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“Evil” does not exist?
Posted: 05 August 2013 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Scott Mayers - 04 August 2013 06:31 PM

And we can also be both determinate and indeterminate at the same time. If, that is, you assume that every possible choice exists in totality but that from any one perspective (your given universe), you are only able to experience one of those results at a time. This way of understanding reality doesn’t require a God.

You used the word “choice.”  If we have no free will we cannot have choice.  Everything we do is determined by what came before. In this philosophy there is no moral responsibility.  There is also nothing done by us that is praiseworthy, since all we do is determined by what has proceeded us.  The debate about free will is not a debate about whether or not God exists.  Traditionally this debate has been within a theological framework, but atheists can debate it on their own terms.  If someone is hanging his hopes for the future on science and reason, then a lack of free will and the idea that all our actions are determined by causal factors kinda puts a damper on finding our way through reason.

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Posted: 05 August 2013 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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LilySmith - 04 August 2013 03:27 PM

I don’t think it depends on the supernatural, but on the question of free will.

But free will as you’re describing it is supernatural.

Stephen

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Posted: 05 August 2013 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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LilySmith - 05 August 2013 09:20 AM
Scott Mayers - 04 August 2013 06:31 PM

And we can also be both determinate and indeterminate at the same time. If, that is, you assume that every possible choice exists in totality but that from any one perspective (your given universe), you are only able to experience one of those results at a time. This way of understanding reality doesn’t require a God.

You used the word “choice.”  If we have no free will we cannot have choice.  Everything we do is determined by what came before. In this philosophy there is no moral responsibility.  There is also nothing done by us that is praiseworthy, since all we do is determined by what has proceeded us.  The debate about free will is not a debate about whether or not God exists.  Traditionally this debate has been within a theological framework, but atheists can debate it on their own terms.  If someone is hanging his hopes for the future on science and reason, then a lack of free will and the idea that all our actions are determined by causal factors kinda puts a damper on finding our way through reason.

We can still have an ‘apparent’ capability to choose under the assumption that every possible choice exists in a determined way. For instance, from our perspective, we can only see a limited set of potentially infinite dimensions. This may trap us from being able to point to other optional realities even though they may still exist. Just as we are forced to be unable to perceive all time at once, it can be realistically envisioned that their exists another dimension which consists of sets of times, different universes from each point in time that is perpendicular from it. From a God’s perspective, all those realities exist at once, and be clear and understandable. It’s a kind of nice way of thinking of it as well—imagine that for every person’s perspective, maybe we never actually experience permanent death or suffering. Those lines of realities that favor our continuation might, for instance, be the preferential reality that our consciousness actually takes on in the end. It wouldn’t dissolve the reality of suffering and bad choices that occur from our perspective of the environment. But it may put at ease the thought that people, and all other living things for that matter, have a resolved and just reward in the end. And you don’t even need the assurance of God to guarantee justice anymore.

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Posted: 05 August 2013 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Scott Mayers - 05 August 2013 09:52 AM

We can still have an ‘apparent’ capability to choose under the assumption that every possible choice exists in a determined way. For instance, from our perspective, we can only see a limited set of potentially infinite dimensions.’

In Determinism, which is what the original post described, it is not simply that we don’t know all the possible choices, it is that we are a product of what’s existed before, so we must do what our biology and environment has programed us to do.  Our actions are already determined before we have any thought about a situation.  Our choice is an illusion rather than a reality.  That’s the theory.

In a theological debate on free will, we would debate how much free will God actually allows us to have.  I agree that He has a very different perspective and it comes down to how much we trust his teaching.

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Posted: 05 August 2013 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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StephenLawrence - 05 August 2013 09:37 AM

But free will as you’re describing it is supernatural.

Stephen

How would you describe free will without it being supernatural?

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Posted: 05 August 2013 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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LilySmith - 05 August 2013 10:41 AM
StephenLawrence - 05 August 2013 09:37 AM

But free will as you’re describing it is supernatural.

