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30-06-2017, 03:32 PM
RE: Stargate
(30-06-2017 12:58 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  Suppose a parent is taking care of a kid remotely through some sort of smart techs. The kid asks the parent, sometimes get what he wants, sometimes not and the kid would be wrong to say: it doesn't work because my invisible parent can't do what I want. I don't think pointing to the unanswered prayers is a good approach to show a theist (s)he's delusional. Since a supposedly wise God in fact should not answer all sorts of dumb prayers.
The objection is that god doesn't answer prayers that aren't "dumb" either. "God, please don't let my spouse / child suffer / die" is not "dumb". "God, protect us from this storm / terrorist / criminal" is not "dumb". "God, help us foster world peace" is not "dumb".

In my experience answered prayer cannot be distinguished from random happenstance. "Yes no or maybe" as possible "answers", in fact, says exactly that.

In addition, there are all the elaborate and detailed promises to believers such as that a modicum of faith will move mountains. The Bible teaches that you should ask god for things, test him even, and see if the floodgates of heaven won't open on your behalf. These promises are selling points for the faith as well as teachings used to encourage one another -- until they turn out to not be fulfilled. Then, believers switch to talking about meditative prayer, which changes the one praying by bringing acceptance.
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30-06-2017, 04:02 PM
RE: Stargate
(30-06-2017 03:32 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(30-06-2017 12:58 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  Suppose a parent is taking care of a kid remotely through some sort of smart techs. The kid asks the parent, sometimes get what he wants, sometimes not and the kid would be wrong to say: it doesn't work because my invisible parent can't do what I want. I don't think pointing to the unanswered prayers is a good approach to show a theist (s)he's delusional. Since a supposedly wise God in fact should not answer all sorts of dumb prayers.
The objection is that god doesn't answer prayers that aren't "dumb" either. "God, please don't let my spouse / child suffer / die" is not "dumb". "God, protect us from this storm / terrorist / criminal" is not "dumb". "God, help us foster world peace" is not "dumb".

In my experience answered prayer cannot be distinguished from random happenstance. "Yes no or maybe" as possible "answers", in fact, says exactly that.

In addition, there are all the elaborate and detailed promises to believers such as that a modicum of faith will move mountains. The Bible teaches that you should ask god for things, test him even, and see if the floodgates of heaven won't open on your behalf. These promises are selling points for the faith as well as teachings used to encourage one another -- until they turn out to not be fulfilled. Then, believers switch to talking about meditative prayer, which changes the one praying by bringing acceptance.

Quote:The objection is that god doesn't answer prayers that aren't "dumb" either. "God, please don't let my spouse / child suffer / die" is not "dumb". "God, protect us from this storm / terrorist / criminal" is not "dumb". "God, help us foster world peace" is not "dumb".
I think I understand . But to end the suffering or whatever that seems reasonable for a human being can be "dumb" for a supposedly all-knowing God. Let's assume God knows that your reality with all the suffering, evil, etc. is just a game for you to learn stuff and it is not real. But you as a human being are not aware of that. So the supposedly wise God would be right to dismiss your prayers and let you suffer (play) Just like how a kid might take a game too seriously and start getting angry over the parents because of the way the game is going, but the parents might be right to not to react and let the child deal with his/her anger to learn something from the game.

Quote:In addition, there are all the elaborate and detailed promises to believers such as that a modicum of faith will move mountains. The Bible teaches that you should ask god for things, test him even, and see if the floodgates of heaven won't open on your behalf. These promises are selling points for the faith as well as teachings used to encourage one another -- until they turn out to not be fulfilled. Then, believers switch to talking about meditative prayer, which changes the one praying by bringing acceptance.
Well all this sort of claims can be justified, because the requirement is always faith and the supposed God can always defend his claims by saying that "your faith wasn't strong enough".

So I don't think this is a good objection overall (compared to other objections concerning the lack of evidence, variety of Gods, etc.) and I think this objection cannot point to the God of a theist being delusional.
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30-06-2017, 04:08 PM (This post was last modified: 30-06-2017 04:17 PM by Shai Hulud.)
RE: Stargate
(29-06-2017 11:41 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(29-06-2017 07:12 AM)Rahn127 Wrote:  In the TV series Stargate, a character named Daniel ascends to a higher plane of existence. In this form he can apparently transport himself anywhere in the Galaxy and has a fair amount of power at his disposal.

