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Old 31st July 2020, 03:07 PM   #241
GDon
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Originally Posted by Carrot Flower King View Post
Yeahbut, that will only lead to someone insisting on using their own special definition of "angel" and/or "dance" and "pin", which differ from commonly accepted definitions in some manner which favours their line of "argument".

And we'll be off round another mulberry bush with Humpty Dumpty.
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Old 31st July 2020, 03:32 PM   #242
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Yes, I do, though not relevant to any discussion on this thread. First, thanks again for the information.

I thought the following highlighted passage is interesting:
19:20 The young man said to him, "All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?"
19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
19:22 But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.
19:23 Jesus said to his disciples, "Most assuredly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty.
19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
19:25 When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"
The disciples' reaction to me is strange: "If rich people cannot be saved, who can be saved?", rather than "if keeping the commandments doesn't save you, who can be saved?", which is what you might expect.

The implication seems to me that they thought "if you are rich, then you'll automatically be saved", and they were surprised when Jesus claimed otherwise. Weird! What do you make of it?
The usual bible BS. What else?

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
It's the World English Bible. It's in the public domain and easily accessible.
All the versions are in the public domain and publicly available. How did you not know that?

ETA: Let's just go to "biblegateway.com" and check that. Gen 1 will do, it matters not which bit of the magic book one selects. Because one gets to search for Gen 1 with a drop down as to which version one seeks.

"biblehub.com" Has the versions in their toolbar.

So your excuse for NIV being the only version that was publicly available was outright baloney.
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Old 31st July 2020, 03:47 PM   #243
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
That's so last century. The question today is how many pins can you stick into the head of an angel.
And I thought it was something about passing a needle through the eye of a camel
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Old 31st July 2020, 03:54 PM   #244
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
The usual bible BS. What else?
I'm not a Christian, but I love that usual bible BS! It's all so fascinating. Trying to work out what ancient people thought is a hobby of mine, especially pre-Third Century writings. It's like looking through my family tree. When it comes to the New Testament there is a lot of interesting stuff in the epistles, but not much in the Gospels which contains a lot of stories and sayings of unverifiable veracity. But the implications behind "the rich man not going to heaven" statement peaked my interest. So I was wondering what your analysis was.

Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
All the versions are in the public domain and publicly available. How did you not know that?
I'm not interested in that side, I'm afraid. But I appreciate your input. I learned something today, so it was a good day!
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Old 31st July 2020, 04:22 PM   #245
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'm not interested in that side, I'm afraid. But I appreciate your input. I learned something today, so it was a good day!
No.

You claimed that the only version publicly and easily availabel was the NIV. I demonstrated that you were flat out wrong.

You do not get to pretend that does not matter. That tells everyone that you are clueless about the bible.
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Old 31st July 2020, 04:45 PM   #246
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Yes, I do, though not relevant to any discussion on this thread. First, thanks again for the information.

I thought the following highlighted passage is interesting:
19:20 The young man said to him, "All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?"
19:21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
19:22 But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.
19:23 Jesus said to his disciples, "Most assuredly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty.
19:24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
19:25 When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"
The disciples' reaction to me is strange: "If rich people cannot be saved, who can be saved?", rather than "if keeping the commandments doesn't save you, who can be saved?", which is what you might expect.

The implication seems to me that they thought "if you are rich, then you'll automatically be saved", and they were surprised when Jesus claimed otherwise. Weird! What do you make of it?
It's not that weird, actually, if

1. you realize that the disciples and crowds or whatever are only there to set up the scene for Jesus to deliver his wisdom, and then to promptly be amazed by it. No scene necessarily informs you how real people would have reacted (and in fact, for some of them they have nothing whatsoever to do with how real people react.) All they're doing is setting up a certain scene.

You might wonder why the author wants to give a certain message to the reader (which he uses the mob to set up the scene for,) but can't assume that the answer really is that that's exactly what the mob would ask. But in any case that answer too starts to look not very weird, if

2. you've also read Job and understood exactly what mind-set it's fighting against. Also if you understand that A can (be expected to) correlate with B without being (expected to be) the cause of B, but rather both being caused by a third thing C.

Basically the assumption, quite explicitly and repeatedly stated by Job's friends, is what you might call the just universe assumption. If you're rich, it's because you were a proper pious person, and God rewarded you. If you've suddenly lost everything, you must have really sinned and pissed God off. They in fact expect that to be so reliable a cause-effect thing, that they're basically telling Job that he could reliably commit suicide by God if he wanted to: curse god and die. Yep, that's how reliably cause-effect they expected the correlation to be between how much you've pleased or angered God, and what happens to you.

