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God Allows Suffering

Religion God Suffering

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#21 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 01:41 PM

Cyncie, on May 18 2005, 01:34 PM, said:

But, God created us with the freedom to choose or reject Him. Humanity rejected Him, and in that act the relationship was broken. In my understanding, the original sin was actually rejection of God... not eating an apple. The choice that was given to humanity, at its basic level, was between following God or rejecting Him.

~Cyn

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That's like a parent telling their child: "It's either me or the cookie. If you eat the cookie I'm throwing you out."

Any parent that actually DID throw the child out for eating the cookie would be brought up on child neglect and abuse charges so fast it'd make their head spin.
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#22 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 01:43 PM

I'll be working my way through some of these responses, but I'm hoping that in the spirit of sharing, that this thread is very hard to keep up with... ;)

hawkeye, on May 18 2005, 10:30 AM, said:

I always figured it was because God gave us free will. And sometimes our free will leads to suffering.

Thats probably a little too simplistic, but I'm not a particularly religious person and I haven't given it that much thought. I'm sure others will come in and suggest more complete answers :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I don't think any idea is "too simplistic."  I do think that the more we think about the simple, the more complex it becomes.  And, I do believe that thinking about it is something we're supposed to do. :)


Godeskian, on May 18 2005, 11:10 AM, said:

regarding point 3. There is a general assumption that God is good

This is true in most monotheistic religions at least. Pantheistic ones, such as the Greek or Roman groups tended to have bad apples as well as good ones. For purposes of the point, i'll be concentrating on the three big Biblical ones, Christianity, Jewish faith, and Muslims.

The only source we have for God being perfectly good, actually comes from God himself. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that this was one of the earliest forms of spin available.

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Well, the only source we have for God's existence is God Amself.  We don't know anything about God except what God lets us know about.  So, we could speculate that God is perhaps tricking us.  I don't believe that.  But I think if we are going to honestly think about it, we have to allow that possibility to be part of the thoughts.  The bible is filled with examples of the prophets and such "accusing" God, and Abraham contended with God over the fate of Sodom & Gomorrah - in short accusing God of doing the wrong thing.  So, I think that challenging our assumptions about God is perfectly valid, even to this point.

QT

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#23 Lord of the Sword

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 01:46 PM

Enkanowen, on May 18 2005, 01:35 PM, said:

just to flipside your argument: the hijackers committed suicide in the name of god.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


True...that was what they believed...But did GOD tell come down in person and say: "Do this mass murder?"

I seriously doubt that....but we don't know for certain.

also...which GOD? Allah most likely. So, then the question becomes...How many GODs are their? I have a friend who is a wiccan...and he worships a Goddess. You should've seen his face when I teased him by saying: "I know about wicca, I watch Charmed every week." His face was priceless....LMAO. I think he was about ready to cast a spell on me...LOL. But I'm rambling on....

So is their just GOD and Satan? Or are there others as well. According to the Bible, Lucifer was a fallen angel...who then became GOD of evil. So if a former angel can set up shop as a GOD...isn't possible other angels have done the same thing?
"Sometimes you get the point of the sword, sometimes the edge, sometimes the flat of the blade (even if you're the Lord of the Sword) and sometimes you're the guy wielding it. But any day without the Sword or its Lord is one that could've been better  " ~Orpheus.

The Left is inclusive, and tolerant, unless you happen to think and believe different than they do~ Lord of the Sword

Looks like the Liberal Elite of Exisle have finally managed to silence the last remaining Conservative voice on the board.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” ~Thomas Jefferson

#24 Enkanowen

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 01:58 PM

lol, he probably was more ready to slap you with a trout :D

i really like that argument about Lucifer becoming the god of evil... but is he truly evil? Because he gave humans the choice to do what they want... and what about other religions, most have a good force of some kind and an evil force (I personally believe both are the same force and it is in our actions that we make it good or evil)...

