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Old 27th July 2020, 01:14 AM   #161
GDon
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Yes, and it's a problem because that particular god is logically impossible. But theists could easily solve that problem. All they have to do is admit they were wrong about their god being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.
But theists HAVE solved the problem. There is no contradiction in the Christian God being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. The problem is that atheists want to use their OWN particular definitions, not the Christian ones, about the Christian God. It's like Christians arguing about atheism while insisting that atheists use the Christian definition of atheism. It would be weird.

There is a strange issue at play here that I've seen in nearly every discussion on atheist boards on this topic: the Christian notion of omnipotence follows the classical definition of "God can't do the logically impossible." That's what most Christian philosophers believe about God, and that's what they argue.

But many atheists say "That's wrong. Omnipotence means being able to do anything." And they then want to argue using that definition. NOT on the basis of what Christians -- who believe in God -- believe about their God, but on the basis of what atheists -- who DON'T believe in any God or gods -- think that Christians should believe about their God.

Now, isn't that weird?

Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
The Bible for example has numerous passages suggesting that God is neither omnipotent, nor omniscient or omnibenevolent. Jews and Christians could just accept that, and take the rest as being hyperbole etc.
They did that 2000 years ago, when they started to describe passages as "allegory" instead of literal. Philo of Alexandria wrote a lot of texts on the subject 2000 years ago, many of which exist today.

Origen (3rd Century) wrote about the Old Testament and the New Testament:

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04124.htm
But, that our meaning may be ascertained by the facts themselves, let us examine the passages of Scripture. Now who is there, pray, possessed of understanding, that will regard the statement as appropriate, that the first day, and the second, and the third, in which also both evening and morning are mentioned, existed without sun, and moon, and stars— the first day even without a sky? And who is found so ignorant as to suppose that God, as if He had been a husbandman, planted trees in paradise, in Eden towards the east, and a tree of life in it, i.e., a visible and palpable tree of wood, so that anyone eating of it with bodily teeth should obtain life, and, eating again of another tree, should come to the knowledge of good and evil?...

The same style of Scriptural narrative occurs abundantly in the Gospels, as when the devil is said to have placed Jesus on a lofty mountain, that he might show Him from thence all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. How could it literally come to pass, either that Jesus should be led up by the devil into a high mountain, or that the latter should show him all the kingdoms of the world (as if they were lying beneath his bodily eyes, and adjacent to one mountain), i.e., the kingdoms of the Persians, and Scythians, and Indians? Or how could he show in what manner the kings of these kingdoms are glorified by men? And many other instances similar to this will be found in the Gospels by anyone who will read them with attention, and will observe that in those narratives which appear to be literally recorded, there are inserted and interwoven things which cannot be admitted historically...
Eusebius of Caesarea wrote in the Fourth Century CE: Praeparatio Evangelica Book 12 Chapter 31
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/eu..._12_book12.htm
Now you may find in the Hebrew Scriptures also thousands of such passages concerning God as though He were jealous, or sleeping, or angry, or subject to any other human passions, which passages are adopted for the benefit of those who need this mode of instruction.

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Old 27th July 2020, 01:52 AM   #162
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Now you may find in the Hebrew Scriptures also thousands of such passages concerning God as though He were jealous, or sleeping, or angry, or subject to any other human passions, which passages are adopted for the benefit of those who need this mode of instruction.
god has human traits? Hmm, could it be that he was invented by humans? Yep.
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Old 27th July 2020, 01:54 AM   #163
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
But theists HAVE solved the problem. There is no contradiction in the Christian God being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.
...snip...
No "they" haven't.

And yes there is.
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Old 27th July 2020, 01:59 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Yes, and it's a problem because that particular god is logically impossible. But theists could easily solve that problem. All they have to do is admit they were wrong about their god being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. How can they do that? Simply by taking into account the impossibility of it when interpreting their sacred texts.

...snip...
Lets not forget out of the myriad of religions there are only the Islamic and Christian ones that have such a belief (some could argue Judaism as well but I'd say not in practice). All the rest have "limited" gods.

And it was never a problem for the Christians until the power creep that pretty much happens in all long running supernatural fiction series went up a notch and they decided their god had to be Super Saiyan God.
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Old 27th July 2020, 02:29 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
There is a strange issue at play here that I've seen in nearly every discussion on atheist boards on this topic: the Christian notion of omnipotence follows the classical definition of "God can't do the logically impossible." That's what most Christian philosophers believe about God, and that's what they argue.

But many atheists say "That's wrong. Omnipotence means being able to do anything." And they then want to argue using that definition. NOT on the basis of what Christians -- who believe in God -- believe about their God, but on the basis of what atheists -- who DON'T believe in any God or gods -- think that Christians should believe about their God.
So, even after it being pointed out repeatedly that none of that is actually needed for the argument to work, you still try really hard to derail it into that pseudo-intellectual wank?
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Old 27th July 2020, 02:36 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
But theists HAVE solved the problem. There is no contradiction in the Christian God being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. The problem is that atheists want to use their OWN particular definitions, not the Christian ones, about the Christian God. It's like Christians arguing about atheism while insisting that atheists use the Christian definition of atheism. It would be weird.