So it's not really expecting someone to go to heaven BECAUSE they're rich. Rather they expect someone to be both (A) rich and (B) destined for heaven, because they're (C) favoured by God. Proposition A isn't taken as the cause of B, but rather as evidence of C at work.
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Old 31st July 2020, 05:34 PM   #247
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It's not that weird, actually, if

1. you realize that the disciples and crowds or whatever are only there to set up the scene for Jesus to deliver his wisdom
Sure, just to confirm I agree that it's just a story, set up the way the author set it up in order to make his/her point.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So it's not really expecting someone to go to heaven BECAUSE they're rich. Rather they expect someone to be both (A) rich and (B) destined for heaven, because they're (C) favoured by God. Proposition A isn't taken as the cause of B, but rather as evidence of C at work.
That's a really interesting perspective, especially your reference to Job. "Not even rich people -- who are obviously favored by God -- who keep the commandments can be saved." I can see why the disciples would be shocked by that statement within the story.

My thoughts were that it was tied to how money can be used to mitigate sin, through the Temple system. That's consistent with what Jesus does later according to the story. But I think yours works better. Thanks!

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Old 31st July 2020, 07:42 PM   #248
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
And I thought it was something about passing a needle through the eye of a camel
Good luck on that. Try, and you get your fingers bitten off!
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Old 31st July 2020, 09:53 PM   #249
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'm not a Christian, but I love that usual bible BS! It's all so fascinating....
What?? GDon the omni-theist regards the Christian Bible as BS!!

What book mentions GDon's omni-God??

It is true The population of Gods far outnumber the number of people in the world. See Natural History attributed to Pliny the Elder.

Originally Posted by GDon
Trying to work out what ancient people thought is a hobby of mine, especially pre-Third Century writings. It's like looking through my family tree. When it comes to the New Testament there is a lot of interesting stuff in the epistles, but not much in the Gospels which contains a lot of stories and sayings of unverifiable veracity. But the implications behind "the rich man not going to heaven" statement peaked my interest. So I was wondering what your analysis was.


I'm not interested in that side, I'm afraid. But I appreciate your input. I learned something today, so it was a good day!
I hope you realise that it was just a story. No-one can get saved and go to heaven. Ask your God if it was just a story.
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Old 1st August 2020, 12:34 AM   #250
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's a really interesting perspective, especially your reference to Job. "Not even rich people -- who are obviously favored by God -- who keep the commandments can be saved." I can see why the disciples would be shocked by that statement within the story.
Well, what the author of the gospel and for that matter Job are trying to say is to basically stop believing that the universe is a just place like that. Just because someone is rich, doesn't mean they have God's grace, and just because someone is poor, doesn't mean they're pissing God right off. But yeah, for many it would be a shocking proposition, that basically God isn't dispensing punishments and rewards fairly in this world.

Not the least if you understand what kind of a transition religion was finding itself in around that time. I.e., why a lot of people expected Gods to behave rather differently.

Gods in general used to be more of a communal thing and more supposed to help in this world. E.g., Osiris was responsible for the floods for the whole Egypt (the communal aspect), and the whole point of appeasing him was to get those floods (i.e., help in THIS world.)

E.g., for the Romans, stuff ranged from gods like Fortuna, who was supposed to take care of YOUR luck or your kids' luck right here in this world (e.g., the aspect of Fortuna Primigenia was to keep specifically only your firstborn son lucky and protected), to Janus keeping intruders away from YOUR home and property, to the minor household gods that were supposed to take care of YOUR household.

