problem of evil and suffering
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17-07-2015, 10:32 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(16-07-2015 06:50 PM)Melanie Wrote:  
(15-07-2015 01:35 PM)unfogged Wrote:  Since there's no reason to believe there is any god, or anything else, the problem is ours to deal with where we can but it isn't all of our making. Things like natural disasters are out of our control but preparation and cleanup are our responsibility.


Do you honestly believe that people like that actually choose to be that way? Do you see any part played by chemical imbalances in the brain that are out of their control? Or severe physical and/or psychological abuse contributing to it?

Not to be rude, and please don't take this the wrong way, but given the fact that their actions are voluntary and they enjoy what they are doing and this apparent psychological/neurological abnormality supposedly features impulses of which they have no control over, there is a dissonance with this conclusion. Free will doesn't just mean the ability to control one's own actions, but also their thoughts and feelings and thus to shape one's personality. So in order for something to be enacted out of one's free will, that includes one's desires, intentions and thoughts being carried out from within the confines of one's will.

People say that Psychopaths are born innately self-centered individualists. They are also cold, callous, unemotional, remorseless, heartless, unsympathetic and unempathetic. They are also ego-maniacal, have delusions of grandeur and are therefore incorrigible. They are also known to be bullies, financial parasites, very promiscuous, irresponsible, glib, charming and very machiavellian. Now, these are the essential qualities that people frown upon--these are all the qualities that overlap so closely with things that are synonymous with morality and ethicality. People have even compared sociopaths and psychopaths to having the emotional traits and mentality of a child--being self-centered and selfish and deadset in getting what he/she wants, WHEN they want it. Moreover, our initial impressions when we see people commit crimes or abuse other people are that they are plain and simple lawbreakers or criminals--not disordered. How does something that is supposedly a disorder have qualities and traits that have such great overlap with plain and simple regular criminal/immoral/unchaste behavior? Acting like a child and being selfish and self-centered and not caring about the welfare of others are not characteristics of some neurological disorder. A mental/neurological abnormality does not make people act in ways that are illegal/immoral/unethical. When we see someone who is plain selfish and self-centered and egotistical, we are turned off by their behavior and it arouses disgust or displeasure for not only their behavior, but for THEM too. Take a non-murderous, non-criminal psychopath for example, who manipulates and bullies other people and feel as if he's superior to everyone else. The victim and those around him want retribution enacted on this coward who bullies the undeserving recipient of the abuse. Not just his behavior, but also his attitude and his personality. Now, why would people be angry at a guy for not only how he treats people physically, but also his personality traits if his arrogance and narcissism came from some faulty wiring in the brain? Because being egotistical and selfish are CHOICES, just like our behavior. When we see people acting as though they are better than others and look down and undermine those they perceive beneath them, we do not say "something's wrong with him/her", we just call them an asshole. When we see some nasty slut whoring around, having multiple sexual relationships with multitudes of men, we do not think "she must have some faulty wiring in the brain", we just call her a nasty, low-down, dirty harpie. When we see someone acting callously towards another, we do not say "he must've been born without the capacity to feel guilt or empathy" we just call them heartless bastards. Even in murder and rape cases, when we see someone sadistically and methodically carrying out malice-murder we do not say "he must have some faulty wiring in the brain"--not until recently within the subsequent one/two centuries.

But society has conditioned themselves into believing that becoming something that features a myriad of traits that, normally are all by choice, are by genetic heritage and/or environmental conditions. And speaking of being the product of abuse--enough with that. I've heard this crap be used dozens of times before! People all over the internet will give you accounts of how they were physically, emotionally, verbally, psychologically and even sexually abused by strangers, parents, siblings, cousins and even aunts and uncles and how in spite of all that, aren't even abusive themselves, let alone criminal or psychopathic/sociopathic. So let's put aside the crap about all this nature/nurture shit which, in retrospect is just an alternate, more subtle way of exonerating personal responsibility under the mere illusion of still holding people responsible for their behavior in spite of their genetics. No one or nothing makes you have a personality that is difficult, destructive or otherwise unpleasant. And that is also the hypocrisy behind the label "personality disorder".