There is a strange issue at play here that I've seen in nearly every discussion on atheist boards on this topic: the Christian notion of omnipotence follows the classical definition of "God can't do the logically impossible." That's what most Christian philosophers believe about God, and that's what they argue.

But many atheists say "That's wrong. Omnipotence means being able to do anything." And they then want to argue using that definition. NOT on the basis of what Christians -- who believe in God -- believe about their God, but on the basis of what atheists -- who DON'T believe in any God or gods -- think that Christians should believe about their God.

Now, isn't that weird?


They did that 2000 years ago, when they started to describe passages as "allegory" instead of literal. Philo of Alexandria wrote a lot of texts on the subject 2000 years ago, many of which exist today.

Origen (3rd Century) wrote about the Old Testament and the New Testament:

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04124.htm
But, that our meaning may be ascertained by the facts themselves, let us examine the passages of Scripture. Now who is there, pray, possessed of understanding, that will regard the statement as appropriate, that the first day, and the second, and the third, in which also both evening and morning are mentioned, existed without sun, and moon, and stars— the first day even without a sky? And who is found so ignorant as to suppose that God, as if He had been a husbandman, planted trees in paradise, in Eden towards the east, and a tree of life in it, i.e., a visible and palpable tree of wood, so that anyone eating of it with bodily teeth should obtain life, and, eating again of another tree, should come to the knowledge of good and evil?...

The same style of Scriptural narrative occurs abundantly in the Gospels, as when the devil is said to have placed Jesus on a lofty mountain, that he might show Him from thence all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. How could it literally come to pass, either that Jesus should be led up by the devil into a high mountain, or that the latter should show him all the kingdoms of the world (as if they were lying beneath his bodily eyes, and adjacent to one mountain), i.e., the kingdoms of the Persians, and Scythians, and Indians? Or how could he show in what manner the kings of these kingdoms are glorified by men? And many other instances similar to this will be found in the Gospels by anyone who will read them with attention, and will observe that in those narratives which appear to be literally recorded, there are inserted and interwoven things which cannot be admitted historically...
Eusebius of Caesarea wrote in the Fourth Century CE: Praeparatio Evangelica Book 12 Chapter 31
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/eu..._12_book12.htm
Now you may find in the Hebrew Scriptures also thousands of such passages concerning God as though He were jealous, or sleeping, or angry, or subject to any other human passions, which passages are adopted for the benefit of those who need this mode of instruction.
Special pleasing at its finest.
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Old 27th July 2020, 02:59 AM   #167
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I would like to add that at this point the talk seems to have (predictably) devolved into just a smarter sounding reword of the combination of the following two excuses:

1. "God moves in mysterious ways" / "God is too mysterious for mortal minds to understand". Which is kinda meh, when we've already heard it a thousand times as an excuse for why doesn't God do this or that.

2. Textbook Nirvana fallacy. As in, if SOME suffering might be justified, then it's OK for God to address NONE of it. Because apparently it's that binary a choice

Bonus points for not even basing #2 on some actual example of needed suffering, but just basically on #1: God is too mysterious, so you don't know if there is an instance of X, so let's pretend that there is, as the default
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Old 27th July 2020, 04:14 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
But theists HAVE solved the problem. There is no contradiction in the Christian God being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. The problem is that atheists want to use their OWN particular definitions, not the Christian ones, about the Christian God. It's like Christians arguing about atheism while insisting that atheists use the Christian definition of atheism. It would be weird.

There is a strange issue at play here that I've seen in nearly every discussion on atheist boards on this topic: the Christian notion of omnipotence follows the classical definition of "God can't do the logically impossible." That's what most Christian philosophers believe about God, and that's what they argue.

But many atheists say "That's wrong. Omnipotence means being able to do anything." And they then want to argue using that definition. NOT on the basis of what Christians -- who believe in God -- believe about their God, but on the basis of what atheists -- who DON'T believe in any God or gods -- think that Christians should believe about their God.

Now, isn't that weird?
Not really, no.
The "atheist definition" you are talking about is exactly the definition taught to me in the several Catholic schools I attended, and also in church every Sunday, and in the Catholic discussion group my parents forced me to attend.
It seems to me that you are making rather sweeping assumptions about what all Christians believe, assumptions that are not supported in reality. The dry theological debates you quote do not have any impact on the church-going public, or at least, they did not while I was one of them.
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Old 27th July 2020, 04:35 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
Not really, no.
The "atheist definition" you are talking about is exactly the definition taught to me in the several Catholic schools I attended, and also in church every Sunday, and in the Catholic discussion group my parents forced me to attend.
That's interesting, since I understood Catholicism hasn't changed on this particular point since at least Thomas Aquinas. From the Catholic website, the first paragraph on their article about Omnipotence:
https://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/omnipotence
Omnipotence (Latin omnipotentia, from omnia and potens, able to do all things) is the power of God to effect whatever is not intrinsically impossible... The intrinsically impossible is the self-contradictory...
The same can be found on their Catholic Encyclopedia entry page: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11251c.htm

Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
It seems to me that you are making rather sweeping assumptions about what all Christians believe, assumptions that are not supported in reality. The dry theological debates you quote do not have any impact on the church-going public, or at least, they did not while I was one of them.
Fair point. I can't answer for the beliefs of the church-going public. Let's just say that in the arena of dry theological debates, omnipotence has the definition as given in the Catholic Encyclopedia, and has been that way for at least 800 years. I suspect that a lot of ex-Catholics, when they become atheists, 'convert' to the new atheist definition of omnipotence, if they had been aware of the traditional Catholic beliefs in that regard in the first place.

