How does comparing population size make sense here?
If god is all-loving then creating one person out of a million that would go to hell would be a sufficient reason to not create anyone at all.
Is your idea of god so lonely that he has to create people in order to watch their puny lives play out?
Why would a perfect god be "compelled" to do anything?
"God has given sufficient grace for EVERYONE to be saved"
What a cop-out. If God (I'm assuming you're Christian btw) had given sufficient "grace" for everyone would not the entire planet be saved?
I honestly took some time with this one Amp, because at first I was completely clueless to what you meant by it. But how can what you state here be true? I mean I know there are people who judge a person simply on their look or behavior and remark saying they don't want to be like that person. But on the other hand, if what you say is true, there would be no such thing as pier pressure. Conformity would be hard to come by.
I just don't think it works how you stated. I mean I personally do not make decisions based off someone else nor would I want to take the inverse of their choices just because I didn't like what kind of person they were. I don't think, "Well this guy is a christian so I'll do everything he doesn't do." That is almost absurd reasoning, in fact I don't even think you can consider it reasoning. I might have actually used this line as a joke once just because it would be incredibly silly to base your actions off someone just because you didn't like a particular thing about them.
Does your ears ever smoke?
Because some believe if God is perfect then, if He decides to create a world, then He is compelled to create the best of all possible worlds, thus population size matters.
Really? I don't see how you can claim this. Your saying God would have been better off not creating anything at all than creating a world in which He shares His love with all but some reject it. I really don't think you have much to stand on with this one. This may very well be the best of all possible worlds. Such that either God creates nothing or this. And if that was the case then I think an argument can be made in favor of something rather than nothing despite the arguments against.
God did not create existence for His benefit but for existences benefit.
He's not, beyond His own nature, but you seem to think He is.
No, I'm not sure why you would think that. Grace does not intrude upon free will. It just means that God has paved the way for everyone to either accept or deny Him; no one can claim ignorance.
To be a Christian must one then have to believe in evil?
Is evil necessary to believe in if you believe in Christ?
Is Christianity trying to proove good or evil?
(To believe you are evil or capable mean you are a Christian?)
(Is Christian evil different from other evils or other religions evils?)
That's the problem with an all-loving god who also created the world we live in. The two are seemingly incompatible. Infinite love would not leave room for infinite harm to the one loved, especially if that harm was for rejecting god's love, a paradox in itself.
You are using the idea of absolutes here, all-loving is akin to saying infinitely loving. So I respond with an absolute, how is that hard to claim? It's the same idea as saying Batman would never kill anyone because he is the absolute symbol of justice, not of revenge. Is your only response that an infinitely loving god would settle for the "best of all possible worlds"? He's the one creating, he has the choice to not create, do I have to make it more explicit?
What kind of benefit are you talking about? Benefit for all of existence? Or just those who find the idea of this god to be a good one? Why does god need to be worshipped or recognized, it doesn't make sense to punish someone for ignorance, even if you claim "grace" has been shown to us all, we are all still bound to how we have been taught to view that, and a Muslim child does not reject Christianity of their own free will, they reject it because of their parents, and that follows them into adulthood.
I'm claiming ignorance right now. I have found serious reasons to not believe in god, and if he deems it righteous to punish me for this ignorance, then I doubt I would want to spend eternity with him in the first place!
Sooner or later you will have to be shown the gall that such statements bring with them. I am simply trying to shock them to your attention through emphasis, I'm not trying to be hateful or menacing on your account.
seemingly and actually are two different things.
I agree with what your saying in terms of He could have chosen to not create anything. However, clearly He also has the right TO create. In doing so, how would you propose He create something other than "the best"?
Have you not benefited in any way by being alive? God doesn't need our worship nor does God punish the ignorant for their ignorance. Clearly, and this is bore out in the bible, that if you haven't for geographical or historical or whatever reason not truly heard the word then you will be judged by a different standard. By the standard of the laws God has written on our hearts.
That's fine. I know you're not trying to be hateful or menacing, though I do feel like I sense a hint of anger(or at least contemptness) in your responses(of course this could be my interpretation since tone doesn't come across to well over the interwebs). All I can say is God is just so there is no sense in thinking that if you truly are ignorant of something that you will be judged by something you don't know.
You are leaving out the absolutes again. If creating conflicts with absolute love, then he wouldn't create, that is my opinion, but I stand by it with my minimal definition of abs
My last question/comment on the subject will be this. If the human race thought like this the human race would cease to exist. If I thought to myself, 'Well why even have kids, sure I'll love em, but look at all the hurt they'll experience, surely it would be unloving to have kids", I wouldn't have kids. But I look at life from the other side of the coin. The joys and love they'll experience. I could not deny them that. I could not deny them the highs nor the lows of what it means to be alive. In fact I think it would selfish and unloving to think otherwise.
Just food for thought
Good question. I'm a Christian with a dualist bent, but I have no good answer for you at this time -- I've begun studying the definition of evil as the concept might have been understood in the ancient world. If I ever make sense of the quagmire I've landed in, I'll post. If anyone in the forum has studied this subject, I'd love to know what you've found, what your opinion is.
Do modern christians believe in an actual hell or is a just a metaphorical concept to explain absolute Godlessness?
The problem of evil has been around for ages because it is a genuine problem. There is no correct answer that does not diminish the idea of god in some manner. You either make god less than omnipotent, less than omnipresent, less than omnibenevolent, etc... or you try to conclude that evil was necessary
That is the greatest crime in my opinion. Teaching children what to believe instead of how to think for themselves. I have often debated if I will raise my children as "atheists" or not, and I think I would feel more guilt at teaching them something they would take as dogma then I would feel at giving them the tools to think, even if they later "found" religion.
