In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
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11-09-2014, 10:17 AM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
(11-09-2014 09:17 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(11-09-2014 09:08 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Just for the sake of argument, I think it's possible to define omniscience in such a way that the omniscient being knows everything about what has happened and what exists, but not necessarily about what will happen. I'm pretty sure Swinburne (one of the more competent Christian apologists) defines it this way.

I'm curious where he gets the justification for that definition, aside from it making certain types of apologetics easier. There are parts of the Bible that mention God being able to see the future.

I would have to check, but basically, he's arguing from a philosophical standpoint, using Bayesian probability. He's not a Biblical literalist. I'm guessing his motivation is what you suggest -- that it makes his argument easier to defend. I still don't buy his argument, but he tries.
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11-09-2014, 10:27 AM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
(11-09-2014 10:17 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(11-09-2014 09:17 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I'm curious where he gets the justification for that definition, aside from it making certain types of apologetics easier. There are parts of the Bible that mention God being able to see the future.

I would have to check, but basically, he's arguing from a philosophical standpoint, using Bayesian probability. He's not a Biblical literalist. I'm guessing his motivation is what you suggest -- that it makes his argument easier to defend. I still don't buy his argument, but he tries.

Nonetheless, one of the popular arguments for the bible being legitimately the words of god are the prophecies that supposedly came true.

Any argument that god's omniscience cannot see the future invalidates those prophecies (if he couldn't see the future then they were not prophecies, just good guesses) which invalidates that whole argument.

Besides, when we put limits on omniscience, then we must remove the "omni" and replace it with "semi" and I don't ever hear anybody claiming god is seminiscient.

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11-09-2014, 10:38 AM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
(11-09-2014 10:27 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  
(11-09-2014 10:17 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I would have to check, but basically, he's arguing from a philosophical standpoint, using Bayesian probability. He's not a Biblical literalist. I'm guessing his motivation is what you suggest -- that it makes his argument easier to defend. I still don't buy his argument, but he tries.

Nonetheless, one of the popular arguments for the bible being legitimately the words of god are the prophecies that supposedly came true.

Any argument that god's omniscience cannot see the future invalidates those prophecies (if he couldn't see the future then they were not prophecies, just good guesses) which invalidates that whole argument.

Besides, when we put limits on omniscience, then we must remove the "omni" and replace it with "semi" and I don't ever hear anybody claiming god is seminiscient.

I think you can still use "omniscient" in the sense that he knows everything that is knowable, but the future isn't knowable. It's all just philosophical wordgames, because I don't believe there is any such being, but the concept is logically coherent. Just like his omnipotence is not challenged by not being able to make a rock so heavy he can't lift it.
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11-09-2014, 11:40 AM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
(11-09-2014 10:38 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  
(11-09-2014 10:27 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  Nonetheless, one of the popular arguments for the bible being legitimately the words of god are the prophecies that supposedly came true.

Any argument that god's omniscience cannot see the future invalidates those prophecies (if he couldn't see the future then they were not prophecies, just good guesses) which invalidates that whole argument.

Besides, when we put limits on omniscience, then we must remove the "omni" and replace it with "semi" and I don't ever hear anybody claiming god is seminiscient.

I think you can still use "omniscient" in the sense that he knows everything that is knowable, but the future isn't knowable. It's all just philosophical wordgames, because I don't believe there is any such being, but the concept is logically coherent. Just like his omnipotence is not challenged by not being able to make a rock so heavy he can't lift it.

No, that's just a misunderstanding of omniscience. Seminiscience.

The future IS knowable to anyone who knows EVERYTHING in the present.

Scenario one: I drop a glass object. It falls to the floor and might or might not break. I f I could know all the variables, such as the hardness of the glass object, its mass, its weak points, flaws in construction, the force of gravity, the height from which it falls, air density, wind, temperature, and any other variables that apply, and if I could also know the exact physics formulat that applies to this situation and uses all those variables, then I could predict whether that object will break or not. 100% of the time. Without fail (especially if I could have a little omnipotence to make sure I always get the math right).

Secnario two: A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and it might or might not cause rain in Moscow. If I can know all the variables, and let's face it, there's billions more variables here than there were in the first scenario but that should not be a problem for OMNIscience, then again, I can accurately predict whether it will rain in Moscow or not. 100% of the time. Without fail.

Scenario three: All of the future. It's all just a combination of present variables (all of which are knowable by your suggested seminiscience) and the application of time. This is way too much for a human to figure out, way too much for our best computers to figure out. But, an OMNIscient being knows EVERY variable without error, and an OMNIpotent being can apply the correct math without error, therefore such a being can predict all of the future. 100% of the time. Without fail.

Anything else is just not omniscience. It's something else.

Or it's just lazy.