A personality disorder is defined as a maladaptive personality which interferes with someone's ability to connect with their peers or to otherwise function normally in society. Now, a personality disorder, given the technical definition of it, I would think is similar to a mental illness, or any other physiologic illness, disability or abnormality in which it negatively impacts/inhibits one's ability to function normally in some way or another. Because of this, it would automatically evoke a negative emotional reaction to it, in that the sufferer would want to be rid of this disorder/illness/affliction. Even in the case of a character disorder, even Narcissists feel personal discomfort. But Antisociality (a catch-for-all term for sociopathy, psychopathy, etc.) is the only breed of "illness" in which the person is totally fine as they are. Many even boast of the fact they are the way they are.

Now tell me--is Antisociality really a disorder? Do people boast of having Cancer? Do people boast of having Anthrax? Do people boast of having Genital Herpes? Do people boast of having HPV or HIV? Do they boast of having Schizophrenia?

And another thing we need to address is the seeming glorification or otherwise normalization of this "disorder". People often promote the idea that psychopaths are needed because their tough-mindedness and their callousness are what makes businesses boom. Granted, there are industries that are undoubtedly cutthroat and dog-eat-dog, but even these managers and bosses reprimand those under their authority in a authoritative manner that almost borders on being authoritarian for the ultimate well-being of their workers and the world at large. Even the most tough-minded non-sociopathic employers have some degree of compassion and empathy for others. The psychopath and sociopath DOES not have the people's best interests at heart. The psychopath only considers THEIR own needs and THEIR own desires before the welfare of others. In other words, high-functioning psychopaths who choose to contribute positively to society do not do so for its own sake--but for an ulterior motive: their own self-interest.

Is that the type of society you want? Is that what we need? A world where there are people, CEOs and rulers alike manipulating others for their own self-interest and then treating them as sentient equivalents to objects to be used and then throw them away like trash when they've outlived their purpose for the psychopath? A world permeated with selfishness, machivellianism, ruthlessness & sanctimony veiled by false show of humility, care, compassion and altruism? That does not sound like the description of some mere personality/neurological/psychological disorder. That sounds like tyranny and anarchy--a disastrous and broken world waiting to happen. Also, if Antisociality is a true disorder, not only would it cause personal discomfort, but it would also NOT be glorified. If it is a disorder, glorifying Antisociality is therefore like glorifying Cancer, Heart Disease, Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus and Smallpox. Taking this into deeper perspective, if you yourself aren't a psychopath, you would/should wonder "what has the world come to?"

Manipulating others as if they're objects for your own convenience, lying in furtherance of your own goals, cheating behind your partner's back for your own sensual gratification, being possessed of lust, greed, larceny and all of the other carnal, worldly and sinful desires that are transgressions of both legal and moral/divine law are not characteristics of a "neurological disorder". They are characteristics of deviancy. These people do not suffer from a personality disorder--they are perfectly content with who and what they are. And everything they say, think, feel and do is in full consent of the will and they don't feel the least regretful about it. Their so-called impulses and "innate" callousness does not make them resent their deeds. They do not resent having these impulses. In fact, they enjoy it all. Which is why they do not evoke sympathy from other people, let alone their victims--there's nothing wrong with them.

My aunt, who recently passed, said "Glad I got cancer if that's what it took to heal family rifts." It's all about perspective. I'm sorry to say it, but I find that TTA'ers are consistently "half full glass" people.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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17-07-2015, 10:38 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(16-07-2015 07:56 PM)julep Wrote:  
(16-07-2015 07:39 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I call baloney. I claim that most of what you and I suffer is caused wholly by us. Look around you and--wake up, please. Love your spouse and see what you get. Shun her and see. Eat right or don't and see what you get. Smoke and drink or don't. This is nonsense you are promulgating. I don't absolve God of His responsibility to have us reap what we sow, nor should you. Nor DO you, since you insist substitutionary atonement is wrong and that people should pay for their own crimes. Or should we empty the jails so that we can help God help the poor criminals not suffer any longer?

Dude, get real.

Wondering what my 5-month-old nephew did that justified his suffering, agony, and death from accidental arsenic poisoning. What, possibly, could a little baby have sown to reap in such a fashion? Even if we limit the deaths and suffering to humans who have not had an opportunity to exercise their "free will" to "sin" (quotes around offensive terms), every miscarriage and natural disaster that kills a fetus inside a pregnant woman or infant is a cruelty of god, if your conception of god includes agency and interference at the human level, towards an entity that has not yet sinned. Inevitable conclusion: your god is a monster. So glad that he is just a warped fantasy.