Stephen

How would you describe free will without it being supernatural?

The term free will can be used to refer to different concepts with different meanings. I don’t see any point in going into free will meaning something else.

Belief in free will as in the concept you have in mind is a supernatural belief.

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Posted: 05 August 2013 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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LilySmith - 05 August 2013 10:40 AM
Scott Mayers - 05 August 2013 09:52 AM

We can still have an ‘apparent’ capability to choose under the assumption that every possible choice exists in a determined way. For instance, from our perspective, we can only see a limited set of potentially infinite dimensions.’

In Determinism, which is what the original post described, it is not simply that we don’t know all the possible choices, it is that we are a product of what’s existed before, so we must do what our biology and environment has programed us to do.  Our actions are already determined before we have any thought about a situation.  Our choice is an illusion rather than a reality.  That’s the theory.

In a theological debate on free will, we would debate how much free will God actually allows us to have.  I agree that He has a very different perspective and it comes down to how much we trust his teaching.

We may know our choices, we just can’t guarantee that what we thought we knew and eventually act upon is beyond the physics and chemistry of the brain that we credit our thoughts to. In your present understanding, real choice necessarily involves something beyond any capability our brains are limited to, its nature. This makes your belief, “super”-natural because it suggests that the brain itself is irrelevant to decision making and cause for behavior. You are left with asserting that the brain is an irrelevant mechanism. So why do we witness brain damaged people with anomalies of behavior that are inadequate to appropriate decision making? This shouldn’t occur if our powers to decide aren’t related to a determinate brain. In old-folk homes, people are often abused, not by the staff, but by the old people themselves. Even if they had a previous life of moral significance, their behaviors betray them due to the damaging effects of the brain. Or do you propose that their actions portray a sincere reflection of their choices to be evil?

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Posted: 05 August 2013 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Determinism is not my belief.  It is what the original poster described as voiced by an author.  In that theory, the physics and chemistry of the brain are simply a continuation of nature, therefore man acts according to what the chemistry determines.  He has no choice.  Proponents of that theory would point to the fact that brain damaged people or those with anomalies act differently because their brain has been altered.  They have no choice.  The theory of Determinism proposes that free will is an illusion, because we can only act according to what the structure and chemistry of the brain determines as shaped by nature.  Therefore, there’s no such thing as evil, as the original poster asked, because nothing we do is by our own choice.  We are all acting out what nature has designed.

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Posted: 05 August 2013 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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LilySmith - 05 August 2013 12:21 PM

Determinism is not my belief.  It is what the original poster described as voiced by an author.  In that theory, the physics and chemistry of the brain are simply a continuation of nature, therefore man acts according to what the chemistry determines.  He has no choice.  Proponents of that theory would point to the fact that brain damaged people or those with anomalies act differently because their brain has been altered.  They have no choice.  The theory of Determinism proposes that free will is an illusion, because we can only act according to what the structure and chemistry of the brain determines as shaped by nature.  Therefore, there’s no such thing as evil, as the original poster asked, because nothing we do is by our own choice.  We are all acting out what nature has designed.

I already understood that you don’t believe in determinism. You believe that their exists a free will because it justifies moral integrity. Without it, you believe justice has no means to back any arbitrary law because then it only depends on who controls the justice.

This is still unavoidable even with your belief that God provided this and that he gave us free will to address real choices that we must be accountable for. Why? Because only some form of humanistic authority can be the source of what God would dictate our morality should be anyways. You can’t credit the Bible with this because in order for you to trust that its contents represent your God’s wishes, the nature of the book would have to be such that it would never have to be published by a human’s hand. It steals the reason for it to be an authority by God. If His power was such that all Bibles magically appeared out of thin air by a Heavenly Press, there would be at least a reason to question the source as not coming from the authority of other people. It would also not be possible that other religious scripture should exist that have a similar justification to God’s authority that differ from one another.