So yeah, there was generally an expectation that Gods are there to help you and/or your community right here on Earth. Hence the unfortunate implication that if some person or city are doing well, hey, they must be doing something right when it comes to the gods, right?
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Old 1st August 2020, 01:40 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So yeah, there was generally an expectation that Gods are there to help you and/or your community right here on Earth. Hence the unfortunate implication that if some person or city are doing well, hey, they must be doing something right when it comes to the gods, right?
That is not how I have learned it. My impression was that these gods could just as well harm you and your household. It was your task to worship them and make offerings to make sure they would be well disposed towards you.
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Old 1st August 2020, 02:53 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
That is not how I have learned it. My impression was that these gods could just as well harm you and your household. It was your task to worship them and make offerings to make sure they would be well disposed towards you.
They very much could harm you, indeed. Badly. But that's part of the same cause-effect expectation, rather than something contradicting it. It's just the two ends of the same spectrum. If you're doing well, obviously they got them to help you rather than kick you in the family jewels. If you've got an imperial buttload of misfortune dumped upon you a la Job, then obviously you failed to appease them. That was the general expectation.
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Old 1st August 2020, 02:55 AM   #253
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Well, in retrospect I did phrase it badly. It's not that the gods were there to help you, as in, yeah, that was not their goal in life. It's that the whole point of your worship and relationship to the gods was to get them to help you. A god who might give you a mighty kick in the nuts even though you're worshipping him more than enough (a la the Job story) was a weird proposition for a lot of people at the time. That's what I was trying to say there.
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Old 1st August 2020, 03:36 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I think everyone has their own version of God. There are 7 billion different versions that people believe exists, or believes don't exist, or lack a belief in.

But so far no-one in this thread has seemed to have argued against an omni-God whose omnipotence is defined as "power to do anything possible", which many theists like myself believe describes God's attribute of omnipotence.

Instead atheists have tried to 'convert' me to believe in a kind of God that (1) I don't believe in, but (2) which they are convinced I should believe in, so that they can then tell me why that God (which I already don't believe in) doesn't exist. I don't understand the thought process behind that.

If an atheist doesn't agree with me on the definition of omni-God, that's fine. But I'm not sure how any argument can proceed on that basis. They're not talking about my God.
Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'm not a Christian, but I love that usual bible BS!
You are quite insistent that atheists accept your definition of god.
At the same time, you reject the god of the Bible, who is absolutely described as being able to do things which are clearly not possible.
This would also apply to the other monotheistic / Abrahamic religions.
I wonder, then, where you are getting your information on god from?
You say that everyone has their own idea of what god is. How are you evaluating those ideas? Are they all correct, in which case it would be impossible to get any clear idea of who and what god is, or can you just make up any old thing and say that is god, in which case god is surely fiction?
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Old 1st August 2020, 05:57 AM   #255
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
You are quite insistent that atheists accept your definition of god.
No, not at all. Quite the opposite. Atheists can have whatever definition of God and omnipotence that they want. However, if they want to argue against my idea of omnipotence -- which is the traditional one used by Christian and theist philosophers for at least 800 years -- then it doesn't make sense for them to use their own definition while doing so, and think that they are somehow refuting what I believe. That is the classical definition of strawmanning.

So it is quite the opposite to what you wrote. If atheists want to use a different definition of God and omnipotence to me, then that's fine. Nothing to do with me and my beliefs. But some atheists here seem to be insisting that I accept their definition of God and omnipotence.

It's all ultimately angels dancing on the heads of pins, anyway. As Carrot Flower King pointed out, we are arguing over the definitions of "angels", "heads" and "pins". If we can get agreement on the definitions, then it might be possible to have logical arguments on numbers. But even valid logical arguments don't prove the existence of dancing angels, much less numbers.

Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
At the same time, you reject the god of the Bible, who is absolutely described as being able to do things which are clearly not possible.

This would also apply to the other monotheistic / Abrahamic religions.
I wonder, then, where you are getting your information on god from?
You say that everyone has their own idea of what god is. How are you evaluating those ideas?
I don't really evaluate them at all. I like the definition of God as "omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent". It's solid enough to give me an explanation for the universe and in my place in it, establishes the idea of an objective morality, but still vague enough to leave me the freedom to follow my own conscience.

If someone has a different idea about God or gods, I'm happy to listen. I'm happy to listen even to people who don't believe in God or gods, or lack a belief in God or gods, but still have views about God or gods.

Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
Are they all correct, in which case it would be impossible to get any clear idea of who and what god is, or can you just make up any old thing and say that is god, in which case god is surely fiction?
If those are my only two choices, then my answer lies more towards making up any old thing and saying it is God. In which case that God is surely fiction.

