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Michael Nugent speaks for Atheism

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    The third article in the series is published today.

    Atheists and religious alike seek to identify foundation of morality

    Feedback welcome.
    Can't fault it. It looks simple and elegant, but I'm guessing it takes a lot of time to distil down the complex arguments. Well done. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 296 ✭✭ Arcus Arrow


    Ignoring the rest of your fine response due to the fact that it not only has
    answered every question I put (many times) to you but also clears up any
    other interests I had in pursuing this conversation further

    You’ve had all your questions answered? Sponsored, I’d have to think you’re losing your command of English, such as it is, or just muddled.
    I'll just thank
    you for not only presuming to speak for, but actually speaking for the
    mass of atheists like myself who do not criticize our atheist faith & are
    promoting our 'atheist-while-it's-cool' brand of atheism that requires
    nought but duplicitous charlatans to maintain itself, I am positive you
    haven't generalized but were, in fact, accurate in your portrayal of the
    millions of us.

    I didn’t speak for anyone or claim or presume to speak for anyone unlike the pompous article in question. I’m not here using an article filled with standard professed atheists arguments to soft soap anyone who might be induced by a sense of gratitude or engagement to stop questioning the bigger picture. If I did write an article I wouldn’t be afraid to answer its main criticism by hoping the question would just go away. Atheist organisations don't need duplicitous charlatans (ya hit the nail on the head with that one) but that’s not to say they won’t or haven't produced them.

    Successful charlatans depend on the victim presuming the honesty of the charlatan. Having a dedicated follower cheerleading in the crowd pretending to be neutral helps the charlatan as well. In Ireland the rise of professed atheism as a result of outside giants in the zeitgeist like Dawkins and Hitchens, has produced at least one self-promoting publicity seeker and distorter of the truth who does set himself up as speaking for you (if you’re an atheist that is). There’s a .jpeg back there where the organisation he dominates claims to be “speaking for Irish atheists”. Especially since it's atheist that are referred to, how absurdly pompous and self promoting is that? Read the name of this thread*

    *(er assuming some anonymous faceless person has not changed it while Tim Robbins wasn't looking..)

    In fact, Machiavelli taught that it is dangerous for a leader to practice goodness. Instead, he must pretend to be good and then do the opposite. Machiavelli taught that a leader will succeed on appearances alone. A good leader puts his finger to the wind and changes course whenever it is expedient to do so. Machiavelli wrote this revealing passage that could be applied not only to false religious leaders but to a false President:
    “Alexander VI did nothing else but deceive men, he thought of nothing else, and found the occasion for it; no man was ever more able to give assurances, or affirmed things with stronger oaths, and no man observed them less; however, he always succeeded in his deceptions, as he well knew this aspect of things.”
    “Everybody sees what you appear to be, few feel what you are, and those few will not dare to oppose themselves to the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of men, and especially of princes, from which there is no appeal, the end justifies the means.” (p. 93)

    Machiavelli was an atheist. Did you see him even remotely described in the distorted article?

    Such clairvoyance will be useful for the atheists in your
    particular denomination (or brand, if you prefer) of the atheist faith that
    simultaneously questions your atheist faith while not speaking about such
    faith for fear of the dreaded out-group status, such silence requires
    clairvoyance.
    I don’t have any faith in anything except human nature to repeat the same mistakes so often it might even be said there are no new mistakes.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,188 UDP


    Ah lads, will ye get a room...


  • Registered Users Posts: 296 ✭✭ Arcus Arrow


    UDP wrote: »
    Ah lads, will ye get a room...

    Here's the question UDP:

    If the term atheists only means people who do not themselves believe in the existence of gods then how can anyone purporting to speak on their behalf ascribe to them attitudes, attributes, standards of behaviour etc without qualifying in some way which atheists they are referring to?

    The question has everything to do with Tim Robbins OP. It's not like I'm hijacking the thread by linking to self promoting articles that have nothing to do with the OP. Oh but here's my latest article about the link between deep space black holes and Dublin bus timetables....you don't mind do you!