#25 Cyncie

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 02:01 PM

LORD of the SWORD, on May 18 2005, 01:41 PM, said:

Cyncie, on May 18 2005, 01:34 PM, said:

But, God created us with the freedom to choose or reject Him. Humanity rejected Him, and in that act the relationship was broken. In my understanding, the original sin was actually rejection of God... not eating an apple. The choice that was given to humanity, at its basic level, was between following God or rejecting Him.

~Cyn

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


That's like a parent telling their child: "It's either me or the cookie. If you eat the cookie I'm throwing you out."

Any parent that actually DID throw the child out for eating the cookie would be brought up on child neglect and abuse charges so fast it'd make their head spin.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


No, because your analogy is between a person and an object of temptation. I've already said that I believe the "fruit" in the garden of Eden was a symbol. The actual temptation was to become "like God"... to reject Him as the guiding presence in our lives. The choice that was presented to humanity was to accept or reject God's involvement in our lives. God's warning was that this would lead to bad things. We rejected Him and bad things happened. The choice was ours, not His. A parental analogy that is more reflective of my understanding would be a parent warning a child not to touch the hot stove, or bad things will happen. The child rejects the parent's involvement,  decides he knows better, touches the stove and gets burned.
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#26 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 02:03 PM

Enkanowen, on May 18 2005, 12:36 PM, said:

I'd like to voice an opinion of someone who does not believe in the existence of an individual, conscious god.  I believe that there is a force which is ultimately powerful, but I do not believe it has a conscience like we would. It encompasses all and nothing all at the same time. Zen Buddhism really works well with this concept, so do certain forms of Paganism (and the idea of witchcraft).

I do not believe that any force is responsible for our own suffering. It is we who are responsible. We who cannot see beyond our own beliefs and truly become a tolerant race. Ultimately the three causes of suffering are religion, race and greed. People try to use their gods as an excuse to hurt one another. They also tend to believe themselves superior over those of another skin colour. And on top of it all, people have become so greedy that any means to an end are acceptable.

Then, those same people realize the suffering and question their gods why they would allow such suffering. It strikes me as a very peculiar predicament.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I do believe in an All knowing, All powerful God, but similarly to your own beliefs, I do believe that we are ourselves responsible for our own suffering.  And I believe this without simultaneously believing that God is indifferent to our goings on.  I agree too that race, religion and self-aggrandizement (of which greed is only one example, or perhaps it is a synonym?) are the primary causes of suffering.  However, Zack mentions things like Tsunami and such, which take the good and the bad at the same time.  And LoTS mentions 9-11 in which good and bad people died by the hands of bad people... one might ask why an all knowing all powerful God would allow such a thing?

I would take a guess that from your pov natural disasters are just part of the order of life?

QT

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#27 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 02:16 PM

Ogami, on May 18 2005, 01:17 PM, said:

Thread title:

God Allows Suffering, Open Dialogue on why?

Because the God that created the heavens had a lot more to worry about than evolved mammals on an insignificant planet off an insignificant arm of an ordinary spiral galaxy. Is there a God who created everything? Perhaps. But I sincerely doubt He/She/It would care about the travels on this planet of a tiny tribe of nomads on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. To see the size and scope of the universe, and think God cares about this particular dust mote seems ridiculous to me.

Just my opinion, nothing more.

-Ogami

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Well, that's what was asked for, nothing more! ;) And welcome back, btw!  So from your pov, God created all of the heavens (reading you as meaning the universe).  But do you believe that God created the lifeforms throught said galaxy, or each star within it, etc? Or is it your belief that God created the process by which these things came into existence?  In any event, why Godly indifference?

Una Salus Lillius, on May 18 2005, 02:09 PM, said:

MuseZack, on May 18 2005, 07:53 AM, said:


5:  It's all part of God's mysterious plan which we humans are too puny to comprehend.

