through known relationships among states and events, without any room for random variation. In such models, a given input will always produce the same output, such as in a known chemical reaction. In comparison, stochastic models use ranges of values for variables in the form of probability distributions.
Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/defin … z2qt36mkUn
If you choose and then do not like it it only speaks of nondeterminism
If you choose frivolously and then do not like it it only speaks of of ignoring what you really want
If you choose and you like it and then it all goes wrong it means that you had some areas in grey before choosing (aka variables not taken into account) in your choices
Your 'story' about the origins of sun and planets and else.., pray, where does it have it clearly that God does not exist?
also, pray, even if you model to :perfection" a phenomenom, you will have variables not accounted for...and that is called or introduces some stubborness or... randomness in your results...Like a simple child conception, even if you know (and do you know it??, really?) all of the possible combinations that will or can happen to the final being, can you still determine him/her exactly?
And, actually atheists own, as atheists, their existence of God...otherwise why bother
"In such models, a given input will always produce the same output, such as in a known chemical reaction."
Right but it is not as easy as that. Your conditioning is not up to you. It is your genetic predisposition playing off your environmental. Everyone has a unique genetic predisposition and since we never occupy the same space at the same time each child, even exact twins, could not have exactly the same experiences.
When you make a choice there are many factors, obviously. It is not like an experiment done exactly the way every time and you do not get the same results every time. Today you want to wear a blue shirt, but you have none. So you wear something else or go to the store and buy one. Which choice you make depends on many things. The dominant issue at the time will be the deciding factor.
So to you it looks like your choice is free. It is your choice, of course, but what you choose to do will already be determined by your conditioning. You may have a history of when you want it, go out and buy it. Or you may be a frugal person who has always done without or with what you have until you are almost forced to go shopping because the shirts are falling off your back.
That predisposition, what ever it is will be a major factor in what you do next.
The point is that there are probably hundreds of choices a person can potentially make. They are open to all humans. But some choices you personally can not make. You personally have a limited ranger of possible choices you can make. Not physically, though if you are unable to walk choosing to a run a marathon will be impossible to accomplish. But most of the time it is mentally that you are limited in your choices. You can't make a choice you do not know you can make, for instance.
When Paul had his vision of Jesus he was capturing Christians for the Romans. After he had his conversion that choice was no longer open to him. Do you see what I mean? He could not keep doing what he was doing because if he did then he would not have been able to live with himself.
It is not that he couldn't physically do it, he couldn't do it mentally. He could no longer make that choice. That choice was closed to him. Unless he had another epiphany which trumped the first.
Again, we are born with preferences we have no control over. Those preferences play a major role in our choices. We have beliefs which we are brought up with, cultural and religious and parental, etc, All these play on our genetic predispositions and form what we will choose when forced to make a choice.
Can I predict what some one will do? No. Predictability is not the issue. There are too many variables. But the better I know some one the easier it gets to predict what they will do. They can still surprise you, of course. You are not them.
People who are Bipolar are a perfect example. It is part of their predisposition. The disease affects what they choose and why, Many start reading bibles because of their upbringing or other factors. Then when they have the right medication they stop reading it.
A cup of coffee can influence how you choose, by changing your body chemistry. Anything you eat can have an effect on the outcome of a choice because it influenced your thoughts.
Cause and effect is not singular. That is to say your choice is influenced by thousands of causes and effects at the same time, most of which you are not aware of. .
Look, you have genetic predispositions that make you like and dislike things. You are conditioned by the environment, schools, parents, other people, all your life. How react to that is determined by your genetics. There are many choices you do not now you have and there are physical limitations on what you can and can not choose. Flap as much as you like, without a machine you are not getting off the ground.
So where is your will free? How is it free? It is influenced by almost everything, including things you do not know about. It is influenced by your personal history. So show me how it can be free, and free of what?
It is unique to you. It is independent of others, You have a lot of it because it is the manifestation of your conditioning. But it is not free.
really, some of your examples seem shallow; you want to wear a blue shirt but you do not have one!!! what does it mean! you want an impossible? is that a situation that you intent to consider a 'destiny' to be unhappy or forced/opressed about?
we are here talking about relevant to existence stuff, clothes are relevant? make up?a movie? a dish? a vacation? For Christ sakes...
"flap as much...wont fly!!! my dear...it's not then about free will...it's about accepting yourself; you cannot, logically speaking, ask from or for yourself something that your nature will not be suited for; if you wanted to be a bird, well you are not, but you still can sing... but fly? Free will is supposed, if I am not stupid, to be about choices...and choices afre also called course of actions, options...Flying if you are not a bird or duck or an airplane, dear, is not an option for some species...although our minds can fly though
Free will is about choosing the right thing too, unless I am stupid, to choose or expect to get what physicalyy or chemically or naturally, can't happen...then I suppose, if I am not stupid, that I maybe dealing with a mental handicap or a sensorial inability or a daydreaming or an obsession
This will sound contradictory, by free will is only validly free if you understand your limitations and your capabilities and your rights and your duties... in other words, your responsabilities as a human being; free will is not free ball in any game of life... and God has nothing to do with whatever we choose to do by using our free will...Nothing is free though..and you pay a price for all you get or take from others...an exchange that make sense even in accounting...have you read a statement of cash flow? or of source and ends of cash?...
"And, actually atheists own, as atheists, their existence of God...otherwise why bother"
Well no where does it say there is no god in my story. But neither does it say or imply that there is.
As much as you would love to be sure there is a god. you can not tell me with certainty that you know there is a god. That would be a lie, because you can not know that with certainty. So your above little bit of a dig isn't a dig at all, it is pure speculation on your part. To be a dig it would have to be true, and you do not know that.
I know very little for certain. But there are facts out there and I accept them. I do not allow myself to believe anything because belief in facts is not necessary and belief in speculation is frankly stupid.
So since you can not be sure there is a god, forgive me for not taking your word for it.
true... there's more speculation than certainty from a certain point of view; but still, within uncertainties, there is an extent in the quality of the speculations which, for example, you think that entitles you to qualify it as...stupidity. And you knoe the definition of stupidity i guess
A true 'logical' person will abstain of qualifiers of character and will focus, if really logical and true to 'facts' to demonstrate so. But, you also know that with all the logic and logic systems available you cannot demonstrate anything...and so, frankly my dear, what is equal does not leave room for tricks and once a qualifier, always a qualifier...
I consider having a stake in the truth counter productive to finding the truth. Therefore puting ones faith in something speculative is usually a dumb move. You only have at best a fifty/fifty chance of being right or wrong.
If you are looking for the truth, investing yourself in a particular line of speculation is folly. Your investment makes you hang on to your belief even after the evidence shows you should likely re-evaluate.
So in general. investing yourself is speculation is not a smart thing to do. But it does not mean a person who does so is stupid. Smart people still do stupid things all the time.
But more than that, I was saying that I find belief in speculation a stupid thing to do for me. I was after all explaining my own position.
So no personal offence was intended
It may not be/seem to you free will but random? how? I thought that a 'random' occurrence was such because it was independent of mindful biases (aka 'cause'), once your mind, and all its circumstancialities to interpret perceptions, acquire 'knowledge' we still must deal with the application of knowledge and that, my dear watson, is called in all the bibles of the world, wisdom. Wisdom, then, may be the light that makes or rules our choices, as far as an individual's self-reach then we still have to deal with a more or less (due to loopholes, hence, inter and mis-inter pretations) regulated communitiy/society/ etc...Still. within all of those limits, we do have some how a 'free' will and, if disregarding wisdom, we fail (according to the sorta rules of our particular social environment...or, if wise or witty, we are OK (aka success except in the financial world ;
So, I boune your question...back to you
You bounced it back to you or to me?
When did I say anything about random? It does not exist. Not in a cause and effect world. So will is not random, it is a manifestation of conditioning both genetic and environmental. Nothing free about it. But we have a lot of it.
really? tell me about how a bipolar or a schizo can display an out of conditioning behavior? tell me how your will is conditioned unless you chose to (and reasons are yours only)
if, there is a time for everything, it does not mean about choices...it only means that our life has a beginning and and end, so far, unless Mr Spock and Data can join intellects and get us the longegivity we choose and want and need...what for, is another story, as long as yours about the universe ect...Whatever we do during this life is our choices freely, even if we do not know it and even if we think it's bad luck (i call it the easy way out of responsabilities...what is luck again?)
When I was in college, Paul Tillich was a leading Protestant theologian. He said that if you believe God exists, you have taken the first step on the road to atheism. God is your "Ultimate Concern". Why is there something and not nothing? I then read a book by W. T. Stace, Time and Eternity, in which he argued that mystics claim to experience .... and that nothing you can say or describe in words applies. Religious language Stace said is evocative rather than descriptive or analytical. Religion seeks to evoke in you the wonder of your existence, who you are, and what you are to be and what sustains you despite the threat of death. It does this with symbolic, metaphoric language. It's like watching a movie about some fictitious event. You immerse yourself in the plot. It is not important whether it is real or not. Your feelings and experience of being and acting in the movie is what is evoked and important. Poetry is also evocative. Tillich argued that Christ on the Cross is a criterion to be used to judge idolatry. An idol demands that you sacrifice yourself so that it can continue to be. Christ on the Cross, is God sacrificing Himself so that you may be saved. When the Pentacostal focuses on "Jesus loves you" it doesn't matter if there is such a being in the universe. He is beyond the Universe, beyond conception, beyond description. A God that exists is just another being in the Universe. Why should we give him our devotion when what concerns us is that there is something and not nothing, that there is a Universe at all. So, I can sympathize with religion, accept its evocative language for what it does to me and what it points to, while not believing most of the conceptions about God as a Being in the Universe. I am also a scientist, so this is the way I can sort religion and science into different categories requiring different uses of language.
Can this be personal proof or must it be one we can "show and tell" "dog and pony" to you.
Are we talking a Petre dish proof of something that does not fit in a Petre dish or only "acceptable science"?
If my proof must be valid for your proof I say we just get rid of the twelve man Jury system now!!
I just asked you what your beliefs are. I didn't say it has to be something that I will agree with.
I don't know everything!
Let's just get rid of the jury; we are not proving anything; we can't!
This is just an argument to understand each other's beliefs better, and to see things in different perspectives.
The fact that science does not have all the answers yet does not mean that what we know about how the universe works is not true to the very best of our ability to explain it. If we find a phenomenon that works consistently, can accurately be measured (if a law) and does not violate other explanations, then we can assume we have something that is true in how it works and how it might affect us.
As well, even though science does not have all the answers, that does not mean we should jump to conclusions trying to explain a phenomenon that never works consistently, cannot be measured accurately and does violate other explanations with supernatural answers.
God's materialization and acknowledgement in front of the entire worlds population can only answer that question.
We each have the will to do things, but our universe usually affects the outcome of those things making it not so "free" of a will. In other words, no matter what we do, it may not turn out the way we wanted or planned.
We die and our bodies decay, just like every other living thing.
We as humans aren't able to observe, know or understand anything about the supernatural because we have nothing in our universe to reference it.
Whatever the explanation and no matter how improbable something may occur, it can occur and probably will occur.
So what do you believe? God exists or not?
Our bodies decay, but what happens to our "soul?" By that I mean we are living and seeing the world, and have a point of view. What happens to it after we die?
You are right; everything has an explanation, no matter how improbable it may seem. Coincidence can be explained with the rule of probability! It's just coincidence for skeptics and miracle for believers.
Go to the link I have posted in my reply to wilderness.
I have no reason to accept the belief that any gods exist.
There is no reason to accept the belief that souls exist. The question is then moot.
The world goes on without us, our point of view is carried in the minds and memories of those we interacted throughout our lives.
No, God does not exist, like you and I and the trees around us exist. What I say next is metaphor: God is not (a) Being but Ground of Being. God is that there is something and not nothing. God is to be discovered in every being. But confusing God with the being leads to idolatry. Idolatry is possible everywhere. It is when you raise something finite up to be your Ultimate Concern. Most fundamentalist religions sink into idolatry because they are concerned with what is in the world, not that there is a world. And they treat given forms as our Ultimate Concern. We must sacrifice ourselves that these forms come to be or continue to be. By fundamentalist I do not limit my comments to Christianity but to religions like islam when its adherants think they must convert you at the point of a gun. They cannot conceive of a God that sacrifices Himself that you may be. The same goes for Christian fundamentalists who want to use the power of the State to make women believe a fetus is a human being when it does not yet have all the characteristics of a human being that is partially self-sustaining outside the womb. They focus on finite forms that we must conform to. They have no real sense of God as beyond and through all forms.
I recently had an experience of a friend who was in the hospital at the ICU.
I had the thought , God is reality, not the stuff, but that the stuff is and what it is.
Then it came to me "Thy will be done" from the Lord's Prayer. It means to me 'accept reality as it is'. I must accept how my friend is, you might say, As God wills.' By identifying with God's will, the believer can deal with death and dying.
Then it occurred to me that idolatry is a false God. It cannot save you. You have to save it. An idol cannot love you unconditionally, assert the meaningfulness of your existence without you preserving it. An idol demands sacrifices. But God sacrifices Himself that you are saved. This
shows that this existence is not all. God is beyond existence. Beyond understanding.
Science also concerns what is, what is reality. It is a way to identify the idolatrous as false reality.
There is always a logical conclusion. If we could conclude there is no logical conclusion, we have arrived at a logical conclusion.
1. Things exist, sometimes. Absolute necessity is absolute. God is existing.
2. Only if we don't use it.
An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger."
The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"
"Oh, I don't know," said the atheist. "How about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?" as he smiled smugly.
"Okay," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"
The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence,
thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea." To which
the little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss
God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don't know shit?"
LOL..I am not interested in learning about s**t!
Why are there these different kinds of s**t and not nothing?
LOL, The Best!
I'll tell you a true story about how God helped me find my glasses. I need them to drive. I don't have spares. I couldn't afford to buy new ones, so I told God in no uncertain terms to help me find them. He did after a long desperate search. I looked all over the house trying to deduct where I could have left them.
Then I realized I wasn't tuning in to God's invisible spiritual omnipresent essence. I had to let go of my logical thinking. God told me to stop thinking logically and let Him guide me. I was led to do the dishes and while I was doing them, I realized as clear as day how I lost them and where they were. I had no idea before this.
I got my dogs and walked right up to where they were. They had fallen out of my purse at my neighbor's house. I walked right to where they were: all mangled up (after someone had stepped on them) on the pathway to her house.
That was God's doing.
God stepped on your glasses? That wasn't very nice.
You'd think your God would have not let you lose them. You'd think they wouldn't be mangled. Tell me again how God helped you? You demanded God help you find your mangled glasses. Why not demand he help you afford all the glasses you will every need? Why not demand he help you feed the starving?
Instead you guys ask for him to help you find your mangled glasses, keys or plan a vacation.
But the Christian says, "Thy will be done". We don't know why the glasses had to be mangled, they just were. It was God's will. God is that there is something and not nothing. God is that something is as it is. It teaches you not to sugar-coat reality, but to accept it as God's will. God is the ground of Being, not what is, but that what is, is.
That would be translated to read, "a true story about how a believer can insult every single person who didn't get their prayers answered and lost something or someone far more valuable than glasses."
Because God works with our requests and our free will in making those requests. Also, If we do not know how to tune into God, who is invisible spirit, we can't perceive his spiritually emanating response.
We need to be calm, open and receptive when perceiving God and realize God must work in a non material way.
So people whose prayers are not answer deserved it somehow?
Nice to know my relative painful and terminal disorders are somehow good for them or their own fault.
We are talking spiritual science here. Law of Cause and effect, Karma, spiritual evolvement… awareness, persistence, faith and level of feelings of love and devotion to the Creator of our beings. He is not our physical dad! altho part of Him exists in our physical dad… and Mom… as in us… He loves all of us equally.
And with more love than we can even handle!
"The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few."
Spiritual science? Is that like 'military intelligence' or ' jumbo shrimp'?
I call BS. Little 3 year old girls that get raped have done nothing to warrant such a horrible experience. (Yes, multiple men raped a 3 year old girl). http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/10 … -year-old/
So yea, BS.
That looks very much like an incredibly lame justification. Sure, it's easy to project the blame back to the victim because you believe they weren't "tuned into God or receptive when perceiving God"
That's obviously no problem for God, He's going to "work with your request" to find your glasses because you have God coming in loud and clear on all invisible spirit channels, spiritually emanating responses in a non material way, that we can't perceive.
Will you concede you speak metaphorically when you say God is 'invisible spirit'? There are things invisible, like electricity and infrared light. And we can think of spirits as like intelligent beings but not visible. We think of God in terms we know, like things in the world, when God is beyond the world.
Even that is metaphorical. God is mystery.
the subject in tbis hub is complicated enough to incorporate even more complications by using figures of speech improperly; I am talking about "...God id invisible spirit"...that would not quaify as a metaphor or any onter figure of speech known...If God is 'invisible spirit' or if we say God is 'like an invisible spirit"...we are introducing our ddefinitions...Any figure of speech, precise, evades the definition and introduces an expression for which an intellectual exercise comes to happen and so, within the relevant background, the reader or listener, arrives at an interpretation of that particular fifuere of speech...For example, if a rose is a rose is a rose...the abstraction on all of the following to the first rose is...love or affection...If God is 'like' an invisible spirit, that is what is is...where is the figurative -intellectual puzzle? God IS a puzzle for a definition, but not for interpreting Him...
Who are right, believers or atheists?
This question is so beaten and slammed around that it has become pure annoyance. Who has the "right" answer? We each have our own truths and it is as simple as that.
1. Does God exist?
I believe He does. Why? It is my truth.
2. Do we have free will?
Most certainly we have free will and everyone should respect that.
3. What do you think happens after death.
Rest, reflection, reincarnation.
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?
Atheists and believers both have their own beliefs, but if they claim to know everything, they are wrong.
Can you share that incident with us?
Who claims to know everything? Anyone insistent that their opinion is the only valid one on an issue that cannot be known for sure. If they don't think they know everything there is to know on the topic they certainly do a good job pretending that no other opinion has merit.
You say the idea of God is outdated. Your idea of God may be. However, are your ideas the only ones worth considering? Do your ideas take precedent? Does your understanding of the term invalidate all other thoughts on the matter? God is a big word that has been expounded on by countless individuals in countless societies throughout the history of the human race. We've probably lost more writings on the topic than we have access to.
We can't know everything. Our senses, perceptual processes only process a limited information taken in from a particular point of view. Even as we go one through time, discovering new information, there is always more we cannot yet know. What we know now is formed by putting together things we have learned at different points in the past, but there is always the possibility of being exposed to something new which may require our reorganization of our ideas. Truth is always relative to finding something new that coheres with what we conceived about other things. We expect it and it coheres as we expected. But that truth may be overcome in the future with our discovering from new points of view new phenomena that do not cohere, requiring a new conception that makes everything cohere again and which allows us to predict something new we have not experienced before and finding our prediction upheld. So, truth is never final or absolute but relative, but the criteria for it are quite clear.
Lovely questions. As you already said we can simply assume how the universe works. Still plenty of explanations and proofs are given by the scientists on this system How it works; but, still it is not complete.
1. Does God exist?
Yes, (Why doesn't there is super power controlling all systems around you. I believe there it is; but you can't see God, but you can feel him in you; if you start assuming protons and neutrons are revolving around you it is a fact; scientifically you can't see the protons and neutrons around you but it is there as like that there must be a superpower controlling all the galaxies. As i said galaxies there are still discoveries going on).
2. Do we have free will?
As per our life going on; as you trust in god this question cannot come from you. So i assume you may believe in god my answer is yes; we have a free will if we do good.
3. What do you think happens after death.
Definitely; a good question; i don't think about death; it's all about soul. Souls can travel well if its a not a evolved soul; it will come back to the earth and rebirth again. If it's a evolved soul it will not come back; and it will join the superpower(means god)
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?
Yes; i have seen many things supernatural; for me supernatural is something cannot be done by you; but can done by others ( for an instance i can't help a person that he needs some thing. But if you believe that he will get it; he will) (another example is your thoughts can travel; if you are accepting or start believing it; i still cannot find a proof for it; but it's still there)
As i am sharing it from my life experience; i don't want others to accept it; this is my experience. I love everything around me.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
What do you mean by evolved soul?
Evolved means taking everything as just like that (like happiness, sorrow, anger, etc.,) A person who did that will be consider as a monk. His soul will be an evolved one which never cares about anything and love all. As we consider it on scientific terms; your body will be controlled by chakras in you. If you reach the final chakra the person will be considered as monk; in-return his soul is an evolved soul.
The sense of free will, in my view, comes from the fact that we are not conscious of every aspect of our bodies and our thoughts. We don't observe what goes on in our brains as we think. We are not aware of all the influences on our bodies that may be causing us to act as we do. This has come to be regarded by cognitive psychologists as the cognitive unconscious. We are not conscious of how we think as we think. If we devise machines to show us what is happening in our brains as we think, and we sit there observing it and trying to correlate it to what we think. We do not observe how we are thinking now. Take a strip of paper about 1" wide and 20 inches long. Twist the strip once and join the back side of one end of the strip to the front side of the other end. Now write on one side "subject' and the other side "object". Then begin with "subject "and follow it around keeping on the "same side" and lo! you come to "object". The subject does not know that it is object. From a limited perspective the subject and object are distinct. But only if you go all away around do you come to the other. I think that is what we are doing here when we try to understand free will. We try to think of what causes us; that we are objects and effects of other objects. But we do not directly observe that before our eyes. We always have to take a stance where we are object to other objects in view. That's what is essential to thinking of whether our acts are caused by other things or not. But then we have a sense of free will because we act and think without knowing ourselves as objects but as subjects acting, doing, thinking.
I agree with most of what you say here.
if you do not 'observe' your thoughts or whatever influence them, does that account for 'non-existent' thoughts? does that account for 'tricks' of the mind? or... does that account for simply not being aware of what it really is? or... just not-liked thoughts and so, not read, and so, not accounted for, and so called them non existent, and so...much to say of what we do n ot control, do not undertsand can not explain, so, why or on what base, scientific or not, call it non sense or non existent or s**t as someone earlier said ...
Mature and evolved? who is mature and evolved? man? scientific minds?
1. Does God exist?
I think there is merit behind the belief that some level of consciousness transcends our understanding. But, I don't think religion adequately understands it.
2. Do we have free will?
I've heard it argued by people I consider to be intelligent that science has proven free will does not exist. I see no evidence to support the assertion, unless you assume every action by the individual is nothing more than a reaction...which, I suppose, could be followed back through an intricate web to the first reaction (assuming the Big Bang was a reaction to some unknown event). However, that assumption negates the value of every thought, hope or dream by each of us; so, I consider the idea flawed.
3. What do you think happens after death.
I assume the energy that animates each of us is reabsorbed and recycled.
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?
Yes, but no point in expanding. Any thoughts shared usually invite a witch hunt by the self appointed Inquisition of aggressive atheists on Hub Pages. I don't consider my experiences note worthy enough to warrant causing strife to those prone to being offended by unexplainable events.
I agree with most of the things you have said.
If you don't want to share the incident, it's fine, but may be learning what others have to say about it can help you understand it and change your outlook on things.
Sharing serves little purpose. And, what do my experiences ultimately mean? With no more than my experience, with no logical or rational explanation for how any happened, all it boils down to is an unexplained oddity. I have enough respect for my own ability to objectively determine what something is, and is not, to know an unexplained oddity when it happens and enough respect for myself not to go through the motions of sharing for no more purpose than to have some insist i haven't experienced what i have.
No. It doesn't matter how intricate the magic trick, we still know there's no such thing as magic.
Right, and yet many feel simply praying works while statistics show it doesn't.
That's kind of a left turn in this exchange. I'll play.
Have you seen the sharp increase in the price of tea in China? What's up with that?
statistics, to be really representing, in any experient, no matter how big or small, needs very little but comprehensive elements; statistics is about the 'average' outcome on a particular size of outcomes studied or accounted for which is called the size of the sample. Any universal conclusion, given in percentages (as statistics does, will have to suffice that the size of the sample MUST be also universal, otherwise, we need to speak the percentage of the universe left out of the sample, and so, limit the results to a certain particular sample (or population being surveyed)...
That said, statistics can't say a prayer does not work or that it indeed does work and much less it can say that in a 10% or 20% or 1% or in any %tage prayers work, or that a medication works...or a cleaner works, or etc; there is no absolute statistics results, because there is no absolutely unbiased population or statistical experiment...That would be the marvelous condition for controlling men ...cheers, there is still room for happiness in spite of statistical results saying the contrary...Indeed
Statistics are meaningless? Right, but I bet if they should that prayer does work you'd be sing a different tune.
I did not say meaningless,... I say it does not mean ALL ocurrences...and I know you know that So let's cut the show...Statistics is not and does not mean what you said. If something is clear in statistics is...my old pal and friend 'randomness' and only by observing quite a lot of occurrences, you can only ascertain that it 'might be' this or that distribution...and then, you still use some standards to 'prove' that your ascertained 'distribution of occurrences' yes they do or no, they do not, follow this or that distribution...and then, you can only, after several years perhaps observing those kind of similar occurrences, you can only say, well, with 'this probability' I 'would say' that, for example, 'prayer' (as an occurrence" that you have followed in a very, extremely+ tightly controlled experiment/observation, you, very iffily, can say...only with this probability for it to happen...Then you must, to be serious about it, must refer the probability of those occurrences called 'outliers'...which, in your observations, did not belong to the mean or average...and, smile, outliers can't be controlled!! and then, there is the subject of the prayer...that's another thing to which Jesus left a good example...Statistics is meaningful most on the how wrong we are in our appreciations than the opposite.. because, there always be...variables not considered and worse, not controllable...so for those, we, believers, have GOD Himself...and statiscally, it works a lot!!! if not, look to what is called "saved providentially' or colloquially, 'saved by the bell'...and, how many times have you heard someone saying that "something bad or not well liked" happened to only onpen the door to something SO much BETTER? Is that random? I call it Providence, and I pray not to get this or that, but to get to see what is convenient according to God wishes. Thanks for the chance.
The subject of prayer is then only those 1 in 1000 (or worse) prayers that are answered? The other 999 prayers are not to be considered as "prayer" because there was no answer, or the answer was not what was needed?
Is that how it works? There IS another way, you know - pray, just once, for something that cannot happen by the laws of our universe and let God MAKE it happen. Film it, document it, keep records of it. You have now proven the power of prayer and that it actually does work.
Funny how that never works, though...
I'll tell you something buddy, you & most people i know & meet....Have no idea of what a prayer really is, or how you are actually supposed to pray....You can't pray for things with your mind, & if you do they will never be answered....But if you knew how to pray for something from your heart, which your mind know's nothing about those prayers will be answered.....If you want proof learn how to do it yourself, no one on here can show you buddy....That's the game, that's the test, or ride whatever it is we're doing here. :-)
you have no idea of how many times and of the intensitiy and concentration I have prayed to... win the contest for miss congeniality, but, na...as much as i think/believe i need/want it, it just does not happen...ergo, prayers are good for nothing; is that what you have in mind? do you have and do you mind what you pray for?
well, the m ost complete prayer is that of asking the Father to grant us or daily bread (includes special menus too), allow us to forgive as we have been forgiven (includes repeats as much as you get bored of hearing yourself repeating to boredom that you have repeated...in failing (includes an internal test of why on earth we act as professional repeaters, when we already have done 'that' way too many times: i guess it's easier to conjugate 'repeat' than not?), etc long and exhaustive; we constantly repeat the mere core: forget what we did and repeat...Even a donkey will not fall in a hole a second time, but us? we love it
so we ask Father to forgive us just like we 'forgive' our neighbours )do we?, but we love/like/ to.. repeat?) And so, i guess God can and will get sick of it...imagine, He is the God of all creation, even of atheists, and we all love to repeat, can you think of another 'ear' more bored than God's? yet, He answers, indeed! Like Dave36 says...know how, prerequisite for all successes...
