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Can God even be Questioned?

 
 
Joe
 
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 05:55 pm
Im in a bit of a struggle in wording this right, so let me try to explain.

Any question as to the motives of a God, How does our understanding of the universe, or lack there of, even begin to let us assume that God makes or made these choices or those choices?

My example comes from another thread called God on Trial. I think the general argument is that if we have these morals against killing people and causing suffering, then God should be held in the same light since we are made in his image. Is that the Catch right there? Are we an image of his likeness? Does it have to be that way?

I know Im asking alot here but, I will make the statement that we cannot question something and want human structures applied to something that, whether you believe in God or not, we have no clue as to what the hell something like that would even imply.

Am i overlooking something more simple? Is it merely a matter of wanting to identify with God in someway? Is that what really pisses off people when they dont think they can? If so, I think thats understandable, but hardly a strong argument against the Existence of such a being.

Agree? Disagree?
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jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 06:42 pm
@Joe,
Our understanding of God can only be by analogy to ourselves. The problem is that we often forget that it IS an analogy, and think we are saying something true about God, who if outside the universe, is thus unknowable in itself. And so we argue about interpretations and then about interpretations of interpretations, each of which is different, some of which often contradicting one another: God becomes an image (or better: images) of our likeness.
Joe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 06:59 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;82189 wrote:
Our understanding of God can only be by analogy to ourselves. The problem is that we often forget that it IS an analogy, and think we are saying something true about God, who if outside the universe, is thus unknowable in itself. And so we argue about interpretations and then about interpretations of interpretations, each of which is different, some of which often contradicting one another: God becomes an image (or better: images) of our likeness.


I keep forgetting that first part I guess. Funny, because thats exactly why I really dont care to think about "a god" in such a serious manner. Perhaps I forget that people claiming the existence of god Come from a place thats only identifiable through love. Thats a hard sell to Modern day Western Philosophy. Much more to ponder.

Thanks
0 Replies
 
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 07:16 pm
@Joe,
Joe;82183 wrote:


As I understand it, God cannot be questioned if He appeals to the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination.
Joe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 07:33 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;82195 wrote:
As I understand it, God cannot be questioned if He appeals to the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination.


May I ask what the EXACT charges are?:detective:
0 Replies
 
rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 08:33 pm
@Joe,
God cannot exist outside of tautologies created within the human mind. Absolute Being (God) is the antithesis of reality, which is dynamic nonlinear flow, a.k.a. non-absolute becoming.
Joe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 09:16 pm
@rhinogrey,
rhinogrey;82210 wrote:
God cannot exist outside of tautologies created within the human mind. Absolute Being (God) is the antithesis of reality, which is dynamic nonlinear flow, a.k.a. non-absolute becoming.


Looks like the Human mind needs to evolve then........or devolve. Either or. lol.

I agree rhinogrey.
New Mysterianism
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 10:32 pm
@Joe,
Joe:

I don't think it's a radical misstep on our part to hold God to the same moral standards we ourselves hold, and uphold, amongst ourselves. After all, some people claim that God, as the creative order, is our absolute moral authority. Is this position defensible? I don't think so. What if God decreed tomorrow that indiscriminate killing is good and compassion is bad? Would anyone really accept these moral precepts? Doubtful. But then again, God is our absolute moral authority, so who are we to question His edicts? Theists could bite the bullet here and reply that it's no coincidence that God hasn't yet decreed such vices. But were He to, few followers would obey. More importantly, why wouldn't they? Because God's edicts just so happen to coincide with what most theists independently value, God or no God. I bet you that if, tomorrow, a disembodied voice boomed from the heavens, instructing its faithful followers to slay their children and rape their neighbors, few would act. Why? Because God was merely the medium through which their independent moral values gained some (wishful) supernatural legitimacy.

No (sufficiently horrid) divine decree would really override these independent moral values, because they never really derived their legitimacy from God in the first place. These independent values are the products of personal convictions subsequently couched in religious rhetoric--an historically popular way in which to instill values with some (wishful) absolute authority. Now you might be saying: "Hold on. Human history has countless examples of religious believers who gleefully killed in God's name." True. But again, these events likely coincided with furthering the perpetrators' social, political, and economic interests. For these immoral perpetrators, the conviction that "harming others to advance one's interests is morally wrong" was sorely missing from their independent moral values. So if a disembodied voice, or popular text, prescribed edicts that conflicted with their immoral values, they would have probably ignored them, because these sources never really held any authoritative sway over their behavior outside their just so happening to coincide with what the perpetrators really cared about in the first place.

