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  #1  
Old Feb 14, '12, 9:28 pm
BOSS10L BOSS10L is offline
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Default Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

Okay, I've been here for a while and have been wanting to ask some even handed questions to hopefully get some realistic and even handed answers. As my profile states, I am an atheist. I hold no belief in any higher power. I was a Roman Catholic for the first decade of my life, but I began questioning things about 7-8 years old and fully made my switch to atheism at 11. I just turned 40 in January. I am open-minded towards spirituality and faith, but believe that organized religion has been a very destructive force on this planet for a long time and may one day be the human race's undoing.

I'll try and not get too verbose or long-winded, but I've got a lot of questions to ask. I hope it can fit all into one post, but I'll add subsequent ones if the need arises. Here goes:

- God is omnipotent, omniscient, all loving, and all good. Why did he allow Lucifer to rebel and thus set in motion the creation of Hell? Similarly, why did he allow original sin? If he knew what the outcome would be and is all good, why would he let his children suffer?

- Why does he allow bad things (even death) to happen to good people? Why does he take babies, children, and other people long before their time? Why would he make those people's loved ones suffer so?

- I don't have links to proof, but it's long been pointed out that Jesus is nothing more than a literary/astrological hybrid, and that many of the Christian doctrines were adapted from Jewish ones, which were all but lifted from ancient Egyptian belief systems. Where's any proof that he was real? Of all the time humans have been on this planet, why did God specifically choose roughly 2000 years ago to send Jesus to earth? Why doesn't he just send us proof now of his existence and put this all to bed once and for all?

- There are over 2 billion earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. For us to think that we're the only life in the entire universe is not only extremely arrogant, it's downright scary. Why does the church teach that we're so special, so unique, when it's nearly statistically impossible that we're alone in all of the cosmos (and that's not even counting if there are multiverses).

- Why must God exist at all? I'm an atheist, yet I'm as good of a person now than if I were a devout Catholic, Christian, or other religion. Do we really need this antiquated, threatening edict of Hell for eternity if we don't behave or believe? I mean, the universe is so magnificent in its wonder that I've got to think that if there were a supreme being or whatever out there, they wouldn't care about what we're doing here on this miserable planet.

- Why is it those that claim to be more devout and committed to their religions are usually the ones doing the most harm to their fellow humans? Priests sexually abusing kids, religious leaders bilking the flock out of money and doing other unsavory deeds, etc.

- Same-sex relationships appear in almost all, if not all species on earth. Why is it that some humans are the only ones who abhor it? I know it supposedly goes against God, but then again, if the big guy knows everything, why would he make people that way. And don't tell me that there aren't some gay people out there aren't really gay. It's something in their DNA, it's not a life choice.

- Why do so few live in unprecedented wealth and splendor, while so many suffer and struggle just to make ends meet? Didn't Jesus preach that rich people won't get into Heaven?

- Why do religious types feel the need to be in other people's business? In particular I'm talking about laws attempting to be passed that will clearly violate rights of one person so that someone else, who happens to be a believer, can feel they did the right thing.

- Why does God allow babies to be born with birth defects or other problems? They couldn't have possibly done anything to warrant it.

- Why is it that the God depicted in the Bible is angry, vengeful, jealous, spiteful and a whole host of other things that are clearly not the qualities that an all-good God should have?

- What if you're wrong? According to the Bible, only 144,000 people are going to make it into Heaven. What if God isn't Christian, but Hindu? Or Muslim? Or purple giraffe with pink polka-dots? Simply bowing down and worshipping a God, any God, for the simple reason of covering your backside isn't a compelling enough reason to me. This isn't the Dark Ages anymore. We know what diseases are. We understand the natural phenomena that happens in our daily life and don't need to attribute them to a thing we can't see, taste, touch, smell, or whatever.

Okay, sinuses are starting to hurt, time to go take some medicine. That's all I have for now. Again, while I'm asking questions, I'm not here to incite. I truly am looking for legitimate answers that might possibly lead me to a better understanding. I mean, don't get me wrong. If someone could prove to me that God exists, I'd be the happiest person on the planet. I would relish the days I had left until I was reunited with those loved ones lost in Heaven for eternity. But I just don't see it happening. I've never even had good luck, let alone seen an actual miracle.

Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old Feb 15, '12, 1:25 am
Cryptic1 Cryptic1 is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

I believe God puts in all of His creation a desire to know Him and I believe your questions are just a human response to His calling.

Many people the world over have come to rely on religion to teach them about God, but I believe religion merely serves as a vehicle to point us towards Him, and that we need to, each one of us, encounter or experience God on our own power instead. When we leave this earth and stand before God, it is not religion that will save us, but rather our own personal relationship that we have with Him through His son Jesus Christ that will.

Death and sickness (disease) and poverty (a poverty mentality) are all a result of original sin, but Jesus Christ, through his death on the cross, overcame all of this. For the world, death signals the end of life. For the Christian, it is just the beginning. God does not wish for anyone to suffer in poverty, but misguided religious teaching has perpeuated this thinking. Many have been taught that "money is the root of all evil". The bible actually says "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:10)

I applaud your persistence in searching for the truth. I believe that if you continue searching, you will eventually find the truth and his name is Jesus Christ. He will lead you to the Father and there you will find the answers to your questions.

God Bless
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  #3  
Old Feb 15, '12, 1:29 am
damian clarke damian clarke is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

You have about twenty potential thread topics in your post.
Should you not try and break them down otherwise the debate will get lost.
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  #4  
Old Feb 15, '12, 3:12 am
Rosatus Rosatus is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

(1/3)

I'm by no means an expert in Catholic theology. I'm only 19 and a cradle Catholic, but I've started taking my faith seriously for about a year now after some intense struggles and an equally intense conversion. I hope I can help you a little bit.

1. The important thing to remeber is that God created the angels and humans with free will. The entire point of creation is so that God's creatures will come to know Him and His Love. Love is the whole point of creation. He didn't make us out of any necessity. But since God is Love, and Love, by definition, seeks to give of itself, God made everything purely out of His Goodness and Mercy. Now, without free will, no one can love, because real love (which is not a feeling), is an act of the will, in which one freely decides to give themselves to another, an act of self-sacrifice. Like a parent who sees their child engaging in destructive behaviors, and permits it, in the loving hope that they'll return from their foolish ways, so God has done with us who have sinned against Him. In sin we have rejected His Infinite Goodness, so out of necessity, we suffer, because we have been, in essence, separated from Love, and Love is the purpose for our existence in the first place, so suffering is a natural consequence.

2. Death is a consequence of sin. Since humans were made for Love, and because they reject Love through sin, their bodies die, and if they don't repent of their sins, their souls die as well.

3. There is abundant proof of the existence of Jesus, including abundant historical evidence. There is also proof in the Church he established. I can completely agree that there are many elements of ancient Egyptian and other ancient pagan religions that point to some aspects of Christianity. I am speaking purely on my own speculation, but I'd like to think that in order to prepare people to accept the Truth, which is Jesus Christ, God the Father permitted that ancient peoples engage in beliefs that would, in part, later point to that what was True. That's purely my opinion, and I have no idea what the Magisterium would say about that.

4. The Church doesn't say that we are the only living beings in the Universe. I don't believe the Church officially teaches anything about extra-terrestrial beings. Some saints of the Church have even speculated that there may be creatures in the universe that have not sinned against God.

5. Even based on purely scientific evidence, we have a responsiblity as humans to believe that there is a Creator. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw2XchNNRVE Watch this when you have a chance. This is all science-based, "God and Modern Physics." I believe there are 11 or 12 parts total. If you watch it all and can follow it, you might be pleasantly surprised.

6. "Claim" to devoutness and actual devoutness are two different things. The behavior you have described from those particular people is absolutely disgusting, and a shame. Then again, we are all fallen human beings who are vunerable to the effects of Original Sin.
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  #5  
Old Feb 15, '12, 3:14 am
Rosatus Rosatus is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

(2/3)

7. Human beings are called to know God and have an intimate relationship with Him by entering into His Love, which means if we want to act according to His ways, the way He originally created us, we must follow His commandments. These commandments often times contradict the fallen nature of human beings, but then again, if God is calling us into His Love again, and is willing to forgive us for our human mistakes, we would do well to follow Him. He is showing us the right way to live. Homosexuality is disordered because its origin is not in Love, but in gratification of the senses. Love and marriage between a man and a woman, and the marital act, create children, which is the purpose and fuction of our natural human sexuality. Any sexual act outside of marriage without this purpose is therefore disordered. It doesn't follow the natural plan that God has for human sexuality.