Rad made an excellent point. And the thing is, we're fooled everyday. We always we think we know what we're experiencing at the time.
You accidentally bump into a person on a train and forget to say excuse me or I'm sorry. All of a sudden they go off on you with this explosive anger demanding that you apologize. You think you've just met some stuck up whacko, when it in reality it could've been a person that just reached their breaking point of letting people walk all over them and not saying anything back. So is it true that you just experienced a "stuck up whacko?" How often do we make conclusions about people's character/personalities over an initial impression, or only very few encounters and think we know that person and that we experienced the "true" them.
Or, let's say you go to a psychic for a reading and have the most intense one you've ever experienced. Later it comes out in the news that the person was a mentalist and was just magnificently good at fooling people into thinking they were psychic. What you experienced was real to you, but was it real just because you experienced it?
Even reality itself is a big illusion. We think we're so different and separate from everything around us, but if you look at everything on an atomic level, what difference is there really? We're all a bunch of protons, electrons, neurons, and empty space. But with the immediate senses, we observe some pretty "clear" distinctions.
Well, true. But coincidence in simply that. And, I'm the first to view a situation and assume there is some cause and effect in play. I've known that since about the she of six. My oddities don't involve anything of the nature you are apparently thinking. I did once think that events were somehow telling me the universe expected us to befriend some guy. Boy, was i wrong. We had a good laugh for a very long time from that experience.
I think people hear voices and are not psychotic. It is just a quirk of your brain. Ever read Julian Jaynes' "The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind"? The voices are the right side of your brain talking to the left. At one time, Jaynes argues, there were societies in which people had idols in their homes to which they would pray every morning, and the idols would speak back to them telling them what to do that day. Their experience of the voices of the gods were real and the advice given often good and useful. Jaynes think this was a brain that had to think and plan on one side of the brain and then communicate what to do to the other side by what was experienced as voices of the gods. The gods were vehicles for being able to think. Later subvocal speech became less and less vivid and we could distinguish speaking out load from the voice in our minds. But some people may still be born with the capability of hearing voices speaking to them. It is a form of thinking that once was much more prevalent.
@EmilR: "I think there is merit behind the belief that some level of consciousness transcends our understanding. But, I don't think religion adequately understands it. "
That's just the way you want to structure the play you are an actor in. But the play is how you want to conceive of your relation to all that is and that there is something and not nothing.
I leave the question of who is right ( believers vs. atheists) to God Himself, but until such time that He gives the definitive answer, the debate will rage on and on and on.
But to answer your questions:
(1) Does God exist? Not to be too Clintonian about it, but it depends on what you mean by "God" and "exist". Since we all have our own varying conceptualization of "God" and "Existence", the answer lies not in objective empiricalization but in subjective realization. The more pertinent question should be: Would humans have enough time and space to get to the TRUTHFUL answer? Maybe, if they, as a specie don't self-destruct first. For any specie to have conjured the practical application of E=Mc2, self-destruction is always a truthful possibility.
(2) Do we have free will? Of course we do, otherwise we would not be discussing all these issues that neither subvert nor pervert our survivability as a specie.
(3) What do you think happens after death? The literature on Near-death experience is replete with answers to that question, and I would not be too cavalier (as some people are) as to dispose all of them into the dustbin.
(4) Have you witnessed anything supernatural? If you consider the appearance and the continuing renewal of LIFE on earth as something supernatural, then WE all have witnessed it. Science is trying mightily to explain how life started on earth, but I must remind you that LIFE having started is TOO GOOD TO BE A COINCIDENCE. That is to say that as a specie, humans were given the cerebral capacity to be ardent witnesses to the reality of creation.
Wow, you tested 0/4.
1. We should at the very least have statistical evidence that prayer works. They statistics say no.
2. Free will is a necessary illusion. We make decisions based on brain chemistry.
3. Near-death experiences have been rigorously tested and have been found to be false. No information has ever been given that the person couldn't have known.
4. There is nothing supernatural about reality.
And your post just basically codified you as an atheist, whose empiricist credentials are at most suspect.
Dishonest people with magical thinking.
Suspect to all practicing and self-respecting empiricists, some of whom are atheists like yourself.
2. So, humans are like computers?
Of course, but are we programmed like computers? I mean do we think like computers only with complex programs and sensors?
Free will is a necessary illusion. We make decisions based on brain chemistry.
Computers are built with hardware and software runs it. You said we start with a clean slate when we are born, so it's like a computer hardware without software (or basic software). Now all we learn and see and hear; everything that leads to the decisions we make are basically inputs, same as the inputs we provide to computers, and we behave as we are programmed to + more sensory input. How are we different than computers when it comes to free will?
Ahhh, we are organic and computers are not. Our brain chemistry is constantly changing a computers does not. I'm not going to defend something I didn't say.
@Rad: "Our brain chemistry is constantly changing"...is a statement without any empirical evidence for. Since you are not a neuroscientist, making blanket statements like that is one reason why I said your credentials as an empiricist is suspect.
Really, prove me wrong rather than telling me I'm wrong. I've admitted I've made errors many times. Show me where I'm wrong.
The normative/operative rule of dendro-axonal physiology is constancy/stability of the chemical neurotransmitters that travel back and forth within that microscopic space that separats the axon from one neuron to the connecting dendrites of the nearby neuron. If that "brain chemistry is constantly changing"---your words not mine-- then what result is not physiology but pathology, i.e. depression, schizophrenia, psychosis etc.
Not sure I understand the question. We have meds that help the conditions you've listed. The meds change or alter the brain chemistry. The food we eat alter brain chemistry. Exercise alters brain chemistry.
Rad Man is correct in thinking that the brain is influenced by many things we eat or ingest in other ways. Coffee can alter the way your brain acts and the feelings you have. Smoking does it, and of course drugs do it very noticeably. Most of the time this is achieved by changing neurotransmitter levels.
If you say that Free will is a "necessary Illusion", and you emphatically say that from your own perspective, intuition, and experience,there is no such thing as "free will", then why even call it and accept it as "necessary". Necessary to even you who does not believe in it? Somewhat akin to a "necessary belief", in that even if you had the choice to reject that belief, you still accept it as necessary.... thus confirming its value and validity in all manner and form of human interactions and endeavours. A conundrum don't you think for someone like you whose idea of human existence is based solely on all things necessary and useful and objective, and material ...totally devoid of anything that adds to that existence its un-necessary perplexities and complexities.
I didn't say free will is necessary, I said the illusion is necessary.
The question remains...if you believe that free will is an illusion, why call it necessary?... What is its necessity even if from your perspective its an illusion. An illusion that has become necessary by my calculation has established and cemented its worth in running human affairs. So why discard/disregard/devalue/ something that even from your own experience, intuition is necessary.
Ah, okay. The illusion is necessary for us to be productive. We need to feel we have control in our lives.
@RadMan: And being productive and feeling that we have control (even if it is not total) over our lives is bad? So when does an illusion becomes reality?... when it proves its utility... its purpose... its meaning. All that we believers have been singing all along about human existence. Is Human Existence a necessary illusion to you.
Did I say being happy was bad? Try not to make me out to be a monster please. The idea is to have a discussion about reality. To do that you need to leave your emotions on the side somewhere so we can learn from each other. Human existence is a reality. If you want to say humans have a profound purpose then go right ahead if it makes you feel good and better. I certainly don't want to take that happiness away from anyone. If you want to have a conversation about the abstract notion of free will then lets do so.
Free will is abstract?.. Now that is an illusion if I have ever seen one. How can something that you have labeled as necessary be abstract?
existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete.
Do you have something physical or concrete to show me in regards to free will?
What I don't get about the 'necessary illusion of free will' concept is the 'necessity' part. Thinking purely in material/causal terms, how does a mechanistic brain change states based on whether or not a person is under the illusion of being in control of their actions? I know there are chemical happenings associated with depression, but what mechanism changes states based on whether or not a person 'feels' they control their actions that then causes a change in chemical states, leading to depression?
Clearly there's still much we don't know about the brain, but there'd have to be a mechanistic explanation, right? Yet it would seem these mechanistic happenings are at least in some part affected by non-physical/abstract thoughts. So wouldn't that be non-material thoughts having an impact on material chemicals and brain processes? And if so, would we really be able to determine the causal chain that leads to the change if at least one of the links in that chain is non-physical?
Because what we're ultimately talking about is a non-physical/unobservable product of a physical brain affecting change in a physical system. A physical result with an invisible cause. And that, if that's what we're talking about, opens the door to all kinds of possibilities.
Thought is a pretty amazing thing isn't it? A few years back my youngest came up to me and said he can think about thinking. It's at that point when we start controlling our lives. Without it we'd me doing homework on second and watching TV the next. In a sense thought is measurable, while that can't read our minds yet they can determine the kind of thought we are doing. I don't pretend to understand what thought is, but it is a product or a function of the brain. Thought can trigger emotions which effects the brain. Thoughts can also affect our bodies, blood flow, heart beats, saliva, hair standing up on the back of our neck.
Yes, thought is amazing. But you don't think, given just how little we know and understand, that your proclamations here might be a tad bit premature? To assume every component of the self can be explained away in a purely material context, though we don't yet understand how it works? This is why this purely material viewpoint can be just as stifling as any other. Materialism as a methodology in scientific study is a necessary component, but a Materialism philosophy is a whole other matter. Because as a philosophy you form the belief that science already understands the nature of reality in principle, leaving only the details to be filled in. If that's all you allow it to be, then even if it's more, there's no real consideration given to the possibility. And do you really think this one methodology we clumsy humans have pieced together can actually encapsulate all that this reality is? Doesn't that seem a bit limiting, maybe even a bit arrogant, to assume so?
If all that we are is purely the product of a material brain, then there is no point when 'we' can begin controlling our lives. If the 'self' is merely the product of matter, then recognizing you're thinking about thinking, 'determining' what we're going to do from one minute to the next, all the little decisions and actions that make up our every day, can be nothing more than points along a determined course that we can't change. We think and we act like we breathe. That's just what brains do.
But if that's the case, then why must the 'self' be held under an illusion? Why does a lump of matter care whether or not its choices are its own? Why must this system fool itself in order to work? Why's the self so sensitive? Are we sure the 'self' is just a material product? No. Does it act like any other material product we know of? No. Except maybe other brains in other living things, which we understand just as little. So is it really fair, or even intellectually honest, to say it's a product of the brain and nothing else, and one day science will prove it?
What science does is it chugs along looking for answers. Once we through "God done it" we stop looking for answers, this has been shown time and time again. The entire middle ages for example. I may not have a good understanding of the mind or brain, but there are those that do. I haven't had the benefit of their 30 years of education and study. I can tell you that the ones learning don't think the mind is some supernatural thing that exists outside our brains.
Yes, I know and I agree. Nobody's suggesting the experts stop what they're doing. But can you not see how 'matter does it' can be just as limiting in a system we do not yet understand as 'God done it'? Tossing aside 'God done it' is about keeping our minds open. Going too far the other way does the same thing by injecting certainty where there is none.
Like a government science needs to remain secular to be effective.
Right, science does. But we're not science. We're talking philosophy. If it's demanded that even philosophy stay only within the constraints of materialism then we're blinding ourselves to bigger possibilities.
I've looked for those possibilities, but see no evidence of the possibility. I see only how the possibility has prevented our maturity and caused discrimination. Look at one of the other forums where someone stated the demons attack fetuses and make the gay. Is it possible that a God exists that is different that the God depicted in those books? Sure, but we have no evidence of it's existence. We have no evidence statistically that prayer works. People have spent the last few thousand years looking for evidence and have found nothing, but continue to manipulate others in search for the truth.
Material evidence? Even what constitutes as evidence in the materialism philosophy is material-based. This is what I'm talking about. That doesn't mean we should jump to postulating demons and whatnot. It just means not limiting our thinking to only what we know to be physically possible. Or, like what often happens in these discussions, assigning capabilities to material objects, like brains, that are far beyond what we know physical material to be capable of. Because the assumption is that everything, like consciousness, can only be the product of material matter because the material is all there is. We don't know that. Allowing our philosophical views to dictate what is and isn't possible, whether it be religious or secular, leads to the same result. Closing our minds to the possibilities.
But we do know that because nothing spiritual has ever been shown to exist and we know thought is a feature of our brains. We know thought changes if the brain is medicated for injured. These are facts.
Nothing spiritual has ever been shown to exist according to material-based stipulations. Which is the equivalent of trying to remove a bolt with a screwdriver. Material/spiritual are two very different things. Yes, thought happens in the brain and can be impaired by changes to the brain. But thought and volition aren't necessarily the same thing. Keep in mind, this isn't about injecting false answers all willy-nilly, this is about not closing doors that have no business being closed. This is about assigning definitions to things we don't yet understand well enough to define.
Take these discussions. How many times have ideas I've postulated been shot down, not at all on the merit of the data, but purely on what my hypothesis is suggesting? In this example, I actually do have testable scenarios. They can't test and confirm a spiritual element to anything, but what they can do is either support or refute the physical results if these non-physical happenings were to have really happened. If the hypothesis is true, then this and this should also be true. That kind of thing. But because the hypothesis dares to include non-material possibilities, without even really getting into any of the specifics, this material-based boot comes down and stomps it all out as 'nonsense' not worth considering. And that boot looks a lot like the religious boot that's always trying to do the same.
How can you test a spiritual element to anything? That, I'd me interested in.
You can't. But if something is hypothesized as there being a spiritual element involved that caused a physical/material impact, like say the events of Genesis actually happening, then that hypothesis can steer investigation in the physical aspects of it. But if the hypothesis is thrown out based purely on its allowance of the spiritual, then we're potentially limiting ourselves and what we can know because we're defining what's possible without really knowing.
The only way I can think of to test for spirituality would be looking at the statistics of prayer. The problem is however if the statistics are not gathered properly the information will be compromised as there are those who will lie for Jesus. From what I've seen the statistics show prayer show no improvement over the placebo effect.
I suggest you come up with your own experiment.
There are plenty of things that could be tested if I had the means to do so.
Prayer experiments have been done and I've seen more than one example that showed results in favor of prayer working. I didn't read through all of these, but the first couple are ones I've read about before ...
This precisely what I was talking about. People can fill the internet with all kinds of claims about the power of prayer and near death experiences but when properly tested we find different results.
Does the conclusion look biased? Does it sound like a scientific conclusion?
These studies have shown conclusive evidence of the power of prayer. Time after time the outcomes of these tests have shown the reality of the force of a higher being and our ability to communicate with Him.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_on … ory_prayer
That's the problem with these kinds of tests. Testing prayer is like trying to nail jello to the wall. There are too many unknowns. If 100% of specifically stated prayers were answered in the specific way in which it was asked, that would be one thing, but in my experience that is not at all the case. They may not be answered, or else there'd be a lot of lottery winners out there, the answer may come days or weeks later, or what eventually happens may turn out to be better than what you prayed for. I have no doubt in the power of prayer, but based on my experiences I have no idea how you'd ever confirm its validity in a controlled experiment.
If you want proof of prayer, look at my wife. There's no reasonable explanation why that woman would settle for a chud like me other than divine intervention.
I hear you brother. I'm in the same boat. But, from what I've see the power of prayer doesn't work, people and children sometimes still die despite thousand or even hundreds of thousands of prayers.
But does that really make sense in a "God is real and the creator of the universe" scenario? I mean, imagine what the world would be like if every time an innocent child's life hung in the balance, simply gathering enough people together to pray for that child's life resulted in that child living. Death is an important part of everything. Previous generations pass on and younger generations step up and take over. Inevitable, unforeseeable death is a great motivator that compels us to get up and do something. If prayer were to consistently and demonstrably overcome death as long as enough prayed for it, then what? How do we then decide who needs to go? We can't all stay alive and pray to keep everyone else alive. Should we just make it that everyone dies old? No risk of death until you reach the 'appropriate' age? Death is simply necessary and life wouldn't be what it is if it wasn't as it is.
If you look at the big picture, we humans just got here. Do you really think we're qualified to make those kinds of decisions? To really get everything we want bad enough that we pray for it? I would think a God capable of creating this life, the orchestrator of the human life experience, would practice a fair amount of discernment in what prayers He chooses to grant and in how He chooses to do so.
I would think that if the bible were fact and God was just he would in fact show us he cares. We would now who is right by looking at the effects of what he told us to do. Pray. Would prayer matter? 10,000 people praying for a 7 year old to survive would take precedence over someone praying for nice weather on their vacation. The bible says prayer can move mountains, so I would expect to see great things in the statistics.
Statistics? How exactly do we determine, statistically, whether or not someone prayed in any given situation? Well enough to establish statistical information? Just google something like 'miraculous medical recoveries prayer' and you'll find all kinds of really hard to explain things. One guy who was waiting on a heart donor for a transplant, when the heart becomes available is deemed 'too sick' to receive it, is on the verge of being pulled from life support because other organs are failing, makes miraculous recovery and heart heals. Family credits doctors and prayer. Another, a guy in Oklahoma who had significant brain damage due to an accident, was deemed by the doctors to be legally brain dead, recovered after his grandmother went in his room and prayed for 'a miracle'.
In my personal life I go through spurts where I'll pray everyday for weeks or months until it begins to feel repetitive and my heart just isn't in it, then I'll go weeks or months without praying at all. And when I do pray I rarely if ever ask for anything in particular. But one day on a smoke break at work I was feeling particularly distraught with how my life was going. I prayed what was probably the most sincere of any of my prayers where I said I felt like I needed a good woman in my life. The right woman. So I prayed that if there was someone out there for me, that I was ready to meet her. Maybe a week later, heading home from work, I had already driven past a bar where some coworkers were meeting for happy hour. I didn't particularly like the people who were going, I had less than $3 to my name, and I was supposed to be meeting a friend to sell him a guitar because I was so broke, so I just kept driving. I to this day have no idea what possessed me to turn around and go back. When I did, I sat down, ordered the one beer I could afford, and up came my future wife. An acquaintance of an acquaintance of one of the ladies I worked with who had recently moved here from Oklahoma. She spotted me, walked right up to me, and sat down. We've been together ever since, nearly 12 years later. And she was, and still is, exactly what I needed.
I have no doubt in the power of prayer, but based on my own personal experience I just don't see it being something you can statistically confirm or refute. Most times the answers are very subtle, easily dismissible as coincidence to anyone else, but undeniable to the 'prayer'.
People remember when things work out and share that information, but don't when they don't get what they want.
Did you ever stop and think that you had already made up your mind to meet someone and so when the right person came along you were ready?
Statistically prayer should work if it is as you say. From the studies I've read about it confirms it doesn't. What I've personally witnessed confirms it doesn't. One would think 10,000 people praying daily for the life of a 7 year old would have been enough to move a mountain.
Right, and in all those cases where it does appear a mountain has actually moved, you've still got people denying it as anything more than coincidence. There will always be room to doubt or deny, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. I don't think you're really thinking through the 'statistical' aspect of this. Just how difficult it would be to determine something like this statistically.
I know my little story is easy to dismiss by you and anyone else. I get that. But that's an example that comes to mind for me because, unlike any of my other prayers, that one in particular was so specific and so painfully sincere, and it was so completely out of character for me to even turn around and go to the bar that night. And I can tell you for certain that when I did turn around I was not even thinking about that prayer earlier in the week and did nothing to make that meeting happen. She picked me out of a small group of people and zeroed in on me. Something else that was not normal for me.
Coincidences are like that. No magic involved.
I was out with some college friends a few years back and both of my two friends brought another person. During the conversation it was revealed that one of the friends had just moved into the very apartment that the other had moved out of. Not the apartment building but the apartment itself. Population 3 million people. What were the odds it even came up in conversation?
That's why we have to look at statistics. If it's real it will show up in statistics. I've read about studies that have been done where people are asked to pray for a given hospitalized person with that person not knowing they were being prayed for. I believe there were three large groups, one with no one praying and the other with people praying for them to recover quicker while not knowing they were being prayed for and the last one was people praying for their recover and the people being prayed for knew they were being prayed for. I believe the last group had a slight advantage, but no different than the placebo effect. I'd try to find it but I'm stressed for time today. I believe that one was done by a church organization that thought they would find the results they wanted, didn't but published anyway.
When you find time, give this a look ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficacy_of_prayer
This talks quite a bit about the inherent difficulty in testing prayer. It mentions a lot of the reasons why this would be statistically, and scientifically, difficult to nail down.
Such cop-outs. We are told it works and can move mountain and then told,
"Religious and philosophical objections to the very study of prayer's efficacy exist. Some[who?] interpret Deuteronomy (6:16 "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test") to mean that prayer cannot, or should not, be examined."
We are told the largest studies have found no evidence that prayer works and then we are given excuses. If the results were favourable the religious people would be saying "see".
But, then again, if they were favorable, then they would also demonstrate, without need for faith, God's existence and power. That alone is a big part of life experience. There's a lot more going on here for it to just be dismissed as a 'cop-out'. If it wasn't as it is then it would contradict so much else about the story. It would undermine the whole point to everything, which is faith and maintaining belief through faith without the benefit of irrefutable proof. According to biblical stories, those who knew without the need of faith, those that witnessed and interacted directly, had to actually offer sacrifice. Through faith that is no longer necessary. Proof like what you're looking for would undermine all those who held their faith throughout their lives. It may seem convenient to you, or a cop-out, but the alternative, what you're wanting, would completely change everything.
We both know most believers don't think it blind faith, they say they know because God had revealed himself to them. How is that any different than revealing himself through prayer. You yourself claim he has revealed himself though prayer. How is that different than what I am expecting?
Well as hypocritical as it may be of me, I have to admit that I'm more often than not skeptical of the claims of other believers. Church-going life tends to breed a kind of culture and a kind of mindset that I simply do not relate to. So anyone who says God has revealed Himself to them I doubt. That's not how it's been for me. Even in what I've experienced, without faith it would be easy to convince myself it's nothing more than coincidence.
I just know that I regularly pray for guidance, and I know that even though I'm completely irresponsible and perpetually live life by the seat of my pants, I've never once found myself in a situation I couldn't somehow handle. Usually the way out of whatever pickle I managed to get myself into comes in the form of opportunities that present themselves at just the right time. There is simply no reasonable explanation that I should be doing as well as I am. But God has never 'revealed' Himself to me or spoken to me, I've never had a feeling of being 'filled by the holy spirit' or anything along those lines that in any way resembles what I've heard a lot of believers claim. I think faith and belief are just that. And as soon as you have confirmation like so many others are so quick to claim, then you're no longer depending on faith. And that would, in my mind, undermine the most important part of the whole thing. It's not supposed to be easy. Anything worth doing never is.
Then, you agree with Rad Man that prayer is completely useless and does nothing.
Material-based stipulations = reality?
Yes, one exists while the other doesn't. Can you guess which one?:
Which is equivalent to just making stuff up for things that don't exist.
I just cannot wrap my head around this empiricism that only and only and only that which is observed by one is real. And in this I mean that you can observe it to your satisfaction or it does not exist. How can anyone be that limited? There is no trick to the phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Beauty exists.
Beauty can be seen and tested. Find something that you think exists, but can't be seen or tested.
Then so can one's belief in God. They are both totally subjective and personal. (unless you are suggesting those silly notions of models being beautiful or not based on metrics)
http://www.people.com/people/package/ga … 34,00.html
Subjective and personal sure, but a measure can be made. While I don't agree with all those in that list above I don't deny any of them their beauty.
Find something that you think exists, but can't be seen or tested.
Compassion - and no it cannot be tested by brain waves or biochemical reactions -- those are symptoms of compassion not the cause.
Compassion - can be seen and tested when you see someone help someone in need. It can been seen in most mammals.
Reactions - we can see and measure reactions, we make heroes and put people in prison by measuring their actions and reactions.
Find something that you think exists, but can't be seen or tested. So far you've given me to things that can been seen and measured.
Mental stimulation is a necessity, as well, but there is no concrete object you can point to and label as "mental stimulation." It's an idea. A construct. A Platonic ideal.
Once you invest meaning as well as well as verity and utility to an idea or a thought, it is no longer an abstraction but a realization. Granted that it does not have any physical and or material form, the reality of that idea or thought becomes embedded not only in everyone's consciousness but in everyday human interpretation, invocation and interaction. Take for example the idea of "justice". It is just an idea until humans formulated it and have imparted on it meaning, truthfulness and usefulness. We do not see, taste, feel, hear justice, but we know it is real/factual and true because we have invested it with the things that I have mentioned above.
@Headley: The last two sentences of your post: "A physical result with a invisible cause. And that, if that is what we are talking about, opens the door to all kinds of possibilities" must have sent quite a quiver running Radman's (and all his atheist friends) sino-atrial node down his septum and into the ventricles .As we speak someone is still trying to resuscitate his atheist heart from fully fibrillating.
AT here are my answers to your questions.
It's very subjective, so if it offended your believe it's not my intention.
Just want to explain this logically and honestly.
1. Does God exist?
My opinion is No, God does not and never existed.
No one every knew the word "God" until they were told.
No one even know what the word "God" means before learned about it.
Let's identify what God is.
According to texts and religions God is the creator and the lord of everything.
God basically owns everything, everything good or bad.
God is almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent.
If it's true that "God" exist then there wouldn't even be human, devil, or anything that would represent the idea of "bad" or "evil."
Since the idea of God that God is almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent, then none of the badness or evilness should even exist if God exist.
If God owns our soul and mind, then we are all sinless because we are part of God. Because if we have sin then God would have sin. That is not even possible because "God is almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent," so God can never be wrong or do anything wrong like creating sinful souls like human. If we are all sinless then we should all be in Heaven with eternity life and joy.
We might have sin, but we do not born with sin.
The fact Bible was written by a man already prove God does not exist.
So far the ideal God does not exist yet, but super spiritual that close to the application of ideal God could be there.
2. Do we have free will?
Yes, we do have free will.
If we don't we won't even be asking this question.
3. What do you think happens after death.
Our body would return to the earth, and our soul basically disappear.
A person would be remembered by family, and could live in their hearts.
If you happen to be someone great then you would probably be remember as long as human culture still exists.
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?
Can't recall any, but even if there is I believe in coincidence.
Finally, I could be wrong as I am only a human being.
We all have choice to believe or not on this issue.
I am just the opposite. God should not have allowed the good things like: hope, perseverance, courage, charity, mercy, compassion and all those things that really would not exist without being juxtaposed to all the bad things anyway. Only through despair, adversity, fear, need, etc would we ever know the greatest attributes of mankind.
But they took them for granted.
Actually, we don't know anything until we are told. Hypothetically, Tarzan wouldn't know anything about computers until he is told. He lived away from the civilization and knows only what he learned in the jungle.
Only when we are told we know that the earth is round and revolves around the sun. And we are taught that dinosaurs existed on earth, If we didn't, we probably wouldn't ever know.
