Sketches on Atheism

Why? A Challenge to All Believers

It is a question that should possess every believer in an all-powerful creator spirit. It is a question that should haunt their every waking hour and occupy their every thought. It is a question they should obsess over, maddened by its dazzling conspicuousness, and embarrassed beyond all measure that it even exists. It is a question that should consume every believer’s life, tying them up in ferocious knots of disquiet and affording no genuine peace until a definitive answer is found… And yet it is a question few theists ever ask, and even fewer ever attempt a possible, maybe, perhaps, never-quite-certain answer:

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If all things (the past, the present, and the future) are contained within a maximally powerful being, the Catalogue of Catalogues who existed in a state of perfection, then why did it consciously create the physical universe? What possible purpose does this machine, this contrivance, serve?

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367 thoughts on “Why? A Challenge to All Believers

      • This is what the Catechism of the RCC says

        1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life

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      • Well, at least they’re trying.

        created man to make him share in his own blessed life

        But man was already a part of the perfection, God complete.

        He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength

        Vanity.

        He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin

        That’s saying the Creator is incompetent and has lost total control of his creation… which is hardly reassuring.

        In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life

        Again, all things were in a state of perfection before Creation, therefore returning us to vanity as being the only viable explanation.

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    • One must question god so as to know they’re worshiping something deserving of worship. It’s James Rachel’s Moral Autonomy Argument:

      1. We are moral agents with moral autonomy and a responsibility to exercise it
      2. Abandoning one’s moral autonomy is immoral
      3. God is a perfectly good being worthy of worship
      4. Worship is the recognition of one as inferior and subordinate to a greater being
      5. Worship of God includes the total abandonment of one’s moral autonomy in favour of blind, non-questioning obedience of God
      6. This is immoral, unless we can continuously be sure the being we are worshipping is (perfectly) good, and that the being we are worshipping is indeed a (or the) “God”
      7. To continuously evaluate whether a being is good requires moral judgment, which requires moral autonomy
      8. Therefore it is not possible to continuously evaluate if a being is good while also worshipping it
      9. Therefore, worshipping necessarily requires abandoning one’s moral responsibility, which is immoral
      10. Therefore, no being is worthy of worship
      11. Therefore, God does not exist

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  1. Why indeed, John? Perhaps that talking snake just wasn’t grovelling/worshipping/attentive enough?

    Excellent question. I mean, creating humans ‘in his image’ is about as vain as you can get.

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    • I hope some theists propose an answer. I’ve been asking this quite a lot recently, and no one has risen to the challenge, which is rather telling. I mean, seriously, if you believe in a Creator, then shouldn’t you know why it created?

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  2. God created the universe so bowling would be eventually created. God likes to watch bowling. Everything else is merely an accident. Oh, God also likes to watch pain, suffering, rape, and senseless murder. He must, as these things did not exist before he created them. Nice guy, eh?

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  3. Easy peasy, it says right in Genesis that Yahweh created Adam because He needed a gardener and then He created Eve because Adam was some combination of lonely and horny. Christians have distorted this mission into we were created for two reasons, to love one another and to love God. The first reason makes absolutely no sense (by the result, He seems to have created us to fight with one another in some sort of reality show) and the second reasons is massively narcissistic.

    Anything else you want to know?

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    • No, I think that just about sorts it all out 😉

      Although… Why create a garden (with or without a gardener) if the god, God, already existed in the best garden ever? All that we’re left with are some pretty horrible vices to explain the act of this creation: vanity, pride, conceitedness, ego, pretension and, as you said, narcissism.

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  4. As a non believer, I would challenge the notion that God created the universe: he created the earth and skies and all that we can observe. I have always thought that God is the sun total of all that is. Since the universe has existed forever (but became noticeable after the Big Bang), has been forever and neither created nor was created.

    Since the universe wasn’t created, the why doesn’t apply. Why is forever?

    As far as the earth is concerned, it is simply an unintended consequence of something a lot more interesting 🙂

    >

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  5. So glad I started my day with this delightful post and discussion thread! Oh, I’d bet some believers would say, “I believe in my mom, yet I don’t ask why she had me”. And then there’s always “Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do & die, Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred”…. One of the things I tried to believe as a young christian was the idea that whole point of “faith” is to NOT question god or ask why… Caused a ton of cognitive dissonance until I had the courage to give it all up. 🙂

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    • Ah yes, Lord Cardigan’s less-than brilliant idea take his Light Horse Brigade out for a ride on the morning of the 25th of October, 1854.

      A mother, though, can give any number of valid reasons for having you. She is, in all reality, “creating” something new. The same can’t be said for an omni-being whose past (in all its totality), present (in all its diversity), and future (in all its possible divergences) are wrapped up into a single rainbow-coloured point of total experience. For this reason there just doesn’t appear to be any logical reason to create a physical existence… unless, of course, its just for entertainment.

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  6. So that the universe could become conscious of itself, and therefore of all possibilities as against no possibilities? That would be a teleological perspective that might appeal to both believers and non-believers. Guess what? I do not know.

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  7. They do ask this question and within their methodology of thought they have a simple answer, Gods ways are beyond our comprehension. Behind this position stands the argument, that the human knowledge is limited, and it always will be so. Other methodological discrepancy as to the scientific methodology is the assumption, that the laws of nature and existence have not been always the same. One of their explanations to the discrepancy between the biblical time schedule and the even simplest observed reality, like the life span of biblical individuals, is that the time did not have same attributes in the past as it is now. You can’t win an arguments with those who believe in this.

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    • Positively. It would seem, though, to be a mighty huge black hole in the whole god proposition. If you don’t know why it created physical existence (when perfection, as the story goes, already existed) then you can hardly feel at ease in worshiping such a creature. There’s no rationale there to get a handle on… excluding, of course, some malevolent intention.

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  9. One effort to answer this comes from the Prologue to Tolkien’s Silmarillion: The Big Bang was the opening note to a cosmic symphony, music made physical, the progression of which has some segments of profound beauty as well as other competing chords of malevolent dissonance

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  10. The sum of which will lead to a complete harmonious beauty, the resolution of which is known only to the creator (conductor, composer) at the end of the piece. Why was it written? Because the universe, perfect though it was before, is still made better somehow for the great art to have been composed.

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    • Poetic, no doubt, but surely an omniscient being could not devise a plan, hear music, imagine a story, or recognise art or deviancy in any guise, for it could never differentiate creativity from cold reality. To be omniscient means to have never savoured a fond memory, or ever even held a memory at all, for remembrance is beyond the scope of possibilities for a being whose knowledge is perfect, immediate, and permanent. It means to have never dreamed, for no future event is unknown.

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      • Plenty of evidence to show that this is the case so far. The same theories of quantum mechanics that allow computers to be created, GPS to function, radioactive decay to exist, also support the ideas that particles can come into existence. The laws of physics may have always existed. No reason to think not and, again, we are finding more and more evidence to support that hypothesis.

        We do not know how the universe may have come into existence completely *yet*. We may never know completely. This still doesn’t show that your god exists or is the creator entity. It could be any one of hundreds of gods claimed by humans, or perhaps another one entirely or none at all. What matters is what evidence we have to support the claims.

        Christians claim that certain events from the bible actually happened. The problem is they can’t agree on when and where. There is no evidence that supports any of these events at any time during earth’s history and plenty of evidence for other events happening for any of the times claimed by Christians. No exodus, but regular existence for ancient Egyptians. No magical world wide flood that covered all of the mountains, but regular existence for many civilizations who didn’t notice the flood that supposedly killed them all.

        As always, SOM, you forget that the one who make the positive claim “X did Y” has the burden of proof. If God created the universe, you need to show this and that no other gods did and that no other possibility is true. If you can’t, there is no reason to believe you. I may as well believe the baseless claims of some other theist because you and they have the same evidence: none at all. You don’t believe them so you know exactly why I don’t believe you.

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    • atheists should answer first why “didn’t” god create the universe?

      ‘silly of putty’, atheists don’t believe there is a god to create one in the first place, why would they need to explain why a non existent entity “didn’t” do anything?
      how ever if you could please produce the evidence of your positive claim that there is such a being as your bible god, I’m sure they might be inclined to consider the possibility that he could have done so. but until you have fulfilled your burden of proof… you really need to go back to whatever school you might have graduated from and return their diploma as utterly worthless for educating you so poorly as to have even conceived of such an asinine and arrogant and unfounded supposition.
      -KIA (wishing SOM’s ‘mind’ had been a little more ‘silent’ so he wouldn’t be thought a fool. Proverbs 17

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      • KIA,

        If God didn’t create the universe, that means everything just happened all by itself.

        Such an idea is obviously stupid, but nevertheless it is the fundamental dogma of atheism.

        The atheist must either explain how and why everything just happened all by itself or accept the fact that atheism is stupid.

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      • argument from ignorance or god of the gaps anyone?
        you first have to prove that your bible god actually exists in order to propose that he created anything. that’s on you. atheists (of which I am not one I keep telling people) don’t have to know everything about how it happened, you are once again asking them to prove a negative… a logical fallacy. your belief that your god created the universe is not the default view, especially without evidence that 1)he exists to do so or 2) evidence that he in fact was the one who did so…
        you can’t shift your burden so easily as that. enjoy your day.

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      • It certainly would be a difficult thing for me to grasp as well if I were still in the firm conviction of faith that there just HAD to be an Intelligent Agent involved, and to think otherwise would mean all I have believed for the better part of my life was just traditional lies told out of ignorance and fear.
        Yup. It would be soul crushing. I understand, but truth isn’t always comforting. Many times it assaults the very fabric of what we think to be reality and previously held beliefs

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      • I don’t know how it all happened either, but I know from evidence and the inaccuracies of the bible itself, that the Abrahamic God existing only between the covers of that book of books could not possibly be ‘guilty’ of existence let alone creation of anythin

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      • At least I’m honest and courageous enough to say I don’t know. I consider that admission the first step in the journey to find out. Rather than the superstitious clinging to legends and fairy tales pretending to know what you clearly dont.

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    • Wait, why must the atheist answer the question of why God didn’t create the universe? Since this atheist doesn’t believe in God, then that’s like asking “Why did something that doesn’t exist, create something that exists?” The question is faulty in its construction. This is not true for the question John asks, since God is attributed to creating the universe.

      For the atheist you should simply ask the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” I am not sure anybody has a good answer for that, but then neither does anybody have a good answer for “Why did God create the universe?” Of course the first question may also be faulty in its construction because one supposes there must be a purpose, which actually we have no evidence to that since the universe seems reasonably indifferent and simply is. The latter question however does require an answer since God is asserted to exist as an intelligence, a being, and thus has intent, since all beings that we know do things for a particular reason. I guess it could be that God created the universe entirely by accident, like the discovery of penicillin, and then decided he couldn’t throw it away because he knew that life would eventually evolve, but it would seem that God has sort of locked the experiment away and is tending to other matters more pressing to Himself. 🙂

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    • Not really. The existence of a creator or driving force of some kind has to be proven before it can be accepted, at least scientifically, outside of faith. The non-existence of some creator does not have to be proven. This is basic logic as I understand it.

      But I also get the difficulty of having a universe come into being “all by itself”. Of course the universe didn’t just pop into being; that’s a perspective we recognize as being a result of our ignorance.

      There are aspects of the process that we just don’t understand, so it’s premature to suggest it just came into being. How it came into being is what cosmologists work on; why it came into being they don’t generally touch, at least not yet. You have to learn a lot about something to start tackling the why questions. That’s why ‘why’ doesn’t appear nearly as much in science as ‘how’.

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  12. Short answer: bonum diffusivum sui.
    Now, I’m admittedly arrogant, but you must think yourself the smartest person to walk the earth to think you just came up with a question that 2000 years of Christian theology never touched upon. There are in fact old and venerable books written about the subject, which a five minute perusal of google would have taught you, but you are lazy and incurious. These vices, rather than any congenital defect, are why you are ignorant.

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    • Goodness seeks to spread. Yes, I’ve heard this one. It’s unsatisfactory, though, considering an omni-being already contains everything. You see, by the act of creation the Creator ruined perfection… and that begs the question: why create this physical universe?

      Want to try again?

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      • That translation is popular but “spread” does not get the meaning. “Goodness pours itself out” is closer. That which is good naturally desires to pour itself out, to impart itself. It is what good things do: they create, they share, they give.
        You don’t understand the axiom in context. The whole point of the axiom is to say that
        God’s motive is not to make up anything lacking in himself, but out of the superabundance of his own nature. He creates not because he needs something, but because he is good.
        The whole reason creation ex-nihilo is posited in the first place is the need for absolute non-contingent being per-se, given that the world consists of relative contingent being.
        Relative contingent being is imperfect because it is not God, but it is not evil. It is fundamentally good and displays, to the degree it exists, the goodness of the efficient cause. To argue that God should not create contingent being because it is imperfect assumes that something is gained or lost to God by creating, but he does not create for gain or loss.
        This is first year theology stuff. Do you read books?

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      • Yes DP, I know this explanation. And like I said, it fails. First, nothing exists outside an omni-being. Second, if goodness seeks to spread then it would not have created this universe. By the act of spilling out what was perfect ceased to be. It corrupted itself. So, by your answer, the Creator either desired imperfection, or he is incompetent and lost total control of his creation.

        Both are perfectly reasonable answers. Both, however, negate the CV theists typically attach to their Creator.

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      • But the universe is good. So god did pour out his goodness. Yes, the material universe though good is by nature imperfect and God willed it so. This is classic Christian doctrine, which if you had any curiosity you would know by now.

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      • But the universe is good.

        Spinoza said existence is positive, but is it? Is existence positive? Upon what grounds is such an assertion made? Has a rational justification ever been established for this proclamation?

        DP, it’s immeasurably difficult to present a case that this universe is “good.” This universe is, after all, a complexity machine, and complexity fathers a forever broadening and deepening in the ways and means suffering can be experienced and delivered. Is that the work of a benevolent hand? Sowed along a few clear rules, this world is the father of all nightmares, and is it therefore any surprise that a child’s first reaction upon discovering themselves alive inside it is to scream in absolute horror?

