Well this is a good question but I think it might have something to do with scope. The universe is incredibly large it would seem strange to me if you were god to create such a large place and only have these incredibly tiny humans as your point for making it? It would be like constructing a sports stadium to hold your six inch diameter fish tank with microscopic bacteria. It just doesn't add up unless you actually planned to have many different planets with many different forms of life all arising at different times. If you designed a set of rules then you could let the laws of the universe do the work for you. Then you wouldn't have to babysit all the details to make sure it turned out right. It's the most efficient method for large scale production. Make the rules do all the work so you don't have to.
But you would then have to accept that god planed for many hundreds of billions of other life forms in the universe on other planets. However very few theists would accept that. It would mean jesus is not special in any way and that we are not the only intelligent life in the universe.
The universe is indeed quite a big place. But look at the direction we're going with space exploration. Sure, we'll probably NEVER explore the whole universe, but if human existence as we know it is allowed to continue long enough, humans will probably expand their borders far past what our relatively tiny planet now inhabits. ("Galactic Empire" Asimov style, maybe...)
It would be a troubling thing indeed if other life was found on other planets, such as Mars. (Though I would at that point question how evolution could possibly be true since it requires ASTRONOMICAL odds to happen even on the one planet Earth--never mind another planet in the same solar system.) I would deal with it as best I could if/when it came. But, it hasn't yet, so I won't fret over it yet.
What about the element problem? We know that within stars heavier elements are formed through the process of fusion. We know this because the light given off by the star reveals their elements. We also know this because during the after effects of supernovas we can see rings of elements that have been shed from the exploding star which give off different spectrum bands identical to the elements we know.
So if god fashioned everything with these elements, why create stars that also form these elements. That seems like a little absurd back end details. I find it hard to believe that he would make the earth first, and then all the stars. When the earth is made up of many heavy elements. Why create all these heavy elements and then supply us with stars that will produce more heavy elements? Isn't that a little backwards?
It may be an interesting philosophical topic to delve into, but once again--aren't we sort of speculating as to God's intentions?
Actually no I can't because I wasn't asked if this is what I wanted, it was just sprung on me. If I had never been created I would have never known these things at all. But to then turn around and place conditions on these things, then they really never were gifts or shared things but instead they are obligations without contract. It sounds more like entrapment than anything nice. More like a person trying to contrive some special offer by handing you a bunch of free things, vacations, new clothes, a new car, paid dinners to turn around and say well, now all you have to do is ... If that is the case I would rather of had nothing, because it isn't a gift if there is an attachment or condition.
"Oh thanks god for giving me life and all these wonderful things. Now I will obey any command you give me no matter what it is or how difficult it might be to keep."
Again, your phrasing (in the last part, this time utilizing understatement) changes my meaning subtly, but that's basically what I'm saying, yes. If someone does something "nice" for you, and you feel gratitude, I would think you'd want some way to express that gratitude. One of the best ways within human power to express gratitude to God is through actions-- through obeying him to whatever extent possible. Some of that obligation would come from God, but much of it would also come from your ("hypothetical") desire to express your gratitude.
However difficult it may be for you, to follow my analogy you need to imagine that nothing which has happened to you in this life has actually happened to you at all, and that instead all you've lived and experienced is joy and perfection. 1) Wouldn't you feel gratitude? (The stuff you've been "hypothetically" given is alot better than cars and vacations--and it includes a relationship with a perfect, loving, all-powerful God.) And 2) wouldn't that gratitude be great enough to at least do *something* within your power for the one who gave you the opportunity to enjoy the joy and perfection?
I suppose it's possible we've reached an impasse regarding whether or not you would express your gratitude to God in this "hypothetical" situation, or whether you would feel any gratitude at all. I believe both would be true, but if we can't agree on that, we might as well drop the analogy and move on.
Isn't that what you would expect from "imperfection"? But I find it strange that if a great all powerful god made something, that it would have been so imperfect. Why if you are perfect would you create something less than perfect? Unless your whole point is to purposely watch these beings suffer.
It's a good question, and one that has been debated even among Christians for many, many years. I would suggest that, by creating imperfect beings who may suffer and then later come to know salvation, God tells a better "story," and also makes things better for those beings. (THAT is a whole other philosophical discussion, perhaps for another time.)
Right, however there is a problem. Given enough time all things will eventually happen regardless of the consequences. Why? Boredom. No matter what the rules state, and no matter what the punishment is, if you are living in some place for eternity, eventually you will do that one thing that you were not suppose to do. It is all just a matter of time. It might take a billion years, but eventually you will do it. I guarantee that.