He has one mentor in this higher plane who tells him that it's forbidden to use his power to interfere in the affairs of the denizens of other planets.

To do so would incur the wrath of "The Others", who are apparently much higher in power.

Daniel takes it on faith that "the others" even exist.
He also takes everything his mentor says on faith.
He has no good reason to believe what he has been told.

He is operating on fear, fear of the unknown.
This is the stock & trade of all religion.

A being with power who does nothing is as useful as an AI battery that won't start your car.
"I could start your car, but I have other plans."

It's this part of religion that annoys me the most.
People lie to themselves and make excuses for why their imaginary friend doesn't do anything, instead of realizing that it can't.

It can't because it's imaginary.

Oma Desala demonstrated to Daniel that she was indeed a celestial being and that she could perform amazing feats beyond human capacity. In a later episode, if memory serves, Daniel meets Orlin who corroborates Oma's story. Even if I'm wrong on that, Oma further gains credibility with Daniel by helping him to ascend. He's not following her on blind faith. She has earned his trust.
Spoilers follow:

Such an awesome synopsis!
Also the "Others" were the other Ancients. And they forcibly de-ascended Daniel when he got too involved in mortal affairs. In Stargate Atlantis we met one Ancient who was still ascended, but punished by being forced to defend one planet she had intervened on, and never elsewhere.

Plus in the last seasons of SG-1 (and the direct to DVD "Ark of Truth") we had the Ori, who were the folks the Alterans/Ancients split off from, who had Ascended as well. They literally launch an intergalactic crusade with their followers worshiping them as Gods, and their priests, the Priors, displaying demonstrable powers to the followers, ranging from telekinesis to creating plagues out of nothing to powering their warships that could one shot Goa'uld Ha'taks.

Edited to add tags when I remembered there are TTAers watching the series still.

Need to think of a witty signature.
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30-06-2017, 07:58 PM
RE: Stargate
(30-06-2017 04:02 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think I understand . But to end the suffering or whatever that seems reasonable for a human being can be "dumb" for a supposedly all-knowing God. Let's assume God knows that your reality with all the suffering, evil, etc. is just a game for you to learn stuff and it is not real. But you as a human being are not aware of that. So the supposedly wise God would be right to dismiss your prayers and let you suffer (play) Just like how a kid might take a game too seriously and start getting angry over the parents because of the way the game is going, but the parents might be right to not to react and let the child deal with his/her anger to learn something from the game.
When (for example) my wife died, and when (for example) my son died, trust me, I was not "playing". And given that dead people no longer have the opportunity to "learn lessons", they got no benefit out of it either. Their "playtime" was ended.

I am of the view that suffering always diminishes the sufferer, and there's no sense pretending otherwise. It certainly diminished my wife and son, to the point of dissolution.

I certainly agree that an all-powerful deity can do what it pleases according to its own lights. But the Abrahamic deity is also portrayed as utterly benevolent and all knowing as well as all powerful. As such, there is no way to view such a being as coexist with, be okay with, and even cause, human suffering. You must dispense with one or more of those attributes of god to make it compatible with human suffering. Either this being doesn't care, doesn't know, or can't do anything about it.
(30-06-2017 04:02 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  Well all this sort of claims can be justified, because the requirement is always faith and the supposed God can always defend his claims by saying that "your faith wasn't strong enough".

So I don't think this is a good objection overall (compared to other objections concerning the lack of evidence, variety of Gods, etc.) and I think this objection cannot point to the God of a theist being delusional.
It does however demonstrate that this deity, if, for the sake of argument it exists, is wicked, hateful and sadistic. In addition, it makes demands on humanity that it can never fulfill, because if the problem is faith, there is seldom enough faith to do the job. Or as I said earlier, answered prayer is indistinguishable from random happenstance. God might, after all, say yes, or no, or not right now.

That is also consistent with the claim that this deity created humans as they are and yet can't stand that they are as they are and therefore must punish them for how he made them.

No matter how you rationalize it, the whole paradigm just doesn't hold.