Did I miss any?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Let me add that "why" is a managment question and when it comes to the universe I am woefully inadequate to fill any managment positions.  :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



LOL! Agreed! :)

sierraleone, on May 18 2005, 02:16 PM, said:

God wants us to earn our stripes?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Perhaps!  My own thinking is sorta there (but not precisely!)

QT

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#28 Enkanowen

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 02:24 PM

QueenTiye, on May 18 2005, 03:03 PM, said:

I do believe in an All knowing, All powerful God, but similarly to your own beliefs, I do believe that we are ourselves responsible for our own suffering.  And I believe this without simultaneously believing that God is indifferent to our goings on.  I agree too that race, religion and self-aggrandizement (of which greed is only one example, or perhaps it is a synonym?) are the primary causes of suffering.  However, Zack mentions things like Tsunami and such, which take the good and the bad at the same time.  And LoTS mentions 9-11 in which good and bad people died by the hands of bad people... one might ask why an all knowing all powerful God would allow such a thing?

I would take a guess that from your pov natural disasters are just part of the order of life?

QT

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


If a god is all powerful, by interfering they would turn people into their puppets. Why create people with enough consciousness to choose, if all they wanted was a puppet?

Natural disasters are definately order of life. One might argue "but why are they so many now when there weren't before?" To that I can say that a natural disaster is a way for nature to cleanse itself. Since, in the recent past we have become rather reckless with our environments, in order to keep a balance nature will attain its balance with means of greater disasters.

#29 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:07 PM

Ilphi, on May 18 2005, 02:21 PM, said:

I can only present some of the arguments I was taught in the Judeo-Christian tradition; I'm afraid more exotic religions (from my perspective) will have to wait for someone wider read to present some of their argumenst.

David Hume in 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion' argues that either (i) God is not omnipotent (ii) not omnibenevolent (iii) or evil does not exist. It is counterintuitive to suppose that evil does not exist but since the notion of God cannot lack omnipotence or omnibenevolence, this means that God does not exist. Thus, various philosophers have presented theodicies (theories which try to explain the existence of evil while maintaining God's omnipotence and omni benevolence).

Why is it counterintuitive to argue that evil doesn't exist?


Quote

Irenaeus
Irenaeus believed that there were two stages to creation. First, man was first created as an immature being that had yet to grow and develop. Then there would come a period of change where man would respond to situations in life and eventually become a 'Child of God'. Irenaeus argued that we were created imperfect so that we could freely choose to become good and turn to God. We were made at a distance from God - a distance of knowledge - an epistemic distance. Moral evil was that result of our having the freedom to grow and develop into a child of God.

Irenaeus saw the world as a 'soul-making place'. Here we could complete our development into a child of God. Evil was necessary to aid this development. Natural evil such as famine had a divine purpose - to develop qualities such as compassion. Irenaeus saw evil as a necessary part of life, something that will eventually make us into better people. At death, some of us will proceed into heaven. Those who have not completed their development will continue their soul making journey after death but will then enter the kingdom of heaven.

Problems with this theodicy include:  Irenaeus argues that everyone goes to heaven. This seems unjust as immorality is not punished. It is inconsistent with orthodox Christianity as it denies The Fall, and Jesus' role is reduced to a moral example. The quantity and extremity of evil seems unacceptable in soul making. Is evil such as the Holocaust necessary? Allowing evil to continue can never be an expression of love according to D. Z. Phillips in 'The Concept of Prayer'.

My own faith's pov is most similar to this one, but I'll have to come back to explain later.

Quote

The Freewill Defense
Like Irenaeus, the freewill defence centres on the idea that for man to respond freely to God, he must be able to make his own decisions. This means that ultimately, a man may choose to do good or commit moral evil.

Supporters of the freewill defence such as Richard Swinburne have said that God cannot intervene to stop suffering because this would jeopardise human freedom and take away the need for responsibility and development.