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Old 27th July 2020, 04:50 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's interesting, since I understood Catholicism hasn't changed on this particular point since at least Thomas Aquinas. From the Catholic website, the first paragraph on their article about Omnipotence:
https://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/omnipotence
Omnipotence (Latin omnipotentia, from omnia and potens, able to do all things) is the power of God to effect whatever is not intrinsically impossible... The intrinsically impossible is the self-contradictory...
The same can be found on their Catholic Encyclopedia entry page: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11251c.htm


Fair point. I can't answer for the beliefs of the church-going public. Let's just say that in the arena of dry theological debates, omnipotence has the definition as given in the Catholic Encyclopedia, and has been that way for at least 800 years. I suspect that a lot of ex-Catholics, when they become atheists, 'convert' to the new atheist definition of omnipotence, if they had been aware of the traditional Catholic beliefs in that regard in the first place.
I would suggest (for a more up to date understanding of what the Roman Catholic Church teaching today is) going to the horse's mouth - and see what the current red shoe wearer has to say about it:

http://www.vatican.va/content/benedi..._20130130.html

You may be surprised but quite a few of us here base what we say about the RCC on what the RCC itself says.

The language should be understandable to a 10 year old.
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Old 27th July 2020, 05:01 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I would suggest (for a more up to date understanding of what the Roman Catholic Church teaching today is) going to the horse's mouth - and see what the current red shoe wearer has to say about it:

http://www.vatican.va/content/benedi..._20130130.html

You may be surprised but quite a few of us here base what we say about the RCC on what the RCC itself says.
That looks like an address to the church-going public. I don't see it contradicting what the Catholic Encyclopedia says:
... some seek refuge in idols, succumbing to the temptation to seek an answer in a presumed “magic” omnipotence and its illusory promises...

... God’s ways are different from ours (cf. Is 55:8) and that his omnipotence is also different. It is not expressed as an automatic or arbitrary force but is marked by a loving and paternal freedom.
The article seems too broad to form a view of how omnipotence is defined for use in debates. Can you quote the part that you see contradicts the standard Catholic beliefs used in dry theological debates, please?

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Old 27th July 2020, 05:39 AM   #172
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Actually, more like I'm not sure why you thing what YOU quote is relevant. Out of all that might have had any substance in the Catholic Encyclopaedia, what seemed to you most relevant is such content-free handwaving as, "his omnipotence is also different. It is not expressed as an automatic or arbitrary force but is marked by a loving and paternal freedom."? Really? THAT piece of zero meaning is what lifts your understanding above that of a hypothetical 10 year old?

For a start omnipotence by default implies freedom anyway. If you're not free to do X, then basically you can't do X, so you're not omnipotent.

More importantly, it brings exactly nothing to the table, since nobody, but nobody ever, not even the gnostics, said that God isn't free.

Even more importantly, if it's omnipotence, it can't be anything but automatic. If it's only omnipotence only every other tuesday with a full moon, then it means there are circumstances where your power is limited, hence it can't be "omni".

What CAN be non-automatic, and marked by being loving, paternal, or whatever, is HOW you use that power. I.e., that god might choose to not use that power in certain ways. Which is fair enough, but that's why we also have the omniBENEVOLENCE in the mix too. That's where the intent comes in. Making a hash of it all under the same umbrella of everything being "omnipotence" isn't helping anyone.

Frankly, even if we're still talking about the mental level of a 10 year old, even that one can understand the difference between being ABLE to do something, and what other mental states or characteristics might make you CHOOSE not to do it. E.g., I'm pretty sure that even a 10 year old can understand, or can be explained to, the difference between, for example, that mommy CAN send you to bed without dinner, but chances are she'll CHOOSE not to, because she loves you.

I fail to see why it's more mature to not be able to comprehend the exact same difference when it comes to God, and think that choice and ability are a non-distinct hash only for that one.

Even more importantly, it's still in that domain of the fully-irrelevant pseudo-intellectual wank that has exactly ZERO bearing on the theodicy problem. God being paternal and loving or whatever, was ALREADY included under omnibenevolence. And it's exactly THAT assumption of God acting all loving and paternal that creates a problem, when it comes to explaining why he doesn't seem to give a flying f-bomb about the suffering of billions. Rather than being what solves the problem, it's what CREATES it.
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Old 27th July 2020, 05:43 AM   #173
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Catholic Culture Dictionary:
https://www.catholicculture.org/cult...x.cfm?id=35260
OMNIPOTENCE - Definition

The almighty power of God. He can do whatever does not deny his nature or that is not self-contradictory. Since God is infinite in being, he must also be infinite in power.
Protestant Free Thinking Ministeries:
https://freethinkingministries.com/t...otence-of-god/
Can God create a married bachelor? Can God create a triangle with four corners? Can God create a stone that is so big that even He cannot lift it? ... Let me give you a good definition of omnipotence: God can do all things that are logically possible.
On the Anglican side, there's CS Lewis of course. Though there is no official statement from the Anglican church that I can find. CS Lewis wrote:
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/282...-intrinsically
His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible... If you choose to say, ‘God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,’ you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words, 'God can.' It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but nonentities.
I'd be interested in any sources that actually affirmed that God can do the logically impossible. I'm not saying they don't exist, but I would be interested in seeing how they interact with the problem of suffering question.

