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Thread: Atheism And Moral Progress

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I will ask again Carp, why give a pass on one intrinsically impossible thing (creating a square circle), but not on another intrinsically impossible thing; God violating his nature.
    God is, presumably a sentient being. Sentient beings can make choices and act on them. Limiting god to actions that are "aligned with his nature" is placing a limit on this supposed all-powerful being that us simple mortals don't even have. The very idea is somewhat oxymoronic.

    A logical contradiction is a logical contradiction. A limitation on action is not a logical contradiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    The only reason I see as to why you would accept the former and not the latter is your bias.
    No - but I suspect that is not going to be accepted.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    You are doing it again, hand waving. How isn't God referencing right and wrong when acting?
    See my answer above.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

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    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I will ask again Carp, why give a pass on one intrinsically impossible thing (creating a square circle), but not on another intrinsically impossible thing; God violating his nature. The only reason I see as to why you would accept the former and not the latter is your bias.
    Creating a square circle is a logical impossibility, but moral free agency requires the freedom to choose between good and evil. To remove this component, is to render your God’s behavior predetermined by arbitrary limitations.

    You are doing it again, hand waving. How isn't God referencing right and wrong when acting?
    …because you have removed the element of choice.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    God is, presumably a sentient being. Sentient beings can make choices and act on them. Limiting god to actions that are "aligned with his nature" is placing a limit on this supposed all-powerful being that us simple mortals don't even have. The very idea is somewhat oxymoronic.
    That is not an answer Carp, you give a pass on one intrinsically impossible thing, but not another. It is not considered a limit if He can't create a square circle, but is if He can't violate His nature.

    A logical contradiction is a logical contradiction. A limitation on action is not a logical contradiction.
    ?

    No - but I suspect that is not going to be accepted.
    Because you know very well that the term omnipotent is not even used in Scripture, it is short hand for a supremely powerful being, the most powerful being in existence.



    See my answer above.
    What? That has nothing to do with this question. You were saying that free will, or the power of contrary choice, was necessary to be considered a moral agent, even your own link did not support that.
    Last edited by seer; 01-11-2019 at 05:29 AM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    That is not an answer Carp, you give a pass on one intrinsically impossible thing, but not another. It is not considered a limit if He can't create a square circle, but is if He can't violate His nature.
    Since humanity can "violate it's nature," there is no intrinsic, logical contradiction with being ABLE to act in a way that is inconsistent with one's nature. There may be a contradiction with actualizing that potential - but there is no contradiction with having that potential. However, removing that potential creates a contradiction with "omnipotent." This is where you are stuck on the horns of a dilemma, Seer - and Christianity (and others) have defined their way out of the conundrum for centuries - perhaps millenia.

    You appear to be trying to remove a power from a god that any mortal has possession of - yet continue to claim this being is "all-powerful." I don't know how you cannot see the implicit contradiction int hat position.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Because you know very well that the term omnipotent is not even used in Scripture, it is short hand for a supremely powerful being, the most powerful being in existence.
    Seer - I really don't care what is and is not "in scripture." That's your problem. I'm talking about the expressed theology of a particular religious sect and its inherent contradictions. The source of those contradictions is irrelevant to me. The fact of them is not. It informs my own beliefs.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    What? That has nothing to do with this question. You were saying that free will, or the power of contrary choice, was necessary to be considered a moral agent, even your own link did not support that.
    Read the definition again, Seer. The definition clearly specifies acting with respect to right AND wrong. And common sense is a factor here as well - a being that is constrained from ever choosing a wrong or evil action is simply following moral programming. They can't be said to be "good" as a moral agent because they simply are incapable of choosing anything other THAN good. If I program a robot to always make the "moral" choice and to be incapable, by way of its programming, from making an evil choice - I cannot see that being as acting out of a free moral agency: it's just following its built-in programming.

    How you cannot see this is a bit unbelievable to me. I have to assume that you so desperately need to hold on to your belief system that you are simply incapable of acknowledging the problem. I empathize. At one point in my own faith journey, I was at the same place. I once said most of the things you have been saying to me. It took me years to break free of that "programming" and begin to critically assess the beliefs. From my perspective - you are not at that point in your own journey. You are still mired in the beliefs and working very hard to rationalize them.

