Why Must Children Suffer?
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23-08-2013, 11:21 AM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
(23-08-2013 10:32 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  Great question. Jesus rises and some were millennia to hear about it overseas! I'm an inclusivist. If you hear and understand the true gospel you may respond to god and say, "I want some more". If you've never heard the gospel you may respond to god, who interacts with people. Sure, yes.

I don't think KC is an inclusivist but he is entitled to his opinion and I believe he is informed by scripture, too.

If one may be saved without having heard the gospel then, consequently, the gospel is not necessary for salvation.

That would seem a rather difficult position to defend, scripturally.

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23-08-2013, 12:01 PM (This post was last modified: 23-08-2013 12:07 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
(23-08-2013 09:37 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote:Depends on what you mean by the word problem.

If we are referring to problem, specifically, as an inconsistency with a world-view, then I agree that a naturalist does not have a problem with suffering. This is of course not the only meaning of the word problem, but it was what you seemed to be discussing in the original post. In that post, you mentioned how the existence of suffering is often taken or presented as grounds to reject the notion of an omnipotent, loving God on the basis of inconsistency. You then went on to propose reasons that such a God might exist side-by-side with such suffering, and we have since gone into an argument over whether or not such grounds are valid in what I've been calling the "problem of suffering". Somehow you mixed in the notion that a naturalist would be indifferent to suffering. (If I'm misreading your first post, please go over it with me so I'm clear about what you were saying instead.) This was the original topic of discussion as I saw it, and whether someone finds a measure of their suffering partially alleviated by faith is irrelevant to that discussion, much as whether a particular car ran a red light in Pittsburg is irrelevant to a discussion of AIDS in Africa. In this narrow sense of the word problem, no, a naturalist does not have a problem with suffering, because the fact that suffering could exist is consistent with the naturalist world view, but a theist may well have such a problem with suffering, because a theistic world view may be inconsistent with the existence of suffering.

I agree. Yet, if we also agree as you wrote that if someone finds faith alleviates suffering is irrelevant to that discussion, isn’t the existence of a loving god also irrelevant to that same discussion?

If the original discussion was about whether the existence of a loving, omnipotent deity is contradicted by the evidence of suffering? No, the existence of such a god would be quite relevant to that discussion.

(23-08-2013 09:37 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote: However, if we are speaking about whether suffering is a problem in a different definition of "something in the world we despise, and want to eliminate or reduce", the answer can be entirely different. A naturalist may well not have his or her world-view challenged by the fact that suffering exists (not a problem in the one sense) while at the same time dedicating significant time, energy, and resources to alleviating it, and despising the (regrettable and inevitable) fact that it does exist. This makes it a problem in a different sense of the word. The naturalist may even see the capacity for pain as serving a useful function, but then seek to reduce the world's suffering by removing the triggers of that pain without compromising its function. (For example, emotional grief when a kid kills herself playing with a firearm might serve a useful psychological function arising from evolution, but we can try to reduce that suffering by taking steps to keep kids from playing with guns, without compromising that function of the grief reaction.) However, the ability to do this is limited from a naturalist perspective, because we know that we can't simply wave our hand and eliminate suffering and don't think for a moment that we can, and so the fact that suffering exists doesn't challenge the naturalist paradigm OR the idea that a naturalist might prefer to alleviate it or eliminate it. This isn't to say that a naturalist will automatically have the latter sort of problem with suffering, but it is to say that it is to say that having such a problem with suffering in no way contradicts with naturalism. Thus, a naturalist can have one sort of problem with suffering without having the other. You seem to be equivocating between these two senses of the word problem.

That makes total sense to me. I agree 100% (I think, if I understand all the nuances of your points).

Therefore, where you say “naturalists work to reduce suffering but cannot simply wave our hand” (and certainly, Christians would say the same) then both naturalists and Christians have to grapple with a god who can do so or refuses to do so. So I’m back to my syllogism but with a difference:

Naturalists and Christians know there are reasons for suffering (natural reasons and sometimes this is appropriate pain and sometime it isn’t) so if there is a god, we should ask why SOMETIMES god doesn’t end suffering… and there is answer(s) for that. I’ve seen him stop pain sometimes, I’ve seen him do it proactively (before the suffering is allowed to happen) too.

