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Pascal's Wager -- a re-invitation to Alvira


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#26 Alexander Hawthorne

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM

Okay, you have made a legitimate statement here. I admit freely that you have some solid points. I'll only focus on evidence from here on out. Also, I'll do my best to answer your questions posted in that last comment.

Women count certainly! i was merely using the general "man" as in mankind.

The person who lives life under gross sin, then decides at the last moment they would rather not chance Hell, is not really undergoing conversion based on their want to live for God, and their conversion is likely not genuine. God looks at peoples' hearts, not just their actions, so He would know whether or not they truly believed. Someone who has killed, murdered, and hardened themselves against God are unlikely to undergo real conversion "a second before death" so it's unlikely they would make it into Heaven.

Those who came before Jesus were told to make sacrifices of one perfect lamb a year, symbolically washing their sin away. The faith of the Jews before Christ was all that was needed for their entrance into Heaven. So no, they were not out of luck.

Yes there is the danger of Hell, but God does not originate it. As I said before, God gave humans the ability of free will. Our free will created heaven, and God allows us to live with the benefits or consequences of free will. Taking away Heaven would turn Humanity into a sort of Automaton with no real choice as to their actions, because nothing they did would bear weight. so you are saying that in order to be Just, God must take away Hell, yet this would take away your free will.

yes in fact I could choose not to believe in what I see plain as day such as the physical reality, but it would be called insanity. I can choose to believe in fairies or ghosts.

I do apologize for the projection. It is MY belief that atheism is wrong, and it was wrong of me to force that worldview on you. I'm not atheistic, I'm Monotheistic. Believing in God does not make me Atheistic, merely not believing in the concept of god as defined by other religions. Atheism is not believing in any god.

yes, I came off a little preachy. Sorry about that. I will let it be now. I don't have more to say on this thread, and you clearly aren't actually interested in Christianity.
Hopefully you won't feel any enmity or animosity towards Christianity because I couldn't better explain myself.

#27 maddog

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 08:57 PM

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

Okay, you have made a legitimate statement here. I admit freely that you have some solid points. I'll only focus on evidence from here on out. Also, I'll do my best to answer your questions posted in that last comment.
Fair enough; carry on.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

Women count certainly! i was merely using the general "man" as in mankind.
It's good to be aware of misogyny in language and to modify the language we use accordingly.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

The person who lives life under gross sin, then decides at the last moment they would rather not chance Hell, is not really undergoing conversion based on their want to live for God, and their conversion is likely not genuine. God looks at peoples' hearts, not just their actions, so He would know whether or not they truly believed. Someone who has killed, murdered, and hardened themselves against God are unlikely to undergo real conversion "a second before death" so it's unlikely they would make it into Heaven.
First off, according to the claims of Christianity, there is NO ONE who does not live life under "gross sin."  We are told that that is the foundational, natural condition of all human beings, regardless of what they may do.

Second, you are well on your way to disproving Pascal's Wager.  Pascal's Wager presents precisely the notion that one should "bet" on God and believe in God because of the hope of "not chancing Hell," or, as Alvira put it at the top of the thread, in order to be "safe."  If you are right that God looks into hearts, and not just actions, then the God of Pascal's Wager would know that people taking the Wager were doing so for the wrong reasons, and so, even if people don't wait until their deathbed, any who choose based on Pascal's Wager may not be "safe" at all.  Thus,  as your own statement recognizes, Pascal's Wager is a bad argument, and Christians should stop using or proposing it.

Third, you are in no position to say whether or not someone's deathbed (or earlier) conversion is or is not genuine.  That's the "No True Scotsman" fallacy.  You cannot tell by looking at a person, and you cannot tell by what they say or what they do whether whatever they have done acceptably meets the criteria for a "genuine" conversion.  In addition, you are not entitled to change the terms of my hypothetical.  My hypothetical proposed that a person who had lived an entire life of murder, rape and robbery converted at the last minute and repented.  According to your doctrine, that person would be eligible for heaven, regardless of their life of crime.  In fact, that is the central promise of Christianity ... no matter how grievous the sins and how depraved the sinner, it is never too late to "repent."  Unless you now want to go back on God's word in this matter.


