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  1. #41
    Member Nyota's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    Even if everyone had the same general understanding of God, which perhaps they do to some extent, we would not be able to translate the whole being into understandable language, or language at all for that matter. However, I think we can offer glimpses of God and convey our partial understandings limited by human potential.

    I'm not a theologian or a guru, but here is my effort to convey what I understand about God, though there is no way I could do Justice with it.

    First, God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. He exists outside of time and space, but is active in the universe, especially with humans.

    God created the universe, in one way or another, with or without the big bang, with or without evolution. I happen to believe in both.
    Because He exists outside of time and space, he has knowledge of the past, present, and future, even before it passes--here you see the futility of trying to explain Him.

    God is also loving and benevolent. He is the true good.

    At some point after the creation of the universe, human beings came into existence, which God purposefully created in His image and likeness. This does not mean God has arms and legs, as God is outside of space, but by looking at ourselves, we can achieve a glimpse of the identity of God. God is the Being who gave humans souls, which mimic God, and seek completeness by being in union with Him.

    God plays an active role in the lives of people through various means because He created us for a purpose and wants us to choose to pursue union with Him.

    This is a basic idea of the God of at least Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and perhaps other religions I am not aware of.

    My understanding of God goes further than this and more in depth in regards to His relation with people, but all this is more specific to my religion, and may diverge from others' perception of Him. If you are interested I'd be happy to share more details.
    +1 [sometimes i can't put my thoughts into words like this]
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  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    Even if everyone had the same general understanding of God, which perhaps they do to some extent, we would not be able to translate the whole being into understandable language, or language at all for that matter. However, I think we can offer glimpses of God and convey our partial understandings limited by human potential.

    I'm not a theologian or a guru, but here is my effort to convey what I understand about God, though there is no way I could do Justice with it.

    First, God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. He exists outside of time and space, but is active in the universe, especially with humans.

    God created the universe, in one way or another, with or without the big bang, with or without evolution. I happen to believe in both.
    Because He exists outside of time and space, he has knowledge of the past, present, and future, even before it passes--here you see the futility of trying to explain Him.

    God is also loving and benevolent. He is the true good.

    At some point after the creation of the universe, human beings came into existence, which God purposefully created in His image and likeness. This does not mean God has arms and legs, as God is outside of space, but by looking at ourselves, we can achieve a glimpse of the identity of God. God is the Being who gave humans souls, which mimic God, and seek completeness by being in union with Him.

    God plays an active role in the lives of people through various means because He created us for a purpose and wants us to choose to pursue union with Him.

    This is a basic idea of the God of at least Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and perhaps other religions I am not aware of.

    My understanding of God goes further than this and more in depth in regards to His relation with people, but all this is more specific to my religion, and may diverge from others' perception of Him. If you are interested I'd be happy to share more details.
    Please do. I'm forever getting stuck on the "problem of evil" when I hear descriptions like these. I don't understand how an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, perfect and benevolent god in whose image we were created could instill in us the kind of "free will" that allows for the sort of atrocities we see all around us. It seems that a perfect god, a truly perfect one anyway, could only create perfection so even with free will...if we are/were ...created in his image wouldn't that mean we would be perfect by default? How does a perfect being create such imperfection? Are we not imperfect or is it that god isn't perfect? I guess I just don't see how all these things hang together. It seems you could have an omnipotent or benevolent or perfect god, but not all three. Also, I really don't understand how a benevolent god could sacrifice his own son, or allow for something like hell. That just doesn't seem very loving.

  3. #43
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post
    Please do. I'm forever getting stuck on the "problem of evil" when I hear descriptions like these. I don't understand how an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, perfect and benevolent god in whose image we were created could instill in us the kind of "free will" that allows for the sort of atrocities we see all around us. It seems that a perfect god, a truly perfect one anyway, could only create perfection so even with free will...if we are/were ...created in his image wouldn't that mean we would be perfect by default? How does a perfect being create such imperfection? Are we not imperfect or is it that god isn't perfect? I guess I just don't see how all these things hang together. It seems you could have an omnipotent or benevolent or perfect god, but not all three. Also, I really don't understand how a benevolent god could sacrifice his own son, or allow for something like hell. That just doesn't seem very loving.
    I understand your questions and the trouble they cause for faith. Answering them, or tyring to answer them, may take several posts. So please bear with me. Again, I don't have all the answers to every question there is about God because my knowledge is incomplete; however, I can offer my limited insights. If by my words, I cannot answer your questions satisfactorily, there is a plethora of literature out there that addresses these matters, and I would beg you to employ it. At different times, I have read and heard good answers to these questions, but I do not remember them completely. I just know that the problems aren't enough to overturn belief.

