If there were no God


#402

With respect, I think that you’re avoiding the main point. Which is that if you believe God should prevent evil, then you don’t get a say in what IS evil. That His thoughts on the matter would align exactly with yours are…well, remote.

So would you be prepared to have Him prevent all evil as He sees fit when that would certainly curtail aspects of your own life? IF that included the examples I gave, would you be OK with it?


#403

Since I believe that God is rational, then evil according to him is the same as any rational being’s concept. If God is not rational, then all bets are off. Evil is volitionally causing physical or emotional harm to a sentient being - either directly or indirectly. (By the way, sentient is not the same as sapient.)

If we cannot agree on this basic concept, then there is no reason to continue.


#404

I think the criteria is too loose. For example:

At what point would you allow an abortion?
When does punishing a child become emotionally harmful?
Can you leave your husband for another man?
How many beers can I have tonight?
What level of porn (if any) is acceptable?
Can I smoke if that is distressing to my children?
What’s your age of consent?
Is euthanasia acceptable and under what circumstances?

Now what you have to consider is God giving a different answer to you in each case. And a gazillion others. And you have have to accept the ref’s call on each one.

And I’m not looking for an answer to each one. They are examples of what might be construed as intentional physical and/or emotional harm (even self harm which could be emotionally harming to others) where there is no one single correct answer. We’d disagree on maybe all of them.

So are you going to pass responsibility over to God in every case?


#405

If there were no God then King Lear would have just OD’d on sedatives after Act II.

Where’s the drama without God? Life for everyone would just be the atheist’s long, dark night.


#406

Even though you did not expect an answer, but I try to give you one - based upon the “loose” criterion I presented.
Abortion: unconditionally up until the fetus has no working brain. After that it is complicated.
Punishment of children is an awful practice. It is a negative reinforcement, which is much inferior to a positive reinforcement. Every animal trainer can attest to this principle.
Sure you can leave your spouse.
As many beers as you wish - as long as you don’t drive.
Porn is undefined, so your question cannot be answered.
Smoking is unhealthy, but as long as you only hurt yourself, it is only your business.
Age of consent is variable, dependent on many circumstances.
Euthanasia is acceptable if the patient is lucid and requests it.

Now these answers are only as precise as the questions were. The more details are available, the more precise the answers could be.

It is true that self-hurt CAN be emotionally distressing to others, but we cannot live our lives at the whim of others. As Cain said: “we are not our brother’s keepers”. It is nice to take the possible impact upon others, but our first and foremost responsibility is to ourselves.

Of course all these questions and answers are pertinent to our life, and that is not the same as a loving and caring god (or God) would behave. The words “loving” and “caring” reflect our ideas about what a loving behavior should be. As I said in my previous post to you, if we cannot agree on such basic concepts, the conversation is futile.


#407

Who needs drama? And what do you know about the atheists perception of reality?


#408

Well it’s a beautiful day today. Not a cloud in the sky. So my wife and I will take a walk in the park this afternoon and maybe stop off for a quick drink with some friends on the way home. Then we’ll call up the kids in Oz and finalise the plans we’ve been making to meet up with them and the grandkids later this year. The youngest is talking now. If she calls me grandad then I’ll try to keep the quaver out of my voice. Our youngest just got married and the two of them are just so happy. Can’t wait to see them all. And we need to organise to meet up with my wife’s sister and her husband. They’re going to be on holiday near us and we get on like a house on fire.

Then maybe I’ll sit in a hot bath and open a vein. I mean, life is just so depressing.


#409

I presume from your answers that this is what you would expect from God in His new position of overuling our free will. But I disagree with some of your answers. And I’m pretty certain that most on this forum would definitely do so.

So where do we go from here? As I said, the big ticket problems are the easy ones. But you need to draw a line somewhere. And THAT is the problem.

It’s entirely valid to say to any given Christian: ‘What about that Problem Of Evil, eh?’ And if they are honest, they will agree that it is indeed a problem. Some will try to defend their position and others will look blank and then say ‘Hey, look. A pidgeon!’

The problem that WE have (we being atheists) is in trying to define what we personally think the answer should be. Because there is no specific answer to almost all moral problems. As you implied, the answers change depending on the situation. And there are an infinite number of possible scenarios. And no two people will agree on quite a large fraction of those.

