3
   

God kills through random chance.

 
 
Krumple
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 08:55 pm
Here is a religious and philosophical question for you.

A man is trapped in an elevator. Eventually he is rescued and in his relief he decides to rush off to his church to thank god personally. He is so relieved to be alive that he embraces a stone pillar of the alter which abruptly falls onto him, killing him.

The man assumed he should be thankful to god for saving him from being trapped.

In the middle of thanking god for his help, he is killed by a falling pillar.

Besides the fact that the guy probably just had terrible luck, how can you make sense of this in a religious or philosophical way? Is god paying attention or is it all just random chance? Did god help save the man from the elevator only to kill him later? Or was the rescue from the elevator intended by god but the pillar falling an unintentional result? Did the man make a deal with god to get him out of the elevator but after the man was out, did he break his deal with god, so god killed him with the pillar? Was it god's intention the whole time to kill the man but the first attempt failed because he was rescued? Or was the plan all along to kill the man but god just needed a way for him to show up to the pillar? The only way to get the guy in front of the pillar was to trap him in an elevator shaft? Knowing he would be relieved at being rescued he would show up to be crushed as planned?

By the way this is a true story.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 4,487 • Replies: 54
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prothero
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 09:38 pm
@Krumple,
I would say,
God is not a person and gods ways are not mans ways.
The purpose of the universe (if it has one) is clearly not the presevation of individual lives, or a test for immortality. I would say the purpose is creative advance.
Creativity requires some degree of freedom as well as some degree of predictability.
The universe is not a nursery and god is not your parent (Freud).
With meaningful creativity and freedom comes real risk and real reward.
Trust in god but look both ways before you cross the street.
Nature is red in tooth and claw and the god (if there is one) of evolution and modern science is not your personal buddy. Life is a struggle, a striving for higher levels of expereience. To god I attribute that which is good, beauty, elegance, creativity, freedom, and life but there are other forces. (chaos). For me life is a precious gift and I am grateful.
Amperage
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 10:02 pm
@prothero,
my honest assessment is this. He fulfilled his destiny. He was always dead but before he died he came to a saving grace knowledge of God. Remember that while we reason like a man God thinks of eternity.



The Molinist answer to this question I believe would be something like this:

First we must define God's ultimate parameter and that is, IMO, that people come to a free will knowledge of Him.

Having said that I will lay out what Molinism posits or at least as I interpret it in as simplistic a way as I can


God has 3 different types of knowledge which I will call His knowledge of could happen, would happen, and will happen.

Lets start with the overall example of Situation A: where we must choose either X or not X

1. could happen gives God the knowledge of what is possible absolutely. For example, it is not possible to do both X and not X. Could happen essentially lays out necessary truths. Through this knowledge God formulates all possible world's that he could create.

2. would happen gives God the knowledge of what will occur if we we find ourselves in Situation A. Through this knowledge God's choices are then narrowed from all possible worlds to all feasible worlds. The reason this is so is because of our presupposition that God wishes to maintain our free will. The implication is that if we are in Situation A, God knows, for example, that we will choose X even if His desire is for us to choose not X.

3. will happen gives God the knowledge, once God decides which world to create, of exactly what will occur in that world.



That being said, lets examine a possible reason for this situation.

God may know(through his middle knowledge) that, by being in Situation A, Person Z will freely choose God. But being in Situation A, Person Z will die.

God is not forced to create this world unless no other world exists in which Person Z will freely choose God. What I mean to say is, it may be the case that, unless Person Z finds himself in Situation A, then in no other situation will Person Z to freely choose to come to a saving knowledge of God. If that is the case, since Gods overriding goal, as I stated above, is to have Person Z come to a free will knowledge of Him, then God has a duty to create that world.