    So I'll start again.

    God created the universe as we know it, with all its seemingly chaotic happenings. This is not inherently evil because it was not designed to cause turmoil, destruction, pain, etc.

    Somewhere along the way, human beings came into existence. Whether through evolution, creationism, intelligent design, whatever, God intentionally had humans created in His image and likeness, and knew that humans would be created all along. This means that within ourselves is a glimpse of the face of God, which can be used to gain a better understanding of the nature and identity of God. This means that humans are given the potential, in a limited way, to act God-like. We can be benevolent, loving, compassionate, altruistic, we have the capacity to know right and wrong, we have consciousness, we exist, we have some control.

    Along with all that, humans have the power of free will. We can choose the actions we do. Because we are not equal to God, and because we have free will, the power to accept or reject God and God-like actions, we can create love and hate, we can do good and evil. Good is that which is God-like, evil is that which separates people from God by steering off the course that leads to final union with Him.

    I don't know if you believe in angels, but perhaps this bit will help regardless. The story of angels goes that God created them basically as helpers, and also gave them the power of free will. However, their free will was different than ours because the story goes that they were able to choose union with or rejection of God in one choice. One choice and presto! They had sealed their own fate. Compared to humans, the angels look like they God it easy! They had only one choice to make, the choice was obvious, and they were in an environment in which God and all that He is was obvious. Not at all like the environment of the physical universe, where pain regularly occurs, where God isn't staring you right in the face. Human lives are perilous, confusing, tedious, vague, and dark. Not only is the path toward God and goodness full of hazy and tough choices, but we can barely see where we're going! Our union or rejection of God is dependent upon a lifetime of choices. Choices that are made even harder by our sometimes clouding emotions and immediate desires.

    Now dare to imagine yourself as God. Take an angel who chose You, and a human who chose You over a lifetime. With which would You be more pleased? The child who obeyed You when You were right with him watching, or the child who obeyed You when You weren't right there, when his friends were doing evil things?

    God wants us to choose Him. If we do not blame Him for the good things, if we do not blame Him for the potential we have for all that is good, how dare we blame Him for the free actions of humans that are evil!

    More to come later. I know you must still be filled with questions, and I know that I did not address all your concerns here.
    Johari Nohari

    "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. "--Niccolo Machiavelli

  4. #44
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    A little more on the free will topic. (I'm doing this while I'm at work, so sorry things are piecemeal)

    God gave humans free will. Free will is the capacity to take responsibility for our own actions. Some actions are moral-they are good and righteous acts that ultimately strengthen our relationship with God and lead us to union with Him after death. Through moral actions, we exercise our capacity to act like God, we find where we truly belong. Immoral actions-they are evil actions. Evil because they separate us from God, as immoral acts are a rejection of God himself and reject acting in tune with our own God-like qualities. Still other actions have no moral consequence at all, but they are not important here.

    Is God imperfect because He gave us free will? No. Are humans imperfect? Yes. But because humans are not God, not necessarily because of free will. Evil done by Men must be blamed on Men, not on God. He has given us the gift of existence, it is up to us what to do with that existence. And it is our spiritual existence, not our physical existence that is most important.

    In addition, sometimes suffering is actually a part of growth.

    Last, imagine a world in which everything was laid out perfectly for us with no troubles. Everyone would be the same, everyone would know exactly what to do. How interesting would that be? Not very. If God did this, there would not really be a point to having a temporal and spatial existence. Why not just create us as perfect little minions and route us automatically to heaven without even asking us.

    The tough-going is what defines humanity, it is part of why we are so special. We, unlike other beings, can look evil, instant gratification, and anything else in the eye and say, "No, I choose more, I choose home, I choose God." That is what Human is. Other things don't have to make that choice.

    I know that I could not possibly have settled the "why evil" issue here, but that's only because I only know so much. You will find answers elsewhere if you look though.
    Johari Nohari

    "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. "--Niccolo Machiavelli

  5. #45
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    If God created a brand of humans without free will to make the choice to seek him or not, then it feels like we'd be more like robots programmed to behave a certain way. The fact that we can choose makes our service to God come from the heart, And It pleases him that we love him not because we have to or are programmed to, but because we want to.
    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." J. Krishnamurti

  6. #46
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Take Five View Post
    A little more on the free will topic. (I'm doing this while I'm at work, so sorry things are piecemeal)

    and so on
    and now the 20 000 dollars question, on what do you base your statements?

