Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
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05-03-2014, 10:15 AM
Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
This is revisionist story about the supposed battle between good and evil that I just quickly wrote to illustrate a point. It does make the assumption that God is not omnipotent. Yet, even a very powerful being capable of significant magic could seem godlike to us. In fact, this would be no different than, for example, the gods of Greek mythology. So, while some may argue that this would not be "God", I think "god like" is good enough for the point that I intend to make. So here's the story:

Good and Evil were in conflict. Evil overpowered Good and cast Good into a place called hell. Good needed a lot of attention from other good beings in order to remain strong. So Evil decided to mislead the good humans by pretending to be good himself and convincing the good humans to give him all the attention instead; thus keeping Good in a weakened state.

Evil played the role of "god". He then inspired several good humans to write stories about him and to assemble those stories into a single book. He used his lies to get the good people to form an entire religion dedicated to giving him a lot of attention and distracting them from giving any to the real Good. He cemented the treachery by sending one of their own - named Jesus - to seemingly make a great sacrifice on their behalf to supposedly save them from themselves. Countless humans were successfully mislead.

However, Evil made mistakes and failed to completely hide his true nature. Some of the stories written about him told of his angry, jealous, murdering, raping ways, among others. Soon, some of the good people were confused about what their "good" god was telling them to do. Some broke away from the original religion and formed their own versions that felt more comfortable to them. Evil didn't care as long as the attention wasn't being given to the real Good. So Evil did nothing further and simply allowed the good humans to confuse themselves. And he laughed to himself because those good humans would excuse anything - even defend evil itself - because they had faith. Stupid naive humans. Faith would keep the deception intact. And so he just sat back, watched, and smiled a content smile. Evil_monster

Now the point:
I'm wondering how theists would say this is any less plausible than their version with God casting Satan into hell and remaining in power. I'm sure I could tweak it to make it even better, but it (at least mostly) fits religions that are based upon the OT or both the OT and NT. And, assuming any of it was true, how would they be able to tell this "real" story apart from their "wrong" one?

See, that's the problem with faith. There is no evaluation of the evidence. There is nothing but acceptance of what others in the past have believed and passed down through the generations. As I hope this illustrates, even if a deity exists, faith is very dangerous.

Deity or none, evidence based knowledge is the only way to go.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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05-03-2014, 10:24 AM
RE: Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
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05-03-2014, 11:24 AM
RE: Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
Excellent. Very well thought through.

I think it would be even more effective if you made it less overtly christian (you know how babies react to having their comfort blanket taken away, right?). For instance, change the son's name from Jesus to Perseus.

In other words... more of pure thought experiment and less of an attack on one's credulity / gullibility.

I think I'll be thinking about this for days to come... damn you to heaven!

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05-03-2014, 12:20 PM
RE: Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
(05-03-2014 10:15 AM)Impulse Wrote:  I'm wondering how theists would say this is any less plausible than their version with God casting Satan into hell and remaining in power. I'm sure I could tweak it to make it even better, but it (at least mostly) fits religions that are based upon the OT or both the OT and NT. And, assuming any of it was true, how would they be able to tell this "real" story apart from their "wrong" one?

See, that's the problem with faith. There is no evaluation of the evidence. There is nothing but acceptance of what others in the past have believed and passed down through the generations. As I hope this illustrates, even if a deity exists, faith is very dangerous.

Deity or none, evidence based knowledge is the only way to go.

I agree totally. This is a good corollary to the why do Christians trust YHWH thread I created two weeks ago. They have no reason to assume he's telling the truth (other than wishful thinking) and you've offered an equally viable alternative. Hell, even if you take the Bible at face value, it's not like Satan comes off looking any worse than God. He's "the deceiver" who is at odds with a god who willingly admits to and boasts about killing children.
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05-03-2014, 02:30 PM
RE: Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
(05-03-2014 11:24 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Excellent. Very well thought through.

I think it would be even more effective if you made it less overtly christian (you know how babies react to having their comfort blanket taken away, right?). For instance, change the son's name from Jesus to Perseus.

In other words... more of pure thought experiment and less of an attack on one's credulity / gullibility.