8. A lot of the unequal distribution of wealth is a result of sin and greed, that's it. It's human responsibility, but God in His Wisdom permits it to be so.

9. I can understand this perception of "being in others' business" as someone who hasn't exactly loved God all my life. Although some Christians have their own personal and selfish motives for preaching the Gospel (remember, we are ALL vunerable to sin, even in matters which seem relatively "innocent"), I can assure you that those who preach the Gospel sincerely are doing it out of a great love of God. I will speak for no one but myself. Over a year ago, I would have never seen myself on this forum, let alone replying to someone who didn't know God, trying to share the Good News with them. But that's what the Love of God does to you. It takes your heart, and out of love, you just want everyone to know who Jesus Christ is, to know that He he has a burning, infinite love for you. That he suffered a terrible death, and thought of you, yes you, while He was dying on the Cross. That by His death you might be freed from the binding powers of sin, and covered in His Love, might come to be reunited with Him once again, in a limited way during this life, and more fully in the next.

8. The Word of God teaches that not all defects such as these are the result of a person having merited them, but rather so that the glory of God might be made manifest. This means an opportunity for a miraculous cure, or perhaps in the case of a baby with a terminal condition, the opportunity for the parents to learn to love a child in such a way that they might not have otherwise experienced. Makes me think of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMlVNFpzKNI

9. We have to remember that God's emotion are put in human terms so that we as humans can comprehend them. But let's take God's anger as an examle, and try to relate it to human anger. A child does something that is very bad. A loving parent would most certainly, out of their love, be angry with the child, and seek to correct them, that that child might learn from their mistake and be a better behaved child. In a married couple, a spouse cheats. The other spouse, because they love the other very much, is understandably very angry, and is indeed jealous, because that love was only supposed to be for them. God is angry and jealous where we either fail to love Him or love other things beside Him, because He Is, after all, the object of our very existence, that is, Love.
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  #6  
Old Feb 15, '12, 3:15 am
Rosatus Rosatus is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

(3/3)

10. Real Chrisitanity isn't superstitious and isn't etiological in the sense that pagan religions are. Take the creation story, for example. Based on scientific evidence, we well know that the universe is around 13.7 (I believe) billion years old, and most likely did not come into its present form in 6 days, as the Bible says. But this is because scientific truth is different from theological truth. In science, we tend to search for the observable truths. But in theology, we search for the Truth about Who God Is. The Bible isn't concerned, therefore, with scientific accuracy, but with theological accuracy. Scientific knowledge and theological knowledge are not exclusive, but they complement each other. I must point out that there will be more than 144,00 entering heaven. As I've said, I'm no theological expert, and I don't (and never will) know everything there is to know about God. But I'm sure if you do a quick search on the website, you'll find information concerning the truth about that passage in Scripture. Based on theological truths, we can know that God is the God that Jesus preached (indeed, Jesus Himself was God the Son on earth). Now, what I'm about to say, I don't want to be taken as a "scape-goat" solution to finding the Truth about God: perhaps the most important thing to properly have a relationship with God and come to know Him, is what is called the virtue of faith. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05752c.htm This properly explains what faith is, better than someone of my limited understanding could ever explain. If you read this, you will learn that faith, on the contrary, is quite reasonable and necessary. Everyone has faith in something. But what do you have faith in? (this question is rhetorical)

