What kind of god would you LIKE?
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14-11-2011, 05:08 PM (This post was last modified: 14-11-2011 05:28 PM by cufflink.)
What kind of god would you LIKE?
Most of us would agree that if an omnipotent, omniscient god exists, he’s a dick. He sits around and does nothing while little kids suffer and die of cancer, while earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis kill hundreds of thousands, while babies are born with horrible birth defects, while old people become feeble and demented as part of “the gifts reserved for age / To set a crown upon [their] lifetime's effort.” And of course he doesn’t intervene when man exhibits his famous inhumanity to man. Plus he created mosquitoes.

Years ago I was going on about all that in a chat room, and a fundamentalist asked me something that took me aback:

“OK, then, you don’t like how God is handling the world. So what would you like Him to do? How should He behave that would meet with your approval?”

Good question.

More than anything, if god exists I’d like him to eliminate suffering. But that raises other questions.

Should god eliminate all disease? Sounds good, but then how would people die? Or maybe people shouldn’t die at all? But then what would happen to the earth?

If a little girl darts out into traffic, should god intervene every time to protect her? If I’m careless with my table saw, should god make sure I never cut off my hand? If I’m threatened by a gunman, should god see to it I’m not shot?

When should god exert control to protect us? Always? Never? Sometimes? (And if sometimes, then when?)

What would it be like to live in a world where we knew we could always count on a beneficent god for support and protection, where he would always intervene to make things good for us?

So here’s the challenge: If god existed and you had the power to tell him what to do, what would you say to him? Or if you yourself were an omnipotent, omniscient god, how would you set up and manage the world?

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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14-11-2011, 05:29 PM (This post was last modified: 14-11-2011 05:33 PM by houseofcantor.)
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
[Image: gwyneth-paltrow-pic-getty-images-11839070.jpg]

...and don't make me go over there, on a crusade! Big Grin
On a more serious note, omni considerations are bupkis. To "eliminate suffering" is to eliminate love, to "eliminate fear" is to eliminate life.

I'm not up for eliminating stuff. Atheism, for me; is me and my Gwynnies. Everybody else is free to make their own choices - and I know plenty of people that don't like Gwyneth Paltrow. They're insane, of course; but insanity ain't a crime. Big Grin

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14-11-2011, 05:39 PM
 
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(14-11-2011 05:08 PM)cufflink Wrote:  So here’s the challenge: If god existed and you had the power to tell him what to do, what would you say to him? Or if you yourself were an omnipotent, omniscient god, how would you set up and manage the world?

Very good thread, cufflink.

Unfortunately, no easy answers.

If god did exist, I would tell him to go back to the drawing board and redesign the whole planet -- correct the basic, fundamental design flaws that not even a god could correct. Design a planet that has only plant-like species (both sentient and not) that do not need to be carnivorous -- extract energy directly from sunlight and building material from the soil. No competition, no predation, no fight over limited resources.

Once you have "survival of the fittest" then you are screwed: there is only one possible outcome at the end. We are very near it now.

Actually, if you read Margaret Atwood's "Oryx and Crake" she had a very good stab at it. Brilliant book (and its sequel: "The year of the Flood").
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14-11-2011, 05:46 PM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
Hey, Cufflink.

Just a couple cents I wanna throw in. The litany of depraved occurrences attributable to the Almighty is longer than you or I could catalogue in our lifetimes were we funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. But then there's all the specfuckingtacular shit he (if he's a he... or if shklee exists) is responsible for like fudge swirl ice cream and driving fast and oral sex. If God micromanages the universe then should we not expect some equal division when he doles out good stuff and bad stuff?

Does life have meaning without suffering?

There was an interesting experiment where they wired a monkey's pleasure centre to a button and it just sat there, all day, pushing the button. They had to shut it down because it wasn't eating or sleeping and it was going to die. Do the highs of life become banal mediocrity if they're all we have? Can the pleasure of the high exist without the knowledge of the low?

Does life have meaning without death?

