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Old 02-25-2000, 06:55 AM   #41
wizzywig
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Vagabond:

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For myself the existence of God is unprovable, short of an actual first hand conversation and demonstration of power by the big man himself. For you, it seems that circumstantial evidence in the form of the order and beauty of the universe is enough. We'll just have to disagree about the provability of God since it seems we can't even agree on what constitutes proof.
The existence of God is a scientific fact. Rejection of this fact can only be made on the basis of bias and a will to disbelieve. The evidence is overwhelming. Rather than take space to cite the evidence here, I will refer you to an article from The London Telegraph, which is a short course in the Anthropic Principle:
http://userzweb.lightspeed.net/jdenney/anthrpic.htm

This is not merely about "seeing order and beauty in the universe." This is about ironclad evidence for intelligent design. The universe is an artifact of an intelligent designer, no question.

--wiz
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Old 02-25-2000, 07:10 AM   #42
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TheAhnFahn--

How do you feel about paradox in general? Do you find paradoxes to be logically unacceptable? Are you of the opinion that all paradoxes must have a logical resolution? Do you see paradox as a contradiction which indicates error?

The wave-particle duality of quantum objects such as electrons and photons is indeed a paradox. When you perform one kind of experiment on the particle, it behaves as a wave and in such a way that particlehood is excluded. Another kind of experiment, and it behaves as a particle and wavehood is excluded. It is a paradox, but it is true.

The number pi is a paradox. It is both finite and infinite. With a value of approximately 3.14159..., it is a mathematical constant that expresses the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. But it cannot be calculated precisely without infinite regression.

I get the impression that some forms of paradox offend you as being logically untidy. Personally, I tend to see true paradox (not mere contradiction) as an insight into a deeper and more logical truth.

I see the paradox of the Trinity or Tri-Unity of God as one of the most profound and sublime truths of the universe. Through Jesus Christ--fully God who became fully man--God Himself entered into the human condition. No one can say that God is remote or unable to understand our lives, our struggles, our pain--because God Himself has entered into it all and lived it all alongside us, through Jesus.

The Trinity is a mystery and a paradox and a deep truth.

"We dance around in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows."
--Robert Frost


--WYSIWYG

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Old 02-25-2000, 07:28 AM   #43
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TheAhnFahn--

On Wave-Particle Duality--

Here are some web resources on the subject:
http://theory.uwinnipeg.ca/physics/quant/node5.html http://www.qmw.ac.uk/~zgap118/ http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/wave_particle.html http://www.cafebabe.demon.co.uk/QM/Quantum_Reality.htm



--wiz


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Old 02-25-2000, 11:44 AM   #44
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I guess one way to state it TAF, would be to say that God is outside of time, and thus is unchanging (if God were part of time, God would probably be changing, and maybe not even permenant). The theory is that in this way, God can see all of time at once, thus is able to both predict the future, and see events as they transpire, and also to "remember" the past. Because of this, God is immortal, since time has no effect.

The Trinity is how we perceive God. If God was changing, then yes, the same criteria as to the runner/walker would apply, it would stand to reason.

This Christian God is also an active God. At points in time (as per God's plan) God will intervene in history (in the form of miracles, the prophets, signs, angelic messengers, Jesus, the Resurrection, etc).

Since Jesus is part of time (as a human being) but also God, (outside of time), then here we have the bridge between the inside and out.

Why must we assume that God is outside of time? We earlier established, that for God to be all powerful (as believers claim), God must be outside of time. Otherwise, God had a beginning, and God will probably have an end. That is, unless God is ever-changing. However that poses some difficult questions if we decide that God is changing. For example, are we worshiping the same God as our ancestors? Are God's laws eternal, or do they change? Will God one day not exist? Will morality be reversed over time? etc.

If God is unchanging, then any percieved "changes" are merely the fullness of God's "plan" taking shape. This would also allow for a God that is active in daily life. Thus you don't have the Deist conception of a God who simply throws everything out there.

If the Deist God is allknowning, unchanging, and inactive in daily life, then:

isn't prayer useless?
are we judged?
do we even have free will?

