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11-27-2012 , 06:47 PM
RLK,

just curious do you lean more toward Evangelical teaching or Deism? Just wondering if you are Evangelical but framing your argument here more in a vague Deism way given the largely atheistic audience.
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11-27-2012 , 06:57 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by LEMONZEST
RLK,

just curious do you lean more toward Evangelical teaching or Deism? Just wondering if you are Evangelical but framing your argument here more in a vague Deism way given the largely atheistic audience.
As I understand the term I am not a Deist. As I understand the term I am not Evangelical either. I am a practicing Catholic so I guess I will go with that.

I do not change anything for the audience. I was simply trying to make an argument that is sustainable under logical analysis. I hold personal beliefs that go beyond what can be logically established, but those are based on personal experiences that cannot be shared and are therefore not valid as argumentative tools in this forum.
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11-27-2012 , 07:08 PM
makes sense thanks.
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11-27-2012 , 07:09 PM
everyone has a depressive life, we're all better off dead
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11-27-2012 , 11:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLK
If God is willing to respond to a sincere request for guidance with adverse guidance than that is malevolence.
If you pray for rain and get a flood is that malevolence?
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11-28-2012 , 12:41 AM
How about if there is a interacting God who does communicate with some. Is it malevolent of God to not answer others who have prayed for years/decades but feel nothing only to delve into depression/anguish over that lack of communication.
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11-28-2012 , 01:48 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by batair
How about if there is a interacting God who does communicate with some. Is it malevolent of God to not answer others who have prayed for years/decades but feel nothing only to delve into depression/anguish over that lack of communication.
I don't know. Who can say what someone else has experienced or why they react to it the way that they do.

The logic only leads you to the point where you should look for guidance. If you expect me to be able to tell you the significance of other people's experience, I cannot do it. Maybe they have all found what they needed to have the best outcome possible. If there is a benevolent God then you will get what you need. But there is nothing in this that mandates that the answer will be the same for everyone.
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11-28-2012 , 03:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyboosh
They actually think they're going to see Jesus?
When they die, of course.
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11-28-2012 , 03:28 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLK
I don't know. Who can say what someone else has experienced or why they react to it the way that they do.

The logic only leads you to the point where you should look for guidance. If you expect me to be able to tell you the significance of other people's experience, I cannot do it. Maybe they have all found what they needed to have the best outcome possible. If there is a benevolent God then you will get what you need. But there is nothing in this that mandates that the answer will be the same for everyone.
No im not asking that and i also disagree logic should lead one to look for guidance. Sometimes that can be harmful so for some they shouldn't.

Im saying God doesn't look to good if doesn't answer someones sincere prayer for connection but he does others knowing that that lack of communication is causing harm. Now sure he could have his reasons. Like some humans aren't equipped for it (not enough or the wrong kind of brain power or whatever). But on the face of it it doesn't look to good and i would have to do what God is not supposed to like, ask questions to make sense of it.
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11-28-2012 , 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by apy
When they die, of course.
Some think they'll see Jesus before then. I think opinion may be split on the subject.
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11-29-2012 , 04:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyboosh
Some think they'll see Jesus before then. I think opinion may be split on the subject.
Yes, but the joke is pretty clear. Fast food == kill you faster.
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11-29-2012 , 05:13 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by apy
Yes, but the joke is pretty clear. Fast food == kill you faster.
No... really? Ahhh.... now I get it. Gee, thanks.

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12-08-2012 , 09:25 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLK
I think that one can find a course of action under the assumption of eternal life. I think the conclusion is that one should assume there is a God and pray and meditate for guidance on how to live this life.

Now the rationale:

There are admittedly many possibilities under which this course of action will not produce the desired effect.

-there is no God
-there is a God but He is deistic in that He does not provide any guidance
-our afterlife is independent of our choices in this life

In all of these cases the action will not improve our afterlife. It would not make it worse either, so it is neutral. It is actually a little better than neutral in reality because the course of action really reduces to "thinking about your choices in life" which I would take as a self-evident course to better choices.

There is one scenario that falls outside of this but is also neutral: there is a God and He decides your fate in the afterlife solely on your choice of this course of action. He could decide favorably or unfavorably with no way for us to detect a bias so this is net neutral.