In other words, "God" provides the pretext through which many people, good or bad, wishfully attempt to confer absolute authority upon their passionately held moral values--values whose authority is really independent from God, because God's edicts had no central role in their derivation, unless those edicts just so happened to coincide with what people really cared about a priori, in which case the alleged divine authority is a fortuitous benefit. Alternatively, of course, groups of people have authored divine texts with the express purpose of gaining this particular benefit.

One last thought: if we want to assign God as the (all-good, all-loving)absolute moral authority, He better exhibit a nature consistent with this attribution. Here's an all too familiar and tragic scenario: a newborn baby comes into the world with congenital intestinal blockage. This baby experiences interminable pain and suffering as her insides literally burst and decay. She lingers on like this for four full days, until at last she expires, spiraling her parents into a devastating depression. Now, it is an epistemic possibility that God has a morally sufficient reason for permitting this, or for permitting any natural disaster, chronic disease, or congenital defect. But is it plausible to assume there is such a reason? In other words, do we really have any independent reason to suppose that these tragedies result in some greater compensatory good? I think that if we analyze the situations candidly, and if we employ a little commonsense, it should be readily apparent that we have no plausible reason to believe in the existence of an all-good God in a world riddled with incalculable natural horrors. Indeed, this world is exactly as we'd expect it to be if it were created by a process of pitiless indifference (evolution), rather than an all-good Sky Daddy.
Joe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 11:17 pm
@New Mysterianism,
New Mysterianism;82231 wrote:
Joe:

I don't think it's a radical misstep on our part to hold God to the same moral standards we ourselves hold, and uphold, amongst ourselves.


Well I guess its an issue of social habit that would make me disagree. If I were to "expect" God to act according to what is good and decent, then Im automatically agreeing that God is no friend of mine to allow suffering in all its degrees. And it makes sense. Thats my point. It should not make sense at all. Where is the choice to allow further explanations through Physics, Philosophy, etc....? So maybe it is not a misstep but instead a judgment that doesn't fertilize Human potential and growth on this particular subject.

Quote:
After all, some people claim that God, as the creative order, is our absolute moral authority. Is this position defensible? I don't think so.


I dont think so either. I dont like polarizations.

Quote:
What if God decreed tomorrow that indiscriminate killing is good and compassion is bad? Would anyone really accept these moral precepts? Doubtful. But then again, God is our absolute moral authority, so who are we to question His edicts?


Again, those questions are forcing some sort of one sided choice as to say God is Good or Bad. i understand this plea, I just cant see the use of this method for any critical thought. Please let me stress, that I understand we have this reflection in us, I just choose not to magnify it for study. I think its useless and a waste of time.

Quote:
Theists could bite the bullet here and reply that it's no coincidence that God hasn't yet decreed such vices. But were He to, few followers would obey. More importantly, why wouldn't they? Because God's edicts just so happen to coincide with what most theists independently value, God or no God. I bet you that if, tomorrow, a disembodied voice boomed from the heavens, instructing its faithful followers to slay their children and rape their neighbors, few would act. Why? Because God was merely the medium through which their independent moral values gained some (wishful) supernatural legitimacy.


Great point. On one hand your pointing to the Theist's use of shared morality as a tool for faith and something to grab onto. I dont agree with this Theist's basic structure. So The moral comparison is again showed to cause quick answers and polarizations. On the other hand though, I dont think a Atheist should do the same for the independence. As explained above.

Quote:
No (sufficiently horrid) divine decree would really override these independent moral values, because they never really derived their legitimacy from God in the first place. These independent values are the products of personal convictions couched in theological rhetoric--an historically popular and effective way in which to instill them some (wishful) absolute authority. Now you might be saying: "Hold on. Human history has countless examples of religious believers who gleefully killed in God's name." True. But again, these events likely coincided with furthering the perpetrators' social, political, and economic interests. For these immoral perpetrators, what was sorely missing from their independent moral values was the notion that "harming others to advance one's interests is morally wrong." So if a disembodied voice, or popular text, had prescribed edicts that conflicted with their (lack) of values, they probably would have ignored them, because these sources never really held any authoritative sway outside their just so happening to coincide with what the perpetrators really cared about in the first place.


I think this is a great paragraph. You have very clear thoughts on the misuse of Moral comparison with God (Against Theism). I just dont see how you can fall into the moral argument, when you've clearly pointed out its problems. Seems like pretty back and forth and pointless. I know you must have thought about it.