Look around; Everywhere there are always opposite forces that balance each other; good and bad, day and night, hot and cold, love and hate, life and death, yin and yang, they all balance each other. That's how it works!!
By disappear if you mean destroyed, than it can't happen; soul is a form of energy, it can't be destroyed, though it may convert into a different form of energy.
That's a fallacy, there are far more things that have no opposites than there are things that do.
Once again, souls have never been shown to exist, they are not forms of energy.
By soul I meant life force.
Wood, air, middle, a date. a snowflake, an idea, a character, the universe, omnipotence. Off the top of my head.
By life force do you simple mean the energy our body uses to stay alive?
Wood, snowflake, date etc are objects, and they are destructible. We breath in oxygen, plants breath in CO2, and there is vacuum, the absence of air. We are yet to learn everything about the universe, so there may be some opposite.
What do you mean by a character?
Yes, the energy that keeps us alive from birth till death. The energy that all living things have, even plants and insects.
the opposite of air is not no air. Is the opposite of a vacuum air? No because anything can fill that vacuum.
What is the opposite of a character in a play?
We get that energy from the food we eat. Calling it a life-force or whatever you called it is confusing as it sounds like you are saying it's a soul.
What life force? Please explain what that is?
AT your example of Tarzan is perfect.
When Tarzan was learning new things that he didn't know about. He could be mislead and also cheated. Yes, human invented computers, airplanes, etc., so was the idea of God.
Yes we were told that earth is round and revolves around the sun. We have proved it in fact so we don't have to believe it's round.
Maybe dinosaurs existed, but how do you know it's not because of certain radiations that make their "leftovers" (bones or whatever there is) grow large. When they were alive are they what we thought they are? Human created the image of living dinosaurs because we never saw a real living dinosaur. I believe it's pretty close, but not 100% accurate.
my point of God doesn't exist in my previous post is the following:
God basically owns everything, everything good or bad.
God is almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent.
If above statement about God is true, then we should born with the knowledge about him. We would not even be doubting his existence. No need to ask anyone to believe if it's a fact.
According to texts and religion believers we should already know God when we are born.
"So far the ideal God does not exist yet, but super spiritual that close to the application of ideal God could be there." Another words, there is probably something "Godlike," but far away from the ideal God that's almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent. We are the living prove of it. We would not even exist since the almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent creator can never make mistakes, so why do we sinful creatures were created?
God = almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent = will never make any mistakes = will never make sinful creatures as human being
Human existed = mistake made = "NOT" , omniscience, and omnipotent = the super spiritual that existed does "NOT" fit for the idea of "God"
Regarding your opinion on forces that balance each other. Yes there may be some forces that would balance each other, but there are also forces doesn't balance. In your example, only yin and yang balance, and it's because the theory of yin and yang is that they balance. If that theory is true we should have equal number of men and women. Who can prove good and bad, day and night, hot and cold, love and hate, life and death are all balanced? How do you even know the point of balance? You can only find the point of balance once you believe it is the point of balance. I look around I see all the imbalance of forces.
Human spent thousands of years to measure pleasure, happiness, sadness, and all positive/negative feelings, but the truth is no one can measure feelings. Therefore, good and bad will never be proven balanced, but only if you believe they are balanced. We created laws and rules try to balance good and bad, but it's only balanced ideally. Would you said death penalty is equal to the lives a murder took? Even if a person took my dog's life, I still don't think death penalty is enough.
If you live in the North pole, you don't get the balance of day and night, so is Antarctica. If you say day and night balance in a general way, no it doesn't because earth revolves around the sun in an angle that is always changing.
Hot and cold do not balance themselves, but can be balanced by human like heater, AC, or so called "Global Warming."
Love and hate will never be balanced in my opinion, since they can't even be measured. Can you love for your family balance the hate to your enemies? No, never! In fact, it's just the image in mind that human created for their own pleasures.
I strongly disagree the balance of life and death. They are can never be measured, so how can they be balanced? A death for a life? Or a life for a death? Life would lose its meanings if balanced to death.
Souls will disappear just like they appears out of no-where. You mentioned convert to a different form of energy then the original "souls" disappeared. The physical energy could be converted or transformed, but it will not be the same thing again. Your thoughts disappear and soul dissolve then return to nature when the time is up.
1. Does God exist?
How do you define "God?" If you mean some being that is separate from us with petty and the worst of many anthropomorphic qualities then most certainly not. If you mean that there is something that connects us all and some kind of "higher" reality... then sort of. Not in a mystical way, but from a scientific stand point (and my views actually line up pretty well with a lot of Eastern concepts). Certainly not the Cosmic sheriff man person in the sky watching my every move.
2. Do we have free will?
Free will is an illusion. We can make decisions, but we'll likely never know the full extent to which those choices were influenced. We have much going on with ourselves that we're unaware of. Also, everything is connected, EVERYTHING. As such, we can hardly operate independently of some other event because all events affect us and the lives we can live and the choices available to us, etc. We can't even comprehend free will.
3. What do you think happens after death.
I haven't the slightest idea. I doubt anything. Everything is energy and atoms and particles. Everything will return to dirt. If there's anything more, I'll let you know if I can.
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?
I've heard a lot of stuff. I've had strange coincidences happen from time to time. For ex., once, I had this Dean Martin song stuck in my head all day. My mother and I then decided to watch a movie on AMC that I'd never seen before. The closing theme to that movie was the song I'd had in my head literally all day. Stuff like that used to happen to me ALL the time. I've heard stories of secular people having some strangely convenient circumstances and believers likewise. Once for a class at my college, I had to take pictures of architecture. I actually ended up running into a woman on campus who was a photographer of architecture while I was taking the photos. It freaked me out a little.
Now that I'm beginning to understand probability better, though, I think it's not really supernatural in nature, although one day we may come to find that a lot of this stuff isn't really "super"natural.
3.) Our consciousness lives on and we will have to be accountable to God for everything we have done. Those who truly repent will have glorified bodies and be with God forever in paradise.
"Can we know if god exists or not?" - Yes, during this lifetime we can know God exists through the Holy Spirit (If people think they "know" only because they were taught that God exists, this is not real knowledge of him, they are not yet sealed in him and they can fall away). Yes, we will ALL know God exists after this lifetime when every knee is bowed to him!
Our society has to many lies circulating to articulate a good answer. We don't do enough research for ourselves nowadays. It's all media filling our heads with ideas that could be equally true or false. I'm on a journey to find out what is true and false for myself. In the mean time I guess I'm a humanist with spiritual accents.
1. Does God exist?
I believe that God exists in the sense that man has created him. It is my opinion that when humans began to question their own existence and see themselves as individuals, along with that came the knowledge of their own impending death. And having that sort of knowledge put a serious damper on the ability to survive on a day to day basis. I think the concept of a god and an afterlife evolved out of a necessity to relieve us of the stress and anxiety of our own immortality.
2. Do we have free will?
I think the last I heard on this, on a quantum level, no. But I can't recall where I heard this. The gist of it had something to do with being able to measure the micro seconds differentiation between the acting on the "choice" and the choice being made. With the action taking place first. Sorry I wish I could remember where I heard this. I think it was a radiolab podcast.
3. What do you think happens after death.
I want to believe that we are reincarnated, preferrably into a parallel universe. I suppose what actually happens is that our energy continues on in a new form. And maybe in a way that is reincarnation.
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?
I have experienced times in which I felt that something supernatural was occuring but I am also aware of the nature of humans to seek out coincidences.
All in all, I'm a Mulder. I want to believe. (But not blindly or irrationally)
1. Does God exist? Yes. I have spoken with him multiple times, and not just a one-way conversation, where I talk and then hang up the phone.
2. Do we have free will? Yes. We are intelligent beings.
3. What do you think happens after death. I believe in both heaven and hell; however, I believe there is a forever forgiving God, and that only extreme denial of the Divine will result in damnation.
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?
Yes, multiple "coincidences." I believe in praying specifically, that way you know it is not a "coincidence." All of my specific prayers have been answered.
My most treasured divine experience was during high school, I was having trouble with a classmate, he was quite rude, not just to me, but everyone. And his hostility was becoming too much for me to bare.
Everyday he would bother me, and I would pray "Lord, help me deal with this kid. I can't stand him." or "Lord, please help me not slap him in the face." Haha you know, not very content serious, but very honest prayers.
Well, one evening after a day that had been particularly stressful, I was running through my night time routine and just quickly running through my prayers as I got ready for bed.
"Thanks for this day, and oh, help me in dealing with (insert kid's name)." Just casually tacked on the end of the prayer.
Immediately after I had said those words, I hear (not a physical sound, but in my head, in a voice I know was not my own) "Read my word." I paused, and just though "Uhg, Evan stop talking to yourself." And I hear again "Read MY word."
In a somewhat exasperated teenager way (I mean I was trying to go to bed) I pray, "Okay, GOD, read your word? I don't even know where my bible is....." I look directly to my right, there is the children's bible I received from the church in the 3rd grade.
"Oh, what? You want me to read my 'Adventure Bible?' Read your word? What, am I suppose to open it up and read the first thing I see"
I hear "Read Luke."
and think.. "Hm, oddly specific."
Still resisting, as I flip to Luke, I think "Am I just gonna read the whole book of Luke, I don't have time for that..."
And the first page I open to in the book of Luke had a little excerpt saying "Read Luke 6:27-36.
Here is the passage:
Love Your Enemies
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[b] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
32 “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Though I am a Christian, I certainly don't have the bible memorized. I didn't know where that chapter was or what it would say. If ever I have a moment of doubt in my religious beliefs, I remember this moment when I was important enough for God to talk directly to me. God exists and He always hears us.
Many of us have much to say and ask God, could you pass along that telephone number please?
Would it by chance be a toll free 1800 or 1900 number?
If there is a number it will be a 1-900 one. God needs His 10%, after all.
tithing is a way satan makes the church look false
old testament men always sacrificed their firstborn to GOD..
There are neurological reasons for you experiencing what you did. You hear the subconscious, as it were. You did read that passage before, right? You knew about loving your enemy? And isn't it funny that you have to be very specific with prayer? God doesn't understand what you want otherwise? More likely the more specific you are in your conscious mind the more specific the messages you are hearing from the subconscious.
In the past I have found it valuable to forget a specific problem I am working on for a while, on a conscious level. Later on the answer seems to just come to me from elsewhere. I'm not a Christian and do not pray. But what works for me seems to work for you too.
1. Does God exist? yes,
2. Do we have free will? yes ..if u r asking i feel strongly that you already know
3. What do you think happens after death.
FACT ; your spirit goes one of two places.
i swear on my life this is true, i used to rebel dope jail suicidal blah
only GOD can fix me
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? yes, i pray in tongues
orbs..slain in spirit, prophecy
1. Does God exist? Yes, God does exists because all absolutes exist. God is the absolute form of the good.
2. Do we have free will? Yes, we do. When we exercise our capacity for conscious thought and action we are, in effect, freely willing. So in this sense we do have "free will".
3. What do you think happens after death? That depends. If one is inclined to believe that consciousness discontinues after death, then the word, "happens", cannot apply because the word "happens" necessitates consciousness. Even experiences that one might imagine happening after death such as blackness and nothingness cannot be tenable possibilities because they are experiences of consciousness. If on the other hand, one is inclined to believe that consciousness continues after death, then any speculation is as good as the next. Any conceivable conscious experience could be a legitimate possibility.
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? I have not seen anything supernatural in person. However, I have seen these things on TV if that counts for anything.
"Who are right, believers or atheists?"
Let everyone be a liar so that God may be true. (Romans ch3 v4).
"We don't know how the universe works, and science does not yet have all the answers, so all we can do is assume what we believe in is true."
We know enough that we know the universe operates as if it were a finely tuned machine on a grand scale. If even the slightest changes to gravity were made so that it behaved differently, life would not exist. The universe is comprehensible to the human mind, because it was created by a mind. Things like (again) gravity are not set by the relative observation of humans, they adhere to specific mathematical formulas, and nothing random would give us the complexity these types of things give us.
"Some things can't be explained, but does that mean there is no logical explanation?"
If it can't be explained, then how could you logically explain it?
"1. Does God exist?"
"2. Do we have free will?"
Yes, to a point. I have the free will to be good or evil, but I do not have the free will to sprout wings and fly south for the winter. There are limits to what we can do of our own volition.
"3. What do you think happens after death."
It is appointed for us to die once in the flesh, and after this, the judgment. There are no second chances at life, so decide now.
"4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?"
Yes and yes, more than once. I'm still alive is all I have to say.
I do not believe we can know one way or the other. I have chosen a philosophy that comforts me and which feels right to me, but I cannot say for certain if I am right or wrong. I just try to do my best day by day.
it is called agnosticism... it requires a mature mind (in parallel with certai virtues, among them the humility), hence, accepting responsabilities that, whether there is God or not, we, as still the superior living-forms-end in the planet, must behave ethically all the time, and that self-serving behaviour is left for mammals of no mature minds, so to speak, as we do not know what goes on in most of the minds, which oftentimes, include our own
Do we know, all the time, what we say or think we know? does it matter to really know? free will plays here a good part, as a result of a though process and not as a result of the imperatives of certain needs.
Free will is not to believe or think entitlement to ever lasting happiness and well being is the goal; it is exerted in contrast with repercusions or consequences and in facing the before and the after of each and every choice of relevance (not for example, i want to wear a blue shirt today...that indeed is of insubstantiality...
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
God said "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding;
For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
For wisdom will enter your heart And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding.
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens.
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your intimate friend;
He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
The wisdom from heaven above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
When you read the word of God, you shall find that which you are seeking.
No you can't know in the sense that there is proof. That is why it is a belief and you believe through faith not proof. You don't have to believe in a tree to hit it with your car. The tree is a fact. God is not.
I will bet you have not made it down every "road" you tried to travel. I wonder what tree you hit.
How can you know anything is real? For all I know, there is a chance that the world around me is not real, and is just my imagination.
Can you deny that? No!
You can never be sure of anything, you can't deny in the existence of God. Not that I believe in god, but can't deny it!
Terry you are wrong. I can know more than what is tangible. Because you cannot do not say I cannot!
It's interesting how God stopped making public appearances to his followers when video cameras became a thing, and now only communicates through "feelings"...
That is so that only those who can feel know.
But even those who feel can't know with certainty. They can only think or believe they know.
As I said, you can't know anything with certainty. Not even your own identity.
It is possible that you are in a simulator, and fake memories are planted in your head. How will you know?
You only know what you remember. Can't rely on memories!
I won't probably believe in God even if I "see" him. People have all kinds of imaginary friends.
Is it possible for you to know what I know with certainty. That sounds like folks saying there is only one true religion. I know.
So you believe. But in fact what ever personal feelings you have, communications you have, could be all in your head and nothing more. Probably are. You can not know with certainty. It is impossible.
You want it to be true so for you it is.
But truth is not subjective.
And all that we see could be an illusion. But in this reality I know for sure. And you cannot know for sure that I don't.
Unless you are clairvoyant -- but that would be the antithesis of your position.
Truth is subjective.
There was a man a couple years ago who cut another man’s head off on a city bus. As it turns out he felt it was the right thing to do because the voices in his head told him the man was a demon. The only way to rid the world of the demon was to cut its head off.
The young man who died was anything but a demon as it turns out from testimony by those who knew him.
Obviously the man who killed him had a mental problem. He wasn’t communicating with anything but his imagination. He’s much better now that he is on his correct meds, feels remorse for what he did, and gets the occasional day pass.
As a young man I believed in the Christian god and all that comes with it. But I had questions. Eventually I tried eastern meditation. I was able to have out of body experiences, still can. I attained states of bliss, of just knowing. Of being one with everything. I even talked with god.
It was easy after a while. But I could not achieve levitation. And I really wanted to so I could prove to myself that it all translated in to reality.
I soon discovered that I could achieve any state of mind I wanted to. I could even live a Tolkien fantasy as if it was real. All in my head, of course.
We can talk ourselves in to believing whatever we like. That’s the danger. The brain is amazing. So easy to manipulate. Dr Persinger found that out with his EM pen, when he was able to make people have life like religious experiences, see demons, aliens, and talk to the living who reported not having those conversations with the individual, and the dead. Someone even said they had the best sex of their lives under the EM pen. So now I believe nothing.
But what I do know is that when it comes to feeling, it is always suspect. You cannot trust it by itself. And you also have to watch out for confirmation bias.
Because of that, you cannot be certain that there is a god, you can only have faith that there is, and in that way be certain without the actual ability to be certain. Like I was certain I just knew when I was in that state, and then realized that after that state I knew nothing more than before I entered it.
When I say I do not believe anything I mean I do not attach myself to ideas that are speculative, and try to work only with facts.
Does a god exist? I do not believe that it does, but I do not believe that it does not. I cannot know, but my opinion based on my life experience and the facts science has revealed, is that the Christians conscious god at least is probably fantasy. I’ll wait and see.
I do not care what the truth turns out to be. All I ever wanted to know is what the truth actually is. I am more than happy to say I can’t know one way or the other with certainty. And I accept the fact that no one else can either.
Not of course, unless they can provide real proof. Testimony doesn't cut it.
And truth is what is left when you stop believing.
That has to be one of the best dissertations I've ever seen on the nature of reality. Well done.
I agree the mind is a truly incredible thing. Where I always have trouble is in trying to understand how such a fantastical thing came about through pure haphazard causation and evolution. These capabilities seem well beyond what survival alone would require. It seems there's a part of us that needs to be convinced of something, or needs to believe there's purpose or meaning, that must be appeased. For reality to be so seemingly straight-forward, these capabilities to depart from actual reality seem more a detriment than an advantage where survival is concerned, yet these capabilities are prevalent throughout humanity.
I understand being skeptical of traditional religious views and such, but no matter how non-sensical beliefs may seem at times, it's the belief of purely unintended/haphazard causation that always seems to fall well short of all that reality actually is when capabilities such as these are discussed. While I get the skepticism, I don't get how the remaining default assumption, pure unintended causation, is seen as an adequate placeholder. Why do we care to manufacture these mind-states? Why must we employ these capabilities to appease ourselves? Why does it matter to us survival machines?
Perhaps because it isn't very haphazard at all?
While the ultimate cause of any evolutionary change IS haphazard, the results of the change most definitely are not. On a statistical basis there is nothing haphazard at all about survival of the fittest.
Which means that those changes can and do continue far past the point of mere survival. Changes will never stop occurring, and as there is no maximum to the ability to survive they will continue to be "accepted" by the species and become a part of it.
And that in turn means that our brains have progressed far beyond what it necessary for mere survival; they have progressed to the point that we totally dominate every other species whenever we care to.
But it is haphazard if it is not deliberately intended. True, the self-organized system of genetic information makes what would be a purely random process accumulative, but even then the capabilities we now find we have had to have started as a random/unintended/haphazard mutation. And that characteristic's prevalence throughout our species suggests it was somehow beneficial in that 'haphazard' context. In this reality, as we've found, even chaos isn't chaos. Chaos becomes order. Random becomes accumulative. Instinct and survival becomes intelligence and reason. We know there is intelligence, it exists in the natural world, it's a product of the natural world, yet haphazard unintended causation is the default "rational" stance?
And especially when you look at our actual human history, and the relatively short timeframe involved in our departure from the rest of the animal kingdom that makes us so dominant, it doesn't quite jive. For truly small, random changes to replicating polynucleotides to result in such substantial capabilities in that timeframe is difficult to accept without being skeptical.
And yet we know that those "truly small replicating polynucleotides" are what define us. And that changing a single chemical on that strand can and sometimes does result in a different "us".
What then is the problem with the change being haphazard? Considering the trillions upon trillions of possible opportunities for change over the millenia, how could we possibly expect anything less than that the changes will occur and that some of them will be advantageous?
But that's just it, the "trillions upon trillions of possible opportunities" and the timeframe isn't there. We're only talking about 200,000 or so years. 200,000 years of anatomical modernity equates to roughly 10,000 generations. For much of our physical capabilities you've got literally millions and millions of years to allow for these adaptations. But here we've got a relatively short timeline and you've got capabilities that are difficult to simply sum up as accumulated mutations. Mutations that would have to have been in place, given their prevalence in today's population, by the time our species bottle-necked around 70,000 years ago.
Not to mention the fact that randomly generated and propagated traits are often tied to one another. For example, in the breeding and domestication of various breeds of mammals, you'll find that there are groups of physical traits that change together. Less aggressive strains often show the same physical changes. They become smaller, with bigger (cuter) eyes, white fur, etc. These changes aren't purely random, but are actually tied to one another and change with one another in groups.
Are we to interpret your intellectual meanderings literally or metaphorically?
Yet, plenty of folks have no problem understanding that.
Perhaps, those who don't understand need to make up things in order to be appeased of having purpose or meaning..
But why? Explain why some "need to make up things in order to be appeased of having purpose or meaning" in a purely causal/haphazard context. Why do we care? Why does it matter? Where does that 'care', or need, come from?
I don't know why, you tell me, you are the one often making up stuff. Why do you do it?
Why I do it is easily explained from my point of view, but not from yours. Yet this 'need', or whatever it is, actually does exist. If your viewpoint is supposed to adequately explain all that exists, as mine does, then your viewpoint should offer an explanation.
Out of curiosity, does "goddunnit" truly satisfy a need to know and understand or does it merely reinforce the desired conclusion that a God is out there, watching over and caring for the believer?
The reason I ask is that I, too, have a need to know and understand. An intense curiosity, if you will, and a wish to know all I can, but to say goddunnit just does not satisfy that need one bit. Far, far too vague - without detail, without the smallest bit of understanding - it does nothing to satisfy the curiosity.
While I can only speak for myself, 'goddunit' doesn't satisfy. My drive to understand isn't appeased by 'goddunit' any more than its appeased by purely material answers such as these in this thread. Those answers that basically assume that with enough time purely random haphazardness can result in all we are as humans. That's why I'm always injecting into these discussions. Because definite proclamations, whether they be that God did it, or science will eventually show that our causal assumptions are right, lead to the same problem. The thinking stops. I see materialism as a kind of dogma of the 21st century that's just as derailing to the progress of understanding as religion ever was because, like religion, it attempts to inject certainty where it doesn't belong.
And yet I don't have a problem with a sufficient number of changes producing us.
Perhaps because I have a better...no, a different... intuitive understanding of the time, numbers and math involved? It is almost obvious, almost common sense, that the possible number of mutations will inevitably result in very large changes to species. That we ended up with the specific changes we have is not surprising at all. Extremely improbable, to be sure, but not surprising considering that if not this then something else just as improbable. If, anyway, we assume survival to date.
Yes, I agree, extremely improbable. Which I can accept on a case by case basis. But the list of improbable happenings goes well beyond just us humans. The whole universe is improbable. This sun, this planet, with its moon and tilt/rotation/orbit/water cycle/atmosphere. The self-organized genetic code system and the emergence of complex organisms. The multiple mass extinctions that actually edited and shaped life. The end result being intelligent/reasoning beings contemplating their own existence. Again, case by case, I can maybe accept improbable and get on board with god-less haphazard reality. But all together? It begins to lose me. At what point do you look at all of this and think, "you know, maybe this wasn't all just a haphazard accidental series of improbabilities. Maybe intelligence exists beyond our own."?
That point would be where we discard all the evidence to date that suggests no intelligence was required, which happens to be ALL the evidence we have.
Where do you see evidence that suggests no intelligence was required? How do you define what does and does not require intelligence? What exactly would you be looking for that would suggest intelligence that you don't see and therefore rule out?
I am not the one claiming an intelligence, YOU are, so YOU should be the one making those distinctions.
When we actually see that intelligence, we'll obviously know. At this time, there is nothing to rule out.
You - "I am not the one claiming an intelligence, YOU are, so YOU should be the one making those distinctions."
Right before that ..
You - "That point would be where we discard all the evidence to date that suggests no intelligence was required, which happens to be ALL the evidence we have."
Right there you made the claim that "we discard all the evidence to date that suggests no intelligence was required, which happens to be ALL the evidence we have."
So, if you made that distinction then you must have defined what does and does not constitute as intelligence, right?
Communication. If we can't see it, find evidence for it or communicate with it why assume it's there?
It most certainly does exist beyond our own. We have an entire planet of intelligent creature. There are billions of planets out there that may at some time in the past present of or future contain intelligent life.
If things went slightly different you and I may not have been born. Slightly more different and humans may have been different, slightly more and dinosaurs may have still roamed the earth and slightly more again and intelligent life may have evolved millions of year in the past. And all those things would have been equally fantastic.
Right, but all we know is that what did happen resulted in us. Yes, it could have happened any number of ways, but this is the way it actually did happen. And it is fantastic. I have a hard time accepting that it wasn't purposeful and deliberate. Partly because that means we all have to accept that we have no purpose, that what we might think is important and meaningful is an illusion, as is our actual control in any of it. And if that is the case, then why do we care?
Add together the fact that a purely causal/material existence robs us of everything it means to be "human" to the high improbability of it all and you've got yourself one really difficult pill to swallow. Especially when nothing in the evidence suggests otherwise from what I believe. In fact it just continues to further support it. Intelligent intent, in light of the evidence, is the more likely explanation.
Yes, believers have a very hard time accepting reality without magical sky daddies.
So what? Why is that a problem? Are you not capable of creating purpose in your life?
Nonsense, that has nothing to do with what we think is important and meaningful, unless you believe the only thing that is important and meaningful is the worshiping of magical sky daddies.
I have no idea where you get that notion, we are human regardless, we are robbed of nothing.
No, it isn't a more likely explanation, not even remotely.
Fantastic for us alive right now yes, in a few more years, not so much. As for the purposeful and deliberate part, do you think your parents set forth to make a little HeadlyvonNoggin just as you are? They may or may not have had intent or the intelligence to make a baby and may have been able to time the boy or girl part. But having babies doesn't take intelligence or thought for that matter. Ants produce more ants. No intelligence required.
As for our collective purpose that is a problem. We don't have one. We have no Gods to please with our good deeds and praise, but individually we can make our little piece of the universe a better place. It is in fact a difficult pill to swallow, so was letting go of the idea of Santa. It's not easy to give up the concept of life after death and it may not be necessary, but I think it makes us better people.
"but individually we can make our little piece of the universe a better place"
That right there suggests we have free will because that means we do have some sort of control. But if its as you say that's impossible. And if its as you say, making our little piece of the universe a better place is ultimately futile because this whole place and everything in it will eventually unravel back into the nothingness from which it came. And then, with nothing left and no afterlife, nothing you or I did, good or bad, made any difference at all.
I makes no difference at all in the end, as I noted in another forum, when Dawkins was asked why we exist, he said it was a silly question. And I agree. Without the illusion that we can make a difference we won't try, which makes the illusion necessary.
I get that reasoning, but understand even that suggests there's some level of control you have in things. Whether or not you 'try' is a choice. It just doesn't make sense. We're still talking about biological machines here, so where exactly did the necessity to care come from? Why do we machines care whether or not we can make a difference? Why does it affect how we behave, making the illusion necessary? And even then, the illusion only matters if we actually can control what we do, which doesn't make sense in a purely material reality. See what I mean?
Your religious beliefs that drive your point of view are the explanation.
That's nice. So what?
Your viewpoint explains all that exists?