I will pray for you, that God will increase your faith, and grant you the graces of knowledge and understanding. Trust me, I once had disbelief in God, too. I always questioned "If God were real, why would He let this happen to me?" in regards to hardships, etc. But things changed when I decided to turn to Him, and admittedly, He was my last hope in my struggles. I know He loves Me and that He Is who He says He Is because of the intesne Love and Mercy I experienced during my convesion, which was something clearly supernatural, and I would not lie to you. I am confident that if you are sincere in wanting to know God, He will reveal Himself to you. I would be so happy for you if He does, because God is so much Love and Mercy, it's literally overwhelming, and the Joy He gives you is unlike anything which can be sought here on this earth. Remember, if you want to find out who God Is, you don't have to look any further than the Catholic Church which He established. This is crucial. While there are some good things about other Christian denominations, the truth is that the Catholic Church is the One, Holy, Apostolic Church that Jesus Himself established (something else that I wouldn't have believed in a year ago). Only in the Catholic Church will you find the full and true Revelation of God, Who Is Jesus Christ Himself. God bless you, and let me know if you have any other questions. I'm no expert, but I hope I was able to help you.
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  #7  
Old Feb 15, '12, 3:31 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

[quote=BOSS10L;8962809]
Quote:
Quote:
Okay, I've been here for a while and have been wanting to ask some even handed questions to hopefully get some realistic and even handed answers. As my profile states, I am an atheist. I hold no belief in any higher power. I was a Roman Catholic for the first decade of my life, but I began questioning things about 7-8 years old and fully made my switch to atheism at 11. I just turned 40 in January.
I am open-minded towards spirituality and faith, but believe that organized religion has been a very destructive force on this planet for a long time and may one day be the human race's undoing.
Don't you think organized atheism of the Dawkins variety is a very destructive force?
Atheist regimes don't have a very good track record!

Quote:
God is omnipotent, omniscient, all loving, and all good. Why did he allow Lucifer to rebel and thus set in motion the creation of Hell? Similarly, why did he allow original sin? If he knew what the outcome would be and is all good, why would he let his children suffer?
The alternative is to create a world of yes-men and yes-women!
Quote:
Why does he allow bad things (even death) to happen to good people? Why does he take babies, children, and other people long before their time? Why would he make those people's loved ones suffer so?
No one has produced a blueprint of a world devoid of disease and disasters.
Quote:
I don't have links to proof, but it's long been pointed out that Jesus is nothing more than a literary/astrological hybrid, and that many of the Christian doctrines were adapted from Jewish ones, which were all but lifted from ancient Egyptian belief systems. Where's any proof that he was real? Of all the time humans have been on this planet, why did God specifically choose roughly 2000 years ago to send Jesus to earth? Why doesn't he just send us proof now of his existence and put this all to bed once and for all?
Don't you value your freedom to choose what to believe and how to live?

Quote:
- There are over 2 billion earth-like planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. For us to think that we're the only life in the entire universe is not only extremely arrogant, it's downright scary. Why does the church teach that we're so special, so unique, when it's nearly statistically impossible that we're alone in all of the cosmos (and that's not even counting if there are multiverses).
The Church does not teach that we are the sole persons in the universe.

Quote:
- Why must God exist at all? I'm an atheist, yet I'm as good of a person now than if I were a devout Catholic, Christian, or other religion. Do we really need this antiquated, threatening edict of Hell for eternity if we don't behave or believe? I mean, the universe is so magnificent in its wonder that I've got to think that if there were a supreme being or whatever out there, they wouldn't care about what we're doing here on this miserable planet.
The bloodstained history of the human race is a sufficient reason for caring about what will happen in future... Fatalism is an excellent recipe for nihilism!

Quote:
Why is it those that claim to be more devout and committed to their religions are usually the ones doing the most harm to their fellow humans? Priests sexually abusing kids, religious leaders bilking the flock out of money and doing other unsavory deeds, etc.
"usually" is a distortion of the truth. To what extent has atheism been responsible for establishing schools, hospitals, orphanages and hospices for the dying throughout the world?

-
Quote:
Same-sex relationships appear in almost all, if not all species on earth. Why is it that some humans are the only ones who abhor it? I know it supposedly goes against God, but then again, if the big guy knows everything, why would he make people that way. And don't tell me that there aren't some gay people out there aren't really gay. It's something in their DNA, it's not a life choice.
Variety is the spice of life - when it doesn't impose its values on children...

Quote:
- Why do so few live in unprecedented wealth and splendor, while so many suffer and struggle just to make ends meet? Didn't Jesus preach that rich people won't get into Heaven?
Because people fail to follow His teaching.