    Of course, you are likely to have a similar view of me: that I am so poisoned against Christianity that I cannot even acknowledge what makes perfect sense to you. I don't know how we are going to move past that impasse. It is possible we have arrived at the end of what we can accomplish with this discussion.
    Last edited by carpedm9587; 01-11-2019 at 07:48 AM.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Since humanity can "violate it's nature," there is no intrinsic, logical contradiction with being ABLE to act in a way that is inconsistent with one's nature. There may be a contradiction with actualizing that potential - but there is no contradiction with having that potential. However, removing that potential creates a contradiction with "omnipotent." This is where you are stuck on the horns of a dilemma, Seer - and Christianity (and others) have defined their way out of the conundrum for centuries - perhaps millenia.

    You appear to be trying to remove a power from a god that any mortal has possession of - yet continue to claim this being is "all-powerful." I don't know how you cannot see the implicit contradiction int hat position.

    Seer - I really don't care what is and is not "in scripture." That's your problem. I'm talking about the expressed theology of a particular religious sect and its inherent contradictions. The source of those contradictions is irrelevant to me. The fact of them is not. It informs my own beliefs.
    As a biased atheist you refuse to be gracious or give an inch. Like I said, it is short hand, and these very arguments are why I don't use the term. nor does Scripture. So it is not an actual problem with the texts. So no contradiction or conundrum actually exists. I can see why theologians use the term since God would be the most powerful Being in existence, if God does not qualify, then nothing does and the word is useless.


    Read the definition again, Seer. The definition clearly specifies acting with respect to right AND wrong. And common sense is a factor here as well - a being that is constrained from ever choosing a wrong or evil action is simply following moral programming. They can't be said to be "good" as a moral agent because they simply are incapable of choosing anything other THAN good. If I program a robot to always make the "moral" choice and to be incapable, by way of its programming, from making an evil choice - I cannot see that being as acting out of a free moral agency: it's just following its built-in programming.
    No Carp, with reference to right and wrong. Of course God references or knows right or wrong. If you don't agree, tell me why He doesn't? And there was nothing in your link about free will or the power of contrary choice.

    How you cannot see this is a bit unbelievable to me. I have to assume that you so desperately need to hold on to your belief system that you are simply incapable of acknowledging the problem. I empathize. At one point in my own faith journey, I was at the same place. I once said most of the things you have been saying to me. It took me years to break free of that "programming" and begin to critically assess the beliefs. From my perspective - you are not at that point in your own journey. You are still mired in the beliefs and working very hard to rationalize them.
    Carp if you think I'm desperate, you are way off the mark.

    Of course, you are likely to have a similar view of me: that I am so poisoned against Christianity that I cannot even acknowledge what makes perfect sense to you. I don't know how we are going to move past that impasse. It is possible we have arrived at the end of what we can accomplish with this discussion.
    Ok...
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    As a biased atheist you refuse to be gracious or give an inch.
    Why is there such a tendency for people to respond to a counter argument here by assuming "bias?" That's not an argument, Seer - it's a dodge. You're not responding to the argument - you're pivoting to a personal attack. It doesn't help your case.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Like I said, it is short hand, and these very arguments are why I don't use the term. nor does Scripture. So it is not an actual problem with the texts. So no contradiction or conundrum actually exists. I can see why theologians use the term since God would be the most powerful Being in existence, if God does not qualify, then nothing does and the word is useless.
    And yet you've been using the term since the beginning of this discussion. If you don't consider your god "omnipotent," then all you needed to say is "I don't believe my god is omnipotent" and the discussion would have ended pages ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    No Carp, with reference to right and wrong. Of course God references or knows right or wrong. If you don't agree, tell me why He doesn't? And there was nothing in your link about free will or the power of contrary choice.
    I don't know why you regularly skip over the relevant part of the definition that speaks to this. The definition includes not just knowing - but also acting - and with reference to right AND wrong. For some reason, you continually ignore this part of the definition.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Carp if you think I'm desperate, you are way off the mark.
    Desperate is perhaps too emotional a word. You do appear to need to cling to a position that, from my perspective, is logically indefensible.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Ok...
    Fair enough. Thanks, again, for the exchange.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    And yet you've been using the term since the beginning of this discussion. If you don't consider your god "omnipotent," then all you needed to say is "I don't believe my god is omnipotent" and the discussion would have ended pages ago.
    I only got into it because you brought it up, but like I said there is no problem with Scripture, and that I use the term supremely powerful, not omnipotent. And that I do understand why theologians use the word, for the reasons I gave - though it is not precise enough for me.