Either way, anyone who says God cannot know the future, or chooses not to know the future, had better stop misusing the word "omniscient" since it clearly is not applicable to such a god.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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11-09-2014, 11:51 AM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
(10-09-2014 04:48 PM)CleverUsername Wrote:  In Christianity and it's various little off shoots, is there any explanation as to why God supposedly plopped us on Earth in the first place?

I mean, they preach that God takes all of his followers up to heaven after 100 years of Earth, at the most, which is less than the blink of an eye in comparison to eternity. They all claim he's going to just completely dispense of this place any day now and snatch everyone up into heaven. And possibly the only thing all faiths agree on is that, compared to heaven, Earth sucks.

So why the hell are we here? Their God obviously doesn't want us here. I know the stupid Adam and Eve story but why was he putting his super duper beloved creations on a planet to begin with when he presumably already had heaven, with its complete lack of evil snakes and knowledge granting fruit? As far as I know there's no mention heaven was made later. All we're accomplishing is supposedly sending a few billion to hell.

(Yes, I know the correct answer is "Because God doesn't exist".)

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11-09-2014, 11:52 AM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
(11-09-2014 11:40 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  
(11-09-2014 10:38 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I think you can still use "omniscient" in the sense that he knows everything that is knowable, but the future isn't knowable. It's all just philosophical wordgames, because I don't believe there is any such being, but the concept is logically coherent. Just like his omnipotence is not challenged by not being able to make a rock so heavy he can't lift it.

No, that's just a misunderstanding of omniscience. Seminiscience.

The future IS knowable to anyone who knows EVERYTHING in the present.

Scenario one: I drop a glass object. It falls to the floor and might or might not break. I f I could know all the variables, such as the hardness of the glass object, its mass, its weak points, flaws in construction, the force of gravity, the height from which it falls, air density, wind, temperature, and any other variables that apply, and if I could also know the exact physics formulat that applies to this situation and uses all those variables, then I could predict whether that object will break or not. 100% of the time. Without fail (especially if I could have a little omnipotence to make sure I always get the math right).

Secnario two: A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and it might or might not cause rain in Moscow. If I can know all the variables, and let's face it, there's billions more variables here than there were in the first scenario but that should not be a problem for OMNIscience, then again, I can accurately predict whether it will rain in Moscow or not. 100% of the time. Without fail.

Scenario three: All of the future. It's all just a combination of present variables (all of which are knowable by your suggested seminiscience) and the application of time. This is way too much for a human to figure out, way too much for our best computers to figure out. But, an OMNIscient being knows EVERY variable without error, and an OMNIpotent being can apply the correct math without error, therefore such a being can predict all of the future. 100% of the time. Without fail.

Anything else is just not omniscience. It's something else.

Or it's just lazy.

Either way, anyone who says God cannot know the future, or chooses not to know the future, had better stop misusing the word "omniscient" since it clearly is not applicable to such a god.

You're taking the view that the universe is 100% causal, and that if someone "knows all the variables", he/she can perfectly predict the future. I don't necessarily buy that. Chaos theory and quantum theory imply a different sort of universe, where there is an element of randomness. Also, if there is such a thing as free will (I make no dogmatic assertions one way or the other), then it would be theoretically impossible to predict all of a person's future decisions. I don't know that this is the way the universe actually is, but I see it as a logical possibility.
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11-09-2014, 11:55 AM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
I think the above replies have pretty well covered the given reasons. So the only thing I have to add at this point is the real point of Earth.

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I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
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11-09-2014, 11:57 AM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
(11-09-2014 11:55 AM)Impulse Wrote:  I think the above replies have pretty well covered the given reasons. So the only thing I have to add at this point is the real point of Earth.

Mount Everest. Tongue

Uh-uh! The Matterhorn is much more pointy.
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11-09-2014, 12:03 PM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
Let's bring it back to practical reality in terms of the Garden of Eden myth. Even if god didn't have omniscience, he could have easily predicted the outcome. He places these creations in a garden with a tree whose fruit that they're not supposed to eat with a serpent that can convince them to eat.

I could easily predict this outcome, I have a teenage daughter -they're going to do exactly what you told them not to do.

So god's a dick! Not only that, but he doubles down on his dickiness and gets mad at them and punishes them for doing what he knew they were going to do in the first place.

Anyway, it's such an amusing little fairytale, a mere mortal human being could have predicted the outcome better than this mentally handicapped god.

Oh, and then we repeat god's stupidity for the flood myth a few chapters later.Facepalm

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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11-09-2014, 12:10 PM
RE: In Christianity, What's the Point of Earth?
(11-09-2014 11:57 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Uh-uh! The Matterhorn is much more pointy.
That depends one what you call "pointy". Both come to a point, but the Matterhorn is only half the height.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
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