Now we consider those remaining scenarios where the following are all true:

1. There is a God who will provide guidance.
2. Our afterlife does in some way depend on this life.

Under this assumption there is possible positive outcome in that He could lead us to actions that improve our eternal fate (a benevolent theistic God).

The converse of this is that God provides guidance that leads us to actions that damage our eternal fate. This is the one place in my argument where the "malevolent god" comes into consideration. If God is willing to respond to a sincere request for guidance with adverse guidance than that is malevolence. Under that case I would not expect a good outcome under any course of action. He is going to hurt you in the end.

I think that is a pretty complete argument for a course of action under the assumption of eternal consciousness.
Sorry I've been slow in responding. I've been really busy over the last week and I wanted to give your argument the thought it deserved.

I'll start by pointing out that the conclusion here is significantly weaker than that for which I had (perhaps incorrectly) understood you to be arguing. I thought you were arguing for the conclusion that we should act on the assumption that god exists. However, you make a significant amendment here. You seem to acknowledge that if we are unable to determine what actions god wishes us to avoid (assuming that we have done our due diligence in seeking god's will), then there there is no rational impetus to act on the assumption that god exists.

I actually mostly agree with your amended conclusion. People should think about why they believe or don't believe in a god. It is an important part of enough people's mental furniture that those without it should at least not ignore the possibility that they are wrong. However, I've then done my due diligence and tried to find if we are able to determine what actions god wishes us to avoid/perform. So have a good portion of the other atheists on this forum. And I've been unable to find any indication of the existence of an actual god that wants me to do specific actions. Yes, a benevolent theistic god would want me to do x. Other possible gods would want me to do not-x. Thus, in order to act on the assumption that God exists, I need to know which of these possible gods is the actual god. In order for the rule "act on the assumption god exists" to have rational force there must be some way for us to actually determine which god exists.

In other words, we need to add one more element to make your argument succeed:

3. We are able upon investigation to determine which god actually exists.

Now, I don't think it is impossible for us to have investigated and determined which god actually exists. But we have investigated and we haven't determined this. At least, that is what atheists and agnostics will claim. And, if you then claim that they are wrong, your argument for claiming that it is rational to act on theism ends up depending on the kind of premise that I think you wanted to avoid--some premise arguing that there is evidence of the existence of a particular god.

The second problem I have with your argument is that I think you are being too narrow in thinking about the range of possibilities under what is referred to as the "malevolent god" hypothesis. Labeling this god "malevolent" is a misnomer. It is not as if the only two options is between a god who loves everyone and a god who hates everyone. There is a wide range of possibilities in between. In fact, entire religions have been built around gods who are capricious--they'll give you favor if you please them, punish you if you don't, but are fairly indifferent towards most humans. Polytheism is a possibility.
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12-09-2012 , 12:12 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Original Position
Sorry I've been slow in responding. I've been really busy over the last week and I wanted to give your argument the thought it deserved.

I'll start by pointing out that the conclusion here is significantly weaker than that for which I had (perhaps incorrectly) understood you to be arguing. I thought you were arguing for the conclusion that we should act on the assumption that god exists. However, you make a significant amendment here. You seem to acknowledge that if we are unable to determine what actions god wishes us to avoid (assuming that we have done our due diligence in seeking god's will), then there there is no rational impetus to act on the assumption that god exists.

I actually mostly agree with your amended conclusion. People should think about why they believe or don't believe in a god. It is an important part of enough people's mental furniture that those without it should at least not ignore the possibility that they are wrong. However, I've then done my due diligence and tried to find if we are able to determine what actions god wishes us to avoid/perform. So have a good portion of the other atheists on this forum. And I've been unable to find any indication of the existence of an actual god that wants me to do specific actions. Yes, a benevolent theistic god would want me to do x. Other possible gods would want me to do not-x. Thus, in order to act on the assumption that God exists, I need to know which of these possible gods is the actual god. In order for the rule "act on the assumption god exists" to have rational force there must be some way for us to actually determine which god exists.

In other words, we need to add one more element to make your argument succeed:

3. We are able upon investigation to determine which god actually exists.

Now, I don't think it is impossible for us to have investigated and determined which god actually exists. But we have investigated and we haven't determined this. At least, that is what atheists and agnostics will claim. And, if you then claim that they are wrong, your argument for claiming that it is rational to act on theism ends up depending on the kind of premise that I think you wanted to avoid--some premise arguing that there is evidence of the existence of a particular god.