I think I'll be thinking about this for days to come... damn you to heaven!
Good point. It came up in a conversation with a Christian awhile back so I guess that's why I slanted it that way. But I think you're right that it would be better more generalized as a thought experiment.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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05-03-2014, 02:34 PM
RE: Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
(05-03-2014 12:20 PM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(05-03-2014 10:15 AM)Impulse Wrote:  I'm wondering how theists would say this is any less plausible than their version with God casting Satan into hell and remaining in power. I'm sure I could tweak it to make it even better, but it (at least mostly) fits religions that are based upon the OT or both the OT and NT. And, assuming any of it was true, how would they be able to tell this "real" story apart from their "wrong" one?

See, that's the problem with faith. There is no evaluation of the evidence. There is nothing but acceptance of what others in the past have believed and passed down through the generations. As I hope this illustrates, even if a deity exists, faith is very dangerous.

Deity or none, evidence based knowledge is the only way to go.

I agree totally. This is a good corollary to the why do Christians trust YHWH thread I created two weeks ago. They have no reason to assume he's telling the truth (other than wishful thinking) and you've offered an equally viable alternative. Hell, even if you take the Bible at face value, it's not like Satan comes off looking any worse than God. He's "the deceiver" who is at odds with a god who willingly admits to and boasts about killing children.
I actually hadn't seen your thread before. I come here in spurts and I think that was posted during one of my absences. But I just checked it out and it's interesting that we were thinking on similar lines.

This story came out of a conversation with a Christian that I had. I wrote it better here than I was able to devise on the spot with the Christian and it wasn't very effective in the conversation. The reply I got was along the lines of "that's just ridiculous" and "Satan is making you think things like that". Rolleyes

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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05-03-2014, 04:48 PM
RE: Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
(05-03-2014 10:15 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Good and Evil were in conflict. Evil overpowered Good and cast Good into a place called hell. Good needed a lot of attention from other good beings in order to remain strong. So Evil decided to mislead the good humans by pretending to be good himself and convincing the good humans to give him all the attention instead; thus keeping Good in a weakened state.
If Evil and Good are powered by evil and good humans respectively, then the fact that Evil overpowered Good indicates that humanity is overall evil. Is this really the message you want to send? I thought you guys were usually pro-human.
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05-03-2014, 04:52 PM
RE: Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
(05-03-2014 04:48 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(05-03-2014 10:15 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Good and Evil were in conflict. Evil overpowered Good and cast Good into a place called hell. Good needed a lot of attention from other good beings in order to remain strong. So Evil decided to mislead the good humans by pretending to be good himself and convincing the good humans to give him all the attention instead; thus keeping Good in a weakened state.
If Evil and Good are powered by evil and good humans respectively, then the fact that Evil overpowered Good indicates that humanity is overall evil. Is this really the message you want to send? I thought you guys were usually pro-human.

We don't send the message as It comes from God in the senario outlined in the OP. Unless you can prove it otherwise, no need to place blame on us humans for having to deal with a ruler that cannot be trusted with any confidence.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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05-03-2014, 06:51 PM
RE: Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
So, Impulse lays out the point of the thread, including that it's a revisionist story...

(05-03-2014 10:15 AM)Impulse Wrote:  This is revisionist story about the supposed battle between good and evil that I just quickly wrote to illustrate a point. It does make the assumption that God is not omnipotent.
...
Good and Evil were in conflict. Evil overpowered Good and cast Good into a place called hell. Good needed a lot of attention from other good beings in order to remain strong. So Evil decided to mislead the good humans by pretending to be good himself and convincing the good humans to give him all the attention instead; thus keeping Good in a weakened state.

...and...

(05-03-2014 04:48 PM)alpha male Wrote:  If Evil and Good are powered by evil and good humans respectively, then the fact that Evil overpowered Good indicates that humanity is overall evil. Is this really the message you want to send? I thought you guys were usually pro-human.

Alpha decides the story sends a bad message because of stuff Alpha wants to add to it. Or something.


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05-03-2014, 06:53 PM
RE: Divine role reversal and the problem with faith
(05-03-2014 04:48 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(05-03-2014 10:15 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Good and Evil were in conflict. Evil overpowered Good and cast Good into a place called hell. Good needed a lot of attention from other good beings in order to remain strong. So Evil decided to mislead the good humans by pretending to be good himself and convincing the good humans to give him all the attention instead; thus keeping Good in a weakened state.
If Evil and Good are powered by evil and good humans respectively, then the fact that Evil overpowered Good indicates that humanity is overall evil. Is this really the message you want to send? I thought you guys were usually pro-human.

What are you fucking stupid?
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