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Can a skeptic believe in GOD ??

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Re: can a skeptic believe in GOD ??

Postby Arouet » 17 Aug 2010, 06:04

Ellie wrote:I see what you are saying, but perhaps the reason it is so tough is because people MUST be left to their own devices. Biological pragmatism must evolve to survive. Our inclination towards evil, as you put it, is actually a evolutionary flaw, and like any evolutionary flaw it must be overcome for survival.

It comes about from the fact that our brains are currently evolved to a certain level. This goes back a LONG time (take it from me, i'm an archaeologist ;) ) and is built to protect us from threat and danger. This system does not function well at all in the modern age. But everything that you could call evil is based on these systems merely trying their best to protect us from danger. If these systems do not evolve - and actually we have a capacity for enough self awareness that we can actively alter the systems we are born with now - then we may not make it as a species. I think humans have to take responsibility for their own problems. That's the universe for ya ;)


Oh, it all makes sense from the scientific perspective, what we're talking about here is whether its all compatible with an all-loving deity.
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Re: can a skeptic believe in GOD ??

Postby Ellie » 17 Aug 2010, 06:13

Perhaps the problem here is that for me there is no essential difference between the two. Yes, that'll be it. You see I thought I was explaining there how it could be compatible with an all-loving deity. But I have been told I have a rather uncommon view of these things.
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Re: can a skeptic believe in GOD ??

Postby Arouet » 17 Aug 2010, 06:25

Ellie wrote:Perhaps the problem here is that for me there is no essential difference between the two. Yes, that'll be it. You see I thought I was explaining there how it could be compatible with an all-loving deity. But I have been told I have a rather uncommon view of these things.


No, I've heard your POV before, its relatively common among theists. You've described the system as it is (clearly evil and suffering exist) but you haven't addressed why an all-loving God would have designed such a system in the first place. I have argued that its hard to reconcile with an all-powerfull, all-loving God. We could have been designed with less predilection for evil. We also could have been placed on a planet with fewer (or no) natural disasters, we all could have been designed as vegetarians (again, how is eating each other consistent with love?). We could have been on a planet with an even distribution of resources. Etc. etc. etc.
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Re: can a skeptic believe in GOD ??

Postby Ellie » 17 Aug 2010, 20:16

Ha ha - no, like I said I have an unusual view, which can only logical follow observance. Therefore my idea of god does not NEED to be ultimate 'creator'. But in any case, you can't be serious about not being able to imagine any possibility of us existing the way we do and a god being loving. I can think of quite a few right now off the top of my head. And for starters actually, if you had a planet where nothing bad happened and resources were evenly distributed you immediately lose all the main things which create dynamism - and dynamism is life. Without dynamism we are static and may as well not exist at all. At best we would never develop, at worst we would die out fairly rapidly.

As it stands however, the universe is a very cold, dark, empty, lifeless place - so where we are IS relatively speaking a bit of a paradise. But on top of that, which is better - to learn by experience or to never have to? We know it's to learn by experience. Imagine this: a god which has started a species off (or even a universe, because it's all one system) and wants it to work for itself. There is only one way to do that, and that's to let everything make it's own way. You can learn facts from a book, but people only learn how to live by living. How many times have you told your children something you wish you had know when you were their age, and it doesn't really sink in with them - not really - because they havn't had those experiences themselves yet?

I wasn't kidding when I said that I saw no essential difference between god and science. For me god is physics. It's logic. And things of that ilk. Life exists in a certain way, and there are universal rules which stand as 'best practice' and which we must learn to live in to survive and grow. Take the laws of thermodynamics - that's your 'good and evil' right there. Biological pragmatism governs what we must define as morals, because it is simply the best way for a species to survive.

I don't really understand why people associate love with having everything made easy for them and done for them, particularly when we see what happens to people and animals who experience this even a little.
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Re: can a skeptic believe in GOD ??

Postby Arouet » 17 Aug 2010, 22:01

Ellie wrote:Ha ha - no, like I said I have an unusual view, which can only logical follow observance. Therefore my idea of god does not NEED to be ultimate 'creator'. But in any case, you can't be serious about not being able to imagine any possibility of us existing the way we do and a god being loving. I can think of quite a few right now off the top of my head. And for starters actually, if you had a planet where nothing bad happened and resources were evenly distributed you immediately lose all the main things which create dynamism - and dynamism is life. Without dynamism we are static and may as well not exist at all. At best we would never develop, at worst we would die out fairly rapidly.


Ok, let's assume for the sake of the argument, that some suffering is needed for certain beneficial reasons: it is the massive extent of suffering on this planet that is an argument against an all-loving God. Remember, its not an argument against a God who is capable of love. This God could sometimes be loving and sometimes be not so loving. Perhaps it gets some entertainment value from watching our struggles.

There's an interesting article called the Evil God hypothesis, or something like that. I'll try and dig it up. Essentially it argues that the arguments you've laid above for a good god could just as easily be reversed and argued for an all-evil god.

But getting back to your point, I can accept that an optimal world would have some suffering in it. But you're going to have to do better to convince me that the massive level of suffering for a greater many people today, in addition to the arguable even greater levels of suffering in the past, not to mention still all the animals that live by tearing each other to shreds is such optimal suffering.

As it stands however, the universe is a very cold, dark, empty, lifeless place - so where we are IS relatively speaking a bit of a paradise. But on top of that, which is better - to learn by experience or to never have to? We know it's to learn by experience. Imagine this: a god which has started a species off (or even a universe, because it's all one system) and wants it to work for itself. There is only one way to do that, and that's to let everything make it's own way. You can learn facts from a book, but people only learn how to live by living. How many times have you told your children something you wish you had know when you were their age, and it doesn't really sink in with them - not really - because they havn't had those experiences themselves yet?


I've addressed this above: I must exercise that kind of tough love for my kids because we live in the world we live in. But that is not an argument that it is better to learn that way. We must learn that way in order to survive a cruel world.

I wasn't kidding when I said that I saw no essential difference between god and science. For me god is physics. It's logic. And things of that ilk. Life exists in a certain way, and there are universal rules which stand as 'best practice' and which we must learn to live in to survive and grow. Take the laws of thermodynamics - that's your 'good and evil' right there. Biological pragmatism governs what we must define as morals, because it is simply the best way for a species to survive.


If you're not arguing for a personal god, and have a sort of pantheistic point of view, that's fair. But where does love come in?
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Re: can a skeptic believe in GOD ??

Postby Ellie » 17 Aug 2010, 22:24

Where is the love dagnammit! :P

Well ok, the suffering thing for me is all or nothing. You interfere or you don't. But that's just my understanding of the processes and consequences I described. And I am arguing for a personal god - but everyone can have a personal god - and indeed does, whether they understand that or not, but hey, that's another discussion ;)

Er, short and slightly facetious reply, but I really gotta put the interwebs down and go out for a bit.
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