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Old 27th July 2020, 06:38 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Catholic Culture Dictionary:
https://www.catholicculture.org/cult...x.cfm?id=35260
OMNIPOTENCE - Definition

The almighty power of God. He can do whatever does not deny his nature or that is not self-contradictory. Since God is infinite in being, he must also be infinite in power.
Protestant Free Thinking Ministeries:
https://freethinkingministries.com/t...otence-of-god/
Can God create a married bachelor? Can God create a triangle with four corners? Can God create a stone that is so big that even He cannot lift it? ... Let me give you a good definition of omnipotence: God can do all things that are logically possible.
On the Anglican side, there's CS Lewis of course. Though there is no official statement from the Anglican church that I can find. CS Lewis wrote:
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/282...-intrinsically
His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible... If you choose to say, ‘God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,’ you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words, 'God can.' It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but nonentities.
I'd be interested in any sources that actually affirmed that God can do the logically impossible. I'm not saying they don't exist, but I would be interested in seeing how they interact with the problem of suffering question.
Special pleading, stalling tactics, this is so boring. How can someone say with a straight face: "god can create a universe but he can't do the logically impossible."

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Old 27th July 2020, 06:41 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's interesting, since I understood Catholicism hasn't changed on this particular point since at least Thomas Aquinas. From the Catholic website, the first paragraph on their article about Omnipotence:
https://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/omnipotence
Omnipotence (Latin omnipotentia, from omnia and potens, able to do all things) is the power of God to effect whatever is not intrinsically impossible... The intrinsically impossible is the self-contradictory...
The same can be found on their Catholic Encyclopedia entry page: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11251c.htm
This is exactly my point. My Catholic education did not involve an encyclopedia from 1912. It came from nuns, priests and my parents.

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That looks like an address to the church-going public.
The church-going public. People like me. Again, exactly my point.

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Fair point. I can't answer for the beliefs of the church-going public. Let's just say that in the arena of dry theological debates, omnipotence has the definition as given in the Catholic Encyclopedia, and has been that way for at least 800 years.
But, unless that is communicated to the faithful at large, then it really doesn't matter, except as a kind of theological get-out-of-jail-free card.

Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I suspect that a lot of ex-Catholics, when they become atheists, 'convert' to the new atheist definition of omnipotence, if they had been aware of the traditional Catholic beliefs in that regard in the first place.
Sorry, but once again you are making sweeping assumptions of facts that are not in evidence. How do you know this?
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Old 27th July 2020, 09:26 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Catholic Culture Dictionary:
https://www.catholicculture.org/cult...x.cfm?id=35260
OMNIPOTENCE - Definition

The almighty power of God. He can do whatever does not deny his nature or that is not self-contradictory. Since God is infinite in being, he must also be infinite in power.
Protestant Free Thinking Ministeries:
https://freethinkingministries.com/t...otence-of-god/
Can God create a married bachelor? Can God create a triangle with four corners? Can God create a stone that is so big that even He cannot lift it? ... Let me give you a good definition of omnipotence: God can do all things that are logically possible.
It is not logically possible for imaginary entities to be omnipotent whether or not you call them Gods.

You are constantly mis-representing the beliefs of Christians in order to promote your ridiculous absurd argument.

Christians believe their Gods can do and have done things that were not logically possible.

In the Christian Bible it is claimed that their God raised resurrected his own son Jesus after he was dead for three days and the same Jesus after being born of a ghost and a virgin resurrected Lazarus after he was dead and rotting for about four days --Those events are not logically possible.

Further more it is claimed in the Christian Bible that the son of God, Jesus, talked to a tree and it died from the roots such events are not logically possible.

It is simply not true at all that Christians argue that their God can only do what is logically possible.

The very ascension of the son of God in a cloud is not logically possible.

There is no greater good for a supposed theist to misrepresent his supposed God/Gods.
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Old 27th July 2020, 02:42 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
This is exactly my point. My Catholic education did not involve an encyclopedia from 1912. It came from nuns, priests and my parents.
That's interesting. What were the nuns, priests and your parents' views on the logical problem of evil?

Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
Originally Posted by GDon
I suspect that a lot of ex-Catholics, when they become atheists, 'convert' to the new atheist definition of omnipotence, if they had been aware of the traditional Catholic beliefs in that regard in the first place.
Sorry, but once again you are making sweeping assumptions of facts that are not in evidence. How do you know this?
THANK YOU! That has been one of my points. Suspicions don't make an argument. Questions don't make an argument. If I make a positive claim, it is up to me to provide the evidence to support it.