View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

Those who came before Jesus were told to make sacrifices of one perfect lamb a year, symbolically washing their sin away. The faith of the Jews before Christ was all that was needed for their entrance into Heaven. So no, they were not out of luck.
  First, there were plenty of people before Jesus who were never "told" this at all.  Only the tribes of Jews were told this.  There were a lot more human beings before Jesus than just the Jews.

Second, if the "loophole" provided is sufficient for anyone who came before Jesus, then what was the need for Jesus to come?

Third, why animal sacrifice?  What exactly does that do?

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

Yes there is the danger of Hell, but God does not originate it.
  Of course God originates it.  God is claimed to be the origin of everything.  God could have chosen any means at his disposal -- which is UNLIMITED, as claimed by his adherents -- to solve any problem whatever.  There was no necessity of creating Hell, which God did, and there is no necessity of maintaining hell, as God is claimed to do.  If God wants there to be no hell, all he has to do is will it.  If God hadn't created hell in the first place, there wouldn't be one.  Even in the apologetic story you tell, God is the originator of hell.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

As I said before, God gave humans the ability of free will. Our free will created heaven, and God allows us to live with the benefits or consequences of free will. Taking away Heaven would turn Humanity into a sort of Automaton with no real choice as to their actions, because nothing they did would bear weight. so you are saying that in order to be Just, God must take away Hell, yet this would take away your free will.
You are just making stuff up now.  There is nothing incompatible between free will and the non-existence of heaven or hell or both.  I am free to do what I desire now, whether heaven exists, or whether it doesn't.  I am free to do what I desire now, whether hell exists or whether it doesn't.  Please explain the logical connection between the non-existence of heaven and "turning humanity into a sort of Automaton with no real choice as to their actions."  I'm not seeing how the one idea leads to the other.  I need an analytical bridge between those concepts.   Hell is posited to be a place of eternal torture.  Torture of any duration is wicked, evil and wrong, and eternal torture is infinitely wicked, evil and wrong.  Doing away with the evil of eternal torture does not have, as a logical consequence, the loss of human free will.  Please explain how it does.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

yes in fact I could choose not to believe in what I see plain as day such as the physical reality, but it would be called insanity.
Mental illness is not a choice.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

I can choose to believe in fairies or ghosts.
  Really?  I challenge you to do so.  Keep in mind, you would need a way to convince someone else that you actually believed that fairies and ghosts are real.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

I do apologize for the projection. It is MY belief that atheism is wrong, and it was wrong of me to force that worldview on you. I'm not atheistic, I'm Monotheistic. Believing in God does not make me Atheistic, merely not believing in the concept of god as defined by other religions. Atheism is not believing in any god.
  I define atheism as the lack of belief in a god-concept.  It is dependent upon the god-concepts which are put forward for consideration.  As to all other god-concepts that have been put forward for consideration, you lack the belief in those.  Your position as to all those other god-concepts is the atheistic one:  you lack belief in those gods.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

yes, I came off a little preachy. Sorry about that. I will let it be now. I don't have more to say on this thread,
All right, although I think that there are salient points of discussion, particularly about Pascal's Wager (the thread topic) that came out of what you wrote.  I invite both you and Alvira to engage further in the analysis of Pascal's Wager.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

and you clearly aren't actually interested in Christianity.
  There you go, projecting again! I have engaged with you fairly on various aspects of your claims about Christianity.  You can't tell me I am not interested in the claims.  I am particularly interested in whether Christianity is true, and whether there are any cogent arguments which can establish its truth.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 08:20 PM, said:

Hopefully you won't feel any enmity or animosity towards Christianity because I couldn't better explain myself.
  More projection!  Please, you are invited to make your best arguments.  If I or others do not find them convincing, it is not a matter of "animosity," it is a matter of evaluation of evidence by use of reason.

#545

Edited by maddog, 22 November 2011 - 08:58 PM.


#28 Alexander Hawthorne

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 09:47 PM

Typo- i said Heaven, but meant to write Hell. Also, I meant Christianity as in the people, not the religion.