Okay, so why do my religious beliefs exist? They too are a part of reality, a natural product of this mind of ours. So what's the no-God, purely causal/haphazard explanation for why people even create religious beliefs? What's the need being served? And why does the need exist at all? We're ultimately biological machines struggling to survive and propagate our genes, right? My viewpoint includes a deliberate creator who made us as we are, designed us to be this way. For a purpose. Your viewpoint holds that all we are as humans, including these needs that are appeased by these manufactured beliefs and such, are just artifacts of biological and social evolution. So, how do you explain that?
They've been handed down by indoctrination, religious beliefs are the myths and superstitions of long ago.
Lots of things are products of the mind, but that doesn't mean they exist.
Ignorance often drives the need for religious beliefs, indoctrination keeps it there.
Yes, I know, but it fails miserably as an explanation to our world.
What's there to explain? Stuff happens.
Well, you certainly have it all figured out. So, from your viewpoint all the people in the world who hold religious beliefs are either uneducated or deluded through indoctrination or some other means, or both, right? You're the one clearly being rational here, having to tell all of us ignorant believers what's what? This, of course, would mean half the world's population, including nearly half the science community, is either uneducated or deluded or both. Cell biologists and high energy particle physicists who aren't as enlightened as you are because they continue to believe this nonsense?
Apparently you've completely missed that you've become exactly what you're so vehemently objecting to. In your effort to set us believers straight you've actually become just as dismissive, just as arrogant, and just as certain in your unfounded beliefs as any believer. You're insisting that those who imagine and wonder about some of life's unanswered questions get on your bandwagon and get off of their own, certain that your way is the right way and there's is wrong. Sound familiar?
No, I don't, and I never said I did.
Often, it is indoctrination, the less educated grapple on to religious beliefs as explanations for the world around us more than others.
You could just find out for yourself, if you want.
Sorry, but your fallacies are not arguments.
Fallacies, huh? Or just a rubber stamp reply that protects you from having to think or address something.
Yes, I agree that indoctrination is sometimes the reason for people's beliefs. And yes, those who may not have access to education and information tend to be more religious. This is all true. But you're going beyond that. You're making blanket assumptions and then telling people that their whole thought process is off because it doesn't conform to your beliefs.
Then, we agree.
I have no beliefs to conform to, we all share the same reality and that is the only thing we all conform. Sorry, if you don't understand or accept reality for what it is and feel the need to invoke your religious beliefs, but that is something we already agree upon as to why you do it.
If you think you have no beliefs then you're under a delusion. Reality existing as is is not explained. The universe coming into being, the singularity that started it all, the fundamental laws that govern it, none of these things are explained. Yet you have this whole viewpoint that explains this as being pure natural cause. Until these things are known and understood for certain, you and I and every other human on the planet holds beliefs in some form or another.
But what if we understand that we don't know the answer as to how the universe started yet? Are we still deluded? Evidence points to a singularity. How, may one day be explained but why is a meaningless question.
I don't. I have opinions based on facts. All the current models are just that, models. None have been verified as being the absolute truth of the matter. No need to believe anything. Belief in speculation is folly and belief in fact is redundant.
Those who operate under belief systems, like yourself, don't comprehend that others don't operate under the same systems.
Not entirely, no, but that doesn't mean we don't understand some things nor does it mean we leap to beliefs systems to provided explanations, like you do.
Sorry, but some of that is explained.
That's what all the evidence we have to date suggests, not me.
Speak for yourself, thanks.
But you do. A purely material existence existing as is, with reality being all that it is, just happening on its own, requires belief to some degree. It's just a fact. It's how the mind operates. I'm not projecting my own stuff onto you. It's psychology. You and I and everyone else form a concept of reality in our minds that allows us to operate and interact within it. And where there are gaps in our understanding we operate on beliefs. They may be things you took as absolute truth from parents/teachers, they may be things you arrived at on your own based on your own views in light of evidence, but you still hold beliefs.
The evidence for my view is exactly the same as yours. A universe that by all appearances seems to have formed itself is exactly what you should expect to see. I know you like to try to categorize "people like me" and put us in some box as being less intelligent/enlightened/rational/informed, but that too is a delusion.
Talk about exercise in futility... so I was just wondering why you are engaging in a debate with someone whose HubPages monicker implies he is "brain-dead". Literally or metaphorically, and I can't decide which one is worse.
I'm not so much debating him as much as I'm just trying to encourage thought. A have a lot of the same feelings of ill will toward religion and a lot of religious types, as hypocritical as that may sound, so I certainly understand the venom, but it doesn't do anyone any good to just become another version of the same thing. This materialism mindset that's becoming the 'new black' nowadays is doing exactly what religion has done for ages. It's fooling people into thinking they already 'know' something and they stop thinking. I just try to encourage thought on both sides of the aisle because I do believe this is an important conversation to have. It just all too often gets derailed by illogical meanderings that more distract than anything, and only really causes more ill will, ultimately.
How can you encourage thought when your explanations are based on mythical gods and ancient scriptures? Unless, it is magical thought you wish to encourage?
That just goes to show you either aren't paying attention or are purposely poisoning the well. Our criticisms of your beliefs and ideas are not spitting venom or having ill will.
This "materialistic mindset" as you call it, is one that attempts to gather and synthesize as much of the information and evidence already provided about the universe, of which there are so much vast amounts that a lifetime is not enough time to understand it all, and mountains more of it pour in at ever increasing rates. This information and evidence is physical in nature, it affects us so it's actually a good thing to try and understand it, but as I said, there is just too much of it and not enough time.
That doesn't stop any of us from trying to learn what we can.
But, according to you, this materialistic mindset has stopped thinking. And why is that? Because, we don't align your particular god and your particular set of scriptures to all of nature as it's basis of origin. This is what you call "encouraging thought".
Then, change your illogical meanderings to something more logical.
The materialist mindset is hugely useful, and necessary, in scientific endeavors. But to stifle discussion that wonders beyond its jurisdiction is to hinder potential progress. There are things that exist that we know are beyond the scope of science, at least currently. The mind, for example, the mental experience that we only know exists because we each experience it, is invisible scientifically. We just see biological happenings, firing neurons, oxygenated blood flow changes, chemical happenings, but nothing to even remotely suggest what's really going on in the mind. The same goes for anything beyond the big bang. Theories like String and M-theory, or any other multiverse scenario, are by definition dealing with the 'super-natural'. Science can only measure and observe that which is from the big bang forward.
So, if there's at least one thing that exists, that we know exists, that falls outside of the jurisdiction of 'material', then there's a really good chance that's not the only thing. I hate this expression, but I'm going to use it anyway.... Thinking outside of the proverbial box is where progress comes from. Materialism IS a box. If we deem anything not within the materialism box inadmissible then we're predisposing ourselves to only knowing the box and never knowing anything beyond it because that's all we allow for. We're basically inserting certainty where it doesn't belong, prematurely defining what is and isn't possible.
This is a quote from a TedTalks that I typed out a while back that applies here ...
"The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality in principle, leaving only the details to be filled in. This is a very wide spread belief in our society. It's the kind of belief system of people who say, "I don't believe in God, I believe in science." It's a belief system which has now been spread throughout the entire world. But there's a conflict in the heart of science betweeen science as a method of inquiry, based on reason, evidence, hypothesis, and collective investigation, and science as a belief system or a worldview. And, unfortunately, the worldview aspect of science has come to inhibit and constrict the free inquiry, which is the very lifeblood of the scientific endeavor. Since the late 19th century science has been conducted under the aspect of a belief system, or worldview, which is essentially that of materialism, philosophical materialism."
As for venom and ill will, I was more talking in general terms about a good number of atheists I've spoken to, but unless I've misread your tone here, this applies to you as well. Just in these discussions you've referred to believer's beliefs as 'magical thinking', and you've referred to believers as uneducated, deluded through indoctrination, and dishonest.
As for this ...
"How can you encourage thought when your explanations are based on mythical gods and ancient scriptures? Unless, it is magical thought you wish to encourage?"
Let's not forget that the people who wrote those mythologies and those ancient texts, especially those from the bronze age of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Europe, the near East, are the same ones that gave us the written language, mathematics, astronomy, the wheel, schools, laws, government, civilization, etc. I know it's commonplace to look down our nose at these bronze age people nowadays as ignorant, but they forever changed how we humans live on this planet. And there's still quite a lot we don't know about them. If we're dealing in facts here then we also need to be careful not to so flippantly toss things out as if we already know what's what. I have plenty of reason to think there's much more to those mythological stories than just being ignorant people trying to make sense out of natural phenomena. It would be wise to keep our minds open if we hope to find real truth.
There is nothing that has ever been shown to be beyond the jurisdiction of science. The discussion would be nothing but magical thinking.
Sorry, but the workings of the mind are not invisible, they can be observed.
That IS what's going on in the mind.
No, those theories refer to the physical universe, within nature.
Therefore, your god exists?
But, nothing has been shown to exist, so that's little more than magical thinking.
No, we are not invoking certainty, we are invoking logic and reason.
That does not mean venom or ill will. Try using a dictionary.
No, they are not the same ones, they are different people.
Yes, they embraced their ignorance and contained it in religion, then passed it on.
Yes, they were ignorant people trying to make sense out of natural phenomena. But, they failed.
Okay, I have to ask ... Is this 'A Troubled Man' under a new guise? The short, dismissive, arrogant responses that include terms like 'nonsense' and using fallacy claims like a crutch, coupled with the total lack of hubs, rings very familiar to me.
See, your response right here is a perfect example of the problem. This is why I refer to materialism as a dogma. Because, like other dogmas, this belief system or philosophy tends to make people arrogant, dismissive, close-minded, and it fools them into thinking they know better than others what's what.
"Sorry, but the workings of the mind are not invisible, they can be observed."
"No, those [multiverse] theories refer to the physical universe, within nature."
It could be that others are just telling you the same thing, which is why it is familiar
Call it whatever you want, it's still a fallacy.
Sorry, but those are not wrong. The brains functions can be observed and those theories are certainly talking about nature.
No, that's not correct. You can see brain function, yes, but you can't see the mind. If you could then court cases involving intellectual property would be much simpler, lie detectors wouldn't be necessary, and every other little thing that comes from not being able to see what someone is thinking wouldn't be a thing. We can see brain activity, but nothing about that brain activity in any way indicates what's really going on inside the mental experience.
And no, any physicist can tell you that multiverse theories, or any theories regarding what''s beyond the big bang, cannot be tested as they deal with what happened beyond the big bang, which is invisible to us. They're simply proposing other universes in an attempt to explain this one. The fact that the natural laws are so exact as to allow life. One explanation is that we're just one of many. But the fact is we cannot see beyond the big bang because all that is 'the natural world' is what came from the big bang forward. Matter, energy, time-space, the fundamental laws.
I'm simply proposing, not whole other universes, though they could actually exist, I'm simply proposing intelligence. Something we know to exist, something we know to 'naturally occur'. But you've got it all figured out already, so dismiss away.
LOL. And, that is separate how?
What does that have to do with anything?
So what? That doesn't make it supernatural.
And, you keep proposing it over and over and over, despite the fact there isn't a shred of evidence.
There isn't a shred of evidence of other universes either, yet that doesn't stop physicists from proposing it.
Yes, that does make it SUPER-natural. As in something beyond natural. Beyond nature. Super.
When someone speaks of the mind, and someone speaks of the brain, they're talking about two different things. The brain is a physical organ. The mind is a product of the brain.
It isn't being proposed by all physicists, it is a mathematical model, nothing more.
Well, at least you said something sensible, for a change. And, you didn't invoke your god, either. Congratulations.
Right, a mathematical model that proposes a possible explanation for what happens beyond the big bang without a shred of evidence. None of which would even be admissible in the discussion per the standards you insist on. Just as the mind would not fall into the material-only requirements you require and would therefore not be allowed. That's why I try to encourage thought. Because this kind of thinking, just as religion has done for centuries, hampers potential progress by trying to inject certainty where there is none. All we know for sure is that there's a whole lot we don't know.
Isn't a lie detector one way of knowing what's going on in the mind? I'm sure you said we don't have anything that can detect the happenings of the mind and then you mentioned the lie detector which is a rather accurate way of detecting the happenings of the mind.
No. All a polygraph measures are things like blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity. You ask a series of questions, you get a baseline for when they're telling the truth, like stating their name/age/where they're from, then compare to other answers they give to see if there are any physiological changes that differ from the other answers.
And a lie detector is far from accurate. If you stay calm, maintain breathing normally, that sort of thing, they can be, and often are, beaten.
They can detect a lie? A lie is something the mind does intentionally and unintentionally. They can be tricked but that takes practice and intent. Most of us don't have both.
A 'lie detector' is a misleading name. They don't detect lies. They detect changes in blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity.
And blood pressure, pulse, respiration and skin conductivity help detect a lie. I don't need those things to tell when one of my kids is lying.
What would you call it when during brain surgery the surgeons were able to cause the patient to have specific thoughts by apply electrical current to specific parts of the brain? Like causing the patient to smell burnt toast for example?
Polygraphs are tools created back in like the 60's or 70's. They're archaic at best. Just the fact that we still use them should be an indication as to just how little progress we've made on the mind-reading front.
The brain uses electricity to function. So it makes sense that you can manipulate it using those same elements. Like chemical drugs. Same thing.
That's pretty good, maybe we can send that one in to the Tonight Show and they'll put it up on the monologue. Of course, comedy is the best kind of flattery, so I take it as a compliment.
What's truly amazing is just how many of those compliments I get here. I had no idea so many people spent their valuable time thinking about me and then taking even more time to dream up something witty and stick it on a public forum for all to see. It's absolutely delightful. I'm all a quiver.
In a cause and effect universe there is nothing haphazard or random. To understand evolution we have to understand not just biology but physics as well, because physics is where the causes and effects begin, and where the nature of things begins. It is where the relationships between different things is defined.
The laws of nature are defined by the laws of physics, because nature is the nature of energy itself.
There is nothing but energy in different forms. We are energy in a specific configuration.
A true study of evolution also has to take in to account Chaos and fractals. In effect, the seeming randomness of things is due to the fact that cause is not confined to locality. In essence, every action everywhere and how they play off each other makes this moment in its entirety. So it is not surprising that things are often so complex as to seem random, when they are clearly not.
Automatic response is the precursor to instinct, and instinct is the precursor to conscious deliberation. Each is a more complex version of the other. Each variance is driven and developed by need.
The brain’s function is to keep the cells of the system alive, and help facilitate the resolution of our biological needs. It interprets the sensory data it gets from its limited sensor array and interprets the data. That interpretation becomes our reality or perspective on reality.
We do not need souls because the system becomes self aware due its isolation and its basic needs. It becomes an “I” exactly because it is isolated. Of course without physical structures like memory and memory capacity we would not exist as an I because there would be no frame of reference.
Memory gives a personal history and continuity to an otherwise constantly changing system.
Humans make models reality for themselves. The thing is that models are based on facts and they try to explain facts. Hence often it is not important what your model is in an evolution context because all that matters is the facts.
Fact: Chickens lay eggs and humans eat them. It does not matter if my model of these facts is that the moon god tells the chickens to lay eggs for us a present for right thinking. The fact remains that whatever my explanation of the facts, the facts remain facts.
Humans like to know why things happen the way they do, hence why we invented science as well as religion.
But tell me, for what purpose did god create mankind and what value is added to a human being by thinking a god created him or her? As far as I can tell, there is none. But others seem to think there is.
I do understand the biology and the physics. At least to some degree. And looking at those very same facts I see intelligence and deliberate intent. The very fact that even chaos isn't chaos, but becomes order, I see intelligent intent. The self-organized genetic code that allows for storing and passing on information, making a seemingly chaotic process progressive and accumulative, I see intelligent intent. And of course the culmination of things into intelligence and reason, I see intelligent intent. I see the way in which matter and energy works, the behaviors of the various elements and how these seemingly unrelated components work together in mutually beneficial ways to result in something greater than the sum of its parts, like life, I see intelligent intent and design.
In my view, the purpose of mankind is the creation of free will. Beings with their own minds and their own volition. Beings made of matter that are not wholly controlled by the matter their made up of and the laws that govern that matter, but rather are capable of choosing their own behavior. The natural world shows us how important behavior is as its the consistent behavior or matter and energy that makes the whole system work. But if we were truly nothing more then we would not actually have any choice in our lives or our actions. Our behavior would be determined fully by our make-up/mind-state. In my mind, the purpose of this finite existence is to create and foster the worthwhile, but highly volatile element of free will. Because we are not wholly governed by constant laws, but are capable of making our own, free will requires wisdom. Wisdom cannot simply be given, it must be learned through experience. So, that to me is the purpose and the value. This existence is the means God has used to create beings who have minds and wills of their own, apart from His.
What denomination are you, if any, if you don't mind me asking?
I don't mind. I went to a baptist church as a child, but I do not associate myself with any particular denomination and am not a "church-goer".
Me either, not much of church goer but a believer. Nice to meet you.
I see attempts by some to ascribe a biological solution to freewill or a lackthereof and I think it is naive. Its like putting a train in the jungle without a track. Causuality, determinism w/e etc are the tracks or building blocks.
Yet, ascribing things that are not there or have never been shown to exist to our current biological solutions is dishonest.
If you believe it's naive, then please enlighten us all.
Nice to meet you too. Yeah, I see the same thing. I'm taken a little aback at times by how vehemently some will stick to their guns and insist that free will is a "necessary illusion" and that there is nothing significant about us. It seems they're more willing to accept that the entirety of human history is nothing more than a burp in a causal ripple that's just playing out and that nothing we do (or don't do) matters or changes anything, than to even consider there may be an intelligent creator. But what really gets me is when they refer to themselves as "humanists", or "secular humanists", when the logical conclusion of this viewpoint in no way resembles "human" at all.
If the universe is just energy, they sure think highly of their "inseparable from reality energy" selves/non-selves to call themselves human or even existent at all.
On a side note:
Have you ever been to a game/sporting event as a player or spectator and the other team has really loud cheerleaders, and their peanut vendors are pushing their peanuts and the announcer is easily 150 decibels and you suspect the refs are being paid; you ever feel the other team has distractions in lieu of an offense?
I don't believe I've ever said that the things we do don't matter or change anything. Clearly I'm not communicating well enough.
If you say free will is an illusion, which you've said many times, then whether you specifically said those things or not, that's what you're saying. If there is nothing more to us than the physical material we're made of, which is governed by physical laws, then making an actual decision that differs in any way from how the matter we're made of would have 'naturally' behaved would defy the laws of physics. If its as you say then we cannot actually control our actions. So nothing we do matters because we don't actually 'do' anything. We're nothing more than passive observers going through the motions with no capability to steer.
I've clearly not explained it well at all.
Our decisions are based on our brain chemistry. Change the chemistry and the decisions change. Drugs can change brain chemistry resulting in either poorer or better decisions. I understand that and yet do my best to help my children and myself learn to make good decisions even if I have to medicate them. Many things effect mood and brain chemistry and one of those things is confidence another is interest and another is exercise. I'm under the illusion that I can make a difference in my life and others. The illusion is necessary or I'd just sit on the couch and not care resulting in a decline of brain chemistry and mood and procreation.
Right, I get that, but you're suggesting you have some level of control. And not the illusion of control, but actual control. Unless you or someone else changes your chemistry, you'll only work one certain way, if it's as you say. And even the decision to change the chemistry can only be the natural behavior of whoever did it, and not a deliberate choice. Even your mood, however you 'choose' to approach something, suggests some level of control. But to have control is to be able to behave in some way different than the matter/chemicals/energy you're made up of. You 'choosing' anything, again from your perspective, would be the equivalent of a rock choosing which course it rolls down a hill. It doesn't. It's course is determined wholly by physical factors, and in no way is swayed by the volition of the rock.
Why would a pack of wolves work so hard to form a strong pack? Do they understand that they will eventually die and in the end all is futile? There are depressed humans who feel there is no purpose, these people typically don't fair well when finding a mate. The illusion is necessary.
But isn't the illusion only necessary if you have a choice as to how you behave or what you do? If you don't have a choice, if you just function as you do like a rock rolling down a hill, then how you feel wouldn't matter. The only way it matters is if you do have control of whether or not to engage in life or just to sit on the couch and do nothing. This still requires the ability to control your behavior.
What purpose do you find in free will? I know I have a very strong will, but i know it is not free. It is a manifestation of my conditioning and genetic predisposition,
The reason this should be apparent is that you will always choose what you like. But you never choose what you like. You just like it whether you like it or not, so to speak.
I can not choose to like ice cream. I like it or I do not. I have reasons for either, but my likes are not my choice.
We humans can change with education within a specific limit. But that's about it.
I can study and understand that eggplant is good for me, but I'm still not going to eat it.
We can not choose lo tike or not ice cream but certainly, ice cream or not, it does not have any impact or consequences but for the ice creamery...
Saints do not create goodness but exemplify it(Anthony Burgess): that's a free choice...To live by standards/values accepted and not betrayed by self serving...To be good, kind, authentic, is not a matter of liking; it's like to be generous...it must be like the flower that impregnates the air with the gift of perfume without knowing who or where it will reach...It's pure free choice.
Well if that is your predisposition then you will do it freely, of your own choice. But there is nothing free about it.
We each have will and it is unique to us, as we all have a unique set of conditioning. Will is the manifestation of that conditioning. It is not free, it is independent of others will. That meaning you have your own will independent from other people's will.
And yes, if you do not like the concept of giving then you won't do it. But if you do then you will and you will be rewarded for it. You may even feel good about yourself. So it is very self serving, but in a positive way. There is no such thing as a selfless act.
And "free" in front of the word will is meaningless and misleading.
Sorry, but if you see intelligent intent then you are not properly understanding evolution. In the end you are still saying God done it. You are still attributing what you don't understand to God.
That's not true. I understand evolution, as do plenty of biologists who also simultaneously believe in God. In fact, the more I understand the more difficult I find it to accept haphazard causation. The way in which nucleotides and lipids interact with one another, the way elements bond together, the mutually beneficial behaviors that come together to make something greater, like life. The way nucleotides bond together sugars and phosphate groups, just in the way they 'naturally' work, self-organize into a system of information that can be retained and passed on, making complex life possible. There's simply too much there to dismiss it all as pure chaos becoming order with no deliberate intent. Especially since we know intelligence actually does exist. It seems ridiculous to me to argue against it as a viable possibility.
Your reasoning is fallacious. Lots of things exist, but that doesn't imply they must exist in other areas, especially where there is no evidence of their existence in those areas. The fact that you really, really, really want it to exist does not make it so.
I guess I understand your point and it must have made sense to people who lived before we had our limited understand of our universe. Thinking a God made all of this because we are at the centre of it all and it's not really that big makes sense, but when we come to realize we are the centre of nothing and our sun is not even the first set of stars born from the beginning of the universe the concept of an intelligent creator starts to fall apart. It must have made sense when people thought the universe was 6,000 years old, but when we come to realize that our solar system didn't even begin to form until about 9 or 10 billion years after the universe began. That to me doesn't seem intelligent at all. All those unnecessary galaxies seems wasteful and unintelligent. Creating parasites that feed solely on humans seems unintelligent. Giving his favourite creatures that he created all this for sore backs and 80 or so years while giving other creates hundreds of years seems unintelligent to me, but makes perfect sense from an evolutionary stand point.
But see, the way you're looking at it seems very tethered to our "in-universe" perspective to me. You're only seeing it from a 'within space-time' mindset where things like 'middle' and 'center' mean something. But they really don't. THAT is an illusion we're under. That time and space are vast. When in reality its really not. None of that really matters. Especially if we're talking about a being that exists apart from all of this. That's something significant about how the bible describes things. They were talking about alternate perspectives of time and God's being everywhere at once long before anyone knew how relevant all of that actually is to reality.
As for the sore backs and limited lifespan, that's the stuff that makes life what it is. The limited lifespan makes each day more important. It makes time you spend with friends and family more meaningful. Sore backs and bad days give us the perspective to understand and appreciate when things are good. Without those things, if it were just all good all the time we'd have no concept of 'bad' and therefore no concept of 'good'. Just normal. Limited lifespans, pain and suffering, stuck on a planet out of reach of anything beyond it, this all sounds to me like the perfect environment to create beings with their own minds and wills and allow them to grow and learn.
There is nothing haphazard about evolution, it appears that way but it's not. It's constantly looking for the best way to survive. Little variations show up in our genes and the ones that work survive and the ones that don't, well don't. Humans continue to become smarter and better looking. Now, the whole idea or question of why we need this much consciousness is a good one, but the answer is simply that it works. Look how successful we are compared to our closest relative. One of the differences between us is we can quickly adapt to almost any environment. That takes creativity and lots of it. Another is our ability to hunt and use tools far better than chimps.
Again, there is nothing random about evolution and all you need to do is look how successful we've become compared to our cousins. Dingos were more successful at survival than the Tasmanian tiger. No more Tasmanian tigers, lots of dingos. Nature/evolution tries all kinds of things, some work, some don't. We did.
What you described is completely haphazard. Haphazard meaning there is no deliberate/purposeful intent. It just happens. Even your wording, "[evolution] is constantly looking for the best way to survive" assigns purposeful intent and intelligence to a haphazard and unintelligent process. The mutations can only be random and haphazard in this view. And yes, in that context it'll most definitely be hit and miss, with some being successful and making the species more capable of surviving and procreating, others will be off and will hamper the species, or kill it. Thus, they go nowhere.
I get how it works and I don't disagree. I just think the way things work, the way elements work together to create stars and planets and complex organisms, was no haphazard accident, but was deliberately intended and designed.
No, that statement does not imply purposeful intent or intelligence, you've got it backwards. The "best ways" are the result of what allows a species to survive and pass on it's genes.
Yeah, we get that, it is your entire argument, but it lacks any evidence and often runs contradictory to reality.
Why can't we fly? If all this was made for us why can't we fly. It seems God short changed us there does't it. Most birds fly but not all. The ones that can no longer fly don't need to or we have genetically modified flight out of them. It would seem that birds are more evolved than we are. Flying away from predators would be much more efficient than running especially when we are such slow runners compared to our four legged distant cousins. So either God short changed us or evolution took another path to ensure our survival using seminally random/haphazard mutations. The Neanderthals, who had brain larger than ours took a slightly different path and only live on in a small portion of our DNA.
If one comes from the mind set (as most atheists do) of pure unadulterated nihilism i.e. humans are not any more higher in the creation via evolution pole than the slug slowly eating your petunia or the rat that goes scampering all over the town dump, and therefore has no higher purpose than that dictated by his biologic need to survive and procreate, then you'd understand why they believe in the "purely unintended/haphazard causation" of life.
You are right. He might. Is all of that true? lol...
Notice that the believer, despite the overwhelming evidence that all living things evolved, chooses to dismiss it due to not wanting to be associated with other living things because they want to believe they are specially created with purpose even though they are completely incapable of showing it.
Interesting sentence especially the last part that says:"...even though they are COMPLETELY incapable of showing it"... i.e. purpose. That my friend is the apt/accurate description of your monicker, which Jay Leno or not is thouroughly un-funny... not that you intended it to be.
@ BrainDead: Atheists throw poison darts all over the place, and when one is thrown in their direction in return, they holler in protest. Talk about not being able to swallow a dose of their own medicine.
I know that you believe atheists criticisms are throwing poison darts, but this is what you are focusing on because you have nothing of value to say
I said your personal insult was a compliment. Didn't you read that?
Really? and you have something of value to say? uuhmm you might want to re-read your posts.. and frankly I'm getting tired of READING ABOUT THE BIG MAGICAL DADDY IN THE SKY.