In this case I only have anecdotal evidence for my suspicions. But as the old saying goes: the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'. So I can't back it up with hard data, just my feeling through encounters on boards with atheists.

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Old 27th July 2020, 03:36 PM   #178
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It is interesting to note that the argument that a supposed God can do anything was debated since at least 2000 years ago.

Examine The Natural History attributed to Pliny the Elder.

The Natural History 1.5
Quote:
And indeed this constitutes the great comfort in this imperfect state of man, that even the Deity cannot do everything.

For he cannot procure death for himself, even if he wished it, which, so numerous are the evils of life, has been granted to man as our chief good.

Nor can he make mortals immortal, or recall to life those who are dead; nor can he effect, that he who has once lived shall not have lived, or that he who has enjoyed honours shall not have enjoyed them; nor has he any influence over past events but to cause them to be forgotten.

And, if we illustrate the nature of our connexion with God by a less serious argument, he cannot make twice ten not to be twenty, and many other things of this kind.
Pliny the Elder believe God exists but declared that the population of Gods outnumber human beings.

The Natural History 1.5
Quote:
....Hence we may understand how it comes to pass that there is a greater population of the Celestials than of human beings, since each individual makes a separate God for himself..

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Old 27th July 2020, 03:58 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
It is interesting to note that the argument that a supposed God can do anything was debated since at least 2000 years ago.

Examine The Natural History attributed to Pliny the Elder.

The Natural History 1.5


Pliny the Elder believe God exists but declared that the population of Gods outnumber human beings.

The Natural History 1.5
I had been tempted earlier to mention Catesian daemons and how they basically make divine revelation worthless.
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Old 27th July 2020, 04:16 PM   #180
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Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, 2.5:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/...%3Achapter%3D5
I consider it, therefore, an indication of human weakness to inquire into the figure and form of God. For whatever God be, if there be any other God2, and wherever he exists, he is all sense, all sight, all hearing, all life, all mind3, and all within himself. To believe that there are a number of Gods, derived from the virtues and vices of man4, as Chastity, Concord, Understanding, Hope, Honour, Clemency, and Fidelity; or, according to the opinion of Democritus, that there are only two, Punishment and Reward5, indicates still greater folly. Human nature, weak and frail as it is, mindful of its own infirmity, has made these divisions...

To assist man is to be a God; this is the path to eternal glory. This is the path which the Roman nobles formerly pursued, and this is the path which is now pursued by the greatest ruler of our age, Vespasian Augustus, he who has come to the relief of an exhausted empire, as well as by his sons. This was the ancient mode of remunerating those who deserved it, to regard them as Gods...

We are so much in the power of chance, that change itself is considered as a God, and the existence of God becomes doubtful.

But there are others who reject this principle and assign events to the influence of the stars19, and to the laws of our nativity; they suppose that God, once for all, issues his decrees and never afterwards interferes. This opinion begins to gain ground, and both the learned and the unlearned vulgar are falling into it. Hence we have the admonitions of thunder, the warnings of oracles, the predictions of soothsayers, and things too trifling to be mentioned, as sneezing and stumbling with the feet reckoned among omens20...

And indeed this constitutes the great comfort in this imperfect state of man, that even the Deity cannot do everything. For he cannot procure death for himself, even if he wished it, which, so numerous are the evils of life, has been granted to man as our chief good. Nor can he make mortals immortal, or recall to life those who are dead; nor can he effect, that he who has once lived shall not have lived, or that he who has enjoyed honours shall not have enjoyed them; nor has he any influence over past events but to cause them to be forgotten. And, if we illustrate the nature of our connexion with God by a less serious argument, he cannot make twice ten not to be twenty, and many other things of this kind. By these considerations the power of Nature is clearly proved, and is shown to be what we call God.
Not really relevant to the discussion of a Christian omni-God, but isn't it fascinating? No doubt similar ideas expressed above by Pliny the Elder influenced the development of views on the Christian God in later years.
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Old 27th July 2020, 06:31 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's interesting. What were the nuns, priests and your parents' views on the logical problem of evil?
For nuns, priests, and parents, philosophy rarely comes into it. What that requires is a bishop.
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Old 27th July 2020, 10:06 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Not really relevant to the discussion of a Christian omni-God, but isn't it fascinating? No doubt similar ideas expressed above by Pliny the Elder influenced the development of views on the Christian God in later years.
What you say is probably not true. Pliny the Elder claimed God cannot make mortals immortal and raised the dead.

In any event it has already been established that your claim is false that the Christian omni-God can only do what is logically possible.

The Christian Bible is riddled with acts of God that are not logically possible.

Luke 18.27
Quote:
And he said,The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Genesis 11.6
Quote:
6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.



The confusion of languages in the tower of Babel story is another example where the Christian omni-God carried out acts which are not logically possible.
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Old 28th July 2020, 01:19 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
The almighty power of God. He can do whatever does not deny his nature or that is not self-contradictory. Since God is infinite in being, he must also be infinite in power.[/indent]
As I was saying, that is more than enough for the theodicy problem to exist. In fact, we need a lot LESS than even that to still have the problem. We go with the theist's claim of "omni" there just because it basically means they're already claiming more than we'll ever need for any practical situation.