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Old 1st August 2020, 07:20 AM   #256
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Your many posts, both in this thread and elsewhere, indicate you're as clued in to skepticism as anyone else here. Is it, then, that, while familiar with evidentiary thinking, you're not a votary of the process yourself? Or is it that, while you follow evidentiary thinking in other things, when it comes to the God question you choose to make an exception? Or how does this work, for you?
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Old 1st August 2020, 09:46 AM   #257
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
A god who might give you a mighty kick in the nuts even though you're worshipping him more than enough (a la the Job story) was a weird proposition for a lot of people at the time.
That one made more sense in the original Klingon, when it was a bet between Marduk and another god that they could drive away one of his loyal followers. It's no more unusual a proposition than people who root for the Chicago Cubs. It only got weird when the story was adapted for a monotheism and the same god had to play both sides.
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Old 1st August 2020, 10:37 AM   #258
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
No, not at all. Quite the opposite. Atheists can have whatever definition of God and omnipotence that they want. However, if they want to argue against my idea of omnipotence -- which is the traditional one used by Christian and theist philosophers for at least 800 years -- then it doesn't make sense for them to use their own definition while doing so, and think that they are somehow refuting what I believe. That is the classical definition of strawmanning.
It is simply not true that Christians have been using your definition of God and omnipotence.

Christians have been claiming for at least 1800 years that with their God nothing is impossible.

Luke 1:37
Quote:
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Matthew 19.26
Quote:
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Originally Posted by GDon
If those are my only two choices, then my answer lies more towards making up any old thing and saying it is God. In which case that God is surely fiction.
It is obvious that you are making up stuff to argue your God is omnipotent because your supposed God did not tell you anything.

You seem not to realise that you have no choice but to admit your God is made up like the omnipotent Zeus.
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Old 1st August 2020, 10:45 AM   #259
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
No, not at all. Quite the opposite. Atheists can have whatever definition of God and omnipotence that they want. However, if they want to argue against my idea of omnipotence -- which is the traditional one used by Christian and theist philosophers for at least 800 years -- then it doesn't make sense for them to use their own definition while doing so, and think that they are somehow refuting what I believe. That is the classical definition of strawmanning.
Baloney. You have attempted to redefine "omnipotence" into "whatever I allow god to do". Can god create a rock so big that he cannot lift it? Nope. You dive into the vague "maximally powerful" crap.

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
So it is quite the opposite to what you wrote. If atheists want to use a different definition of God and omnipotence to me, then that's fine. Nothing to do with me and my beliefs. But some atheists here seem to be insisting that I accept their definition of God and omnipotence.
But your definition leads not to an "omnipotent" god by any measure, but to a childish god who must stamp his little feet to get his way. Why would you worship such a toddler?

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
It's all ultimately angels dancing on the heads of pins, anyway. As Carrot Flower King pointed out, we are arguing over the definitions of "angels", "heads" and "pins". If we can get agreement on the definitions, then it might be possible to have logical arguments on numbers. But even valid logical arguments don't prove the existence of dancing angels, much less numbers.
But that will never happen as long as you keep changing what omnipotence means TO YOU.


Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I don't really evaluate them at all. I like the definition of God as "omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent". It's solid enough to give me an explanation for the universe and in my place in it, establishes the idea of an objective morality, but still vague enough to leave me the freedom to follow my own conscience.
Yup. I agree. You like to keep things as vague as possible. It gives you an escape route when cornered in any argument.

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
If someone has a different idea about God or gods, I'm happy to listen. I'm happy to listen even to people who don't believe in God or gods, or lack a belief in God or gods, but still have views about God or gods.
You can be as happy as you like to listen. Doesn't mean you are paying attention, though.

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
If those are my only two choices, then my answer lies more towards making up any old thing and saying it is God. In which case that God is surely fiction.
I agree. Your answer lies.
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Old 1st August 2020, 11:43 AM   #260
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
....<snip>

It is obvious that you are making up stuff to argue your God is omnipotent because your supposed God did not tell you anything.<snip>
Just not asking right. Joseph Smith did it and scored a hat trick.
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Old 1st August 2020, 11:58 AM   #261
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
That one made more sense in the original Klingon, when it was a bet between Marduk and another god that they could drive away one of his loyal followers. It's no more unusual a proposition than people who root for the Chicago Cubs. It only got weird when the story was adapted for a monotheism and the same god had to play both sides.
Well, granted, a lot more things make sense with more than one god. Well, for sufficiently small amounts of "sense".
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Old 1st August 2020, 03:48 PM   #262
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
How do you define "free-will"? Can you give me an example of free-will in action? (Just a warning: I'm a theist -- though not a Christian -- and I love these kinds of debates!)

