praying to a free willing god & his divine plan

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Qu@si's picture
"god sent his only son to die

"god sent his only son to die for humanity"

that's called abortion, your god clearly advocates killing, why cant he just save his son? how can he afford to watch his son suffer the pain and agony?

it'll be more convincing though to believe that he saved his son rather than making him a flying zombie.
it'll be more epic to suddenly appear and give his son his piece of "god strength"
or make it like sodom and gomorrah scene.

right?

Tin-man's picture
Please allow me a moment to

Please allow me a moment to take all the things I can remember being told about God and place them all together so that we can determine how it all works as a whole. I am curious to do this because it occurred to me that the following terms/characteristics are often used separately or only combined in twos and threes, but I do not know if I have ever seen them all together. So, let's see what we get when these things are related to "free will" and "prayer", shall we?

1. God is all-knowing. (Okay, why pray if he already knows what you want and how you feel?)

2. God already has a Perfect Plan for mankind. (Okay, why pray? Would he not have to change his plan to grant your prayer?)

3. God gives us "Free Will". (How does one maintain a Perfect Plan when all of the working parts are randomly doing whatever they want?)

4. God already knows what is going to happen to each and every one of us. (Again, why pray? Can't possibly change anything if God already knows what he is going to do to you.)

5. God is all love and all-forgiving. (Yet he will still send folks to hell, even if they were good and caring people.)

6. God is all-powerful. (He can create the universe and this Earth and all the living creatures upon it, yet he cannot write/edit a clear and concise instruction manual to save his life.)

So, I'm sure there are a couple of things I may have missed (please feel free to fill in the gaps), but let's recap some of the highlights real quick.
"Perfect Plan", combined with "Free Will", combined with "Prayer" (ask and ye shall receive), combined with "All-knowing" and "All-powerful", combined with "Pre-destination." Hmmm..... Correct me if I am wrong, but seems to me there are a couple of items in that combination that simply.... oh, I don't know.... ummm.... gee.... perhaps would be inhibiting factors to a "Perfect Plan." You know, just a couple of "random variable" thingies in the mix? A couple of "glitches" that could be considered in total conflict with a "Perfect Plan" and "Pre-destination", possibly? Eh, maybe it's just my imagination....

Algebe's picture
You forgot one.

Tin-Man:
You forgot one.
7. God likes underage teenage girls. In fact he got one pregnant. But if you do that you'll go straight to hell via jail.

(To be fair, god may just been the fall-guy for that one. You wouldn't expect the supreme omniscient ruler of the universe to produce such an idiot son.)

Tin-man's picture
@Algebe Re: God being the

@Algebe Re: God being the fall guy

Of course, then again, "Like father, like son."

Qu@si's picture
at least his son raised the

at least his son raised the dead, not killing them..hehe,

why would a omnipotent god let his son correct his mistakes?
in a worst way. killing him to pay humanities sin.

"father why have you forsaken me?"
jesus be like *face palm* (why am i doing this?)

oh, and the first atheist though was with jesus, he's the one question jesus "why cant you save your self?"
hahahah..hahahah..

anyway moving on

ROYISM 's picture
Hi Tin man

Hi Tin man

Here are some quick responses to the valid points you have raised.

You said: 1. God is all-knowing. (Okay, why pray if he already knows what you want and how you feel?)

According to the Islamic theology, we don’t pray to god because he doesn’t know our wants. We pray so that we become more humble and thereby treat our fellow humans with equality.

2. God already has a Perfect Plan for mankind. (Okay, why pray? Would he not have to change his plan to grant your prayer?)

Even the prayer and the granting of the prayer is part of the ultimate plan.

3. God gives us "Free Will". (How does one maintain a Perfect Plan when all of the working parts are randomly doing whatever they want?)

Let me give you an example. Imagine I have a plan to gift a poor kid a book on science, because he has the potential to become a scientist. However, my little son gets to know that I have plans of getting a gift for some kid, but doesn’t know what it is. He tells me that I will have to buy two gifts – one for the poor kid and one for himself – and that he would be the first one to choose, and whatever is leftover can be handed to the poor kid. I being his father know his weakness for chocolates. Therefore, I present to him two choices – a box of chocolates and a science book. He chooses the chocolates, and I give the book to the poor kid. This way, I let my child exercise his freewill, yet, I carry out my preconceived plan. Therefore, a perfect plan and free will are not in conflict with each other.

