By the way, I probably should tell you that anytime you ask a 'God' related question on A2K, it will pretty much get bum-rushed by the resident A2K Atheists who will tell you the question is moot because there is no God.
And honestly, why wouldn't we? Isn't it reasonable to question basic assumptions when a question like this gets posted? And even more broadly, is it not incumbent on every intelligent person to challenge the basic veracity of the assumptions implied by a question like this? How could any reasonable person possibly let an assumption like that simply skate on through? Especially in an open forum like this?
For example, if someone popped in and asked "Why do Unicorns like to put their heads in virgin's laps?", would you expect that to just go through without challenge, and people to start an enthusiastic analysis of the motivations of the Unicorn? Does the word "God" (which I put in quotes because there are about a billion of them) earn some type of special pass that other magical entities don't? Is any particular "God" more magical than a Unicorn? Can there be such a thing as "more magical"? Is there more evidence for God than a Unicorn? Or is God simply a more "reasonable" form of magic in people's minds? The mere fact that I can equate God and Unicorns probably feels wrong to some people, but their feeling only demonstrates the point.
Now, to be fair, you might say to the person asking the question, "are you using the question to form a purely academic discussion on morality, or do you actually believe in Unicorns?" If the person says that the question is purely hypothetical then you might want to explore the concept on that basis alone. But if the person says they actually believe in Unicorns, would you really want to continue on with a careful analysis of the moral question knowing that they were already delusional? Might you become suspicious that this person's reasoning process was already impaired and think that you might not get a very rational discussion out of them?
On the other hand, if A2K were a church or something, then I could see a question about God going unchallenged. After all, if you're sitting in a room full of people who already believe in Unicorns, then you would expect a discussion of Unicorns to follow without challenge. But in an open forum like A2K it would be unrealistic not to expect to be challenged on the basic premise of the question, wouldn't it?
And likewise, in public and in daily life, the assumption of God should not go unchallenged, any more than the assumption of Unicorns should. /quote]
Friction is probably intrinsic to discussions about anything God-related on A2K. But (IMO) you'd do much to preempt some unnecessary friction by only speaking for yourself. We'd appreciate it.
Oh, "we" would, would "we"? Now who's not just speaking for yourself.
What did I misinterpret?
In the current example, how could contemplating the question of "How can a good God allow suffering" possibly harm anyone?
Rosborne979 wrote:And likewise, in public and in daily life, the assumption of God should not go unchallenged, any more than the assumption of Unicorns should.
I don't think I've at all implied that "it's not all right to challenge" anyone's assumptions. I've simply tried to highlight the need some folks have to create empty contention with people who are clearly not spoiling for a fight about their faith.
I sincerely appreciate the openmindedness that allowed you to address my perspective. Yes, it would alter my opinion if you showed me examples of threads where people had clearly abstained from disrupting discussions that labeled themselves as exclusively theological. I honestly haven't seen an example of that.
I'm not sure if this one is the exact one I'm thinking of, but the original post does contain a caveat which defines the context of the question:
I have not read through it, so I do not remember if I ever replied, or what others may have said.
I consider it highly relevant that I've run into the same communications difficulties with LeadFoot before, and that I'm not the only one to have complained about it. So I will continue to point this out when necessary.
Let's see if the damn atheists get in and derail this one too.
I suggest leadfoot check out atheists' threads, begun for atheists, and see how many believers crashed the party.