Ask a Christian Theist

Is there a God? If so, what is She like?

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thedoc
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by thedoc »

attofishpi wrote:
thedoc wrote:Sorry, I didn't know your name was Brian, I was referring to another Brian, (not nearly so nice), from a long time ago, in a forum far, far away.
Ah. Then i should apologise as i thought you were having a laugh at Lev suggesting he was Brian (Monty's messiah) :)

While I can see a similarity between Brian (Monty's Messiah) and Brian1939 with a general pathos, at least Brian MM tried to be nice to others around him. Brian1939 was just mean spirited and condemning of everyone who didn't accept everything he said without question. When I challenged some of the things he said and the manner in which he said them, he became hostile and abusive. I would add that Monty's Brian seemed to be a lot more intellectually accomplished than Lev, so having a laugh at Lev, would not be out of the question.
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Lev Muishkin
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Lev Muishkin »

thedoc wrote:
Lev Muishkin wrote:
thedoc wrote: Is there any room in this discussion for believers who are also rational thinkers, or do you consider that an Oxymoron?
What does God tell you?
WHy ask us when you have the ear of the great one at your command?

Hello Brian, I didn't recognize you at first. So now you're pretending to be an Atheist?
If you have finished avoiding the issue with your childish aside, perhaps you can deal with the questions now?

PS I won't hold my breath!
thedoc
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by thedoc »

Lev Muishkin wrote:
thedoc wrote:
Lev Muishkin wrote: What does God tell you?
WHy ask us when you have the ear of the great one at your command?
Hello Brian, I didn't recognize you at first. So now you're pretending to be an Atheist?
If you have finished avoiding the issue with your childish aside, perhaps you can deal with the questions now?
PS I won't hold my breath!
Review the thread, I was asking a question of other posters till you stuck your vulgar 2 cents into it. You are the one being childish, and I'll address the issue when I'm ready, and not at your beck and call, which is totally worthless.

FYI, I only see your posts when I don't log on, or when I specifically click on your post.
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Lev Muishkin
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Lev Muishkin »

thedoc wrote: Review the thread, I was asking a question of other posters till you stuck your vulgar 2 cents into it. You are the one being childish, and I'll address the issue when I'm ready, and not at your beck and call, which is totally worthless.

FYI, I only see your posts when I don't log on, or when I specifically click on your post.
This is what you said:"Is there any room in this discussion for believers who are also rational thinkers, or do you consider that an Oxymoron?"
I asked what your god tells you?
One minute, when it suits you you seem to know what god wants to say. When the going gets tuff you ignore whatever issue is put in front of you.
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attofishpi
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by attofishpi »

Yon Yalvin wrote:After trolling around on this board it appears as if there are a few theists but I've yet to spot a Christian. To further define myself, I'd say (for my purposes here) that I am a philosophical, Calvinist, Christian theist.

By philosophical I mean that I hold a degree in philosophy and so am familiar with philosophical issues and discourse.

By Calvinist I mean that I generally agree with reformed confessions of faith and systems of theology.

By Christian I mean that I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all peoples and nations and the only mediator between God and man.

By theist I mean that I believe in a divine person who created all things and sustains everything He has made.

If you ever wanted to ask a self-styled philosopher, Calvinist, Christian, or theist anything this thread is your chance.
Ok so i don't know what John Calvin is all about, right now i can't be bothered looking it up.

My major point of contention is that you believe in a "divine person who created all thing and sustains everything He has made."
My reason for contention on that point is that a 'person' eg you or i...or some man floating in space\time is unlikely to have created much more than a fart, no?
Please don't take my statement too personally as i am beyond theist in that i know God\"god" exists, but just think out of all the points you made, that one was really a pickle to be picked.
Im certain from experience that all reality IS God...pantheism...however God is also capable of being separate and personable in human form...Christ, hence the closest match appears as panentheism.
Any thoughts?
http://www.androcies.com
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ReliStuPhD
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by ReliStuPhD »

Sappho de Miranda wrote:
Yon Yalvin wrote:
Sappho de Miranda wrote:Why is the Universe so damnably violent when your god is a god of love and discourages violence?

Note: This is not about Humanity or any other sentient being. This is about the Universe itself.
Let me make sure I understand the question. You're not asking: "why are humans violent?" or "why are animals violent?" You're asking: "why is the non-sentient environment that we call the universe violent?" Yes? Also, could you define "violent"?
Violent - adjective - using or involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.