Cerebral function(s) that is impacted by disease (be it by biochemical imbalance or organic/anatomic distortion) and or drugs can never lead to factual perception and conceptualization of reality. So Slarty's example of a man "cutting off another man's head" because of his diseased brain/mind is neither a perspicacious example of nor a levitating desertation of "reality"
Ahh, that's simply not true. There was also a case of a man who heard what he at the time was the voice of God telling him to cut off the head of his fellow passenger so he did. Once he was back on his meds he said he realizes his error. There are drugs that help those with schizophrenia see reality.
@RADMAN: By "drugs" I meant those that are neurotoxic and hallucinogenic. Of course there are drugs that can counter the effects of neurotransmitter re-uptake imbalance, as well as neuro-toxic/hallucinogenic drugs that people take nowadays with impunity.
'to see reality'? only to see? no thought processes? hmm
agree, some 'examples' to prove really work against the proof seeked what is it called in philosophy?
"Truth is subjective."
By the way, is that supposed to be an objective fact? If so it shot itself in the foot, and if not then it is meaningless. Logic is funny that way.
Man, I've missed you! It's awesome to see your brainiac self back around here.
lol. Hi Motown! Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and yours. Glad to see you still find what I write amusing. Family and self well I hope.
We are well. I always enjoy what you have to say. Rationality is a beautiful thing. Of course, I'm okay with the irrationality of my faith, but I love it when people are able to be so reasonable in discussing their differences and you always are! You and yours are all well also?
Thank you. If one wants a reasonable conversation one has to be reasonable. You are always that. It's a pleasure.
We are all doing ok too.
speaking of reasonable, check this out:
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/personality-tr … 55651.html
Fascinating. For work over the years and prior to entering the convent, I've taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator multiple times. I find it fascinating that I type almost directly in the middle of Sensing/Intuitive and Judging/Perceiving. Surprisingly, I do tend most often to the side they say most likely to be religious-BUT I don't deny evolution or take Genesis literally. Probably due to my much more prevalent tendency to straddle the fence between the different traits.
Ah. Someone that enjoys logic. Perhaps you can help me. Because of the football Bowl games being enjoyed in the Greatest Country the world has ever known, I was thinking of creating my own Epimenides paradox. It goes like this.
All not-so-bright Cheerleaders always cheer for the opposing team.
Cheerleaders cheer their team. If they always cheer another team can they be categorized as cheerleaders? Or is it that they are not so bright? How would you word it?
Always? That's a problem. Often or sometimes may be a better word. All it takes is one dumb cheerleader, if they exist, to cheer for her own team and you'r sunk if you say always.
Besides, she could be getting even with a boy friend, or flirting, and not be dumb after all.
By the way, the Epimenides paradox is about self reference. Are you a cheer leader by any chance? If so we might be able to come up with something. But if not then Epimenides paradox would hardly apply.
1. yes, god exist.but no one seen him.because god is a energy who give me and u willpower to do any think.
I am going to answer first, and then read other's replies...
1. Does God exist?
I think He has to, because I have witnessed some courageous people in my life who put Him first above all
2. Do we have free will?
Yes, of course...though if one has prayed not to have it...well that prayer could be answered..
3. What do you think happens after death.
I can imagine Heaven or Hell ...being with or without ....a "Godly" presence...eternally
4. Have you ever witnessed anything supernatural? Any incident that can't be explained or is too good to be a coincidence?
I have not but I can say that my friend has.
These questions are brought up so many times here, but I would like to know your opinion.
Thax for the question!
OOps! I made an error! I copied too much of the original text, oh well.
So, are you suggesting that the mind has to, in effect, fool itself into thinking it actually has control in a situation so that mood isn't affected, causing chemical changes that then alter how the brain functions? So, knowing what you know, does that not affect this? You see beyond the illusion and recognize we don't actually have free will. So, how do you cope? Do you 'choose' to not let it bother you? To not get bogged down by the fact that you're actually just a passive observer going through the motions of thinking and deciding and acting, powerless to change anything? Or is it simply in your makeup to be able to handle this information without throwing your brain chemistry out of whack? If that's the case, is the 'necessary illusion' not necessary for you?
I have no idea what you're rambling about.
I could get depressed, sit back and say screw everything. But I have people counting on me. I know and understand it's an illusion, but I've got stuff to do and understand that the illusion is necessary. Does knowing that it's an illusion change my brain chemistry? maybe, but I've got a frozen pipe in a wall I have no access to right over my computer. To physics time should be able to been seen forwards and backwards. Meaning the future is already done just as the past is. What if nothing we can do can change the future? It's right there in science.
So you're saying you 'choose' not to succumb to depression over the realization that free will is an illusion because you've got things to do and people counting on you? So people who do succumb, in spite of also having things to do and people counting on them, that's just their brain chemistry, different than yours, and its not that they're just giving up where you're not? It's not you being strong, or responsible, willfully, it's just that you have the right make-up where they don't?
"To physics time should be able to been seen forwards and backwards. Meaning the future is already done just as the past is."
But it can't. It can't because we exist within time. We experience time linearly. And because we're the ones making the decisions in each given moment, the future is determined, at least in some part, by our actions. The future is determined by all activity and actions that lead to it, be we are part of what determines that. That doesn't mean the future can't be set. It just means we play a role in what it is because we existed and enacted in the moments leading up to it. Assuming, of course, we're not just determined robots.
Have we discussed slices of time before. Physics teaches us that time is distorted by motion. So someone on the other end of the universe moving away from us will have a different now than us. There now will be our future. If they can see our future our future is done.
Yes, you're right that time is distorted by the speed of the observer, but that doesn't change that in a particular moment of time, when you make something, like say conceiving a child, its your choices that made that happen. And if you had chosen differently, then it wouldn't have happened that way. Because we, the observers/participators, are the ones taking action in the moment, within time, then we do have an impact on the future.
Yes, if that someone on the other end of the universe is moving fast enough to distort time, their now would be our future, but that doesn't change the actions you took in the moment you made them. Your future is not entirely set because you are a participant. What you do has an impact on the universe around you. Which is why our free will, and our behavior, is such a big deal. That's why a God powerful enough to create the entirety of this universe would have such a vested interest in what we do. Because what we do affects the world around us.
Your almost there, I've said many times that I continue to do my best to make the world a better place and to support those I care for, just as you've described we should do, but if the future can already be seen then our actions are predetermined. The illusion is necessary. While I know the future can be seen from what I've learned from physics I still try to do my best.
If your God can see the future what would be his interest? From the moment he decided to create this universe he would see the end and us come and go. I'm aware it's a depressing concept and I don't recommend it for everyone, perhaps I should be discussing it in a public forum. I'm not depressed by it however, I find it fascinating. If we were to be able to see the future of a distant alien race in our now slice that future would be our now and real, unable to be changed.
Right, but if it's as you say and free will is just an illusion, then you don't actually have anything to do with 'continuing to do your best to make the world a better place and support those you care for'. That's just your make-up. If you're right, it's not YOU. I say it IS you. Free will is not an illusion. And whether or not time is set is irrelevant because you and I, like time itself, we are all products of this universe. You are an active participant in this universe who has an impact on this universe. Within time. Within space.
In your 'distant alien race' scenario, you're right, their future would be our now and we would be unable to change it. But they, the alien participants, did have choices in those moments that they made them. Once they're made, yes, they're set. You can't go back and do it differently. But in that moment they did actually have a choice.
God's interest is in what we choose to do. How we choose to act. Because what we do does have an impact on the world around us. We ARE a part of the universe. But unlike the rest of the universe, where everything else adheres exactly to a particular set of laws, we can decide and take actions apart from that. That's why I'm always talking about free will being such a volatile element. That's why those early Genesis stories talk about God first creating Adam/Eve (first beings with free will), then having to make adjustments (the flood). Their independent will introduced into an already functioning system changed things. Changed the future. Which is why it says this omnipotent God 'regretted' what He had done. The same goes for Noah and Abraham. He intervened, He tested, because they had minds and wills of their own.
If our future is already here then our decision cannot be changed. They seem real and for us and may in fact be real, but we are destined to make those decisions.
Not if given the same brain chemistry and set of circumstances does our decisions differ.
As I said if God can see the future and every decision we make what's the point? The moment he thought of the universe he would know how events worked out. From our earlier discussion we understand that we can't change the future and the entire universe has already been played out. We are like a pack of wolves doing our best for the pack, only we understand that the universe has already been played out.
You're still thinking of time as if its this stagnant thing. It isn't, at least not to us. See, we exist within the 'program'. We are active participants. We are not destined. We MAKE the future. At least our part of it. Once it's set, it's set, but you had a say in how it was set because you actually participated in each moment that makes up that timeline.
True, at the moment God first thought of the universe He would then know how it worked out, as is. Because no other wills, independent of His, were at work it all played out the one way He knew it would. But then He introduced Adam and Eve, and that changed things. That's why He 'regretted' putting humans on the earth and had to send a flood. He had to account for the changes. The introduction of Adam/Eve, wills that behaved apart from His, changed the future. So then He had to make a change to adjust.
It's like writing a program. If the program is all yours then you know exactly how it works and how everything plays out when you run it. But if your program allows for other applications to hook in and send data into it, you can't always account for incoming data because it's not from you. You may have an idea what to expect, but you can't fully anticipate because it's someone else's application that's sending the data. So you then have to make adjustments to account for this foreign data coming in to ensure the desired outcome is still met.
Okay, so you are saying God can't see the future like the distant aliens that see our future in their now. Because if God does see the future as you say, then he doesn't need to test anyone he would know the answer, he would know how the entire thing works out. You just can't have a God that can see the future and not see the future. If he can't see the future he is subject to the same laws as us, if he can see the future he would know what decisions we make.
I know this is difficult.
God sees past/present/future all at once, much like that video you sent described. It's an illusion to us that time is moving.
In that first example you have two scenarios; existence without Adam/Eve, existence with Adam/Eve. One plays out one way, the other plays out another. Because Adam/Eve have their own minds and make decisions that are not God's, until God introduced them, it's the first scenario. Once introduced, it's the second. Then God sends a flood, creating a third scenario. The one that adjusts for Adam/Eve's impact.
The same goes for Abraham. God actually interacted with Abraham and told Him to do something. This made Abraham make a decision. If God had not told Abraham to sacrifice his son, then Abraham would not have had to make that decision. So, in this case you also have two scenarios; the one where God doesn't tell Abraham, so Abraham's decision never existed because he wasn't put in a situation where he had to make one, the other where God did tell Abraham, so Abraham had to make a decision. Scenario A, Abraham's decision doesn't exist anywhere past/present/future, therefore God doesn't know. Scenario B, Abraham's decision DOES exist, therefore God knows. So, God only knows what Abraham would do BY testing him.
But that doesn't jive with what we know of the universe and time. All those things we just talked about about space and time makes no sense in those stories. Most likely because those stories were written by people thousands of years ago who didn't have our understanding of time and space. You see, the second God thought of asking Abraham to do anything he would be able to see what he would do, not only that but he would have know all that would take place the moment he thought of the universe.
Nope, because that decision wasn't made by God, it was made by Abraham. That's free will. It's an actual mind and will that is totally independent of God's, to the point that He in this case actually didn't know how Abraham would respond until the scenario existed to make Abraham make a decision.
It makes perfect sense, and is right in line with time as we now understand it.
The posts between you two are interesting~
I enjoy reading them because you two are understanding each other.
Please share your opinion on the following:
God gives free will to man
God is not the only way
God is the only way
God won't need to give free will to man
There is no other way
Thank you. I personally do think I get and most certainly do respect Headly. He's wrong, but that's okay.
God gives free will to man
God is not the only way"
Maybe God gives free, but I don't understand what it is the only way to.
God is the only way
God won't need to give free will to man
There is no other way
But he could test people to see if they are worthy.
God doesn't exist at all
We can get on with our lives.
Free will is a meaningless term. Free of what? What does a Christian mean by free will? Only one thing, the freedom to choose to do gods will or not. And that’s a crock as well because there is nothing free about that, if you don’t do his will, not your own, then you apparently get punished. Wow. What freedom that is.
There is plenty of will, we all have it in abundance. We have to have it because we have to make choices all the time. We don’t go out looking for them, they are forced on us most of time. We make choices based on what we like, how we want a thing to resolve. But do we choose the things we like? No. We just like them or we don’t.
The illusion of a degree of freedom in will comes from the fact that we are in the dark both as to why we make the choices we make and what the consequences are actually going to be. So it looks like we are making spontaneous choices, when we clearly are not.
And what changes if we have no free will? Not a single thing. Life goes on exactly as it has. After all, this is your life. You still have to work, you still have to pay bills you still have responsibilities. It’s not like you realize you have no free will and you suddenly stop functioning. This is your life without free will. Not a darn thing changes one little bit.
You are still held responsible for your acts of will. After all, you did it. You are responsible. Not having free will is no excuse. You still have will and you still have intent.
Free will is impossible and absurd. Free of what? Free from coercion free from personal history free from being relevant to the thing you are making a choice about? Do you not see how absurd that is?
A free will choice would have be one that has no history, no reason for being made and no relationship to anything else. What good would it be?
Will is the manifestation of your conditioning both genetic and environmental. Your will can change as you learn. You can gain certain possible choices and close the doors to others. But there is nothing free about learning, it is reconditioning. And that’s how we have to work. Our subconscious is the one that acts. It has to be educated to act in different ways. The conscious educates the subconscious. Why? So we can make better choices and take better actions.
The word free in front of will is just stupid. We have will. That’s what we need to survive. Even an ant has will. There is nothing magic about it. You are who and what you are by virtue of your
conditioning. It is still your unique conditioning. And your conditioning is who and what you are.
Again, not a thing changes when you figure out have no “free” will. Because the free in front of the word will is utterly meaningless.
Except perhaps as a religious device.
But wait. No where in the bible does it tell you god gave you free will. So where in the world do you get the idea from?
God doesn't want robots. Well hell yes he does. He wants you do his will, not yours.
Is your idea of free will having a will separate from god? Well heck yes. We have our own conditioning which gives us a unique personality and a unique will. But there is nothing free about it. We need it to survive, That's much more important to us than what a god wants.
Appreciate and liked your opinion on "free" will. I realize "free" will is not really "free." Everything we do come with consequences. So we are "free" to choose what we do, but not free from the consequences that our choices come with. No will comes free, but we still do have freedom to choose as long as we are ready for whatever the consequences may come.
We don't have freedom in acting most of the time now days, but we do have the freedom to think of acting. We used to have more freedoms before we are civilized that no governments or police to catch and punish us if we break laws. I would choose to give up certain freedom and live in a civilized society. We all agreed to the so called "social contract" without knowing it exist until we realize, no one can really do whatever he/she desire in most of the societies. There are some people could extend their will to where we can't even think of in some part of the world; for example, leader of certain monarchy or dictatorship.
Bible doesn't say exactly "God give you free will," but it did mention God trust us on choosing to serve or not to serve him. It is really contradicting as you can think freely, but you can't act freely. Bible is a great book, and reading is a great way to learn from our ancestor's wisdoms. I believe if God would have done a better job since God is almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent. In fact, if God wants us to know he exist, then we wouldn't have to believe because we would just know he exists. No point of having religious conventions, no need texts, no need anyone to tell us God exists. We would all be worshiping God all day long.
Religions are somehow necessary because we human have all kind of pressures, and everyone's resistibility against pressures are different. Having a believe is a great way to dissolve their pressures. It helps people to explain good and bad things. God has plans for everyone. When those young innocent girls were being raped and killed, it's just a more intensive plan for them. God was not to be blamed, but those who created the idea of God should be blamed. The consequence of believing is you would have doubts when you are not suppose to.
I personally do not believe the existence of so called "God," but higher spiritual meanings or thoughts, something "Godlike." I appreciate many things many people did under God's name, millions really do need and deserves good things and peace in mind.
Yes, there are more important things other than question the existence of what we can't prove or disprove. To some people it's their motivation of life to "debate" (find) out the so call truth. I don't know about others, but I really don't feel comfortable when people call themselves Christians when they are really not. It's a shame that those people even call themselves Christians. A true Christian is not afraid of acknowledging and correcting his/her own mistakes.
If I offended any true believer it's not my intention. Please forgive my tone you don't feel comfortable. Please, do share thoughts.
I think you are so hung up on the bible being right your have problems understanding the concept. You're assuming the bible is legit, rather than looking at how time works. I the moment God decides to ask a question is the moment the answer would be available. He should in fact know he would ask the question at the same time the answer comes to him.
I'm not hung up on the bible being right. I'm hung up on finding truth and understanding. I just don't rule the bible out as a source of relevant information. And until I find good reason to rule it out of the equation it's staying.
The moment God decides to ask the question doesn't make the answer available because Abraham hasn't yet 'created' his answer until the question is posed to him. Once Abraham 'makes' a decision, then that decision exists and is a part of the timeline. Now God knows. Because it exists. And it exists because Abraham 'made' that decision. If God hadn't asked, there'd be no decision.
God asks or thinks about asking then sees the future and know the results. God sees the future and knows he will ask and instantly sees the future.
"God asks or thinks about asking then sees the future and know the results."
The future He sees only includes Abraham's response if Abraham knows the question.
"God sees the future and knows he will ask and instantly sees the future."
He can know He will ask, but unless Abraham knows He asked, then the future God sees will not have Abraham's response.
So you are saying those slices of time are wrong. The future can not be seen even by God? You're saying God can't see the future?
No, I'm saying that the ability to see the future doesn't matter if Abraham's response doesn't exist in that future. Abraham's response will only exist in that future if he knows the question.
Let's use these forum discussions as an example. I can't go back into past discussions to see where you told me what your favorite color is because I never actually asked you that. But, if I were to ask you that now, then you replied, now your reply exists. So, in the future when I look back there will be an answer to see.
Being able to see past/present/future doesn't matter if what you're looking for was never created. When past/present/future can be seen all at once, all that matters is what exists and what doesn't. Abraham's response doesn't exist unless he knows the question.
Right so you don't believe the future is the present or now for anyone including God. You don't believe that that alien's now is in our future. In other words God is not omni everything?
I believe God sees past/present/future all at once.
Let me try it this way. Here's a rough representation of God's view of Abraham's life ...
born > married > has son > died
God can see when he was born, what he ate every morning, his first date, his last poop, and every single time he stubbed his toe or tripped and fell. All at once. But because there was not a single moment in Abraham's life where he was asked if he'd sacrifice his son to prove his allegiance to God, that answer is nowhere to be found.
So, God decides to create a situation within Abraham's lifetime where he'll ask Abraham to sacrifice his son. So He picks a day somewhere between the birth of Abraham's son and Abraham's death, and on that day asked Abraham if he'd sacrifice his son. Now when God looks at Abraham's life he sees this ....
born > married > has son > agrees to sacrifice son/stopped > died
Now that God created the situation during the course of Abraham's life where Abraham had to make a decision, now that event, and that decision, is part of Abraham's lifetime. Now God can see it.
God can see the future but can't see that he will ask Abraham to sacrifice his son? Then he can't see the future because in the future he will ask Abraham to kill/murder his son but he can't see that. It's a time paradox. The alien seeing the future would know that Abraham's son survives and would know what was asked of Abraham, but you claim God doesn't? See how your wanting the story to be factual is causing a paradox? If you give God the same ability as that alien then that the future would be his now and he would know what Abraham was willing to do.
But aside from Abraham what about the rest of us. Can God not see our future?
The point here is that God had to ask to know Abraham's answer. If Abraham had lived his entire life without God ever asking him to make this sacrifice, then there would be no answer to see anywhere during the course of Abraham's life. But because God did ask Abraham, He can see Abraham's reply. There's no paradox here.
It's the same thing as this forum. Because we can see history we can actually see the past. We can go back and review the very first time you and I talked. We can see every time you and I talked. But because I have never once asked you during the course of our discussions whether or not you prefer coke or pepsi, it doesn't matter that I have the capability to see every single conversation we've had in these forums, no matter how long I spend re-reading our discussions I will not find your answer. It's not there. So I don't know. Because I never asked.
Now let's say I have a time machine. I decide to go back to the very first day we talked and the very first thing I ask you is, "Rad, do you prefer coke or pepsi". Then you answer. Then I hop back in my time machine and come back to today. Now, when I search through our previous conversations I will find my question followed by your answer. My jumping back in time and making a change to our discussion by adding that question changed your timeline to now include a moment where you responded to my question. Now I know. Because your answer is there. Because I asked.
Yes, God can see our future. All the people that have an impact on our lives exist within time with us. So the events on the timeline never change. Everyone within time only lives in each moment once, and only did what they did during the course of that one timeline. So God can see it. The difference in the Abraham story is that God, existing outside of time, interacted with Abraham. In doing so He changed Abraham's life from one where Abraham never had to make this decision to one where he did.
It appears to me that what you are doing is assuming the story is true and creating a paradox and changing physics to make the possibility of the story being true. If God went back in time to change the future or get information from the past he being able to go further in the future would already know the results. A time paradox. That being said…
Let's assume Abraham was a special case and look at us. You assume we have free will as did Abraham and yet God can see our future as the alien can despite that free will. If God knows the future, present and past, he knows how this will all turn out and he has already judge our sins. Which kind of negates our free will as we have already been judged which ties in rather nicely with the necessary illusion of free will concept.
I'm not assuming the story is true. I'm just not assuming it's total BS and that these bronze age people were ignorant idiots that fabricated imaginative stories for whatever reason. There is no paradox here and this is exactly in line with physics as we understand it in regards to time. And it's consistent with not just this story, but all the stories of the bible. I haven't changed anything.
God didn't have to go back and forth through time. He sees all of time as if you were able to turn the timeline sideways and look at it end to end. The beginning, the end, and everything in between, can be seen simultaneously. Because it's an illusion. But only an illusion to those that exist within it. Us.
Time is static to us. We can only progress from past to future along with everyone else. But God isn't limited like that. He can interject in any moment along the way and make alterations where He sees fit. And as soon as He does He can immediately see the impact that change had all the way down the rest of the timeline. If He interjected to say create rainbows where they didn't exist before, from our perspective, there were always rainbows.
This has everything to do with perspective. We are within time, experiencing each moment linearly. We are the ones taking action and making decisions along the way. But you can only live each moment once. So while the future is not set for us, it's set from God's perspective. Because there is no time. It's an illusion. That doesn't mean your future is set. It isn't, because you're still living it, and you're the one with the free will to make your own choices. You're still making decisions. But to God there's no waiting on the outcome. It just IS.
We haven't already been judged because we are still living in the moments of time. We haven't reached the end yet. We are the ones determining our future. It doesn't matter whether or not God can see our future if we're the ones choosing our actions. His ability to see it doesn't change our ability to choose freely.
But it's not consistent because he has to ask Abraham what he will do as if he doesn't know. He must have known he would cause a flood and must have know he would destroy an entire city save Lott and his daughters, I'm just not sure why he bargained with Abraham for the people of the city. He should have know what was coming at what he was going to do.
Why would he need to do that if he created the beginning knowing the ending?
That's what I have been telling you.
Right he knows the outcome, which is nothing like the story of Abraham.
We have to someone who can see the end.
We've already made all our choices if time is an illusion. Which makes free will an illusion, but a necessary one.
They did not completely fabricate stories, they told each other stories to explain life, but they had no way of knowing what they were talking about. They created models based on facts like we do, but the models are a way to explain the facts. Life is hard. Why? Well, we must have messed up big time. And then some one tells a story about how we messed up. We ate a fruit and became conscious and pissed off god.
It's called parable.
Right, much in the same way we fabricate these kinds of explanations. We're just trying to make sense out of the information we have. And this explanation may be how it really went. But I have good reason to think there's much more to it.
What these stories over the centuries have been lacking is context. They were just these stories told about an ancient unknown past, with no real concept of what the environment was like at the time, the political climate, the culture, etc. Which is why I set out to do what I did. I attempted to establish proper context by laying these stories side by side against actual history to see if/how they fit. In doing so, what it reveals is that, at the very least, they had a much better grasp of things than suspected. They tell a story that spans thousands of years of actual history, matching right up with actual events down to the number of centuries between each event, and they describe changes that can actually be seen in the archaeological record.
Being mere parables is an assumption. An understandable assumption, but one that could actually cause us to overlook real relevance if we don't keep our mind open to alternative explanations.
People do that. They make stories fit together over time. Fix inconsistency. The stories the Jews told were told by the Sumerians. So they told them in the context of many gods. The Jews eventually believed in one god and changed the stories to reflect that. We have at least there Noah stories. Babylonian; Jewish, and Sumerian. All different.
There may be some historical fact to some of the stories but each history was coloured by the peoples belief in their gods.
The Jewish version is the most outlandish of all, telling of a global flood that did not happen, while the Sumerian version is a regional flood. But the stories are otherwise so similar that we know they are talking about the same event.
While there is a bit of actual history there in the bible most is fiction. Particularly the parts about what god said and did which were just add ins.
People who believe in gods attribute everything to them. It's just the way it is. No actual god is required.
But all that is speculation. You can't know that to be a fact. It's just your rationalization of how it might be possible for a god to know everything and yet for there to be this mythical "free" will of yours.
It's an amusing model but where's the proof?
So without god having asked the question he would never know whether Abraham was loyal?
So god kind of goes back and forth changing history? that's what you are saying.
But where did his decision come from? He had two choices only. Do it or to not do it. Doing it would have cost him his son, but put him in good with god. Not doing it might have meant his son would have died anyway and Abraham would have no where to hide from god's wrath.
Not much of a choice and not free in any way shape or form.
But what you seem to be saying is that god is not all knowing?
If learning and growth are good qualities why can't God have them? Change and growth does not negate that something was perfect before.
Sure it does. Who are you kidding. Claiming your God is perfect, all knowing and can learn rather defeats the purpose of perfection.
Sorry I am going to repeat myself again:
God = almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent = perfect in all sense = no need of learning/changes/improvements of any kind
Changes/learning/improvements = for not perfect = not almighty, omniscience, and omnipotent = the super spiritual that existed does "NOT" fit for the idea of "God"
Try to prove the God some people believe in is not what they believe as.
Slarty O'Brian and HowardHsu,
I hope you don't mind me combining my response to both of your comments, but the same answer really applies to both.
By free will, I mean a will free, or independent of, God's. Slarty, you can think of God's will in this context as the natural laws of the universe. If the universe is God's creation then how it behaves is in accordance to God's will. So, for us to have 'free' will means we are able to behave free of natural law.
In the free will versus determinism debate, both sides agree our brains draw on past experiences, weigh pros and cons, imagine possible outcomes, etc, to arrive at a certain number of choices. The difference comes in what action you actually 'decide' upon. To the determinist the decision you make in any given situation is the only one you physically could have in that moment. Your decision is wholly determined by your brain-state, the situation, past experience, etc. But to the proponent of free will, you actually did make a willful choice to choose one decision over another, and could have chosen differently.
So, when I say free will, I mean we are capable of behaving according to an actual individual will, and not just by the outcome of a bundle of brain matter adhering to the laws of nature like a rock rolling down a hill. Free will is the equivalent of deciding not to adhere to the laws of gravity and falling up. Of course, its only in the mind, and we're still limited by physical bodies, so we can't 'physically' ignore the laws of nature. But I think our will actually is free to choose, 'free' of pure physical/biological determinism.