I must say, you're standing on shaky ground here. The reasoning you present is "boredom," and that reasoning assumes that boredom would actually occur in the presence of paradise and a perfect, loving God.
Well it would have to. On some level you would have to not have certain emotions and certain thoughts. I simply can not see how certain things would transpire. Many of the things you enjoy in this life simply could not exist in a heaven. I find it hard to believe that there would be this hardcore punk band show in heaven just waiting for you when you get there. Chalked full of beer bottles and cigarettes. Just would not happen so if I were to end up in heaven it would become a hell to me, because all the things I enjoy in this life which most people find repulsive just would not happen. How could they? Unless it was all just an illusion, not real just a make believe scenario. If it were just fake to place me into some blissful enjoyment, I wouldn't want it, because it was fake. That is only one problem with heaven. What about your feelings for the people who didn't get to go there? Would you really be able to enjoy yourself if some of the people you loved in this life ended up not going? How could you "live" with yourself? Heaven would turn into a hell, that is unless god would just fabricate that person. But then again that would be a lie, since it wouldn't really be them, it would just be an illusion of them to make you feel happy they were there. I wouldn't want that either. Sure I might not know the truth but that would make god a liar.
You have some interesting thoughts about the nature of the afterlife. But I would assert that there's a bit more to life than punk bands, beer and cigarettes. And that, even with the ideology you seem to profess, you could probably do better than such things for yourself.
The thoughts themselves are immaterial however they have materialism as their basis. You can't have thoughts without their basis.
Interesting. That actually sounds rather close to what I believe (and what many Christians would say the Bible teaches).
Well not to offend you but I think you have been fed nonsense with that concept of immaterial morality. It simply does not exist. If it existed it would be clear as day to everyone but I can ask you some simple questions and could you answer them for me?
Is taking drugs morally right or morally wrong?
Is purchasing sex from a prostitute morally right or morally wrong?
Is eating an animal morally right or morally wrong?
Is stealing food so you don't starve, morally right or morally wrong?
See I can't even answer these questions. I have absolutely no idea what is what. If morality were innate I should be able to answer them. The only way in which I can even have a chance to answer them is by their impact on myself or those around me. If everyone around me is cool with it then what is the harm? It's not actually hurting anyone, why would it be morally wrong then? Can you answer them for me? Or does this prove that there are no universal morals?
Actually, you just showed me that morality has both material AND immaterial roots. (I believe the immaterial part because I'm Christian.) But even the material part (the way our actions affect others) would be meaningless in materialism. You say "[if] it's not actually hurting anyone, why would it be morally wrong?". But I say in response to that, "If it IS hurting someone, what makes it morally wrong?" From a materialist standpoint, what's so "wrong" about killing a fellow lump of goo and meat? No more wrong, certainly, than smashing a rock...
I won't dispute the fact that evil exists in the world, and its even worse when its organized. However, this thread is about religion.
On that note. Let the religious worship ther imaginary beings. But when their sickness gets to a point where they feel that I, and others must die because we dont share in the same delusion. Then we have a problem.
Also, I can't say i know of any governments where raping children is a passtime activity, but if there are. Then that is also a problem.
Its only my opinion that the world would be a better place if it excluded religion and relied solely on science and the like.
I was brought up catholic and brainwashed with that Heaven and Hell foolishness. Even believed it for a while. Until I became rational(sort of).
I wasn't turning the thread toward government; I was using an analogy. The point was to show that government, like religion, has caused some pretty nasty things to happen, too.
I'm not sure what biased you like this against "religion," but you might want to have a more open mind. Do you really think that all Christians are just waiting to launch another, global Crusade? Or that every Muslim is getting ready to terrorize America on a national scale? If you do, then you need to look more closely. I'm Christian, and I personally think the Crusades were (almost) entirely STUPID. (The only good thing was that, at the core, they were supposed to be for good.) What the Pope did/is doing/is accused of doing is inexcusable, and either shows that he's unfit to lead or that such a position of glorified figurehead-ship should, perhaps, be disposed of entirely. Meanwhile, there is loads of documentation (see for yourself) showing that the majority of Muslims don't even agree with what Islamic/Islamist terrorists did.
And if the world relied on science alone it would be a much worse place (even going off what your idea of "bad" is). Morality isn't scientific, as I've been discussing with Krumple. There'd be nothing wrong with raping children. The view would be, "If people like to do it, then why get angry about it, right? After all, we're nothing more than heaps of self-actuating biological material. As long as we reproduce, we're serving our purpose. Let's do whatever else we want