You're bypassing the biggest point. "IF there is a god, we should..." when the question of whether there is a god is what the problem of suffering you were originally talking about is all about. It's not, "if there is a God, then why do we think there is suffering?" It's "If there is suffering, then why would we think there is a God?"

I identify as an ignostic, which is my way of saying that I must have a clear notion of what concept of God is being talked about, before I can say whether or not I believe in it. (Usually the answer is no.) In the case of the concept of an omnipotent, loving God, I am an atheist. But in the particular question you asked here, I am also an apatheist. "If there is a God...." I'd go right on doing what I am now, because if He won't clean up the mess then I'm still stuck giving it my best shot. Since this answer is identical to the answer of "If there isn't a God..." then I guess that makes me an apatheist.

(23-08-2013 09:37 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote: My perception -- and I have yet to see anything to contradict it, and much to contradict the alternatives I've heard to it -- is that the power of the gospel is simply the powers of human belief and motivation, nothing more but also nothing less. That is to say, that belief in these tales and articles of faith may motivate people to react in positive ways, or negative ones. Psychologically speaking, this motivation and its effects may be very powerful, and can extend to the unconscious or psychosomatic level. In that sense, we may describe the gospel as powerful. However, my perception is that there is no supernatural power to the gospel, and that the words and concepts have no power beyond the simple, naturalistic responses of a human psyche in the grip of belief. This would seem to account for your general description of people healed, marriages saved, and lives changed. And yes, we might count these as the positives of the religion. But if we're discussing whether the presence or practice of a religion's a good thing (which, again, is separate form the discussion of whether it's logically consistent), we'd need to examine the positives in light of the negatives, and discuss whether they can be separated or whether they come as a package deal.

I don’t hesitate to agree since I’ve seen that phenomena with other religions and other Christians. Yes. But personally, I’ve seen so many things that are inexplicable in my life and others from a psychological perspective that I must at least move to a parapsychological perspective!

Kindly name three such things you've seen. I anticipate that naturalistic explanations do exist, but I'm curious about the possibility they do not.

(23-08-2013 09:37 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote: Sure, extras are nice. But what you said, the same thing could be said of almost any religion, or of something that fills the same role like secular humanism, or perhaps psychological counseling, or perhaps just being treated like a living person rather than a dying patient, or, "hey, they're getting all this great stuff, but what about something more, like a lollypop? Why shouldn't they have a lollypop on top of everything else?"

And yeah, throw any of those in and you can ask, "well, what about adding another plus in?" and it would be legitimate. (Debatable is whether adding Christianity to the mix is a plus or a minus, and I'd guess it comes down to subjective judgement.) But the same strategy could also be applied to Christianity. "Yeah, sure, the patient's receiving faith counseling, but what if they want something more? Like, I dunno, the prospect of scientists producing a cure?"

Does pastoral care provide benefits? Yes. For some patients. In some cases. It is hardly alone in this, and the positive way in which patients can react to the beliefs in no way renders the beliefs accurate.

We can (and usually do) measure the benefits of any treatment for a patient -- including the psychological effects of spiritual counseling. That's WHY there's data on the lack of effectiveness of prayer in healing. We can compare that to the effects of other treatments, including treatments that might be mutually exclusive (so pick one or another). We can measure the negative consequences of side-effects and weigh them in balance to the positive effects, even going so far as to examine how a treatment might negatively affect an otherwise-recovered patient thirty years down the line. To simply look at a few positive elements of a particular form of care to the exclusion of the negatives or the alternatives is to lose perspective.

Yes, you are right about biases, lenses and perspective. For example, there’s a fresh study out that children who have regular, early bedtimes do better on IQ tests and in school. We both know that where the scientific correlation would be assumed to be “Because they sleep longer and their brains develop better”, the real world environment tells us they likely also have a more stable home environment, a regular routine in many areas, better nutrition, etc. Perspective.