        If this world were good, first feeling would be happiness, not distress. If this world were good, if it had been crafted by a maximally powerful artisan eternally mindful of the prosperity and joy of all things to which he is ultimately responsible, then surely a child’s first reaction would be to giggle and to laugh, to celebrate, to dance and to greet this treasure with a resounding exaltation of liberated cheer, not panic and utter dread. Indeed, if entering this existence was something to be deeply pleased about then maternity wards across the planet would reverberate with the elated sounds of spontaneous and uninhibited delight, not the bleached-white shrieks of terror as new-borns found themselves awake in a world hopelessly given over to the production of complexity, and through that, ever-deeper expressions of misery.

        So god did pour out his goodness.

        Again, such an act is impossible for an omni-(aseitic)-being, plus what you are describing is not a deliberate act of creation, rather an accident. But again, an omni-being is self-contained. It cannot leak as there is nothing to leak into. Now, if you want to posit a Creator who is less than maximum (and prior to this universe resided in some alternative realm which was greater than itself) then we can take this conversation further, but I don’t think you want to posit such an incomplete being. After all, the story you are referring to says there was nothing before.

        Now, this last suggestion of yours sounds interesting, but let me clarify… You’re saying the Creator (your god, Yhwh) “willed an imperfect creation”? Interesting proposal, and certainly valid.

        Firstly, though, that thoroughly contradicts your spill-over hypothesis. Second, are you entirely sure you want to posit this, DP? A perfect being willed imperfection? Is that logically possible? Can a maximally good being create pain? Surely that would negate the thesis of goodness. Now, that’s fine, I can certainly accept that, but I doubt this is what you truly mean.

        That said, as there is no right or wrong answer here, I’d ask you, why did a maximally good Creator will an imperfect universe?

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      • Thanks for the poetry, but it is besides the point.
        A wolf eats a deer. A grave evil for the deer. How can God will such a thing?
        Because God wills that wolves exist, and wolves are good things: beautiful and impressive animals. A vegetarian wolf is not a good wolf. The whole material ecosystem system God creates is beautiful and good, even if it involves individual evils.
        God does not will moral evil – the evil choices made by free beings, but contingent beings are necessarily fallible.
        I don’t describe a necessary process: a perfect being does not need to create: if he does so, he does so freely. It is conceivable that God could chose another way to express himself. An artist does not need his art the way he needs to make dinner, he creates for the joy of creating. Free creation is a greater act than some kind of secretion. God does not leak out into the void: he creates freely where before there was nothing. What what might be an expression of goodness for an inanimate thing, like the rays of the sun nourishing plants, is beneath the capacities of a free and intelligent being.
        Any contingent existence is imperfect and fallible. It is not God. God does not create another God – there can be only one principle and root of being. Your problem seems to be a prejudice against material existence. Limited does not mean evil. There is no logical reason why a perfect being would not create something good outside if himself.

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      • but contingent beings are necessarily fallible.

        Yes, as I have already pointed out, this thoroughly negates your thesis of goodness over-spilling.

        God does not leak out into the void: he creates freely where before there was nothing.

        Well, no, this is incorrect on two accounts by your proposition. Your first answer was leaking, which is, as you have already just conceded, fatally flawed. Second, you propose a maximum being, an aseitic being. Aseity means, of course, Absolutely self-originating and Absolutely self-contained. Nothing is outside an aseitic being. Being Absolutely self-contained means the creature in question is incapable of changing, which is to say, immutable. Change denotes development, and development indicates something less-than-perfect.

        You see, DP, an aseitic being (in possession of maximal powers, not least of all, omniscience) cannot not paint, hear music, imagine a story, or recognise art or deviancy in any guise, for it could never differentiate creativity from cold reality. To an aseitic being, nothing in all of Creation can be original, fashionable, or even distinct, as every event, thought, action, adventure and discovery is occurring simultaneously in one stretched-out moment. To be aseitic means to have never felt even the slightest twang of curiosity, for there can be no unexpected twists if every outcome to every drama and experiment is already known. Without the capacity for curiosity it is, therefore, impossible for the aseitic being to be interested in anything, let alone be attentive to his own pleasure, as pleasure is inaccessible if all of Creation is, from his great perspective, perfectly flat and of a uniform temperature.

        So, DP, as I said right from the beginning, bonum diffusivum sui, is unsatisfactory. It doesn’t resonate on any logical level.

        However, as I’ve said, there is no right or wrong answer, so the only question I would put to you is this: Are you genuinely satisfied with this answer?

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      • The contradiction between God’s absolute goodness and the relative goodness of creation exists only in your own head.
        Nor is there is any contradiction between goodness overflowing and free act, and I never posited any such contradiction. In fact, we experience this all the time. A good person – and God is personal – preforms good deeds freely. God creates because he is good, God creates freely, there is no contradiction, it is what good people do every day.
        God’s act of creation cannot imply change in God. A fully actualized being cannot experience time, its act is simultaneous and identical with its existence. God has no experience of creation unfolding in front of him; what we see unfolding over time God knows as a single simultaneous event.
        But it is an unfounded leap to say God is unconcerned with his creation, but that the perspective is utterly different. Difference of perspective does not equal indifference.
        You are making leaps of logic and declaring things impossible based on your own prejudices. Like many atheists, you are a metaphysical pessimist: you cannot see the material universe being good. The conclusion is either atheism or Gnostic dualism, and you chose the former.

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      • God creates because he is good, God creates freely, there is no contradiction, it is what good people do every day.

        DP, this contradicts your first answer: bonum diffusivum sui. That implies leakage, an unguided accident. It’s also self-defeating because 1) an aseitic being cannot leak, and 2) the universe is not good.

        God’s act of creation cannot imply change in God.

        Then you are saying the Creator is imperfect, fallible, flawed, diseased, corrupted, just as his creation is.

        A fully actualized being cannot experience time, its act is simultaneous and identical with its existence. God has no experience of creation unfolding in front of him; what we see unfolding over time God knows as a single simultaneous event.

        Yes, an aseitic being, which I have already described to you. Such a being cannot leak, and it cannot recognise art or deviancy in any guise, for it could never differentiate creativity from cold reality.

        You seem to be all knotted up in confusion, DP. You’re arguing one point, then contradicting yourself in the next. End result: you’re not saying anything even vaguely coherent.

        So, let’s get back to the question: Why did your God create this universe?

        Is your answer leakage, or did he (being perfect) deliberately will imperfection, as you said earlier, ”contingent beings are necessarily fallible.”? If so, why? That is the question.

        And again, there is no right or wrong answer… But an answer shouldn’t be self-contradictory.

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      • The axiom bonum diffusivum implies no such thing in a free being. In the Symposium Plato used Socrates as an example: Socrates teaches because he is good. Does that imply Socrates is not free to teach or not? Of course not.
        You are giving away your metaphysical pessimism. The universe is good even with the presence of wolves. In fact, it is good in part because of them. It is richer and more beautiful for thier existence.
        God is absolute good, his creation is relative good. The contradiction only exists in your head because you don’t like the universe you live in.
        If you are just going to repeat your assertions without addressing my responses I’m done.

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      • DP, I have a question
        “It is what good things do: they create, they share, they give.”

        This would say that creating the universe was for something else. Give to what? Share with what? Christians claim how awful and worthless humans are. Why would an omnipotent want to share/give to beings such as this?

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    • I don’t claim to be as well read as John by any means, but it seems to me that “Goodness pours itself out” is a curious answer. On one hand you give the example of the wolf and the deer and that this is just how things are, there is no evil, it is a working system and that is good. And perhaps that is a good way of looking at it. However I can also explain such a system without the need for a God at all. Evolution explains such a system of predator and prey very easily.

      But the real problem it seems by your set of arguments is that if you are going to call that good, then we must call all humans good, since free will is given to us by design. It’s part of His art. Imperfection and evil is thus an intentional part of his creation. And he bears no responsibility and seems free to punish those intentional consequences of his art by having them burn for eternity? Well I guess he is free to do so, but as a being with a higher intelligence in this art piece to at least comprehend a part of what is going on, I simply reject this design, because it seems wholly unfair to give us free will, cognitive biases, and a brain that is shaped by our environment and then punish us forever. Especially when this environment can be extremely detrimental thanks to the free will by others who could actually destroy my environment and make me statistically less likely to exercise my free will in the right direction.

      The art analogy is horribly insulting one. And artist who makes a controversial piece through his joy of creating is excused as he offends only viewers who are free not to see the art. But for those of us in the art piece, it seems especially heartless and cruel to subject us to “a material universe though good is by nature imperfect and God willed it so” considering he is supposed to be omniscient and omnipotent and we go through all the suffering.

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      • Of course you can explain it without recourse to God. That is not the problem, the problem is “how does evil exist presuming the goodness of God.”
        There is a distinction between material and moral evil. Material evil is a deer eating grass: good for the deer, but evil for the grass. Material evil is relative
        and morally neutral. Moral evil is the result of a choice of a free being. God wills the former as part of the diversity of creation, but not the latter, though he allows for its possibility because free beings are better – they exist on a higher plane and are capable of greater good – than unfree ones.
        I am no expert on issues of eternal rewards, but I think it is very doubtful that God judge people without reference to their circumstances.
        As for all the awful suffering you materialists like to moan about in order to prove that material existence is just unbearable and how unjust God is for subjecting us to it, I have an easy-peasy solution: go jump off a bridge. Instant release.
        But you won’t do that because deep down you are convinced, even beyond your evolutionary instinct for self-preservation which only goes so far, that existence is good and you want more of it.

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      • ”Material evil is relative and morally neutral.”

        DP, I won’t even attempt to answer for Swarn here, but if I may make a brief note… You are mirroring Craig here in your attempt to try and lessen the existence of all animal life. By doing so, you are trying to excuse your god hypothesis from the existence of unnecessary suffering, which then leaves the apologist free to focus only on human (so-called, moral) evil, which can be fingered and blamed without staining the hypothesis. This is a stunning fallacy, and I can prove it thus with two photographs.

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      • And there it is… You have ignored everything I just presented. For your hypothesis to work animals must be incapable of empathy, incapable of moral actions. They must be automatons performing without sentience, without feeling, without emotion. Well, that is a fallacy, as you can see in that photo.

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      • I ignored it because it is dumb. By that logic bears and sharks are sinners for just eating. Is there a bear hell? Is it the same as shark hell or does each species get its own?
        Of course animals are emotive and have group instincts, that is why we can have them as pets (which must be a form of slavery in your mind). But they are not free, which is why we don’t have criminal justice courts for animals.

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      • But they are not free

        What on earth are you trying to say? Not free to do good? Not free to make (what we’d consider) moral actions? I’m afraid the rhino proves you dead wrong, DP.

        But keep your wall of dissonance up. I understand it’s your coping mechanism.

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      • So if the rhino had just walked away it would have been committing a moral evil? Would it be a bad rhino? Should it be arrested and sent to rhino jail? Should it have a conversion and resolve to go about doing good deeds?
        You haven’t answered my question about wolves and bears. Are they committing morally evil act by eating meat? Wouldn’t that make them evil by their very nature?

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      • I haven’t answered because it’s a dumb question. Who’s saying an animal does not regret killing? Who’s to say they do not loathe having to do it? You? The rhino’s action demonstrate that which you are denying: it is free. It is therefore free to recognise and be utterly appalled at this existence it has found itself (uninvited) in… a world where every creature is contracted by birth to prey upon the other in order to steal the proteins and fats and sugars and minerals they need just to stay alive one more day in what amounts to a daily apocalypse of obliged bloodletting.

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      • LOL. If I were writing a parody I could not do better.
        You can’t really believe this stuff, how could you even get out of bed in the morning?
        This is what I mean by metaphysical pessimism. It is not logically consistent with atheism as far as I can see. A true atheist is a materialist and he would see existence as having no inherent moral or ontological value, positive or negative. You sound more like a 3rd century Gnostic.

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      • 80 words to avoid addressing what was said. Well done.

        I’m glad, though, you have admitted your position is nothing but a coping mechanism.. a means to help you “get out of bed in the morning.”

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      • I doubt you really believe your own histrionics. Besides the fact that the only rational decision for a person who believed that would be suicide, it simply makes no sense from an atheist perspective. The world for an atheist should be neutral and inherently meaningless, not bad or good.
        What you are doing instead is taking an atheist apologetic trope – if God is so good then why is the world so bad – and getting yourself worked up about it. It is just a trope used to troll believers, you’re not supposed to take it seriously. It is supposed to work like this: if God exists (he doesn’t) and he is good (a meaningless term) then why do animals eat each other and babies die (equally meaningless events)?
        The believer is supposed to come to the conclusion that God does not exist and the universe is morally neutral, not that the universe is evil. They should have atheism classes so you learn how to do it right.

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      • What you are doing instead is taking an atheist apologetic trope – if God is so good then why is the world so bad – and getting yourself worked up about it.

        LOL! You seem to be straying rather wildly here, DP. Good, though, to see you’ve dropped your whole thoroughly-flawed animals aren’t free (moral players) line. I guess that’s progress. You can keep your anti-atheism rant, though… I’m not interested in addressing noisy screeds.

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      • Well of course modern neurological research brings to question the idea of free will pretty strongly. At least to the point that our will is absolutely free. The axiom that every person has the same amount of choices or the same probability to make such choices at least wholly false.

        And to be honest if I thought for a moment that there was some God who had the power to reduce suffering but did not, than I might throw myself off a bridge. I imagine this is a lot of the cognitive dissonance many homosexuals feel when they commit suicide. They have people tell them they are wrong in accordance to God’s law and yet they are sure inside that they are exactly who they are supposed to be and this drives them to the point where they need to escape existence. Of course my ability to find beauty in existence is a product of my privilege and not everybody feels the same way. The fact that many people do not kill themselves because of a survival instinct does not necessarily have anything to do with goodness. You have defined it as such, but that does not make it such. Your categorization of material evil, moral evil are subjective. Actually only humans I think are capable of defining an action one way or another like that. It may be that such descriptions are wholly meaningless and false. But to use your definitions if most people don’t commit suicide because of a survival instinct then at best you can only argue moral neutrality and not that it is inherently good. The fact that I might feel good about existing is again a product of my privilege and I might not feel it is such a good thing if my life was spent in suffering even if my survival instinct prevented me from doing harm to myself. Actually, the fact that I have had the leisure time to think, research, read and contemplate this question shows my privilege compared to many others on the planet so yes any “materialist” as you call us is likely to not want to jump off a bridge, but it’s also the very same reason why the concept of God as defined by any existing doctrine thus far makes absolutely no sense.