It brings up alot of questions. (Deists please chime in and explain!)

The Son is God's "mediator" in time, an intervention.

The Father is God's initial contact with matter, space and time (which if God created them, God is not subject to their limitations).

The Holy Spirit/Ghost is that aspect of God that we detect in our lives. This is the spirit that wills us to do good and speak the truth. Mankind is of a sinful nature and thus the Spirit of God is sent to help him overcome his temptation to sin, and to lead him back to the right path.

There is only one God. Otherwise, if there are many Gods, they cannot be all powerful. Each would be limited by the power of the other. And how many would there be? Why not an infinite number? Then would they be "gods"? They might as well be midichlorians, or little white cars (they're pretty common where I live, the cars).

If there is only one God, then we can't say, look, Jesus was one God, then you have the other creator God, then you have the other "spirit God" that's in our hearts, etc.

It's all the same God, but they are specific functions that are eternal.

If a person were always a runner, no matter what, outside and inside of time, then they would be in that respect like God.

Then let's say that runner was also a walker (a paradox, but then again so is being a Son and a Father to yourself). Now let's say that Walker/Runner was also a sleeper. There, you have a Trinity. Three beings, all equal, all one, all pre-existing and unchanging. If we don't recognize the Trinity, we are merely ignoring an understanding of the nature of God.

The question is, would the Trinity ever change? That is, would a new being of God be revealed in the future? If God is unchanging, then no, because that aspect would have always existed prior to our knowing it, and would have always existed. God would simply have to reveal it to us, and I would wonder why it hadn't been revealed already. However that is not to say it could not happen, but it is unlikely given the model we've already established.

That's one way of explaining it (pretty much the way I see it), and one I think many Christians would accept.

Comments? ; ) (who am I kidding anyway? of course there will be)

Kurgan
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Old 02-25-2000, 04:19 PM   #45
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I find that the concept of human free will, the concept that God is unchanging, and the concept that God is an active participant outside of time is a complete contradiction in and of itself. How can we allow for free will if God knew His creation and knew His outcome? Again, I see no reason to accept in full the premises put forth when they don't even form deductively valid conclusions. Am I not understanding the Christian faith, or is this yet another contradiction that should just be accepted as something we will never understand? More later today...

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And there he is. The reigning champion of the Boonta Classic, and the crowd favorite-TheAhnFahn
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Old 02-26-2000, 12:04 AM   #46
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TheAhnFahn:

A question. You write:

Quote:
How can we allow for free will if God knew His creation and knew His outcome?
I ask you: Is human free will a good thing or a bad thing?

(Humor me. I'm headed somewhere with this.)

--wiz

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Old 02-26-2000, 05:55 AM   #47
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Relative to what? "Good" and "Bad" have whatever definitions we may choose to give them. If you are asking for my opinion then I will give it to you, but I hardly see how it is relevant.

I can't grasp why or how I came to this conclusion, but I feel as if free will plays a very integral role in awareness, thought, and emotion - all neatly classified under what we call "the human experience". I simply can't imagine something that does not have free will to be able to comprehend personal identity, to not only learn from the environment but contemplate concepts for mere personal amusement - to even have amusement. Through an anthropocentric worldview free will would be considered the "greatest gift".

If free will does not exist then everything is predestined in one form or another. Imagine for a moment that although it is not physically possible to witness the totality of the universe and make a prediction on a given outcome, it is still conceptually feasible if free will is removed from the equation. In essence, without free will the universe is nothing more than a function. Knowing the nature of the universe and knowing the input would allow a prediction of the output.

Is free will good or bad? In my opinion that question is analogous to "Is the human experience good or bad?" This isn't my place to give an answer to this question. My human experience is meaningful and enjoyed, and I share my happiness with others in hopes that they too will fulfill a purposeful existence. But this is me and may only be me.

Everyone knows by now that I keep my mind open to any and all insights into the human experience. Just this morning I heard Bohemian Rhapsody on the radio, and I'm sure everyone remembers this part:
I don't want to die,
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all.