Quote:

In other words, "God" provides the pretext through which we wishfully attempt to confer absolute authority upon our passionately held moral values--values whose authority is really independent from God, because God's edicts had no central role in their derivation, unless they just so happened to coincide with what people really care about, in which case the alleged divine agreement is a fortuitous benefit. Of course, groups of people also author divine texts with the express purpose of doing just this.

One last thought: if we want to assign God as the (all-good, all-loving)absolute moral authority, He better exhibit a nature consistent with this attribution. Here's an all too familiar and tragic scenario: a newborn baby comes into the world with congenital intestinal blockage. This baby experiences interminable pain and suffering as her insides literally burst and decay. She lingers on like this for four full days, until at last she expires, spiraling her parents into a devastating depression. Now, it is an epistemic possibility that God has a morally sufficient reason for permitting this, or for permitting any natural disaster, chronic disease, or congenital defects. But is it plausible to assume there is such a reason? In other words, do we really have any independent reason to suppose that these tragedies result in some greater compensatory good? I think that if we analyze the situations candidly, and if we employ a little commonsense, it should be readily apparent that we have no plausible reason to believe in the existence of an all-good God in a world riddled with incalculable natural horrors. Indeed, this world is exactly as we'd expect it to be if it were created by a process of pitiless indifference (evolution), rather than an all-good Sky Daddy.


I just wanna finish this response by saying that Im merely spiritual. I dont care for the idea of God because its to Simple. I think more people need to just put the old judgments aside and understand that we cannot keep exploring this subject with such structured, simple, safe, easy, tactics.

Thanks for your response man. What do you think?
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 01:13 am
@Joe,
In my opinion you cannot apply any human conceived attribute to an infinite omniall entity like god
Joe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 01:38 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;82247 wrote:
In my opinion you cannot apply any human conceived attribute to an infinite omniall entity like god


All signs seem that way to me too.
jgweed
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 06:56 am
@Joe,
By the same token, one must remember that the "via negativa" that defines God by negation, is also dubious. To say, for example, that everything we know exists in time, but that God does NOT exist in time, is a kind of analogy, too.

This is not to say that such analogies are false (we cannot determine that) or do not perhaps give our minds gestures and hints toward the godhead; it is to say, however, that we must keep before us that they are analogies about the incomprehensible, and we must use them, as Kierkegaard might have said, in "fear and trembling."
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 10:01 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;82289 wrote:
By the same token, one must remember that the "via negativa" that defines God by negation, is also dubious. To say, for example, that everything we know exists in time, but that God does NOT exist in time, is a kind of analogy, too.

This is not to say that such analogies are false (we cannot determine that) or do not perhaps give our minds gestures and hints toward the godhead; it is to say, however, that we must keep before us that they are analogies about the incomprehensible, and we must use them, as Kierkegaard might have said, in "fear and trembling."


I like your logic and can add a thought or two to cement it further

The Apostle Paul did nothing but question God and gods ways in order to better understand Divinity. Whatever one thinks about Paul he had one of the most remarkable analytical mind in history. As for me I question God all the time just like nearly all of us do on this great forum

If we try to apply human attributes to God and in the same argument insist God infinite in all aspects, then God by this logic could be infinitely stupid at times just like we are. OH!! Gosh now I have blasphemed!!

Kierkegaard I have heard this term used by the Afrikaans people of South Africa where I live
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 10:05 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;82247 wrote:
In my opinion you cannot apply any human conceived attribute to an infinite omniall entity like god


Not even the right against self-incrimination? We give that even to terrorists!
0 Replies
 
Aristoddler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 12:35 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;82317 wrote:
...The Apostle Paul did nothing but question God and gods ways in order to better understand Divinity.
And yet to question God is to doubt him, oh ye of little faith.
Faith must be absolute, or it is not faith.
That opens up a whole new can of beans, which I won't get into here, but it does raise the question; If you doubt God enough to question him, do you have faith?
No0ne
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 04:34 pm
@Joe,
Joe;82183 wrote:
Any question as to the motives of a God, How does our understanding of the universe, or lack there of, even begin to let us assume that God makes or made these choices or those choices??