So it's true, this doesn't demonstrate that belief in the Abrahamic god is delusional, but it does demonstrate that it logically inconsistent.
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30-06-2017, 11:50 PM (This post was last modified: 01-07-2017 12:04 AM by nosferatu323.)
RE: Stargate
(30-06-2017 07:58 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(30-06-2017 04:02 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think I understand . But to end the suffering or whatever that seems reasonable for a human being can be "dumb" for a supposedly all-knowing God. Let's assume God knows that your reality with all the suffering, evil, etc. is just a game for you to learn stuff and it is not real. But you as a human being are not aware of that. So the supposedly wise God would be right to dismiss your prayers and let you suffer (play) Just like how a kid might take a game too seriously and start getting angry over the parents because of the way the game is going, but the parents might be right to not to react and let the child deal with his/her anger to learn something from the game.
When (for example) my wife died, and when (for example) my son died, trust me, I was not "playing". And given that dead people no longer have the opportunity to "learn lessons", they got no benefit out of it either. Their "playtime" was ended.

I am of the view that suffering always diminishes the sufferer, and there's no sense pretending otherwise. It certainly diminished my wife and son, to the point of dissolution.

I certainly agree that an all-powerful deity can do what it pleases according to its own lights. But the Abrahamic deity is also portrayed as utterly benevolent and all knowing as well as all powerful. As such, there is no way to view such a being as coexist with, be okay with, and even cause, human suffering. You must dispense with one or more of those attributes of god to make it compatible with human suffering. Either this being doesn't care, doesn't know, or can't do anything about it.
(30-06-2017 04:02 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  Well all this sort of claims can be justified, because the requirement is always faith and the supposed God can always defend his claims by saying that "your faith wasn't strong enough".

So I don't think this is a good objection overall (compared to other objections concerning the lack of evidence, variety of Gods, etc.) and I think this objection cannot point to the God of a theist being delusional.
It does however demonstrate that this deity, if, for the sake of argument it exists, is wicked, hateful and sadistic. In addition, it makes demands on humanity that it can never fulfill, because if the problem is faith, there is seldom enough faith to do the job. Or as I said earlier, answered prayer is indistinguishable from random happenstance. God might, after all, say yes, or no, or not right now.

That is also consistent with the claim that this deity created humans as they are and yet can't stand that they are as they are and therefore must punish them for how he made them.

No matter how you rationalize it, the whole paradigm just doesn't hold.

So it's true, this doesn't demonstrate that belief in the Abrahamic god is delusional, but it does demonstrate that it logically inconsistent.

Quote:there is no way to view such a being as coexist with, be okay with, and even cause, human suffering. You must dispense with one or more of those attributes of god to make it compatible with human suffering. Either this being doesn't care, doesn't know, or can't do anything about it.

I think the Abrahamic God can be a consistent entity by assuming:
1. Eternity of life
2. The unreality of suffering
3. Finite punishment
All those souls who suffer either on the Earth or in Hell will ultimately realize the unreality of their suffering and the benevolence of the God and will enter the supposed paradise to enjoy eternally. Like someone who wakes up from a bad dream. What ever the dream was, it was just a dream, and was essential for the person to appreciate the reality of no suffering. So I think the painful dream can be something that does not go against the benevolence attribute either.

The case of infinite punishment seems inconsistent. However I think a theist can still justify his/her god by assuming that those who are cast to hell eternally will ultimately find peace in pure suffering, infinitely far from their God. Since suffering will lose its meaning when joy is completely gone and suffering is all that remains, a state of peace can be conceivable when there is no joy to long for, there is no duality, all that there is is suffering. A state of non-duality is considered as absolute peacefulness in various religions. Absolute suffering is a state of non-duality.

I think there are good reasons to point out to the unreality of the gods in general. But I still don't think this one is one of them.
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01-07-2017, 01:13 AM
RE: Stargate
(29-06-2017 09:00 AM)Rockblossom Wrote:  Or look at it from the view of Tolkien's characters. Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel all could have taken the One Ring without force, since it was offered to each of them. They all refused, because they were wise enough to know that power of that sort in the hands of an immortal would eventually corrupt them, even though they started out trying to use it for the good of the world. The wise refuse the use of power to avoid becoming Sauron (who was once one of the Good Guys) or the Ori. And people who worship the interfering gods become their slaves.