        I would hope that if there was a God that he would sort it out based on circumstances, but that’s a pretty complex thing to sort through. And maybe a God has the ability to sort it all out, but that being said I think the case could easily be made given what we know about how the brain works that everybody is a victim of circumstances and thus everybody would be excused. Even the most horrific killers can be found to be a victim of their genetics, untreated childhood trauma, abuse, neglect, poverty, etc. Yet that begs the question why so many people seem to think they know the conditions for which God judges all of us?

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      • It does not take modern research to argue human freedom is conditioned. Medieval moralists taught as much.
        Of course only humans distinguish between material and moral evil. Only humans think about the problem.
        The suicide example is simply to point out that you don’t really think life is as horrible as you make it out to be, in fact you think it is quite good, as do most people.

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      • Actually I don’t claim to know what most people think about life. Perhaps most people I know, but then again those aren’t the 80% of the world population that lives on less than $10/day. I especially don’t claim that they would think it is “quite good”. Just because existing might be better than not existing does not mean it is good. I mean I think that Marco Rubio is a better candidate than Donald Trump, it doesn’t mean that I want Marco Rubio to be my president. In no way have you shown that goodness is some truth in the universe, you have only subjectively decided what good and evil are to make your argument. Now if I had a choice before coming into this world by God, who showed me the privilege I would have, and the happiness I would have, but then said this creation of his will come at the cost of innocent children being raped, abused, tortured, but don’t worry because it’s all goodness, and my goodness is pouring out. I would have looked at him as though he were crazy, and got out of line for that ride. The fact that I do exist now and that I have been given a survival instinct like all life makes me no different than any other life form and gives me little choice but to survive and so I shall make the best of it.

        And if human freedom is conditioned than how do we have free will to choose not to do what people term as “Evil” deeds? How come we are not all going to absolved in the after life (which, if there is one, none of will stop existing in some form)? If anything it would be us poor atheists who should know better, but I’m willing to make that sacrifice if through the knowledge I spread I can get a theist to admit that free will as religion usually makes it out to be is a load of bunk and thus save those who grow up in poverty which impacts the brain in so many ways that their deeds are excusable. That being said I am not even sure how atheists would be excused given all the lack of evidence for there even being a God, at least in the way such a being has been defined.

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      • Oh no, once you realize an instinct is nothing other than an instinct, the gig is up. Once you have seen through it, you have no need to act on it whatsoever. So seriously, if life is just a pile of raped children, or a choice between a dog shit sandwich and a pig shit sandwich, by all means follow through on your rhetoric and take a long walk off a short pier.
        Regarding free will vocabulary: “conditioned” does not mean “determined” but “subject to limiting factors”. Hope that clears things up for you.

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      • Actually instincts are not so easily counteracted as you seem to think they are. It’s like how easily could I starve myself before I would do anything for some food. It actually takes some serious chemicals or changes in the brain in order for me to fight such instincts. Some are stronger than others and I would say survival is probably one of the strongest. My will is not free as you’ve conceded. I am conditioned by both genetics and environment. As I result I do what I can to alleviate suffering in others, since the goodness of this omnipotent and omniscient being doesn’t seem to be pouring out over the multitude of people who need it. It is because the simple answer is that the universe indifferent and clearly without intention, God is not needed as an explanation to anything, and thus the only solution to reducing suffering is for those of us with means to try and help others to make the world a better place. The only goodness lies within a species that has an evolved sense of compassion that can try to undo the great amount of damage that we have done.

        But again you haven’t addressed the fact that just because existing is better than not existing does not make it good. It could be that goodness has nothing to do with the world and survival happens even if things aren’t good.

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      • I believe you should think, DP.

        Was existence better than non-existence (was it good) for any of Harry Harlow’s doomed rhesus macaque monkeys trapped inside his experimental pits of despair?

        Isn’t this world much like Harlow’s pits of despair? The Ethiopian child born into drought would say so, yes? Was she (were we) invited to participate in this appallingly violent world? Are we free to leave?

        Think, DP… Really think…

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      • You have two choices: being or nonbeing.
        If being were evil, as John insists, nonbeing would be better.
        If being were good, nonbeing would be evil.
        If being were neutral, nonbeing would be neutral.

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      • Why are there just two choices? Neutral is always a choice, and probably a few points in between. I mean that’s like saying something has to be hot or cold. If hot is hot, then not hot has to be cold. There are children who literally starve to death everyday, while they might have the survival instinct to hang on to life as long as possible, it’s not clear to me that not existing might not have been the more moral option if there was a God.

        And that’s the whole point of John’s argument. IF there was a God this being is malevolent, as the theist can find no valid argument for why existence is not evil and thus the logical choice would be to not exist. And if I actually believed there is a God, or better yet if God actually came down and sat on my sofa for a chat and didn’t have some good answers to my questions then I would say unmaking this creation would be the most sensible thing to do if preventable misery and suffering is the price of some final harmony, when an omnipotent being could just create harmony anyway. Now of course one might be conditioned by their environment to believe that one is either somehow inherently good to be given so much privilege in life, or that one is conditioned to believe that their Earthly burdens can be escaped by pushing through all the crap and bearing your hardships for some paradise in the afterlife. This is what John is challenging. If there is a God, then we are forced to ask the question why did he create it given that what he is created is not goodness pouring out. That existence rather tends to be this sort of cruel experiment of which all of us are just pawns and have no choice but to deal with imperfections given to us by an omnipotent and omniscient creator who could do something to help us but does not. In such a universe with such a God, the most sensible choice would be to not exist. I would argue that the only reason that people do choose to exist even given their burdens is because along with the idea of God comes an equally untestable and unknowable set of rewards in the afterlife for those who believe. I mean in a way it’s a brilliant con game when you want to control a lot of people. Start with a faulty premise that God exists, pretend you know what God wants and make some rules. When people start to question it, tell them they need to have faith and by not having faith they are evil. Then explain all the bad things that happen to them are their fault because they have the free will to make the moral choice or because they are still having doubts about thinking something is real that they can’t describe with any of their 5 senses. And if they are still stubbornly doubting you, you can throw in reincarnation or an afterlife and make the punishment of coming back as an ant, or burning forever so that the fear makes them more pliable. But if you are looking for evil that house of cards is probably a good place to start.

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      • Swarn, you summed it so perfectly: Start with a faulty premise that God exists, pretend you know what God wants and make some rules. When people start to question it, tell them they need to have faith.

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      • There are no points between because there is only either existence or non existence. A thing can be, or not be, it cannot partly be.
        If God does not exist then material existence has no inherent meaning and questions of good and evil are ultimately absurd. Without God, all things are neutral. The question of whether it is evil that children be raped and puppies set on fire becomes meaningless. It simply does not matter in the grand scheme of things.
        An atheist calling material existence good or evil is absurd: by what standard is he possibly judging? Only the material world exists, everything else is fantasy and woo. There is no absolute standard beyond it by which to say “good” or “bad”.
        Strictly speaking, I do not think it can be proven if the material universe is good, bad or neutral: you can argue about it but ultimately it is a choice. But no one who thinks the universe is fundamentally bad ever acts accordingly.

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    • It is basic human nature to be more curious and to investigate something further if your initial perusal of it indicates something that makes sense to you. If you don’t find anything there there, then you generally move on to other things. This basic human trait does not mean that a person isn’t curious, or that they are lazy. It simply means they are human. I do believe if you were more curious about the minds of humans you would probably have recognized this before name-calling and being critical. But jumping to conclusions without proper thought is also a common (though not universal) human trait.

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      • MJF, I think you hit the nail on the head. If something makes sense to a person, why investigate further? To SOM and others who believe in a supernatural entity and consider him/her/it to be the creator of all, there’s no need for further study or research. It is what it is. Thus, for them, the “why” matters not.

        For those with more curious minds, the question becomes a starting point for endless study and fascination. 😉

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  13. Philosophy has progressed somewhat in the last 2000 years. The issues surrounding this question are at the root of why natural theology ultimately fails and a ‘reasonable fideism’ is the only defensible position for theism.
    For those who are not to lazy (or arrogant) I’d suggest Jaegwon Kim’s paper ‘Lonely Souls’ for the problems encountered in trying to conceive of a disembodied, divine ‘mind’ and to Blackburn and Wright, for starters, regarding the problems with theories of truth, upon which the natural theology response to the issues surrounding the question, depend.

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      • But will DP? Your comments about aseity are on target. In defense of those on the other side of the discussion, it is a difficult concept – like expanding space/time.
        I remember asking myself for years, ‘But what is it expanding into?’.
        Aseity is similarly difficult; I think that’s one reason you see so much equivocation regarding the implications of the ‘thing in itself’, the other being psychological discomfort.

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    • Again with the name-calling. By saying “for those who are not too lazy…” you make certain that, no matter how many years I manage to be on this planet, I will never ever do what you are suggesting (reading some book in this case). You seem to really want people not to do what you suggest. So why even mention it? Unless you simply don’t know anything about how people work, guess that’s a possibility.

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      • My point exactly. DP gave a version of the courtier’s response above, with a light editorial suggesting that the question had already been answered, conclusively and long ago, and that the post’s author should do his homework before asking stupid questions.
        I think it’s OK to use the courtier’s response in the interest of brevity and respect for other people’s level of interest. But I think you must leave it at, “I am convinced by the argument of Mr. X.” That allows the conversation to end, the other conversant to read Mr. X’s argument for himself, or for the other conversant to challenge the speaker to clarify and expound.
        That keeps the discussion from becoming an unwanted wall of text, like this one is becoming…:)
        In defense of DP, there is a history here – in case you couldn’t tell.

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  14. I think most Christians (couldn’t tell you about other believers) would simply scoff at this question and say it was a test for humans and that’s the furthest that their thinking would go.

    What I always wondered is – why such a violent, bloody Armageddon when a simple test of moral behavior would have sufficed? After all, if an all-knowing, all-powerful being created the universe, there would have been no need to destroy some creations to prove that other creations were moral. How did God let Lucifer become so powerful to the point that a damn war ensued? Questions that Christians just won’t answer…

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  15. The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) ponders those questions you posed. It’s possible that extraterrestrials exist, but Jesus is maybe only the Savior of us Earthlings. Read more here: http://www.catholic.org/news/international/europe/story.php?id=46976 .

    The RCC affirmed already in 2009 “that the existence of extraterrestrials does not preclude a belief in God.”

    So it IS possible that Jesus have visited other planets with existing intelligent life. OR that God has sent yet another of His hypostases to those other planets. Which IMHO opens up for the possible existence of MOTE than the three hypostases we know of today (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost).

    Maybe the Trinity dogma is in need of an extensive overhaul? Who knows?

    Also see this article: http://www.universetoday.com/14262/vatican-astronomer-says-its-ok-to-believe-in-et/ . It’s an article consisting of answers and questions.

    Here’s one of the questions:

    Question: And [the existence of extraterrestrial beings] wouldn’t be a problem for our faith?

    Answer [by the Vatican astronomer Jose Gabriel Funes]: I don’t think so. Just like there is an abundance of creatures on earth, there could also be other beings, even intelligent ones, that were created by God. That doesn’t contradict our faith, because we cannot put boundaries to God’s creative freedom. As saint Francis would say, when we consider the earthly creatures to be our “brothers and sisters”, why couldn’t we also talk about a “extraterrestrial brother”? He would still be part of creation.

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  16. The ultimate question of the great unanswerable Ultimate. Why indeed … but: you’ve already answered it yourself (SFX: insert very loud TAH DAAAAH! here please)—

    God is a colossal sadist.
    In fact, in a universe of folks who delight in pulling the wings off flies, our Abrahamic God would be the very paradigm (exemplar) of wing-pulloffing. The grand ultimate poobah of all sadists, in fact.

    Any takers?

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  17. Mmmm, this should be fun cerebral exercises at 5:45am CST (Texas)! Allow me to put myself BACK into my long gone days and shoes at seminary (in Mississippi) amongst the thick of nationally known professors of “American PCA and USPCA” Christianity and its apologetics. Whoop whoop! 😛

    Along the lines of Victoria NeuroNotes’ approach… the word and singular “God” presupposes much John. However, I will assume you are referring to the “God” of the Abrahamic religions as we latest Homo sapiens have come to hear and learn over the ages from those “Holy Scriptures”. Why start there? Oh, well… because acts or events of the paranormal — what faith-followers call miracles — are simply immeasurable to every single person who has experienced a miracle/miracles/paranormal-activity; they are all globally too subjective, varied, and inconsistent! Their “interpretations” (extrapolations?) are as well.

    Then why not start with General Design of Nature, i.e. “God’s” creation lending Himself throughout nature and all things tangible? Damn! Can’t start there either! Because the more we study and reexamine the World, its beings (all known species, etc.) and beyond into the Universe/Multiverse we once again are/become overwhelmed by infinite diversity, especially biodiversity, and extraterrestrially find the same: gravity/mass is a force effecting ALL things — in ways we have yet to fully understand — even light and time itself! Should I get into Black Holes? LOL 😉

    Ahh, so then that leaves us with ONLY one means of possibly understanding that word “God”: Scripture(s). Well, as it turns out that method is a bit of a circus as well, darn. Why? For starters that other word… Canon, or Canonical Scriptures. Where tha hell did it come from!? And now I am back to Victoria NeuroNotes’ approach. 😛

    Grrrrrrrrr…I’m stopping here John because my head hurts now. I want to go BACK to my liberating mindset that I simply live in an infinitely wonderous, daunting, invigorating Multiverse, on a tiny pale blue dot among billions and billions of other stars/galaxies with my family and all of you fellow Earthlings. What really matters (in my quite humble opinion) is…My lifestyle and deathstyle dance, here and NOW, shared with loved ones and those to become loved ones.

    “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.” —- James Oppenheim

    Now, where is life’s marrow that I might suck it dry!? 😈

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    • Professor, have you ever read Robert Reed’s, Sister Alice? I have a sneaking suspicion you’d adore it for its monstrous scale and epic characters, who are gods… Human-gods.