If morality is a true existence that comes from ‘elsewhere’, why wouldn’t the same power to be able to choose not also have the same means of communicating a common innate ability to know right from wrong? Why should we require any source whatsoever to ever learn about God, his history, and what he wants of us? We’d have no reason to differ in our beliefs and because we’d have the same God in our heads from birth. We wouldn’t be able to doubt our innate knowledge of right or wrong or even be tricked by others to believe otherwise. And don’t suppose that the Devil either could possibly trick you because then this just steals away the very free will you claim to believe in by giving the power to another entity for determination.

So what do we do now? The best we can do is to create conventions among ourselves as humans to dictate our morality, hope that we can adjust to optimize our own lives in the communities of these morals and find some way, if we can, to develop a justice with our knowledge, wisdom, and even the technologies that may one day provide us all with happy and prosperous lives.

[ Edited: 05 August 2013 01:22 PM by Scott Mayers ]
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Posted: 05 August 2013 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 05 August 2013 08:16 AM

Everyone who is a product of higher education, I.e. able to draw conclusions based on reason rather than intuition, is aware of stratification as our knowledge is a product of same. And yes there are those who attempt to reconcile their earlier held beliefs with the knowledge that religion, i.e. the supernatural element, isn’t fact based. And that these concepts of good and evil must be used to communicate with someone not well versed in the emperical method. I view them as nothing more than a method of communication, good and evil , angelic, satanic etc.as most Americans still believe these concepts are part of their “truth”. And no, I don’t believe that the function of science is to align in anyway with those self truths as you call them, but to dispell them as myths. As for truths, everyone forms their own regardless of the amount of or lack of knowledge gained via research or intuition. And in this instance, you’re right; your “truth” and mine will be unknowable.

I’m curious what the rationale might be for dismissing “intuition” as a valid means of inquiry.  To do so means you’re not playing with a complete deck.

What I said about “science” was that it is a discipline.  Not truth.  When I say “align with truth”, I mean improve the fidelity of our working model of Truth.

Not different from a Zen monk, sitting in zazen, or an orchestra tuning it’s instruments.

The multiplicity of personal “truths” that you refer to are relative to each other. The stuff that dreams are made of.  Not what I’m talking about.

The undivided singularity of “This”.

But to study “This”, we have to keep our right hemisphere in the game.

[ Edited: 05 August 2013 01:45 PM by brmckay ]
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Posted: 05 August 2013 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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brmckay - 05 August 2013 01:29 PM
Thevillageatheist - 05 August 2013 08:16 AM

Everyone who is a product of higher education, I.e. able to draw conclusions based on reason rather than intuition, is aware of stratification as our knowledge is a product of same. And yes there are those who attempt to reconcile their earlier held beliefs with the knowledge that religion, i.e. the supernatural element, isn’t fact based. And that these concepts of good and evil must be used to communicate with someone not well versed in the emperical method. I view them as nothing more than a method of communication, good and evil , angelic, satanic etc.as most Americans still believe these concepts are part of their “truth”. And no, I don’t believe that the function of science is to align in anyway with those self truths as you call them, but to dispell them as myths. As for truths, everyone forms their own regardless of the amount of or lack of knowledge gained via research or intuition. And in this instance, you’re right; your “truth” and mine will be unknowable.

I’m curious what the rationale might be for dismissing “intuition” as a valid means of inquiry.  To do so means you’re not playing with a complete deck.

What I said about “science” was that it is a discipline.  Not truth.  When I say “align with truth”, I mean improve the fidelity of our working model of Truth.

Not different from a Zen monk, sitting in zazen, or an orchestra tuning it’s instruments.

The multiplicity of personal “truths” that you refer to are relative to each other. The stuff that dreams are made of.  Not what I’m talking about.

The undivided singularity of “This”.

But to study “This”, we have to keep our right hemisphere in the game.