Christian theology seems to oscillate between evil as the stain of sin and also of evil as a privation of good.
The stain of sin has an existence all it's own. That stain can be focused on. It seems better not to focus on the stain and just focus on hitting that target of the Good. If at first you don't succeed then try try again. I want to think it is better to focus on the good and hit that target than to focus on any stain.
For the Christian it is the stain that Christ came to wash away.
So to answer the question. Yes, just as they must believe in good (the target that they aiming at), true Christians must believe in evil (which is both the fact of and the consequences of missing that target). Or else there would be no need for the sacrifice of Christ.
God doesn't need our worship nor does God punish the ignorant for their ignorance. Clearly, and this is bore out in the bible, that if you haven't for geographical or historical or whatever reason not truly heard the word then you will be judged by a different standard. By the standard of the laws God has written on our hearts.
"god is just". By my standards he is not, there are too many examples in the OT to mention off-hand (plus I'm about to go to bed anyways), but god commanding women and children to be slaughtered or requiring Abraham to plea for his family in Soddom and Gammorah to "change his all-knowing mind" as it were (not to mention Lot offering his virgin daughters to an angry mob, not exactly the definition of righteous). In my heart the bible reveals no signs of divinity, so if god judges me on that then I'll have an express pass to heaven.
I'm beginning to think that there will never be an end to this dichotomy because perhaps our brains are what cause the phenomena to begin with. The parts of the brain that are being used probably impact which type you will ultimately exhibit more of. If it is the brain then this problem will always arise because the brain isn't going to change to suit only one type, that is unless there is an advantage to one particular type, which I can't actually see there being one. Despite the fact that I want to say the realist has the advantage, it might only be a systematic reasoning where there could be an important psychological aspect that keeps the rational from becoming completely insane.
I certainly don't speak for all or even most Christians. I don't believe in hell. Presuming that all Biblical books are flawed, written and edited by men who, because of the nature of men, had biases and agendas, I look to historical writings from the earliest Christians to ascertain the very early church's interpretation of Christ's teachings.
In what I'd consider, based on history and authorship, the most reliable (closest to actual teachings of Christ) of these very early church writings, there is no mention of "hell". The theology seems to be simply that we are born to die, God has opened several "gates" to immortality, Christ being one of them. If a person misses all the gates, he just dies, returns to the dust.
Agreed. That's why I'm a dualist -- if God is omnipotent in this world, we have a problem. I would point out the New Testament passages which refer to Satan a.k.a. "the prince of the power of the air" as the ruler of THIS world.
Really, dualism makes sense -- why else would Christians be told to expect persecution by THIS world if God was the ruler of this world? If God was the ruler of this world, then Jesus's temptation in the desert was meaningless, no? Jesus never replies or even implies that Satan does not have the ability to follow through on his offers to Jesus, which include rule over all the kingdoms of this world.
Agreed. My children are grown now, but in their raising, I grasped that one could not teach critical thinking on one hand and dogma on the other. The only way to "teach" religious belief is by example, or "modeling", which is a stronger influence on children than anything a parent teaches or preaches.
I agree that it's better to focus on "good". There's nothing wrong with a "contrite heart" or remorse for one's mistakes; such attitudes help us understand and forgive the flaws we perceive in others. But "paralyzing guilt" serves no good purpose.
Human nature is imperfect. Every one of us has done things we regret, or wish we could do-over (with the exception, maybe, of some full-blow narcissists who quite obviously, by any standard apart from their own, have done things they SHOULD regret.)
The sacrifice of Christ, again referring back to early church writings which historically seem closest to "straight from the horse's mouth" (at least to me), the purpose of the incarnation, Christ in the flesh, was to give mankind an understandable example, a human life, which all men could emulate. Such a "human" example, if relevant to all of humanity, would have to include persecution by this world, death and resurrection, would he not?
The whole "atonement" idea, IMO, is Judaizing, either from Jewish authors or directed to a Jewish audience.
judged by "the standard of the laws God has written on our hearts" -- nicely said.
Yeah boy, the OT is a real problem in many places. It's not hard to prove that it wasn't written by God -- too many discrepancies and contradictions for that. I mean, don't you think God would at least have a spell-check? I don't believe these and other atrocities could have been ordered or ordained by God, at least not by the God of Christ.
Christ probably did cite the OT -- early Christian-Jewish sects used the OT as text. However, 1) NT authors may or may not be accurate in which OT passages Jesus referred to and how He interpreted them, either because of personal bias or consideration of their audience; 2) reaching a Jewish audience without referring to the OT would have been ineffective.
Well, neurotheology is actually a growing field. Neurologists have been studying mysticism, spirituality, religious experience and "religiosity" for a while now. The first article I ever read about it was "God of the Right Temporal Lobe". I haven't kept up and have not the foggiest idea about where the field stands these days.
You have an interesting perspective compared to what I'm used to hearing anyways. I'd like to hear your thoughts on why dualism makes sense? My background is more scientific so I tend to apply Ockham's Razor to my belief systems wherever possible, just to let you know why I'm curious and how I apply skepticism, as a limiting factor.
Don't panic at the length of this post.
Overall, I weight heavily on the well-documented "leap of civilization" and those pesky math tablets as the best evidence that something non-natural occurred in human history, and that "something" brought with it the seeds of all world religious beliefs and the arts and skills of high civilization.
Thank you for your post, I apologize that it took me so long to respond to. I do not see why the advent of language could not be considered the "leap of civilization". Also, it could be seen as embarrasing that it took us until the Enlightenment to catch back up with these early civilizations, not as evidence for anything.
Could you send me some links concerning Sumerian civilization? I tried to find some on the tablets you were talking about, but it would save me time if you could point me in the right direction.
It is interesting, especially the myths about gods teaching them agriculture.