This reminded me of a line from Spartacus, where Antoninus asked Spartacus if he was afraid to die and Spartacus replied "Not as much as I was to be born." That is truly a depressing thing to think about, that someone would be afraid to enter this world, would suffer throughout their lifetime, and would die for a cause they would never enjoy.

Spartacus is my example in which I portray the fuzziness of your question Wiz. Spartacus feared his gift to make moral choices, lived in agony, and died in agony. Clearly, in this sense free will is a rather horrifying application that spawned nothing but anguish. But when looking at the larger picture and establishing the fact that Spartacus achieved a feat that was purposeful not to himself but to humanity, free will is a glorious thing. I suppose the heart of the matter is that free will is used to serve a greater purpose than self-gratification. A purposeful life is one of total giving, even if that entails the giving will end in death. A "reward" of sorts should not be taken into account (i.e. heaven), for loving your fellow man is something that should be done without the expectation of a returned favor.

Sorry to stray. I don't think I quite answered your question, but I really couldn't without further specification. Perhaps I humored you enough and you can just share your next post with me so I will know under what context "good" and "bad" are defined.

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And there he is. The reigning champion of the Boonta Classic, and the crowd favorite-TheAhnFahn
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Old 02-26-2000, 10:13 PM   #48
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theahnfahn--

Thanks! Here's where I was headed with my question.

Your original statement was:

Quote:
I find that the concept of human free will, the concept that God is unchanging, and the concept that God is an active participant outside of time is a complete contradiction in and of itself. How can we allow for free will if God knew His creation and knew His outcome?
Correct me if I misinterpret you, but as I understand it, you are saying that a perfect God who is outside of time, who can see the entire time-dimension of the universe from beginning to end, who knows the final outcome of history, would never create a world with free will in it, knowing that evil would come from human free-will choices. Is that what you are suggesting?

A lot of people view the world that way and say that God, then, must be the author of evil, since God knew in advance that evil would come from the free will he gave to human beings.

There have been times in my life when I did things I later regretted, when I wished that I didn't have free will. I would have much rather been a robot, programmed to only do what is right.

And I have also wished that individuals like Hitler or the Columbine killers could have been programmed robots (programmed to do good, of course) instead of monsters with free will, inflicting death, pain, and destruction on our world.

But I have since come to see free will as a good thing, regardless of how it is used. There are many things like that in the universe, things that are a good thing, but which produce harm and evil when misused. Fire is a good thing when handled carefully, but when handled negligently or with evil intent (say, by an arsonist) it produces evil results. Food, cars, computers, sex, art--all of these are good things that can produce harm and evil when misused.

I see free will as a good thing. Genesis pictures a God who, upon completing creation, looked upon everything that was made (including, presumably, free will) and called it "good." Sometime after that point, human beings came on the scene and used human free will to do evil.

Free will is, in my mind, the firewall between God and the evil in the world. God did not create evil. Rather, he created human beings, miniature reflections of himself with the godlike power to make moral choices. In the process he created a good and perfect universe that was capable of bringing into existence things he had never made, including evil itself.

All that God created, including free will itself, was good; it would not have been good for God to create a universe without conscious choice-making life, nor would it have been good for God to create a universe populated by unconscious robots without free will, capable of nothing but executing programming. The only good thing would have been a universe populated by free beings, capable of 360 degrees of choice.

That is why I asked if you viewed free will as a good or bad thing.

From what you said, I don't think you and I see this question very differently, since you seem to think that free will can be a good or evil thing depending on how it is used.

Quote:
I can't grasp why or how I came to this conclusion, but I feel as if free will plays a very integral role in awareness, thought, and emotion.
I absolutely agree. I believe free will is the very essence of human awareness, thought, and emotion. It's our ability to make free, nondetermined choices that makes us human, IMO.

BTW, I can see now that I'm going to have to go out and rent Sparticus...