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Feedback welcome.


    The Bible says we should love our neighbour, but stone him to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath.

    Not exactly endeavouring to hide your strawmen behind bushels :rolleyes:. Or maybe you suppose the average IT floating voter will see things as simplistically cardboard cut-out as you apparently do.


    As for the Euthyphro "Dilemma"


    Zzzzz...


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 24,255 Mod ✭✭✭✭ robindch


    As for the Euthyphro "Dilemma" Zzzzz...
    Interesting to note all the same that, even after some 2350 years, the religious haven't yet managed to answer the question that Euthyphro asked.

    What's your position on it, or will you continue in the grand religious tradition of closing your eyes and going "la, la, la" when you see it? :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    robindch wrote: »
    What's your position on it, or will you continue in the grand religious tradition of closing your eyes and going "la, la, la" when you see it? :)

    My position would see "that which aligns with God's will (whether it is God acting or nature acting or us acting)" as a grouping befitting a general label. That label need not have (what is perceived from our perspective as a) a 'moral' componant. That label is 'good'.

    So, when God looked upon all he had created and declared it good, he was saying "this is as I want it to be". When we act in the manner he asks of us (with the heart he desires lying behind our acting) he say's the same thing.

    Also, God's will stems from his character which is immutable.

    -

    What dilemmas are you supposing of this position?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Dades


    What dilemmas are you supposing of this position?
    Why he "looked upon all he had created and declared it good", for one.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Dades wrote: »
    Why he "looked upon all he had created and declared it good", for one.

    What's the dilemma?


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,132 ✭✭✭✭ Penn


    What's the dilemma?

    Well, I'd consider tornados, landslides, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanos to be pretty poor design.

    I mean, I work in a design industry. Sometimes I don't notice faults in my own design. On the seventh day, God should have created someone to give a second opinion instead of just saying "That's good" and resting. I mean, that's just lazy.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Penn wrote: »
    Well, I'd consider tornados, landslides, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanos to be pretty poor design.

    A cursed (or re-modelled :)) creation not containing the above would strike me as somewhat toothless a cursed creation.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,132 ✭✭✭✭ Penn


    A cursed (or re-modelled :)) creation not containing the above would strike me as somewhat toothless a cursed creation.

    But, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't God create Adam and Eve on the sixth day, then on the seventh, declared the Earth to be "good". It was after that that Eve ate the apple and God cursed them. So, the tornados etc were already created before the fall of man. So, God created a cursed creation from the beginning, thereby putting man in an unwinnable scenario; a Kobayashi-Maru if you will.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Penn wrote: »
    But, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't God create Adam and Eve on the sixth day, then on the seventh, declared the Earth to be "good". It was after that that Eve ate the apple and God cursed them. So, the tornados etc were already created before the fall of man. So, God created a cursed creation from the beginning, thereby putting man in an unwinnable scenario; a Kobayashi-Maru if you will.

    God cursed the ground (not just them) on account of their sin. Thus tornados etc. (is the Christian view)

    If you want to discuss the Euthyphro Dilemma with someone who holds to a non-Christian view of Genesis then you'd need to take it up with them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,132 ✭✭✭✭ Penn


    God cursed the ground (not just them) on account of their sin. Thus tornados etc. (is the Christian view)

    So the world as we know it isn't the world that God looked upon and said that it was good. Because of their sin, he cursed the ground, thereby changing the world that he said was good into something else.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,188 UDP


    God cursed the ground (not just them) on account of their sin. Thus tornados etc. (is the Christian view)
    Curses us all and where we live but expects us to love him and believe he loves us. Sounds like a bit of an egoistic a$$hole to me. I guess satan was the good guy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,370 ✭✭✭ Knasher


    My position would see "that which aligns with God's will (whether it is God acting or nature acting or us acting)" as a grouping befitting a general label. That label need not have (what is perceived from our perspective as a) a 'moral' componant. That label is 'good'.

