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[RD] Ask a Theologian V

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Plotinus, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    I didn't argue that necessary truths are dependant on Gods Will I argued firstly that if the universe is created by God than everything in it and all its laws were instituted into creation by him, and secondly that seeing as God is the first principle upon which all secondary principles are contingent that necessary truths are necessary because they are necessary to Gods divine nature. Ergo, it is impossible for God to do things that are contrary to his nature, and thus what is necessary is necessary ipso facto as a contingent result of the nature of God rather than because they pre-existed God. God wouldn't have the power to change them (although he would have instituted them into the universe he made, which was the main point I was trying to get across) but they would still be oriented around the divinity rather than being brute facts independent of him.

    Thomas Aquinas puts it as such in your quote.

    "The divine existence, however, upon which the nature of power in God is founded, is infinite, and is not limited to any genus of being; but possesses within itself the perfection of all being".

    If God possesses within himself the perfection of all being, this would I think indicate that the necessary things are that inherently as a consequence of the reality of God, with impossibilities (such as the circle-square example) being impossible because they are anathema to the very nature of God himself as a contradiction of terms.

    This is why, returning to the question of morality, I think that to say a moral principle (as an objective extrinsic reality as compared to a relative thing) cannot exist independently of God, since if something in a moral capacity is in fact a necessary truth, it is necessary because it is inherent to Gods nature and thus necessary. Now of course you go down later saying that possibilities aren't things, but I could come around and say that since God is eternal what is possible itself is not independent of God at all, since God has and always will exist, and what is possible proceeds from the absolute necessity of God. An alternative defence of my point would be that if God is the creator of everything (and if possibility is independent of the necessary existence of God), and noting that God had to institute the logical laws within the universe (by virtue of creating it) than independent necessary truths are intermediated via God, and thus in moral terms (if there is a necessary morality) we cannot say that those moral truths are independent from Him, only that they are necessary TO Him.

    In saying all this by the way I don't think I am violating the thomist position (the standard theological one in Catholic circles) which is why I am answering it now. I will address the rest of it excluding of course the bit below which I think is related to this (presumably along with rest of the milieu's ) somewhat later when I have both the time and the rest (I'm writing this on no sleep thanks to insomnia) to ensure a modicum of coherency.

    You're being needless reductive in your interpretation of what I said. What I'm saying that if there is a moral good that is necessary (which is what you asserted could exist and I was responding to that) that it would be so along the lines I explicated to some degree in the above section, rather than something that is not at all dependant on deity.

    This being so, and a certain good being essential to God as a consequence of his nature, this moral good and imperative would then be instituted (commanded) by God by virtue of his creation (If a moral truth is necessary, than God being perfect obviously would command it). Summed up, It would be essential because Gods perfection and necessary nature demands it to be so, and be a moral obligation because he commanded men to do that moral good. The imperative would be of course along the teleological lines of sanctification and union with God, seeing as God made man in his image. Rightness and wrongness then are defined in terms of both divine perfection, the human persons progression towards perfection, which is what God intends, bringing us to the totality of "morality."

    Rightness and Wrongness as a totality would presumably be determined in this conception as a product of God. God being the first, necessary and perfect principle would constitute that objective criterion by which rightness and wrongness are defined. With rightness being that which leads man closer to God and perfection, and wrongness that which leads man further away from God and perfection.

    As I noted above, I will get to the rest and everyone elses later once I'm less sleep-deprived. Might as well not make this a total wall-post as well I suppose :p
     
  2. Takhisis

    Takhisis ΑΛΗΘΩС ΑΝΕСΤΗ

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    timtofly, you seem to be implying that three-way relationships are to be allowed… what law, project, purpose, etc. are you basing this off?
     
  3. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    I was trying to imply that they are not practical. If one could make them equal, then I am sure God would have stated it ok to do in the Bible. It seems hard enough to get two humans to come together in perfect harmony and agreement.

    @ God's Will:

    If one is using the Bible to "create" God as the first mover and principle, and overlook the simple fact that the only rule he gave Adam was a free choice to not eat. It was not until Moses that God gave any moral or governmental rules whatsoever. There was a covenant with Noah, but no hard and fast moral code. Which it seems Noah would have violated straight away.