Swinburne says that death is necessary since it means that humans are forced to take responsibility for their actions. If they were immortal and had infinite lives then there is no need for responsibility - if there is always a second chance then there is no risk. Thus, natural evil is necessary to facilitate death regardless of the suffering caused.

Critique of the freewill defence: Is God justified in allowing people to misuse freewill to such an extent that millions die? John Hick says that if we say that some evils are too great then we start going down a scale of evils until the slightest evil becomes too great e.g. if we start by saying that cancer is too severe then what about heart disease, flu or a headache? Hick says that we must either demand a world free of evil or accept the one we have.

I agree with this by and large.

Quote

Some other solutions
Evil and suffering are an illusion - however, the Bible describes evil as something that is real, so how can it be an illusion? If evil is seen as an illusion or a privation of good then God can still be seen as good.

Explain this one more?

QT

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#30 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:08 PM

Enkanowen, on May 18 2005, 03:24 PM, said:

If a god is all powerful, by interfering they would turn people into their puppets. Why create people with enough consciousness to choose, if all they wanted was a puppet?

Natural disasters are definately order of life. One might argue "but why are they so many now when there weren't before?" To that I can say that a natural disaster is a way for nature to cleanse itself. Since, in the recent past we have become rather reckless with our environments, in order to keep a balance nature will attain its balance with means of greater disasters.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


OK! :)  

BTW, I haven't said welcome yet! And we've been chatting all this while!  Welcome to the Isle!

QT

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#31 eechick

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:22 PM

Godeskian, on May 18 2005, 07:13 AM, said:

2 because various interpretations and translations of the bible suggest that the Christian God was only one of many, and not the only God to have created human followers.. (not least of which because Adam and Eve's children found wives)

hmm...I always figured that they married their sisters.

#32 Ilphi

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:23 PM

QueenTiye, on May 18 2005, 09:07 PM, said:

Why is it counterintuitive to argue that evil doesn't exist?

To quote the dictionary on counterintuitive, "Contrary to what intuition or common sense would indicate". I don't think that many people generally argue that evil doesn't exist. John Hick described evil as 'physical pain, mental suffering and moral wickedness.' Two types of evil exist: Natural evil - suffering caused by natural disasters e.g. the eruption of a volcano killing humans and animals. Moral evil - suffering caused by human selfishness e.g. Hitler?s killing of Jews, homosexuals and Gypsies.

Quote

Quote

Evil and suffering are an illusion - however, the Bible describes evil as something that is real, so how can it be an illusion? If evil is seen as an illusion or a privation of good then God can still be seen as good.
Explain this one more?

While above I did say that I think most people believe that evil and suffering occur in this world, it is possible to argue that they are simple illusions. Isn't the concept of evil in part a human construct and a human term? This however clashes with mainstream Christianity, whose religious texts explicitly make refrence to evil existing.

One way to keep God good however yet still accept evil as I mentioned briefly at the end could be that humanity mis-interprets what we call "evil", or that the world was originally Good and corrupted to become a "privation of Good" - although that raises all kinds of onipotence/benevolance questions regarding our Deity.
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#33 The Tyrant

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:27 PM

Real simple....we wouldn't be where we are without suffering. As bad as it might sound, JMS was right with the Shadows in B5. They posit that growth only comes from strife, conflict. And that's pretty much true. If everything were rosy and sweet, would we really strive to achieve anything more?

Assuming for a moment there is a God, I doubt He would put us on the Earth and say 'Ok, go have fun...this is all you're going to be. Nothing more.' He knows our potential, and that we will only find it through struggle and pain. Suffering is a way to nudge us forward...call it tough love if you like.

Just my $.02....