      To your as-always brilliant comment: I really don’t care which god is presented, that doesn’t make any difference. Peter the Pipe-Smoking Rabbit, Blessed Be He, could be the Creator. What we’re looking for is a reason why Peter the Pipe-Smoking Rabbit, Blessed Be He, created this flat, ruthlessly cold sheet whose observable edge lies a thought-haemorrhaging 430 billion trillion kilometres away from earth in every direction, and is receding, pulling apart and disappearing at 275,000 kilometres per hour across every 100 billion trillion kilometre stretch.

      Teleology, which you hit upon, certainly reveals much, but if we look at the numbers, then this particular universe is better designed for the production of black holes than anything else… and that doesn’t really answer anything, does it?

      Indeed, Arghhh.

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      • Peter the Pipe-Smoking Rabbit, Blessed Be He, could be the Creator. What we’re looking for is a reason why Peter the Pipe-Smoking Rabbit, Blessed Be He, created this flat, ruthlessly cold sheet whose observable edge lies a thought-haemorrhaging 430 billion trillion kilometres away from earth in every direction, and is receding, pulling apart and disappearing at 275,000 kilometres per hour across every 100 billion trillion kilometre stretch.

        Bwahahaha!!! Oh my my! YES! That parody sounds right up my funny-bone alley! Mmm, eccentricity at its finest I suppose! 😛 I will hastely find it! Is it by chance in celluloid format now?

        Teleology, which you hit upon, certainly reveals much, but if we look at the numbers, then this particular universe is better designed for the production of black holes than anything else… and that doesn’t really answer anything, does it?

        You are correct John, it only raises MORE delicious questions! 😀 And to touch on a subject I didn’t really journey through in my brief comment… the Abrahamic religions will indeed one day become all together extinct, simply childrens campfire horror stories of a time long long ago — when Homo sapiens frequently lost themselves inside their monstrous imaginations — because the Abrahamic religions and subsequent theology exists within an oppressively closed-system: a Canon. Anything within our bodies, on this planet, and beyond that is NOT adaptable, flexible, FLUID… impermanent, will not be able to sustain its existence.

        No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” —- Heraclitus

        Therefore, if Judaism, Christianity, and Islam haven’t already become unsustainable in rigor mortis, transforming into a more whole (realistic?) human being, then those minds and hearts will sadly decay in denial or foolishness like their scriptures have. 😦

        I hope many of them will instead embrace our existence and Earthly family rather than promoting and perpetuating destructive elitism and exclusivity, i.e. John 14:6. o_O

        P.S. I did want to mention John Zande 😉 that when I take on that parody-role of Fundamentalist Evangy Xian… I don’t mean in the least to minimize your superb lines of questioning here on your blog. What you do here is very, VERY NECESSARY for those wondering souls and minds completely lost in antiquated mythologies. I greatly appreciate your efforts and work here to cause much more and much deeper critical thinking! 🙂 ❤

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      • Grrrr, for the sake of aesthetics John, if you’d like, you can insert my missing closing-blockquote after the word Heraclitus. Apologies that I didn’t double-check my HTML coding Sir. Then you are welcome to delete THIS comment as well. Thank you. 🙂

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  18. It was very simple: trillions of years doing nothing was pretty boring that is why he created the universe. However a perfect universe was also boring so he introduced some fun into it like the infinite evil we enjoy here on earth.

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  19. Have you noticed the retreat to first principles in the responses to your question? “God is love.” That’s why everything exists: to fulfill that feeling of love and acceptance that people are supposed to have when they think about their deity.

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      • I just came from there, actually. Reading her post, I couldn’t help but think that she’s treating God like the loving parent she never had. It’s a vicious cycle, reminding people like her that they’re not good enough for that love.

        Unconditional love? Hardly. It takes our human need for it and uses it against us.

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  20. John,
    You may be interested check out the form of this argument put forth by Justin Schieber on Reasonable Doubts (RIP), where he calls it “The Problem of Non-God Objects”. Just search on that phrasing you’ll come up with all sorts of critiques and responses to deconstruct. The most compelling response I’ve encountered builds on the mathematical use of infinity, where infinity +\- anything finite is still infinity. So if God is “a necessary, infinitely perfect being” it doesn’t matter what God does so long as it isn’t infinitely imperfect – the world (i.e., ontological totality) remains perfect because infinity +\- anything finite is still infinity. Seems to me, however, that this is no different than every other response in that it boils down to just redefining perfection as “whatever God is or does”; the same tactic deployed to rebut the problem of evil. It works, but at the expense of any scrutable definition of perfection, which turns the notion of an all-perfect God into a meaningless concept.

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    • Hi Travis, good to see you

      I can see the reasonableness in that (to paraphrase: “in the end, everything is fine”), but as you point out, it really doesn’t satisfactorily address the whole “perfectly good” being. Such a being (an aseitic being) could not tolerate imperfection as imperfection would be an unknowable quality…. provided, of course, if the theist insists on dressing their Creator in this emotionally-satisfying notion of maximal goodness/maximum power. If you drop that, most of the problems vanish. If you go further and posit a wicked Creator, then all problems simply evaporate. The Problem of Good is not a problem, and the reason why the Creator created is explained quite easily.

      So, the traditional theist is still left holding the original question: Why did their Creator create this physical universe? If they believe it was a conscious act, as most do, then they must explain what reasons their Creator had in mind in fashioning this physical contrivance.

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  21. I’m a bit late to the party, but had to contribute.

    The question John asked (which many commenters seem to have overlooked … or misunderstood) was “Why Did Your God Create the Universe?” Notice that first word … WHY. In other words, what was the reason?

    John didn’t question or reference how everything got started. Not did he make any reference to how or why things are as they are. He simply asked believers WHY did your God create the universe?

    To me, it’s pretty obvious. Theists believe the UNIVERSE (& that includes everything that makes up the cosmos — all the galaxies, stars, planets, comets, asteroids, dark matter, etc.) was all put together for HUMANS. That’s right. Humans are the sole reason why “God” created the universe. They believe this because, you see, it’s all in a BOOK — and who could ever deny what’s written in a book?

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    • Cheers Nan. Yes, the WHY part seemed to be missed, or ignored, quite a lot.

      But you’re right, this universe which stretches out 430 billion trillion kilometres in every direction, and is pulling apart at 275,000 kilometres per hour across every 100 billion trillion kilometre stretch, was most certainly made just for us! 🙂

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  22. When I was a Christian, I think I would have said so we could exist and have a relationship with God and worship him.

    But when u think about that, seems excessive to create a universe just so we could exist on earth. And what kind of being creates other beings just to be can be worshipped?

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    • I always took things religious in my upbringing to mean that the world (universe) was created then God went on to populate it with plants, animals, and eventually us. I never got the impression all of it was for us, but once we were on the scene God placed us in the Garden of Eden and gave us the choice whether to stay home and be at peace with Him, or to strike out on our own by eating of the tree of knowledge.

      We chose the latter and God just had to go along with that because He gave us the choice. But since then God has been hoping we come back to our senses, and Jesus helped out with all that with only partial success thus far. We still resist but God will never give up on us. That about sums up my understanding of creation and Christianity as a youngster, and it still makes sense to me now (from a religious perspective).

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      • Here’s the thing, god has foreknowledge and knew all that would happen. Adam and Eve did not get all of that information about the consequences of eating the fruit. Doesn’t it only seen fair, that a decision with such huge consequences (war, famine, rape, child slavery, disease, murder) that Adam and Eve deserved to know that info?

        As a parent, I’ll let my children make certain decisions, even if wrong. But I would never create a situation (like the tree of knowledge) that if chosen would affect others, much less the horrors that happen here on earth. I have a hard time worshipping a God that did that. And I’m to be ok with it because God wants us to love and worship him and he sent his son to fix his mess that he had foreknowledge about and created.

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  23. Hi John, so good to hear from you! In the middle of the Christmas season, your question seems so poignant. As a father of five adults who reside in various states, hundreds of miles apart, I will move heaven and earth to have the opportunity to spend time with our kids. And that is the way it is with God. He created the universe so that He would have the opportunity to spend eternity with those of us who will respond to His invitation. Hope this post finds you and yours well. Regards, Rich

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  24. Oops, John. I somehow thought I was commenting on Inspired’s blog. . . you can delete my comment if you want. . I don’t usually use ‘propane’ language . . ahem. . but then again, it’s not every day my Christmas tree falls over. . egads.

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  25. John, that really is funny that you should say that. The first time I went to Australia, I stayed for six weeks. At the end of the visit I said to my daughter, “No one SWEARS here – I can’t believe it!” She immediately replied, “Oh, yeah, they swear all right!” Maybe it was the accent?? 😉

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  26. Pingback: Doing Atheism Wrong | Truth and Tolerance

  27. John, you sneaky one. You know the Bible front to back. You know the truth but you reject it. You are far from stupid, more aptly seen by me as exasperated. “Oh! what a tangled web you weave when first you practice to deceive!”

    Your question has a clear answer that you know all too well, that being, God created the universe, AND EVERYTHING THEREIN, for His glory. You already know this but you are a disobedient servant. The master does not bow to you or follow your commands so he is evil, right? Since things are not the way YOU want then God is evil, right? Since some tragedy happened to you then God is Evil, right? Stomp your feet and make demands God does not answer then He is evil, right? Our plant is spinning through space a gazillion miles per hour and we have weather that kills people so God is evil, right? So much suffering, sooooo much negative things happening, so many evil people who will kill you for the sole reason you are not like them, so God is evil, right?

    WWHHHHYYYYY?

    Why can’t the world’s greatest minds solve the mystery of consciousness?

    Philosophers and scientists have been at war for decades over the question of what makes human beings more than complex robots!

    Why aren’t we just brilliant robots, capable of retaining information, of responding to noises and smells and hot saucepans, but dark inside, lacking an inner life? And how does the brain manage it? How could the 1.4kg lump of moist, pinkish-beige tissue inside your skull give rise to something as mysterious as the experience of being that pinkish-beige lump, and the body to which it is attached?

    Why Is There Anything at All Rather than Nothing Whatsoever?

    why

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    • Hi Roy

      ”God created the universe, AND EVERYTHING THEREIN, for His glory.”

      Thanks for the answer. And no, there was no trick to it. So, you think Yhwh created this physical universe because he wanted to be glorified.

      That’s a fair answer, although it is rather ambiguous. I think many would interpret “for his glory” to mean Yhwh created for reasons of pride and ego, which in-turn would indicate a lack of self-confidence. I suspect you’d disagree with this interpretation, so I’m wondering how you would further define the actual reasons for creation. What does “for his glory” actually mean?

      Again, no trick.

      ”Why Is There Anything at All Rather than Nothing Whatsoever?”

      Matt Rave, physics professor, has a wonderful book on just that, titled: “Why is there Anything?”

      http://www.amazon.com/Why-There-Anything-Matthew-Rave-ebook/dp/B00D21JCTO

      He also a blog, so if you have any questions he might be able to address them directly.

      http://manyworldstheory.com/author/ravemj1/

      Take care, and Merry Christmas.

      Like

      • Thank you! And Merry Christmas to you to my friend…

        Glory as in, I glorify Yhwh; worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving. He has blessed me so much: a beautiful wife who cherishes me, 5 children, 6 grandbabies, a great job that pays more than I need, financial insight to have become financially independent, a charitable and forgiving heart, and a joy that wells up and overwhelms. For me, the meaning of life is to glorify God in everything I do and I pray for more; more love, more joy, more money to give away.

        I don’t think Yhwh does anything because of pride or an inflated ego. I imagine my relationship with God is much like the relationship I have with my children. I want them to love me and come to me for advice and help. I want to be there for them, a rock they can lean on, a thing they can count on no matter what mistake they make or hurt they have. I want the very best for them and I will do whatever it takes. Do I do this because I have a big ego or that I have displace pride? No. I do it out of love.

        “The actual reason for creation?” The Bible gives an answer. He did it for us.

        1) The massive evidence that life cannot arise by chance and that microbes-to-man evolution is impossible clearly favors the biblical picture.

        amazon.com/Genetic-Entropy-John-C-Sanford/dp/0981631606/

        2) There are features of man’s body and mind which are clearly designed for a spiritual purpose, and are far in excess of what is required for mere survival and reproduction.

        creation.com/spiritualized-hominid

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      • Hi Roy.

        Thanks for that. You say some interesting things, some which beg a response, but I’ll refrain as this isn’t an exercise in demonstrating inconsistencies in any particular thesis, be it Zoroastrianism, Judaism, or Jainism. This, however did catch my eye:

        ”I imagine my relationship with God is much like the relationship I have with my children. I want them to love me and come to me for advice and help. I want to be there for them, a rock they can lean on, a thing they can count on no matter what mistake they make or hurt they have.”

        Have you ever considered creating a Hell (a place of eternal torture) for your children, there just in case they don’t love you back in the manner you want them to?

        You don’t have to answer that, as I don’t think the thought has ever entered your head.

        Now, even from your elaboration, it still sounds like you’re saying Yhwh created for reasons of ego and a desire to be venerated by beings (the created) who’ll always be lesser, and never peers. Again, this is a fair answer. There isn’t really any right or wrong here, and creating a cosmos that stretches 430 billion trillion kilometres away from earth in every direction might indeed indicate a mind wishing to impress. A Creator is free to do whatever he likes.

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      • @Leroy

        “Do I do this because I have a big ego or that I have displace pride? No. I do it out of love.”

        Nah, just ego. Stop glorifying yourself and pretending you are holy and doing it unconditionally.

        At the core level, there is no true altruism. Even people who are compelled to be nice to others do it because they make themselves feel good, or rather they may feel bad if they don’t do it. Hence doing good becomes the cure for feeling bad.

        Nobody does good for goodness sake. What is good even?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Your right John, I never thought of that, but there are consequences for my children should they not love, honor, and respect me. I’m not saying they owe me anything, just that our relationship starts from those three things and grows from there.

        You know God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, right? It is folly to expect that you or I can trifle with the Lord Jesus and not have a penalty attached to it. We expect penalties for doing much less. Life is just built that way.

        You jump off a high building, the law of gravity will take care of you. You might say, “God is love,” all the way down, but you’re still going to get splattered when you hit the bottom! You break the law of gravity, and it breaks you! You may love your little child, but if he puts his finger up on that hot burner on the gas stove or the electric stove, he’s going to get burned!