-
Quote:
Why do religious types feel the need to be in other people's business? In particular I'm talking about laws attempting to be passed that will clearly violate rights of one person so that someone else, who happens to be a believer, can feel they did the right thing.
The boot is on the other foot in secular regimes - as you would find out even in the UK.

Quote:
- Why does God allow babies to be born with birth defects or other problems? They couldn't have possibly done anything to warrant it.
How could such events be prevented?

Quote:
- Why is it that the God depicted in the Bible is angry, vengeful, jealous, spiteful and a whole host of other things that are clearly not the qualities that an all-good God should have?
The OT should be interpreted in the light of the NT!

Quote:
...This isn't the Dark Ages anymore. We know what diseases are. We understand the natural phenomena that happens in our daily life and don't need to attribute them to a thing we can't see, taste, touch, smell, or whatever.
Your interpretation of the Bible seems arbitrary... Can you explain goodness, freedom justice and love in terms of the things you can see, taste, touch, smell, or hear?

Quote:
...If someone could prove to me that God exists, I'd be the happiest person on the planet. I would relish the days I had left until I was reunited with those loved ones lost in Heaven for eternity. But I just don't see it happening. I've never even had good luck, let alone seen an actual miracle.
How about life - and love?
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  #8  
Old Feb 15, '12, 9:57 am
Bobber90 Bobber90 is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosatus View Post
1. The important thing to remeber is that God created the angels and humans with free will. The entire point of creation is so that God's creatures will come to know Him and His Love. Love is the whole point of creation. He didn't make us out of any necessity. But since God is Love, and Love, by definition, seeks to give of itself, God made everything purely out of His Goodness and Mercy. Now, without free will, no one can love, because real love (which is not a feeling), is an act of the will, in which one freely decides to give themselves to another, an act of self-sacrifice. Like a parent who sees their child engaging in destructive behaviors, and permits it, in the loving hope that they'll return from their foolish ways, so God has done with us who have sinned against Him. In sin we have rejected His Infinite Goodness, so out of necessity, we suffer, because we have been, in essence, separated from Love, and Love is the purpose for our existence in the first place, so suffering is a natural consequence.

2. Death is a consequence of sin. Since humans were made for Love, and because they reject Love through sin, their bodies die, and if they don't repent of their sins, their souls die as well..
Original Sin is very important as an explanation of pretty much anything that is bad in the world, so I was hoping to see not "Why did he allow Lucifer to rebel...?" but instead "How could Lucifer have rebelled unless he had a corrupt nature or a total lack of intelligence?"

If we take the view that sin happens because of our epistemic distance from God, what happened to cause the first sins, which happened under epistemic immediacy? That is surely quite a mystery!
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  #9  
Old Feb 15, '12, 10:00 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

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Originally Posted by Bobber90 View Post
Original Sin is very important as an explanation of pretty much anything that is bad in the world, so I was hoping to see not "Why did he allow Lucifer to rebel...?" but instead "How could Lucifer have rebelled unless he had a corrupt nature or a total lack of intelligence?"

If we take the view that sin happens because of our epistemic distance from God, what happened to cause the first sins, which happened under epistemic immediacy? That is surely quite a mystery!
You are assuming there was epistemic immediacy...
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  #10  
Old Feb 15, '12, 10:13 am
Bobber90 Bobber90 is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
You are assuming there was epistemic immediacy...
True, I am forgetting that others have supposed that the angels were at epistemic distance just like us. Then we have to think about the reasons for imposing epistemic distance and the consequences of its reality for moral responsibility.
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Old Feb 15, '12, 10:36 am
tonyrey tonyrey is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

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Originally Posted by Bobber90 View Post
True, I am forgetting that others have supposed that the angels were at epistemic distance just like us. Then we have to think about the reasons for imposing epistemic distance and the consequences of its reality for moral responsibility.
I have in fact been attacked by some Catholics for affirming that Lucifer cannot have been in heaven when he rebelled! My reason is that only a lunatic would reject Perfect Love...
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Old Feb 15, '12, 8:41 pm
BOSS10L BOSS10L is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

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Originally Posted by Rosatus View Post
I'm by no means an expert in Catholic theology. I'm only 19 and a cradle Catholic, but I've started taking my faith seriously for about a year now after some intense struggles and an equally intense conversion. I hope I can help you a little bit.
<snipped for length>

Thanks for your kind words and information, Rosatus. You have a wisdom beyond your years. I hope your parents are proud, they should be.