    The marriage clause at the end of the second chapter was edited in by Moses. I see no reason that any human until Moses even saw marriage as a moral perogative. It was just something one did without any second thoughts. You can see how this was starting to erode with Abraham and Hagar. As humans communalized even the rite of producing a firstborn heir was becoming quite common, and extra-marriage "contracts" were being observed. But there was no reason that God was involved as an actual moral judgment on the issue. God's Will seems pretty simple. He wants people to be his representative on earth. He even gives one the power to do so. Humans though, are the master and sole responsible party on how they implement such measures.
     
  4. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Plotinus, has anything interesting happened with the Problem with Evil recently? Like even in the last few decades? Some new interpretation that people seem to enjoy and propagate?
     
  5. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    As I see it, he's making 2 further claims, both of which are questionable as well. 3) That the Bible accurately represents God's will in the matter. and 4) that men correctly interpret the Bible.
     
  6. Jehoshua

    Jehoshua Catholic

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    Not precisely Cutlass, my argument thus far is predicated only on the absolute principle of nature and natures God which needn't be God as he is perceived in Christianity. That said of course, the christian part is obviously implied very heavily by the fact I am christian. However seeing as I don't hold protestant notions of Sola Scriptura the implied assertion (although it isn't essential to my argument) would more accurately be summed up in a single point, namely, 3)That Catholicism is true.
     
  7. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Which would seem contradictory. Catholicism, whether one adheres to it or not, is a worldview, a mental position, an ideology, a religion, or all of those in one; within that context anything can be true. But ofcourse Catholicism itself is within a context - meaning it is as true as any other ism.

    You aren't, strictly speaking, presenting a Catholic position with the exception of the statement that Catholicism is true. Which would always be the case for anyone adhering to a position: that it is true. It is not implied that that is truth in any absolute sense - and certainly not from the Catholic point of view, given that first sentence. (Some interpunction would be helpful with that first sentence.)

    Personally I don't think "truth" is of much relevance to any ideology: it is disproved by any person not adhering to that truth - or to a different "truth". All "believers" will hold that their religion is true, but that is tautology: why would anyone adhere to a false truth? The only position possible can be that their "truth" is the only one. Unfortunately, that is the position of any believer of any "truth". If that points to anything, it is actually more likely that none of them are true, rather than that one is true, while all the others are false. Objectively, one can't take a position here - which is where faith comes in: it is true, because one believes it.
     
  8. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    If you are going by nature's god, then nature's god made sex something that people want to do other than with the intent of procreation. So nature's god certainly does not have any intent that sex be only about procreation.
     
  9. Midnight-Blue766

    Midnight-Blue766 The filidh that cam frae Skye

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    All right, you seem to be mainly an expert on Christianity, but I would like feedback on this anyway.

    I'm currently making a Civilization IV mod where Great Prophets found religions, so I want to have the founders of religions be included in the Great Prophet list, too (Jesus, Buddha, etc). The problem is, since Islam is a religion in Civilization IV, this would logically include Muhammad as well, but Islam seems to have a ban on depictions of Muhammad. Would the inclusion of Muhammad in the game be offensive to Muslims?
     
  10. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    How do we know what natures god intended? Is it pleasurable because nature intended it to be only pleasurable or that the process of procreation be pleasurable? If someone had issues with even touching or getting close to another human, how would they ever overcome that to reproduce. I don't see it's pleasure solely designed just to please oneself, and even more so, if it causes the brain to create a bond between the two people experiencing the act.

    Even viewing marriage from an evolutionary standpoint, it was not done to bind two people together. It was a document that allowed fairness and equality in the relationship, so one partner did not take advantage over the other one. Even that has eroded over time, and we have evolved to pre-nuptial agreements.
     
  11. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Muhammad appears on Muslim art, usually with a veil or cloth hiding his face. The 'ban' you are referring applies to all animate life, not just Muhammad in particular - hence the many decorations in Muslim art including Qu'ran verses and other decorative patterns. (It is quite comparable to the 'ban' on carven images in Judaic and early Christian cultural tradition.)

    For instance, the outrage among Muslims over Muhammad cartoons wasn't so much about the depiction of the Prophet itself, but the irreverence shown in them (Muhammad with bomb on head).

