1. Joined
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    18 Mar '07 11:01
    Something that I have never really understood about god.

    If god is omnipowerful and omnipresent, why did he give us free will? If he can make us any way he liked, why did he make us imperfect and able to fail in our worship of him?

    It seems like an odd thing to do. If you want to be worshipped, make creatures that will worship you, why set up this whole test that you already know the answer too because you're omni-everything.

    Seems cruel to me.
  2. Standard memberwittywonka
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    18 Mar '07 17:39
    Originally posted by Tyto
    Something that I have never really understood about god.

    If god is omnipowerful and omnipresent, why did he give us free will? If he can make us any way he liked, why did he make us imperfect and able to fail in our worship of him?

    It seems like an odd thing to do. If you want to be worshipped, make creatures that will worship you, why set up this whole ...[text shortened]... t you already know the answer too because you're omni-everything.

    Seems cruel to me.
    This is quite a troubling question for many Christians and even those of other faiths...I don't think anyone really knows the answer...but there are several (obvious) possibilities that many believe...

    1. Fate exists; God truly is omnipotent and omniscient and planned everything out purposely...this supports that God is omniscient but leads to questions such as why would an all-loving God purposely kill humans in natural disasters, etc.

    2. Free will exists (solely); God granted humans free will as his greatest gift to us...this is reassuring but implies that God is not omniscient...

    3. A mixture of fate and free will exists (my opinion); God knows the final result of life but grants humans full freedom until the final result...

    No matter which way you turn it, it's a distortes picture...
  3. Joined
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    18 Mar '07 17:55
    Originally posted by Tyto
    Something that I have never really understood about god.

    If god is omnipowerful and omnipresent, why did he give us free will? If he can make us any way he liked, why did he make us imperfect and able to fail in our worship of him?

    It seems like an odd thing to do. If you want to be worshipped, make creatures that will worship you, why set up this whole ...[text shortened]... t you already know the answer too because you're omni-everything.

    Seems cruel to me.
    I will answer your question with a question.

    "If you made a robot, could you make the robot love you?"

    Or at least in terms of what we would call a loving relationship with someone in our lives. Can you force someone to love you and then call it love? For example, I am sure you have seen abusive husbands who beats their wives and demands their loyalty and love by trying to control them. However, is this type of relationship truly a loving one?

    If God is truly a God of love as the Bible claims, could he do nothing more than give his creation the will to love him back? Hence we see various elements of his creation who have "fallen" from grace in this regard such as angels, humans etc.
  4. Standard memberUmbrageOfSnow
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    18 Mar '07 18:33
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    This is quite a troubling question for many Christians and even those of other faiths...I don't think anyone really knows the answer...but there are several (obvious) possibilities that many believe...

    1. Fate exists; God truly is omnipotent and omniscient and planned everything out purposely...this supports that God is omniscient but leads to question ...[text shortened]... edom until the final result...

    No matter which way you turn it, it's a distortes picture...
    Now as you know I don't believe in any god or in fate, but it seems to me that even if you have total free will, given the same set of circumstances, you'll make the same decision every time. So if random events were the only things "fated", then things could still be predetermined as long as your personalty and thought process were 100% understood (like by some fictional all-knowing entity). I've never seen this particular point as one of the bigger problems with religion, although I have lots of other problems with it.
  5. Joined
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    18 Mar '07 19:131 edit
    Originally posted by UmbrageOfSnow
    Now as you know I don't believe in any god or in fate, but it seems to me that even if you have total free will, given the same set of circumstances, you'll make the same decision every time. So if random events were the only things "fated", then things could still be predetermined as long as your personalty and thought process were 100% understoo s one of the bigger problems with religion, although I have lots of other problems with it.
    Isn't the idea of "free will" the capacity to make different choices in two identical situations? If the same situation always leads to the same response, that's determinism.

    Anway, this is probably off-topic, but here's an interesting thought experiment:

    Suppose humans have complete free will. Now, we're going to slowly turn a human into a robot. Take any part of our human subject and replace it with a mechanical equivalent that does exactly the same thing. For example, replace a neuron with a microchip that will produce exactly the same electrical and chemical responses as the original neuron, or replace a muscle cell with a tiny mechanical actuator that does exactly the same thing as the original cell. Repeat this process. Slowly our human being will become more and more mechanical, until at last he is 100% machine. But, remember, he is a machine that moves, acts, talks, thinks, exactly as the original human did.

    Does this robot have free will? It must; its thought processes are indistinguishable from the the original human's, because its brain works exactly the same way. However, because we understand the machines that make up every part of the robot we should be able to predict its actions with complete accuracy; it is a deterministic entity. A contradiction: the robot simultaneously has free will and does not have free will.