Examples:

Galaxy Collisions
Star Explosions
Mass extinction from Asteroid impact
To pick up a point that may have been answered already (I can't yet find the time to read this whole thread), does the use of "intended" here matter? That is to say, can we refer to a "violent" universe without simultaneously arguing for some sort of motive on the part of the universe? Or put another way, if the universe "intends" nothing, can we properly call the universe "violent?" Wouldn't that just be a form of anthropomorphism? (Unless, of course, the argument is that Christian has God 'behind' the universe, and therein lies the intent?)

By way of analogy, if you fall from a precipice and, upon hitting the ground, suffer mortal wounds, is gravity "violent" in that case? Or is the only violence the fact that I pushed you? :twisted:
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Immanuel Can »

Good point.

Can we say of a volcano, that it was "evil" for exploding, or of a tidal wave that it was "immoral" for having drowned a thousand people? Can we also say of gravity that it was both "wrong" to pull that suicide jumper to his death, and also "right" for contributing to the plane carrying his wife staying aloft and not spiraling into the outer atmosphere as she flew to the funeral? How can we say of asteroids that they were "bad" for crashing about the universe, or about the sun that it is "good" to give us light?

All this is simply irrational talk. An impersonal force cannot be "violent." "Violent" is a pejorative word, and one appropriate only to free agents. Nature is not "violent" from any Materialist or scientific perspective: its various forces and actions are what they are...no more, no less, no other.

Likewise, there is no Materialist who can, while keeping faith with his or her own most fundamental beliefs about the universe, attribute "violence" to anything -- except in a purely descriptive and entirely non-judgmental way, as in "things which make other things fall apart suddenly," which is in itself neither good nor evil.

Which raises a very good question: if "good" and "evil" are not actually features of the physical universe, but merely descriptors of how we perceive their relation to us, how on earth did we ever come up with the concepts in the first place? If we are mere products of objective reality, and objective reality contains no such values, how did we "mere products" manage to conceive of the thing at all? It was no part of us, and no part of our environment, allegedly...so how could it even be conceived?
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Lev Muishkin
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Lev Muishkin »

Immanuel Can wrote:Good point.

Can we say of a volcano, that it was "evil" for exploding, or of a tidal wave that it was "immoral" for having drowned a thousand people? Can we also say of gravity that it was both "wrong" to pull that suicide jumper to his death, and also "right" for contributing to the plane carrying his wife staying aloft and not spiraling into the outer atmosphere as she flew to the funeral? How can we say of asteroids that they were "bad" for crashing about the universe, or about the sun that it is "good" to give us light?
?
You can only say all these things if there is an intentional force behind them. If you accept that God is the architect of the Universe, then you have also to accept that Volcanos and tidal waves are part of the design. God being omnipotent could have stopped them, but he chose to make them happen, being omniscient.
Thus is you think thousands dying of a Tsunami is bad, then god is by definition evil.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Immanuel Can »

Thus is you think thousands dying of a Tsunami is bad, then god is by definition evil.
That would be true if He were the only agency at work in the universe, and that the elimination of suffering and death were the highest possible good. Neither is the essential assumption of all forms of Monotheism. In fact, is is very easy to conceive of conditions under which the allowance of certain types of tragedy and evil, at least for a temporary period, might well be better than the instantaneous banishment of all evil.

One particular case is if human beings actually are to have free will. If evils of all kinds were simply impossible, then there would be no possibility of humans having any form of choice. The world would be strictly micromanaged, such that they would be incapable of identity, choice or free relatedness to the Supreme Being. It is not hard to conceive of why God would not want such a world, or why he might regard allowing people to be volitionally free and live in an unpreconditioned kind of world, even if doing so entailed the necessity of allowing latitude for bad things to happen.

In any case, the atheist is in no rational position to point the finger at anything, since he/she lacks any rational basis for conceiving anything as evil...whether tsunamis, persons or gods. To be consistent, he/she would simply have to say, "These things *are.* They happen. They exist. There is no moral condemnation possible. And hence he/she cannot even criticize people for their beliefs (say, their beliefs in God), since even delusions (as he regards them) are mere phenomena of the Material world, and hence not evil or wrong in any meaningful way. Phenomena are not right or wrong...they simply *are.* And human beings don't "choose" them, since human beings are also products of strict Materiality.