    So, when God looked upon all he had created and declared it good, he was saying "this is as I want it to be". When we act in the manner he asks of us (with the heart he desires lying behind our acting) he say's the same thing.

    Also, God's will stems from his character which is immutable.

    -

    What dilemmas are you supposing of this position?

    I'm not necessarily arguing against this view yet, I would just like you to flesh out your position a little more before I respond if that is okay.

    Would it be fair to say that if follows from your view that the set of things that god has defined as good are completely arbitrary? After all if good is defined in terms of the will of god then you can't turn around and say that the will of god is good without falling into a meaningless tautology. For the same reason, saying that god is good is meaningless. It would also follow from that to say that god cannot be a rational being.

    The other thing I'd like to question is when you state that gods character is immutable. I'm just curious what your thoughts on the old testament are then. A common reply whenever somebody touts something barbaric from the old testament, is that because of the new testament that barbarism is no longer applicable. It would seem to me that this constitutes an example of god changing his mind and then his will couldn't be immutable.

    The last thing I'd like to ask is if you adhere to the view that god is omniscient? It relates to the immutable statement but I'd like your reply before I expand on it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    My position would see "that which aligns with God's will (whether it is God acting or nature acting or us acting)" as a grouping befitting a general label. That label need not have (what is perceived from our perspective as a) a 'moral' componant. That label is 'good'.
    If I read you correctly, you are saying that

    1. The grouping of ‘all that your god wants to happen’ needs a label.
    2. That label need not have (what we see as) a ‘moral’ component.
    3. You are using the label ‘good’ to represent this grouping.

    But that is not addressing the Euthyphro dilemma, which is about the grouping itself, not about the label that you put on it.

    You are saying nothing about whether the grouping itself (i.e. ‘all that your god wants to happen’) needs to have (what we see as) a moral component.

    What is your belief about that?
    Also, God's will stems from his character which is immutable.
    Immutably what? Immutably good? immutably evil? Immutably ambivalent? Immutably arbitrary?

    And how do you know?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,780 liamw


    Immutably what? Immutably good? immutably evil? Immutably ambivalent? Immutably arbitrary?

    Immutably mysterious.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    Antiskeptic, to help me to more clearly understand what your position is...

    When you say that you are using the label ‘good’ to describe ‘all that your god wants to happen’, is that is the only meaning that you attach to the label ‘good’?

    Or do you also use the label ‘good’ (in a different context) to describe what we humans typically mean by ‘good’ i.e. some variation of morally virtuous?


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Penn wrote: »
    So the world as we know it isn't the world that God looked upon and said that it was good. Because of their sin, he cursed the ground, thereby changing the world that he said was good into something else.

    Indeed.

    And taking our definition of good being that which "aligns with God's will"

    - the world was good pre-fall. It was as God wanted it to be.

    - the world is good post-fall. God wanted to give Adam choice involving consequences and so, it was his will that those promised consequences would be delivered on following Adams choice. We can say the world is now aligned with God's will (informed and modified as that will is by the presence of Adams choice)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    If I read you correctly, you are saying that

    1. The grouping of ‘all that your god wants to happen’ needs a label.
    2. That label need not have (what we see as) a ‘moral’ component.
    3. You are using the label ‘good’ to represent this grouping.


    But that is not addressing the Euthyphro dilemma, which is about the grouping itself, not about the label that you put on it.

    You are saying nothing about whether the grouping itself (i.e. ‘all that your god wants to happen’) needs to have (what we see as) a moral component.

    What is your belief about that?


    Let's suppose a God who has a strong, negative reaction in the core of his being .. in the face of gross selfishness. Let's suppose that he is always offended and outraged when witnessing that selfishness - albeit more intensely than we (collectively, if not always universally or consistently) are offended and outraged in our witnessing of it.