    How is this contradiction resolved? Either our assumption that the human had free will was incorrect, or the human lost his free will somewhere in the process of the transformation. If you believe that humans have free will, when in the transformation does the human lose his free will, and why?
  6. Standard memberknightmeister
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    18 Mar '07 20:42
    Originally posted by Tyto
    Something that I have never really understood about god.

    If god is omnipowerful and omnipresent, why did he give us free will? If he can make us any way he liked, why did he make us imperfect and able to fail in our worship of him?

    It seems like an odd thing to do. If you want to be worshipped, make creatures that will worship you, why set up this whole ...[text shortened]... t you already know the answer too because you're omni-everything.

    Seems cruel to me.
    If god is omnipowerful and omnipresent, why did he give us free will? TYTO

    Now I know why you struggle with Christianity.This is such a simplistic mechanistic way of thinking. This has never been a problem for me. It seems totally preposterous to think that God would make us robots. A real God would want to create real creatures not play things. Real creatures who can love , and make real choices and have sentience. Anything less and we are not truely alive. It's the whole dynamism of being truely alive that God wants to create in us. We make real moral choices and can have a dynamic loving relationship with God only because we are free. Real love can't happen without choice. You have no idea what real Christianity is. The aspect of free will is so important to God that it cost him his life and unimaginable agony watching us makes mistakes and sometimes reject him. But it had to be done , anything else would be completely souless.

    Ironically you have asked exactly the right question here , now think , really think , why would God do such a stupidly risky thing as this?

    I'll give you a clue , don't look in the New Scientist for the answer. Look into the eyes of a loved one.
  7. Joined
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    18 Mar '07 21:081 edit
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    If god is omnipowerful and omnipresent, why did he give us free will? TYTO

    Now I know why you struggle with Christianity.This is such a simplistic mechanistic way of thinking. This has never been a problem for me. It seems totally preposterous to think that God would make us robots. A real God would want to create real creatures not play things. R a clue , don't look in the New Scientist for the answer. Look into the eyes of a loved one.
    Knightmeister, the question may be simplistic but I don't think the problem is.

    Let me put it this way, it is a requirement for me to go to heaven that I accept god and jesus and love them.
    God loves me, and wants what is best for me.
    God then creates me flawed and able to fail a test he set for me to pass.
    If I fail I go to hell forever.

    Why is it necessary for god to allow me to fail? How vain is he that he sets this test up?

    If he wants love and worship, make me incapable of not loving and worshipping. (I don't accept the argument using human relationships to prove god's persona, when a believer can't explain something he's normally ineffable and beyond our comprehension, with his 'mysterious ways' and all that. He can't slip in and out of comprehension as it suits the argument)

    I admire your depth of insight into god's mind by the way.

    To answer your question "why would God do such a stupidly risky thing as this?" well, the supporting information either supports no god, or supports a god full of contradictions, vanity or cruelty. Now accepting the existance of god means a whole other bunch of questions arise, so the logical conclusion is that the information is either faulty (his instructions etc) or he simply doesn't exist and believers are trying to crowbar the evidence to fit the nearest model.
  8. Joined
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    18 Mar '07 21:39
    Originally posted by GregM
    Isn't the idea of "free will" the capacity to make different choices in two identical situations? If the same situation always leads to the same response, that's determinism.

    Anway, this is probably off-topic, but here's an interesting thought experiment:

    Suppose humans have complete free will. Now, we're going to slowly turn a human into a robot. Take a ...[text shortened]... ns have free will, when in the transformation does the human lose his free will, and why?
    So you would do the same thing to a loved one that chose not to love you back? You would consider turning them into a robot to love you back?
  9. Joined
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    18 Mar '07 21:471 edit
    Originally posted by Tyto
    Knightmeister, the question may be simplistic but I don't think the problem is.

    Let me put it this way, it is a requirement for me to go to heaven that I accept god and jesus and love them.
    God loves me, and wants what is best for me.
    God then creates me flawed and able to fail a test he set for me to pass.
    If I fail I go to hell forever.

    Why n't exist and believers are trying to crowbar the evidence to fit the nearest model.
    God ONLY wants to share his love with you. Worship is simply a result of that love. In fact, the Bible says that God ONLY wants your worship if your heart is in it.

    Having said that, why would God EVER create a robot? If he is truly all powerfull and all knowing, why would he need one? Of coarse, we are not and therefore find mechanical devices helpful in terms of calculation and building capacity etc., however, God is not in the same position.

    Now having said that the concept of "free will" is and will always be somewhat of a mystery. What exaclty is it? How do you create it? How can a God that CAN control everything CHOOSE to relinquish a small part of that control in order for us to make our own decisions? Only God knows and will ever know. However, if you had the choice, would you really want your free will removed? How then could you love, not only God, but also those that you love in your life today? For me, relinquishing my free will would be like dying. It's kinda like the famous quote, "Give me freedom or give me death"!!!!!
  10. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    18 Mar '07 22:16
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    This is such a simplistic mechanistic way of thinking. This has never been a problem for me.
    Yes, we appreciate thinking has never been a problem for you. Exactly in the same way that indecision doesn't affect rocks too much.
  11. Hmmm . . .
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    18 Mar '07 22:49
    Originally posted by Tyto
    Something that I have never really understood about god.