        Fire burns. Gravity kills. Water drowns. And you can say, “God is love, God is love, God is love,” until you’re blue in the face. But water will still drown you, fire will burn you, and gravity will kill you, and sin will damn you no matter how much you say about a loving God.

        God just set up life that way. He set up the rules. He set up the laws by which we are to live. And if we break those laws, they break us, and we pay the consequences.

        Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me. And anyone who does not work with me is working against me.” Matthew 12:30

        ***

        Greetings Powell Powers.

        ‘Good’ means not being self-centered. It means the ability to empathize with other people, to feel compassion for them, and to put their needs before your own. It means, if necessary, sacrificing your own well-being for the sake of others’. It means benevolence, altruism and selflessness, and self-sacrifice towards a greater cause – all qualities which stem from a sense of empathy. It means being able to see beyond the superficial difference of race, gender or nationality and relate to a common human essence beneath them.

        All of the “saintly” people in human history have these qualities in abundance. Think of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, risking their own safety and well-being for the goal of gaining equal rights and freedom for Indians and African Americans.These were human beings with an exceptional degree of empathy and compassion, which overrode any concern for their own ambitions or well-being.

        ‘Evil’ people are those who are unable to empathize with others. As a result, their own needs and desires are of paramount importance. They are selfish, self-absorbed and narcissistic. In fact, other people only have value for them to the extent that they can help them satisfy their own desires, or to which they can exploit them. This applies to dictators like Stalin and Hitler, and to serial killers and rapists – I would argue that their primary characteristics is an inability to empathize with others. They can’t sense other people’s emotions or their suffering, can’t see the world from other people’s perspective, have no sense of their rights. Other human beings are just objects to them, which is what makes their brutality and cruelty possible.

        Most of us lie somewhere between the extremes of Gandhi and Hitler on the spectrum of human behavior.

        Altruism is central to the teachings of Jesus found in the Gospel, especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain.

        In 2006, the National Institutes of Health and other researchers studied the human brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging. They learned that both pure monetary rewards and charitable donations activated the mesolimbic reward pathway, a primitive part of the brain that usually becomes active in response to food and sex.

        pnas.org/content/103/42/15623.abstract

        ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/news_articles/brain_activity_during_altruism.htm

        But when the NIH study volunteers acted altruistically by only making charitable donations, another brain circuit activated: the subgenual cortex in the septal region. These higher-functioning portions of the brain control our human social attachment mechanisms and familial relationships. Their findings surprised the researchers—they learned that altruism, rather than simply a superior, unselfish moral trait in some people, actually forms an important part of every human brain’s hard-wired architecture.

        In other words, we are fundamentally altruistic beings.

        Several recent studies buttress the NIH findings. Even babies, researchers found, have natural altruistic instincts.

        I believe that human beings all have the choice that free will grants us, that is to follow our higher or our lower instincts. If we deny our innate spiritual nature and follow the lower ones, we can descend into a moral abyss. If we follow our higher ones, we can create a love-filled life that makes the best use of our hard-wired altruism, and we can light up the world.

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      • Leroy,

        I think you just proved my point. There is no true altruism, even the action of what we consider as altruism can be explained by the pleasure we derived in other parts of the brain – as you said, family etc

        Re: infant being naturally hardwired for altruism, this is simply a product of evolution that favor altruistic traits as society groups that have better empathy towards each other will likely survive better.

        Anyway regarding good, there is no proper definition of good. The problem is simply explained – if the only mode of reproduction is via torture of another living being, will the act of reproduction be evil?

        Go ask your God who created all the insects and the “evil” reproduction means.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Roy, as to children being altruistic, I generally agree with Powell’s observation, but there is also very strong evidence that children are inherently greedy. See Non-Egalitarian Allocations among Preschool Peers in a Face-to-Face Bargaining Task,
        Alicia P. Melis , Anja Floedl, Michael Tomasello, Published: March 18, 2015

        Abstract

        In face-to-face bargaining tasks human adults almost always agree on an equal split of resources. This is due to mutually recognized fairness and equality norms. Early developmental studies on sharing and equality norms found that egalitarian allocations of resources are not common before children are 5 or 6 years old. However, recent studies have shown that in some face-to face collaborative situations, or when recipients express their desires, children at much younger ages choose equal allocations. We investigated the ability of 3.5 and 5-year-olds to negotiate face-to-face, whether to collaborate to obtain an equal or an unequal distribution of rewards. We hypothesized that the face-to-face interaction and interdependency between partners would facilitate egalitarian outcomes at both ages. In the first experiment we found that 5-year-olds were more egalitarian than 3.5-year-olds, but neither of the age classes shared equally. In the second experiment, in which we increased the magnitude of the inequality, we found that children at both ages mostly agreed on the unequal distribution. These results show that communication and face-to-face interactions are not sufficient to guarantee equal allocations at 3–5 years of age. These results add to previous findings suggesting that in the context of non-collaboratively produced resources it is only after 5 years of age that children use equality norms to allocate resources.

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    • I think you’re expecting too much from science too fast. Give the human race time to figure out the complex things (human mind, make-up of the cosmos and a few other nuggets). The failure to speed up the advance of our awareness & knowledge of all that surrounds us in no way tells us anything significant about creation or the universe or the existence/non-existence of God.

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    • I disagree of course that evolution resulting in all sorts of neurologically complex creatures, including humans is impossible without divine intervention. I don’t think that is what the evidence shows and detect strong biases in what I’ve read on that subject, biases that remind me of the assertions made by climate-change deniers. I also doubt that humans are necessarily built to be spiritual creatures, though that’s possible as an emergent property of our brains as we learn more about that organ. You were making sense there for awhile when you stuck to religion and faith. I think it’s a sensible place to be if you’re going to have faith in God. But you get into trouble when you try to justify your faith by looking to science and the state of human knowledge in general. They are incompatible.

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      • Hello MJF,

        The evidence? Certainly you would agree that our arms will never evolve in a way to allow us to fly. “Anything” can not happen is our reality.

        If we consider the commonly accepted “odds” of life by purposeless chance in the first so-called “simple” cell we are theorizing outside the realms of probability and science as we currently know and understand it. Apart from the unimaginable odds against the first simple cell randomly “gathering” and then precisely “ordering & assembling” its many complex parts, there remains the key “scientific” issues of:
        (i) how the cell hardware could manufacture the DNA software; and (ii) how random non-purposeful, non-intelligent atoms “write and store” complex “information” in the DNA/RNA; and (iii) how “life” came from either the hardware or the software of the cell.

        I am respectfully suggesting that if we wish to ignore these issues and dress them up in scientific terms it seems to me that we have entered the realm of science fantasy where “anything” can then happen. It would seem to me, just to make my point, that given our current scientific knowledge there is as much chance of a 5 legged flying pig being the next head of the UN, as there is of the first living cell by chance, none.

        “Unintelligent blind-chance”; the non-reality of this concept can be demonstrated. Try taking any meaningful set of information as a test base and then implement a series of purely random changes to that information a “letter/code” at a time. I can confidently predict that your experiment will result in a degradation of information, not an information improvement. Talk to any computer programmer or software developer. Whenever there is a “typing error” when entering software code they NEVER end up with a better program. So I humbly suggest that a Blind Chance god-concept is a less scientific theory than an Intelligent Designer god-concept, when attempting to explain the “something from nothing” origins of our created reality.

        You are completely entitled to have blind-faith in a chance-based evolutionary explanation which conflicts with current scientific principles and evidence, and is against the “odds”.

        I understand your uncertainty. The problem with an Intelligent Designer is that it simply begins with the premise that there is already an intelligence and an entity in existence from which everything else springs. Science can not put God in a test tube so He is not real. To unbelievers Intelligent Design answers no questions, since it simply argues that the difficult part was always there. But God has given all of you a way to know Him personally.

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  28. Over the past week or so I’ve sparred with bat shit assertions on Quora regarding an escalating trend toward the quantum physics of God. Prevailing “got you now” fundamentalist winds are blowing quantum physics up God’s ass. Despite polite explanation on my part that belief in God can’t be plonked in the same realm as quantum physics, exhaustive explanation of theoretical physics and logical connection of dots – God still trumps reason because he’s smarter than science. That said, great question. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I can´t remember who but there was a philosopher from the middle age pointed out to God’s creation an act of shedding… All those attributes overflowed somehow…
    Sending love and best wishes. Aquileana. 🙂

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    • Bonum diffusivum sui, goodness spills over. DP proposed that above, but it contradicts with the claim that Yhwh is an aseitic being. Of course, Yahwehists could always backtrack a little and say their Creator spirit is not an omni-being, in which case goodness spilling over might be a reasonable suggestion, but I’m not really holding my breath for that admission any time soon.

      Hope you’re enjoying your summer, my friend… and your new government. Looks like we’re getting a change up here, too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  30. According to Genesis, God made man and then settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it, but don’t disobey the rules of my property that I’ve provided for you. Of course, with your book’s premise, this by your interpretation is a servile relationship, but rather it’s better explained as a parental relationship with mankind. God asks us to honor him in this way.

    Another explanation is simply mankind is a steward for God’s creations, although it could be argued mankind is doing a poor job at it. Of course, one may ask why did God create these creations? Roy mentioned a response above, but a believer only needs to ask and answer a different question, “What is my role?”

    Regardless, if you think theists idiots–like you’ve called me. I think it’s certainly an assertion that you even you could support as I’ve seen you in support of’ Climate Change’.

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    • Hi Phadde

      Thanks for weighing in. This question, though, has nothing to do with the TOOAIN thesis. Your two answers are fine, although the only problem I can see in them being particularly believable is the enormity of Creation: 430 billion trillion kilometers away from earth in every direction. Steward of what, a dust mote on a dust mote on a dust mote? Still, there’s no right or wrong answer here, just varying degrees of plausibility, and your suggestion is plausible.

      I would ask though, why would the Creator require a steward, albeit one on a dust mote? Having a job is fine, but for what purpose does this serve?

      I’ve called you an idiot? Really? That doesn’t sound like something I would say, publicly. You remember the context?

      Like

      • Pope Francis addressed some of your concerns in his newest encyclical Laudato Si. In accordance to why?

        He writes, “The Bible teaches that every man and woman is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26). This shows us the immense dignity of each person, “who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons…We were conceived in the heart of God, and for this reason “each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.

        The reason for the relationship today:

        66. The creation accounts in the book of Genesis contain, in their own symbolic and narrative language, profound teachings about human existence and its historical reality. They suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself. According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. This rupture is sin. The harmony between the Creator, humanity and creation as a whole was disrupted by our presuming to take the place of God and refusing to acknowledge our creaturely limitations…

        On one of your other thoughts, on the scope of the size of this creation. Is there an answer? If not, than asking would be a lot like a dog chasing its own tail.

        OH and your last concern:

        We disagreed on the meaning of Exodus 12:37, the meaning of the numbers, and if it really stated how many ventured from Sukkoth across the sea. My position to remind you was that it only stated the number that left from Ramses to Sukkoth, not the number that travel across the sea. It was important because I debating with Ark about the settlement patterns of smaller group of Levites, which would dismissed your claim that it was claiming that 2.5 million had immigrated into the region.

        In return, you called me an idiot, although Praetori edited the comment. It now reads:

        LOL!! Classic… Exodus says, quite clearly, what the number was, but all of the sudden the bible must be wrong! Brilliant.[Deleted: gratuitous insult].

        My position was that it doesn’t state how many specifically crossed the sea in the particular Red Sea passage in Exodus 14.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ”We were conceived in the heart of God, and for this reason “each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”

        Fine, but necessary for what, exactly?

        You’re not actually addressing the heart of the question, Phadde. Why did (your) God create this physical universe? What purpose does this contrivance (this complexity machine) serve?

        “On one of your other thoughts, on the scope of the size of this creation. Is there an answer? If not, than asking would be a lot like a dog chasing its own tail.”

        Sorry, but I have no idea what you’re trying to say here. Why would there not be an answer?

        Consider this, Phadde: The human mind is grown inside a 0.0013 cubic meters crystalline calcium phosphate box on the 149 million km2 rocky surface of a 510 million km2 planet that is falling in a straight line over curved space at 108,000 kilometres per hour inside the gravity well of a 6 trillion km2 star on a 250 million year sojourn around the centre of a galaxy containing some 400 billion stars and trillions of planets and moons. The immediate solar system appears to end at the Kuiper Belt, its outer edge a mind-stunning 7 billion kilometres away, yet the outermost reach of the Heliosphere is still another 5 billion kilometres further out. The furthest object, however, within the Sun’s gravity well, Sedna, marks the solar system’s diameter to in fact be a sense-jarring 287 billion kilometres in length. The solar system though is tiny, wrapped inside the 142 trillion kilometres wide Local Interstellar Cloud which is in turn nestled within the Local Bubble that stretches to an intellectually absurd 8,000 trillion kilometres in length. The Local Bubble is however clothed inside the 28,000 trillion kilometres across Gould Belt, which is housed within the Orion-Cygnus arm measuring a bewildering 94,800 trillion kilometres in length. That is the human minds immediate neighbourhood; a postal address in a medium-sized, 950,000 trillion kilometre diameter galaxy that is falling through space at 3.5 million kilometres per hour toward a colossally proportioned object—the so-named Great Attractor—located some 2 billion trillion kilometres away, that is itself hurtling even faster toward the eminently more massive, sense-wrecking Shapley Supercluster four-times further out. The Milky Way galaxy is however enclosed inside a 26 million trillion kilometres across bubble with 25 sister galaxies, itself encased inside the Local Group with some 54 galaxies and stretching some 93 million trillion kilometres. This parish of galaxies is located inside the Local Sheet measuring 216 million trillion kilometres from end to end; an incomprehensible size, yet an almost invisible wispy node perched inside the 1 billion trillion kilometres in length Virgo Supercluster. Home to over 100 galaxy groups and more than a million galaxies, the Virgo Supercluster is however but a smoky wart within the unfathomably proportioned Pisces–Cetus Supercluster Complex at 9.3 billion trillion kilometres from end to end, boasting thousands of galaxy groups and billions of individual galaxies. As ungraspable as the Pisces–Cetus Supercluster Complex is, it is but a single thin filament—a dirty blotch—in the web that makes the observable universe: a flat, ruthlessly cold sheet whose edge lies a thought-haemorrhaging 430 billion trillion kilometres away from earth in every direction.