Howard, in answer to your question, God giving us free will still means there's only one way, but I say that with an 'asterisk'. If God truly is the creator of the universe, then the way nature works is the embodiment of God's will. It's a reflection of how God works. All the matter/energy in the universe adheres to a constant set of fundamental laws. These laws determine how matter/energy 'behave'. And the interplay between the two is what makes this universe and suns and planets and life possible. Because matter behaves in accordance to this set of laws, or 'rules'. And as we've found out, our bodies work in much the same way. Complex multi-celled organisms have a genetic code, a set of laws, or 'rules' that each cell in our bodies adhere to. This code determines how each cell behaves, what function it serves, when it divides, and when it dies. Because all matter/energy works in accordance to this single/constant set of laws, the universe as a system works. Because all the cells in our bodies work in accordance to this single code, or set of rules/laws, our bodies as a collective system of trillions of cells work together as one.
The bible does say that God gave us free will, just not in those words. It's right there at the very beginning. You've got one chapter that explains that all the heavens and earth formed according to His will. So much so that He looked at it all and deemed it 'good'. It all behaved exactly according to God's will/law/rules. Then God creates Adam and sets him in an environment that only consists of one rule. A rule made by this same creator which everything else in existence behaves in accordance with exactly. And he broke that rule. He behaved of his own will, that was in direct contrast to God's will. That one rule. That's when it all changed. That's when it says 'the eyes of both of them were opened' and that's when they gained a heightened sense of self-awareness that made them aware of being naked, where it hadn't occurred to them before. From that point on the whole theme of the bible has to do with the will and behavior of humans being in contrast with their creator.
To exist with a free will, if you're the only one, there's no issue. But when everyone has a will of their own, there's inevitably going to be conflict. So rules are necessary. So God requires that we acknowledge Him as the creator and respect His rules. We don't have to be robots who do His will exactly. He went through a whole lot of trouble to ensure we have our own wills. We just have to consent to His authority and obey His rules.
Traffic laws I think make a good analogy. Each of us are free to use the roadways to go where ever we want. But because we're not the only ones using those roads, there must be rules. If it were just you then you could drive the wrong way down freeways, run lights, whatever you want. But because others use those roads too you can't do that. And if others don't respect and follow the rules then they're a danger to others. They're still free to drive the wrong way down the freeway, but there's most likely going to be consequences if they choose to do so.
So, to elaborate on my asterisk above, Howard, there can only be one way, God's way, or it doesn't work. We're still free to be us, to do what we want, as long as we respect the rules that make it all possible. If we don't then we're like a dangerous driver, or a cancerous cell, that endangers others in the system, or endangers the system as a whole. So, we are welcome to join for all eternity, with our own minds and wills, but we have to respect the rules of the house. If you refuse then they're not going to let you in. Would you take someone into your house if they refused to acknowledge your authority and follow the rules you set that allows them to stay in your house without conflict? This isn't God being mean, it's simply what's necessary.
Everything could work seamlessly, with no one getting hurt, no pain, and everything working like a well-oiled machine. But that only works if there's no free will, only God's single unchanging will, like the singular DNA code of a body. But because God wanted us to have our own minds and wills, this is necessary. Wielding something as powerful, as creative and destructive, as free will, requires wisdom. And wisdom can't just be given. It must be gained through experience.
That's my take, anyway.
“By free will, I mean a will free, or independent of, God's. Slarty, you can think of God's will in this context as the natural laws of the universe. If the universe is God's creation then how it behaves is in accordance to God's will. So, for us to have 'free' will means we are able to behave free of natural law.”
But we are not able to behave free of natural law. That’s the point. Give me an example of doing something free of natural law. You are natural law. How can you behave free of it? But if you think you can then you should be able to give some examples. So let’s start there.
You are correct in thinking you can draw an analogy between your concept of god and the nature of energy, which is the natural laws we are talking about. Cause and effect is a taskmaster and trying to go against it is impossible. How could you?
In fact, I am of the opinion that the belief in god is just a mistaken model of nature. Reason being humans seem to have a need to anthropomorphise nature. It’s been a common theme for as long as religion has been around.
I'd love to have more time to talk about this and answer you point by point, but let's start by you showing me how it is possible to act outside natural law.
You're exactly right. If there is nothing but the material in our make-up then it's impossible. Matter can only behave as it behaves, so our brains, being made of matter, can only behave as it behaves. The only way we could actually make a willful choice free of the constraints of natural law is if there is a component of the 'self' that is not physical/material. Like a soul.
The physical brain would still do its thing, it would still imagine potential outcomes, draw on memories, weigh pros and cons and consider options. In the context of having a soul, the physical body is the vessel through which the spiritual self interacts with the material world and the physical brain retains the physical sense information it has gathered throughout life experience. The soul would be the will that drives us.
If it is as you say then it's not possible that we actually have any kind of willful control over what we do, reducing us to mere passive observers in life as able to choose our own behavior as a rock is able to choose its path rolling down a hill. That would mean nothing in all of human history, whether it be our biggest triumphs, our biggest failures, or our most horrendous acts, were not actually willfully acted upon, but rather were wholly determined by physics.
No soul is required. Our will is a manifestation of our conditioning. Our individual conditioning which makes us unique individuals. You can’t be a passive observer when the world throws things at you that you have to respond to. It does not matter that it is not free from the influence of just about everything.
Needs are what drive us to do and to create.
Why look for magic souls when there is no need and no proof they exist?
You seem to still think matter and energy are different things. They aren’t. That’s all there is. So what is this soul supposed to be made of?
Before we knew energy and matter are the same thing we were told by the religious that spirit was energy and matter was base garbage material. The soul was energy. But now what is it? Now they moved it to being something else.
So what? And where is the evidence that it exists?
"You're exactly right. If there is nothing but the material in our make-up then it's impossible."
So please give examples of acts that we can do that go against our nature,
God not knowing IS what makes it consistent. Just like the flood...
Genesis 6:5-6 - The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. 6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.
He 'saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become' and He 'regretted that He had made them'. This is not consistent with a God who knew what was going to happen. These lines mean He didn't. You don't regret an outcome you already know about.
Free will is the most misunderstood, or under-appreciated, element in the whole story. Adam/Eve, and everyone born of Adam/Eve, had free will. From that point on there was an element not within God's control on the earth. God, in effect, made a boulder so large even He couldn't move it. He, by design, created beings with their own wills, apart from His.
The flood wasn't planned, it was an adjustment. It was necessary because the descendants of Adam (sons of God) found the 'daughters of humans' beautiful and of their own free will began to marry and have children by them. This introduced free will into naturally evolved humans (created during day 6 of Gen 1). This was the reason why the flood was necessary...
Genesis 6:2-3 - the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
Free will is the reason for everything. It's the reason commandments would even be necessary. It's the reason for the flood. It's why God actually had to test Abraham. It's the reason the Israelites had to take land by force. Because free will was running rampant in the world, and being that it's a truly free will, it was outside of God's control. He rewarded, He punished, He would perform miracles, plagues, because, unlike the rest of the natural world that just adheres to His will naturally, humans with free will have to be coaxed.
Because He can see the ending and can see that events caused by this volatile element will lead to an undesirable outcome. So He then has to adjust to ensure the right outcome.
Yes, He knows the outcome. But He wouldn't know Abraham's decision unless He created the situation that then caused Abraham to have to make that decision. If the decision didn't exist, God wouldn't know.
But we're the ones making the choices and the decisions and we can't see the end.
No we haven't. Because we exist within time. Illusion or not, we still exist within it and our choices are made within it.
You appear to say that God can see the end and he cannot? If he can't see the end he isn't omni everything is he? If he can and as you say
Because He can see the ending and can see that events caused by this volatile element will lead to an undesirable outcome.
So which is it? Can he see the future or not? He either can or he can't, you admit in some scripture it appears he can't, which means is isn't omni everything.
And here is where we say goodbye to free will. If the end result has to be the one he wants our will is irrelevant and an illusion.
Look, I know this is difficult, but I promise I'm not contradicting myself. I'll try to explain.
God creates the world, first without free will (Gen1). This includes humans, homo sapiens, on day 6, and it was "good". Then God creates Adam. If you'll notice, God immediately shows interest in what Adam will do when He brings animals to Adam to 'see what he'll call them'. Adam is different. So God creates a scenario to test His creation by creating a garden with just one rule, which of course they break.
Adam and Eve being created and introduced into the world changed things. It changed how the timeline plays out, because now, instead of everything working according to God's will, there's God's will along with the wills of each individual born of this line. Before you had an existence that worked exactly as God willed it, from beginning to end. Then He introduced Adam and Eve, which led to a totally different outcome, which He could see. So, to get things back on track He goes to the point where it all began, the wickedness in humanity, and He sends a flood. A local flood because there's only a small 'pocket' of free-willed humans at this point. But, like a gardener or a scientist, He takes a favorable specimen (Noah) to begin breeding from again. A new batch, so to speak, from this favorable specimen.
Then comes Babel. Because the only surviving 'free-willed' beings were Noah, his sons, and their wives (presumably), all descendants began again to mate with human women. Then comes Babel. Free will is both creative and destructive. In this case they were being creative, building a tower and a city, using fired bricks and such. Notice how God, in Gen11, comes down to see what the 'children of men' are doing. And, because of what they're doing, He confuses their language and disperses them throughout the land, like planting seeds. Again, something that illustrates outcomes that He didn't know would happen until He made the changes. Then He makes adjustments again, this time by dispersing them.
Then, like Noah, God chooses a favorable specimen, Abraham, and tests Him to ensure His specimen is behaving as desired. To do so God actually had to create the situation where Abraham would have to choose. Again, He didn't know the outcome until the situation existed that made Abraham make a choice. Abraham passes the test, so God says He'll 'make his descendants numerous'. God is then, again, cultivating from this favorable specimen.
Yes, He can see past/present/future, all at once. But these regrets, this 'seeing what Adam would call the animals, this 'seeing what the 'children of men' are building, Abraham's test, all of these are clues that show just how unpredictable this free will element really is. Once it's introduced there's a whole series of actions God must take to ensure the desired outcome. These are the stories of the bible. These are the points in our history when God actually did interact with humanity. He had to because they had free will. They no longer just did His will 'naturally'. They were the equivalent of cancerous cells no longer adhering to the DNA code of the body, but rather doing things on their own. So, much like a scientist would do, He would have to test it, and make adjustments accordingly.
There'd be no point to existence playing out if there were no free will and everything just happened as expected. Free will is what makes sense out of everything. I know it's vastly different than what you've learned, or were taught, but I promise you once you begin to see it in this context the whole thing begins to make way more sense. You can actually begin to see how the world progressed into what we see today. Maybe it'll be in the coming months and years, maybe it'll be decades from now, but mark my words, sooner or later people are going to start paying a lot closer attention to Genesis, and they won't be nearly as dismissive of it as many have been. Stay tuned.
Actually I was taught and thought we had free will until I started thinking about the universe and biology. Just because the bible says we have free will doesn't mean we do. Those are fascinating stories, there is no doubt about that but, for one to say that God has a desired outcome and manipulates us to get it and at times committed genocide to get it kind of negates freewill. We are not free to have wills if we are told that God kills those who don't do as told. Further if you think God doesn't know what we will do even when he can see the future you would have to admit God is not omni everything.
Sorry, but it still sounds to me like a story that would be passed down through history to give a certain line of people entitlement. If you were a descendent of Abraham you would feel pretty entitled to think you are God's chosen and you would also think the right thing to do is follow Gods orders to a tee.
Now if we all have this freewill then what the collective of humanity does would be unknown to God even though he can see the future? Does that make sense to you? Does it make sense to you that God would have to ask Adam to name animals and would think he was complete even though he had already made humanity with males and females? How did he think Adam would produce babies? None of the logic holds up.
This desired outcome was not to rob us of our free will. In fact it's all to allow for free will. To make it possible. I think that 'desired outcome' was to actually create Jesus. To create one who reconciles and reconnects the disconnection between God and us that started at Adam. I think that's what Paul means about Adam being the 'first Adam' and Jesus being the 'last Adam'. Because Jesus was the one able to do what Adam could not. He could live a full life without once conflicting with the will of God. Adam and Eve weren't originally intended to procreate or die. Its only after the fall that Eve was to bare the pains of childbirth, and its only after that God said they would 'surely die'. Procreation is only really necessary because of death. I think this was the result because it created the need to 'breed' Jesus. I think that's what these 'chosen specimen' were about. That's what the 'chosen people' were about. That's what all those Mitzvah laws meant specifically for that bloodline were about. Who to breed with, who not to, what to eat, what not to eat. They were about protecting that line and breeding a specific individual. It wasn't a 'desired outcome' to control us, but to bring us closer and to make Himself accessible to everyone.
So, you think that story was not intended to direct a tribe of people to behave a certain way? The first thing we learn is that the tribe is different than the rest of people and the rest of people are disposable. The next thing we learn is God didn't want to make Adam a mate but in the end he had to make her from his spare parts after just creating the entire universe from nothing. Then we learn that women are not to be trusted and God has punished them with child birth, meanwhile the other humans had been procreating this wasy for hundreds of thousands of years. Then we learn that it's better to marry a sister than someone not from your tribe. Then we learn that the men must be marked in such a way that they can be identified. Then we learn...
You fell for that?
Do I seem gullible to you?
You may not like the story as you see it, but it does line up rather well with what's observed. For instance, there is an undeniable turn from egalitarian societies to male-dominated societies that's not my imagination. And that happened long before any sort of established religious system. In fact, it's been argued from a psychological standpoint to be a kind of side-effect of this more pronounced ego, with the man's separation from nature being more complete than the woman's, as she is still tethered by child-baring, nursing, menstrual cycles, etc. Whatever the cause, the fact that it actually happened is indisputable. So what's described in those stories can actually be observed in that regard, whether or not you like the way it sounds or think it's fair.
And I know it's easy to look at these stories from our comfortable chairs in our established modern western societies, protected borders, and policed streets and turn our nose up at all the barbaric talk about killing and enslaving people, as if, like you said, people are disposable. But just as the case in properly understanding any story, it's important to understand the context in which they're set. Maybe you think they should have just been more open-armed and willing to sit around the fire and sing Kumbaya with the other peoples of that region, but if you actually wanted to establish safety and security and continue to provide for your people in that age you had to take it. It truly was survival of the fittest, and those who didn't survive are simply no longer represented in today's world population. You either made it or you didn't.
Let's think about it in a context that's maybe a little easier to conceive. Let's say there's an evolutionary change in humans that begins to surface. News reports begin to speak of people born in some foreign country who seem to not only be more technologically advanced, they also seem to be incredibly aggressive. As time goes on established societies begin to fall as these people, growing more numerous everyday, don't seem content to simply assimilate into established society. They're like a new Roman Empire expanding their reign by force. The way of life as we've known it throughout our lives is endangered by this new threat. As societies continue to fall so does the economic stability around the world and before you know it you're doing things you never thought you would before to ensure your family is provided for and protected. It becomes inevitable that this threat will soon be at your doorstep and you will have no choice but to fight.
What I'm trying to do here is give you a sense of the kind of behavioral changes that began to take hold in that region of the world. This region became more and more densely populated by people who were much more aggressive than before and seemed all too willing to just take whatever they wanted, including enslaving or killing every man, woman, and child so that they could take their land and their supplies. This change that first began in the Ubaid culture of southern Mesopotamia spread throughout the world rather rapidly, systematically pushing indigenous cultures who had been established for hundreds and thousands of years near the brink of extinction. Just look at our history and you'll see it's the same story over and over again, with militarized civilizations imposing their will on the 'first nation' people of the world.
It's easy to knit-pick these stories as you have here because they're set in a time and place that's so foreign to us that we can hardly imagine it. What it's describing may seem horrendous to our fragile modern sensibilities, but the simple truth is these stories took place in one of the most tumultuous times we humans have ever known. So before you make up your mind that this is just some manifesto written up by some bronze age a-holes who just wanted to justify doing whatever they wanted, you might want to first gain a more complete understanding of the material and the context they take place in. In every other case we're all about encouraging informing yourself with facts and gaining proper understanding through education and whatnot, yet when it comes to this all of that just seems to go out the window.
Sorry, but if you believe there was in fact an Adam and Eve and a talking snake and if you believe the reason we have multiple languages is because God wanted to confuse us so we wouldn't reach heaven, then yes.
Does it matter is it lines up with history? No. There may in fact be some kind of history involved, but that doesn't change that the stories were designed to give this tribes men a sense of entitlement so as to feel invincible when attacking others. Much like Mohammad did with his tribe. We've got God on our side boys.
You story reminds me of nazi Germany. People being told they are a superior race and are destined to rule the entire world. An entire nation falls in place and takes Italy with them. Same story over and over. The leader tells his people they have God on their side and they are superior and chosen by God to destroy others. The Japanese were told their leader was a God and invincible. You don't see a pattern here?
Yes, that's what I've been trying to point out. I do see a pattern. Those things you speak of, the Nazis and other stories like theirs, is exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. A sense of entitlement and a penchant for enforcing their will on anyone and everyone. Yes there's a pattern, and it's a very specific and traceable pattern.
This is one gigantic assumption that you seem to feel totally comfortable making ... "There may in fact be some kind of history involved, but that doesn't change that the stories were designed to give this tribes men a sense of entitlement so as to feel invincible when attacking others."
Based on what exactly? Absolutely nothing, from what I can tell. It's just the vibe you get and you run with it. You have nothing to support your claims regarding the intent of the writers, but that doesn't stop you. You just make these sweeping generalizations with absolutely no factual data to back it up, completely ignoring the facts that are right in front of you. But hey, religious types have been all arrogant and dismissive for centuries, so what's the harm in making the exact same mistake all over again? Right? There's a pattern there too that you might want to recognize.
I know in this modern scientific age these stories seem far-fetched. But the fact is, the people of this region, well beyond just the Hebrew speaking people, told much the same story. The same civilizations that gave us mathematics and astronomy and the written language and civilization also claim across the board that there was a previous ancient age where there were gods who lived extremely long lives, bred with humans, and who actually taught them what they know. Should we just ignore all of this and continue to assume we're smarter and know better? We still don't understand the rapid advancements of Sumer and Egypt and Greece. The things they were able to accomplish unlike anyone before them. The things they knew that we only really get a hint at with what's survived from that age. Yet we're all quick to just dismiss these mythological stories as, "Oh, this must just be their way of reconciling natural phenomena they didn't understand, because, as we all know, they were just ignorant bronze age fools."
Typical. But hey, why not? Our history is full of people thinking they knew better, yet end up repeating the same mistakes of the past over and over again. Why break the cycle now when perpetually shooting ourselves in the foot has worked so well in the past?
Nothing to back me up? Well lets look at the validity of the other tribes and or nations that used the same tactics to empower their people. Were the Germans a superior race? Was the Japanese lead a God. Did the previous lead of North Korea a God that shot 18 holes in one his first time golfing? Do you think Mohammad was getting his information directly from God, stuff like the earth being egg shaped? But yet you believe these stories to be factual?
Right, nothing. If we're looking to validity then there's really no comparison here. You've got three examples that come from a much more modern age that didn't last past a single regime, then you've got one that piggy-backs on the one I'm talking about. Simply comparing tactics is flimsy at best. If you're talking about the bible then you're basically suggesting that its authors were the inventors of propaganda. But that doesn't even begin to explain how people this far back were able to write such an elaborate narrative around such an accurate timeline that stretches over the course of numerous centuries that goes back to nearly a thousand years before writing.
I think I've made a relatively strong case to show that these stories could very well be factual. It's not just my belief. Do you have anything fact-based to refute it? Any reason why it can't be true? Because I can find a whole lot that supports the idea that it is.
I'd have to say the Muslims have been more successful with their propaganda than the Jews. Most Jews are now secular while most Muslims are not. If I can list many instances where someone or some group make up stuff about being Gods chosen people to rally the troops in the very same fashion as the OT did and can't find any instances that any of miraculous stories are true then I'd have to assume they are fabrications just as the rest are. Is there any evidence that people lived for hundreds of years? Is there any evidence of a world wide or even local flood in which mountains where under water? Any giants? Did that particular tribe believe Jesus was the Son of God? Nope.
I don't get that. Nevermind that there's a significant amount of evidence that points in this direction. Nevermind the fact that this one explanation marries up our historical/scientific knowledge with these ancient biblical accounts and offers potential insight into an ancient culture that played a key role in shaping the modern world. Another group made a similar claim centuries later that was false, so that's enough to deem this invalid? So no matter how much I throw at you that shows there's at the very least relevant parallels between these ancient stories and actual historical events that could add to our understanding about a key part of our history, none of that matters, it's not even worth consideration? I just don't understand.
You don't think all these conversation are consideration? There is no evidence that the Hebrews were once Gods and lived 900 years. There is no evidence that they even were slaves in Egypt. Show me evidence of giants? You don't think they exaggerated a bit? You don't think the stories of Jesus were exaggerated a bit after 100 years after his death? You don't think it's possible by the time the writers of the OT started writing the stories the stories had been exaggerated a tad? Every time after that and before that when someone made those same claims it turned out to be false. Except there are still millions of Muslims who the Mohammad was the real deal. There are still millions of Mormons that think Joseph Smith sites besides God and you could to if you learned the secret handshake. Why given that there is no evidence to the contrary would you assume that there were once giants and people that lived for hundreds of years not to mention the talking snakes?
First, to be clear, it wasn't just the Hebrews. They were not the Hebrews until after Abraham, who it says was 175 when he died. The age Abraham lived was the end of the era of these long living people according to the ages given ...
By the time Abraham died there were very few long-living ancestors left. Three of Abraham's ancestors actually outlived him, but not by much. Salah by only 3 years, Eber by 64 years, and Abraham's great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Shem outlived him by 35 years. Even Noah lived until Abraham was 56. Abraham's lifetime, if my timeline is correct, was roughly 1000 years before writing.
So these long-living people were not limited to just the Hebrews. All the descendents of Shem/Ham/Japheth lived for centuries, which means everyone from the Sumerians to the Egyptians, the Akkadians/Babylonians, the early Greek and Roman people, Persia/Iran, India would all have a faint memory of long-living beings in their ancient past. And in each of those places there are stories just like that. Like this, for example ...
"The Iranian myth of the Fall, for example, describes how the first man, Yima, lived in a walled garden - the old Iranian word Paira-daeza, from which the English word "paradise" comes - on a mountain where the water of life flowed and the tree of life grew. It was in a perfect country with a mild climate, and the people who lived with Yima knew "neither heat nor cold, neither old age or death, nor disease ... Father and son walked together, each looking but fifteen years of age."
As for giants, I'm not sure what you consider a giant. The average height of people around that age was just over 5 feet. Goliath, for example, is described as being 4.5 cubits, which equates to roughly 6'8". Certainly a giant to someone of average height at that time, but not something out of the realm of what's known to exist.
Things could well have been exaggerated here and there. I don't rule that out. I'm not looking for perfection as if God Himself wrote it. It's man-made, and given my views on free will, it doesn't make much sense to think God puppeted its scribes to write through them. It's a compiled book made up of numerous pieces. I'm under no delusion about what it is. But there's a lot there that's very much on point. I'm not going to throw the whole thing out because of a talking snake.
I'm not assuming any of these things. I'm asking what-if. I'm forming a hypothesis and I'm looking for evidence that either supports or refutes it. Like in many other cases, it's usually a good hypothesis first that steers investigation that then leads to the physical evidence that proves or provides further support for the idea. I mean, they just found the Hittites. Hell, they just found Gobekli Tepe like 4 or 5 years ago. A place that's literally got the archaeological world completely baffled because it doesn't at all fit in with the standard model of human history, but does fit rather well with what I'm talking about. Who knows what's yet to be unearthed? Most of the areas most relevant to this are in modern day Iraq, and are only now in recent years opening back up to archaeological investigation for the first time since the 30's.
Okay, but I don't get the sense you are also looking for information to refute your beliefs. For instance above you speak as if those people lived for hundreds of years as just fact. You don't appear to question it at all. You admit that it could have been exaggerated and this is the very thing that may have been exaggerated. Maybe he lived to be 80 while everyone else lived to be 40, but after a few hundred years of the story being told and not written down it became several hundred years. You may also notice that the oldest gospel contained far less miraculous claims than the newest one and it's odd that most of the witnesses didn't by into it. Very few Jews became Christians. Fast forward a few hundred years when things were written down and no eye witnesses were still alive and things change.
P.S. Ever read the story about how Mohammad ascended to heaven?
I definitely question it. I didn't even pursue the long-life aspect of this thing for the first couple of years. The timeline constructed is based on the ages given, but I considered this could be family lines, and not individuals, where each name isn't father-son-father-son, but rather each were actually generations apart.
But these stories about these long lifetimes, they're across the board. The Sumerian kings list shows much the same thing as Genesis. Not only does it support the long-living aspect of the story, but it mirrors Genesis in that it shows the lifespans being extremely long before the flood, then gradually getting shorter and shorter after the flood. And everything else that list talks about, all the pre-flood and post-flood city-states that existed, they really did exist. They've been found. For many centuries nobody really knew where this 'Sumer' was that the bible spoke about and said that Abraham's father was from. Then, roughly a century ago, Sumer and the Sumerian culture, were discovered.
I do think things could have been embellished and exaggerated here and there, and there's some things that could just be due to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. One particular theory I've been milling around is that the virgin birth of Jesus was an embellishment, or more likely, a misinterpretation. I know that one will be troubling to most believers, but it just makes sense to me. In my mind, what makes Jesus and what he was able to accomplish so significant, is that he was a human. The ability to live without sin unlike any other isn't nearly the accomplishment it is if you're half-human/half-God. It's much more meaningful and significant that Jesus was born of Mary and Joseph, who both descend from the Israelite line. I don't think it's that God conceived Jesus, but rather, He 'created' Jesus through the very specific instructions given to the Israelites.
The thing is, I'm keeping my mind open. I'm not taking a detail here and there, like a talking snake or the thing about rainbows, and using that to toss out everything categorically as non-sense. Like in anything, there's at least some truth to it. I have reason to think there's way more truth than fiction to this.
Regarding Mohammad, I'm familiar with the story.
So because other tribes or groups were mentioned and had similar stories that makes the stories of Gods and people who lived hundreds of years more plausible. I would expect them to be talking about other tribes as it was written in a given time for a given people. If you take away some of the embellishments you have to look critically at all of the embellishments. A virgin married birth? How long to married women typically remain virgins?
I've come to realize that when you were raised with these stories they seem real and plausible. That's why the stories of say the Mormons seem particularly crazy, absurd to me in particular. When I step back away from Christianity it begins to look just as crazy, absurd.
How do we define, or determine, what is and isn't absurd? Compared to what? Just look at this place. Real objective truths of the universe, the big bang, the way matter works/vibrates/resonates, dinosaurs, viruses, black holes, multi-celled organisms, the fact that we're made of the same elements as the stars, coming from the same universe that formed stars and planets formed us as well. That's absurd too, right? Doesn't mean it isn't true. Just look at this place. Look at all the crazy things that have been confirmed to be true, yet are no less absurd. Consciousness is fantastical. The answers are going to be fantastical because this place is fantastical. There's no getting around it.
That's why I'm not so quick to take things off the table of possibility. Like the bible. I'm not going to ignore the obvious impact these texts have had, not only on the people who lived in those times and lived within those cultures, but also on people of every walk of life in every century since, far removed from the age and culture they're based in.