    If god is omnipowerful and omnipresent, why did he give us free will? If he can make us any way he liked, why did he make us imperfect and able to fail in our worship of him?

    It seems like an odd thing to do. If you want to be worshipped, make creatures that will worship you, why set up this whole ...[text shortened]... t you already know the answer too because you're omni-everything.

    Seems cruel to me.
    It seems like an odd thing to do.

    The whole idea of taking the anthropomorphic metaphors people have used for “God” seriously, and then positing a being that exists somehow beyond time-space dimensionality, like a non-dimensional superman; and who is omnipotent, omniscient and omni-benevolent all at the same time; and condemns some of “his” creatures to eternal hell, rather than healing them of their moral infirmities—including those that might cause them to reject “him”—although “his” very essence is agape; and...

    Yes, it all seems “like an odd thing.” It also makes our literary ancestors look a bit odd, too. They may not have developed a scientific outlook, but I don’t think they were as philosophically odd as we sometimes think—they understood metaphor, allegory, symbolism, myth... And their limits. They would’ve understood, I think, that trying to read mythology literally turns it into fantasy. They understood that weaving history and myth together into literary forms that might be called “histo-myth” did not turn the myth part into history. (Any more than writing a biographical novel turns the fiction part into biography.) Some of what is called “scripture” is incredibly high and accomplished literature! And literature with philosophical and (yes, even) religious points to make that are incredibly denigrated by taking them “literally.”

    The first step, I think, is to let go of that bold/italic “a” up there. Then we can get a better idea of what the ancients were up to. And begin to appreciate their insights, and their attempts to express them...
  12. Standard memberknightmeister
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    19 Mar '07 00:12
    Originally posted by Tyto
    Knightmeister, the question may be simplistic but I don't think the problem is.

    Let me put it this way, it is a requirement for me to go to heaven that I accept god and jesus and love them.
    God loves me, and wants what is best for me.
    God then creates me flawed and able to fail a test he set for me to pass.
    If I fail I go to hell forever.

    Why ...[text shortened]... n't exist and believers are trying to crowbar the evidence to fit the nearest model.
    God loves me, and wants what is best for me.
    God then creates me flawed and able to fail a test he set for me to pass.
    If I fail I go to hell forever. TYTO

    It's not a "test" though. This portrays it in completely the wrong way. It's actually easy in a way. God's love is a gift , you don't have to "do" anything as such just receive it and accept the gift. He will give you as many chances as possible (God knows I've used up a few in my life) . Another way to think about it is this. You are on the way to heaven that's what you were created for. The only thing that can stop you is you . You can resist if you so choose (pride). God will take you there but not as a conscript but a willing volunteer. The problem is that it's too easy. We think we have to earn it or something. You can't go to hell by accident , you will have to fight God off every step of the way. But it had to be this way because a heaven full of robots is no heaven at all. Think about it , if your wife loves you because she has to what kind of love is that ?
  13. Standard memberknightmeister
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    19 Mar '07 00:17
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Yes, we appreciate thinking has never been a problem for you. Exactly in the same way that indecision doesn't affect rocks too much.
    Taking to misquoting me now? How low are you going to sink? Do you work freelance for a tabloid paper ? Try calling me a "retard" next and you'll be at marauders level.

    By the way whose this generic "we" ? Are you the "voice of atheism"?
  14. Joined
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    19 Mar '07 00:30
    Originally posted by whodey
    So you would do the same thing to a loved one that chose not to love you back? You would consider turning them into a robot to love you back?
    What?! I was responding to UmbrageOfSnow's post, not yours. My thought experiment was completely separate from the rest of this thread; I wasn't saying anything about love, just the idea of free will. I wasn't suggesting that anyone do the experiment, just to imagine it being done--that's why its called a thought experiment!

    Basically: imagine a human being slowly replaced by machine parts. Does the human still have free will by the time the transformation is complete?
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    19 Mar '07 00:33
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    God loves me, and wants what is best for me.
    God then creates me flawed and able to fail a test he set for me to pass.
    If I fail I go to hell forever. TYTO

    It's not a "test" though. This portrays it in completely the wrong way. It's actually easy in a way. God's love is a gift , you don't have to "do" anything as such just receive it and accept ...[text shortened]... ink about it , if your wife loves you because she has to what kind of love is that ?
    But if God's love is a "gift," why is it wrong to "fight off" God--what right does he have to torture in hell someone for not accepting his offer of heaven?
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