4. God already knows what is going to happen to each and every one of us. (Again, why pray? Can't possibly change anything if God already knows what he is going to do to you.)

Explained above.

5. God is all love and all-forgiving. (Yet he will still send folks to hell, even if they were good and caring people.)

He is loving and forgiving… but also just. Therefore people who have been hopelessly wicked have to be punished. But then you stated that god also punishes ‘good and caring’ people… well if you can explain your standard for measuring goodness then we can discuss it further.

6. God is all-powerful. (He can create the universe and this Earth and all the living creatures upon it, yet he cannot write/edit a clear and concise instruction manual to save his life.)

Are you talking about saving man from death? If that’s what you mean, well death is not the be all and end all. It is just a transition from one world to another… where you will be justly rewarded for your deeds.

Sapporo's picture
A moral being would not use

A moral being would not use torture (nevermind eternal torture) as a punishment.

Tin-man's picture
@Valiya

@Valiya

Hello, Valiya. Thank you for your response. I will try to address each of your points in the same manner. On a quick side note, being that you are Islamic, I think it is nice to have your different perspectives, as it is Christianity that is most often discussed on this site. That being said, I admit I am not quite as familiar with the Islamic teachings/beliefs, other than I know Islam and Christianity do have common origins, but differ in their prophets and a few other details. For the purpose of this discussion, however, I believe those factors will not be a problem.

1. "According to the Islamic theology, we don’t pray to god because he doesn’t know our wants. We pray so that we become more humble and thereby treat our fellow humans with equality."
Although I do not believe in praying or worshipping to any god for any reason, if that is the true purpose of Islamic prayer, then I must say it at least sounds more "respectable" than why most Christians pray. "God, please let my favorite sports team win the championship this year." Or, "God, please let me get a new car for my birthday." Or, "God, please help me find a better parking space at the mall today." (These are but a few examples of Christian prayers I have heard before. *chuckle*) Therefore, you can see how one would be confused as to why anybody would ask anything of a being who supposedly already knows exactly what you want/desire. As for the Islam prayers being done to humble oneself and show humility before your god..... Well, again, I have to give it credit for being more "respectful", but I would still have a problem with it. Namely, (in my personal opinion) if a person, god, or any other entity is so terribly insecure, narcissistic, and egotistical that he/it requires the ones he/it supposedly loves to bow before him/it and grovel at his/its feet just to prove how "wonderful" he/it is, then that person or entity is not deserving of my respect, much less my worshipping of him/it. Personally, I would never even require my enemies to bow before me for any reason, Why on earth would I ever require my family and friends to do so? To me, that is simply totally disrespectful on many different levels.

2. "Even the prayer and the granting of the prayer is part of the ultimate plan." Once again: Why pray?

3. With respect, while I sort of see where you were trying to go with that, your analogy is not an example of "Free Will". It sounds more like an analogy of manipulation. You want to give a gift to a poor kid, but your own kid finds out and pitches a fit about it. Personally, I would have simply told my own kid, "Tough cookies. Deal with it. The other kid is poor and needs a book. You get gifts all the time. Stop being a selfish brat." (Or something to that effect.) Basically, I as the parent would not allow the child to dictate what I do. In your analogy, however, you set up a plan to make your child think he gets to choose his own "gift". If I had been your kid, it is very likely I would have chosen the science book. (I was nerdy like that as a kid.) At that point, your plan just went out the window. *chuckle*