    Perhaps this is helpful:

     
  12. Takhisis

    Takhisis ΑΛΗΘΩС ΑΝΕСΤΗ

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    If representations of human beings were totally banned, photography and films might be banned as well.
     
  13. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    This is more of a historical question, but when did Christmas become a 'holiday' in the current sense? What encouraged people to turn it into a 'holiday'?
     
  14. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    1. Do you think that the anthropomorphism of religion, and the monotheistic religions in general, are a good criticism of them? I mean, yeah, obviously religious people would be more intelligent if they actively tried to avoid anthropomorphizing. But could it be argued that religion, theologically, is founded on it to some degree or the other?

    2. What do you think of Daniel Dennett or his book Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon?

    3. Which belief systems (paganism, Abrahamism, etc.) generate the most animosity towards each other?

    4. Were there any pre-modern attempts to make the monotheistic religions compatible? You know, like pluralism?

    5. Do you think that a God would actively provide evidence (not necessarily solid proof) to people on Earth of his existence? One of the strongest arguments against theism, in my opinion, is that everything is as it would be if God didn't exist.

    6. Do you think that attitudes towards religion in philosophical circles is overly influenced by tradition? Analytics have a history of atheism, for instance.

    Sorry for swamping you. :D
     
  15. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    Are you familiar with Peter Rollins at all? I read his Reddit AMA and I really have no idea what to make of him.
     
  16. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    I have a question about a tiny chapter of the first book of the old testament. The story of the Tower of Babel...

    In the text (hellenistic era translation; i cannot read the original of the old testament) the story seems to have a few key parts:

    1) The people are all in one place, and speak one language (the language may be either literally a language, or a metaphor for other crucial cohesions).

    2) The people there are aware that they may be dispersed around the world. They say "Let us build a tower so that we will make a name for ourselves before being dispersed/lest we be dispersed".

    3) A god, speaking to itself in plural, sees the people, fears they may now achieve all they can imagine, and so urges its own self to confuse them by giving them many languages, and ultimately dispersing them.

    4) The tower is left as it was. The people are dispersed as they feared.

    Ok, now the question:

    How can this story be seen as something positive? What kind of god would be happy to destroy the work the humans were up to, moreso when they are said to have known that they will be split and so they (maybe) only wanted to have a common monument so as to sometime lead them back to unity?

    Thanks :)
     
  17. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    Well, God had explicitly ordered humanity to be fruitful and multiply and to spread out so they would fill the whole Earth.

    (There is a Jewish tradition that God left the universe incomplete on purpose, so that humanity can have the honor of completing His work. The Garden of Eden was supposed to serve not as a permanent home for humanity, but as an example of good the whole world can be made through our actions. Even once humanity was ejected from the garden the species still had a duty to improve the rest of the world, which could never happen if we all stayed together in one spot.)

    The tower and the city of Babel were meant to help keep all the people concentrated in one area, in one state, probably under one human despot. Even if the mortal rulers were all perfectly righteous (which seems less likely than most of them being corrupt brutal sociopaths) concentrating the whole species into one locality is very risky. A single earthquake, flood, or famine could have meant the extinction of the species. Such population density would also make it easy for deadly plagues to quickly spread. By dispersing the people rather than 'putting all your eggs in one basket' it is much more likely that the species can survive and thrive.
     
  18. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Well, i think the above is painting a far too positive image of what happened, though. The humans in the story start frightened of being split, and the multi-person god does exactly that: splits them all.
    They are not allowed to complete the sole work they deem would make them see their old unity through the ages when they are dispersed, and the god obviously is happy with this, cause it is it's own making :/

    Furthermore how can you claim that god wanted to protect them from plagues etc, when supposedly those would be cancelled if that god wanted them to not exist? It has a lot of holes and is white-washing, in my view. I think the tale of Babel is a very distressing one, although i can accept (of course) that it does not have to primarily allude to a destroyed sense of prehistoric unity of humans.
     
  19. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    I actually saw the stories of Genesis as being prophecies, not a metaphor for any historical event, back when I was religious. Is that a plausible interpretation?
     
  20. Berzerker

    Berzerker Warlord

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    the purpose of the Tower was to reach the heavens, thats why God was mad - we weren't invited
     

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