My perspective is I’ve seen so many volumes of god-work in the area of pain and suffering, I’m convinced it is a necessity for human growth and development.

I haven't seen the study, but it sounds consistent with a lot of studies on sleep. If the study was designed by anyone remotely competent, then it would have controlled for variables like home environment, nutrition, etc. And it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that these are all positive factors in mental performance.

As for your perspective, I'd still press the point of the "side-effects" I brought up earlier. Do you know of any way to separate these negative effects from the faith to which your positive results are attached, on a large scale? Alternatively, do you know any way to separate the positive results of your work from the faith without bringing along the negative side-effects as well? Or are the positive results and negative side effects a package deal, because they are both inextricably attached to the faith? And if they are a package deal, what does that say about the costs attached to your prescription for human growth and development?

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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23-08-2013, 12:36 PM (This post was last modified: 23-08-2013 12:41 PM by Skippy538.)
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
PJ

Earlier you said I would "Never" be able to characterize the acts in the Old Testament as GENOCIDE. Then I showed you the scripture where Moses INSTRUCTED the warriors to go BACK and kill all of the women and children, EXCEPT the women who were virgins.

I said that killing women and children, AFTER the battle is over is GENOCIDE. You completely ignored the point, after making the cold assertion that we could NEVER characterize the acts of war in the bible as anything other than JUST WAR. You said NEVER - in ten minutes I showed you proof. Then, crickets.

Is this, or is it not, GENOCIDE?

Regarding the point of Child Molestation by Christians:

The fact that statistically speaking we very likely can prove the "lack" of intervention by the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christian Leaders by showing that they molest children as often or, likely, more so than other religious leaders (using the Catholic Church's current CRISIS as a guide) would, if shown, demonstrate completely to me that the idea of the Holy Spirit inhabiting man and helping him live a better life is a laughable joke. If the Holy Spirit doesn't help man NOT do this WORST OF ALL ACTS, and we can't see a statistical improvement in Christianity (without a No True Scotsman defense) over other religious leaders, ANY STATISTICAL DIFFERENCE AT ALL, between christian leaders and other religious leaders - then the gift of the Holy Spirit is a lie, and it does nothing to improve the actions of christians whatsoever, and that is a pretty important piece of Christian Theology to rip out, don't you agree?

My first point on this blog was the fact that you were engaging those comments you felt were fightable and ignoring the harder ones. I jumped up and down and "whined" to force you to address GENOCIDE, which you didn't, and now you ask - HAVE I MISSED SOMETHING? So far our interaction has mirrored my original comment completely. It's been 3 days since I proved the GENOCIDE in the bible with just one of many examples.

Thus the question naturally arises - can you admit when you are wrong? If not, is your faith making you blind to the truth?

Just sayin'. NEXT, If God does command GENOCIDE, is he worth worshipping? My answer would be no. Hands down. But that's just me - and most of the rest of the world who has a conscience and empathy. Christians find an odd way out of this by saying "Fuck 'em, God said so" when the reality is that they Israelites wanted the land, and they put the words into God's mouth so they could get what they wanted. These are man made documents, justifying the shitty behavior in the past of those men by saying "God Said So".

The only way you can keep your community together after inflicting torture on another people is to invoke that it was "God's Will" and his ways are so "mysterious." It was food for sheep. BAAAAH.

BY THE BY - One of the Main inspirations for HITLER's IDEOLOGY was a little book called "On the Jews and Their Lies" by Martin Luther. (Now that pre-eminent founder of Protestantism sure had that HOLY GHOST!) This book proscribed that Synogoges should be burned, their businesses destroyed, they should have no safe passage, etc. etc. etc. Why Christians always bring out these red herrings and they don't know their OWN history I have no idea. Hitler saw Racism and Christianity like Pees and Carrots, because Martin Luther lead the way! "Onward Christian Soldiers...."
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23-08-2013, 12:49 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:I would tell certain historians they're inventing things. When I think they are.

Then you are a brave person.

