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The Omni's


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In the end, what really was the nail in the coffin of my belief in Christian theism was the incompatability of omnipotence and omnibenevolence. Even the concept of omnipotence itself on its face is incoherent ("Can God create a stone so big he can't lift it?", of course it's "illogical", but so is the concept of omnipotence) Even qualifying omnipotence with allowances, it is still difficult to believe than an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God exists. As the old Epicurean objection to theism states:

 

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?""

 

Basicly, opening your mind up to concepts like omnipotence, omniscience, and so on, is to succumb to the "bewitchment of language", as Wittgenstein put it years ago Bewitched by language, a person has to turn to religious authority to interpret these "mysteries". So one allows external authorities into ones life and then they have you hooked. All to explain the absurd.

 

Here's a line of thougth that also did it for me

 

1) God created every person. Isn't God the cause of every person's being/existence, then?

2) God has foreknowledge of that persons actions, and everything that happens to that person.

3) God therefore seems to create people knowing that they will suffer.

4) It seems that this kind of God is the cause of everything in their life, ergo this God caused their suffering.

5) How is this God not evil or impotent? How is this at all the act of a personally relative, loving being? If God can't help but create people destined to suffer, then he's impotent, and possibly even unconscious... less a person that consciously chooses, and more a phenomenon like a slime mold or microbe that just can't help but grow. And if he can choose but does nothing, how is this God not evil? If He's omniscient, surely he must understand the pain and resentment of his creations, and if he is good, he can condemn no one for his hiddenness and "mystery".

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In the end, what really was the nail in the coffin of my belief in Christian theism was the incompatability of omnipotence and omnibenevolence. Even the concept of omnipotence itself on its face is incoherent ("Can God create a stone so big he can't lift it?", of course it's "illogical", but so is the concept of omnipotence)

Agree.

 

Since you mentioned it, I thought a little about the problem of omnipotence and realized that the problem really stems from the idea that God is conscious and can think and plan things. Basically, the problem is already with an entity that is all powerful and can create at will. This intentional mind that can create things that are greater than himself, and yet this entity being all things that can exist, it doesn't work since nothing exists outside of itself. The definition of God is like a divergent series, the answer is that it doesn't have an answer.

 

Even qualifying omnipotence with allowances, it is still difficult to believe than an omnipotent, omnibenevolent God exists. As the old Epicurean objection to theism states:

 

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?""

 

Basicly, opening your mind up to concepts like omnipotence, omniscience, and so on, is to succumb to the "bewitchment of language", as Wittgenstein put it years ago Bewitched by language, a person has to turn to religious authority to interpret these "mysteries". So one allows external authorities into ones life and then they have you hooked. All to explain the absurd.

And every new generation of religious people will have a new set of explanations, and the explanations keep on making it even more complex and conflicting. It's like the hydra. Cut one head off, and two more grows out.

 

Here's a line of thougth that also did it for me

 

1) God created every person. Isn't God the cause of every person's being/existence, then?

2) God has foreknowledge of that persons actions, and everything that happens to that person.

3) God therefore seems to create people knowing that they will suffer.

4) It seems that this kind of God is the cause of everything in their life, ergo this God caused their suffering.

5) How is this God not evil or impotent? How is this at all the act of a personally relative, loving being? If God can't help but create people destined to suffer, then he's impotent, and possibly even unconscious... less a person that consciously chooses, and more a phenomenon like a slime mold or microbe that just can't help but grow. And if he can choose but does nothing, how is this God not evil? If He's omniscient, surely he must understand the pain and resentment of his creations, and if he is good, he can condemn no one for his hiddenness and "mystery".

I totally agree.

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Are you familiar with Process Theism? I consider it as a possibility for how God might exist as it minimized the absurdities we are talking about here (basicly it sacrifices omnipotence and/or omniscience for omnibenevolence), but I'd argue the God conceived of in process theism is different enough from the traditional Christian-Greek conceptualization of God that most religious people believe in (a God that can be/do the logically absurd). Anyways, process theology is a drop in the bucket of Christian thought, so that's one reason I left Christianity. People like John Shelby Spong are sidelined by the denominational and sectarian politics of Christianity that's so focused on protecting its static existence that questions of truth and relevance don't matter that much.

 

Some people are like "God is bigger than the human mind". And maybe that's possible. But it comes down to epistemology then, and I'd argue that the average Christian saying this is on no better epistemological footing than me or you. The Bible is simply not a reliable objective source of knowledge, neither are popes, priests, or churches. If we need to play around with stuff being bigger than the human mind, then I'll take humanistic Buddhism over authoritarian monotheistic religious values. In such cases silence is better than blabbering absurdities. But perhaps the absurdities have an aura of sacred words, mantras and incantations that mark one as a member of the tribe? I think this is the real crux of the issue. At the very least, religious could be honest and qualify their statements by saying language about God is ultimately "poetic" and not literal. But then most of the authoritarian types would feel slighted because literalism and concreteness are what they are after.

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