--wiz
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Old 02-27-2000, 06:39 AM   #49
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Correct me if I misinterpret you, but as I understand it, you are saying that a perfect God who is outside of time, who can see the entire time-dimension of the universe from beginning to end, who knows the final outcome of history, would never create a world with free will in it, knowing that evil would come from human free-will choices. Is that what you are suggesting?
No, not at all. What I am pondering is that will free will cease to exist if the outcome of each and every event is known in advance by God? This is really a hard thing to answer because "in advance" does not even seem to apply to an entity outside of time itself. I always thought free will was something unique to the user - an application whose outcome is SOLELY produced and thus SOLELY known by the user alone. My question, in a roundabout manner, was asking "How can free will exist when an omnipotent God knows all?"

You know from some of the emails I have sent you how I feel about free will and the like. I have never felt that free will is an evil gift because it may produce evil. Free will may be neither good nor evil and may simply be the means to have these things.

And do I read you wrong, or are you saying you have never seen Spartacus? I am most definitely sure you have. The line I quoted is not precise. I spent about 20 minutes yesterday trying to find the script to that movie so I could have an exact quote. I've been leaning towards a purchase of the widescreen DVD version. That movie will always bring a tear of joy to your eye :'O)

(P.S.
Give your daughter a "deprived night" and rent Braveheart and Radio Flyer as well Although the latter is meant for her, I'm sure you and the fam would enjoy them both immensely Go for one of those two-for-one deals at Blockbuster!)

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And there he is. The reigning champion of the Boonta Classic, and the crowd favorite-TheAhnFahn
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Old 02-27-2000, 09:28 AM   #50
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TheAhnFahn--

Aha! I misunderstood you. Thanks for the clarification.

Quote:
What I am pondering is that will free will cease to exist if the outcome of each and every event is known in advance by God? This is really a hard thing to answer because "in advance" does not even seem to apply to an entity outside of time itself.
I see free will as being nothing more or less than the ability to make moral choices. God does not tell us, "My will is that you only do good; therefore you will do good." While it's true that His will is that we only do good, we have been given the ability to do what is bad, what is in violation of the will of almighty God. That is an awesome power that God has placed in our possession.

The fact that God knows what we have done, what we are doing, and what we will do does not (in my mind) cancel out free will. To me it is as if God stands outside of time and outside of our lives, in a sense, watching our lives as if we were living out a movie on a DVD disc. He can cue up any frame, past, present, or future (tense is from our POV, of course; from God's POV, it's all the same). He is timeless; we exist within time. He knows the beginning, middle, and end; we are playing it out, not knowing the conclusion of the drama.

Now, the fact that our lives are known by God does not mean that our lives are determined by God. We still get to choose. We have free will. God does not interfere with our choices. He simply watches the movie of our lives and sees the choices we have made.

This is an imperfect analogy, but it maybe gives a glimpse of how God can know our past, present, and future, while still preserving for us complete and unrestricted free will.

On movies: That's right. I've never seen SPARTACUS. I should. I've enjoyed other Kubrick films like 2001 and DR. STRANGELOVE. (Though I'm giving his last film, the Tom Cruise one, a pass--everything I've heard says it's a real turkey.)

We'll have to look into BRAVEHEART and RADIO FLYER--two others we've never seen. Thanks for the tip!

--wiz


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Old 02-27-2000, 09:26 PM   #51
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Actually, I'm not sure if I believe in free will (or the opposite, fate).

I guess I WANT to believe in free will. I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my destiny (to quote "the Matrix").

However, it's just my belief, for all I know, we're all just following pre-set patterns, or perhaps our ends are inescapable.

Whether or not the existence of free will proves or disproves a God, I can't say. What do you think?

Perhaps God knows the future, but it is constantly changing, because of the choices we make? So then God would have to simply recalculate the ends every time anything happens (that's alot of processing power). Thus you could have your cake and eat it to.. maybe.

Kurgan
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Old 02-27-2000, 09:34 PM   #52
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As for why I don't just come out and say it, it's because I can't. Like I said, to come out and say full on, "I believe in God", or "I don't believe in God" takes a leap of faith since no concrete evidence exists to support either statement.
Just to answer an older comment of your's Vag, to say you believe would not take a leap of faith. The "best evidence" etc that you have tells you.. X.