Unfortunate chance in a universe where justice is acknowledged as a limited and man-made construct is incredibly more ethical, not to mention plausible, than a god who would allow the suffering and death of so many innocents.

First, I am truly sorry for your loss.

Second, I'd say your nephew did nothing to cause that terrible suffering.

Third, have you considered Paul's words regarding suffering? For I think they apply to your nephew... from 2 Cor 4:17:

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

How audacious of Paul to claim death and suffering are "light" troubles. But they do seem momentary in the light of eternity. One of my turning points in conversion from skepticism included my railing at a witness about children and suffering. They asked in response:

"What's the worst thing that could happen to a child?"

I said in reply:

"I dunno. They could be born with AIDS, cancer and five or six other things, suffer painfully, and die young--or be in pain even longer and then pass."

He responded:

"And how long will the child be in Heaven, without pain or suffering?"

I said, "A million years or more..."

And I got pretty quiet after that. Perspective. Use it. Have it. Personally, I have a little note at my desk today reminding me that we all, without exception, have to grieve:

Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance - in whatever order... the bargaining is often with God. The acceptance is too. I'm sorry your nephew isn't with you, but your nephew is in glory.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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17-07-2015, 11:50 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(17-07-2015 10:38 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(16-07-2015 07:56 PM)julep Wrote:  Wondering what my 5-month-old nephew did that justified his suffering, agony, and death from accidental arsenic poisoning. What, possibly, could a little baby have sown to reap in such a fashion? Even if we limit the deaths and suffering to humans who have not had an opportunity to exercise their "free will" to "sin" (quotes around offensive terms), every miscarriage and natural disaster that kills a fetus inside a pregnant woman or infant is a cruelty of god, if your conception of god includes agency and interference at the human level, towards an entity that has not yet sinned. Inevitable conclusion: your god is a monster. So glad that he is just a warped fantasy.

Unfortunate chance in a universe where justice is acknowledged as a limited and man-made construct is incredibly more ethical, not to mention plausible, than a god who would allow the suffering and death of so many innocents.

First, I am truly sorry for your loss.

Second, I'd say your nephew did nothing to cause that terrible suffering.

Third, have you considered Paul's words regarding suffering? For I think they apply to your nephew... from 2 Cor 4:17:

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

How audacious of Paul to claim death and suffering are "light" troubles. But they do seem momentary in the light of eternity. One of my turning points in conversion from skepticism included my railing at a witness about children and suffering. They asked in response:

"What's the worst thing that could happen to a child?"

I said in reply:

"I dunno. They could be born with AIDS, cancer and five or six other things, suffer painfully, and die young--or be in pain even longer and then pass."

He responded:

"And how long will the child be in Heaven, without pain or suffering?"

I said, "A million years or more..."

And I got pretty quiet after that. Perspective. Use it. Have it. Personally, I have a little note at my desk today reminding me that we all, without exception, have to grieve:

Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance - in whatever order... the bargaining is often with God. The acceptance is too. I'm sorry your nephew isn't with you, but your nephew is in glory.

Thanks for your sympathy. Although I do not believe that my nephew is in heaven, as there is no evidence for heaven, I appreciate that the idea of an infant in hell (no evidence for hell, either) is troubling to you.

It seems to me, however, that you are talking out of both sides of your mouth on this thread. First suffering is brought on humans by themselves, or "reaping what you sow," and it's both justice in itself and part of god's lesson plan. Except when it's not deserved, and in that case, it's light and practically nothing on the scale of eternity, so our being troubled by it is short-sighted. I'm a teacher in real life, and I would be ashamed of myself if I had to use that kind of a stick to get through to my students. A god who communicates with his creations in this manner is a shabby teacher as well as morally problematic.

I do appreciate the narrative impulse that we all have to make our lives into stories, and stories aren't interesting without some drama and conflict. But the stories we use to understand ourselves and those around us aren't necessarily any truer than the ones novelists make up. Including most especially the happy ending of heaven.
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17-07-2015, 05:19 PM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(17-07-2015 10:28 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(16-07-2015 11:18 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  Bullshit. Total bulshit. There were 14 million people diagnosed with cancer in 2012 through no fault of their own. Babies are born with defects, tsunamis and earthquakes have killed millions of people over the millennium causing undue suffering for families. The Black Death killed 20 million, the Spanish Flu infected 500 million (read that again...that's FIVE hundred million) and killed another 20 million. My great uncle died from it while serving as a medic during WW I.