The term “intuition” isn’t liked by many here because it is usually only defined in one unique way, as in mother’s intuition, a mystical sense of coming to knowledge. The other definition meaning, “that which one automatically or instinctively knows due to past experiences in which you may not necessarily recall its source of original learning” is often avoided because the certainty to which meaning isn’t always obvious. I recommend pointing out which meaning you are referring to or expand with sufficient context to eliminate being misinterpreted. I like using the word too and its getting tiring to have to be forced to have to spell out the definition every time because of its psychological distaste. It’s often used to derogatorily insult others of having irrational magical thinking. Don’t take offense since the mystical meaning is usually defaulted to by skeptics because they only too often have had it used as a justification in this sense in their dealings with others.

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Posted: 05 August 2013 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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brmckay - 05 August 2013 01:29 PM
Thevillageatheist - 05 August 2013 08:16 AM

Everyone who is a product of higher education, I.e. able to draw conclusions based on reason rather than intuition, is aware of stratification as our knowledge is a product of same. And yes there are those who attempt to reconcile their earlier held beliefs with the knowledge that religion, i.e. the supernatural element, isn’t fact based. And that these concepts of good and evil must be used to communicate with someone not well versed in the emperical method. I view them as nothing more than a method of communication, good and evil , angelic, satanic etc.as most Americans still believe these concepts are part of their “truth”. And no, I don’t believe that the function of science is to align in anyway with those self truths as you call them, but to dispell them as myths. As for truths, everyone forms their own regardless of the amount of or lack of knowledge gained via research or intuition. And in this instance, you’re right; your “truth” and mine will be unknowable.

I’m curious what the rationale might be for dismissing “intuition” as a valid means of inquiry.  To do so means you’re not playing with a complete deck.

What I said about “science” was that it is a discipline.  Not truth.  When I say “align with truth”, I mean improve the fidelity of our working model of Truth.

Not different from a Zen monk, sitting in zazen, or an orchestra tuning it’s instruments.


The multiplicity of personal “truths” that you refer to are relative to each other. The stuff that dreams are made of.  Not what I’m talking about.

The undivided singularity of “This”.

But to study “This”, we have to keep our right hemisphere in the game.

Intuition is notoriously unreliable. This is known by intelligent people.

Improving the fidelity of our working model of truth is exactly what real scientists do every day.

To study and come up with valid answers means using the whole brain—a brain that understands the issues—and that considers the whole brain of respected others in the field. If you find yourself alone in the field with few willing to give your ideas the time of day, you can be pretty sure there is something seriously wrong with your ideas. On very rare occasions someone comes up with a valid idea that others deny at first,  but it is rare.  It also takes objective evidence that your idea carries any weight to get a hearing. You have to do the hard work of presenting a rational case with objective evidence.

Lois

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Posted: 05 August 2013 03:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Lois - 05 August 2013 02:20 PM
brmckay - 05 August 2013 01:29 PM
Thevillageatheist - 05 August 2013 08:16 AM

Everyone who is a product of higher education, I.e. able to draw conclusions based on reason rather than intuition, is aware of stratification as our knowledge is a product of same. And yes there are those who attempt to reconcile their earlier held beliefs with the knowledge that religion, i.e. the supernatural element, isn’t fact based. And that these concepts of good and evil must be used to communicate with someone not well versed in the emperical method. I view them as nothing more than a method of communication, good and evil , angelic, satanic etc.as most Americans still believe these concepts are part of their “truth”. And no, I don’t believe that the function of science is to align in anyway with those self truths as you call them, but to dispell them as myths. As for truths, everyone forms their own regardless of the amount of or lack of knowledge gained via research or intuition. And in this instance, you’re right; your “truth” and mine will be unknowable.

I’m curious what the rationale might be for dismissing “intuition” as a valid means of inquiry.  To do so means you’re not playing with a complete deck.

What I said about “science” was that it is a discipline.  Not truth.  When I say “align with truth”, I mean improve the fidelity of our working model of Truth.

Not different from a Zen monk, sitting in zazen, or an orchestra tuning it’s instruments.