I've found often that when the argument is "free-will not compatible with omniscient", the atheist has often defined free-will out of existence in the first place. It's so important to have a common understanding of the terms in any discussion.

By “free will” I mean that human activity is not predetermined. I can choose to do something with no external force controlling or determining what I will choose.

If some entity knows beforehand every choice I’m going to make, then I can’t possibly have free will. I can’t surprise God with my choices.
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Old 1st August 2020, 05:21 PM   #263
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I'm not sure I want to go down the free will rabbithole, since different people have very different ideas of what it means. Whole threads are full of people disagreeing when they don't even mean the same thing.

If we're talking predeterminism, though, as a much narrower concept, then that opens a whole other theological can of worms. Or several.

For a start, it doesn't make the theodicy problem any easier.
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Old 1st August 2020, 05:23 PM   #264
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
By “free will” I mean that human activity is not predetermined. I can choose to do something with no external force controlling or determining what I will choose.
I'm a compatibilist so I would disagree on the first statement. But first, can we agree on a specific example of free-will?

The one that I like to use is: "At time t, I can choose eggs or cereal for breakfast. I choose cereal."

I'm happy to use a different example if you would like to propose one. We can add premises as required as we go along.
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Old 1st August 2020, 05:31 PM   #265
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Oh I see we're already playing the hits.

It's weird if we're sitting in a room trying to figure out if there's a chair in the room or not we don't have to talk about free will to do it.
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Old 1st August 2020, 06:02 PM   #266
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'm a compatibilist so I would disagree on the first statement. But first, can we agree on a specific example of free-will?

The one that I like to use is: "At time t, I can choose eggs or cereal for breakfast. I choose cereal."

I'm happy to use a different example if you would like to propose one. We can add premises as required as we go along.
If, before time t, an all-knowing god knew (had predetermined) you were going to "choose" cereal at time t, then there was neither free-will nor actual choice involved (or there is no all-knowing god).

You need a better example methinks . . . This might be better - Free-will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded.

Free-will and determinism aren't compatible - Determinism is the philosophical view that all events are determined completely by previously existing causes (aka - Predetermined). "Unimpeded" and "Predetermined" are mutually exclusive.

Compatibilism is a brain-wanking philosophy of cognitive dissonance.
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Old 1st August 2020, 06:03 PM   #267
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Your many posts, both in this thread and elsewhere, indicate you're as clued in to skepticism as anyone else here.
Thanks. I was an atheist for my first 30 years, and then a theist for the last 30 years. I called myself a "liberal Christian" for a little while, but I dropped that. I never believed that the Bible was the Word of God, and that Jesus wasn't anything other than a man (which I argue is the picture we get if we look at the earliest layer of literature available.) But I've always regarded myself as a skeptic. I was a member of the Australian Skeptics for a while in my 20s.

If you want to cause controversy on an atheist forum, the best way is to bring up the atheism/agnosticism divide. The second best way is to claim "I am a skeptical theist."

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Is it, then, that, while familiar with evidentiary thinking, you're not a votary of the process yourself? Or is it that, while you follow evidentiary thinking in other things, when it comes to the God question you choose to make an exception? Or how does this work, for you?
Surely it's "horses for courses". When looking at a natural world describable by logic and physics, we use logic and physics consistent with that world. When looking at the (literally) super-natural and meta-physical world, that wouldn't be applicable, at least up to the point when we bring in natural world implications.

My 'conversion' came when I started thinking about where my morality was grounded. In apologetic terms, it is the difference between an "is" and an "ought". An objective morality implies something super-natural. An omni-max God provides an explanation for why we are here and the groundings for an objective morality.

There was cognitive dissonance there for me that was resolved by becoming a theist. Either there is an objective grounding for morality (implying a God) or there isn't. If I am right, then I 'win all'. If I am wrong, then I 'lose nothing'. (If you want to add alternatives to my bet, please provide a good case for it first. Otherwise I'll ignore it as a non-viable alternative. Thanks in advance! )

I like what Jordan Peterson said on this. He said he doesn't know whether God exists or not, but he "acts as if He does." For Peterson, most atheists believe in a god, which Peterson describes as a person's highest aspirational self. A "true" atheist, according to Peterson, is basically a sociopath and psychopath, with no aspirations towards morality at all. Peterson is not popular amongst atheists.

