What is God?
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I changed my name to match the one I use on YouTube, if you must know.
How does me changing my name have to do with me losing my faith? I can't choose to change my name? Your question is rather imposing...
Xylene of God cool, I was just just checking wanted to be sure I was not bothering you cause I was only about a somewhere between an eighth and quarter of the way through the nicknames I had for your first screen name and they way I use them they could really go on forever.
The hard part is getting every one to fit in with the comment I am leaving while I am leaving it, thus why a few times I have repeated nicknames for you depending on what I am trying to say to you.
I have seen it before where people come on here trying to make a point about how atheist need something shown to them only to slowly learn they were the ones missing something all along and often they slowly convert to atheism. I was not sure if that was what was happening with you. I also believe it or not wanted to make sure the nicknames did not really bother you because if you said they did and even if you do now I will stop. But since you like it and there is no problem to dissolve and for this one you are Xylene of God!
By the way to answer your question, your screen name still reads Shock of God!
Shock/X asserts: "If god allows suffering to accomplish this greater good then there must be no other way, or He would have taken said path." - Wait... What happened to omnipotence? You yourself said, "God is omnipotent. God has the ability to do anything and everything so long as He wills it being done."
For an omnipotent being, there is always another way, an infinite number of them for that matter. He has but to will it, according to you. "No other way" would not be a barrier to an omnipotent being.
Free will, my friend. Free will. If a man rapes a child he is doing so because he has the free will to do so. God also promised he would not intervene or affect our gift of free will.
Well there's all sorts of wrong with that theory. First, what about the child's free will? Why isn't the child's free will as important to an allegedly benevolent deity as a rapist's free will? Second, the "gift of free will" as implicitly assumed to be more important than the lack of suffering. For an omnipotent deity, there will always be a way, an infinite number of ways, for free will to be maintained while unnecessary suffering is also prevented. Once again, you assert omnipotence then seem to deny the abilities inherent in the concept. An omnipotent deity would be able to come up with a way to uphold the rapist's free will without violating the free will of the child the free will of those who care about the child, right? You are placing limits on your omnipotent deity.
The child still possesses free will; the free will to fight back. But having the free will to do this doesn't mean that the child will win the fight. A criminal has the free will to run from the cops but this doesn't mean he will succeed in escaping.
Secondly, when God gave us free will He promised us that He would not intervene. He gave us free will so that we could make our own decisions. This also means that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions. Should we choose to use this free will to commit evil, then we must accept the consequences. We are guilty of sin before God.
So clearly the rapist's free will is valued by your god more than the child's free will. This is pretty much all we need to know about your so-called "morality."
They both have free will, and both have the ability to exercise it. I don't know where you atheists get "oh, God values a rapists free will more" when they both have the same amount of free will.
"I don't know where you atheists get "oh, God values a rapists free will more" when they both have the same amount of free will." - I certainly don't claim to speak for all atheists, but I am happy to tell you where I get it.
Do you really think a child rapist and his victim have "the same amount of free will"? Will is not just the desire to do something. It is inextricably related to the ability to carry it out. A rapist has free will, while his child victim has his or her free will actually *deprived* by the rapist. They do not in any way have the same amount of free will, because they do not have the same amount of power to act on their will. "Free will" without the power to exercise it is of no value or meaning. I do not have the free will to sprout wings and fly, even if I had the desire to do so. A rape victim does not always have the free will to avoid rape despite his or her desire to.
You said that your god values free will, and that is the reason "he" doesn't interfere. Let's use the Holocaust as another example. A few thousand people (Nazis) had free will, while several MILLION Jews and others had their free will compromised. The Holocaust obviously was a serious net LOSS of free will, if you consider how many humans had their free will stripped away versus how many did not. If the god you imagine had been in charge AND had truly valued free will, then "he" would never have allowed free will to be reduced in the way it clearly was. Not intervening did nothing to preserve free will except for a relative few, and it caused the actual loss of free will - which is supposedly valued - for millions more. The claim that the Nazi oppressor had the same amount of free will as his Jewish victim being herded at gunpoint into a gas chamber is, at best, evidence of being unclear on the concept.
According to wikipedia, God is often conceived as the Supreme Being and principal object of faith. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe. In deism, God is the creator (but not the sustainer) of the universe. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. I believe that God (if there really is a God) would be the most powerful and perfect creature who could do anything he wants as he wills who created and controls the universe, because if he cannot then he is not a god.
I myself would define God as, most likely in line with the pantheist stance, the universe itself. this is the only definition that to me makes sense and lines up with whatever plausibility monotheist religions could have in common. I admittedly know little about the pantheistic stance but from everything I have heard God being the universe it'self is about all that makes sense from what I know about this being as it's put forth by a myriad of religions.
What I struggle to understand is how so many things are attributed to these definitions of God for example sustainer of the universe, perfection, omnipotence, allknowing, controller of the universe, immortal, ect. ect... To me God, if there is one, has no need to be any of these things to be the universe itself or even the creator of the universe, possibly both depending on how defined as one or the other,.
Ok, I'll bite.
First off, throw perfection right out of there. That's a value judgement. The Universe doesn't have to be perfect to be omnipotent and allknowing (and it makes much more sense if we sacrifice perfection, imo).
From where I stand, in my perspective, and seeing the perspectives of other autonomous beings, and of course seeing how those perspectives differ, the only way for a thing in the universe to be omniscient is for it to be everything in this universe, so that it can have all of the perspectives at once. As time is a function of perspective, the universe has every time imaginable (it does, objectively?). Unlike that wonky finite JudeoChristian god, there is no beginning and no end, as that would cut the universe off from what came before and what continues after it, and in effect it really wouldn't be omniscient or omnipotent.
On the subject of omnipotence - I read a really interesting piece about power dynamics today from the political people at Harvard. Basically, it was a really long winded essay about how those who adopt power are actually more confined by the rules of it than those who are powerless, as they can just rebel with nothing to lose. I liked it, though I'm not sure why it was 40 pages long. Anyway, the universe in anything but omnipotent, as it bends subtly to each and every autonomous will in it, though at the same time it's still more powerful than any one of us.
Yeah exactly, I could swallow that! Its kind of exactly how I feel. My point was I find it strange what all these people seemingly want to attribute to this thing as it may or may not be.
It seems to me the Harvard paper you read could have best been read listening to Janis Joplin on loop. What was it called!
I figure it's pretty much the same instinct that causes children to anthropomorphize their stuffed animals and toys. It makes them feel better and more connected with things when they read familiar feelings and motivations into it.
I still anthropomorphize different atomic states and structures when I try to envision chemical reactions. It makes it much easier for me to understand them, and relate to them well enough to imagine what they're going to do when I introduce them to one another.
But I'd be nuts if I didn't think I was crazy for doing that :)
The article was called DeFacing Power - and yeah, it was written in the 70's, right after Janis Joplin died! How did you know?
It just seemed from what you said there it was written by someone who was stoned and listening to her music while writing their college thesis.
Probably, though I imagine it would take a lot of weed to keep someone stoned throughout an entire thesis project... they're huge books.