Quote:That's stunningly disingenuous, by the way. No one in position to discuss the matter was a close associate of Stalin - anyone who could claim to be is dead. We rely on interpretation of the available data. It has led me to certain conclusions. I know you're quite well aware of this, so again I'm left wondering why you would make such a ludicrous statement.

Because you took a position of special knowledge. You “know” what was in Stalin’s mind when there are (some) historians who say it was motivated by different reasons than you gave. You came off as if all scholars who disagree with you are off base (including me as a lay scholar). That would be an unfair allegation.

Quote:Everyone is meant to die. That's what being alive means. Anyone not reproducing is irrelevant anyway.

Are you saying homosexuals are irrelevant? That *would* be a consistent position for a Darwinist.

Quote:Since abortion has nothing to do with the fitness of the embryo, it is also irrelevant.

Then you are pro-life, since you are applying fitness and survival only to natural phenomena besides human free will? And you must therefore also affirm free will? Be consistent, please.

Quote:Only from an extremely literal-minded view of scripture is there any conflict... Evolution is an undeniable facet of reality. That God did things one way instead of another is not logically coherent proof of a lack of omnipotence; I've never heard a claim like that.

Not true, I know you’re aware that other peoples who adhere to religious texts outside the Bible have such a conflict. Further, there are non-religious peoples who have conflicts with macro-evolution.

Quote: You can start a separate thread if you like. You're the one who brought it up in this one.

So was it appropriate for you to respond in this thread, then?

Quote:Their definition of race was not biologically coherent.

Please explain, but only if you think it germane to this thread.

Quote: No, the point is that what some very crazy people believed has nothing to do with the ideas they claimed to be inspired by. Hitler's apparent espousal of 'Darwinism' has nothing to do with real evolutionary biology. It's just a really dumb argument whose only motive is a sort of guilt by association, and an intelligent person can and should do better than fallacious equivocation.

Hitler was an aspiring architect and a German corporal, not a biologist. However, he and Stalin spoke and wrote in crystalline terms of being inspired by/egged on by/pleased by/liberated by Darwin. But we can just say Herbert Spencer if that helps you.

PS. How do you know they were crazy? I’m not talking about special knowledge of their insanity. I’m asking how you are unaware that they were possibly representing a special breed of evolution a Nietschean Superman or Antichrist if you will. Hitler CLAIMED TO HAVE LED A MOVEMENT THAT WAS DOING EXACTLY THAT, a NEW, EVOLVED ARYAN race of supermen. Have you done the DNA research to prove them wrong already?

Quote: Uh, what did I just say? "Claiming to be inspired by" is not the same as "actually relating to the ideas of". Nazi ideology draws heavily on religious themes and ideas as well. So what?

If I post here ten statements from Hitler and Stalin referencing what excited them about Origin of the Species, can we move from “not related to” to “kissing cousins of”?

More importantly to this thread, god could have evolved children out of suffering but he didn’t. Why not?
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23-08-2013, 12:51 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:If one may be saved without having heard the gospel then, consequently, the gospel is not necessary for salvation.
Correct. What is necessary would then be a responsiveness to the promptings of god.

Quote:That would seem a rather difficult position to defend, scripturally.
How many literal statements of the Christian gospel have you read in the Old Testament? It’s a fantastically easy proposition to defend, since there are many, many statements in both testaments that “whoever trusts the Lord” will be okay.
TRUST THE LORD.
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23-08-2013, 01:02 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:If the original discussion was about whether the existence of a loving, omnipotent deity is contradicted by the evidence of suffering? No, the existence of such a god would be quite relevant to that discussion.

I agree, but it wasn’t. From my original post:

**

The person who uses the suffering of children as an anti-God objection must therefore be:

1. Not understanding the meaning and purposes of suffering or else not wanting to understand them

2. Judging God by arbitrary and indulgent choices (“I say pain is bad even though it was created or evolved for protection.”)