Your whole idiotic religion is based on masochistic suffering and self blame which needs some fucked up sacrifice to alleviate. It's just another version of teenagers cutting themselves to attain relief from self loathing with the added carrot of an afterlife. Without self blame your whole religion falls down like a house of cards. Christianity is a particularly mentally sick religion causing undue guilt for millions.

Suffering is simply part of life and science has alleviated more real suffering than all the religions on this planet.

I would argue with you that not everyone with cancer was without fault, such as smokers, but really it seems to me your problem is death and mortality. All people die. Not all people truly live or live fully for eternity. Death is a great enemy, which has been conquered. Consider...

Nope. I have zero problem with death. I've had many family members die. All animals die and we are animals. It's certainly not an enemy that needs to be "conquered". Why the hell is this even a thing. Theists have a huge fear of death, so much so that they've had to create some sort of Disney Happy Place to take the edge off.

It's the suffering while alive and the suffering just before death that your fairytale is claiming has some sort of meaning and significance. It's sick, twisted and masochistic.

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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17-07-2015, 06:14 PM
problem of evil and suffering
(16-07-2015 07:36 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(15-07-2015 11:43 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  There it is, folks, Christianity in a nutshell:

"Because there are things in this world that have predictable (bad) outcomes, which may be avoided with particular (good) behavior, we will now extrapolate there are other, invisible things that are not of this world that will have (bad) outcomes not of this world, which may be avoided with particular (good) behavior... all after you die, of course. And even though all the things in this world are predictable, testable, and understandable, and the things on my Holy Napkin are unpredictable, untestable, and incomprehensible to an outsider closely examining them, you should ignore all that and Just Believe It. Because... scary, right?"

That actually sounds like many religions in a nutshell. The difference with biblical Christianity is that salvation doesn't rest upon behavior. Yes, there are some judgments and rewards in the next world that rest upon behavior. To deny this is to say that we can do anything and not reap what we sow in THIS world, which is a total denial of reality.

But salvation is rooted in the cross, death and resurrection of Christ, not what we "do". Please learn this. Memorize this, if need be!

Thanks.

This is a hasty generalization. If you knew your bible you'd know that it claims several ways to be saved.

Consider the email below that I recently posted on this forum from an email I wrote:

Hey man, I hope you've been well! I was hoping you could help me out. I had some questions and thoughts about the recent sermon series regarding the comparisons of religion. I thought I would come to you about them first and go from there. The most recent week 7-12-15 was taught by Ryan and the focus was the differences between Catholicism and Christianity. The 10,000 foot view was that Catholicism is incorrect because the bible only teaches that salvation is brought by faith in Christ and grace alone. When further study is done though, this really isn’t the case. In fact, it is much less black and white, and much more confusing. And it really seems that this message is being spun to support the beliefs that Grace Church holds, rather than identify what the bible TRULY says. I understand confusion needs to be minimized in order to bring people to Christ etc and if they see confusion it brings doubt and rationalization. Most lay-believers are not biblical scholars (and I am in no way claiming to be one neither). If people find conflicting views in the bible then the bible is not the inerrant, infallible word of God and people will see it for it is…a human book written by human people prone to mistakes and differing viewpoints. But I digress….let me get back on track.

There are actually several views on salvation and in fact the views can very plainly be seen to have evolved in the four gospels.

Let me dive in further to explain my point with a simple lesson in biblical criticism (the scholarly study and investigation of biblical writings that makes discerning judgments about these writings.) You may certainly be aware of all this but I don’t want to take that for granted.

The first three Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke are termed the Synoptic Gospels and are regarded by Biblical scholars, both Christian and secular, to be older than John. (The dating of the Gospels is not known but most scholars tend to place the dating of the Gospels after 70 AD though.) Mark is regarded as the oldest, followed by Matthew and Luke, then by John. Now the central theology doctrine of Christianity today teaches a salvation by faith through grace, by believing that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and rose from the grave. This doctrine is central and fundamental to the Christian Gospel. Understandable. However, this form of salvation is not taught in Matthew, Mark and Luke, which are the oldest of the Gospels. The basis for the Christian Gospel of salvation by faith and the atonement comes from the book of John, which is the newest of the Gospels.