        Why, Phadde, did (your) God conceive of such a thing if it was all created just for us to be stewards of a mote on a mote on a mote on a mote on a mote that was not even designed for human/mammalian needs?

        About calling you an idiot… yes, I remember now. And you were most certainly behaving as one. Indeed, by the fact alone that I called you (or anyone for that matter) an idiot publicly displays just how much of a colossal idiot you were, in fact, being. I generally would never do that, so you can be assured that you were, from every possible survey and vantage, being an idiot.

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      • Again, I did answer your question or Pope Francis did so. it’s just not the answer you’re looking for at this moment, John. The answer to the question satisfies me, but yourself, being a disciple of positivism you feel it lacks your qualifications for an answer.

        For Instance, if a child asks his parents why they decided to have children. John you’d probably need biological explanation and perhaps the story of the birds and the bees.

        However, if they said, we had you out of our love for each other and we wanted to share the life we made with someone in our image, which is basically the answer Pope Francis gives, is this not answer? Well, it’s certainly not a positivists answer, it relies on a mystery of faith, something I am sure you’re not comfortable with believing.

        But is it possible for man to know extrasensory truths or trans-empirical? Mankind does know color, tones, and forms and objects globally…

        So you threw a bunch of measurements at me wanting God to explain the size and proportions of his creations as if it were piece of pie. God wouldn’t need to reveal this plan to man.. Notwithstanding, why is mankind so small in comparison to the large Universe? Again, as I’ve said seeing that Roy has already answered that he created the universe for His glory.

        I believe Christ explains a bit of man’s tiny job on his tiny mote in accordance to Kingdom of God in his parables:

        Mt. 13: 31-33

        31 Another parable he put before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

        33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

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      • No, you didn’t answer. You simply said “we are necessary.” Necessary for what, Phadde? What does (your) God get out of us? Why create this physical contrivance when it really didn’t need to be created?

        “Again, as I’ve said seeing that Roy has already answered that he created the universe for His glory.”

        Now that is a real answer. To me it indicates ego, arrogance, pride, and self-love, which are not attributes I find attractive, but an answer it is, nonetheless. It works.

        “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”

        All well and good, but that doesn’t explain why (your) God created this physical universe… if the goal is to end up in heaven. To me, that indicates this place is a test. Now, that’s also a fair answer, but I somehow doubt you are prepared to say (your) God created this universe to torture and test contingent things. That would, of course, be a pretty cruel thing to do.

        Anyway, thanks for weighing in. I appreciate it.

        Like

      • Of Course this your metaphysical interpretations of the account. I gave a similar styled answer or the the Pope did but it saw God in the positive light and man dooming himself, something you cannot accept.

        Of Course, the Pope answered your objections, but you claimed he didn’t give your an answer or your wouldn’t accept it, even though everyone is suppose to accept this answer:

        “but I somehow doubt you are prepared to say (your) God created this universe to torture and test contingent things. That would, of course, be a pretty cruel thing to do”

        You’re right, I won’t say that because I quoted the Pope saying, “that human life was intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor, and with the earth itself. (But) According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. The rupture is sin.

        This all harkens back to Augustinian philosophy of Original Sin. Augustine explains that every creation God has made is good and evil enters into the world because of mankind.

        For instance, I read someone attempting sarcasm up above with the ole’ look at the all the Children starving; however, instead of just looking at the unfortunate souls what can be done? Evil has entered the world through mankind and for starters man can pray more to repair this disconnection.

        However, John, I don’t take you as the praying type, you need more action. Perhaps humanity should demand the end of greed in corporatism so that mankind can share resources to help those souls. I donate money all the time, perhaps I should examine my conscience and donate even more.

        Instead of looking up in the clouds and saying, “Why God!? or “How could you!?” As a steward, I say what can I do to help.

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      • First up, the earth was not created for man. It was only after the Great Oxygen Catastrophe 2 billion years ago did it even start to become welcoming for complex life. That’s just a fact.

        “that human life was intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor, and with the earth itself. (But) According to the Bible, these three vital relationships have been broken, both outwardly and within us. The rupture is sin.

        Phadde, I’m not interested in the original sin excuse. The problem of evil has nothing at all to do with why (your) God created this enormous contrivance in the first place, when, as I have stated, it didn’t need to be created. Let’s repeat that: (your) God didn’t need to create this machine, the universe, but it did. The question is, why?

        Now, the one answer you, and others, have proffered is certainly plausible: for his glory. (your) God wanted to be admired, to be loved, and be awed at. That’s fair enough. The desire for fame and admiration inspires many humans, too.

        I think that’s the best answer I’m going to get, so again, thanks for weighing in.

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      • ‘First up…’ So what. All that tells anyone is how, not if there is a who and certainly not the why.

        Yes, you gave an example of an empiricist’s explanation: “It was only after the Great Oxygen Catastrophe 2 billion years ago did it even start to become welcoming for complex life.”

        However, again what that means in relationship to man is just a metaphysical interpretation of what those facts mean.

        Regardless, Pope Francis in his encyclical, perhaps I didn’t quote this part but it was implied through the steward statement, writes, “The earth was here before us, and it has been given to us.” In this regard, there wouldn’t even be an argument.

        But thanks for sharing your personal interpretations, always interesting to see the twists!

        See you around John!

        Liked by 1 person

      • The only thing I don’t understand is this – why are theists against the notion of climate change? On the other hand liberals tend to believe in climate change more often than not?

        I don’t mean to derail this discussion but this is the trend that I see.

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      • John, your trying to find understanding to my answer purely from a non-Christian human understanding and response.

        God’s major and supreme reason in demanding glory and praise from us goes far beyond His needs; it is because it is spiritually developing for us to praise Him. Praising God, whether through singing great and inspiring hymns or by reading the words of the Holy Bible, moves us forwards spiritually. That is: The Holy Spirit within every true Christian seems to be energized and re-connected whenever we praise our Maker. We become more like Christ and, indeed, the act of praise and worship refreshes our understanding that becoming more like Christ is what the life-journey of the true believer is largely all about, this coupled with our willingness to provide a Christian witness wherever we are able.

        As far as the reason for the extreme vastness of the Universe it seems the whole of it is necessary for us to have a viable place to live.

        The vastness of the heavens highlights how insignificant humans are apart from God’s concern for us. The primary lesson that Job learned through his experience was that we are in no position to critique God’s actions over His creation. God’s creation is so vast that any significance we have comes solely from God’s choice to be concerned with us. Job stated it this way: “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?” (Job 40:4)

        Our Creator understands the universe from one end to the other and from the beginning of time to its end. As humans, we are just beginning to probe its mysteries. So, God reminds us, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

        The current state of scientific knowledge points to three reasons why the universe must occupy the mass and volume that it does in order for advanced carbon based life to exist on this planet.

        1. The exact mass of the universe was necessary for life supporting elements to exist.

        2. The exact mass of the universe was required to regulate the expansion of the universe to allow the formation of our sun and the solar system.

        3. The vast volume of the universe is required to give the earth just the right amount of light and other electromagnetic radiation to support life and not destroy it. Hugh Ross, Why The Universe Is The Way It Is (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008)

        “Our solar system holds a special position in the Milky Way . . . the one distance from the core where stars orbit the galaxy at the same rate as its spiral arm structure does.” pg 66

        ***
        The data clearly indicates global warming is happening and is human caused. At this time in the natural cycle Earth should be slightly cooling on trend, leading into what would have been the next ice age. Instead Earth is warming. There is no valid evidence that can prove otherwise. False representations or facts out of context are not a proof of any kind, they are merely incorrect.

        Like

      • Roy, you are merely repeating what you have already said. (your) God created this physical contrivance so it could be awed at (or punished severely) by beings that would always be inferior. As I said earlier, this is a valid answer, and if you feel comfortable with it, then good for you.

        To your other points.

        The Book of Job is Jewish humour. Read it as such.

        1. The exact mass of the universe was necessary for life supporting elements to exist.

        This is a meaningless statement, as the chance of this universe having the mass it does is exactly 1 in 1. You see, you do not have you another universe to compare ours to, so absolutely no statement can be made about this universe. As Douglas Adams’ put it, it’s like a puddle being tremendously impressed that the hole it found itself in appeared so beautifully designed (made) just for it.

        2. The exact mass of the universe was required to regulate the expansion of the universe to allow the formation of our sun and the solar system.

        Actually, this universe is better designed for the production of black holes, not planets.

        3. The vast volume of the universe is required to give the earth just the right amount of light and other electromagnetic radiation to support life and not destroy it. Hugh Ross, Why The Universe Is The Way It Is (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2008)

        Really? And how many other life-bearing planets in the universe did Ross study to arrive at this conclusion? And what type of life is Ross referring to, mammalian? The majority of the earth’s history has been completely inhospitable to mammalian life. And this does not explain the 12.9 billion years that existed before conditions here, on this dust mote, began to enable more complex life.

        Here, Roy, I hope you enjoy this. It’s marvelous beyond measure.

        Like

    • John you are almost there…almost.

      So you believe what I say, “(your) God created this physical contrivance so it could be awed at (or punished severely) by beings that would always be inferior”.

      In reality, Our God created the physical universe to show His glory so that we will know He is our supreme Creator who loves us beyond measure.

      Notice above there are two somewhat exact sentences with a different objectivity. The first sentence comes from a wounded unforgiving soul, and the second from a soul who has been claimed by God.

      I fear you will never get to where I am John. Although I pray for you I sense that all that He has is not for you. I’m sorry for that. But I also sense that even though my words fall on your deaf ears there are others reading that my hear, the silent ones,.I pray for you too.

      Like

      • “So you believe what I say, “(your) God created this…”

        Um, no, not at all. I was paraphrasing your suggestion. But as I’ve repeatedly said, there is no right or wrong answer, just variations of plausibility. Your suggestion (to be admired) is plausible, but I, personally, find it unconvincing on many fronts, not least of all, the inferred egotistical side of it. Do remember, if we posit a Creator, then we must also start from the assumption that this contrivance did not need to be created. That fact casts the whole act of creation (a deliberate act) in a very specific light… especially when we consider the act in itself ruined what was, presumably (according to Christians at least), already perfect.

        Still, I’m not here to argue against your suggestions, just to lightly critique them where the plausibility is pushed a little too far.

        Like

      • I appreciate you John. Your “light critique” pushes me to delve deeper into why I believe what I believe, leaving out my personal witness.

        My simple definition of plausibility would be “the likelihood that a premise is true.”

        The mantra “Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence” expresses the skeptic’s concept of the “plausibility of Creator” in a qualitative way. Meaning the quality of mine, and others, “suggestions”, are not plausible enough to convince you.

        In studying “plausibility” I’ve learned a few thing. For instance, how plausible is it that we get life from non-life and dinosaurs evolved then in an assumed major climate event killed them all off except a few. It killed off all the ferocious sea creatures but left the small fish, and sharks and alligators. It killed off all the large mammals and reptiles by destroying their food source but left smaller reptiles and smaller mammals and us, but then we need to eat too.

        A great implausible event unfolds in the Bible, in the 20th Chapter of John.

        When told by the other Apostles that they have seen Jesus, after His crucifixion and resurrection, Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

        In Thomas’s mind it was highly implausible the other Apostles saw Jesus.

        Days later Jesus returns to the Apostles and says to Thomas, “Put your finger here, see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

        Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

        Jesus here approves the faith of Thomas, but more highly commends the faith of those who should believe without having seen.

        I’ve come to realize that the problem in “suggesting” God’s existence lies not with the arguments but with the nature of belief itself. Belief in God, like almost all beliefs, can be rationally avoided. Skeptics can always find reasons, however implausible they may, or may not be, for refusing to concede that God exists.

        Everything that we believe is filtered through our plausibility structures, belief forming apparatus that acts as a gatekeeper, letting in evidence that is matched against what we already consider to be possible. Plausibility structures filter out claims that we believe cannot be reasonable or potentially true. They don’t necessarily tell us if a claim is true, only that the truth of the claim appears plausible enough for us to accept and that we are not wholly unwarranted in thinking it could be true. Whether we are gullible or skeptical, the beliefs we accumulate are those that have been filtered through plausibility structures at the individual and cultural level. These eventually form our worldview, which itself becomes a broad strainer that filters out beliefs that we won’t even consider to be possibly true.

        Plausibility structures can prevent us from forming beliefs that are inconsistent with experience and evidence. But they can also have a negative impact, preventing us from forming true beliefs about reality. This appears to be the case within a broad segment of modern science. By accepting a plausibility structure that is limited to purely naturalistic explanations, many in the scientific community have imposed self-limiting and irrational criteria for explaining reality. The same is true for the small segment of atheists who truly believe that it is implausible that God exists.

        Oddly enough, while atheism is a minority view and has been so throughout the history of the world, it is assumed that pluralism requires that we adopt it as the default plausibility structure for almost all areas of human culture. Everything from science and education to politics and public policy is assumed to begin with the assumption that either God does not exist or that his existence is irrelevant. This idea that soft atheism is the neutral ground from which all sectarian matters must be addressed is patently absurd. Not only does this claim fail to recognize that atheism is not religiously neutral, it fails to acknowledge that atheism is quite implausible.

        How can we have a creation without a creator? How can we have evolution without an origin? When relying solely on naturalistic methods and understandings, we are confined to certain explanatory limits. The most daunting barrier to a purely naturalistic worldview is the fact that nothing exists in the physical realm without being organically produced somehow. The atheist’s house of cards falls at it’s very foundation. In the case of naturalistic theories, the origin (as well as many other crucial aspects of their natural/existential explanations) can never be accounted for, thus making the exclusion of the unnatural, or supernatural, not only irrational but implausible. Why embrace mathematical impossibilities and disregard evidence that runs contrary to naturalism? Such intellectual dishonesty is highly deceptive and irresponsible.

        For the atheist, man’s propensity to seek ‘love’ and ‘fulfillment’ are arbitrarily acquired emotional constructs. The atheist must advocate something along these lines: that man’s natural desire for comfort, companionship, and self-worth are mere instincts that have evolved as man has undergone a certain level of civilization and sophistication through the centuries. But this flies in the face of our ability to think and theorize in the first place. Man’s capacity to reason is often ignored or excluded from the realm of objective inquiry. As a result, some of the most essential questions of all fall prey to a biased and ideological type of circular reasoning.