Or you can look on this from other point of view. Behold the Valars who shat on Noldors and Atani, leaving them to machinations of Morgoth cause Feanor made them angry. No justification for such other than usual flimsy theistic excuses - though here they might had been less flimsy given how Beleriand ended after conflict.

Still it's hard if not impossible to portray gods as good beings and it isn't only books problem. God in Bruce Almighty wasn't bad fellow but he still didn't gave a shit about illness, poverty or cataclysms.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

Mikhail Bakunin.
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01-07-2017, 06:58 AM
RE: Stargate
The concept of a "good" god in a world devastated by famine, war, disease and untold suffering is very hard to imagine.

In fact, they seem completely incompatible.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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01-07-2017, 03:10 PM
RE: Stargate
(30-06-2017 11:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think the Abrahamic God can be a consistent entity by assuming:
1. Eternity of life
2. The unreality of suffering
3. Finite punishment
Logical inconsistencies are not solved by making more random assumptions than you already have. What basis do you have for any of the above assumptions? What evidence to do you offer to support them?
(30-06-2017 11:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  All those souls who suffer either on the Earth or in Hell will ultimately realize the unreality of their suffering and the benevolence of the God and will enter the supposed paradise to enjoy eternally. Like someone who wakes up from a bad dream. What ever the dream was, it was just a dream, and was essential for the person to appreciate the reality of no suffering. So I think the painful dream can be something that does not go against the benevolence attribute either.
I have no idea how one would distinguish this from wishful thinking.
(30-06-2017 11:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  The case of infinite punishment seems inconsistent. However I think a theist can still justify his/her god by assuming that those who are cast to hell eternally will ultimately find peace in pure suffering, infinitely far from their God. Since suffering will lose its meaning when joy is completely gone and suffering is all that remains, a state of peace can be conceivable when there is no joy to long for, there is no duality, all that there is is suffering. A state of non-duality is considered as absolute peacefulness in various religions. Absolute suffering is a state of non-duality.
That is a creative twist on the usual canard that pleasure / joy / happiness has no meaning without suffering and therefore suffering is necessary. It is rather like moving terms around to different sides of the equality operator in an algebraic equation though. It all amounts to the same thing. The equation is still fundamentally flawed.
(30-06-2017 11:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think there are good reasons to point out to the unreality of the gods in general. But I still don't think this one is one of them.
Beside the point.
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01-07-2017, 07:16 PM (This post was last modified: 01-07-2017 07:48 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: Stargate
(01-07-2017 03:10 PM)mordant Wrote:  
(30-06-2017 11:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think the Abrahamic God can be a consistent entity by assuming:
1. Eternity of life
2. The unreality of suffering
3. Finite punishment
Logical inconsistencies are not solved by making more random assumptions than you already have. What basis do you have for any of the above assumptions? What evidence to do you offer to support them?
(30-06-2017 11:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  All those souls who suffer either on the Earth or in Hell will ultimately realize the unreality of their suffering and the benevolence of the God and will enter the supposed paradise to enjoy eternally. Like someone who wakes up from a bad dream. What ever the dream was, it was just a dream, and was essential for the person to appreciate the reality of no suffering. So I think the painful dream can be something that does not go against the benevolence attribute either.
I have no idea how one would distinguish this from wishful thinking.
(30-06-2017 11:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  The case of infinite punishment seems inconsistent. However I think a theist can still justify his/her god by assuming that those who are cast to hell eternally will ultimately find peace in pure suffering, infinitely far from their God. Since suffering will lose its meaning when joy is completely gone and suffering is all that remains, a state of peace can be conceivable when there is no joy to long for, there is no duality, all that there is is suffering. A state of non-duality is considered as absolute peacefulness in various religions. Absolute suffering is a state of non-duality.
That is a creative twist on the usual canard that pleasure / joy / happiness has no meaning without suffering and therefore suffering is necessary. It is rather like moving terms around to different sides of the equality operator in an algebraic equation though. It all amounts to the same thing. The equation is still fundamentally flawed.
(30-06-2017 11:50 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I think there are good reasons to point out to the unreality of the gods in general. But I still don't think this one is one of them.
Beside the point.

Quote:Logical inconsistencies are not solved by making more random assumptions than you already have. What basis do you have for any of the above assumptions? What evidence to do you offer to support them?
I don't think these are random assumptions.