The second problem I have with your argument is that I think you are being too narrow in thinking about the range of possibilities under what is referred to as the "malevolent god" hypothesis. Labeling this god "malevolent" is a misnomer. It is not as if the only two options is between a god who loves everyone and a god who hates everyone. There is a wide range of possibilities in between. In fact, entire religions have been built around gods who are capricious--they'll give you favor if you please them, punish you if you don't, but are fairly indifferent towards most humans. Polytheism is a possibility.
No need to apologize about timing. This forum is hopefully a side activity for all of us so tolerance of intermittent communcation is quite reasonable.

Your comments do not exactly capture my point, but as they are not really a counter-argument and are close enough, there is not a lot of value to working out the differences. Basically if you have sincerely and diligently searched for God's guidance on how to live your life and have come up empty, then that is what you have. I cannot say it is wrong as it is your experience which I cannot share. My experience is different. You have no basis to say mine is wrong either.

As you have said, I am sure if confronted with this reasoning the majority of atheists will say that they have done this and found nothing. Do I accept that as simple truth? No, probably not. But who cares? What I believe about what someone else has done is irrelevant. Once you acknowledge that the assumption that God exists and the search for His guidance is a logical path, I am satisfied. Whether you have actually done that or not and what you have found is either entirely your business or between you and God, depending on the reality underlying all of our experience.
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12-09-2012 , 07:53 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLK
Basically if you have sincerely and diligently searched for God's guidance on how to live your life and have come up empty, then that is what you have. I cannot say it is wrong as it is your experience which I cannot share. My experience is different. You have no basis to say mine is wrong either.
And you have no basis to say that it is right?

I think that your point ignores OrP's point that to search for 'god's guidance' we first have to determine which gods exist to accept guidance from. So, since you seem to have settled on the Christian god (right?), I'm curious how you were able to determine that god to exist where others don't?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RLK
As you have said, I am sure if confronted with this reasoning the majority of atheists will say that they have done this and found nothing. Do I accept that as simple truth? No, probably not. But who cares? What I believe about what someone else has done is irrelevant. Once you acknowledge that the assumption that God exists and the search for His guidance is a logical path, I am satisfied. Whether you have actually done that or not and what you have found is either entirely your business or between you and God, depending on the reality underlying all of our experience.
And if my assumption is that in fact no gods exist and that I shouldn't waste time searching for their guidance, is that also valid?
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12-09-2012 , 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Mightyboosh
And if my assumption is that in fact no gods exist and that I shouldn't waste time searching for their guidance, is that also valid?
Sure, why wouldn't it be.
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12-09-2012 , 10:22 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyboosh
And you have no basis to say that it is right?

I think that your point ignores OrP's point that to search for 'god's guidance' we first have to determine which gods exist to accept guidance from. So, since you seem to have settled on the Christian god (right?), I'm curious how you were able to determine that god to exist where others don't?



And if my assumption is that in fact no gods exist and that I shouldn't waste time searching for their guidance, is that also valid?
First bold. It is a little disappointing to have to go back to ground that has already been covered, but perhaps you did not read the thread. There is no assumption of a Christian God.

Second bold. Seriously? My entire discussion in this thread has been about the construction of a logical argument to demonstrate that your bold assumption is not valid. So you have simply stated the converse to my proposition as if it is a counter-argument. And someone gave you an amen. And you guys complained about Splendour!
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12-09-2012 , 12:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLK
And you guys complained about Splendour!
fwiw, I signed both the "Free LirvA" and "Bring back Splendour" petitions.
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12-09-2012 , 12:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fretel÷o
fwiw, I signed both the "Free LirvA" and "Bring back Splendour" petitions.
Fair enough. I withdraw my Splendour comment.
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12-09-2012 , 12:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLK
First bold. It is a little disappointing to have to go back to ground that has already been covered, but perhaps you did not read the thread. There is no assumption of a Christian God.

Second bold. Seriously? My entire discussion in this thread has been about the construction of a logical argument to demonstrate that your bold assumption is not valid. So you have simply stated the converse to my proposition as if it is a counter-argument. And someone gave you an amen. And you guys complained about Splendour!
I think your possible 'eternal consciousness' starting point doesn't justify your conclusion that we should assume that any of the gods exist. However, I'll go back and read it again.
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