We don't know enough to be able to look at something and say, "That's just too ridiculous to be possible." How do we know? It's the open mind who looks at the universe like a wide-eyed child who's open and receptive to learning and growing. And it's the cynical and jaded adult who looks at the stars in the night sky and is no longer moved by it. All we know for sure is that there's still a whole lot we don't know. So I'm not about to define right from the start what is and isn't possible.
Do you think that because one is critical they must be both cynical and jaded?
There is no doubt that the universe is an amazing place. I remember as a teenager explaining to people just how large this place is and how we are a little nothing in a fairly random section of it. Most people at that time had no idea how large it was, I know I certainly didn't either. In fact we still don't know how large it is because we can only see about 14 billion light years away.
No Gods or spirits have ever been shown to exist despite the thousands of years of searching. I feel it's absurd to base your entire life following the words of someone who makes claims that can't be confirmed and science has evidence that contradicts the words. When I started looking into Mormonism I was simply amazed. When I starting thinking about Christianity and Islam I realized they were just as absurd only I was used to their concepts.
No, I don't think being critical means being both cynical and jaded, and to be clear I'm not speaking about you in particular when I say that. I'm just referring more in general to the cynical/jaded mindset many of us adults who have been around and lived life for a while can develop.
As for scientific evidence contradicting the 'words', that's my whole deal. It's not the 'words' so much as past interpretations of those words that science contradicts. Interpretations made long before we had the knowledge of the natural world we do now. Like the familiarity you said you have with the concepts of Christianity and Islam. You're already familiar with it. So when you read those 'words' you already have your own ideas formed about it. How the story goes, what this and that means. It's difficult to read just the 'words' without all that stuff bleeding into it, distorting it. And in most cases it's those preconceived ideas that are sitting in the way of people simply being able to recognize the cohesion the bible has with our history.
As for 'Gods and spirits having never been shown to exist', this is and always has been a spiritual thing. It's not about outward/external objective confirmation, it's about inward/internal spiritual connectedness. Outward/external things draw your focus in the wrong direction. That's why I think God has such an issue with idols and such. It's taking your focus the wrong way. Spirituality is an inward thing. You're not going to get outward/objective confirmation because that's not choosing to seek Him, that's simply acknowledging what you already know because you saw. it's 'seek and ye shall find', not 'you'll be shown so you won't have to bother seeking'. First you choose on your own without confirmation, then you seek, then you find.
That's part of my issue with religion. Religion is more about wearing your faith on your sleeve to show everyone else. The pageantry and the procedures are more for the other members in attendance than they are about God.
I have no doubt about God because I've experienced that spiritual connectedness. It's not a matter of 'if' God exists for me. This is all about my fascination with life and the universe and wanting to understand it.
The problem is we can't always trust our own minds. This has been proven time and time again. Christians seem to talk about the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit while Muslims and jews do not. How would it be possible to figure out which group is right? Why do Muslims not simple turn to Christianity when they sense God? Each group swears by their version of God and claims to sense him. This lead me to think the mind cannot be trusted, it has a way of getting what it wants by fooling itself. Take people who speak in tongues for example. They have convinced themselves that they are in fact speaking another language and it's coming from God. Can we trust our own minds.
I don't think its so much a matter of picking the right team, or belonging to the right denomination. According to Paul in the book of Romans, he talks about the Jews, who know and live by the law (the OT), and about Gentiles who do not 'have the law'. It says those who are persistent in doing good are given eternal life, and those who are "self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil", there will be 'wrath and anger'.....
Romans 2:12-16 - All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
So, the way I read that, he's saying that even those who are not Jewish or even Christian are judged righteously. God “will repay each person according to what they have done"(v6). Then he talks about how God's righteousness is given through faith in Jesus to all who believe (Christians) in the following chapter. Faith is not something that works like you're describing, where you 'plug in' and receive the truth. Faith is only faith if you can still fall. It's a struggle. But what faith accomplishes, I think, is willfully maintaining belief in God as a truth without proof. Through simply believing in Jesus you acknowledge God as the authority. You believe in something beyond yourself, greater than yourself, with a greater purpose.
Kind of like the way you talk about leaving the world a better place than you found it. You're seeking good, not for yourself, but for something beyond yourself, bigger than yourself, for the world to come after you. That, to me, is the idea of 'good', versus the idea of 'evil' which seems to more center around 'self-seeking' interests. Much in the same way cells who acknowledge and act in accordance to the DNA code of the body (greater than themselves), their behaviors serve the body, benefiting the system as a whole. Where cells that do not, like cancerous cells, they're more the equivalent of the selfish and self-serving, behaving on their own behalf, and not for the benefit of what's beyond themselves.
You're right, the mind is capable of all kinds of things to get 'what it wants'. This is significant to me. Want. This will that drives us, it wants things, sometimes so bad that it'll, like you said, fool itself. Like how you say it wants to feel it's in control, warranting a "necessary illusion", or else it may get depressed. Sometimes it wants for selfish things, to feed its id or satisfy its pleasure center, and it navigates reality through the ego it forms and the personality it creates accordingly. It tends to model itself, and compare itself to, whatever self-made/self-chosen ideal image it holds in its superego. Considering the elasticity of the brain, you could say this 'will' and what it wants physically shapes the brain. This intangible will actually dictates the pathways that are formed, the habits, addictions, muscle memory, thought processes. And if Carl Jung had it right, there's a collective unconscious that's being fed into as well, if you subscribe to that sort of thing. So it would seem it's of the utmost importance where exactly that needle of 'want' is pointing, as it is ultimately what shapes the brain and who we are.
So, to me, I think of faith and belief as something that points the 'will' in a direction that leads to the development of 'good' habits/thought processes/etc, versus a direction that's 'bad' in that its wants are toward the self and forms habits and thought processes to serve those wants. So faith to me isn't so much something that's immediately felt and known, but rather is something that's willfully maintained and serves a more selfless mindset that forms favorable habits/thought processes throughout life experience. If any of that makes any sense at all.
That makes perfect sense to me. Some need guidance and that's okay. Unfortunately some take the good with the bad. Some use the same faith to sponsor homophobia and racism among other terrible traits.
"So, to me, I think of faith and belief as something that points the 'will' in a direction that leads to the development of 'good' habits/thought processes/etc, versus a direction that's 'bad' in that its wants are toward the self and forms habits and thought processes to serve those wants. So faith to me isn't so much something that's immediately felt and known, but rather is something that's wilfully maintained and serves a more selfless mindset that forms favourable habits/thought processes throughout life experience. If any of that makes any sense at all."
But you do not need faith or belief to point the will toward the positive and away from negative self destructive behaviour. You need rationality and logic as well as a developed sense of empathy.
If you cannot break free of thinking the metaphor is the reality, then faith and belief in a structured system geared toward developing empathy then that’s fine. But most denominations pay lip service to that notion in favour of spreading their own doctrine.
However there is no such thing as a selfless act. All acts come from the self and from the will. The come from need. Even altruistic acts.
Like free will, selflessness is a myth and an impossible state of being unless you consider an accident a selfless event?
Doing for others is often more rewarding then doing for yourself. Why does someone run in to a burning building to save someone else? Because for that individual at that moment it is the only thing they can do and live with themselves. They don’t do it to be heroes, they do it to feel good in their own skin.
A lot of people would not go in to that building. They can’t for whatever overriding reason in their lives prevents it at that moment. And there are many.
But why would a human without a soul want to do good for others? It is simple. We get a return from it. We get peace of mind or love or any number of good/positive rewards.
We love love and feeling good about ourselves and when we feel bad about ourselves we are miserable. Some people do not have the tools to get out of their misery. Religion and belief has helped some but does not seem to help everyone.
Never the less it is not necessary any more. A logical study of cause and effect and a basic understanding of how things work gives us the tools we need to strive for an unattainable perfection in ourselves. It does not matter that it is unattainable. The inner peace and contentment that true logical thinking along with heightened empathy can bring is as astounding as the same peace of mind gained by some from religion and faith.
Why do we get a return from positive acts? Well we get a return from both positive and negative acts, but the negative acts bring conflict to our lives. Positive acts minimize conflict. So if you are an atheist or a theist and you want to live a peaceful happy life the formula is the same: minimize the conflict you create.
The New Testament tells us one simple thing that is so revealing: love others as you love yourself. That is what love is in the simplest terms, making something or someone part of who you are. Love is the most positively selfish thing anyone can do. What you would do for yourself you would do for those who are part of you.
So where do we get these traits if not from a god and a soul? We get them from the very substance we are made of: atoms/energy. The laws of conservation in particular shows how and why atoms merge and form new unions and substances. Every atom always tends toward it’s lowest possible output of energy. That level varies and would never be zero, but because of entropy there is always a lowest possible level reached and a new state formed.
Simple rules, which are not rules but the nature of energy itself, create order. The universe tends toward balance and perfection, but can never reach an absolutely perfect state of balance. We humans do what we do for the same reasons. We want to reach our own form of perfection, which for some is as simple as feeling good about themselves for once in their lives. It is not easy for everyone to do. Like the atom, there are thousands of interactions we have with others which can facilitate or disrupt our own balance.
The universe does not seem to be top down like: god, mankind, atoms. Its bottom up: energy, particles, atoms, molecules, chemicals, biology. So below, so above.
Yes, I agree. Even in the biblical context, given the bit in Romans, at least how I read it, it too is saying faith/belief isn't required when speaking of all of those who do not 'have the law', but still 'do by nature things required by the law'.
So, in the 'God introduced free will' context, you've got a God capable of instilling altruistic behaviors through purely natural means, because all of nature works according to how He wishes. But when free will is introduced, He no longer has control in how they behave and develop in that He cannot simply will their behavior to make it so. In the case of free will, habits are being formed, and traits passed on, through the will and want of humans, who at this point are disconnected from their 'natures' and are operating on a much more individual perspective. This would be why laws are even necessary. There's no need for laws without free will. And even when there are laws, with free will it's a choice whether or not to respect and adhere to those laws.
I get what you're saying, and I agree with a lot of it in the sense that altruistic behavior is something that's common amongst most mammals, not just humans. It's a survival benefit. But some of the phrases that stick out in my mind as not quite fitting the explanation you're giving are things like ... "it is the only thing they can do and live with themselves", "they do it to feel good in their own skin", "We get peace of mind or love or any number of good/positive rewards", "We love love and feeling good about ourselves and when we feel bad about ourselves we are miserable"...
What does it matter that we 'feel good about ourselves'? What mechanism is it that makes us feel good or bad about the things we do? Are you saying the motivation of one who runs into a burning building 'to live with themselves' in the sense that they're more 'at peace' in the hopes that what they choose to do, others would do for them as well?
@Headly:I have had extensive conversation/debate with these objectivist/materialist/nihilist folks on HubPages, so I am not at all perplexed that no matter how logical and profound and historically truthful your arguments are they will remain unmoved from their mindset of total and complete disbelief of the spiritual underpinnings of human existence.
Comparing the Bible (which has existed for thousands of years) and its complex (literal/metaphorical/mystical/mythical) narrative of people existing within the framework of human-divine perplexities, to Harry Potter (all magical and nothing else) is like comparing Bethoven's Symphonic composition to Snoop Dog's Hip/Hop ramblings.
Now if Harry Potter is still alive and kicking after thousand of years, then I suppose you could, put it close but not at the same level as the Bible.
Because it's old it must be true? Is the Quran true then because it's old and still followed despite the fact that it says the earth is egg shaped? I've had people tell me the earth is in fact shaped like an egg. The Quran claims to supersede and correct the bible. Using your logic it must be true because it's old and people still follow it.
Something to be said about surviving the test of time. Now just because you personally are offended by what is contained in the Bible or the Koran, does not mean that their importance to millions of people should be nullified and invalidated. If you approach the two books purely from a materialist/objectivist/nihilist mind set, then good luck with finding the nuggets of truth that both books have been mined by people of consciencious predisposition.
The book of Mormon seems to be gaining attention as well. It's not as old as the other two, but does that matter? The book of Mormon is important to millions of people, does that mean it's factual? Is it more factual than Harry Potter? Have you read the Book of Mormon looking for nuggets of truth?
That's the most creative writing I've run across tonight. I'll have to read your posts more often.
So, you're saying that originally humans had no free will... Please do tell what would a valid reason to create humans that do.
I find your God-is-a-scientist view as disturbing for two main reasons:
1. That makes us and our souls (and the eternal rest of our souls), and the whole process really, guinea pigs, or I guess mice in a lab.
2. The fact that He would find our souls/livelihood inconsequential enough to carry out such an experiment.
Even human scientists have a certain code of ethics they have to follow.
There must at least be consent and as little possibility of harm as possible for humans anyway.
Now, the humans without free will were likely happy, or at most ignorant of what it would mean to disobey. That'd be great for us considering ignorance is bliss and Hell wouldn't even be a whisper of a thought in anyone's mind. Everyone would just be walking around mindlessly happy unaware of anything else.
Now aside from the God-is-a-scientist view, the only other reason I've heard as to why God gave humans free will (or created humans that could practice free will), was because He would find it displeasing to have people who always did what He wanted and that "true" love and willful obedience could only happen if they had a choice. This is why time and time again I have said that this God is selfish.
What should've been more important?
His yearn for "true" love, or the livelihood of those that he created?
Or, if He's a scientist, His curiosity, or the well being of His participants?
An experiment is essentially supposed to lead to the greater good of the people. This leads to the greater good of God, a greater good for some people, and apparently a horrible ending for many (as it seems to path to Heaven is a narrow one).
It makes me think of researchers whose goal is their own personal gain/attention. Like that idiot guy that came out with ONE study saying that vaccines caused autism (he later recanted because he'd made up the results, and many sicknesses have resurfaced because people that don't understand the nature of research said "hey, we're not going to vaccinate our kids anymore."
Or like the spoiled rich kid bored with all his maids and servants because they bend to his will without effort so he looks for entertainment and is enticed by people that won't give in to him so easily (using other people as tools for his own amusement/ satisfaction).
The 'scientist' analogy does come off a bit more cold and clinical than I mean it to, but I'm using it in an attempt to highlight the volatile nature of free will and how it impacts the overall story being told and necessitates the actions being taken.
While I certainly understand what you're saying, I think free will is very much worth the trouble. To live as you described, blissfully unaware, there'd really be no point. We'd basically just be going through the motions. That, to me, would be cruel. Create us just to be born, eat, sleep, procreate, age, whither, die. For just a handful of decades, for no real reason.
It's free will that makes our lives what they are. It's what makes our friendships and relationships what they are. Like you said, 'true' love can only happen if there is a choice. It's what makes what we do, and what we don't do, matter. The choices we make, who we choose to spend our time with, what we do with the time we have, the sacrifices we make for others, all of this matters because of free will. Because it's a choice. Free will created the modern world, our art, music, technology, science, but it also created war and greed. It's all the best and worst of humanity. It's all the things we most cherish about being human and it's all the things we most despise. And it's the things we despise that make the things we cherish so cherishable. It's the bad times that make the good times what they are. It's the possibility of failure that makes success what it is, the possibility of pain and hurt that makes compassion and sacrifice what they are.
I agree with you that the humans without free will were content. In fact, if I'm right about this, this change can actually be seen in our history. And the humans who came before, the tribal cultures, the early horticultural societies, even some indigenous cultures that exist through to this day, they're much more content than 'civilized' humanity ever was. All around the globe these people had a very similar view of the natural world and of one another. These cultures were not male-dominated, they weren't broken up into classes, burial sites and homes were all the same size, they weren't all hung up on possessions, and there was little to no violence or warfare. Land wasn't something to own, but rather belonged to all the living creatures. They're simply content with a simple life living in harmony with nature and don't feel the need to strive for anything more than they have.
Historically, when that behavioral change came, so too did civilization, as well as male-dominated societies, class stratification, the 'accursed love of possession' as one Roman poet put it, slavery, and warfare. The 4th millennium BC was arguably the most tumultuous period in human history. As the first civilizations formed, before governments and laws ruled the land, as the boundary lines were still being drawn, that region of the world was a very violent place. Only those in power through might, or those enslaved and thus under the protection of those in power, survived. What we see in these modern times as barbaric about those stories of the bible, this is what was necessary to survive in the world that free will created.
I think this 'fall' that Genesis is describing, and that so many other mythologies of that region are talking about, is when humanity gained our modern, more pronounced ego. An ego that makes us feel disconnected from the natural world, from one another, and even from our own bodies. It's when we began to diverge away from living in harmony with the natural world into altering and trying to control it and everyone in it. It's when we became fundamentally discontent and disconnected. Those behavioral changes we see in our historical record, the shift to male-dominance and class systems and all the rest, I think these were the result of this psychological separation. This emergence of a more pronounced ego. All of this began right where the stories of Genesis are said to have taken place and spread rapidly from there. It's this change that I think is the result of the story Genesis is telling. It's the result of the introduction of free will into an already populated world. It's the knowledge of good and evil.
I do think having free will means having the capability to reject God. While I don't buy into the eternal damnation thing, I do think there will inevitably be some who will not move on. It wouldn't really be our choice otherwise. I think He does want us to choose Him, but He's not going to force us. In fact I think He went through a whole lot of trouble to make sure we have the capability to choose. I just don't see that as selfish. If you're a God capable of creation, you really only have three choices. No existence, existence where everyone and everything behaves exactly according to your will, or existence with others that have minds and wills of their own. If that's the case then I like the choice He made. I see this lifetime in this finite universe as a means to make free will possible.
Understand I'm just sharing what I've arrived at in my own personal search for truth and understanding. I'm not trying to advance some religious agenda and I'm not trying to preach to anybody or justify my beliefs. This is just how I honestly see it and why.
Spot on. This pretty much sums up my thoughts as well.
Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully, and succinctly put together your perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's posts on here, but your perspective resonates with me the most.
I've been thinking of this exact thing for awhile now, and so it is no coincidence that I have stumbled upon this very topic in the forum. I see it as no coincidence because these kind of things happen to me every single day, where I am wondering about something, and very soon after, my answer shows up in a conversation, on the news, just by reading things spontaneously on the internet, etc. But anyways…
I want to change direction for a bit, and I'd like you to reply if you will…
I believe that the political systems of the world also operate on this knowledge and understanding of freewill, and yet, the state or government, whatever you want to call it, has the ability and 'right' to take your Will away. It has the power too, against your Will; detain, try, take your possessions and family members, threaten, kill, you. I mean, if your Will is truly yours, and is a reflection of who you are, how could anyone besides yourself, make a claim of right to it?
I believe it is made possible by deception. First, they train us to believe that the state, or whatever you want to call it, expresses a fair amount of credibility, certainty, and worthiness, that is guided the light of 'Reason'. This Reason with a big 'R', is sort of a divined reason, owned by a superior intellect to that of each person's it governs. And it is presented to us by the actual people who make up these divined institutions, that because they are apart of this divined institution, they by association are more fit, of sounder mind, and made worthy (By swearing to God to tell the truth, etc.) to judge the reasonings of other people's, and take their Will away. Via Reason, they claim to have the right to govern, judge, punish, and reward, every action and thought of the rest of the population who uses reason, with a little 'r'.
I find it very troubling that there are elected and unelected men and women who literally have the power of each person's God-given Will, in their hands. For instance, you may be speeding down the road and get pulled over because you are going above the posted speed limit. By the light of Reason, i.e. laws, you are found to be guilty of driving at unsafe speeds. But science proves irrefutably that every single person is unique. Thus, everyone has their own unique capabilities, abilities, and Will. They are able to operate their vehicle at whatever speed they personally reason to be safe. So how can there be a set of VALID laws that claim the right to establish an enforceable (restriction) speed upon the millions of unique Wills, capabilities, people out there? They say it is for the protection of the entire general population when actually, there is no such thing as a general population because there is no such thing as a generalized human being. How can the light of Reason, truly hold water if everyone is a universe unto themselves completely estranged and separate from the minds and Wills of others? Isn't that the very definition of freewill?
Even if you command me to jump, do I not have the ability to exercise my own Will, and choose to jump or not? (Proving my power of Will stronger than yours in regards to myself, thus making any judgement I make about myself stronger than any you could formulate). No one can go inside you and make you do (take over your mind) anything you do not want to do. Thus, how can the light of Reason, (lacking the complete understanding of each and every person through and through, and lacking the power over the Will of the individual it is trying to control) enforce anything, or command anyone to do anything? How can anyone claiming to possess the light of Reason punish anyone for not obeying a command of another person, or sign? How can there be truly enforceable, punishable restrictions of choice? When looked at with the light of free will, rules are seen as they really are; suggestions as there can be no valid, enforceable, command to a free Willed person.
How can someone claiming to have the light of Reason truly ever know with certainty, what any other person is capable of, let alone be able to then make sweeping judgements about the correct speed a person can safely travel, thus enforce a punishment upon them? The only person worthy of punishing you, is You, since you are the ONLY accurate gauge of who you are and what you are capable. Thus, governance via Reason, is a deception which involves you handing over (since they can't take it from you) your right to govern yourself, choose for yourself, exercise your Will, and be the true authority over who you are, what you call yourself, and what you are capable, what punishment or rewards you deserve, over to someone else.
Strange concept I know, because a lot of people say that without the light of Reason, the whole world would turn to chaos, but isn't that assumption in itself still unverifiable? That assumption to me, reflects the same assumption and attitude of someone who thinks of themselves as possessing the light of Reason because they: generalize humanity as a whole (mistake number 1). And on top of that, views humanity as being irresponsible, and having no natural personal morals and naturally peaceful convictions (mistake number 2). They then go on to say that unless laws are written down and then ''given'' to the people from those who possess the light of Reason, and then enforced, by those who swear to uphold the light of Reason, (to the best of their ability-which means they could get away with murder essentially because ''best'' is subjective) humanity is doomed.
This is all completely elitist bologna, because I have seen many tribes still peacefully existing today without the existence of written laws or governments. These same people called these tribes, "arrested civilizations." I personally despise this particular system ruled by Reason, and the notion that humans would automatically become barbaric if there were no system of law, and enforcement, holding back the flood waters of chaos.
As it stands, and is proven everyday, all peoples are deemed by those with the light of Reason, mentally deficient, morally debase, and thus, unworthy of carrying out their own Will without them!
Yes, according to these people, we actually NEED them! We actually NEED people who CLAIM( subjective) to be of higher reason, higher status, higher capabilities, and have the "Right stuff" to govern the rest of us poor, lowly, beasts. Because without them and their law, without their guiding and superior intellects divined with the light of Reason; the right to rule, humanity would destroy itself.
Does this mean I think I am above the law? Yes. But does this make me immoral and debase, hoping to get away with murder? Hell no. I just believe people ought to have the right to decide for themselves..everything. Do I think rapists, murderers, liars, and thieves should get away with everything they have done? No. But I do not believe that the majority of people are willing to commit these acts on other people, and so they should not have to be ruled over by an elitist gang for protection at the cost of being able to be enslaved at any time against their will.
I do believe there is a natural moral law that most people live by, and it exists outside of law books, and courtrooms and in the wild. I have seen it. It is called empathy.
What do you think?
I think believers are on to something. However, as we look more closely, almost everyone is definitely believing in something. We do know how the universe works to some degree, and can work off the little bit we do know from science. I mean the science we can all agree on even. Assumptions can lead to wrong conclusions. Of course there are explanations to things, but sometimes people seem to not be able to handle the implications that come with the explanations.
2. Yes, a kind of free will.
3. Resurrection, then facing our maker. He makes the final call.
I don't think Abraham incurring God's wrath for not carrying out the sacrifice is consistent with other stories. God's wrath is usually said to come in those cases where 'wickedness' was at play. Abraham choosing to not sacrifice Isaac was not an act of 'wickedness'.
What I'm saying is that what the bible is describing is a will that is truly free. Meaning, God really would not have known what Abraham would do unless he be put in a situation where he had to make the decision. Because he is not behaving according to God's will, but his own.
It's not so much that He 'goes back and forth', it's more that He sees all of time all at once, so He sees the result of a change instantaneously. There's one version of a reality where free will had not been introduced, one where it had. The introduction of free will changes how existence plays out. Then there's how existence with free will played out with and without the flood altering the outcome.
I think of it in the context of a programmer, with the program being existence, existing when that program is in runtime. When all the functions of the program are only what the programmer wrote, then it works as expected with no unknowns to account for. But if that program were open to other applications hooking into it and passing in information, applications not written by the programmer, then there's no accounting for that. The program must then be altered from its original state to handle these potential unknowns coming in so that it still runs as intended.
If he (or anything) can know everything in advance then life is deterministic because the future is already known. If he goes around asking questions back in time he changes things in the future. If we can change his vision of the future then he does not know the future and can not know all in advance. You can't have it both ways.
That my friend is what I have been attempting to explain to him for years.
It is definitely one of the flaws in the theist model I see over and over again, God sees all and knows all but we have free will to change the future. It's a paradox that they have to go to great length to rationalize. And unless you are a logical person to begin with it is easy to get caught by their complex paradox. They have had centuries to perfect it. lol...
But a bit of logic blows it away as the impossible rationalization that it is.
The only explanation I can come up with is a subconscious part of the mind hides the paradox as it's right there in front of their face, but that can't see it.
I would disagree. I think, if i was in a position to see all of history, at a particular moment for me, I could know what would happen without influencing events in any way. If I can simultaneously observe every moment of your life, how does that imply that I control it?
Here is the paradox. Headly is claiming that God had to ask Abraham to kill his son because he didn't know what he would do. He claims God can't see what humans decide to do thus giving us free will. Someone who can see all of time will be able to see every decision we make from the moment he decides to create the universe.
I've read Headly's arguments. I'm at a loss. They don't make sense, to me.
I dont understand him either. When I ask my young kids a question or to do something, I'm not in ignorance of their answer. The question is not always for my benefit, but to get them to think, or to get them to do what I want them to do.
The point to the whole conversation is the importance of properly understanding how the capability to act contrary to God's will impacts the story being told. To properly understand the narrative and the motivations behind the actions taken, you first have to understand this.
We call it 'free will', and maybe that title in and of itself is confusing matters. The point is, all the world acted according to God's will only, up to the point that Adam/Eve were created. From that point forward there were people in existence who behaved according to their own minds and wills, meaning what the world had become, what the Jewish people were told to do, this was not God's ideal model of existence. These were things necessary to survive in an environment created by humans, and not under total control by God. Taking land, enslaving inhabitants, these were the things necessary to sustain a high population of people in that environment. An environment created by the capability first introduced through the creation of Adam/Eve.
The Abraham story is an example to illustrate that the capability God introduced into the world through Adam and Eve, which passed on to everyone 'of Eve', truly is a mind and a will apart from His. If there were not then there'd be no need to test Abraham, no need for commandments, judgement, any of that.
I totally understand what you are trying to say or explain to these unbelieving folks.
I have always thought that the Bible's Old Testament in its entirety is a narrative of people , starting with Adam and Eve, who from my interpretation of it, were not the very first humans to inhabit earth, but were the first humans to intuit, discern and extrapolate the existence of a Unitary God (a Supernatural, who is above and beyond the Laws of Nature)who gave them the ability (free will) to act above nature (supra-natural) but not beyond its laws. The rest of creation, humans and all the other animate species, merely stayed within the confines of nature, because they did not discern or extrapolate the existence of such a Unitary God i.e. their instincts, pretty much followed what nature expected them to do-- to think and act specifically within the bounds of nature, not above it.