So you can end up going from: ‘Why can’t God prevent evil?’ to ‘This is what I want God to do’.

And you are then in the same boat as our good friends the Christians. A boat without a paddle.


#410

Type “atheists” and “suicide” into your search engines. You’ll get sites like this one:

Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. Unaffiliated subjects were younger, less often married, less often had children, and had less contact with family members. Furthermore, subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide. In terms of clinical characteristics, religiously unaffiliated subjects had more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder. No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15569904


#411

If there were no God then this site would be populated with far more good-willed atheists trying to show us the error in our ways. But alas we have the same old atheists with their same old arguments.

Why do those few atheists remain active on this site? Surely by now the mission of the site for them has been accomplished: They know what we believe.

Catholic Answers is a media ministry that serves Christ by explaining and defending the Catholic faith. We help Catholics grow in their faith; we bring former Catholics home; and we lead non-Catholics into the fullness of the truth.

I presume that they stay online looking for something that will change their minds while they pretend to try to change ours.


#412

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

And you need to check up on the difference between atheists and religiously unaffiliated. Only about a quarter of religiously unaffiliated people are atheists. The rest believe in God but just don’t belong to a specific religion.


#413

Not a big problem. After all, even a little improvement (eliminating AIDS) would be a huge improvement. (sorry… :slight_smile: ) Of course there is a final answer, too: “if the greatest good for everyone is to enjoy the beatific vision, then the solution is simple - bypass this vale of tears, and create everyone directly into heaven”.

After all, what is the point of this existence? It has no value at all, it is just a “testing ground” to find out who will get to heaven and who will be thrown to hell. But this is also rendered meaningless, since God already knows the “score”, even before we are created. The Calvinists are not idiots either.

Now, if someone still would prefer to keep this world, there is a second-best option for this existence. Organize the world based upon the Gaia principle. Everyone is part of the super-organism, everyone participates in its “workings”, not just the living beings, but everyone would add a little to its tapestry. No competition, only cooperation. After all our “stomach” will never entice a revolution against our “lungs”, so this principle is well-established on the small scale. So the model is successful, let’s get to the “production” phase.


#414

I’m not sure that half measures work. I wouldn’t want to be the father of a child dying of leukaemia if God had decided that zapping AIDS was ‘a step in the right direction’. If you want Him to prevent evil, then again, you don’t get to choose which one.

It’s called ‘the problem of evil’. Not ‘the problem with some evil’.


#415

Closer to one-third. What you need to remember is that all atheists are religiously unaffiliated. You’re in the study.

Show me just one study from a reputable agency that shows more practicing Catholics than atheists commit suicide and perhaps you’ll have a point.

As to your post hoc ergo propter hoc claim, take it up with your fellow atheists. All I do is report the news …

Depression is a serious problem with in the greater atheist community and far too often, that depression has led to suicide. This is something many of my fellow atheists often don’t like to admit, but it is true.


#416

I’ve never seen any study that gives any figures at all for atheists. And I’m pretty certain that you haven’t either.

And as atheists comprise a small fraction of those who describe themselves as unaffiliated, even if it’s as high as one third, then if you can find figures for them, divide them by 3 and let me know how you get on.

Otherwise I’ll put this down as yet another example of someone cuttin’ and pastin’ things they haven’t even investigated themselves.


#417

Your own words betray you.


#418

Perhaps English is not your first language. In which case I apologise. But the statement is quite clear. No figures are available as far as I can see (and presumably as far as you can see as well) for atheists.

Now, as I said above, if you can find some figures for suicide rates for all those who are unaffiliated (I’m not going to do your work for you), then whatever figure you find can be divided by at least three to get a figure for atheists.

I’m going to get another beer while you do that.


#419

Aha! Drowning your sorrows in alcohol.


#420

Just celebrating another great day. Sitting on the balcony watching the world go by and the sun go down.


#421

They don’t “work” as a general panacea. But having one burger is better than none at all. How do you get to the top of the hill? One step at a time.

Of course I gave you the general solution, in two formats - one within this world and one without it. Any remarks?


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