I disagree with Peterson's definition of God, but I agree with what he said. Many theists believe in God but don't act like they do. Many atheists don't believe that God exists but act like they do, at least to the point of acting as though there is some kind of objective morality. They are one cognitive-dissonance smashing decision away from joining the ranks of theists!

Note that I'm not claiming that believing there is an objective morality leads automatically to an omni-God. It only implies it. It is "the finger pointing to the moon", as the Buddhists say. The rest is taking a bet. But I 'lose nothing' if I am wrong. I gain a lot of obligations if I am right, but I'm happy with that.

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Old 1st August 2020, 06:12 PM   #268
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
Just not asking right. Joseph Smith did it and scored a hat trick.
Joseph Smith was charged with treason, convicted, jailed and then shot to death by a mob.

What a hat trick!!!

The angel Moroni must have forgotten to tell him his own future.
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Old 1st August 2020, 06:31 PM   #269
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@GDon,

Lots to unpack there, but let me tease out what appears to me to be the two main strands.


You're saying you found the idea of an objective morality incompatible with atheism, and that cognitive dissonance led you to God. Correct?

Well, let me then ask you that same question, that you were replying to, but re. objective morality. Are you following what you think is the evidence in concluding that morality is objective, or do you choose to let go of evidentiary thinking when it comes to morality? If the former, can you detail your thoughts and (some of) your facts, your sources? And if the latter, why?

*

As for theism being the safer bet, just in case: are you seriously suggesting you find Pascal's Wager convincing? I can, I think, very easily show it for the infantile construct I think it is, but I'd prefer to check with you before writing a post doing that, that you do not yourself see the obvious, gaping holes in that construct. I'd be surprised if you don't, TBF, given your skeptical background. Pascal's Wager is laughably low-hanging fruit, IMO.
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Old 1st August 2020, 07:47 PM   #270
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'm a compatibilist so I would disagree on the first statement. But first, can we agree on a specific example of free-will?

The one that I like to use is: "At time t, I can choose eggs or cereal for breakfast. I choose cereal."

I'm happy to use a different example if you would like to propose one. We can add premises as required as we go along.

That works.

If God already knows what you are going to pick at every value of t, which he must because he’s omniscient, then you aren’t really making a choice, you are playing out a predetermined script. It’s not like you could pick, say, fried rice and God would be all like, “Wow GDon, you surprised me there!”
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Old 1st August 2020, 07:47 PM   #271
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Lots to unpack there, but let me tease out what appears to me to be the two main strands.

You're saying you found the idea of an objective morality incompatible with atheism, and that cognitive dissonance led you to God. Correct?
I'm willing to accept that as a working statement for now. But "led me to God" is not how I would put it. At the bottom my belief in God is a faith position, based on the idea that an objective morality doesn't mesh with a naturalistic universe. That itself is a faith position. So it is really turtles all the way down.

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Well, let me then ask you that same question, that you were replying to, but re. objective morality. Are you following what you think is the evidence in concluding that morality is objective, or do you choose to let go of evidentiary thinking when it comes to morality?
Is there evidentiary thinking when it comes to an objective morality, though? I'm not sure that I've let go of anything if there isn't.

I know that some atheist philosophers have proposed an objective morality based on a naturalistic universe. Sam Harris, for example, in his book "The Moral Landscape" promotes a "science of morality". I haven't read the book but I've read his blog and watched his interviews on the subject, without being convinced, at least at this stage.

But I'll admit to being ignorant on the topic. Is there in fact evidence within the natural world for an objective morality? If so, I'd love to understand it. What are your thoughts?

Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
As for theism being the safer bet, just in case: are you seriously suggesting you find Pascal's Wager convincing? I can, I think, very easily show it for the infantile construct I think it is, but I'd prefer to check with you before writing a post doing that, that you do not yourself see the obvious, gaping holes in that construct. I'd be surprised if you don't, TBF, given your skeptical background. Pascal's Wager is laughably low-hanging fruit, IMO.
I deliberately didn't use the term "Pascal's Wager", since it tends to provoke discussion over people's own ideas what the Wager is and should be, kind of like arguing over the definition of "God's omnipotence". Pascal wrote a hell of a lot in support of his wager, which tends to get ignored. So I'm afraid I'm not interested in defending Pascal's Wager, though obviously my bet is a form of it. I'm happy to defend what I've written, though.

If you don't mind, let's start with the conclusion and argue backwards: "If I win, I win all. If I lose, I lose nothing." In that case, it makes sense to gamble. I think that's solid?