I mean, WTH, even by virtue of the universe being finite, there won't be any situation where you actually need literally INFINITE power to do anything. Even if you needed to change the whole flippin' observable universe to solve the theodicy problem, that's still not infinite. (Whatever matter or information can EVER affect us is contained in a sphere with the radius of the observable universe, which is finite.) It's just very very large, but not infinite.

Nor do we actually need infinite knowledge (like the other omni goes), because the amount of information in the universe is finite too. There's a hard physical limit on how many bits of information CAN exist in any chunk of 3d space, and is equal to its surface in square Planck units. That applies to the observable universe too. (As I was saying anything outside that can't ever reach us and affect us in any way.)

Let me stress that again: there is no actual problem which would NEED god to actually be infinitely anything. Hammering like a broken record on defining exactly what kind of infinity can we have there, is redundant and stupid when you don't actually need it to extend to either kind.

So I'm still not sure why you keep pushing that derail.
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Old 28th July 2020, 01:51 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Would He, though? I'm not so sure. Take the following: I've read many times where people say "That was the hardest time of my life, but I'm glad that I went through it. If I had to do it all over again, I would."

I think the idea that "suffering brings rewards" is one that no-one disputes.
I certainly dispute it. It is just a saying to make people accept suffering.

Quote:
2. "If God is omni-max, then he could have created a world where no suffering is possible", which I believe has been logically refuted for reasons already given earlier in this thread.
The "logical refutation" consists of watering out omnipotency to the point where it can be used to explain anything.

Quote:
But how can any atheist point to some suffering and say it is "unnecessary"? How does that get proven? Yes, I know: the theist will invoke "God moves in mysterious ways" and that answers nothing. But where is the burden of proof?
Theists certainly do not lift the burden of proof concerning their gods, and I think it is very difficult for atheists to lift the burden of proof for the attributes of imaginary beings. You are right: atheists can never prove that it is possible to avoid suffering in all cases. The theist argument that an omnibenevolent god does not end suffering because her omnipotency is not sufficient potent, is on the other hand, purely circular: It must be logically impossible to end suffering, because otherwise the god would have ended it.

Quote:
IF maximal power can't achieve something, then an omnipotent God can't do it. (Note the conditional "IF"!) Sounds logical to me. What do you think?
Sure it is logical, but I think "the ways of God are mysterious" sounds nicer, and means the same.
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Old 28th July 2020, 01:54 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
That's interesting. What were the nuns, priests and your parents' views on the logical problem of evil?
The nuns and priests that taught me used the arguments that "it is necessary for free will", "the sufferers will be rewarded in Heaven", and "this suffering exists to prevent a worse evil".
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Old 28th July 2020, 02:25 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
The nuns and priests that taught me used the arguments that "it is necessary for free will", "the sufferers will be rewarded in Heaven", and "this suffering exists to prevent a worse evil".
And usually from what I've learnt ended with a "shut up or you'll go to hell".
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Old 28th July 2020, 11:47 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Yes, I'd be interested in knowing that also.
Sermon on the mount.

"Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother" Mt 19:16-19

Note jebus added a sixth "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." but that is not one of the ten commandments, so it does not count.

" Honour thy father and thy mother" doesn't count either as jebus stated that he was out to break up families. In Mt 10.
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Old 28th July 2020, 01:07 PM   #188
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Old 28th July 2020, 02:30 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Sermon on the mount.

"Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother" Mt 19:16-19

Note jebus added a sixth "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." but that is not one of the ten commandments, so it does not count.

" Honour thy father and thy mother" doesn't count either as jebus stated that he was out to break up families. In Mt 10.
Thanks, abaddon! The text below for those interested, and who like myself didn't know this:
19:16 Behold, one came to him and said, "Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"
19:17 He said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."
19:18 He said to him, "Which ones?"
Jesus said, "'You shall not murder.' 'You shall not commit adultery.' 'You shall not steal.' 'You shall not offer false testimony.'
19:19 'Honor your father and mother.' And, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

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?"
19:26 Looking at them, Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
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Old 28th July 2020, 04:14 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Sermon on the mount.

"Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother" Mt 19:16-19

Note jebus added a sixth "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." but that is not one of the ten commandments, so it does not count.

" Honour thy father and thy mother" doesn't count either as jebus stated that he was out to break up families. In Mt 10.
I have a friend who really enjoyed loving his neighbor... until his wife caught him!
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Old 29th July 2020, 12:37 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
Theists certainly do not lift the burden of proof concerning their gods, and I think it is very difficult for atheists to lift the burden of proof for the attributes of imaginary beings. You are right: atheists can never prove that it is possible to avoid suffering in all cases. The theist argument that an omnibenevolent god does not end suffering because her omnipotency is not sufficient potent, is on the other hand, purely circular: It must be logically impossible to end suffering, because otherwise the god would have ended it.
Except we've proven ourselves, as in, the human species, that it's possible to end a lot of suffering. I mean, trivial example, just the invention of glasses alone has allowed literally billions of people to suffer from one less problem in their old age. (And for some actually all their life.)

It may or may not be possible to end ALL suffering , but theists using that as an excuse for why it's ok for their god to end NONE is just the Nirvana fallacy.