#34 scruffylookin

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:32 PM

Thread Detour - my 2 cents
Ok I may be moving this back into the simplistic side of things but let’s face one thing; everything that has been written is man’s conception and interpretation of what they perceived as the word of God.  Being Greek Orthodox, I’ve had way too much time dwelling in theology and exploring other religions when I thought my own religion was nothing more than some ritual mumbo-jumbo. And after being into everything from Buddhism to Taoism and all in-between, one needs to have  a perspective that I think Golda Meir summed up about life: – “Nothing in life just happens… You have to have the stamina to meet obstacles and overcome them...”.  Life comes with no guarantees and as much as  books like the bible, Koran, Talmud, etc are supposed to be our guidelines, there are just a few basic precepts that I get form all this.

1. We are here to learn and do the best we can. Life itself is a gift and take advantage of every moment..  Although I may believe in the ideology of Karma somewhat, basically we contribute to either the positive in life , the negative or choose to stay on the sidelines. But it is the individual’s choice to do good or not.  That is the freedom and that is the hook at the same time.  SO if one is a mass murderer we perceive it as a bad thing, but maybe we also learn how to help those in that kind of tortured state so that others do not follow a similar path. Maybe we are the tools and part of the mechanism.
2. Stuff Happens:  The universe is a wondrous and dangerous place… I think there’s a quote from ST TNG: where Q says this best but I wont digress.  I think the entire mechanism of where we are and exist need to be looked at from the Zen point of view and accept things as is. Is suffering is part of the journey and process?  After having survived and cheated death a few times and still left standing I think one deals with things with the gifts and abilities one has. Pain and I have become old friends as they say, but one truly evloves from the experience. However, conversely, some choose to be stuck in that event, stagnate and become immobile and literally cease to live out life’s potential.
3. Big Bang and in the beginning there was the word:  From the soup of primordial gases and chaos there was some energy ( in thought or otherwise) that sparked the existence of this universe, was this is the hand of God as we know it?  This is the question.

All in all I have come to the realization that we give God too much credit and blame for actions we enable.  Our focus is to continue to evolve and maybe be able to one day truly understand what the concept of God is.

As for the time being I leave you with the Leo Buscaglia ( or Barney the Dino) aphorism:
Continue your focus and belief in yourself and abilities. May whatever God you believe in  give you focus and strength to become your best and fulfill your dreams.  And just from briefly listening to everyone I think you all
you have come a far way already and grown and I know will continue to shine and be a source of strength for others to rely on.  

Ok  Back to the Thread ....

Edited by scruffylookin, 18 May 2005 - 04:25 PM.

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wise words to contemplate...

"...you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view." - Obi Wan Kenobi

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but by the moments that take our breath away..." Unknown (If you know, email me. Possibly dominique,eugene nicole?)

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#35 The Tyrant

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:48 PM

^ [Matthew Gideon] You're too young to be having thoughts this old...[/Matthew Gideon] :lol:

Well said, anyway...

#36 DWF

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 03:53 PM

Yes God allows pain and suffering, but God also allows peace and serenity and it appears that while we're on Earth we have to put up with both. :angel:
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#37 Kosh

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 04:10 PM

Quote

3: God is not actually all-good. A scary prospect, yes?

If God exsist, it is an sob in my book. That little girl who's rapist killer was just sentenced to death is a good case in point. Assuming that it exsists, I'd have to go with #3 on the Zack list.

Sorry to be so negetive HM, but this is a sore point. I feel like slapping my sisters when something bad happens to someone's family, and they get around to the old "We don't know whats going on with them, for God to allow this". Makes my blood boil.


My typing and spelling qre both falling apart here, I'm going home. Good night folks.
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#38 Zwolf

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 04:18 PM

There's always the possibility that, if there is a god, he simply doesn't like us much.

It's a possibility that Slayer and Jonathan Edwards agree on...