What's more precious, a finite number of minutes or an infinite string?

It strikes me that these are the great existential questions of life. We know that there will be suffering and that there will be injury and death, but we don't like the pain. So we wish it away. But perhaps it is that pain and suffering that brings meaning to our lives?

Here's the blow your mind question. If suffering and death give our lives meaning, then don't we owe God our thanks for them? Consider your mind blown Cool

All of that being said, of course there are days when all I want to do is stay home, watch TV, eat corn chips and masturbate and I'm just as angry as the next guy that I don't have the option of making that my career. But what do I know? I'm just some guy.

I think God's doing a decent job. Although if he could lower the number of assholes in the world, or at least eliminate the professional assholes (asshole hobbyists are acceptable), then maybe that'd be cool.

PS: Fuckin' mosquitoes!!!

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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14-11-2011, 05:51 PM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(14-11-2011 05:39 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Actually, if you read Margaret Atwood's "Oryx and Crake" she had a very good stab at it. Brilliant book (and its sequel: "The year of the Flood").

You and your reading stuff. This is the dang internet. Big Grin

Actually the name "Atwood" is dang familiar; I wonder if I read something by her. Regardless, a swing by Bookman's may be on tomorrow's agenda. Wink

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14-11-2011, 05:57 PM
 
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(14-11-2011 05:46 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Does life have meaning without suffering?

It may be just me, but I actually can imagine my life without suffering.

Like get up in the morning, step outside, listen to the birds chirping, watch the squirrel run up the tree trunk, go back in, have breakfast, sit down at my desk and continue writing my book about the fundamental basic principles of Physics, have a good laugh with my wife watching "Lucky" (one of our cats) make funny faces, go for a run in the woods, come home and split some firewood, potter around in my greenhouse, go over to my carving shed and finish that great horned eagle I have been working on for weeks now, try it, one more time, to get the First Cadenza of Beethoven's Violin Concerto right, write a poem when the mood strikes me, have a chat with a neighbour walking by.....

Yes, I could do it forever and I would call it meaning. Big Grin
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14-11-2011, 05:59 PM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(14-11-2011 05:57 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  
(14-11-2011 05:46 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Does life have meaning without suffering?

...try it, one more time, to get the First Cadenza of Beethoven's violin Concerto right...

How come I knew you weren't gonna be able to do it? Big Grin

This is you, suffering for your lack of perfection.

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14-11-2011, 06:01 PM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(14-11-2011 05:39 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  
(14-11-2011 05:08 PM)cufflink Wrote:  So here’s the challenge: If god existed and you had the power to tell him what to do, what would you say to him? Or if you yourself were an omnipotent, omniscient god, how would you set up and manage the world?

Very good thread, cufflink.

Unfortunately, no easy answers.

If god did exist, I would tell him to go back to the drawing board and redesign the whole planet -- correct the basic, fundamental design flaws that not even a god could correct. Design a planet that has only plant-like species (both sentient and not) that do not need to be carnivorous -- extract energy directly from sunlight and building material from the soil. No competition, no predation, no fight over limited resources.

Once you have "survival of the fittest" then you are screwed: there is only one possible outcome at the end. We are very near it now.

Actually, if you read Margaret Atwood's "Oryx and Crake" she had a very good stab at it. Brilliant book (and its sequel: "The year of the Flood").

Plants still have survival of the fittest, and compete over sun, water, and soil. Plants do go extinct, and its not by choice.

Life without natural selection is not possible.
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14-11-2011, 06:05 PM
 
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(14-11-2011 06:01 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  Life without natural selection is not possible.

Tell that to a god!

Big GrinBig GrinBig Grin
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14-11-2011, 06:07 PM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(14-11-2011 06:05 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  
(14-11-2011 06:01 PM)mysticjbyrd Wrote:  Life without natural selection is not possible.

Tell that to a god!

Big GrinBig GrinBig Grin

Really. Me and my Gwynnies; that's unnatural! Big Grin

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