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Old 1st August 2020, 07:49 PM   #272
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
That works.

If God already knows what you are going to pick at every value of t, which he must because he’s omniscient, then you aren’t really making a choice, you are playing out a predetermined script.
Can God make a predetermined script, based on what He knows you will freely choose at time t?
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Old 1st August 2020, 08:14 PM   #273
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I'm willing to accept that as a working statement for now. But "led me to God" is not how I would put it. At the bottom my belief in God is a faith position, based on the idea that an objective morality doesn't mesh with a naturalistic universe. That itself is a faith position. So it is really turtles all the way down.
Faith is really irrational. You mean that you are superstitious.
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Old 1st August 2020, 08:26 PM   #274
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
That works.

If God already knows what you are going to pick at every value of t, which he must because he’s omniscient, then you aren’t really making a choice, you are playing out a predetermined script. It’s not like you could pick, say, fried rice and God would be all like, “Wow GDon, you surprised me there!”
Like GDon's omni-God knew that millions of Jews would be murdered by the Nazis but his omni-God could not prevent the genocide because the Nazis had free will and God cannot prevent what he already knew would happen.

In effect, GDon's omni-God is nothing more than an imaginary palm reader or prophet.
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Old 1st August 2020, 08:44 PM   #275
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Can God make a predetermined script, based on what He knows you will freely choose at time t?

There doesn’t need to be a “script,” per se. But if he knows in advance what you will choose, then you didn’t in actuality have a choice. You can’t choose anything different than what God already knows you will choose.

Being omniscient implies that God creates each person knowing exactly what the course of their life will be. He knows, for example, that when he created a person, that person will die a horrible death from leukemia at age 10. He already knows who is (in Christianity) going to Heaven and who is not. He knew Ted Bundy would be a serial killer and that Mahatma Ghandi would be a man of peace. Neither ever had an actual choice. The course of their lives was sealed when he created them. It can’t be otherwise for an omniscient God.

If we truly have actual free will, complete freedom to make a choice, God cannot know what we are going to choose in advance. I don’t see how free will and omniscience are compatible.
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Old 1st August 2020, 08:54 PM   #276
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
... Is there evidentiary thinking when it comes to an objective morality, though? I'm not sure that I've let go of anything if there isn't.

You tell me! I only asked for your thoughts. Here, let me clarify my question: You said that the cognitive dissonance between an objective morality and atheism led you toward theism. Well then, what led you to accept the idea of an objective morality? That was my question.

Quote:
But I'll admit to being ignorant on the topic. Is there in fact evidence within the natural world for an objective morality? If so, I'd love to understand it. What are your thoughts?

I'm the exact opposite of an expert, but my thoughts, such as they are, are these: I think that the burden of proof lies with a position of objective morality. I personally do not know of, or know of others knowing about, any such compelling evidence. And so, my thoughts are that morality is an arbitrary man-made construct, that owes its specifics to culture (as well as. I suppose, individual predilection over and above herd morality, when it comes to individual morality).

In short, I don't think morality is objective. And I also think a reasonable default is to assume this, unless it can be shown that there is evidence of an objective morality.

While this is an interesting topic, and certainly I'd enjoy taking it further, what I myself was interested in is what led a skeptic like you to theism. Do you yourself not see any "dissonance" in evidentiary thinking in general (I'm assuming you follow this in general, correct me please if I'm wrong) and accepting the idea of an objective morality without (yourself being aware of) adequate evidence for it -- and what is more, accepting it so firmly as to overturn your (non-) belief of thirty years in things theistic?


Quote:
I deliberately didn't use the term "Pascal's Wager", since it tends to provoke discussion over people's own ideas what the Wager is and should be, kind of like arguing over the definition of "God's omnipotence". Pascal wrote a hell of a lot in support of his wager, which tends to get ignored. So I'm afraid I'm not interested in defending Pascal's Wager, though obviously my bet is a form of it. I'm happy to defend what I've written, though.

If you don't mind, let's start with the conclusion and argue backwards: "If I win, I win all. If I lose, I lose nothing." In that case, it makes sense to gamble. I think that's solid?

Okay, let's start from scratch. Let's start with your "If I win, I win all."