#29 maddog

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 11:18 PM

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 09:47 PM, said:

Typo- i said Heaven, but meant to write Hell.
you seemed to intimate that both were true, but regardless ... what is the analytical bridge between hell exists/does not exist, and human beings have free will/are automatons.  That has not been explained.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 22 November 2011 - 09:47 PM, said:

Also, I meant Christianity as in the people, not the religion.
  :scratch:
Not sure what you are saying or implying here.  Again, there is no need to project enmity or animosity.  We are having a discussion, trying our best to communicate clearly, no?

#546

#30 Alexander Hawthorne

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM

Ok. Hell was a construct spawned from the actions of Lucifer and the angels who rebelled alongside him. Because they created it through their use of free will, God sent them there as consequence for their actions. They ruined paradise, so they spend eternity in the ruin they created. Now, when Adam and Eve sinned, mankind disrupted the perfection on earth. Now, God had told them that they would die if they disobeyed. However, because they were influenced to do evil from Satan, God had mercy on them, sending them into the world beyond the Garden of Eden, which was not perfect. Once more, sin bears consequence.  So, from then on, people were imperfect, and their sin caused them to share the same eternal fate as the angels from the rebellion.

Now we come to the main conundrum; If God is truly loving, why not just get rid of Hell? All it would take is a thought right? But, were He to remove Hell, human beings would only have one possible resting place,Heaven. So, if nothing we did mattered, and we as humans had no choice as to our destiny after death, this would remove our free will. Everyone would have to worship God, because the option of rebelling and thus living forever in Hell, would not exist. So to remove Hell is to remove free will, and the only beings without free will are robots. Does this help?

Also, I really wasn't projecting on that last comment. I truly hope that my herp derp, as it were, doesn't make you think I, or any Christians are unintelligent, or rude, or uncaring, or what have you. (herp derp being mistakes in reason, logic, facts, etc.)

#31 Alexander Hawthorne

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 06:44 AM

Also, I'm going  to bow out of this thread now, so i can be more involved with my main.

#32 maddog

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 06:54 AM

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

Ok. Hell was a construct spawned from the actions of Lucifer and the angels who rebelled alongside him. Because they created it through their use of free will, God sent them there as consequence for their actions. They ruined paradise, so they spend eternity in the ruin they created. Now, when Adam and Eve sinned, mankind disrupted the perfection on earth. Now, God had told them that they would die if they disobeyed. However, because they were influenced to do evil from Satan, God had mercy on them, sending them into the world beyond the Garden of Eden, which was not perfect. Once more, sin bears consequence.  So, from then on, people were imperfect, and their sin caused them to share the same eternal fate as the angels from the rebellion.
That is the justificatory story, yes.  It has its own problems, and it has not yet been established to be true.  That remains to be discussed.

Another item that could use further discussion is the usage of the word "sin."  What that means needs greater explication; it seems to have connotations that are different from "mistake," or "wrongdoing," or "immorality," or other words in common usage.  It comes up uniquely in religious discussions.  

However, leaving problems like these aside for the moment, the God you claim is all powerful, yes?  If that is true, then nothing obtains, nothing exists, nothing happens that could possibly be against God's will.  God can make things be any way that he wants.   Therefore, the way anything is, the things that happen, what exists must be so because God wills or wants it that way.  If God did not will it to be so, then it would not be so ... IF, as you appear to contend, God is ALL powerful.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

Now we come to the main conundrum; If God is truly loving, why not just get rid of Hell?

Yes.  That is a serious problem.  Torturing anyone for ANY duration is the antithesis of love.  Torturing people for eternity is the absolute negation of love.  Love and torture cannot coexist.  They are logically inconsistent and incompatible.  

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

All it would take is a thought right?

Yes, that's right.  IF, as you seem to claim is an attribute of the proposed God, that God is all-powerful.  An all-powerful God could easily eliminate hell with a thought.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

But, were He to remove Hell, human beings would only have one possible resting place,Heaven.

