Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It's not a crapsack world...it's a halfway house.

More from Ricky D at Godandscience.   And this time....it's Biblical.  (Sort of).
What I have found is that atheists like to say that their arguments against God's existence specifically exclude the God of the Bible as a God who could exist. However, in reality, atheists produce generic arguments against a generic God whose characteristics and creation do not match those that are described in the Bible.
....Go on.

If the atheist states that the God of the Bible is logically impossible, he cannot pick and choose which arguments from the Bible to accept in order to "prove" his point. Let's formalize the atheist's arguments:

  1. God is all-powerful, loving, and perfect.
  2. A perfect, loving God would create a universe that was perfect (e.g., no evil and suffering).
  3. The universe is not perfect but contains evil and suffering.
    Therefore, God does not exist
All-powerful, loving, and perfect. Which of those characteristics is generic and not applicable to Bible God?
The Bible does state that God is "all powerful." In the Old Testament, one of God's titles is "El Shadday," which is translated "God Almighty.
So...he is all-powerful.
The Bible also states that God is loving.3 In fact, the Bible indicates that God is love.
So...he is loving too. So, God isn't perfect?
The Bible also indicates that God is perfect.  So, we can agree that the first statement is a correct interpretation of what the Bible says about the characteristics of God.
WTF!?   The only statement about God's characteristics is right about God's characteristics.  So what the hell is up in that first statement of yours?  
The next statement indicates that a perfect, loving God must create a universe that is perfect. This is the statement that is false and invalidates the argument.
It doesn't need to be perfect.  But it should, at very least, be one that is just and at least approximating perfection.  This is because, if a creator is perfect and wants to be kind, you would think he would want to make the best product possible, and be able to make it as well, due to the aforementioned perfection.  I mean, really, if his perfection does not allow him to be a paragon of craftsmanship, and his love for mankind is insufficient to allow him to even try to perform at even close to his best....there must be something very bizarre behind the scenes making it so that his hands are tied (which his omnipotence should conveniently prevent from happening...).

Anyway...why is it invalidated?
"Nowhere does the Bible state that the universe was created to be perfect."
Ahahahahahaha, get off the damn stage.  The second step in the argument is supposed to be a logical procession from the first dogma-supported proposition, and not itself another statement of "The Bible says....". 
The Bible states that the current universe is not perfect,9 but was designed to be temporary10 and will be replaced with a perfect universe11 that will be permanent.12 Science also tells us that the universe was designed to be temporary.
A billion years of a "temporary world" isn't too temporary for God's favored species with the average life span of 70-ish years.   And don't you find it the slightest bit odd that a perfect God would need a prototype universe to act as placeholder before utopia?  He clearly can create a perfect universe, so we need to ask ourselves why he would be compelled to make ours, the one that we actually live in and know about, imperfect.

Why would God create an imperfect, temporary universe only to replace it later with a perfect one? Why wouldn't God have created a perfect universe in the first place? This is a good question, but shows a lack of understanding of the biblical reason of why God created the universe. 

Well, as long as you say that it shows a lack of understanding, I believe you.  No further questions.
One can find the reason for the creation of the universe in the first few chapters of the Bible. God created humans in order to have a personal relationship with them, which He had with Adam and Eve before they sinned (Genesis 2)

I don't recall them ever expounding upon God's motives in the early books of Genesis about....well, anything really.  But for creating humans specifically, I found it strangely silent on God's psychological urge to chatter with tiny clones of himself.  It's probably for the best seeing as how pathetic it sounds.
Jesus said that the first and foremost commandment was to "Love the Lord your God..." A personal relationship, characterized by the possibility of love, is only possible if created beings are given free will. If God had created the universe with no possibility of evil or sin, then the created beings would have had no free will, and, as such, would essentially be programmed computers.
Interesting.  Especially considering that God's omniscience really fucks up the whole free will thing.  But, since that isn't one of the characteristics of God that you sanctioned as accurate, I guess I will just have to simply say that free will is seldom free, since there are always influences.  I have the "free will" to starve myself, but considering the wide variety of consequences that would incur, including the growing biological drive to eat that would undermine my freedom and the fact that others wouldn't sit idly by and let me do so when food is readily available....