This would I think be the Molinist response to such a scenario.
0 Replies
 
Insty
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 10:51 pm
@Krumple,
I disagree with the notion that the man in the example had bad luck. True, he ends up dying, but he'll now spend eternity in heaven with God.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 11:09 pm
@Krumple,
This 'God' is a projection of the human psyche and its fear and desire. If there is something sacred beyond all reasoning and human projections, you won't get there wondering what this means. It is a waste of time.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 06:20 am
@jeeprs,
I think Krumple is exploring the idea of, why thank god. Should the faithful ever thank god?
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 02:40 pm
@xris,
xris;122986 wrote:
I think Krumple is exploring the idea of, why thank god. Should the faithful ever thank god?
We thank god for that which has value and meaning in the universe, life, mind, experience, opportunity, possiblity and creativity. For me that is enough, others seem to want immortality or some form of divine protection. Some always want more, others are thankful for what they have been given. If you do not believe in god or think the universe is blind indifference then I quess you have no one and nothing to thank.
Chrisitans "Praise god from whom all blessings flow"
Plato: To god we attribute that which is good.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 03:05 pm
@prothero,
prothero;123075 wrote:
We thank god for that which has value and meaning in the universe, life, mind, experience, opportunity, possiblity and creativity. For me that is enough, others seem to want immortality or some form of divine protection. Some always want more, others are thankful for what they have been given. If you do not believe in god or think the universe is blind indifference then I quess you have no one and nothing to thank.
Chrisitans "Praise god from whom all blessings flow"
Plato: To god we attribute that which is good.
I think the point being made is, why thank him? Do you do the opposite for the misfortunes and the horrors that nature imposes on us. Choosing just the good bits is a bit blinkered. How many times do we hear , thanks be to god, while their neighbour cries for their loss.

The faithful tell us he does not interfere with our free will, natures misfortunes are not of his creation, they make us understand life's tribulations. So why pray for the lost? why pray for their salvation? Why thank him when your prayers are answered, surely he did not interfere with free will :perplexed:and if he did why is he so random in his assistance?
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 03:26 pm
@xris,
xris;123083 wrote:
I think the point being made is, why thank him? Do you do the opposite for the misfortunes and the horrors that nature imposes on us. Choosing just the good bits is a bit blinkered. How many times do we hear , thanks be to god, while their neighbour cries for their loss.

Personally I think "god" could care less about being thanked. You count your blessings (assuming you think you have any) and look upon life as a glass half full for which you are thankful. You pray in order to align yourself and learn to accept "the natural order of things" not as a plea for divine intervention. " god give me the strenght". I think for the "theist" the horrors of the world are for one reason or another unavoidable but overall life and creation are still on the whole "good" and due to something more than blind purposeless indifference.
A sort of **** eyed optimism of sorts.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 03:47 pm
@Krumple,
As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods, They kill us for their sport.

King Lear Act 4, scene 1, 32-37.(Shakespeare)
xris
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 04:01 pm
@prothero,
prothero;123091 wrote:
Personally I think "god" could care less about being thanked. You count your blessings (assuming you think you have any) and look upon life as a glass half full for which you are thankful. You pray in order to align yourself and learn to accept "the natural order of things" not as a plea for divine intervention. " god give me the strenght". I think for the "theist" the horrors of the world are for one reason or another unavoidable but overall life and creation are still on the whole "good" and due to something more than blind purposeless indifference.
A sort of **** eyed optimism of sorts.
It may well be your view but its not the norm for most followers. On the whole its good personally but for many it has never been so.
0 Replies
 
SammDickens
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 10:28 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;123099 wrote:
As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods, They kill us for their sport.

King Lear Act 4, scene 1, 32-37.(Shakespeare)

Okay, Lear, my man, you gotta cheer up fella. You're takin' this life thing altogether too seriously!

King Lear Act 4, scene 1, 38-40. (revised by Dickens) Smile

---------- Post added 02-02-2010 at 10:37 PM ----------

Oh, by the way, I suppose I'm rather a deist. I don't think God is in perfect control here, although I believe God is in us all. I guess I'd say that God-as-man rescued the fellow once but didn't get the chance to do it the second time. I think the universe was designed by God in such a manner that he would wind it up, sit it down, and watch it whurr all about. The result is that crap happens, but nothing is ever truly lost. And the universe is a work in progress that will get better over time.

But I like the Lear quote. The guy must have been on personal terms with Murphy, the Lawgiver.

Samm
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 12:14 am
@Krumple,
Nature kills, sometimes it is random, often it is not. God and nature are not necessarily the same concept. The preservation of individual lives or even of particular species does not seem to be the purpose of nature (assuming you think there might be a purpose at all).
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 12:21 am
@prothero,
prothero;124573 wrote:
Nature kills, sometimes it is random, often it is not. God and nature are not necessarily the same concept. The preservation of individual lives or even of particular species does not seem to be the purpose of nature (assuming you think there might be a purpose at all).