        The naturalist relies on the ‘god of nature’ to produce a perfect blending of elements, materials, and conditions required to generate and sustain life over time. While morality and individual rights are altered, extended, and rewritten based on the whims and demands of these ‘material beings.’ The most ironic part of the atheistic perspective is ‘humanity’ putting ‘faith’ in his own unexplained, relativistic capacity to establish meaningful societal constructs in a world that is ultimately meaningless. Inconceivably, this ‘humanity’ is believed to be a ‘by-product’ of the blind evolution and progression of mindless organisms.

        Source credit:

        rsc.byu.edu/archived/historicity-and-latter-day-saint-scriptures/3-historical-plausibility-historicity-book

        krusekronicle.typepad.com/kruse_kronicle/2007/10/household-plaus.html#.Vn4JPbYrJYA

        lep.utm.edu/religion/

        westernjournalism.com/the-absurdity-of-atheism-2/

        thegospelcoalition.org/article/apologetics-and-the-role-of-plausibility-structures

        bethinking.org/does-god-exist/is-there-no-god

        Like

      • Why is an extinction event implausible? We know of over 10,000 planet wrecking Near Earth Objects in dangerous orbits. With this number, bolide impacts are guaranteed. Indeed, there have been five major events, and twelve lesser ones… and there will be another. Evolution is not remarkable. Quite the opposite: it’s simplicity is its genius. As for life, the interplay of chemistry and the production of microbial life is factually unremarkable. Give any chemically rich system enough time, with enough free energy, and something unusual, but ultimately predictable, will eventually occur. Roy, on no less than 24 separate occasions the earth has witnessed the simplest of single-celled life leap from its primal state to that of multi-cellular activity, marking this transition to organic complexity as something fundamentally pedestrian, if not entirely unavoidable.

        Trying to conflate these entirely natural processes with full bodily resurrection is just a little silly, don’t you think?

        Like

  31. ” If all things (the past, the present, and the future) are contained within a maximally powerful being, the Catalogue of Catalogues who existed in a state of perfection, then why did it consciously create the physical universe? What possible purpose does this machine, this contrivance, serve? ”

    The only possible purpose for this physical universe is for us to live in. The real question is why would a perfect being have created imperfect beings like us. The answer lies in why do such fragile beings cling to existence so desperately? We all obviously believe that our lives are worth it. We fight for every second of existence, even while knowing that one day we must lost that fight.

    This imperfect existence is a testing ground for souls. Souls are put into every human being. When the soul leaves life is over. While within the imperfect human being the soul is given this irresistible desire to live at all costs. This is part of the testing. With out it there would be no testing. The soul being immortal can only be tested by the struggles of a mortal life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Allan

      Thanks for that. So, you’re suggesting this contrivance was created to torture souls, to test them, and then rank them by their performance. That’s certainly plausible if we are to take just the last 100,000 years. How would you, however, explain the remaining 13.82 billion years this contrivance has been in existence? Also, wouldn’t you consider this test a little cruel, especially considering no soul was asked first if they wanted to participate, or not?

      Still, despite some questions, it’s certainly a valid answer. Thanks.

      Like

      • John,

        I do not have all of the answers. I merely sought to give a plausible answer. When you wrote possible, I read plausible. Now for the plausibility to be true, you must accept the existence of a soul. I take it that you reject that existence?

        You use the word torture. Yes the test can be torture, but I reject the purpose of the test is to torture. A person who has been tested under fire is generally thought more capable, more worthy than one who has not. Call it experience. Humans listen to and value the company of others who have been through things.

        Logically the souls who have suffered the most as humans and held on to their beliefs would have to be the most worthy. Jesus and the Martyrs of the early Christian Church are the examples that come to mind.

        As far as explaining the excess 13.82 Billion years of existence, I can come up with an answer. I am not happy with it, it is plausible and that is as good as I can do. Time is merely another part of the physical universe. God created time when he created everything else. It only has relevance in connection with this existence. In an after life of souls and God there is no time. To God 13.82 Billion years of a lifeless universe filled with spinning galaxies and exploding super novas is nothing more than the mechanism he chose to get us to the last 100,000 years. Admittedly very inefficient. Again I know it is rather a simplified answer, cheap if you will.

        I’d like to get back to ” no soul was asked first if they wanted to participate, or not? ” That is not the question bothering me and it does bother me. I struggle with, why doesn’t every soul get the same test?

        Liked by 1 person

      • “why doesn’t every soul get the same test?

        Maybe the Buddhists had it right all the time 😉

        And I agree with you that time is meaningless to a maximally powerful being. So, yes, it is certainly plausible. Can’t rush a good risotto, after all, can you?

        Like

    • Buddhists are atheists, regarding the existence of the gods, but whereas atheism is content-free, Buddhism teaches a path along which souls travel, and this seems to answer your perfectly valid, quite pertinent question: “why doesn’t every soul get the same test?”

      Like

      • I can’t get a set answer about whether Buddhists believe in a soul. My reading on the matter is unclear. The middle way just confuses me.

        Like

  32. Pingback: Question from John Zande: “Don’t you like to have been given life? “ | paarsurrey

  33. This man called Sivananda, yoga guru, died some 60 years back, recently his followers have retouched his pictures with an aura behind his head, how classic is that!

    Like

      • Not sure if you’ve heard of this before: Philippine Creation Myth

        In the beginning, the great god Kabunian decided that he was lonely. He came up with the idea of shaping a man out of clay that he could bring to life and talk to. He would then be able to put man in charge of the other beings on the Earth every now and then. He decided that he would make the clay man look like himself.

        He took some clay from the Earth, molded it into the shape of a man, and then placed it inside his oven. While he waited for the clay man to solidify, he toured the Earth and amused himself, but alas, Kabunian lost all track of time.

        When he remembered that he had left something in the oven longer than was ought, his first clay man was all burnt already. It was black as coal all over and its hair curled tightly from the heat. Kabunian thought it a grand creation anyway, and therefore breathed life into it. But it was not yet the kind of man he wanted at the start.

        So, Kabunian, decided to give it another try. He placed his second clay man into the oven. But this time, Kabunian became so eager to see what would come out, and he brought the clay man out while it was not yet fully baked. The second clay man was so pale that now we would call it raw, but it was solid enough. Kabunian liked it well, and he then breathed life into it. But, it was still not yet the kind of man he wanted at the start.

        At his third and final try, Kabunian resolved to be careful. He guarded the time while his third clay man baked to perfection. When his clay man was finally drawn from the oven it was a perfect brown, its hair was straight and dark, and there was laughter in its cheeks. Kabunian loved this third clay man, and happily breathed life into it.

        But in the end Kabunian came to love the three Races of Man equally. He began to encourage the three Races to get along – for the truth is they had all come from the same clay, and are therefore brothers.

        source: http://www.bakitwhy.com/articles/ancient-philippine-creation-myth-legend-three-races

        Liked by 1 person

  34. Pingback: On the Goodness of the Material World | Truth and Tolerance

  35. Even if we had the ability to communicate it to him, do you think your dog has the capacity to understand the reason we built a school or the Capitol? Does this fact, make him any less prone to worship you?

    Like

      • Indeed, you are correct and so is your metaphor. It seems as if the father/son relationship presented in the bible might be better if it were a owner/dog sort of thing. Such a religion, however, might have a tough time gaining followers, eh? Wouldn’t take into account to ego of the devout.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, actually, if we had the capacity to communicate with him. Certainly. And as the theist (you being a Yahwehist) believes your particular Middle Eastern god can communicate (and has communicated) with us, then it’s only reasonable to assume the reasons why it created this physical contrivance could be understood.

      Like

      • I disagree. We CAN communicate with them but they do not even have the capacity to understand the concept of time, let alone government. Try mathematics.

        You have a real problem with accepting the error of your arguments, you know.

        Why do you attempt to label me? You know nothing about me.

        Like

      • True, I don’t. Are you a Yahwehist?

        And you said, if we had the ability to communicate with him. Please don’t go and shift the goal posts now to suit your needs. The point stands: theists believe their gods can and do communicate with them. Yhwh even writes physical words, twice in the bible.

        Like

      • I can’t say I have ever identified myself as a Yahwehist. Further I certainly do not believe the bible is the unadulterated word of the creator.

        I moved no goal posts. Your dog can not conceive of something as simple as time nor 2+2=4 and you think you could explain a public school system to him? You think you have the capacity to comprehend the motivation of a god that created our universe? Just like your last post. Your hubris is astounding.

        Like

      • Well, do you believe in the Middle Eastern god, Yhwh, or not?

        And you most certainly did move the goal posts. You said, quite clearly, if we could communicate. This implies full “communication.”. You then danced back your statement by adding subtext, stating this communication would not include the capacity for abstract thought. That, Troll, is moving the goal posts.

        But to the larger part of your point. The entire foundation of the Abrahamic faiths is the steadfast belief that Yhwh could, and has communicated, without ambiguity. Like I said, he even writes in human words, twice! So, if the creator you are positing is the Middle Eastern god, Yhwh, then your metaphor is absurd in the first instance, because the message that is presented is that this particular god can most certainly communicate with humans.

        Now, to the question presented: why do you think Yhwh created this physical contrivance? There is no right or wrong answer, just varying degrees of plausibility.

        Like

  36. “Well, do you believe in the Middle Eastern god, Yhwh, or not?”

    I doubt the creator of the universe identifies himself as Middle Eastern. The creator may very well accurately be described as “I am what I will be” or any one if the many variations I have read. I really don’t know nor do I believe does any other human being.

    I did not move any goal posts. My analogy was plain and simply. I am sorry you were incapable of understanding it – perhaps intentionally. Nevertheless, my metaphor stands. In fact, we are likely far lower on the scale than are our dogs to us when compared to the creator. We will never be able to comprehend his motivations.

    “But to the larger part of your point. The entire foundation of the Abrahamic faiths is the steadfast belief that Yhwh could, and has communicated, without ambiguity.”

    Now it is YOU who moves goal posts. Nothing in your post in any way refers to Yhwh.

    “Now, to the question presented: why do you think Yhwh created this physical contrivance?”

    I never said anything about Yhwh. But why should I care. Do our dogs attempt to understand why we build schools. It is simply not our place to know. You could never conceive correctly. I know that idea hurts your ego. Do try to accept it, however.

    Like

    • Well, yes, it is a Middle Eastern god, Yhwh. Temporally speaking, the god of the Pentateuch is entirely absent from all but the last 1.25% of human history, and even after its literary debut in the 6th Century BCE failed to register as anything other than a minor Middle Eastern artistic anomaly envisaged by no other culture on the planet. It didn’t materialise independently in mainland Europe, emerge unassisted on the British Isles, or rouse a single word across the entire Far East. It inspired no one in any of the 30,000 islands of the South Pacific, energised nothing across the African continent, stirred naught in North America, and didn’t move anything or anyone in Central or South America. No one across the vast Indian Great Plains or Russian steppes ever heard of it. No Azorean fisherman suddenly spoke of it, no Scandinavian shipwright carved its name in a stone, no Japanese mother ever thought she’d heard it speak in whispered tones, and no Australian aborigine ever dreamed of it. Outside the pages of the bible there is positively nothing in the natural or anthropological landscape which might even remotely lead a person blissfully ignorant of the claims made in bible to suspect that that particular Middle Eastern god has ever inspired anything except the imaginations of a few linguistically specific Iron Age Canaanite hill tribes looking to add a little supernatural spice to their otherwise perfectly terrestrial lives.

      ”Nevertheless, my metaphor stands.”

      No, your metaphor does not stand. Your metaphor is absurd. Do you ever write notes for your dog? Do you then tell that dog to copy those notes and pass them on to his puppies? Do you expect thousands of generations later the decedents of those puppies to then translate those notes into other languages?

      Now it is YOU who moves goal posts. Nothing in your post in any way refers to Yhwh.

      Merely using Yhwh as an example as I’m assuming you believe in Yhwh. Do you, or don’t you? Is that such a hard question to answer for you? What are you afraid of? Just tell me: Yes, or No?

      “Do try to accept it, however.”

      Um, how does “No” sound? Is no good for you? You see, Troll, you’re purposely ignoring the point here that your god, Yhwh (yes, your god until you tell me otherwise) communicated to humans (so the story goes). Your god, Troll, wants to communicate with humans. Your god, Troll, even writes (physically writes) in human language, using human words. Your god, Troll, even popped down for a sojourn, allegedly, in the guise of a human being who spent three years wondering around talking about all sorts of things, even abstract notions, like heaven.

      So, the question stands. Now, as I said, there’s no right or wrong answer, just variations in plausibility. So, Troll, why do you think your god created this physical contrivance? What purpose does it (this machine) serve?

      Liked by 1 person

      • John, I want to “like” your last comment, but I’ve found the only way I can do that is through the reader. I tried scrolling back to this particular post, but it’s too far back.

        I think under Settings/Discussion, there is a box that gives you the option to include a “like” box on your postings.

        Anyway, I definitely LIKED this last comment of yours.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Awww c’mon, John! If you can use words the way you do and write amazing books, surely you can go into the bowels of WP and make this tiny change! I have confidence in you so go forth and conquer!

        Liked by 1 person

      • If there is no way to “like” a post, then obviously you wouldn’t get an email. So it seems logical that if you check that box, the “like” option will be added. Yes? Guess all you can do it try. ;-).

        Like

      • You are confusing (intentionally, I believe but you might just be dense) the creator and a common belief system that invokes the creator (Middle Eastern Yhwh-centric religions). I have already told you I do not believe that their bible is the unadulterated word of the creator but that does not mean that these religions were originally inspired by the true creator of the universe. I have no way of knowing.

        But my metaphor applies to the creator and our relationship with it as does your post. It has nothing to do with Middle Eastern religions much as you wish to move your goal posts to make it about them. My metaphor stands – your post says nothing about Yhwh or writings or middle eastern mythologies. So sorry. Do try to keep it together.

        Like

      • Troll, your metaphor does not stand… although you are living up to your Avatar’s namesake.