That being said, much of your rationale can be boiled down to "because someone said God said so," or "because that's what we've been conditioned to believe." While the Magis Reason Faith videos provide somewhat of a more scientific slant, with little more than a few minutes of work I could debunk everything that Father proffers.

And while you speak of God allowing a child to be born without a brain as a way to show his family a new type or way of love, I have to say that if it isn't strictly a genetic thing or an anomaly, how can one love a God who would allow that to happen? How can they reconcile that in their heads and hearts?
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Old Feb 15, '12, 9:27 pm
BOSS10L BOSS10L is offline
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Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

1/2

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
Don't you think organized atheism of the Dawkins variety is a very destructive force? Atheist regimes don't have a very good track record!
I'm not familiar with anything that organized atheism has committed. Are there bad apples in every bunch? Of course. That being said, the daily affronts that organized religion brings to humanity and logic far outweigh what atheists have wrought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
The alternative is to create a world of yes-men and yes-women!
Who, I would assume, would be none-the-wiser that they are "yes-people." Unless of course you want to say that Lucifer and the other angels had knowledge before Adam and Eve, and therefore, because they aren't perfect as God is purported to be, would actually be the offenders of original sin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
one has produced a blueprint of a world devoid of disease and disasters.
Cannot God devise these things? We are told that disease, disasters, suffering, etc are all the result of original sin. Again, I go back to the original question of: If he knew this would happen, why do things this way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
you value your freedom to choose what to believe and how to live?
Yes, but again, going back to original sin, if that hadn't happened, humans wouldn't be any worse for the wear and definitely not aware of their lack of freedom of choice. That is, unless we're all willing to say that God may be legit, but that the biblical teachings just cannot be true and should be immediately scrapped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
Church does not teach that we are the sole persons in the universe.
My mistake. I thought I'd read that somewhere. But that being said, I would think that the discovery of other life in the universe, especially sentient life, would put a serious dent in nearly every teaching that all organized religions espouse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
The bloodstained history of the human race is a sufficient reason for caring about what will happen in future... Fatalism is an excellent recipe for nihilism!
Depending on the angle from which one chooses to look, yes, things could be framed by fatalism. If God knows you or I are going to fall tomorrow and impale ourselves (thus causing our deaths) and does nothing about it, wouldn't it be pre-fated to happen? For the record, I do not wish anyone harm, just trying to use an example.

I mean, also, in the purest sense of the word, life itself is fatalism defined (with apologies to Mr. Neil Gaiman): "Life is a disease. Sexually transmitted, and invariably fatal." If that isn't a pre-determined outcome, what is?

Besides, scientists have already stated/proved that aging doesn't have to be. While it won't be in my lifetime, I can see at some point in our species future that people will be able to live forever in one form or another, in the corporeal realm, not spiritually as religions claim. When that happens, what does God do then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
"usually" is a distortion of the truth. To what extent has atheism been responsible for establishing schools, hospitals, orphanages and hospices for the dying throughout the world?
Fair enough, but that's somewhat of a skewed comparison. Not all that long ago, one could be burned at the stake for not professing their immediate and undying allegiance to God. If atheism had the numbers that Christianity, Muslim, or Hindu do, I could see them doing much more than they are currently perceived to be.

I also strongly believe that there are no truly altruistic actions. So while the religions of the world and their followers are responsible for a lot of good, it isn't just because. Even if it is subconscious.

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
-Variety is the spice of life - when it doesn't impose its values on children...
Tell that to the millions of your cohorts who believe gays and lesbians to be an affront to the race and should be 'fixed' or 'eradicated.' And as far as the second part goes, don't be ignorant. It's not like someone's gay is going to rub off on a kid any more than someone's love of Cricket would.

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
Because people fail to follow His teaching.

- The boot is on the other foot in secular regimes - as you would find out even in the UK.