The concept of God, and the concept of Nature, are certainly not the same concepts. But I thought that the issue was whether God and Nature were one and the same thing, as Spinoza argued that they were. After all, different concepts can have the very same thing as their referent. A celebrated case is that of the Evening Star and the Morning Star. Those two concepts are different. But it turned out that they both referred to the planet, Venus. And, as you know, some people claim that the concept of Allah, and the concept of Jehovah, both refer to the same being, namely, God.
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 12:53 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124576 wrote:
The concept of God, and the concept of Nature, are certainly not the same concepts. But I thought that the issue was whether God and Nature were one and the same thing, as Spinoza argued that they were. After all, different concepts can have the very same thing as their referent. A celebrated case is that of the Evening Star and the Morning Star. Those two concepts are different. But it turned out that they both referred to the planet, Venus. And, as you know, some people claim that the concept of Allah, and the concept of Jehovah, both refer to the same being, namely, God.
Well I quess what caught my attention was the application of "random chance" to natural events. Even though such events may not be predictable by us they are neither entirely random not the result of pure chance. The notion is more one of unpredictable and purposeless death as seen from a human perscpective. Such events still presumably follow the laws of nature. Even if one equates god to nature (as is arguably attributed to Spinoza) such events still would not be random chance.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 07:41 am
@prothero,
prothero;124583 wrote:
Well I quess what caught my attention was the application of "random chance" to natural events. Even though such events may not be predictable by us they are neither entirely random not the result of pure chance. The notion is more one of unpredictable and purposeless death as seen from a human perscpective. Such events still presumably follow the laws of nature. Even if one equates god to nature (as is arguably attributed to Spinoza) such events still would not be random chance.


Spinoza did, most certainly, indentify God with Nature ("Deus sive Natura").

According to quantum physicists (who should know) quantum event are indeterministic (not merely unpredictable).
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 09:16 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124624 wrote:
Spinoza did, most certainly, indentify God with Nature ("Deus sive Natura").

According to quantum physicists (who should know) quantum event are indeterministic (not merely unpredictable).
ACTION must be NECESSARY!)

Best Regards>FILIPE DE ALBUQUERQUE
0 Replies
 
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 09:17 am
@kennethamy,
Not to quibble, but then that is what philosophical discussion is, reasoned argument.
[QUOTE=kennethamy;124624] Spinoza did, most certainly, indentify God with Nature ("Deus sive Natura").[/QUOTE] Spinoza's god had infinite attributes of which two only were perceptible to man. Religious scholars and philosophers argue about the exact placement of Spinoza's vision of god (panentheism vs. pantheism generally). In any event the view of nature in Spinoza's time is much different than the view of nature in our time. I think a fair assessment would be that the mechanistic deterministic view of nature arising from classical mechanics was not Spinoza's view at all.


[QUOTE=kennethamy;124624] According to quantum physicists (who should know) quantum event are indeterministic (not merely unpredictable). [/QUOTE] I do not think indeterministic has a mathematical definition (I could be wrong). Stochastic is the term I generally run across. In any event the relationship of quantum mechanics to natural disasters would be as arguable as the relationship of quantum mechanics to free will. At the scale of natural disasters quantum mechanics does not apply.


kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 09:29 am
@prothero,
prothero;124642 wrote:
Not to quibble, but then that is what philosophical discussion is, reasoned argument.
Spinoza's god had infinite attributes of which two only were perceptible to man. Religious scholars and philosophers argue about the exact placement of Spinoza's vision of god (panentheism vs. pantheism generally). In any event the view of nature in Spinoza's time is much different than the view of nature in our time. I think a fair assessment would be that the mechanistic deterministic view of nature arising from classical mechanics was not Spinoza's view at all.


I do not think indeterministic has a mathematical definition (I could be wrong). Stochastic is the term I generally run across. In any event the relationship of quantum mechanics to natural disasters would be as arguable as the relationship of quantum mechanics to free will. At the scale of natural disasters quantum mechanics does not apply.




Spinoza was not merely a determinist. He was a logical determinist. He believe that causal connections were necessary connections, which is why Hume called his view, "Spinoza's horrible hypothesis". Spinoza meant by "Natura" everything. The universe. The "totality of things". And, he identified that with God.

"Indeterminism" is the view that some events have no cause sufficient for their occurrence. That is what most (if not all) quantum physicists believe about quantum events. What the relation (if any) between is between micro-events, and macro-events is, as you say, in questionable. It might be that the effect of micro-indeterminism on macro-events is negligible. That is, of course, a scientific question, which philosophers are not competent to answer.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 09:34 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124648 wrote:
Spinoza was not merely a determinist. He was a logical determinist. He believe that causal connections were necessary connections, which is why Hume called his view, "Spinoza's horrible hypothesis". Spinoza meant by "Natura" everything. The universe. The "totality of things". And, he identified that with God.


---------- Post added 02-03-2010 at 10:53 AM ----------

kennethamy;124648 wrote:
It might be that the effect of micro-indeterminism on macro-events is negligible. That is, of course, a scientific question, which philosophers are not competent to answer.
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