If you believe the question is unanswerable, then you could say that.

I'm not asking you to definitively say "There is a God" or "There is no God."

Which one makes more sense to you? Or are you simply saying that no matter what, you don't WANT to pose a theory, or you just don't know. If that's the case, say "I don't know" (don't worry, no green slime will fall on your head for saying it). That way, you can ride the fence until an answer comes (or wait forever).

I have some catching up to do!

Vagabond (again): I didn't realize you understood the concept of the Trinity and was just playing Devil's Advocate. You acted like you didn't.

Look, the evidence is:

The Bible. IF the Bible is the word of God, then you can bet it's authoritative, right? God's telling you what's what. The Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God, and one and the same substance with God. The Holy Spirit, is "another comforter" that Jesus sent, that is "My Spirit." I don't think it was just "thrown in there." Three might seem like a magic number, but I think it makes enough sense in this case.

The Apostolic tradition. If the Apostles were right about Jesus, (that is they understood his message correctly), then they would have passed this on and taught it to others, etc. There is evidence that the Early Christians (those under the teaching authority of the Aposltes) believed in the Trinity. That is, first, second, and third century Christians (many prominent ones too) mention the Trinity, and the members, etc. They seem to be in agreement (ignoring of course fringe groups of heretics that come along every so often).

If Jesus was wrong, then the Bible is wrong, and so were the Apostles, and hence the Orthodox and Catholic Churches (and thus the Protestant Churches in so much as they agree with the Catholic and Orthdox) and thus Christianity is wrong. Makes sense?

All we know about Jesus comes from those two sources (Bible and Apostolic Tradition).

Historically, we know alot of the people who were mentioned as living alongside Jesus really existed, such as Caiphas, Pontius Pilate, Herod, etc.

Well, there are other sources, but they say next to nothing (Josephus being one). The Dead Sea Scrolls appear to be talking about Jesus, of course they call him the "Wicked Priest" (there is evidence they were enemies of Jesus.. John the Baptist was their guy, not Jesus, in their minds, the world was coming to an end, and Jesus had failed in his mission).

Do you doubt the existence of Jesus? It sounds like you acknowledge that he existed.

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Darth Kurgan (edited February 27, 2000).]
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Old 02-27-2000, 09:45 PM   #53
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Sorry for the long string of posts, I'm just trying to break up my posts so Vag will read them. ; )

Now, it seems we're fluctuating between two topics. Was Jesus really God? and Does God exist?

I ask you, if Jesus was not God, why should we listen to him, anymore than any other ancient "philosopher?" If God does not exist, then what does that say about Jesus?

Kurgan
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Old 02-28-2000, 06:11 AM   #54
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Darth Kurgan and TheAhnFahn--

Two quotes on Free Will:

"We must believe in free will. We have no choice."
ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER :-)

And, on a more sober note:

"I am impressed by the ability of individuals who exhibit compulsive behavior, such as an addiction to alcohol or drugs, to alter the course of their self-destructive behavior either through the strength of their free will or the appeal to a transcendent power to help support that will. No animal can do that. The dignity of our humanity rests on the evidence that our will is free."
HEINZ R. PAGELS
The Dreams of Reason
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988)
pp. 229-230.

--da wiz

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Old 03-02-2000, 04:43 PM   #55
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Nice quotes, I like that first one. ; )

Btw, I found a site that debunks most of what that Muslim guy (his name is Ahmed Deedat) said about how the Bible and Christianity were all corrupted and false, etc (while Islam and the Qu'ran were not). The site is pretty good, although they don't seem to proofread their pages (alot of typos), and they get some facts wrong (about the canon of scripture). Still, they poke alot of holes in that guy's arguments (which isn't suprising).

Ahmed Deedat's page (the original one I mentioned in another post):
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delp.../contents.html

I was curious as to how traditional Christians would respond to his arguments against their teachings/beliefs, but then I found the other site.

Rebuttals of Deedat's writings:
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Deedat/

Kurgan
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