    And let's suppose that he is immutable in his being offended by selfishness so. That unlike us, God has no choice in the matter of being offended so (although he has means in which the offence can be dealt with such that different outcomes might follow as a result of his being offended)

    Finally let us suppose that God has, in his assembly of us and for the purposes he has for us, equipped us with something he himself hasn't got or have a need for. A sense of "ought" and "ought not" (or a moral sense if you will). This moral sense acts to counter a pull in the direction of contra-God's will (sin).

    This ought/ought not sense informs us in one-step removed fashion what God's will is and what God's will isn't. Equipped so, we can respond to what God approves of and what God detests without our having to believe God exists. And we can experience something of what God experiences in our aligning or not with his will. Our moral sense will be stimulated this way and that depending on which way we go.


    As for "moral component" in our acting selfishly or not? According to the above schema, "moral component" or "absolute wrong" or "good or bad" (as we generally understand them) are all terms which ultimately derive from "the will of God". We consider selfishness as morally bad because that of us which is made in the image of God responds as God himself responds to it.

    God himself obviously isn't subject to moral measurement or evalulation given that morality is something which is derived from his will and which references his will in it's activity within moral agents.

    As it happens he detests selfishness. And as immutable on that score he will always detest selfishness. If God happened to have different immutable characteristics - if he adored selfishness and tuned our ought/ought not accordingly - then the argument would be the same - except that selfishness would be 'good'.

    Since he is immutable however, the arbitrary/capricious dilemma (which supposes today's good could be tomorrows bad) doesn't stand.


    Immutably what? Immutably good? immutably evil? Immutably ambivalent? Immutably arbitrary?

    Immutably hating selfishness. For example.

    And how do you know?

    Why, the Bible tells me so..

    :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 296 ✭✭ Arcus Arrow



    Why, the Bible tells me so..

    :)

    Have you read the OP?

    Would your Bible give you an answer to the following question:

    If the term atheists only means people who do not themselves believe in the existence of gods then how can anyone purporting to speak on their behalf ascribe to them attitudes, attributes, standards of behaviour, predictable reactions etc without qualifying in some way which atheists they are referring to?

    It's a question that professed Irish atheists are studiously avoiding but it's based on the OP unlike your sidetrack.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Have you read the OP?

    Nope, but I did read the letter linked there and commented on same


    Would your Bible give you an answer to the following question:

    If the term atheists only means people who do not themselves believe in the existence of gods then how can anyone purporting to speak on their behalf ascribe to them attitudes, attributes, standards of behaviour, predictable reactions etc without qualifying in some way which atheists they are referring to?

    The bible does indeed have an answer to that.

    It suggests that people who don't believe in God don't believe in nothing at all in his place. Rather, they will believe in something else (aka: a false god). Since these false gods are, at root, meeting the same need the unbeliever has, it wouldn't be at all surprising that one person could speak on behalf of others who worship the same sub-brand of false god.

    The atheist might well attempt to avoid inquiry by stating his position to be merely a lack of belief in god(s). But the something else he believes in (naturalism / empiricism for example) will be common to many other atheists. Attitudes and practices derived from those overarching philosophical positions will produce an outlook that too common to many.

    And so Micheal Nugent will find that he can speak 'for all'. More than a Christian can speak for all Christians .. in all likelyhood.


  • Registered Users Posts: 296 ✭✭ Arcus Arrow


    Nope, but I did read the letter linked there and commented on same

    If you read the OP you might not be going so off topic. What letter are you referring to?
    The bible does indeed have an answer to that.

    What passage of the bible would that be?
    It suggests that people who don't believe in God don't believe in nothing at all in his place. Rather, they will believe in something else (aka: a false god). Since these false gods are, at root, meeting the same need the unbeliever has, it wouldn't be at all surprising that one person could speak on behalf of others who worship the same sub-brand of false god.

    Not believing in gods does not require believing in a replacement. For anything else to be a case of being a false god or a replacement belief it would have to be believed in by being given the same qualities as a god. Anything that constitutes the attributes of a god can't be believed in by an atheist because then they wouldn't be an atheist.