Well, I don't agree that that is true.  God could make any additional choices that he wanted.  A Buddhist idea, for example, is reincarnation, where a person/soul could live again in another form, to repeat the lessons of life until learned.  In some versions of Judaism, I am given to understand, there is no afterlife.  Death is death, and human beings who die cease to exist.  If everyone is granted some kind of afterlife, that afterlife could take an innumerable variety of forms, none of which need involve torture.  I think your thinking about the options available to an all-powerful God is too limited.  

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

So, if nothing we did mattered,
Wait, why do you think that the elimination of hell would mean that "nothing we did mattered"?

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

So, if nothing we did mattered, and we as humans had no choice as to our destiny after death,

Why do you think that human beings have a "choice" as to "destiny after death" as things stand?  Human beings might "choose to believe in God" (assuming for the moment that this is possible, though I have my doubts about this), and nevertheless fail in some way to do so properly.  The Bible does say that even those who think that they are the elect could be wrong, and Jesus will deny them in the end.  It is not possible for a human being to tell, no matter how hard they try, whether they fulfill the requirements for admission to heaven.  The human being doesn't know, and thus their destiny is wholly involuntary.  It is also involuntary that a person might not be able to detect, perceive, or apprehend any God, or the correct God.  According to you, God is the one who "judges."  Therefore, God is the one who chooses a person's destiny.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

So, if nothing we did mattered, and we as humans had no choice as to our destiny after death, this would remove our free will.
Why is that the case?  why would we not have free will to do what we think is right, just as we do now in real life?

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

Everyone would have to worship God, because the option of rebelling and thus living forever in Hell, would not exist.
Why would everyone have to worship God if there were no hell?  I don't understand.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

So to remove Hell is to remove free will, and the only beings without free will are robots. Does this help?
  Not exactly.   I can tentatively grant that someone without free will is controlled, and like a robot.  But I still do not understand what the existence or non-existence of hell has to do with free will.  As far as I can tell, human beings have free will, even regardless of whether God exists, much less whether heaven or hell exist.  And it brings to mind another question.  Do human beings who are allowed into heaven have free will?

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 04:42 AM, said:

Also, I really wasn't projecting on that last comment. I truly hope that my herp derp, as it were, doesn't make you think I, or any Christians are unintelligent, or rude, or uncaring, or what have you. (herp derp being mistakes in reason, logic, facts, etc.)
  No worries.  I think you are doing a fine job so far of carrying on the discussion.

#548

Edited by maddog, 23 November 2011 - 06:54 AM.


#33 Alexander Hawthorne

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 07:33 AM

Okay, perhaps I'll stay here a while longer.


"Why is that the case? why would we not have free will to do what we think is right, just as we do now in real life?"
Because hell is the result of sin. If the resulting consequence of sinning were removed, then God would also have to remove our ability to sin, because sin is not allowed in His presence. So, without a place to send sinners, God would necessarily have to remove sin.


"Why would everyone have to worship God if there were no hell? I don't understand."

Okay, not "worship" Him, but vis a vis my last statement, which is pretty much as close to true as I know from my studies thus far, we wouldn't be able to sin, so our every move would glorify and honour god. Not a very fair way for us to be forced to live.


Not exactly. I can tentatively grant that someone without free will is controlled, and like a robot. But I still do not understand what the existence or non-existence of hell has to do with free will. As far as I can tell, human beings have free will, even regardless of whether God exists, much less whether heaven or hell exist. And it brings to mind another question. Do human beings who are allowed into heaven have free will?

As for the first half, hopefully that's made a bit clearer already.
And yes, people all have free will. We choose to live our lives under God's design for us, and the result of such a life is reward by way of spending eternity in Heaven with our creator and the One who loves us. heaven won't be a boring place, where all we do is sing and pray; contrarily, I believe that the term 'worship" extends to everyday activity in my life, because worship is anything giving glory to God. So in heaven, we will, as far as I know, live mostly as we do now, but with perfect knowledge, with perfect bodies that never grow old or tired, we can explore endless worlds and realms, whatever we desire, because our very lives, on earth, are slowly being built into a state of continuous worship.

And thanks! BTW, this feels to me like the most productive part of our discussion so far. You have allowed me to say most everything I believe, despite any disagreement. If you wish to voice your opinion, please do

#34 Alexander Hawthorne

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 07:46 AM

One more.