    I have plenty of books featuring legends and myths, and they generally have as much real world context and amount of evidences supporting them as the bible does for example.

    So... how the hell can you state what you stated as true? Or any truer than most other legends, cults, past religions and so on.

    ps: you rationalization is really bad, i'm not saying that because of the topic, just, the logic is so weak. That's what usually happens when people reach conclusions and then try to justify them instead of going the other way around.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
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  7. #47
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Congratulations, you've discovered Thelogical Noncognitivism, which states that discussion of God is meaningless until a common definition of God is reached.
    Ouch, that's going to mess up biologists' minds >_< (no definitive definition of a living system)



    Well that's because life is an abstract quality \ overall state applied to 'real world' 'things'. So it structurally cannot be defined independantly of the objects\topics it applies to.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

  8. #48
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Now for the subject of Jesus, God the Son.

    I must admit that I too have had doubts about whether a guy 2000 years ago could be God in the flesh. Moreover, why did Jesus have to be killed for human salvation.

    I've done only so much reading about this, and here again, the fact that I am not a theologian will shine through my writing, but I'll do my best with what I've got.

    The problem is that having your son die for the sins of humanity seems in fact unloving. Why all the pain and suffering? Couldn't there have been an easier way?

    I say solidarity. Hinged on the belief that Jesus is both human and God, my belief dictates that God sent His Son to Earth and as a human to show that God is for us, to show that God cares more deeply than we could possibly imagine.

    Jesus was human. He ate, slept, urinated, breathed. He had emotions. He had temptations. He witnessed evil and saw others rejecting the path to God in various ways. He was and is well aware of what the human experience is. Because of His love for us, He became human for us. What he taught is the Word of God. Jesus is God showing us that He cares. He suffered and died for humanity so that we could see the benevolence and love of God-the love and compassion He has for us despite our own sinfulness and rejection of Him.

    And let's not forget that humans killed Jesus. We cannot blame that on God. Even though God knew what was going to happen and planned to send Jesus all along, human beings had Jesus tortured and crucified. In a strange way, God knew what would happen, but all involved still had free will. This is one of the wonders of God. Through Jesus, God tells us, "I love you no matter what happens. It is up to you to choose me."

    To go through what Jesus did just to show us God's nature and to show that we are offered salvation is actually the greatest act of love ever. It's a way of saying "I'm with you guys all the way. Follow me."

    That's my basic understanding of Jesus, God the Son.
    Johari Nohari

    "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. "--Niccolo Machiavelli

  9. #49
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EcK View Post
    and now the 20 000 dollars question, on what do you base your statements?

    I have plenty of books featuring legends and myths, and they generally have as much real world context and amount of evidences supporting them as the bible does for example.

    So... how the hell can you state what you stated as true? Or any truer than most other legends, cults, past religions and so on.

    ps: you rationalization is really bad, i'm not saying that because of the topic, just, the logic is so weak. That's what usually happens when people reach conclusions and then try to justify them instead of going the other way around.
    To clarify, I'm not endorsing verbatim the bit about angels, I just think it can help.

    Who are we to limit God to what's logical to us? Looking inside oneself is just as important, if not more so, as other methods.

    That being said, I'm fully aware I can't give perfect explanations.
    Johari Nohari

    "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. "--Niccolo Machiavelli

  10. #50
    The Memes Justify the End EcK's Avatar
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    I'm just trying to understand why and how somebody can reach conclusions about let's say how jesus is god when anybody could probably unearth about a million other examples of people claiming to be sons of a god, who died being called heretics, had followers and were told to have done plenty of miracles because somebody saw somebody else who saw and so on.

    So why the preferences and how can it be justified rationally any better than any other legend\creation story since the dawn of time.
    What led you to these conclusions rather than another ?

    How come that everytime some empirical information goes against a religious idea most people will go for the religious 'i-heard-somebody-say-that-he-heard-that' chain instead of what's right under their nose?

    Yes those are serious questions.
    If somebody feel like giving me a rational or any kind of non biased answer it'd be kind of nice.
    thx.
    Expression of the post modern paradox : "For the love of god, religions are so full of shit"

    Theory is always superseded by Fact...
    ... In theory.

    “I’d hate to die twice. It’s so boring.”
    Richard Feynman's last recorded words

    "Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart."
    Mencius (Meng-Tse), 4th century BCE

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