The multiplicity of personal “truths” that you refer to are relative to each other. The stuff that dreams are made of.  Not what I’m talking about.

The undivided singularity of “This”.

But to study “This”, we have to keep our right hemisphere in the game.

Intuition is notoriously unreliable. This is known by intelligent people.

Improving the fidelity of our working model of truth is exactly what real scientists do every day.

Your assuming the mystical meaning here. The mystical interpretation of it is actually not the normative use of it in the popular minds of users. The mystical is a special, and usually specifically qualified definition. Preventing or discouraging one’s use of the term is denying them a symbol (the word) to summarize their specific intent. Charity should go to the normative use. If you think that someone is being mystical, use that adjective to qualify the type of intuition you are referring to.

Intelligent people use this term everywhere with the normative use. Intuition (normative), is all that is initially accountable because it is your very ability to state what you mean or act without having to have to eternally referencing your every experience that determines your thoughts and actions. If you don’t think it is reliable, ask yourself why you are able to walk easily without having to relearn how to walk at every instance you find a need to. Intuition is usually considered the the mental component of instinct. The term “instinct” also suffers this distinction because most use of it is in the context of the predisposition to be born with a behavior. But it also applies to learned behavior that becomes hardwired due to practice.

Your ‘right-brain’ analogy suggesting the creative nature of what you think intuition means (made up like an artistic creation that lacks logic) justifies that you mean mystical intuition or unsubstantiated and unsubstantiated wisdom. Telling others not to use the term is denying the regular meaning from representing a real or valid behavior.

Lois - 05 August 2013 02:20 PM

To study and come up with valid answers means using the whole brain—a brain that understands the issues—and that considers the whole brain of respected others in the field. If you find yourself alone in the field with few willing to give your ideas the time of day, you can be pretty sure there is something seriously wrong with your ideas. On very rare occasions someone comes up with a valid idea that others deny at first,  but it is rare.  It also takes objective evidence that your idea carries any weight to get a hearing. You have to do the hard work of presenting a rational case with objective evidence.
Lois

Am I getting paranoid here, or are these comments purposefully misdirected innuendo? My intuition tells me so. But then again, intelligence based on such a thing must certainly be false, right? wink

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Posted: 05 August 2013 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Scott Mayers - 05 August 2013 03:24 PM
Lois - 05 August 2013 02:20 PM
brmckay - 05 August 2013 01:29 PM
Thevillageatheist - 05 August 2013 08:16 AM

Everyone who is a product of higher education, I.e. able to draw conclusions based on reason rather than intuition, is aware of stratification as our knowledge is a product of same. And yes there are those who attempt to reconcile their earlier held beliefs with the knowledge that religion, i.e. the supernatural element, isn’t fact based. And that these concepts of good and evil must be used to communicate with someone not well versed in the emperical method. I view them as nothing more than a method of communication, good and evil , angelic, satanic etc.as most Americans still believe these concepts are part of their “truth”. And no, I don’t believe that the function of science is to align in anyway with those self truths as you call them, but to dispell them as myths. As for truths, everyone forms their own regardless of the amount of or lack of knowledge gained via research or intuition. And in this instance, you’re right; your “truth” and mine will be unknowable.

I’m curious what the rationale might be for dismissing “intuition” as a valid means of inquiry.  To do so means you’re not playing with a complete deck.

What I said about “science” was that it is a discipline.  Not truth.  When I say “align with truth”, I mean improve the fidelity of our working model of Truth.

Not different from a Zen monk, sitting in zazen, or an orchestra tuning it’s instruments.


The multiplicity of personal “truths” that you refer to are relative to each other. The stuff that dreams are made of.  Not what I’m talking about.

The undivided singularity of “This”.

But to study “This”, we have to keep our right hemisphere in the game.

Intuition is notoriously unreliable. This is known by intelligent people.

Improving the fidelity of our working model of truth is exactly what real scientists do every day.