3. Etc.

**

Quote: You're bypassing the biggest point. "IF there is a god, we should..." when the question of whether there is a god is what the problem of suffering you were originally talking about is all about. It's not, "if there is a God, then why do we think there is suffering?" It's "If there is suffering, then why would we think there is a God?"

I identify as an ignostic, which is my way of saying that I must have a clear notion of what concept of God is being talked about, before I can say whether or not I believe in it. (Usually the answer is no.) In the case of the concept of an omnipotent, loving God, I am an atheist. But in the particular question you asked here, I am also an apatheist. "If there is a God...." I'd go right on doing what I am now, because if He won't clean up the mess then I'm still stuck giving it my best shot. Since this answer is identical to the answer of "If there isn't a God..." then I guess that makes me an apatheist.

The original point was “without a god, there are reasons for suffering.” Let’s not skirt this important issue, please.

But if you want to move to, as you wrote:

"If there is suffering, then why would we think there is a God?"

I would balance that by asking:

“If there is joy, then why would think there is not a God?”

But on to more practical matters. Rather than saying you’re an apatheist, shouldn’t your logical reponse to god not be “if there is a god he won’t clean up my mess” but rather “god, if you exist, prove it and clean up my mess, and then I will certainly trust in you and follow you”? This last is actually the testimony of a number of prominent Bible figures.

Quote:Kindly name three such things you've seen. I anticipate that naturalistic explanations do exist, but I'm curious about the possibility they do not.

Interesting. I don’t recall writing that these phenomena weren’t natural. I just said “so many”.

Quote: I haven't seen the study, but it sounds consistent with a lot of studies on sleep. If the study was designed by anyone remotely competent, then it would have controlled for variables like home environment, nutrition, etc. And it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that these are all positive factors in mental performance.

Very good! Correct! So what you’re really talking about is CONTEXT. Is there ever a positive context to suffering, and if so, why not amend “God causes suffering and I hate him” to “God causes suffering and some of the suffering I hate”?

Quote:As for your perspective, I'd still press the point of the "side-effects" I brought up earlier. Do you know of any way to separate these negative effects from the faith to which your positive results are attached, on a large scale? Alternatively, do you know any way to separate the positive results of your work from the faith without bringing along the negative side-effects as well? Or are the positive results and negative side effects a package deal, because they are both inextricably attached to the faith? And if they are a package deal, what does that say about the costs attached to your prescription for human growth and development?

I’m unsure there are since god is invisible to most people and at most times. And god is much more vital in these matters than faith.
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23-08-2013, 01:16 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:PJ

Earlier you said I would "Never" be able to characterize the acts in the Old Testament as GENOCIDE. Then I showed you the scripture where Moses INSTRUCTED the warriors to go BACK and kill all of the women and children, EXCEPT the women who were virgins.

I said that killing women and children, AFTER the battle is over is GENOCIDE. You completely ignored the point, after making the cold assertion that we could NEVER characterize the acts of war in the bible as anything other than JUST WAR. You said NEVER - in ten minutes I showed you proof. Then, crickets.

Is this, or is it not, GENOCIDE?

Oh! Please post the chapter and verse again and I’ll look. Sorry.

Quote: Regarding the point of Child Molestation by Christians:

The fact that statistically speaking we very likely can prove the "lack" of intervention by the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christian Leaders by showing that they molest children as often or, likely, more so than other religious leaders (using the Catholic Church's current CRISIS as a guide) would, if shown, demonstrate completely to me that the idea of the Holy Spirit inhabiting man and helping him live a better life is a laughable joke. If the Holy Spirit doesn't help man NOT do this WORST OF ALL ACTS, and we can't see a statistical improvement in Christianity (without a No True Scotsman defense) over other religious leaders, ANY STATISTICAL DIFFERENCE AT ALL, between christian leaders and other religious leaders - then the gift of the Holy Spirit is a lie, and it does nothing to improve the actions of christians whatsoever, and that is a pretty important piece of Christian Theology to rip out, don't you agree?