    I don't know why you regularly skip over the relevant part of the definition that speaks to this. The definition includes not just knowing - but also acting - and with reference to right AND wrong. For some reason, you continually ignore this part of the definition.
    But you kept pointing to the word reference (and God certainly references right and wrong) , not acting - yet there too God acts on His moral nature. When God judges you, don't tell me that wasn't a moral act.


    Desperate is perhaps too emotional a word. You do appear to need to cling to a position that, from my perspective, is logically indefensible.
    Nothing illogical about anything I said or believe, if you think otherwise present a syllogism where we both agree on the premises.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    I only got into it because you brought it up, but like I said there is no problem with Scripture, and that I use the term supremely powerful, not omnipotent. And that I do understand why theologians use the word, for the reasons I gave - though it is not precise enough for me.
    I have to admit this leaves me a little flummoxed. Why on earth would you defend "omnipotent" for pages and pages, and then declare that you don't think your god is actually omnipotent? The whole exercise seems pointless to me.

    In any event - enough said. God cannot be simultaneously omnipotent and omnibenevolent - and we appear to agree on that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    But you kept pointing to the word reference (and God certainly references right and wrong) , not acting - yet there too God acts on His moral nature. When God judges you, don't tell me that wasn't a moral act.
    Moral agency is an individual's ability to make moral judgments based on some notion of right and wrong and to be held accountable for these actions.[1] A moral agent is "a being who is capable of acting with reference to right and wrong."


    I (once again) emphasize the relevant part of the definition. "Acting with reference to" means what it says: acting with respect to - according to - in association with - the notions of right and wrong. It doesn't say only right. It says right and wrong. A being without the potential to freely act for the right or the wrong is not a moral agent. It does not say anything about what god actually chooses.

    But all of this is a moot point since you don't believe god is omnipotent anyway. So 'Nuff said. Last word to you on the subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Nothing illogical about anything I said or believe, if you think otherwise present a syllogism where we both agree on the premises.
    No need - you have acknowledged you do not believe god is omnipotent - which was the point of the discussion: the disconnect between "omnipotent" and "omnibenevolent" and the way in which the problem was being avoided by adjusting/adopting specific definitions.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I have to admit this leaves me a little flummoxed. Why on earth would you defend "omnipotent" for pages and pages, and then declare that you don't think your god is actually omnipotent? The whole exercise seems pointless to me.

    In any event - enough said. God cannot be simultaneously omnipotent and omnibenevolent - and we appear to agree on that point.
    Because Carp, over history it has been used with beings that were not "all powerful" in the definitional sense (as I linked, and not only with Christians).

    From Oxford dictionary: omnipotence The quality of having unlimited or very great power. ‘God's omnipotence’

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/de...us/omnipotence

    I can't help you with your binary thinking problem....


    I (once again) emphasize the relevant part of the definition. "Acting with reference to" means what it says: acting with respect to - according to - in association with - the notions of right and wrong. It doesn't say only right. It says right and wrong. A being without the potential to freely act for the right or the wrong is not a moral agent. It does not say anything about what god actually chooses.
    Again, you keep saying this with no evidence. Of course God acts with reference to right or wrong. What conforms to His moral nature is right, what goes against His moral sense is wrong. He is certainly acting according to that internal reference.
    Last edited by seer; 01-11-2019 at 12:26 PM.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Because Carp, over history it has been used with beings that were not "all powerful" in the definitional sense (as I linked, and not only with Christians).

    From Oxford dictionary: omnipotence The quality of having unlimited or very great power. ‘God's omnipotence’

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/de...us/omnipotence

    I can't help you with your binary thinking problem....
    I know the feeling

    I have repeatedly acknowledged the multiple definitions, Seer - and pointed out that they exist because people needed them to avoid the obvious conflicts. The subcomponents of the words are pretty clear: "all" and "powerful." The other definitions arose because it is not possible to have such a being.

    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Again, you keep saying this with no evidence. Of course God acts with reference to right or wrong. What conforms to His moral nature is right, what goes against His moral sense is wrong. He is certainly acting according to that internal reference.
    Seer - the evidence is the statement itself. There is nothing I can do about your apparent need to simply gloss over the statement, or ignore its import. So we are at an impasse. I think we have accomplished all that can be accomplished with this discussion I'll leave the last word to you.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

    -Martin Luther King

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