"However, leaving problems like these aside for the moment, the God you claim is all powerful, yes? If that is true, then nothing obtains, nothing exists, nothing happens that could possibly be against God's will. God can make things be any way that he wants. Therefore, the way anything is, the things that happen, what exists must be so because God wills or wants it that way. If God did not will it to be so, then it would not be so ... IF, as you appear to contend, God is ALL powerful.

In fact, having all the power does not mean that God constantly uses all the power. He is not All dictatorial. He allows/ allowed things contrary to His will to happen because of the free will He gave His creation. however, this does not mean that when Satan attempted his coup, that God should have allowed it. To do so would be denying His Omnipotence, and allowing a being who had ruined itself, twisted itself into the first sinful being, to rule over all things. That would be indescribably terrible. Chaos ruling over the natural order of things. Hell on earth forever, etc.

#35 maddog

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:26 AM

Alexander, it would help if you learned to format your posts, with quote tags, so that which person said what would be easier to follow.  ;)

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#36 maddog

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 05:02 PM

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 07:33 AM, said:

Okay, perhaps I'll stay here a while longer.

That's great!  ;)

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 07:33 AM, said:

Quote

Quote



So, if nothing we did mattered,


Wait, why do you think that the elimination of hell would mean that "nothing we did mattered"?

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So, if nothing we did mattered, and we as humans had no choice as to our destiny after death,


Why do you think that human beings have a "choice" as to "destiny after death" as things stand? Human beings might "choose to believe in God" (assuming for the moment that this is possible, though I have my doubts about this), and nevertheless fail in some way to do so properly. The Bible does say that even those who think that they are the elect could be wrong, and Jesus will deny them in the end. It is not possible for a human being to tell, no matter how hard they try, whether they fulfill the requirements for admission to heaven. The human being doesn't know, and thus their destiny is wholly involuntary. It is also involuntary that a person might not be able to detect, perceive, or apprehend any God, or the correct God. According to you, God is the one who "judges." Therefore, God is the one who chooses a person's destiny.

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So, if nothing we did mattered, and we as humans had no choice as to our destiny after death, this would remove our free will.

Why is that the case? why would we not have free will to do what we think is right, just as we do now in real life?

Because hell is the result of sin. If the resulting consequence of sinning were removed, then God would also have to remove our ability to sin, because sin is not allowed in His presence. So, without a place to send sinners, God would necessarily have to remove sin.
I still don't understand.  Why does hell/torture have to be the result of "sin"?
Preliminarily, we need to have a clear definition of "sin," so that we know what we are talking about.

Then, there are these problems that I can see:  

1.  For people in heaven, God has "removed the consequence of sin."  So God can remove the consequences of sinning already if he wants to, and seems fine with that, because some people he has removed the consequences of sin from are allowed to be in heaven.

2.  As I pointed out above, I am not sure you are being imaginative enough, ESPECIALLY since the God you are positing is all-powerful.  Like I said, I am not sure what you mean by "sin," but you use plenty of real-life wrong actions as analogues to that.  So let's take a real-life example of wrongdoing, such as theft.  Let's say a person goes into a store and takes something without paying for it.  There could be any number of reasons for the person to take things.  It could be a child who doesn't know any better.  It could be a person who is desperately poor and starving, who needs food.  It could be simply a person who doesn't care about the rights of others, and takes what they want for no particular reason.  Our responses to these things are possibly different depending on the circumstances.  A child can be taught not to take things that aren't theirs.  A person who is desperate can be educated also:  perhaps we might require education, restitution, some kind of punishment, plus reformation and amelioration of circumstances to restore the person to productive life in the community.  Some people might be beyond our capability of education or reform; to protect society we have to segregate those people who continually harm others so that they can't continue to do so.  So human beings have a number of creative options in response to wrong behavior.  It is only when we run out of options that we have to, for example, incarcerate the person to isolate them from the ability to continue harming others.  But that is a last option for human beings, because we don't know how to reform sociopaths, for instance.  (And you will also notice that many modern human societies have come to the conclusion that the death penalty for criminal acts is in itself wrong, and we do not do that any more in many places.)  While human beings don't know how to reform everyone, that should not be a problem for an all-powerful God.  God would know how to educate, retrain, teach, help, ameliorate and reform anyone.  Yet he doesn't choose any of these responses to wrongdoing ("sin").  Instead he has one and only one response:  eternal torture.  That doesn't make God sound very good, very moral, very creative or very powerful.  Indeed, it makes of God a monster, who purposely hurts people, and purposely does so forever.  Human beings have a much larger repertoire of responses to wrongs than God seems to.  That makes God sound very limited.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 07:33 AM, said:

Quote

Quote

Everyone would have to worship God, because the option of rebelling and thus living forever in Hell, would not exist.
Why would everyone have to worship God if there were no hell? I don't understand.


Okay, not "worship" Him, but vis a vis my last statement, which is pretty much as close to true as I know from my studies thus far, we wouldn't be able to sin, so our every move would glorify and honour god.  Not a very fair way for us to be forced to live.

I'm really not getting this.  I thought that living every moment to glorify and honor God without sinning was the ultimate condition to which God wants human beings to aspire.  That's what God supposedly wants all of his creatures to do.  Why is it so horrible, from God's point of view, if he gets what he wants?  And what is fair about being forced to be tortured forever and ever?  This is not making any sense to me.  Plus you are forgetting about how all-powerful God is and that he can arrange anything how he wants, and choose any options he wants for how to help human beings, including human beings who "sin" (which is EVERYBODY according to Christians).

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 07:33 AM, said:

Quote

Quote

So to remove Hell is to remove free will, and the only beings without free will are robots. Does this help?
Not exactly. I can tentatively grant that someone without free will is controlled, and like a robot. But I still do not understand what the existence or non-existence of hell has to do with free will. As far as I can tell, human beings have free will, even regardless of whether God exists, much less whether heaven or hell exist. And it brings to mind another question. Do human beings who are allowed into heaven have free will?

As for the first half, hopefully that's made a bit clearer already.
  Not really.  You have still not explained the analytical bridge between "lack of hell" and "lack of free will."

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 07:33 AM, said:

And yes, people all have free will. We choose to live our lives under God's design for us, and the result of such a life is reward by way of spending eternity in Heaven with our creator and the One who loves us.   heaven won't be a boring place, where all we do is sing and pray; contrarily, I believe that the term 'worship" extends to everyday activity in my life, because worship is anything giving glory to God. So in heaven, we will, as far as I know, live mostly as we do now, but with perfect knowledge, with perfect bodies that never grow old or tired, we can explore endless worlds and realms, whatever we desire, because our very lives, on earth, are slowly being built into a state of continuous worship.
  I think you are making things up now that you don't really know.  However, in the earlier part of your post, you talked about removal of sin as being "forced" to glorify God, and the removal of free will, yet the people in heaven have supposedly had sin removed, are unable to sin, and spend all their time glorifying God and still retain free will.  I don't get it.  It seems inconsistent to me.  There is something going on that you are not explaining.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 07:33 AM, said:

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No worries. I think you are doing a fine job so far of carrying on the discussion.
And thanks! BTW, this feels to me like the most productive part of our discussion so far. You have allowed me to say most everything I believe, despite any disagreement. If you wish to voice your opinion, please do
  Sure, thanks.  :)

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#37 maddog

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 05:22 PM

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 07:46 AM, said:

One more.


Sure.

View PostAlexander Hawthorne, on 23 November 2011 - 07:46 AM, said:

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Ok. Hell was a construct spawned from the actions of Lucifer and the angels who rebelled alongside him. Because they created it through their use of free will, God sent them there as consequence for their actions. They ruined paradise, so they spend eternity in the ruin they created. Now, when Adam and Eve sinned, mankind disrupted the perfection on earth. Now, God had told them that they would die if they disobeyed. However, because they were influenced to do evil from Satan, God had mercy on them, sending them into the world beyond the Garden of Eden, which was not perfect. Once more, sin bears consequence. So, from then on, people were imperfect, and their sin caused them to share the same eternal fate as the angels from the rebellion.