So even to criticize the idea of God, the Atheist has to depart Atheism -- at least as far as to be able to steal from Theism and objective morality a concept like "evil" or "delusion," for he/she has no rational title to such concepts himself/herself.
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ReliStuPhD
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by ReliStuPhD »

Immanuel Can wrote:Which raises a very good question: if "good" and "evil" are not actually features of the physical universe, but merely descriptors of how we perceive their relation to us, how on earth did we ever come up with the concepts in the first place? If we are mere products of objective reality, and objective reality contains no such values, how did we "mere products" manage to conceive of the thing at all? It was no part of us, and no part of our environment, allegedly...so how could it even be conceived?
Indeed.
uwot
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by uwot »

ReliStuPhD wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:Which raises a very good question: if "good" and "evil" are not actually features of the physical universe, but merely descriptors of how we perceive their relation to us, how on earth did we ever come up with the concepts in the first place? If we are mere products of objective reality, and objective reality contains no such values, how did we "mere products" manage to conceive of the thing at all? It was no part of us, and no part of our environment, allegedly...so how could it even be conceived?
Indeed.
Don't be silly. We conceive many things that are not actually features of the physical universe. This insistence of yours, Immanuel Can, that everyone who is not afflicted with the same choking theism as you is an amoral materialist is nonsense. Can you cite even one credible source arguing for the sort of gallumping vision of reality that you tar us with? It is a straw man and it is condescending and as long as you do it, I shall be condescending back; more eye for an eye than turn the other cheek.
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Lev Muishkin
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Lev Muishkin »

Immanuel Can wrote:
Thus is you think thousands dying of a Tsunami is bad, then god is by definition evil.
That would be true if He were the only agency at work in the universe, and that the elimination of suffering and death were the highest possible good. Neither is the essential assumption of all forms of Monotheism. In fact, is is very easy to conceive of conditions under which the allowance of certain types of tragedy and evil, at least for a temporary period, might well be better than the instantaneous banishment of all evil.
.
Omnipotence admits to no other agency by god.
This is definitive.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Immanuel Can »

Omnipotence admits to no other agency by god.
This is definitive.
Actually, your allegation is a non-sequitur: it doesn't follow logically.

For example, suppose you "have power" to beat your spouse...does that mean you *do* it too?

Omnipotence implies, "having all power." It doesn't mean "always using it."
uwot
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by uwot »

Immanuel Can wrote:
Omnipotence admits to no other agency by god.
This is definitive.
Actually, your allegation is a non-sequitur: it doesn't follow logically.

For example, suppose you "have power" to beat your spouse...does that mean you *do* it too?

Omnipotence implies, "having all power." It doesn't mean "always using it."
You don't understand Lev's point. Your god is only omnipotent if:
Immanuel Can wrote:...He were the only agency at work in the universe...
In anticipation of your free will riposte, along the lines of: god could, micromanage the universe, but allows us to be influenced by evil, because otherwise we wouldn't have choice, I can only repeat what was taught me as an undergraduate: an almighty god could have created a world in which all his beloved humans made the appropriate choices and were saved. Your god didn't, either because it couldn't, or it doesn't care for the majority of human beings. But he quite clearly has a great deal of time for you. What makes you so special, do you think?
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Immanuel Can
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Re: Ask a Christian Theist

Post by Immanuel Can »

I can only repeat what was taught me as an undergraduate: an almighty god could have created a world in which all his beloved humans made the appropriate choices and were saved.
Well, I certainly wouldn't want to force anyone to make an advance on answers obtained as an undergraduate. :D

I think the answer you were taught is pretty clearly untrue. Richard Swinburne, for example, in The Existence of God, has made a very good case that it is logically incoherent to posit that any human libertarian freedom could exist in a world in which either human beings themselves or the environment in which they lived were Deterministically constrained.

To put it more simply: if human beings can't choose, they aren't free. And if they are granted the theoretical potentiality to choose, but are forcibly confined to a world that is Deterministically constrained, then their "freedom" is only potential and theoretical and not actual at all. It's fake freedom.

Not even God creates square circles, unmarried bachelors, rocks He can't lift, or constrained freedom -- not merely because such things are in some sense "hard" or "unlikely," but because they are actually irrational and self-contradictory concepts. As C.S. Lewis once said, "Nonsense is nonsense; even when one uses it to talk about God."

P.S. -- I thoroughly DO understand what Lev said: but I wonder if the true implications of what he said are evident in everyone's mind. From his ensuing claim, I would think not.

In short, I think Swinburne is right. But reading his book, you will discover, will take you well, well beyond the normal reading and thinking capacities of the average undergraduate. :wink:
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