I mean, if you had a child and he/she got a pneumonia, you probably wouldn't go "well, I can't keep him completely free of problems for ever, so no point in taking him to a doctor now." Even the most basic intuition would tell you that even if you can't absolutely prevent all problems ever, ok, but ONE problem solved is still better than NONE.

I'm not even taking pneumonia as a random analogy. It is literally the #1 cause of death for infants.

And as I may have mentioned before, I did get one at less than 2 years old. I had to get some insanely painful (or at least that's how it felt at that age) Streptomycin injections for it, because apparently it was an early version of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and only Streptomycin worked, but that's the key word there: worked. It saved my life.

That's incidentally another example of something that humans managed to solve even partially on their own, while God apparently can't be assed. And why you don't need power beyond paradoxes to solve a lot of problems.

You'd think that someone with enough power and knowledge to create a planet and design every animal and plant on the planet -- and again, I'm not asking for infinite anything, less we trigger GDon again -- would figure out some way to deal with that, right? Like, design the baby's immune system to activate faster, instead of starting pretty much non-existent and only slowly ramping up over the next 3 years or so.

But again, even if God were expected to just zap every bacterium in a baby's lungs when they get a pneumonia, that's a finite amount of power needed. It's a finite amount of matter that needs to be killed or removed or anything.

And it doesn't need squaring the circle or any other nonsense excuse. We have the PROOF that it doesn't need violating the rules of maths or anything, because we as a species managed to do it just fine without running into such limits. You just need to find a molecule that kills the bacterium, but not the baby. You'd think a god would not be more limited than humans are, IF he actually wanted to save the millions of babies who die of pneumonia each year, right?
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Old 29th July 2020, 04:33 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
19:26 Looking at them, Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Interesting statement, in the light of our discussion of omnipotency.
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Old 29th July 2020, 04:41 AM   #193
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Except we've proven ourselves, as in, the human species, that it's possible to end a lot of suffering. I mean, trivial example, just the invention of glasses alone has allowed literally billions of people to suffer from one less problem in their old age. (And for some actually all their life.)

It may or may not be possible to end ALL suffering , but theists using that as an excuse for why it's ok for their god to end NONE is just the Nirvana fallacy.

I mean, if you had a child and he/she got a pneumonia, you probably wouldn't go "well, I can't keep him completely free of problems for ever, so no point in taking him to a doctor now." Even the most basic intuition would tell you that even if you can't absolutely prevent all problems ever, ok, but ONE problem solved is still better than NONE.

I'm not even taking pneumonia as a random analogy. It is literally the #1 cause of death for infants.

And as I may have mentioned before, I did get one at less than 2 years old. I had to get some insanely painful (or at least that's how it felt at that age) Streptomycin injections for it, because apparently it was an early version of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and only Streptomycin worked, but that's the key word there: worked. It saved my life.

That's incidentally another example of something that humans managed to solve even partially on their own, while God apparently can't be assed. And why you don't need power beyond paradoxes to solve a lot of problems.

You'd think that someone with enough power and knowledge to create a planet and design every animal and plant on the planet -- and again, I'm not asking for infinite anything, less we trigger GDon again -- would figure out some way to deal with that, right? Like, design the baby's immune system to activate faster, instead of starting pretty much non-existent and only slowly ramping up over the next 3 years or so.

But again, even if God were expected to just zap every bacterium in a baby's lungs when they get a pneumonia, that's a finite amount of power needed. It's a finite amount of matter that needs to be killed or removed or anything.

And it doesn't need squaring the circle or any other nonsense excuse. We have the PROOF that it doesn't need violating the rules of maths or anything, because we as a species managed to do it just fine without running into such limits. You just need to find a molecule that kills the bacterium, but not the baby. You'd think a god would not be more limited than humans are, IF he actually wanted to save the millions of babies who die of pneumonia each year, right?
But as our stout theist has explained, an omni-god is not impossible, as long as omnipotency is limited to what is possible. We can conclude that it is not possible for God to give glasses to everyone that needs them, use streptomycin, or kill every bacterium that causes trouble. In fact, it is also not possible for God to prevent deadly viruses from developing, stop earthquakes, or other natural disasters. Such are the limits of omnipotency: the suffering that we experience is all that is left after God has stopped all the other suffering
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Old 29th July 2020, 08:22 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
But as our stout theist has explained, an omni-god is not impossible, as long as omnipotency is limited to what is possible.
Yes! Well said. That's true by definition, at least for the Christian omni-max God: "Omnipotence is the ability to do all possible things. Things that can't be done with any amount of power can't be done by an omnipotent being."

Now, if an atheist has a different definition: "Omnipotence means being able to do anything, including violate the law of identity and do impossible things before breakfast", that's fine. That's on them. I'm a theist but I don't believe in a God with that particular attribute either, even though it handles the problem of suffering nicely ("1 is not equal to 1, suffering is not suffering") as I argued throughout this thread.

Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
We can conclude that it is not possible for God to give glasses to everyone that needs them, use streptomycin, or kill every bacterium that causes trouble. In fact, it is also not possible for God to prevent deadly viruses from developing, stop earthquakes, or other natural disasters.
But how do you know? How do you know that it isn't possible for God to prevent earthquakes, etc? Shouldn't God be able to? If the theist is making a positive claim here (which he is: "God can't prevent earthquakes"), then the burden of proof lies on the theist. Invoking "God's mysterious ways" is not evidence of anything, since it is just an argument from personal incredulity.

So I would ask a theist saying "God can't prevent suffering": how do you know? It's the appropriate question to ask on a skeptics board!

At this point, I'm sure I have a lot of atheists thinking "Yeah, preach it, brother! That's exactly right! If the theist is making a positive claim, then it's up to him to prove it! GDon is as wise as he is handsome! He's not stout at all! Besides, he's trying to lose that little extra coronavirus-inspired shut-in weight he put on!"

Conversely: If you claim that God CAN prevent suffering, then you are making a positive claim, so I would ask: how do you know? It's the only appropriate question. If you can't back it up, it is also an argument from personal incredulity, every bit as much so as the theists' "God's mysterious ways."

IF you want to run with the atheist-defined "God can violate the law of identity", then suffering isn't suffering, and thus case closed. (It doesn't provide evidence for the existence of that God, of course).

IF you want to run with the traditional Christian-defined "God can do all possible things", then it seems that the logical problem from suffering is considered solved (with caveats) at the moment, as I've pointed out earlier. (The evidential problem on the other hand is unsolvable. If you want to ask me "why this earthquake" I can only say "I don't know".) Again, that the attributes of omni-God are logically consistent is not evidence for that God.

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Old 30th July 2020, 12:45 AM   #195
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
But theists HAVE solved the problem. There is no contradiction in the Christian God being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. The problem is that atheists want to use their OWN particular definitions, not the Christian ones, about the Christian God.
There's a contradiction there alright, you just don't see it.

Quote:
It's like Christians arguing about atheism while insisting that atheists use the Christian definition of atheism. It would be weird.
As I understand it, the Christian definition of atheism is not believing in their god, whereas atheists define it as not believing in any gods. But Christians don't believe in those other gods either, so either definition is fine for discussions between Christians and atheists.

Quote:
There is a strange issue at play here that I've seen in nearly every discussion on atheist boards on this topic: the Christian notion of omnipotence follows the classical definition of "God can't do the logically impossible." That's what most Christian philosophers believe about God, and that's what they argue.
If only. In practice Christians constantly claim that their god did logically impossible things. They just twist the logic and deny the impossibility of it.

Quote:
But many atheists say "That's wrong. Omnipotence means being able to do anything."
Can you blame us for sticking to the dictionary definition?

Definition of Omnipotence:-
unlimited power and the ability to do anything:


Quote:
Now, isn't that weird?
Redefining words to get out of the logical corner you painted yourself into is not weird, it's just pathetic.

Quote:
They did that 2000 years ago, when they started to describe passages as "allegory" instead of literal.
Yes 'they' did, and quite rightly so. Unfortunately many modern Christians reject such interpretation and insist that every word in the Bible is literally true (when it suits them).
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Old 30th July 2020, 12:52 AM   #196
Darat
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
....snip...

As I understand it, the Christian definition of atheism is not believing in their god, whereas atheists define it as not believing in any gods. But Christians don't believe in those other gods either, so either definition is fine for discussions between Christians and atheists.

...snip....
It's the old chestnut, a Christian doesn't believe in 40926 gods, the atheist doesn't believe in 40927 gods.
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Old 30th July 2020, 02:32 AM   #197
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Can you blame us for sticking to the dictionary definition?

Definition of Omnipotence:-
unlimited power and the ability to do anything:
Let's explore this, since it is the crux of the issue around omnipotence as part of an omni-God. I don't understand that kind of response, though it's not just you giving it in this thread. To wit:

There are theists like myself who use the following definition when it comes to God: "unlimited power and the ability to do anything possible". This is in fact the traditional definition used by Christians when discussing God's attributes. I gave a few quotes earlier to that effect. (I'm not a Christian, but I share the same definition of omni-God.) That definition goes back at least 800 years.

You may say that's self-serving, but so what? Are we wrong to define our God that way? It's not meant to be a "gotcha" question, though I know it sounds like one. The rationale behind the question is that I can't see how atheists can define someone else's God, and then ask them to defend that God based on the atheists' definition. That's creating a strawman, AFAICS. Surely if you are going to argue against a God, the argument has to be based on its proponents' definition?

Last edited by GDon; 30th July 2020 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 30th July 2020, 02:45 AM   #198
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
It's the old chestnut, a Christian doesn't believe in 40926 gods, the atheist doesn't believe in 40927 gods.
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.

Last edited by GDon; 30th July 2020 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 30th July 2020, 02:45 AM   #199
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
"unlimited power and the ability to do anything possible".
You keep repeating this like a broken record.
Several people have asked you about the fact that god created a whole universe. You chose to ignore this question.
Will you address it or will you confirm your massive dishonesty or that you only answer questions you know you can special plead 'out of'?
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Old 30th July 2020, 02:51 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
I think everyone has their own version of God. ...snip...
The evidence is rather against you e.g. Catholic ChurchWP, Methodist Church of Great BritainWP, and IslamWP.
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