Happily, with Free Will came CREATIVITY; unhappily, EGO soon followed.
The interaction of Free will, Creativity, and Ego, is what spurred human civilization to flourish, and within it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
You and I seem to be very much on the same page. I understand it's difficult for both believers and nonbelievers to see such familiar material in such a different light. But between Genesis, the various other mythological stories throughout the region, combined with what's now known about the ancient world, it seems there's little doubt these texts are at the very least describing a very real, and very pivotal, event in human history. Whether or not you buy into the God aspect of the story, I would think any human would find this information of the utmost of interest.
But interpretations were already formed and sworn as truth so long ago by those of the past who declared themselves 'authorities' in truth, and views and opinions have been formed based on that 'truth', that it's difficult to see it any other way.
I was just wondering if you have read the book titled; "The Genesis Enigma" by Professor Andrew Parker who is a research fellow at Oxford University, a research leader at the Natural History Museum, and a professor at Shanghai's Jiao Tong University. Interesting book wherein the Professor discuss the importance of looking at Genesis not too literally and with metaphorical implications/interpretations.
No I haven't, but I'd definitely be interested in his take.
Initially I didn't read it literally. I suspected that these were maybe myth-like stories used to convey these complex events in a more manageable format. But I couldn't let go of how specific it was. Especially in regards to the patriarchs living in such a specific place, living to such a specific age, having sons at such a specific age, that kind of thing. Not to mention later books, like Jesus in the NT, would often refer back to Adam and Noah, and would do so as if they were real.
I had in the back of my mind this idea about them being one and the same as, or at least the source that inspired, the gods of the various ancient mythologies of the region. Especially since anyone living 900+ years would seem very much god-like to someone who only lived a mortal lifetime. The more I would consider this, the more it made sense. Now I'm of the mind that a literal interpretation, as crazy as it sounds, may very well be the right way to read it. It sure seems to explain a lot about what the people who actually existed in that age were saying. And it makes a lot more sense than the common assumption that these mythological gods of the Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, etc, were just made-up characters created to help people understand the world around them. Especially considering they all came up with such similar stories to one another though they formed independently as evidenced by their wholly unique languages.
I am not a biblical scholar... so I can not comment with any degree of comfort that what I am saying or believe I am saying makes factual sense. But I could conceptualize ideas based on my reading of the various literature on the central topic (not tangential ones) that to me are not too far from off base from what others might also sensibly/logically conceptualize. Conclusion as to the veracity of those concepts always comes later in the form of validation by impeccably reliable sources.
From what I've found so far I'm definitely interested in checking this book out. It seems to be all about the creation account specifically, but given Parker's respect in the scientific community in regards to his knowledge of the Cambrian explosion, I have to admit it's reassuring to see such similarities between his depiction and the one I did. I guess I've just been ridiculed and called idiotic by so many over that particular piece that knowing someone that's respected in the scientific community for his level of knowledge, and who is clearly not an idiot, sees things in much the same way as I do is encouraging. Thank you for referring me to it. It's now on my ever-growing list of books I'd like to read before I die.
I discussed Prof. Parkers book and his take on the converging/meshing timeline of the Biblical narrative in Genesis to the empirical data culled from multiple scientific investigations ( mostly the earth's fossil , geological and archaeological records) on another HubPages forum, and you know what? These unbelieving folks (Wilderness was one of them) immediately labeled Prof. Parker an IDIOT. So go figure.
I can't say I'm surprised. But hey, there have been many a believer who have labeled brilliant scientific minds as 'idiots', or something similar, for much the same reason. Basically because they think something that doesn't jive with their beliefs. There's a reason there's such a slow curve in human progress. Apparently the name-calling and BS calling without even a hint of actual research to back up those claims is an unavoidable part of the process. We're a stubborn breed, that's for sure. Just look at how long it took the general public to get on board with the whole 'the sun's at the center of our planetary system' idea.
Here is a review of the book on a creationist website.
http://ncse.com/rncse/30/4/review-genes … y-accurate
It appears he thinks Genesis should be read figuratively rather than literally and many of the words and the meaning have to be changed for it to make sense. Fruit trees don't mean fruit trees it means whatever vegetation that was there at the time.
Parker has a good many books under his belt. It's possible he thought he'd tap into a money maker.
Come on, Rad, don't be that guy. This guy clearly has an in depth knowledge of evolution and the geological formation of the planet, and sees the obvious (yes, obvious) correlation between the Genesis account and actual history. Something we could all potentially learn from, or gain insight from through properly recognizing our ancestors and their accomplishments at the very least.
Like this link I just recently ran across that has to do with the correlation between the existence of continents on a planet and the possibility of life existing on that planet.... http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2cBFjS/:1 … life.html/
Well, it turns out that the evolution of photosynthetic organisms looks to have played a key role in the tectonic churn and formation of continental land mass on this planet. Which means that the Genesis account is even moreso right on point in the way that each creation was a vital element to the creation of the next thing ...
oceans > light > atmosphere/water cycle > land
So, you have oceans, and then light, both of which are requirements for the formation of the atmosphere (aquatic photosynthesis) and water cycle. Well that formation of the photosynthetic blue-green algae that actually created our oxygenated atmosphere, it turns out, also played an incredibly large role in the next creation to be specifically addressed... land.
We, and I do mean all of us, seriously need to open our minds around here.
Before Darwin genesis was thought by many to be factual word for word. Before Galileo it was thought that everything revolve around the earth. Before Abraham Werner it commonly thought the earth was 6000 years old. So now in an effort to make genesis work we must change words and their meaning so far the the story no longer resembles the original meaning. I just read an interview with Parker where he says be became a believer while writing this book, not before, but while writing the book. This tells me he was setting out to sell books and not to bring meaning to genesis. Why would someone leaning towards Atheism start a book that intends to attempt to marry evolution with the bible?
That's incredibly cynical, don't you think? To assume this reputable scientist would write a book and claim to have converted during the process, just to make money?
You said the same about me in regards to changing the meaning of words. I understand that in your mind this can't possibly be true, so I can understand how your mind would jump to all these conclusions. Much in the same way that other's minds jumped to conclusions as well when they read these texts without the benefit of modern knowledge. Which made them reject Darwin's ideas, which made them reject Galileo's ideas, and Werner's. Now you're doing the same. You have these preconceived ideas that, when in conflict with what someone else is saying, you jump to conclusions because that can't possibly be true. The earth can't possibly be older than 6000 years. Evolution over millions of years can't possibly be true. Now this.
I just don't think it accurate to change words like fruit trees to plant algae or some such thing. Parkers description of let there be light is different then yours. In his he says that that when eyes were formed. To many stretched need to occur for me to by that a day doesn't mean a day and so on. Do we have all this planned evolution and then he simple creates Atom from dust. It's just to big a leap especially when we can't even prove prayer works in any shape or form. To much is out of order and has to be worked and stretched to put it back in order. We are supposed to understand that fruit trees don't mean fruit trees but birds mean birds. And what a stretch to be birds in the right order.
I wouldn't call it cynical, more sceptical and realistic. I should add I was interested enough to do some research.
You did do some research, but it really didn't take you long to find a reason to reject it completely and categorically, never mind the author and his obvious level of knowledge, or the clear correlation between two individuals reaching much the same conclusions totally independently of one another.
I saw that bit about the formation of eyes, which is interesting. I still think it more correlates to atmospheric changes, but it would also make a lot of sense that the formation/evolution of eyes would run parallel to these atmospheric changes that allowed for a visible sun from the surface, so the timeline is correct in both instances.
Regarding the fruit trees thing, we now know that everything that exists in one form today existed in a different form previously. This isn't news. If God is willing these things to become what they ultimately became, what we humans would recognize them to be, like fruit trees and birds, then to actually accomplish that they first have to take many other different forms. Like humans. When the changes first began that eventually led to humans there were no humans. There were bonobos, or maybe some other earlier ancestor, then there were bipeds, then homo habilis, erectus, etc. But to a human audience, none of that would have made much sense. When you're telling a story and you're pointing to the trees and saying this is when these things came about, that's true. They may not have been fruit trees initially, but they became the fruit trees that the intended audience is familiar with over time.
Sure, there may be a 'stretch' here and there, whether it be his view on the formation of eyes, or mine in correlation to atmospheric changes. But notice we're both spanning the same piece. Why? Because all the other parts fall right into place so succinctly that this too must have just as valid of an explanation. Much in the same way it went when you and I discussed creation before, you would focus in on one or two particulars, hardly acknowledging the other 23 things that aren't in contention because they're exactly right. You were left trying to pick apart these little bits here and there.
I'm just saying, what makes you so certain that Parker, and I, are completely off about this? That we're stretching the truth and rationalizing to ourselves how this must be? Is it really so terrible a thought that these authors may well have known more than we generally give them credit for?
Not at all, I'd love to believe in life after death and getting to see those we've lost again and all that stuff. Both you and him came up with different ways genesis could be right if we stretch and pull and change some words and make new ones. So what? I could do that. Anyone could take what we know of the earth and make it align with genesis if we can change words and meanings.
I didn't change the words, or the order of the words, heavens, earth, oceans (or the 'deep'), atmosphere/water cycle (firmament/waters separated above and below), land, sauropsids (living creatures and birds), synapsids (beasts), and humans. And that's all in the right order. And not just in the right order, but it covers the full range of major events in earth's history, in order. And that's not including 'light' and visible 'sun/moon/stars', which are also right, and right in order, though I know you object.
But maybe part of the issue is you seem to think accepting even this means accepting it all. Not so. Which is probably why your objections are so often categorically applied. I didn't say anything about life after death and all of that. This is just the accuracy of the creation account. We already know these ancient civilizations to have been intelligent. They were the first astronomers and mathematicians and writers. Ptolemy learned astronomy from the Sumerians. Can we not at least acknowledge their accuracy here? Genesis being accurate doesn't necessarily mean God exists. Perhaps it could just mean they had a much better grasp on the natural world than we thought. If that's all we were talking about, just some ancient text and not the first book of the bible, I don't suspect your objections would be so vehement. I think you're standing strong more because accepting this, in your mind, means accepting the existence of God and all the rest of it too.
The contradictions are endless and I really don't want to go through them again.
"And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day"
That's a description of a day.
Does the sky separate the waters from earth from the waters from space?
The first thing after seas we have land vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees that bear fruit with seed in it?
He then made lights in the sky, moon and sun and then stars. after seed-bearing plants?
Water creatures and birds.
Livestock and wild animals.
“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
What's up with the US?
I could go on and on.
I know. We've been over this and over this. No need to rehash. But what I do want to bring attention to is the apparent double-standard on display here. When discussing things like evolution, physics, neuroscience, and everything else that's decidedly on the science side of the fence, there's this emphasis on facts. On knowing the details and gaining a proper understanding. Yet when it comes to this particular topic, even though I know you know this a 3000+ year old document that was written by an ancient culture in an ancient language, you seem to think that just nonchalantly scanning over one of the English translations of these texts is adequate enough to argue your objections against it. Then when I try to address those objections, no consideration whatsoever appears to be given to the chasm that exists between modern English culture and ancient Hebrew culture, even though I know you realize and understand there's a significant rift there. You instead accuse me of twisting things around and changing the definitions of words, based on nothing more than your cursory gaze. Even though I've pointed out in the past that Semitic Jews who read Hebrew fluently see no conflict with how it's described and what we now understand about the Earth's history, that doesn't matter at all. Because somehow your impression is more reliable than a Semitic Jews' take. Does that seem right to you?
There are plenty of people who think the universe is 6000 years old and humans walked with dinosaurs. Some of them seemingly smart, educated people, should I take their word for it? Don't you think it would be rather unfair to get a new translation done that bends to todays understanding of reality rather than use the translation that were done without having information that may taint the translation? I'm sure we could find someone who could translate Genesis to line up perfectly with what we currently understand, but that would be a rather biased translation. Since I don't have a complete grasp of the original language I'll have to rely of those that did and those that didn't or weren't attempting to change the content to our current understandings.
But notice how those who think the world is 6000 years old and that humans walked with dinosaurs are predominately English-speaking Christians. Modern day Jewish people don't claim that. For good reason.
So, basically it's your cynical outlook that causes you to assume the worst of believers, like the assumption that Parker must have been motivated by money to claim what he has, that's the real issue. It's a personal bias you hold that doesn't allow for any other acceptable explanations other than the delusional confirmation bias of a believer.
I think it's entirely fair to reconsider these texts in the light of modern knowledge. If there wasn't such a close correlation then there'd be nothing to talk about. It would be obvious and there'd be no amount of word-twisting to make it seem anything more than it is. But that's clearly not the case. Especially considering independent sources managed to reach much the same conclusion totally independently of one another.
Your surprised that independent sources altered the text to conform with today's knowledge?
I personally think it's to far away from what we know to entertain as factual.
Why again do people write books?
Further, are you stating that all Jewish people have maintained an old earth over the last few thousand years?
No. What I'm saying is that in the light of new knowledge they recognized that how the text is written natively does not conflict...
By the early to mid-1900s, the majority of Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism came to accept the existence of evolution as a scientific fact. They interpreted Genesis and related Jewish teachings in light of this fact. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_on_evolution
What I'm trying to get you to realize is that most of your objections are based on the wording, and how in your view it contradicts. I'm trying to point out that on the word of people who speak and read that language natively, that is not the case.
Right, by the mid 1900's, they never thought that the universe was old based on the text. The Catholic church did the same. Both these groups are rather invested don't you think. Some groups bend the text and others bend science. Something has to bend. Even the Jews read their own text and thought the earth was new until science revealed something else. I'd be will to bet that are still Jews that maintain an young earth.
Do you not see, that even though you admittedly "don't have a complete grasp of the original language" and that you'll "have to rely of those that did", when it comes to natively speaking Jewish people who see no conflict with science, your go-to response is that they must be lying? Or that they're being "intellectually dishonest". They must be bending the text, or science, or both.
So far, you've assumed that I'm twisting and redefining words because I'm a Christian, so I must be trying to justify my beliefs. So then I point out devout Jews who speak the language natively and see no conflict. Your response, well they're rather invested in this being right, don't you think? Then we discuss a highly respected scientist. Your response, he's greedy. He wants money.
This is the thing that drives me crazy about this. Let's imagine for just a minute that there really was something to this, hypothetically. And I don't even mean the whole God aspect of it. Just the historical relevance. Mindsets such as yours have already determined their own truth, and nothing, no amount of logic or reason or evidence, is going to change their mind. Despite all evidence, you're going make sweepingly general allegations as to the intent of everyone as reason enough.
You are missing something important here. At you stated the the people who understand the language (I suspect it's changed) thought until the mid 1900's that we have a young earth. When science reveals otherwise the belief changes as well. Just like the Catholics. Show me a group of devoted religious people that believed the earth was old before science told them it was?
What about showing you a group of devoted religious people that believed a proper description of the early earth was to say it was "without form and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep" before science told them it was?
So the people who could read the original text read it as a young earth until science showed them otherwise and you want me to believe it was a translation issue.
Without form and empty. Day one = 10 billion years.
No, not a translation issue. It just wasn't specified. It wasn't the point of the story. The same wording they used to describe this day and that day is the same wording used to describe this age and that age. And even ages have mornings and evenings, or beginnings and endings. It's just the style in which the story was told. So the focus is on what details it describes happened in each day/age.
We didn't know until this century that the universe and the earth actually had a beginning at all. We didn't know until this century that the earth began covered in oceans, and that land came quite a bit later. And that the atmosphere formed between those two things. Or that birds came before mammals, which came before humans.
"And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day."
Megazostrodon is an extinct Mammaliaform that is widely accepted as being one of the first mammals and which appeared in the fossil record approximately 200 million years ago.
The earliest known bird (avialan) fossils currently known hail from the Tiaojishan Formation of China, which has been dated to the late Jurassic period (Oxfordian stage), about 160 million years ago.
We have fruit trees, then then stars, then sun and moon, and then stars again, then water creatures (all of them) and birds (all of them), then land animals (all of them, including livestock), then man.
BTW, the oldest livestock I could find is about 10,000 years ago.
This somehow all lines up for you.
But what are the major ages of animals. Reptiles and birds had their age. Then Mammals had their age. Then the age of humans.
And of course the age of plant life came before them all, which resulted in fruit trees. With plant life on land the atmosphere became more transparent and by the time animals began making their way onto land the continents moved into their current position, accomplishing all 'day 4' says. Just look at tectonic plate movement from the Cambrian forward. The sun/moon/stars being positioned in the sky is a very apt description. And of course the original text doesn't say 'livestock'. That's a later translation.
Yes, it does line up.
So you've got to change the "God created" to "major ages" to make it work and it still doesn't. I have to say land animals "dinosaurs and reptiles" should have been before birds as should mammals. Land animals were around millions of years before birds as were mammals.
Besides which, birds were created in the water. Didn't you know that? lol...
But they did ultimately come from the water. We know that now. Everything did. What this verse illustrates that I think is most relevant, is that the life its talking about here that was called to come 'from the sea' is not just talking about sea life.
To bad it doesn't say that. It certainly doesn't say all creatures came from the water.
But if that were true then why not say that instead of making it sound like every individual animal as well as man was created separately and whole? Land animals were created after Adam, on earth, for him to choose a mate from.
Birds were created too for the same purpose. Yet before that they were created in the water with the whales.
Come now, I understand you want to make this book factual but there are way to many contradictions to do so convincingly. Frankly you are not addressing them, you are just glossing over them.
I just wrote out a response to your latest hub that addresses this more fully, but the jist of it is the creation story of Adam in Gen2 is not a retelling of creation. It's a separate event, and a much more geographically specific telling, happening in an already populated world.
You have to be careful with that "making it sound like" bit. Because, from what I can tell, it seems to be pretty spot on. I know that 'according to their kind' thing throws people off and that there's a whole theist/atheist argument centered around that alone. But I think it's actually a very relevant description considering a great many of the species that exist today found most of their diversity in the cambrian explosion before any life even left the sea. There was already quite a bit of diversity in the species, that simply continued on from there.
Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub. I will address that there at length. We both seem to be wordy when writing. There is a lot in your reply to address.
So you like others before you think that Adam was not the first man, just the first Jew? Well that's sort of what the Hebrews thought too. At least some of them. And I can see that in light of Adams kids going out to find mates elsewhere.
But if they had souls and their mates did not then you are up against the same issue that supposedly started the flood. So why didn't god get mad then? He waited a long time to recognize that we were mating with sub humans.
And then how do you explain animals being created for Adam to mate with instead of a human female with a soul? Did all these animals have souls?Were these all never before seen animals and birds? You can see what nonsense this is, surely?.
Believe it or not I actively try not to be too wordy. Clearly that's working out.
I think they all had souls. I think the trait Adam had and passed on was a free will. A will not predisposed to adhere to God's will, like everything else in the natural world, but capable of its own.
And I don't think God 'waited'. Time's irrelevant. It's just the cause and effect of whether or not free will was introduced like a droplet hitting water and causing a ripple. There's two scenarios. One where only God's will exists, and the way that universe plays out, then there's the one where other wills are introduced and the outcome that causes. I don't think it's a matter of waiting. It's like running a program. With just your code it runs as intended. But if a user logs in and types in a bunch of random characters that you could not account for, it causes an unintended result. So then you change your code to account for this previously unaccounted for data to ensure the code continues to run as intended. I think the flood was an adjustment to change the course of what would have happened otherwise.
See, the story reads in a very particular way to me where God's actions are concerned. Think about it in the context of God being a gardener. He's planting this new strain, attempting to breed something in particular. He has to prune away the ones showing undesired results and breed from the ones showing the desired results. That's what it seems to me He's doing. Like choosing Noah to continue on from. Then choosing, and testing, Abraham. And then giving all these laws to the descendants of Abraham regarding who to mate with, who not to, what not to eat. These are things you'd do if you were attempting to breed particular characteristics. In this case, a rather volatile and unpredictable characteristic.
I'm not sure what you mean about the animals being created for Adam to mate with. That's new to me. He made Eve as a companion for Adam. In fact, I don't think they were originally intended to die, or to procreate. Both of these things were a direct result of 'the fall'. They 'would surely die' and Eve would then have to bare the pain of childbirth.
I don't think this is nonsense for quite a few reasons. One of the primary reasons being that one of those characteristics mentioned specifically, the bit about Eve being 'demoted' below Adam, is a characteristic that appeared in human history in a very particular time and place. We can actually see the transition from egalitarian to male-dominant human culture in the archaeological record. So, at the very least I think what this story is describing is a very real event in human history. An event that the Sumerians and Greeks and Romans and many other spoke of as well. The 'fall', when humanity changed. But I think the Genesis story is more than just being a kind of metaphorical representation of an actual event, I think it may actually be literal. I think these long-living beings Genesis is speaking of are the inspiration behind all the various mythological stories of that region. Beings living centuries would seem god-like to a mortal human. And all of those mythologies say these gods in their ancients pasts procreated with humans. Gilgamesh was a demi-god, according to the story.
I know it sounds totally crazy initially. I thought so too. So I got to looking for the hard evidence that would say without a doubt that this is an absolutely absurd idea. I've yet to find it. All I find continues to support it. And often ends up just fleshing it out further.
"18 And the LORD God said: 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.' 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto the man to see what he would call them; and whatsoever the man would call every living creature, that was to be the name thereof. 20 And the man gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him. "
Tell me this does not mean what it says in black and white.
I went back and read that, before responding to you initially, to see if I could see what you're talking about. I still don't. I'm guessing the way you're reading this has to do with it saying that God would make Adam a 'help meet for him' before the bit about the beasts of the field and fowl of the air. As if His creating these animals was a failed attempt at making Adam a helper. But I think that more has to do with the style in which Hebrew is written. I think it's simply stating that while there were animals around, there was not a proper companion for Adam, just as it says. "..but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him."
It to the writers distain for women. Or do you think it's accurate and God has distain for women?
Where do you get disdain for women out of that portion of the story? It says Eve was created as a companion for Adam, so he wouldn't be alone. Something Adam needed and therefore her being created had purpose and value.
You don't see it? Really? So, God had already created people (men and women) and he was creating Adam, but didn't think to make him a wife? He showed him all kinds of animals that he thought would do, but eventually realized he needs a women, so me made the woman from the spare parts of Adam. This is where we start to understand that this story was written for men. The God of this story had no intention or interest in making a women. He makes Adam and is all excited, but knows he will need a companion (not sure why be he doesn't have one) so he tries to find a companion amounts the animals.
I think you're missing the point. The point was creating Adam, or more accurately, creating a being capable of behaving as Adam does. The whole point of creation, of creating the garden, the tree of life and tree of knowledge, was this moment. Creating free will via Adam. It then explains why God created Eve. Adam was created wholly separate from the rest of the natural world and was to live forever, presumably. The animals, even the other humans, would only live a fraction of the lifespan that he would. So God created a companion specifically for Adam. Someone who would live as long as him. It wasn't even about procreation at this point. It doesn't say anything about creating Eve for mating purposes. She doesn't even have to deal with the pains of childbirth until after the 'fall'. This is all about Eve being created because, like it says, "It is not good for the man to be alone."
It's not that it occurred to God somewhere along the way. It's not like He hit his forehead with his palm and exclaimed "Doh!". This is the manner in which these texts explain the purpose of Eve's creation. She was created as a companion for Adam.
Right, that's what I said. She was an afterthought. And she was punished with the pain of childbirth. All women from that point onward have to share in that pain. The Jewish people were support to be Gods, but the temptation of women made them fall. Don't you see how that looks from a chauvinistic viewpoint and don't you see how it could have been written for just that purpose.
Yet god was looking for one? Where? None was found implies that he was looking. The only thing around were animals. It's there very clear in black and white as I said. for all to read. Yet again you want to interpret it instead of reading it as written.
"I know it sounds totally crazy initially. I thought so too. So I got to looking for the hard evidence that would say without a doubt that this is an absolutely absurd idea. I've yet to find it. All I find continues to support it. And often ends up just fleshing it out further."
Let me tell you a story. About 13 to 14 billion years ago the universe expanded from compressed energy. In doing so the expansion created time and space. This energy was then free for a while, unable to interact and traveling at the speed of light through the new universe.
A few seconds after the expansion, however, another type of energy gained momentum. It was the higgs field and it slowed down most types of energy to the point where they could start interacting.
The result was Hydrogen atoms for the most part.
These clouds of hydrogen atoms condensed and formed giant stars, much larger than ours. Inside those stars something happened. Hydrogen atoms were fused together to make other kinds of atoms. The deeper in the star, the more pressure, heavy atoms were created, until we had most of the atoms we have now.
Funny thing but just the difference between having two protons and two electrons makes an entirely new substance. Each time more protons and more electrons are put together we get different substances.
But they were all locked in the star unable to actually interact with each other in the way they do now.
About say five and a half billion years ago one of those suns went nova, and in doing so created more diverse and heavier atoms then it could on it’s own. It spewed all these atoms out in clouds of dust and gas.
As they condensed again, a new and smaller star was born. Ours. And when it was born it’s solar wind drove the remaining dust away from it. When those clouds condensed they were not large enough to reach critical mass and became failed stars, or in other words: planets
One of them was this one. It had no water on or around it for a long time. It was hot, with lots of volcanic activity until the crust of the earth cooled. Even after it took time for water to develop. We had no atmosphere to hold it in, and when we did the water would have been in the form of steam as surface temperatures would have exceeded the boiling point of liquid water. For a very long time.
Our world has never been completely covered in water, even though sea levels have been much higher than they are now.
Also we got hit by something that was big enough to shave off the moon and we had to develop a new atmosphere in the process. Is that how god created it? I thought he just put it securely in the sky for us?
None of that worth mentioning? It seems a sun created us, not god. Perhaps the sun worshipers were right after all?
So how does any of that jibe with Genesis? It does not.
I am very familiar with this story. Your description up to the formation of planets is pretty spot on from what I can tell, but it's at that point that your description breaks down a bit.
The Earth was capable of retaining an atmosphere when it reached just 80% the size it is today, which of course would have happened back during the bombardment phase. This is also when the moon would have formed. In fact, it's suspected that the Earth had an atmosphere that it lost at the time of the collision that's suspected to have resulted in the moon. But as the planet continued to acrete all the outgassing that resulted would be trapped in the atmosphere. Now it's not determined where exactly all the water came from. Some say all the water vapor was the result of outgassing, some say much of the water must have come from meteors. But what is certain is that water was already there, and that it's the oceans that formed first. In fact, it was that retained atmosphere and all that water vapor that played a role in the outer crust of the planet even cooling and hardening. But it's known that the oceans formed first, before the oxygenated atmosphere and before the Earth's continental land crust. So, for a time, an accurate description of the Earth would be that it was covered in oceans and shrouded in darkness.
For a more detailed description of how the Genesis account lines up with the actual geological and biological formation of the Earth, check out my hub on the topic. It covers this bit about the formation of the oceans and refers to the sources that confirm this.
How do you go from covered in oceans and with atmosphere to covered in oceans and shrouded in darkness? I'm failing to see the connection between having an atmosphere and not having the sun around.
The sun was there, but the initial atmosphere (technically the 2nd atmosphere since the collision that resulted in the moon would have wiped out the 1st) was all the gasses and elements squeezed out of the planet acreting. Heavy volcanic activity and all the planet's oceans worth of water vapor. So, while the sun was there, only roughly 75% the brightness it is today, it could not penetrate that atmosphere, hence darkness.