That is the justificatory story, yes. It has its own problems, and it has not yet been established to be true. That remains to be discussed.

Another item that could use further discussion is the usage of the word "sin." What that means needs greater explication; it seems to have connotations that are different from "mistake," or "wrongdoing," or "immorality," or other words in common usage. It comes up uniquely in religious discussions.

However, leaving problems like these aside for the moment, the God you claim is all powerful, yes? If that is true, then nothing obtains, nothing exists, nothing happens that could possibly be against God's will. God can make things be any way that he wants. Therefore, the way anything is, the things that happen, what exists must be so because God wills or wants it that way. If God did not will it to be so, then it would not be so ... IF, as you appear to contend, God is ALL powerful.

In fact, having all the power does not mean that God constantly uses all the power. He is not All dictatorial. He allows/ allowed things contrary to His will to happen because of the free will He gave His creation. however, this does not mean that when Satan attempted his coup, that God should have allowed it. To do so would be denying His Omnipotence, and allowing a being who had ruined itself, twisted itself into the first sinful being, to rule over all things. That would be indescribably terrible. Chaos ruling over the natural order of things. Hell on earth forever, etc.

I think that is a little inconsistent.  If God WANTS something to happen, then "it is God's will" isn't it?  If God "allows" something to happen then that must be the way he wants/wills it, isn't that right?  Anything that God "allows" is an exercise of God's power to do/not do, to happen/prevent.   Human beings only have "free will" if God WANTS (i.e., "wills") them to have it.

So, in your example, God wills that Lucifer/Satan has free will.   Lucifer/Satan exercises his free will, and then, you say, "this does not mean that when Satan attempted his coup, that God should have allowed it. To do so would be denying His Omnipotence ..."  But God DID (according to the story) allow Satan his attempted coup.  Thus, according to your statement, this denies God's omnipotence (all-powerfulness).  I'm confused.  Is God all-powerful or not?

Regardless of the story (and that's all we have so far, is a story) about Lucifer/Satan, and how a limited hell was some place to put a rebelling angel, that still does not explain why there has to be a hell for human beings.  Your God seems to have only one idea, only one response, to all problems, a one-size-fits-all solution to everything in the human condition.  We human beings are much more creative than that.  We punish sometimes, but that is when other methods fail.  Our other methods include teaching, training, education, coaching, helping, mentoring, providing aid, etc.   And if we were as powerful as God, we could do a lot more than we do now.   We could fix mental illness, for example, which we are unable to do now.   Why doesn't God?

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#38 AlviraofDeath

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 06:33 PM

You guys have fun here. I am going to take a break from all of this, and when things start to change I might come back. :nod:
I'll keep reading the posts, interested to see what is going to happen.

:alvira:

#39 maddog

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 06:42 PM

View PostAlviraofDeath, on 23 November 2011 - 06:33 PM, said:

You guys have fun here. I am going to take a break from all of this, and when things start to change I might come back. :nod:
I'll keep reading the posts, interested to see what is going to happen.

:alvira:

That's a shame, as the invitation of the thread was primarily to you.  Do you have any further thoughts or reflections, as a result of the thread discussion so far, on the C.S. Lewis version of Pascal's Wager, that it's good to be a believer, because then you are "safe"?

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#40 AlviraofDeath

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 07:32 PM

@Maddog, the thread has taken a very different path, lots of rabbit trails that have driven it away from the main purpose of the thread.
As for thoughts, well I recommend reading Romans. It is a good book and does state some of my opinion. I will give a more detailed reply later.

#41 maddog

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 08:03 PM

View PostAlviraofDeath, on 23 November 2011 - 07:32 PM, said:

@Maddog, the thread has taken a very different path, lots of rabbit trails that have driven it away from the main purpose of the thread.
As for thoughts, well I recommend reading Romans. It is a good book and does state some of my opinion. I will give a more detailed reply later.
We always have the choice to bring it back to topic; indeed, at several points I have related what has been said to the Pascal's Wager formulation.  I'll take your recommendation, and appreciate your further reply.  :)

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