    Whey do you say the bible "suggests". Is your god one of hints and allegations? Nudge nudge wink wink doesn't sound like a very efficient way for a god thing to communicate to it's underlings.
    The atheist might well attempt to avoid inquiry by stating his position to be merely a lack of belief in god(s). But the something else he believes in (naturalism / empiricism for example) will be common to many other atheists. Attitudes and practices derived from those overarching philosophical positions will produce an outlook that too common to many.

    To not believe in the childish idea of an enormous complicated universe controlling entity, billions and billions of years old that no one has any proof of does not require believing in anything else.
    And so Micheal Nugent will find that he can speak 'for all'. More than a Christian can speak for all Christians .. in all likelyhood.

    So in your opinion for a self appointed spokesman to speak on behalf of atheists they would have to be part of a common belief system? Atheism would have to be considered a religion in other words. Is that correct?

    Are least you weren't afraid to answer the question, fair play to ya.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    Antiskeptic, to distill your suppositions, you seem to be suggesting the following:

    Your god is offended and outraged by certain things, including as one example witnessing selfishness. To avoid being offended and outraged, your god has placed within human beings a sense that causes us to tend towards not doing such things. We humans call this sense ‘morality’. The things that your god is offended or outraged by are dependent on his immutable characteristics. His immutable characteristics happen to include, as one example, being offended and outraged by selfishness, so selfishness is always ‘bad’. If his immutable characteristics had happened to include the opposite, then selfishness would always be ‘good’. You know this because the bible says so.

    Is that a fair summary of your suppositions? If not, please let me know. If so, let us plug those particular suppositions into the Euthyphro dilemma.

    If your god’s desires and dislikes are based on his immutable characteristics, then your god has no control over what makes him offended or outraged. This means that any ‘morality’ based on his desires and dislikes is arbitrary, as it is based merely on what his immutable characteristics happened to be. Under these suppositions, morality is merely a label for obeying or pacifying a tyrant whose desires are more important than ours simply because he is more powerful than we are. It follows from this that there is no just reason to follow any alleged commands of such a god, and that there are just reasons to ignore any alleged commands of such a god. And this is particularly so for many of the alleged commands that are found in the Christian bible.

    If I have understood your suppositions accurately, they actually come out worse for the god argument than either of the traditional horns of the Euthyphro dilemma. This is because they assume that your god has no control of over what offends or outrages him, and thus has no control over what he wants to see happen. He thus does not command things to be right or wrong because of either of the traditional horns of the dilemma. In fact he does not really command anything in any meaningful way. He simply wants things to happen in such a way that his immutable characteristics happen to not make him offended or outraged.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,993 ✭✭✭✭ recedite


    It follows from this that there is no just reason to follow any alleged commands of such a god, and that there are just reasons to ignore any alleged commands of such a god. And this is particularly so for many of the alleged commands that are found in the Christian bible.

    I'll just play devils advocate for a moment (ironically the christian is the devil here :))
    The word "just" referring to "natural justice" is the same as right or righteousness in this context. So according to the theist stance, the commands of the god are in fact "just" commands, simply because they emanate from the god.
    Hence antiskeptic remains trapped in this endless loop of the god's self-justification. Which may well be comforting for antiskeptic.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    recedite wrote: »
    I'll just play devils advocate for a moment (ironically the christian is the devil here :))
    The word "just" referring to "natural justice" is the same as right or righteousness in this context. So according to the theist stance, the commands of the god are in fact "just" commands, simply because they emanate from the god.
    Hence antiskeptic remains trapped in this endless loop of the god's self-justification. Which may well be comforting for antiskeptic.
    That's a fair point. If you detach morality and justice from what we typically mean by right and wrong, then there is no reason at all to follow the commands of Antiskeptic's god. They are just random urges that we can choose to act on or ignore.