I’m not trying to upset you but you have a rather circular argument there. You’ve taken classic Christianity (the Holy Spirit permanently inhabits born again people who love Jesus) and made it into people who have the Holy Spirit at times or never (paedophiles) are failed in god’s attempts to abrogate their free will. I’m UNABLE to be a paedophile because I’m saved. This does not abrogate my free will because when I trusted Christ, I “counted the cost” and asked god to change me and make me like him.

Quote: My first point on this blog was the fact that you were engaging those comments you felt were fightable and ignoring the harder ones. I jumped up and down and "whined" to force you to address GENOCIDE, which you didn't, and now you ask - HAVE I MISSED SOMETHING? So far our interaction has mirrored my original comment completely. It's been 3 days since I proved the GENOCIDE in the bible with just one of many examples.

Thus the question naturally arises - can you admit when you are wrong?

Sometimes I can. I find the three days thing a bit annoying because after an hour of answering a lot of people I got tired. Do I owe you something special?

Quote:If not, is your faith making you blind to the truth?

Sometimes I can admit when I’m wrong.

Quote: Just sayin'. NEXT, If God does command GENOCIDE, is he worth worshipping? My answer would be no. Hands down. But that's just me - and most of the rest of the world who has a conscience and empathy. Christians find an odd way out of this by saying "Fuck 'em, God said so" when the reality is that they Israelites wanted the land, and they put the words into God's mouth so they could get what they wanted. These are man made documents, justifying the shitty behavior in the past of those men by saying "God Said So".

That sounds a little one-sided on both ends of the argument. You are in equivalence saying “ALL persons with empathy reject the Bible” and “ALL Christians use a god-said-so therefore its moral when its clearly not”, neither of which are true.

Quote: The only way you can keep your community together after inflicting torture on another people is to invoke that it was "God's Will" and his ways are so "mysterious." It was food for sheep. BAAAAH.

I think you have me confused with the pope of Rome. I wouldn’t last five seconds when preaching publicly, rather than have hundreds of listeners interact with me for hours, including atheists, if it was all “mysterious ways”. EVERY ONE OF THE NINE BIBLE MYSTERIES has an answer immediately following the mystery, by the way. I think the “mysteries of god” is a copout! I agree with you!

Quote: BY THE BY - One of the Main inspirations for HITLER's IDEOLOGY was a little book called "On the Jews and Their Lies" by Martin Luther. (Now that pre-eminent founder of Protestantism sure had that HOLY GHOST!) This book proscribed that Synogoges should be burned, their businesses destroyed, they should have no safe passage, etc. etc. etc. Why Christians always bring out these red herrings and they don't know their OWN history I have no idea. Hitler saw Racism and Christianity like Pees and Carrots, because Martin Luther lead the way! "Onward Christian Soldiers...."

I know that. I also know it made his life easier with the Protestant Germans. I also know Hitler somehow missed all of Luther’s early writings which extolled the Jews and asked for a witness to them without malice. Poor Luther must have fasted a bit too much and lost it. I’ve considered that Luther was never saved (because if you INSIST he was you have some kind of appeal to popularity fallacy, the more so since Jesus said you’re messed up if the world loves you and they sure love Luther) or that there is an apocryphal writer who forged Luther, but really, it’s one key reason I never joined a Protestant church, so yes, I do know my history.

But Hitler lived with, worked with, and associated with Jews for thirty years before it hit the fan. His ideology didn’t come from Luther IMO.

But here’s a better question. If god allowed Hitler to harm children, he must be immoral. But if there is no god, then Hitler could eat children if he wasn’t a vegetarian. So are you saying Darwinism is immoral or not?
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23-08-2013, 01:22 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
How is it your mind can work this way ? Just ignore suffering, ignore the consequences, all so you can imagine how perfect god is.

The mental gymnastics you have to do are so mind blowing, they defy reason.

You are working from within the confines of your own mind. This is why nothing we can say will ever sway you.
Be content in your happy happy world so that you don't have to face reality.
Ignorance is bliss.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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23-08-2013, 02:08 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:How is it your mind can work this way ?

Because this is a totally reasonable issue (suffering) that comes up frequently in ministry work, where one actively offers aid, finances and succor to the suffering.