4. My question still stands. Why pray?

5. "He is loving and forgiving… but also just. Therefore people who have been hopelessly wicked have to be punished. But then you stated that god also punishes ‘good and caring’ people… well if you can explain your standard for measuring goodness then we can discuss it further."
Okay, in all fairness, I agree the "good and caring" people is quite subjective. I'll get back to that in a moment. First, though, you said, "He is loving and forgiving, but also just." Well, there is a little problem there. While I cannot speak for the Islamic beliefs, I can tell you the Christian beliefs I was taught are that God is ALL-loving, ALL-caring, and ALL-forgiving. Now, on the surface, that sounds pretty good. However, when you try to throw in that God is "just" and must punish the wicked, you are setting up an illogical condition. Being "just" and "punishing" contradicts the others. They do not coincide. Okay, so back to "good and caring" people.
For the sake of this discussion, let us say an individual has hypothetically been looked at by the Christian god himself and deemed to be good and caring. In other words, the individual was never cruel or unkind, and the individual always helped others and dealt honestly with everybody he ever met. Again, we are hypothetically saying god has determined these things. The problem, however, is that perhaps that individual never believed in any god or gods. OR, maybe that individual worshipped a different god, such as Allah, or Thor, or Odin, or any one of the other hundreds of gods in active service. Well, according to the Christian god, that individual goes to hell to be punished forever, despite never having done any harm to any others in his life. Doesn't sound very loving and forgiving to me. But, hey, at least the guy may still have some chance with some of the other gods out there. *chuckle*

6. "Are you talking about saving man from death?"
My apologies for that. It was a figure of speech when I said, "...yet he cannot write/edit a clear and concise instruction manual to save his life." It is another way of saying god can make the universe and everything in it, including Man, but he seems totally incapable of writing a simple and easy to understand instruction book for Man to follow. Kind of like the expression, "That boy is so dumb he couldn't throw a rock and hit the ground to save his own life." (Hmmm... Must be a Southern thing, I guess.) Anyway, the point is, for a god that is supposedly all-knowing and all-powerful, one would expect a set of instructions that EVERYBODY could understand and follow in the EXACT SAME WAY. And clearly, that is most definitely NOT the case.

ROYISM 's picture
Hi Tin-man

Hi Tin-man

You are right. For this discussion it doesn’t really matter if you are not well versed with the Islamic faith… the fundamentals are quite the same as JoC rightly pointed out.

Coming to your points…

You said: “Namely, (in my personal opinion) if a person, god, or any other entity is so terribly insecure, narcissistic, and egotistical that he/it requires the ones he/it supposedly loves to bow before him/it and grovel at his/its feet just to prove how "wonderful" he/it is, then that person or entity is not deserving of my respect, much less my worshipping of him/it.”

An act or a command becomes good or bad based on the intention behind it and its outcome. God’s intention is not to put you down and bask in glory while he demands your worship. Rather, it is to evoke in you a sense of humility and make you realize that no matter who you are or what your position in life is, you are still under the mercy of a perfect being. This will make you humble and be fair to your fellow humans. So to characterize god as being narcissistic or egotistical is misplaced I think. But I can understand that you are being sincere in your criticism… and I hope you can now see where you are getting it wrong.

You said: “Personally, I would never even require my enemies to bow before me for any reason, Why on earth would I ever require my family and friends to do so? To me, that is simply totally disrespectful on many different levels.”

You are right. But look at it like a parent. Would you not demand that your children obey you? Would you not teach your children to greet elders and treat them with respect? That’s not because you are narcissistic or egotistical… it’s because you really wish well for your children, and that they imbibe good qualities so that they will live as good citizens when they grow up, right?

You said: “2. "Even the prayer and the granting of the prayer is part of the ultimate plan." Once again: Why pray?”

As explained above, God wants us to pray to him so that we become better individuals. And therefore God made prayer a means to an end. Now, replace prayer with some another means, and it would become easier to understand. If X wants to earn money, he has to work for it. SO working is a means to attain wealth. It’s part of god’s plan that X should get rich. But as working is the means to attain wealth, god’s plan also includes that X would work hard. Similarly, with prayer. God wants to grant X something. But in order to attain it, X has to pray. So god’s plan also includes that X would pray and his prayer would be granted. Hope that was clear.

You Said: “3. With respect, while I sort of see where you were trying to go with that, your analogy is not an example of "Free Will". It sounds more like an analogy of manipulation. You want to give a gift to a poor kid, but your own kid finds out and pitches a fit about it.”

I think you are reading too much into the example. The idea behind this example is only to show how a preconceived plan and free will can go hand in hand. If I know exactly how a person is going to make choices using his free will, then I can make a perfect plan… yet the person’s ability to make a choice is not going to be affected in the least.

You said: “In your analogy, however, you set up a plan to make your child think he gets to choose his own "gift".”