Cheers,

Zwolf
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And I'll feel even better
When your life has nothing to do with mine."
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But I'm never talking to you again
There's things I'd like to phrase some way
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
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Trying to talk to you

I'd put you down where you belong
But I'm never talking to you again
I'd show you everywhere you're wrong
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
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Trying to talk to you."
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#39 Nikcara

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:00 PM

Well, for me personally, I don't believe in a single god.  I believe that there are lots of them, some more powerful and important than others.  I don't believe in this absolute good or absolute evil stuff - everything bad that I can think of has had some good come out of it and vice versa.  If we're going to talk about evil, for example, the Holocaust often comes up.  Yes, it was a horrible thing to have happened - but on the flipside, it made us examine our racism, helped give the final push to drag the US out of the Great Depression, and taught us some new science.  Some of that science was put to "bad" uses - dropping the atom bomb killed lots of people, but helped end the war (I've heard people argue that had we not dropped the bomb more people would have died in the invasion.  Hard to say, but it did possibly, counterintuitively, help save lives) and some of the science was obtained from bad sorces (I will make no attempt to justify the human experiments on Jews and other victims) but has since been put to good uses - helping to save lives of innocent people who had nothing to do with the Holocaust whatsoever.  There are more examples than I could possibly put in this thread.  Therefore I don't believe in absolute evil, though evil does exist.

Applying this to gods, I don't believe any god is completely good or evil.  I believe that you have good gods with some bad traits and vice versa.  Things like natural disasters and plagues are brought about for some purpose.  Generally when it comes to things like evolution, I think the gods kinda nudge the ways things evolve instead of outright creating creatures out of thin air.  Some things seen as 'bad' may be blessings in disguise, like sickle cell being linked to malaria resistance.  However, as I do not know what the gods' plans our for us or our world, I will refrain from making too many judgements on "good" or "bad" when it comes to natural disasters.  They just are.

People complicate this whole thing.  I firmly believe in free will, and that the gods have to respect that.  I believe that most of the evil of humans comes from greed, hubirus, and ignorance.  Wars are fought over things like money and desire for control, people kill and hurt others because they either are so self-centered that they think they have a right to do whatever they want or because they are too ignorant to realize that the person they are hurting is a lot like them dispite what outward appearances may be.  Religion is used as an excuse, I don't believe it is truely the cause of any wars.  As all these things are quite prevailent, why would the gods have made us so flawed?  Well, as I said, I don't think that they are perfect.  Besides, if they made us perfect to start off with, where would we have to go?  We would achieve nothing because we would feel we had everything we needed.  We would become static, and that seems a kind of death to me.  Instead we are born in this world not knowing a whole lot, we live and delevop.  I believe in reincarnation, so we live and die and live again, all so that we may continue to learn.  The old and hopefully wise help to guide the newer souls out there and the young keep coming up with new ideas.  Those with mental illness and other diseases are therefore not condemed to one life of pain and misery, but instead have one (albeit long) lesson in the various ways life can both be wonderful and painful.  We are put on this world to live, pain and suffering are our teachers.  Death is part of the cycle that helps us to continue to look at the world in new ways and so that we know there are consequences to our actions.

I hope that made sense for all you guys...I never know if my ramblings in philosophy make sense to anyone but myself.  Above is an abridged versions of beliefs, since I'm not going into such fuzzy questions as to where the gods came from and such.  Hope I answered your question.
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#40 Godeskian

Godeskian

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Posted 18 May 2005 - 05:18 PM

eechick, on May 18 2005, 09:22 PM, said:

Godeskian, on May 18 2005, 07:13 AM, said:

2 because various interpretations and translations of the bible suggest that the Christian God was only one of many, and not the only God to have created human followers.. (not least of which because Adam and Eve's children found wives)

hmm...I always figured that they married their sisters.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Always possible, though i'm not sure I find that thought very appealing (although the idea that the entire human race is inbred would certainly explain certain things) but I have seen other interpretations that suggested that the Christian God was only one of many who created mankind, but that for reasons not clearly spelled out, he chose to teach his followers that he was the only God.

Defy Gravity!


The Doctor: The universe is big. It's vast and complicated and ridiculous and sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles... and that's a theory. Nine hundred years and I've never seen one yet, but this will do me.




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