    Although in reality Antiskeptic's position is gained by playing with labels, rather than addressing reality. We have taken the labels that we usually associate with morality (right, wrong, good, bad, justice, injustice etc) and applied those labels to the supposed will of this god. However, the reality of our sense of right, wrong, good, bad, justice, injustice etc (independently of the god's will) still exist, although we now have no label for them. So let's take the underlying causes of those realities, which are things like our sense of compassion, empathy, fairness, reason etc. Many of us will still base our behavior on compassion, empathy, fairness and reason when those senses clash with the supposed commands of this god.

    As an aside, there is another irony in Antiskeptic's god. He is offended and outraged by selfishness in others, yet his main overall focus is the incredibly selfish desire to have every other living being behave in such a way as not to offend him.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Antiskeptic, to distill your suppositions, you seem to be suggesting the following:

    Let's have a look..


    Your god is offended and outraged by certain things, including as one example witnessing selfishness.

    Correct.


    To avoid being offended and outraged, your god has placed within human beings a sense that causes us to tend towards not doing such things. We humans call this sense ‘morality’.

    Incorrect. His motivation for equipping us so wasn't stated/implied as having to do with avoiding being offended. The expression used (but not elaborated on) was: "Finally let us suppose that God has, in his assembly of us and for the purposes he has for us, equipped us....".

    His equipping us with a moral sense has to do with his purposes concerning us. Indeed, it's important to realise that our offending him plays a central role in the mechanism he has deployed in order that we might be saved. He utilizes our sin in the process of saving us - a bit like fighting fire with fire. So don't stop sinning whatever you do!


    The things that your god is offended or outraged by are dependent on his immutable characteristics. His immutable characteristics happen to include, as one example, being offended and outraged by selfishness, so selfishness is always ‘bad’. If his immutable characteristics had happened to include the opposite, then selfishness would always be ‘good’. You know this because the bible says so.


    Correct.


    Is that a fair summary of your suppositions? If not, please let me know. If so, let us plug those particular suppositions into the Euthyphro dilemma.


    Okay. I don't know if the clarification above above will make any difference to what you have to say.


    If your god’s desires and dislikes are based on his immutable characteristics, then your god has no control over what makes him offended or outraged.

    Correct.


    This means that any ‘morality’ based on his desires and dislikes is arbitrary, as it is based merely on what his immutable characteristics happened to be.


    Could you explain what you understand by 'arbitrary' here? This example

    1. Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
    ..does fit since God's choice isn't random - it's immutable and fixed. Nor is it based on personal whim since whim is defined as

    A sudden desire or change of mind


    ...and that doesn't fit with immutability.


    Under these suppositions, morality is merely a label for obeying or pacifying a tyrant whose desires are more important than ours simply because he is more powerful than we are.



    "Morality" is a label for an influence God subjects you to without your being able to know it's him subjecting you to it. The influence isn't such that it overwhelms your desire to go in a different direction (indeed, if you really want to, you can succeed in killing off the restraint imposed by morality altogether: Fred West? Hitler? Stalin?)

    Your response to God (which is made up of more than moral responses) is the determining factor in whether you spend eternity with God or without God. That's what your life here on Earth is aimed at achieving for you. This existance is the means whereby you get to choose.

    Your desire is so valued by God that it will stand (and be experienced by you) for all eternity. If God and what he stands for is not what you want then get it you shan't.




    It follows from this that there is no just reason to follow any alleged commands of such a god, and that there are just reasons to ignore any alleged commands of such a god. And this is particularly so for many of the alleged commands that are found in the Christian bible.

    What follows is that the terms you use aren't relevant. What follows is that only two things matter:

    - your response to God

    - what God is like in fact.

    If God happens to be about what Christianity holds him to be about and if your final answer to him indicates that you want and need what he is about then you will spend eternity with him.

    The reason why you follow his commands (and break them) everyday will carry on despite your protestations. Do you think the model of God you labour under makes any difference to your responding to God for the reasons you do?


    If I have understood your suppositions accurately, they actually come out worse for the god argument than either of the traditional horns of the Euthyphro dilemma.

    Is that another way of saying the Euthyphro Dilemma doesn't apply here.


    Q.E.D?



