Guidance

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by SeekingTheWay, Apr 19, 2022.

  1. Ella S.

    Ella S. Well-Known Member

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    I think desire and freedom are technically opposed to one another. To desire something usually implies a lack. To have freedom is to have the power to attain something.

    If we were truly free, we would be free of desire and suffering, but we aren't.

    Our free will is to choose whatever options God has given us and to endure whatever he decides the consequences of those actions will be. This is freedom in a sense, but in a very narrow one.

    I appreciate the insightful perspective.

    This is where you kind of lose me. It's not just that I disagree but that I genuinely don't understand how you can look at children dying of bone cancer or the black plague and think that it's the hand of someone who loves us.

    That seems evil to me. Perhaps more evil than any human has ever had the capacity to be.

    I can see the argument for letting humans harm other humans, like a parent who doesn't want to get involved in the petty disputes between his children, but the suffering caused by nature?

    Perhaps demons cause that. That was one explanation for awhile. I don't know if that's still too common of a belief, though.

    Even then, to prioritize someone's free will over preventing them from suffering, I don't know. I don't really think that's good, either, but at least it seems more misguided than callous. This is assuming that God can't somehow find a way to both give us free will and freedom from suffering.

    I'm not sure how we have "some nerve" to ask that someone who demands our total obedience prove that they're worthy of our servitude. I don't encourage total obedience to anyone, but I think if you're going to submit so totally to anyone you should make sure they're a decent person, whether that's God or your King or your branch manager.

    God being so powerful means that we should be more critical of how he uses that power, not less.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I don't. I think that's the nature of nature, of this particular dimension of creation, not of God per se.

    But nature isn't evil, is it? It just is what it is.

    If you're going to have finitude, then it's inescapable. And finitude is a necessary dimension of infinite.

    I'm not being flippant here, but maybe we drew the short straw? Maybe there are perfect worlds, but not this one.

    Perhaps He can ... but not in this world.

    I personally don't think the Christian God asks for either 'total obedience' or 'servitude'. Having said that, I admit that often that's the way it's represented.

    That rather assumes we're in a position to judge God.
     
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  3. muhammad_isa

    muhammad_isa Save Our Souls

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    I'm not so sure that that is a good idea. :)

    "Serving G-d" would be because we respect Him, and not because we are forced to, imo.
    In fact, we are taught that we should respect authority .. unless it's obviously totally corrupt, of course.
     
  4. Ella S.

    Ella S. Well-Known Member

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    Nature has no agency. It can be personified as cruel and callous (and often is personified that way), but because it has no directed intention, those aren't wholly accurate terms.

    For somebody to specifically design a world with suffering in it, then that creator is clearly not trying to minimize our suffering but has specifically designed us to suffer. That would make them at least a little ethically dirty under Utilitarianism.

    Your views are coherent. I'm not trying to critique all of Christianity here.

    As I will continue saying, I don't think this is an assumption. I think it's a necessity. We have to use discernment about who we praise, why we praise them, who we follow, why we follow them, and so on. Most Christians seem pretty comfortable judging God to be good, so why is it different when we judge God to be evil?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2022
  5. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I agree wholeheartedly. (And so does He!)

    Well, theologically we get into choppy waters. Theologically, the good is what God wills, evil goes against the Divine Will, so if God is the source of evil, God wills what He does not will, if you see what I mean? He wills against Himself? Contradictions start to play into the discussion ...

    That God allows evil, whole other ballgame. A prerequisite of finitude and contingency.
     
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  6. Ella S.

    Ella S. Well-Known Member

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    Oh, okay, duh. There's the main point of contention, I think. We're using different definitions of good and evil.

    Sorry for wasting so much time.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I've never thought discussing, or reading, you, is a waste of time.

    I understand we come from different places. Can I ask for your views on evil?
     
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  8. Ella S.

    Ella S. Well-Known Member

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    I think there are two main ways of looking at evil. There are "evil agents" and "evil actions."

    An "evil action" is an action that directly leads to net harm. "Harm" here refers to a reduction in health, both physical and mental. Although health is a somewhat nebulously defined term, there are working definitions for it in a variety of fields that work as decent enough approximations for most contexts.

    An "evil agent" is a being that intentionally attempts the performance of evil actions, although they might fail and accidentally perform good actions just as a well-meaning person might try to do the right thing and have it lead to unintended consequences.

    This understanding is based in evolutionary ethics, where humans are considered to have evolved morality as a survival strategy. Health in particular is being used mostly as a measure for how well one can survive, since poor health (including poor mental health) reduces lifespan. Thus, the most evil action is to take the life of another person, erasing their survival entirely and destroying both their mental and physiological health beyond repair.
     
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  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I agree with all of this, so I'm not sure where you disagree with what I said?

    Just wondering ...
     
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  10. Ella S.

    Ella S. Well-Known Member

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    You said that good is what God wills and that evil goes against his divine will. I may have misinterpreted this, but it sounds like divine command theory, where good and evil are defined specifically in reference to God's will.

    Under that perspective, anything God wills is good by definition, since that's how we define good to begin with. Goodness would also exist even if humans weren't alive, because God would be the ultimate law-giver.

    Under evolutionary ethics, "good and evil" are concepts that formed as a natural product of the human mind. We can still judge nonhumans as good or evil, but they aren't concepts that existed before life evolved and they might not have relevance if humanity went extinct.

    The important difference between the two is whether God can be considered evil. Under divine command theory, that concept is essentially a non sequitar. Under evolutionary ethics, it can depend on a number of a factors that are mostly discernible by man, or can at least be approximated.
     
  11. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Darkness is not the opposite of light, but the absence of light. Total darkness is the complete lack of light -- locked in a cupboard with any chinks taped over that could admit light. That is totality of darkness. But a candle brings light, and a sun or twenty suns is not close to infinite totality of light?

    Could evil be the absence of good, by similar analogy?

    We see through a glass darkly ...
     
  12. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Absolute zero would be the total absence of heat, where atomic movement stops, but there is no limit to heat. There is no upper level to how hot anything can be. God is what enables existence. Can evil be compared to complete stasis?

    We cannot form a mental picture. We cannot form a mental picture of a four dimensional object. But nature gives us clues?
     
  13. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Stagnation in nature is stasis, and the end is death. In nature whatever is not growing or moving forward, is dying. There is no ultimate standard of good and bad in nature, except that, subject to certain qualifications, the ultimate evil for the individual creature is death.

    Gravity in nature drags all things down eventually by subduction to the fiery centre of the Earth. But man looks upward to the eternal stars, and knows that gravity is not all. The universe expands, continually creating itself.

    I don't know, just thoughts ...
     
  14. Ella S.

    Ella S. Well-Known Member

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    Or maybe good is the absence of evil and purity from vice, with no end to the depths of potential human depravity.
     
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  15. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Nature shows us there is a 'down' limit, but no 'up' limit. A bushman sitting in the desert knows that?
     
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  16. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    He dreams, and when he wakes he wonders what if the waking is the dream, and the dream the waking? What lies beyond the threshold of the physical death?
     
  17. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    What makes me wiser than him?

    brain-cell-galaxy.jpg
     
  18. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    I map the universe and split the atom and build great lighted cities -- but the questions are still there?
     

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