What "all", if you "win" your bet about their being some God, do you think you then end up winning, and how?
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Old 1st August 2020, 09:30 PM   #277
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post

If you don't mind, let's start with the conclusion and argue backwards: "If I win, I win all. If I lose, I lose nothing." In that case, it makes sense to gamble. I think that's solid?
What you say doesn't make sense. Gambling implies winning or losing something.
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Old 1st August 2020, 09:43 PM   #278
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
There doesn’t need to be a “script,” per se.
Still, my question stands: Can God make a predetermined script, based on what He knows you will freely choose at time t? I'll discuss the implications below.

Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
But if he knows in advance what you will choose, then you didn’t in actuality have a choice. You can’t choose anything different than what God already knows you will choose.
And that's the crux of the matter, in that you are concluding what you are assuming. "If God knows in advance what you will do, then you can't choose otherwise and you don't have free-will. God knows what you will do. Therefore you don't have free-will."

The first part is just a restatement of the second part. It's the first part that needs to be shown. Otherwise it's an assumption.

Let me put omniscience and free-will together, to show how they are compatible:

Premises:

A. I have free-will. I can choose between eggs or cereal for breakfast at time t.
B. God knows what I will do in advance

Argument:

1. God sees me choose cereal for breakfast at time t
2. I can choose eggs or cereal for breakfast at time t
3. I choose cereal for breakfast at time t

I have exercised my free-will, and God is right about the future. I still have the ability to choose eggs at time t (from (2)), it's just that I chose cereal. Perfectly compatible! Is there anything stopping my free-will at (2)? Not that I can see.

Now, you might argue that if God saw my choice in advance, then I have to choose cereal, otherwise God would be wrong. And God can't be wrong. But that is assuming what you are concluding.

Re-run the argument where time t is in the past and an omniscient being is looking back in time. The omniscient being is right about the past, and free-will is satisfied. Note that the being still can't be wrong, but a free-will decision has been made. The "can't be wrong" objection doesn't really exist, unless you say that "perfect knowledge of the past" is compatible with free-will, but knowledge of the future is not compatible. And once you do that, you are creating the conclusion from the assumption. Without that assumption, free-will and determinism are compatible. Knowing the future has no more impact on free-will as knowing the future.

Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Being omniscient implies that God creates each person knowing exactly what the course of their life will be.
True.

Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
He knows, for example, that when he created a person, that person will die a horrible death from leukemia at age 10. He already knows who is (in Christianity) going to Heaven and who is not. He knew Ted Bundy would be a serial killer and that Mahatma Ghandi would be a man of peace.
True. These are the implications of compatibilism.

Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Neither ever had an actual choice. The course of their lives was sealed when he created them. It can’t be otherwise for an omniscient God.
That goes back to my question: without assuming in advance that knowledge of the future removes free-will, can God make a predetermined script, based on what He knows you will freely choose at time t?

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Old 1st August 2020, 10:17 PM   #279
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I think omniscience and free will are logically incompatible, as is the usual case with omnis.

I think there's a little difference between prediction and foreknowledge.

If God knows everything and is always right, then for all intents and purposes, everything has not only already happened, but it must have happened entirely from the very moment the universe began. You can't be omniscient if you didn't know yesterday what you know today. If God is omniscient the entire course of history must be complete and inevitable from the moment of creation, and actual freedom is logically impossible.

Omniscience carries determinism with it. Like the determinism that underlies chaos it may be beyond our ability to see, and functionally look like freedom to us, and maybe that's good enough, but it isn't the same.

If, as is surmised, even an omnipotent god cannot violate logic, that god cannot also grant freedom of will without sacrificing his omniscience.
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Old 1st August 2020, 10:35 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Still, my question stands: Can God make a predetermined script, based on what He knows you will freely choose at time t? I'll discuss the implications below.


Premises:

A. I have free-will. I can choose between eggs or cereal for breakfast at time t.
B. God knows what I will do in advance

Argument:

1. God sees me choose cereal for breakfast at time t
2. I can choose eggs or cereal for breakfast at time t
3. I choose cereal for breakfast at time t

I have exercised my free-will, and God is right about the future. I still have the ability to choose eggs at time t (from (2)), it's just that I chose cereal. Perfectly compatible! Is there anything stopping my free-will at (2)? Not that I can see.
False from the get go. god doesn't "see" you choose cereal at all. god always knew from before you were even a stirring in your father's loins that you absolutely would chose cereal. You have no choice in the matter.
2 is false because you have no choice.
3 is obvious because you have no choice.

OR

god is not omniscient.

Which?
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