    This is because they assume that your god has no control of over what offends or outrages him, and thus has no control over what he wants to see happen. He thus does not command things to be right or wrong because of either of the traditional horns of the dilemma. In fact he does not really command anything in any meaningful way. He simply wants things to happen in such a way that his immutable characteristics happen to not make him offended or outraged.


    You seem to be resting this bit on an incorrect understanding of what I was saying (see earlier)

    One way of viewing things is to see our existence here as a preparatory stage. A kind of gestation period where created, willed beings are first asked whether they want to be with God or not. Once that's decided upon, once everyone has opted for what it is they want, then the real show commences. Those who want what God stands for "enter glory" where the fullness of God is revealed (it's only revealed in part and by degree here), those that don't end up on the rubbish tip.

    In this period, God (who hates eg: selfishness) is held "in tension". He must tolerate selfish expression for the duration of the gestation period. Once that's over however, God will return "to equilibrium". There will be no more selfishness either from those in glory (they will have been recreated without ability to sin) or those in Hell (they will be utterly confined and unable to express will unto anything that would effect Gods equilibrium.

    In all cases, people will have willed where they are on themselves. No one will be in a position to complain.

    I think it's all rather neat myself. Divinely so in that there doesn't appear to be loose ends.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,086 ✭✭✭ Michael Nugent


    Have to go out now, so will reply in detail later. But two quick points:
    Incorrect. His motivation for equipping us so wasn't stated/implied as having to do with avoiding being offended. The expression used (but not elaborated on) was: "Finally let us suppose that God has, in his assembly of us and for the purposes he has for us, equipped us....". His equipping us with a moral sense has to do with his purposes concerning us.
    What are his purposes for us?
    Could you explain what you understand by 'arbitrary' here? This example
    1. Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
    ..does fit since God's choice isn't random - it's immutable and fixed. Nor is it based on personal whim since whim is defined as

    A sudden desire or change of mind

    ...and that doesn't fit with immutability.
    His will is arbitrary in that it is based on his characteristics, and his characteristics are arbitrary (whether or not they are immutable) because they could have been different but happen not to be. As you said earlier, he might have had characteristics that caused him to love selfishness, but as it happens he doesn't.

    Also, the supposed immutability of his will could be challenged based on reading the bible, but let's park that for a while and run with the supposition of immutability.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Have to go out now, so will reply in detail later. But two quick points:


    What are his purposes for us?

    At this stage in our existance (I referred in my post to this earthly existence being a precursor-event, a place where a certain 'sifting out' occurs before the main, eternal event is ushered in) his purpose has to do with presenting us with a choice. And extracting an answer from us.

    We don't get to influence what the options offered are nor do we get the option to spoil our vote.


    Whilst there are many aspects to the setting up of this choice, morality plays an important part because it is, in effect, a place where the godly image in which we were made and the sinful nature with which that image has been infected and distorted, get to make their respective claim for our affections.

    Whilst not aware perhaps that there is a divine plan in progress, most of will be aware of the pull of "good" and "evil" on us and stemming from within us.


    Our doing what we feel we 'ought to' in the face of temptation to the contrary (or our shouldering and suffering the guilt that comes with not doing what we feel we 'ought to')* is little more than a choice on our part, in that instance, to align ourselves with what is godly. And vice versa.

    *where the 'ought' stems from what God has installed

    His will is arbitrary in that it is based on his characteristics, and his characteristics are arbitrary (whether or not they are immutable) because they could have been different but happen not to be. As you said earlier, he might have had characteristics that caused him to love selfishness, but as it happens he doesn't.

    The E/D use of arbitrary suggested a "what's good today could be bad tomorrow" kind of arbitrariness. A whimsical, capricious, randomly shifting thing.

    If there's a dilemma attaching to an immutable God for whom selfishness will always be viewed negatively then I'd be glad to discuss that.


    Also, the supposed immutability of his will could be challenged based on reading the bible, but let's park that for a while and run with the supposition of immutability.

    Okay.


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