1. Eternity of life is assumed in almost all religions. Obviously in Abrahamic religions also.

2. Unreality of this life and its pain and pleasure, and the reality of afterlife is emphasized all through the Bible and the Quran. "People are asleep, when they die, they wake up" (Ali-ibn Abi Talib) This is from a Muslim Imam (highest religious authority), fits very well for the argument.
Furthermore, unreality of pleasure and suffering is one of the major basic beliefs in Buddhism and various Hindu traditions. In Hinduism, Brahma is responsible for creating the dream of this life which will be destroyed by Shiva, so the truth will be manifested.

3. Finite punishment: The concept of Limbo is clearly present in the Quran and based on some interpretations is also present in the Bible. This is the stage of temporary pain for those who might have the capacity to join the Lord but are not ready yet.

The case of pure suffering being equal to absolute peacefulness attained infinitely far from God, is not an assumption either, it is a mystical and philosophical interpretation based on the concept of non-duality. This view is supported in various authentic Islamic sources, not sure about the Christian sources though. The supposedly infinite hell is for those souls who hate their creator, but due to the benevolence attribute, even these souls are brought into the plane of existence and they move towards their destination, infinitely far from their creator, so they can find their peace.
The fact that hell is not clearly presented in this light in the Bible and the Quran is also consistent with the benevolence attribute. Since a supposedly benevolent creator would want his creation to join him, so he would describe the separation from himself in the most disturbing way, so his creation would avoid it at all costs.

Quote:It is rather like moving terms around to different sides of the equality operator in an algebraic equation though. It all amounts to the same thing. The equation is still fundamentally flawed.
I didn't quite get what you mean there. What is the flaw exactly? I personally find the cessation of suffering in a supposedly infinite hell with infinite suffering quite consistent from a philosophical point of view, and as I said there are various sources that suggest the same interpretation.

I didn't bother giving you the exact references. In case you are interested to know the references, please tell me.
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01-07-2017, 07:30 PM
RE: Stargate
(01-07-2017 07:16 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I don't think these are random assumptions.

1. Eternity of life is assumed in almost all religions.
Assumed. Stated. Asserted. Not evidenced.
(01-07-2017 07:16 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  2. Unreality of this life and its pain and pleasure, and the reality of after life is emphasized all through the Bible and the Quran. "People are asleep, when they die, they wake up" (Ali-ibn Abi Talib) This is from a Muslim Imam (highest religious authority), fits very well for the argument.
Furthermore, unreality of pleasure and suffering is one of the major basic beliefs in Buddhism and various Hindu traditions.
Argument from authority / popularity.
(01-07-2017 07:16 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  3. Finite punishment: The concept of Limbo is clearly present in the Quran and based on some interpretations is also present in the Bible. This is the stage of temporary pain for those who have the capacity to join the Lord but are not ready yet.
Argument from authority / popularity.
(01-07-2017 07:16 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  The case of pure suffering being equal to absolute peacefulness attained infinitely far from God, is not an assumption either, it is a mystical and philosophical interpretation based on the concept of non-duality. This view is supported in various authentic Islamic sources, not sure about the Christian sources though. The supposedly infinite hell is for those souls who hate their creator, but due to the benevolence attribute, even these souls are brought into the plane of existence and they move towards their destination, infinitely far from their creator, so they can find their peace.
There is no basis to excuse suffering as acceptable. Religious faith has attempted to do so since time immemorial, but that doesn't make it right or moral.
(01-07-2017 07:16 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  
Quote:It is rather like moving terms around to different sides of the equality operator in an algebraic equation though. It all amounts to the same thing. The equation is still fundamentally flawed.
I didn't quite get what you mean there. What is the flaw exactly? I personally find the cessation of suffering in a supposedly infinite hell with infinite suffering quite consistent from a philosophical point of view, and as I said there are various sources that suggest the same interpretation.

I didn't bother giving you the references. In case you are interested to know the references, please tell me.
Suffering does not disappear in the absence of contrasting pleasure, anymore than pleasure disappears in the absence of contrasting suffering. Hedonic tone exists, of course, but does not need extreme contrasts to appreciate changes in tone. Modest contrasts are more than sufficient.

I am not interested in references that involve quotations from holy books or the pronouncements of seers or shamans. If you have falsifiable propositions to demonstrate that have been put forward and properly tested, that would be of interest.
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