The first three Gospels - Matthew, Mark and Luke have a different Jesus and a different Salvation theology than the Gospel of John does. This logically indicates that the Salvation concept we have today, central to Christianity, evolved through mankind after Jesus supposedly left Earth. Therefore, it is a human concept which unintentionally puts a stick in the spoke of the bike that fundamentalist churches teach about sin, salvation, and redemption.

In the Gospel of Matthew, there is not one word about having to believe on Jesus in order to go to heaven. In fact, there is not one word about having to "believe" in anything at all to get to heaven! There is no mention of the atonement or of salvation by faith. In fact, Jesus says that all you have to do for God to forgive your sins is this:

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:" (Matthew 6:14)

Later in that Gospel, when someone asked Jesus directly what he had to do to be saved and have eternal life, Matthew clearly records a salvation by works:

Matt. 19:16-21: "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."

Jesus in this account never said here that you have to believe that he died on the cross for your sins for God to forgive you! In the same Gospel of Matthew, Jesus also preached the famous beatitudes, which emphasize that those with good hearts, attitudes and character will inherit the kingdom of God.

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

That's it! He didn't say that you had to believe that Jesus died for your sins in order for you to be forgiven. The verses that say that are in the book of John, which came about 50 years after Matthew.


Now take a look at the book of Mark. He doesn't mention that you have to believe in Jesus to be saved either, except for a verse in the last chapter of Mark: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16). However, most scholars know that that verse is an interpolation, or a forgery, since the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark do not contain that verse, and furthermore it does not fit into the overall context of Mark since the rest of it doesn’t teach salvation by faith. Therefore, Mark probably never wrote anything about having to believe that Jesus died for you, in a salvation by faith, or the atonement concept. Likewise, the Gospel of Luke is also like Matthew and Mark in that it doesn't mention belief in the atonement or in salvation by faith either! Therefore, it is likely that the original Jesus, if he existed, probably never preached such a doctrine either.


Next comes the Gospel of John, and we have verses that require you to "believe" in Jesus to be saved, such as:


John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


John 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”


John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”


John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”


John 11:25 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:”


Of course, some Christians will respond by saying that you have to add up all the Gospels together to get the complete story. However, the key point here is that if Jesus actually said that you had to believe in him in order to be saved, then Matthew, Mark and Luke would have at least mentioned something about that somewhere. If it was central to Jesus' teachings that you need salvation by faith, then why didn't they mention it at all in the first three Gospels? The logical reason is that they never heard of, or in the least, didn’t supported that idea, because it didn’t evolve until later when the early Christians decided to add that doctrine, as in the Gospel of John. So we can logically conclude that if Matthew, Mark and Luke were with Jesus when he was on earth (assuming they are even eyewitnesses which isn’t even claimed), then Christ probably never said anything about faith, belief, or the atonement either.


The Gospel of John was a result of the developing theology of the Church at that time. That book is where the verses about salvation by faith, being "born again", the atonement, and having to believe that Jesus died for your sins came from. On many pages in it, you will find Jesus saying something about having to believe in him. When Christians cite Gospel verses about being saved, they always refer to John. When they quote Jesus, they usually refer to this book. Yet this book did not come for at least 50 years after the first three Gospels. Therefore, logically whatever Jesus actually said would have been recorded more accurately in the earlier Gospels, which emphasize good works and charity instead.


From this it is apparent as to how the Salvation theology evolved in the Church while the New Testament books and letters were still being written. Another fact that indicates this as well is that according to Mark, Christ was a man. But according to Matthew and Luke, he was more like a demigod, while John insists that he was God himself. That also shows an evolution of the concept of Jesus from a man gradually to a deity status. This is common with religious founders throughout history, because no matter what they claim themselves, their followers eventually try to deify them and make them into a God to worship.


Of course, Christians also quote verses to support their Salvation by atonement theology from the epistles of Paul too. This is where Ryan mainly kept his focus. However, there’s a problem here too. Paul never met Jesus Christ (at least not physically) in his lifetime. He never wrote anything about what Jesus did either. In fact he claims everything he received about the gospel was given to him by revelation and by scripture (Old Testament). And since he was not with the historical Christ, he obviously doesn't know nor is he qualified to tell us what the historical Christ had taught when he was on earth. In fact, there are many discrepancies between Paul’s idea of Salvation and Jesus’ but they aren’t worth going into detail in this email.