How could such events be prevented?
He's God. He can do anything. In letting those things happen, IMHO, I don't see him as any better than the rich objectifying the poor, the nosy people (on both sides of the fence) who have to get into other people's business, or those who would block proper scientific research that could lead to an eradication of birth defects, health problems, disabilities and other diseases.

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
OT should be interpreted in the light of the NT!
Then why not scrap the OT altogether? I mean, did God give himself a half-time speech and change his ways between the OT and NT? Did he figure that people would rather see a 'salvation can be had' God instead of a 'I'm gonna flood your planet, n00bs" God?
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  #14  
Old Feb 15, '12, 9:27 pm
Sacred_Heart Sacred_Heart is offline
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Religion: Catholic
Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

The problem of evil occurs because of the Wisdom of God. It is out of wisdom that God creates a place of Judgment where souls are formed through the experience of creation. It is out of wisdom that man suffers in the flesh in order to be made wise himself. God imparts his wisdom to the soul through the conditions that he creates in the world so that man can share in God, all that belongs to God.

The proof of Jesus' existence is in his words. If one communes with his words; as making them one's own, one will soon come to find out that a living spirit has come to dwell within. The key to making the Word living within is through agreement with the Word. If you disagree with the Word you will not find his presence within you. Jesus was sent to the earth in his time to fulfill prophecy, the scriptures of the Old Testament. Proof of his existence is also placed within his Church. The very presence of his Church emanates Christ on earth.

Just because there is an entire vacuum of space, the universe, does not mean that it has to be filled with life. Making the assumption that just because it is so vast that it must be scattered with life is just as wrong as saying that there is no other life out there.

God is a God of presence not a God of absence. God most certainly would care what people do to eachother for the sake of justice. Look at it this way--If a man can conceive of justice then a "supreme being" could conceive of Justice.
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  #15  
Old Feb 15, '12, 9:33 pm
BOSS10L BOSS10L is offline
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Join Date: January 5, 2012
Posts: 108
Religion: Golden Rule athiest
Default Re: Why? Why must God exist? Honest, even handed questions...

2/2

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Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
Your interpretation of the Bible seems arbitrary... Can you explain goodness, freedom justice and love in terms of the things you can see, taste, touch, smell, or hear?
Well, I can't with regards to smell. Don't have any. True story. But, to give you examples:

Goodness - someone opening a door for someone else. Giving another patron some extra money when they realize they're short on their bill at the cafe.

Freedom - watching a parent being able to go home and spend quality time with their child(ren) rather than slave away at a company that pays less in taxes than they do. Being able to stand up to the church and flip 'em the bird and tell them that my sperm are not sacred, and that if I want to have fun with my wife with the explicit object being to enjoy ourselves and not procreate, then so be it.

Justice - seeing a criminal who's wronged someone else or society brought to answer for their actions. Watching Wall Street bankers go to jail for their financial raping of the American public.

Love - sitting down in my living room with my one son on my lap and my other son in the next chair over, and the wife on the other side, while we watch a football game or a movie.

Any and all of those things I just listed are all possible. WITHOUT GOD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyrey View Post
about life - and love?
Life and love aren't the result of divine intervention. They're the result of two people exchanging bodily fluids about 41 years ago, and then the subsequent experiences of my time here on earth and then a mutual attraction between my wife and I.

Again, I really do appreciate everything that's been said in this thread and I don't wish anyone ill will or anything like that. I just wish I could get concrete answers to my questions that don't either come down to quasi-philosopical/theological answers, or worse yet, the typical "because God made it so" responses.

I suppose I'll never get what I'm searching for, because I figure the answers I'm seeking can't be comprehended or explained by a human mind, and if there is a God, he's not talking to me. Believe me, it'd be so much easier to be able to believe. I'm tormented by my atheism. But I just can't reconcile in my head and heart that there's a God out there who would allow the things I've talked about to happen. At this stage, to me, religion is nothing more than the perfect con job. The ultimate form of control. Whip people into shape with fear of fire and brimstone or the promise of forever awesomeness, but once they've slaved away all their lives and gone hoping to end up in heaven—they can't come back to be mad because they're dead and there's nothing left but eternal darkness.
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