Your assuming the mystical meaning here. The mystical interpretation of it is actually not the normative use of it in the popular minds of users. The mystical is a special, and usually specifically qualified definition. Preventing or discouraging one’s use of the term is denying them a symbol (the word) to summarize their specific intent. Charity should go to the normative use. If you think that someone is being mystical, use that adjective to qualify the type of intuition you are referring to.

Intelligent people use this term everywhere with the normative use. Intuition (normative), is all that is initially accountable because it is your very ability to state what you mean or act without having to have to eternally referencing your every experience that determines your thoughts and actions. If you don’t think it is reliable, ask yourself why you are able to walk easily without having to relearn how to walk at every instance you find a need to. Intuition is usually considered the the mental component of instinct. The term “instinct” also suffers this distinction because most use of it is in the context of the predisposition to be born with a behavior. But it also applies to learned behavior that becomes hardwired due to practice.

Your ‘right-brain’ analogy suggesting the creative nature of what you think intuition means (made up like an artistic creation that lacks logic) justifies that you mean mystical intuition or unsubstantiated and unsubstantiated wisdom. Telling others not to use the term is denying the regular meaning from representing a real or valid behavior.

Lois - 05 August 2013 02:20 PM

To study and come up with valid answers means using the whole brain—a brain that understands the issues—and that considers the whole brain of respected others in the field. If you find yourself alone in the field with few willing to give your ideas the time of day, you can be pretty sure there is something seriously wrong with your ideas. On very rare occasions someone comes up with a valid idea that others deny at first,  but it is rare.  It also takes objective evidence that your idea carries any weight to get a hearing. You have to do the hard work of presenting a rational case with objective evidence.
Lois

Am I getting paranoid here, or are these comments purposefully misdirected innuendo? My intuition tells me so. But then again, intelligence based on such a thing must certainly be false, right? wink

Yes, you may be paranoid.  It’s intuition that’s probably false.  Intuition is a supernatural concept. It has no use except as a possible beginning of scientific research if it happens to make sense.  Without objective evidence behind it it has no more worth than a mere guess or daydream. We’d all like to think our ideas are the result of some inexplicable mix of knowledge we are unaware of that has a magical validity. There is nothing magical or valid about it.  It is no more valid than a dream. And it probably makes no more sense. Intuition is usually claimed after the fact, when something appears to be valid.  Nobody claims intuition or a failed idea.

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Posted: 06 August 2013 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Scott Mayers - 05 August 2013 01:19 PM

You can’t credit the Bible with this because in order for you to trust that its contents represent your God’s wishes, the nature of the book would have to be such that it would never have to be published by a human’s hand.

Says who?  Why can’t God choose men to write his teachings and preach his message?  There’s no law that says he can’t.  If it is God’s word, then it is his authority.  And why can’t he allow other religious texts that teach false messages?  If we have free will, we must have choice.

In the bible there is a teaching that each man knows what is right.  That is a part of man’s understanding.  But that just condemns him all the more since he doesn’t always do what is right.  He chooses to do wrong for selfish reasons.  That’s sin.  Sin is the reason we differ in our beliefs.  Free will is the reason we can choose to disobey God’s ways and sin.  The devil cannot make us sin, that comes from us and is our choices and our responsibility.

We can try to create our own morality, but I fear sinful men with sinful desires will corrupt it.  And if we try to force everyone else to live according to our dictates, well, that will take law, and for law to mean anything there must be punishment for those who disobey.  So much for freedom and free will. 

Here’s how God handled it.  He took man and set him in a temporal world with a temporary life.  He allowed him the ability to know right and wrong;  good and evil.  He gave him a way to choose righteousness and each man has the ability according to his own free will to choose God’s ways—righteousness—or his own sinful ways. Each man reveals his heart, and at the end of the age those who choose God’s ways enter his eternal kingdom.  Those who reject God’s ways, don’t.  In that way only those who choose God will live eternally with God.  There will be no need for law and punishment.  Each one will be there by his own will.

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