Quote:Just ignore suffering, ignore the consequences, all so you can imagine how perfect god is.

You win this argument with the above except that some suffering has meaning and some pain has meaning. And god is perfect and man isn’t (your scenario-your conundrum of omnibenevolence and omnipotence) so there has to be an inherent conflict between the two.

Quote:The mental gymnastics you have to do are so mind blowing, they defy reason.

If it is the reason that says love does not allow for suffering, I will defy that reason. I suffer every day when it breaks my heart that atheists and apatheists at that are missing the good news of Christ. But I come here anyway to make meaning out of suffering.

Quote:You are working from within the confines of your own mind. This is why nothing we can say will ever sway you.

Are you sure? Some of your colleagues posted today that I must be a skeptic at heart and I copped to that. And I was unaware the purpose of this forum was to sway skeptics to become full-fledged skeptics. Huh, maybe you should post and advertise that you proselytize.

Quote:Be content in your happy happy world so that you don't have to face reality.

Ignorance is bliss.

Now who is missing the forest for the proverbial trees? I’m constantly in hardships and trials for Christ’s sake and the Bible says “weep with those who weep”. I’m certain you are a nice person who empathizes with others who suffer, I weep for them. I worship a god who suffered and died for our sin. Of course I meditate on, not ignore, suffering. Your arguments are somewhere between moot and insulting, but I forgive you and pray you will suffer me a little longer!
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23-08-2013, 02:49 PM (This post was last modified: 23-08-2013 03:51 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
(23-08-2013 01:02 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote:If the original discussion was about whether the existence of a loving, omnipotent deity is contradicted by the evidence of suffering? No, the existence of such a god would be quite relevant to that discussion.

I agree, but it wasn’t. From my original post:

**

The person who uses the suffering of children as an anti-God objection must therefore be:

1. Not understanding the meaning and purposes of suffering or else not wanting to understand them

2. Judging God by arbitrary and indulgent choices (“I say pain is bad even though it was created or evolved for protection.”)

3. Etc.

**

Okay, I see the foul-up here. I was seeing your view of the problem of suffering as an anti-existence-of-this-type-of-God objection, when your view of it was more as an anti-respect-for-God objection. Which, frankly, isn't something that an atheist is much concerned with, save as a pure hypothetical or a disparagement of what the atheist views as a fictional character.

(23-08-2013 01:02 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote: You're bypassing the biggest point. "IF there is a god, we should..." when the question of whether there is a god is what the problem of suffering you were originally talking about is all about. It's not, "if there is a God, then why do we think there is suffering?" It's "If there is suffering, then why would we think there is a God?"

I identify as an ignostic, which is my way of saying that I must have a clear notion of what concept of God is being talked about, before I can say whether or not I believe in it. (Usually the answer is no.) In the case of the concept of an omnipotent, loving God, I am an atheist. But in the particular question you asked here, I am also an apatheist. "If there is a God...." I'd go right on doing what I am now, because if He won't clean up the mess then I'm still stuck giving it my best shot. Since this answer is identical to the answer of "If there isn't a God..." then I guess that makes me an apatheist.

The original point was “without a god, there are reasons for suffering.” Let’s not skirt this important issue, please.

But if you want to move to, as you wrote:

"If there is suffering, then why would we think there is a God?"

I would balance that by asking:

“If there is joy, then why would think there is not a God?”

Because there are many, many alternative explanations for the presence of joy that are totally consistent with the non-existence of God, and so the existence of joy is hardly compelling evidence to overcome all the other reasons I have for believing the described God does not exist.

(23-08-2013 01:02 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  But on to more practical matters. Rather than saying you’re an apatheist, shouldn’t your logical reponse to god not be “if there is a god he won’t clean up my mess” but rather “god, if you exist, prove it and clean up my mess, and then I will certainly trust in you and follow you”? This last is actually the testimony of a number of prominent Bible figures.

I don't think you want me to get into who has ownership of said mess. Suffice to say that the mess is there and needs cleaned up.