        Let’s just forget that you first said “if we had the ability to communicate it to him.” This (the “if”) implies a level of communication above and beyond that which we already enjoy with our dogs. Like a typical apologist, you then moved the goal posts. But like I said, let’s ignore your shiftiness here. Your metaphor is absurd in the first instance because, as I asked you, do you write notes to your dog? Do you dictate ideas to him? Do you then urge him to write these ideas and apparent truths down? Do you then encourage your dog to pass those words onto future generations, demanding he even translate those ideas and truths in other languages hundreds of generations down the line?

        Let me answer that for you. No, you do not. Hence, the absurdity of your (fluidly defined) metaphor is revealed.

        Now, let me get this straight. By your convoluted, bashful explanation, I’m guessing you are a deist who simultaneously believes Yhwh, Ahura-Mazda, Olódùmarè, and every other creator spirit is, in fact, one being. Fine. If you believe that, Troll, then you also believe Yhwh, Ahura-Mazda, Olódùmarè, and every other creator spirit has communicated with humans, in words and concepts which humans understand. If they didn’t, Troll, we wouldn’t have doctrinal, scripture-based religions, would we? So, you see, Troll, the only point you’re actually making here is that you are, in fact, a Troll… and a boring one at that.

        Now, if you, however, don’t believe the creator (the creator you believe in) has ever communicated with humans, and the bible, for example, is utter nonsense from beginning to end, then say so…. Say so, so we know where you’re coming from.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Now, let me get this straight. By your convoluted, bashful explanation, I’m guessing you are a deist who simultaneously believes Yhwh, Ahura-Mazda, Olódùmarè, and every other creator spirit is, in fact, one being.”

        Please stop trying to tell me what I believe. What I believe has nothing to do with the serious flaws in your posts. You know, the idea that you have the ability to understand the motivations of the creator or the universe. You don’t, period.

        “Fine. If you believe that, Troll, then you also believe Yhwh, Ahura-Mazda, Olódùmarè, and every other creator spirit has communicated with humans, in words and concepts which humans understand.”

        Do we or do we not communicate with dogs in words and concepts that they understand? Does this mean they understand math, time, or why we build schools? No, of course not.

        “If they didn’t, Troll, we wouldn’t have doctrinal, scripture-based religions, would we?”

        The existence of a creator does not mean that world religions are accurate or correct. Go back to your post (before you moved your goal posts). You asked about the motivations of the creator. You said nothing about the accuracy of world religions. My answer to your post (which you are too intentionally obtuse to get) is you can’t understand the motivations of the creator. Plain and simple.

        Like

      • “Please stop trying to tell me what I believe.”

        I would if you just told me what you actually believe, rather than making me guess. So, do you, yes or no, believe in the Middle Eastern god, Yhwh? Do you, yes or no, believe the bible is truthful, or pure nonsense?

        “What I believe has nothing to do with the serious flaws in your posts.”

        Flaws? What flaws? Is asking believers what they believe flawed? Odd…

        You know, the idea that you have the ability to understand the motivations of the creator or the universe.

        Errrum, am I telling, or asking? Think about that one for a second, Troll.

        “Do we or do we not communicate with dogs in words and concepts that they understand? Does this mean they understand math, time, or why we build schools? No, of course not.”

        And Yhwh giving Noah detailed schematics for the Ark he was to build was what, exactly?

        “My answer to your post (which you are too intentionally obtuse to get) is you can’t understand the motivations of the creator. Plain and simple”

        Great! There’s your particular answer. Most theists, of course, disagree with you, but thank you. That’s all I was asking.

        Bye.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Troll, you wrote: “What I believe has nothing to do with the serious flaws in your posts. You know, the idea that you have the ability to understand the motivations of the creator or the universe. You don’t, period.”

        Are you implying that YOU have the ability to understand?

        Liked by 1 person

      • “So, do you, yes or no, believe in the Middle Eastern god, Yhwh? Do you, yes or no, believe the bible is truthful, or pure nonsense?”

        I have no way of knowing if the creator I believe in is the same creator that inspired Middle Eastern religions. I told you what I thought about the bible. In case you missed it, it is not, IMO, the unadulterated word of god. That does not mean there are no truths in it or it is nonsense. Our challenge is one of discernment.

        “You know, the idea that you have the ability to understand the motivations of the creator or the universe.

        Errrum, am I telling, or asking? Think about that one for a second, Troll.”

        You are asking people to tell you what they think about something they could not possibly understand. The premise of your question is flawed.

        “And Yhwh giving Noah detailed schematics for the Ark he was to build was what, exactly?”

        Which would be the equivalent of us saying “Stay, Spot!”

        “Great! There’s your particular answer. Most theists, of course, disagree with you, but thank you. That’s all I was asking.”

        I disagree. One is taught to blindly trust God, to not test God, and to not question the motivations of God in most religions. There is wide recognition that God is all knowing and we are myopic. We simply do not have the ability to understand the creator’s motivations when it comes to things like “why did he create the universe.”

        Like

      • “We simply do not have the ability to understand the creator’s motivations when it comes to things like “why did he create the universe.””

        I see. And you know this how, precisely?

        Like

      • Unfortunately, we are not like our dogs in one area in that we can discern some of what we can not know. All it takes is for you to step out of you human-centric frame of reference and observe the creator’s work. Abandon your hubris and even you can see your folly.

        Like

      • “Unfortunately, we are not like our dogs in one area in that we can discern some of what we can not know.”

        I see. What, Troll, can we not know, and how do you know this, precisely? Please don’t dodge the question for a third time.

        “All it takes is for you to step out of you human-centric frame of reference and observe the creator’s work.”

        I have. I wrote a book on it. You’re free to purchase it and read it, then critique the thesis, if you like. I, as I’m sure Professor Peter Millican (Oxford) and Dr Stephen Law (University of London), would be thrilled to see if you can present a coherent counterargument. All proceeds go to animal rescue here in Brazil.

        Like

      • Nan, no I am not saying that at all.

        John, I have no need to buy your book (nor any desire). I read your premise in the teaser you sent me. Your book is based on the same flawed basis that this post is – and I told you this in the prior thread.

        A being whose complete frame of reference isrestricted to the current space and time (with perhaps a smattering of the recent past) can never understand the motivations of a being that first is present not just across all space and time but also all dimensions (dimensions we can not observe at all – ones we may not even know exist) and most importantly CREATED that entire universe to begin with. If that is not plainly evident to you, then there is no hope for this discussion to progress further.

        I await your screed on your own intellectual prowess.

        Like

    • How do I know, John? Logic dictates it. Just like we could never have understood quantum mechanics in a pre-Newtonian era. I can not think of a simpler way to say this.

      Like

      • Logic dictates it? You mean like its intuitively obvious that the sun revolves around the earth?

        “Just like we could never have understood quantum mechanics in a pre-Newtonian era”

        Really? And here I was thinking Newtonian models had to be discarded to understand QM.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Logic dictates it? You mean like its intuitively obvious that the sun revolves around the earth?”

        Only you would equate logic with intuition.

        “Really? And here I was thinking Newtonian models had to be discarded to understand QM.”

        Intentionally obtuse yet again.

        Like

      • Interresting conversation, though in the end it was not getting much anywhere. The question as to why a god would create a universe is an unknown, much like it is an unknown why the universe exists. Positing that a god made it does not really answer the question why a universe exists? It only removes the question to why did this god do it and how. If we can then conclude that we do not know answer to either, then the creator god becomes totally unnecessary suggestion.

        It is the same as positing that trolls have stolen my sock. If I claim, this I have yet to answer where did these trolls appear, how did they steal my sock and why, before nobody should take me seriously. It could be that trolls stole my sock, but before I actually have any evidence, that this is true, the suggestion is unnecessary and frankly unlikely. Certainly my socks disappearing does not prove there are trolls out there. Does it?

        Quantum mechanics existed already in the pre-Newtonian times, but nobody was warranted to posit them in them days. Why? Because they did not know about them, or how they work. Same applies to any particular god claims. We may claim a particular god exists, but without any verified observation, nor objective information about them, we are not really warranted a firm belief, that they exist any more than we are warranted firm beliefs about pixies, or trolls to exist. Infact less, because trolls and pixies are less extraordinary suggestions than any sort of gods.

        As to the dog not understanding why a school is built there are several differences to human understanding of the universe. For example: A dog can observe humans building a school, but if it has not observed this much, it is not warranted to believe the school exists because humans build it, wether if they did or not. Is it? In fact the dog should not jump to such conclusions, if it has no information about how the shcool came to be. Right? A dog might jump into a lot of false and potentially harmfull conclusions about humans by such a method of assuming and having faith in any particular human. A dog has the advantage of actually being able to verify, that humans exist. If it has observed humans building the school it still may not fully comprehend why they did it, but it is in a clear advantige to humans assuming a god built the universe, because there simply exists none what so ever evidence, that a god did it, nor that any god exists in the first place. Or is there such evidence?

        Liked by 2 people

  37. From https://en.support.wordpress.com/likes/

    By default, all WordPress.com blogs display the Like button (and the gallery of Gravatars for bragging rights) under each post.

    You can also choose for Likes (and other sharing buttons) to display on your pages, your media files, and/or on the front page, archive pages, and search results of your site. Go to Settings→Sharing in your blog’s Dashboard. Next to Show buttons on, select where you want Likes (and other sharing buttons) to be displayed:

    Note: Choosing “Front Page, Archive Pages, and Search Results” means that the Like button will show on your blog’s front page below each post, rather than only if a reader clicks through to the individual post.

    Like

    • Nan, had to drop the Likes. As an experiment, at least. Since hitting it I haven’t been getting any notifications, and replied comments are taking well over a day to show up in my drop-down thingy. (Or have you been having these problems this week, too?)

      Like

      • That’s strange, John, because no … as far as I can tell, nothing has essentially changed in my notifications.

        Having said that, I will admit that OCCASIONALLY, I’ll get notification of responses before the actual post notification arrives, but that’s the only anomaly I’ve noticed.

        I really hate the idea that you’ve had to remove this feature. 😦 It’s so useful for us readers.

        Like

      • I’ll put it back in, and see what happens. I’m not getting anything, not even this comment from you. I can see it in my email, but not here on that drop down thingy. I hope this is like polio and it get’s better with time 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  38. Hi John Zande… I am just writing up my results… I can only do this on and off… so it is taking longer than I thought… plus, I am trying to make it as clear as possible and as short as possible…

    But, just an interesting point… when you ask:

    “So, the question stands. Now, as I said, there’s no right or wrong answer, just variations in plausibility. So, Troll, why do you think your god created this physical contrivance? What purpose does it (this machine) serve?”

    Your own model gives the answer: “To quest knowledge.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Philp,

      Which model are you talking about? The TOOAIN thesis? I’m not defending that thesis here in this post. This, instead, is a straightforward question to all traditional theists. And there really isn’t any right or wrong answer. There is no trick or hidden agenda. I’m not asking so i can mock an answer.

      To quest knowledge, though, is an interesting suggestion. It fits well with the whole “We are the universe made conscious” idea: the universe trying to understand itself. Not sure if this fits into any traditional theistic models, but the reasoning is most certainly sound, and both emotionally comforting, and intellectually satisfying.

      Like

      • I was referring to the Malevolent Creator thesis of yours John … the model does hinge on the idea of “complexity”… and complexity is one of the consequences of the interaction between the primary variables, “pleasure” and “suffering” in the universe…

        So, as complexity increases in the universe… the Malevolent Creator’s knowledge increases, i.e. knowledge of good and evil get increasingly complex for the Malevolent Creator to view, i.e. his perspicuous view of this good/evil interaction within the universe… perhaps a better word would be “information” instead of “knowledge”… but, essentially they are pretty much equivalent…

        So, for the Malevolent Creator the “purpose” of creating the universe was to watch this growing complexity of suffering in the universe; ergo the purpose of the Malevolent Creators creation is a “quest for suffering”… and “suffering” is a form of “knowledge”, or “information” at its most basic level.

        Therefore, “To quest knowledge” is the bottom line function of the Malevolent Creator’s rationale to create the universe, i.e. that is why the universe exists.

        This is a consequence of your Malevolent Creator thesis.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So, for the Malevolent Creator the “purpose” of creating the universe was to watch this growing complexity of suffering in the universe; ergo the purpose of the Malevolent Creators creation is a “quest for suffering”… and “suffering” is a form of “knowledge”, or “information” at its most basic level.

        Well put, and yes. I think that is a fairly good summary. An emotional response to something, or a fear or anxiety, might be hard to quantify as a package of information, but it is a product of information. So yes, as information increases (as Integration Information Theory holds), the potency of potential suffering increases in-step.

        The TOOAIN thesis explains Creation easily. It’s demonstrable. Have you read the thesis, yet?

        Like

  39. Especially given our relative impact within such a large universe.. I would postulate that given that, and the disparate revelations given amongst just the loose groupings of sentient, “intelligent” life on this planet, that the universe is probably just a giant experiment. We happen to be a faith vs evidence component but I’m unable to conceive what mind-bogglingly vast vault-tec like manipulation must be taking place throughout the universe, assuming there’s a god, which I don’t 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exellent. You have succesfully opened up the often used aplogetic, that a god does what is in the “nature” of this god. In effect, this god has no free will, but follows a preset program of it’s “nature”.

      Then again, perhaps the alledged creator god does not rigidly follow any particular “nature”, as a destiny, has free will, but like any old geezer, simply likes re-runs. Or maybe it is in the preset “nature” of this god to like re-runs, so it actually has no free will on the matter, regardless wether it has a conception of free choise to look at re-runs of the billions of worlds it has created. Most of those are sending rather bleak content, as it would seem, when looking at the planets in our solar system alone.

      How could we possibly know? Exactly like how could we possibly know, if there infact exists a breed of fairies, that steals socks, for reasons as unfathomable to us as our human reasons for building schools are to a dog.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Opened up an apologetic? For a non-existent being? Hogwash.
        If the Christian used such an apologetic I would then ask them “Then why pray?” Do you think he would or even could change the course of events for you?
        As far as socks disappearing… I have found one area where they may go… check your pant legs… if they are not there then perhaps another realm?

        Liked by 1 person

  40. Pingback: Repost: On the Goodness of the Material World | Truth and Tolerance

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