**Crickets** -- God
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18-07-2015, 02:52 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(17-07-2015 10:28 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Death is a great enemy, which has been conquered. Consider...

Define "conquer death", because you know... humans still die.

孤独 - The Out Crowd
Life is a flash of light between two eternities of darkness.
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18-07-2015, 03:10 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(18-07-2015 02:52 AM)The Polyglot Atheist Wrote:  
(17-07-2015 10:28 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  Death is a great enemy, which has been conquered. Consider...

Define "conquer death", because you know... humans still die.

It's also odd for him to declare it conquered when it's a system to him entirely created by his Gods choice on how to alter humanity and existence. It sounds as if humans have an out via the loophole god created to counter his judgement and rules of reality.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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19-07-2015, 04:37 PM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2015 04:41 PM by nintendo2190.)
RE: problem of evil and suffering
here's something else crime rates are higher in regions of the world where people believe that they will be forgiven in the afterlife

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/a...liefs.html
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20-07-2015, 10:11 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(17-07-2015 11:50 AM)julep Wrote:  
(17-07-2015 10:38 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  First, I am truly sorry for your loss.

Second, I'd say your nephew did nothing to cause that terrible suffering.

Third, have you considered Paul's words regarding suffering? For I think they apply to your nephew... from 2 Cor 4:17:

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

How audacious of Paul to claim death and suffering are "light" troubles. But they do seem momentary in the light of eternity. One of my turning points in conversion from skepticism included my railing at a witness about children and suffering. They asked in response:

"What's the worst thing that could happen to a child?"

I said in reply:

"I dunno. They could be born with AIDS, cancer and five or six other things, suffer painfully, and die young--or be in pain even longer and then pass."

He responded:

"And how long will the child be in Heaven, without pain or suffering?"

I said, "A million years or more..."

And I got pretty quiet after that. Perspective. Use it. Have it. Personally, I have a little note at my desk today reminding me that we all, without exception, have to grieve:

Denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance - in whatever order... the bargaining is often with God. The acceptance is too. I'm sorry your nephew isn't with you, but your nephew is in glory.

Thanks for your sympathy. Although I do not believe that my nephew is in heaven, as there is no evidence for heaven, I appreciate that the idea of an infant in hell (no evidence for hell, either) is troubling to you.

It seems to me, however, that you are talking out of both sides of your mouth on this thread. First suffering is brought on humans by themselves, or "reaping what you sow," and it's both justice in itself and part of god's lesson plan. Except when it's not deserved, and in that case, it's light and practically nothing on the scale of eternity, so our being troubled by it is short-sighted. I'm a teacher in real life, and I would be ashamed of myself if I had to use that kind of a stick to get through to my students. A god who communicates with his creations in this manner is a shabby teacher as well as morally problematic.

I do appreciate the narrative impulse that we all have to make our lives into stories, and stories aren't interesting without some drama and conflict. But the stories we use to understand ourselves and those around us aren't necessarily any truer than the ones novelists make up. Including most especially the happy ending of heaven.

I see. Have you considered how people cause others to suffer, including innocent children? A crack mom can cause her children all kinds of emotional and developmental difficulties. Again, we can all pontificate anger against God--or we can devote as many resources as possible to helping the crack moms...

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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20-07-2015, 10:12 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(17-07-2015 05:19 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  
(17-07-2015 10:28 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  I would argue with you that not everyone with cancer was without fault, such as smokers, but really it seems to me your problem is death and mortality. All people die. Not all people truly live or live fully for eternity. Death is a great enemy, which has been conquered. Consider...

Nope. I have zero problem with death. I've had many family members die. All animals die and we are animals. It's certainly not an enemy that needs to be "conquered". Why the hell is this even a thing. Theists have a huge fear of death, so much so that they've had to create some sort of Disney Happy Place to take the edge off.

It's the suffering while alive and the suffering just before death that your fairytale is claiming has some sort of meaning and significance. It's sick, twisted and masochistic.

Again, it would be realist to admit most persons are seeking purpose and meaning in a wide variety of life experiences. It would be accurate to say atheists have half-full glasses regarding a wide variety of suffering. Perhaps you might tell us all what measure of suffering God should allow in the world--and then how to hit goals such as justice and redemption inside those parameters.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
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