And the notion that God will clean up the mess, if just asked to and promised a follower, is disputed on a very, very regular basis. Suffice it to say that God isn't stepping in to clean it up, in any manner distinguishable from an utterly naturalistic world.

(23-08-2013 01:02 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote:Kindly name three such things you've seen. I anticipate that naturalistic explanations do exist, but I'm curious about the possibility they do not.

Interesting. I don’t recall writing that these phenomena weren’t natural. I just said “so many”.

Psychology is naturalistic, and you said they were inexplicable in that sense. I guess I may have misinterpreted your comment.

(23-08-2013 01:02 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote: I haven't seen the study, but it sounds consistent with a lot of studies on sleep. If the study was designed by anyone remotely competent, then it would have controlled for variables like home environment, nutrition, etc. And it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that these are all positive factors in mental performance.

Very good! Correct! So what you’re really talking about is CONTEXT. Is there ever a positive context to suffering, and if so, why not amend “God causes suffering and I hate him” to “God causes suffering and some of the suffering I hate”?

Let's see. First, I cannot amend "God causes suffering and I hate him" to "God causes suffering and some of the suffering I hate", because I'm not at "God causes suffering" at all, much less "I have a strong emotional hate for this thing I regard as fictional". (I'm close to hating the belief and the impact it has on the world, but that's not the same thing.) "God causes suffering" implicitly assumes that there exists a God causing stuff, and, well, I'm not there yet and this argument isn't getting me there. When I thought this was a counter to an anti-existence argument, it made a bit of sense, but now it doesn't. You're trying to get me from B to C when I'm actually cooling my heels at A, which is nowhere near either of them. The same could be said of most people on this board, and I'm about ready to dust off the same question that I always ask you in every thread and you never answer: Why would you present this argument to a bunch of atheists, who you KNOW as a class are defined as not believing in the existence of God, when the argument itself is assuming (not trying to demonstrate, but assuming from the word go) the existence of a God?

But second, even if I were to engage in the hypothetical of an omnipotent God's existence (which is what I've been trying to do), it is context that causes the problem of suffering to rear its head. Specifically, the context of alternatives. What purpose could suffering possibly serve, that an omnipotent God could not achieve without suffering? None, unless the suffering is the purpose itself. That's what omnipotence means. So some alternative way of fulfilling that purpose would exist to an omnipotent being. What then is the purpose of this God choosing to make a creation with suffering, in the context of the alternative of making it without suffering, and can such a God be regarded as loving? A naturalistic explanation of suffering as an evolved response dodges this bullet in two ways. First, evolution is not to be considered omnipotent, and so its alternatives are limited in a way that an omnipotent being's would not be. It could not make a creature that could live without burning energy, for example, so it could never obviate hunger. But second and more critically, evolution is not to be considered sapient. It does not make decisions about its course any more than a river in its channel (EDIT: I don't like this metaphor, but I'm drawing a blank on a better one) makes decisions about its course, and it does not experience emotions such as love or wrath or jealousy. No one thinks evolution is loving, and so a critique that it is not loving is like an in-depth twenty page argument explaining why the sky is up. But a supposedly loving God, in the context of being omnipotently able to eliminate suffering WITHOUT forgoing whatever purpose that suffering was furthering, who would then decline to do so, starts to look a lot less loving. Trying to figure out what that purpose might be doesn't get around this.

(23-08-2013 01:02 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote:As for your perspective, I'd still press the point of the "side-effects" I brought up earlier. Do you know of any way to separate these negative effects from the faith to which your positive results are attached, on a large scale? Alternatively, do you know any way to separate the positive results of your work from the faith without bringing along the negative side-effects as well? Or are the positive results and negative side effects a package deal, because they are both inextricably attached to the faith? And if they are a package deal, what does that say about the costs attached to your prescription for human growth and development?

I’m unsure there are since god is invisible to most people and at most times. And god is much more vital in these matters than faith.

Unsure there are which? Ways to detach the positive from the beliefs? Ways to detach the negatives from the beliefs?

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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