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that "free will" vs. "robots" is a false dichotomy.
I can program my computer to say "I love you" when it starts up. Does this mean that the computer really loves me?
I program my computer to experience a subjective experience of joy and loyalty whenever it is nearby, and then step inside and outside of the room where it is in to see whether it continues to do what I say or not.  The "love" remains regardless, but that is not sufficient, because I am really testing for unquestioning obedience.
Likewise, God could have programmed humans to say that they loved Him, without the possibility of rejecting Him or performing evil deeds. However, these programmed beings would exhibit about as much true love as my computer - not a very satisfying relationship.
I am not sure if the requiring the ability to "perform evil deeds" follows when you are just talking about the sole purpose of humans being love for God.   All he needs is a "love" and "not love" option, not a "worship" and "set fire to an orphanage" set of options.  Unless you define "evil" as "not love", or "love" as "good deeds"; in which case you've got yourself a deity that arbitrarily defines certain actions is indicative of his children not loving him, or a deity who is appeased by good works respectively.   I think you'll go with the former, correct?
This parable tells that God wants not only a relationship with humans in this universe, but a relationship with billions15 of these creatures in His future, perfect creation. If God's purpose is to have relationships with free will beings in a future creation, then there must be a means by which these beings can make a choice to enter or not enter into this relationship.
It's too bad your God is a little too transparent with that operation.  He is an invisible target among thousands, asking us silently to aim with our hearts. He is the king of the carnies, running a rigged cosmic game (and apparently pretending that is our fault if we lose).
Evolution does not explain the vast amount of evil done by mankind.
Please, pllleeeeaaaaasssseee tell that to a creationist!  ("B-but...if we're all just animals...")
(Baboons can also accidentally kill one another in the plethora of physical fights for increased status within their little societies.  Granted, there is no baboon Hitler that I am aware of.  But, then again, what other species has the means and population enough to be one?)
The Bible says that the presence of evil is due to the spiritual component of our nature - something that animals do not possess
That is some hardcore fail right there, Jesus.  The presence of a spirtual nature actually make us worse than animals?  You would've thought that God would have set up some buffers against that kind of crap.  I mean, let your babies have the freedom to roam around and go astray, but at very least, block the knife draw and keep the front door closed.
The atheist also makes the assumption that all pain, suffering, and death are bad or evil. In fact, physical pain is absolutely vital to our survival. If we felt no pain, we would do things to ourselves that could be very destructive.....Pain tells us we need to react to a situation before serious damage occurs.
And yet there is such a thing as excessive pain, and, you know what?  Feeling pain may be vital to our survival, but itdidn't have to be that way.  You could sense pain without having the negative response we feel prompting us to be aware of the pain-causing agent be so...well...painful.  But I assume that wouldn't be as fun for God, know would it?
The trials these people have experienced have made them sensitive to the needs of others in similar situations, in ways that only they can understand.
Pain makes people feel more sensitive to those who are in pain.  Consider me sold.  Someone smash in my toes with a hammer.  Quickly!  I need some spiritual growth here!
During the "easy" times, we become complacent. For the non-Christian, he sees the trials as mere annoyance or pointless suffering, often resulting in bitterness.
First off, we may become complacent when things are easy, but, (shockawe) that's how God made us [according to you].  Once again, this could be different if God so wanted it to be.  As for non-Christians seeing suffering as annoyances and becoming bitter about it:  not everyone is fortunate to have their suffering come to a happy ending like you did (he had Crohn's disease and then it miraculously healed within three months).  Not everyone can as easily justify the misfortunes in life.  Even your fellow Christians don't have it so lucky.  This idea that suffering builds character is partially true, but only when it can actually be overcome.  Because the process of overcoming the suffering itself necessitates the growth that you experience.  For those who aren't as lucky, it ain't necessarily so.  As the late, great Heath Ledger once said "Whatever doesn't kill makes you... stranger".
God did not design this universe to be perfect, but as a temporary creation where free will beings make choices about where they want to spend eternity (in the new creation, which will be perfect).
Which makes him a bit of a prick.
The new creation will be perfect, but will not have absolute free will for its inhabitants. We must agree in this life to give up some of our free will in the next life. Those who are unwilling to give up their own free will choices will not be forced to do so in the next life. However, they will have to be separated from the new creation, since God is unwilling to compromise His character.
Which is all well and good if his standards for entry weren't completely arbitrary or impossible to meet otherwise.
All people will suffer at least somewhat because of bad choices that others make. In addition, because of the temporary nature of the universe, some bad things will happen to us due to "bad luck" or chance. However, these things will teach us to be more sensitive to the needs of others, and will prepare us to show God's love to others when they suffer through similar things.
 So, more or less, the universe looks exactly as we might expect if the kind of God described in the original argument didn't exist afterall, and our only solace is in one another?  Fantastic.

7 comments:

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Actually Seeker it kind of makes sense to have prototype universe - that way all the free thinkers who question the logic of all this crap can be exposed and there pesky genes removed so that during the perfect universe only sheep in human form are left.

Stacy said...

"No other mammals kill ..."

My kitty left me a dead lizard on the living room carpet yesterday just for fun.

"I found it strangely silent on God's psychological urge to chatter with tiny clones of himself. It's probably for the best seeing as how pathetic it sounds."

For some reason, this reminds me of Tom Hanks talking to the 'Wilson' character (ball) in 'Castaway'. You'd think that God would be perfectly happy and psychologically stable all by herself.

GearHedEd said...

This and all the other things you've posted would be so easily dismissed if there weren't so MANY assbags like the one you quoted here. I was going to ask you the other day if you had a real job, noting the abundance of your posts; but it seems that the idiocy is sadly all too common and easily found.

GearHedEd said...

New lion pride leaders kill all the young cubs of the lionesses too. When the young are dead, the lionesses stop lactating and become able to breed again. The dominant males know this; that's why they do it.

Asylum Seeker said...

" I was going to ask you the other day if you had a real job, noting the abundance of your posts"

They aren't THAT abundant, and I make most of them somewhere between 8 p.m. and midnight. But yes...I don't have a job...

I've always been a moocher at heart, and it seems I will remain that way until I can get paid to meander the interwebs.

Mandar Malum said...

there are too many "human" characteristics of this god that "created the universe" He is perfect, but needs companionship.

I agree with you, If god wanted companionship and still wanted to give us free will, that does not even half way explain all the "evil" in the world.

As Richard Dawkins says, This world is not a just world... it is a neutral indifferent world. And when god "designed" parasites that lay their eggs in a grasshopper, it will live and suffer its entire life with its insides being eaten alive... I don't think that is a result of god granting free will... That just sounds like the indifference of nature.

sunnyskeptic said...

You have way more patience than I do to even try to pick apart that insane argument... :) Nice work.