I am not merely making my child “think” he gets to choose his own gift, rather he is indeed choosing his own gift. It’s just that I am privy to that choice beforehand. My knowledge of his choice does not influence his choice in any way.

You said: “… I can tell you the Christian beliefs I was taught are that God is ALL-loving, ALL-caring, and ALL-forgiving. Now, on the surface, that sounds pretty good. However, when you try to throw in that God is "just" and must punish the wicked, you are setting up an illogical condition. Being "just" and "punishing" contradicts the others. They do not coincide. Okay, so back to "good and caring" people.”

Here, I have to admit that I can’t talk on behalf of the Christian faith. Perhaps, JoC or someone can throw more light on that. In Islam, God is not ‘all-forgiving’ if it means that God forgives everything. There are certain things that God will not forgive. Secondly, from an Islamic perspective, God’s characterization as being extremely merciful and loving only means this: that no matter what sin you have done, if you turn in sincere repentance to god, He will forgive you. God doesn’t require any blood sacrifice or material donations or whatever it be for Him to forgive you. All He needs is your change of heart. If you go to god with a clean and sincere heart, then you are good to go. But otherwise, you will be punished for your sins.

You said: “The problem, however, is that perhaps that individual never believed in any god or gods. OR, maybe that individual worshipped a different god, such as Allah, or Thor, or Odin, or any one of the other hundreds of gods in active service. Well, according to the Christian god, that individual goes to hell to be punished forever, despite never having done any harm to any others in his life.”

This is the reason that I wanted to know your standard to measure good and bad. From an Islamic perspective, it is a sin to worship anyone other than Allah. Yes, I can see that it sounds extremely gross to you. But what does it mean when you take someone as your god? It’s really not about who you bow down to… rather it is about who you take your moral values from. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t deal in interest, I don’t date girls etc… ONLY because I have taken Allah as my lord. If I had taken any other deity, I may not be adhering to these set of moral values, rather I would have a different set of morals. So, the basis for your rights and wrongs stems from who your God is, and that is why it is so central to the idea of sin.

You said: “My apologies for that. It was a figure of speech when I said, "

Thanks for enriching my English with a new expression. I am more used to the expression, “for the life of me…” in a similar context.

You say: “Anyway, the point is, for a god that is supposedly all-knowing and all-powerful, one would expect a set of instructions that EVERYBODY could understand and follow in the EXACT SAME WAY. And clearly, that is most definitely NOT the case.”

The way I look at it is that the instruction is indeed clear and easy to understand. But men have different axes to grind and like to wrench a meaning out of the text that suits their ends. So, the problems of textual interpretation are owing to man’s manipulative tactics. If you approach the scripture with a clear conscience without any prejudice, then you will be able to see the truth easily.

JoC's picture
valiya,

valiya,

It's surprising to me how we may have different religions but I would've answered these things almost the same as you. Maybe part of this forum is really finding common ground amongst ourselves. Thank you for this. and God bless you.

ROYISM 's picture
@JoC

@JoC

thanks JoC. I agree with you 100%... and God bless you too.

Nyarlathotep's picture
valiya s sajjad - It is just

valiya s sajjad - It is just a transition from one world to another… where you will be justly rewarded for your deeds.

And there it is. It is always there, all major religions promise a magical kind of justice in a magical fantasy world; in exchange for ignoring injustice in this world.

Algebe's picture
@Nyarlathotep: "magical

@Nyarlathotep: "magical fantasy world"

Every time I read about this wonderful afterlife kingdom, I can hear Burl Ives singing "Big Rock Candy Mountain" in my head.

Sapporo's picture
If god is just, then prayer

If god is just, then prayer must be pointless.

ROYISM 's picture
@Sapporo

@Sapporo

If the idea of prayer is reformation of the human soul, then it is just.

Sapporo's picture
If god is just and considers

If god is just and considers reformation of the soul to be necessary, then prayer is pointless.

David Killens's picture
So if I pray and ignore all

So if I pray and ignore all the bad crap this god has done, somehow it makes it OK?

That is a poor exchange for the floods, famines, and genocide this god has practiced, as well as condone slavery , murder, many other forms of despicable actions.

The one and only thing positive about prayer is the placebo effect and the support from a sympathetic community. One can achieve better results by seeking trained medical professionals, counselors, and any social organization. And of course, without the baggage of religion.

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