The sense, and knowlege of choice is a product of awareness and understanding. At what level of awareness and understanding dose one doubt they made there choice? Is such a level awareness and understanding of the universe productive in obtaining that of which you seek in the universe?
:a-thought:
:detective:
*note humanity did not create all the rules/laws which govern and dictate's all, therefore yes, that of which created such rules/laws which govern and dictates all would be the one that made all choices possible to be created, but such did not make the choices just made the choices possible to be created. Hence I can go out side and kick a can, cause a human made a can, but a human can make a can cause a entitie made the foundation for a can to be made by a human, hence that entitie made my choice to kick a can possible to be made. So basicaly I can choose to kick the can, yet I must choose my reason why from a list of reasons why to kick or not kick the can that was made possible by such a entitie, humanity, and my self. Therefore humanity as a whole and the entitie are equally responsible, due to the fact that humanity as a whole was more responsible for choosing the reason why from the limited list of reason why, than the entitie, and the entitie was more responsible for the creation of the rules/laws which allows the possibility for such choices to be made accompanyed by a choosen/no reason why. (Dualistic)

*note http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/philosophy-religion/5421-god-trial-5.html#post82375 the sense of equal blame and responsibility was also touched in this link.
*note http://www.philosophyforum.com/lounge/general-discussion/4758-end-goal-16.html#post78151 here is that is related the dualistic method of creation and execution of choices.
*note Here is a list of threads that are highly related to the matter of choices.
http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/young-philosophers-forum/1545-free-will-illusion-3.html#post20363
http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/epistemology/1311-no-human-action-all-reaction.html
http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/logic/274-logic-not-want-not-want.html
All three a great threads
0 Replies
 
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 05:08 pm
@Joe,
Joe;82183 wrote:
Im in a bit of a struggle in wording this right, so let me try to explain.

Any question as to the motives of a God, How does our understanding of the universe, or lack there of, even begin to let us assume that God makes or made these choices or those choices?

My example comes from another thread called God on Trial. I think the general argument is that if we have these morals against killing people and causing suffering, then God should be held in the same light since we are made in his image. Is that the Catch right there? Are we an image of his likeness? Does it have to be that way?

I know Im asking alot here but, I will make the statement that we cannot question something and want human structures applied to something that, whether you believe in God or not, we have no clue as to what the hell something like that would even imply.

Am i overlooking something more simple? Is it merely a matter of wanting to identify with God in someway? Is that what really pisses off people when they dont think they can? If so, I think thats understandable, but hardly a strong argument against the Existence of such a being.

Agree? Disagree?


Alan McDougall;82247 wrote:
In my opinion you cannot apply any human conceived attribute to an infinite omniall entity like god


There are to possibilities for God: God is Empirically defined and thus our statements about God have sense, or God is Metaphysical and thus every statement about God is metaphysical and carries no empirical meaning and furthermore cannot be appealed to in non-metaphysical matters.

If God is Empirically defined, then not only would human conceived (or experienced) attributes be applicable, but they would be necessary. No other aspects of God would apply empirically and thus it would be senseless to make a claim pertaining to them. Such claims would have no truth value.

If God is entirely metaphysical, then the existence of God is a non issue. Any ontological claim is nonsensical as an ontological claim must strictly pertain to empirical matters. Any claim about God would be strictly non factual and would thus also be unverifiable.

Any claim about the existence or nonexistence of a non empirical entity is gibberish. One can have mystical sentiment, but deriving judgment that is in any way applicable to the material necessarily entails fallacy.

The God I might prescribe to is simply referent to the delineation of the Universe or our World. We cannot know this delineation and we can make no claims about it, we can contemplate it and it provides a mystical feeling. The unquestionability of it provides a certain degree of humility and certain realizations of where the limits of human understanding and power might be. I find this conception totally sufficient without overstepping the bounds of reason and thus becoming inconsistent with my views as a whole.
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 09:40 pm
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler;82358 wrote:
And yet to question God is to doubt him, oh ye of little faith.
Faith must be absolute, or it is not faith.
That opens up a whole new can of beans, which I won't get into here, but it does raise the question; If you doubt God enough to question him, do you have faith?


There is a difference in asking God a question and questioning his will is there not?

I asked my dad questions all the time while he was still living, but respected his way he lived his life. Surely God would not object if we do the same, after all God is our heavenly father
Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 11:24 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Is there any syntax in which we could ask (such as prayer) an absolute being anything?
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Aug, 2009 12:55 am
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401;82446 wrote:
Is there any syntax in which we could ask (such as prayer) an absolute being anything?


Our Father who is in heaven
Holy is your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Forgive us our transgressions as we will forgive those who have transgressed against us
Give us this day our daily needs
And lead us away from sin
For yours is the Power and the Glory for ever and ever amen
 

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