Thoughts on God, omnipotence and demanding worship

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Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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Thoughts on God, omnipotence and demanding worship

Post by Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz » Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:56 pm

I recognize that God and religion are both pretty much dead horses at this point. The whole Religion VS Atheism debate has ran its course on the internet. As such, it was probably a wise move to re-brand this forum as "Philosophical Vegan" rather than "Vegan Atheist". Nevertheless, this is something I want to make a topic about.

I am currently reading a book called "The Spinoza Problem", which I am very much enjoying at the minute. This book centers on two stories - that of the philosopher Bento Spinoza, and that of the Nazi Alfred Rosenberg. The former is what I will be focusing on, and what I have learned so far of it.

Spinoza has ideas that are considered unorthodox by the Jewish community. He regularly skips the Sabbath, for instance. This, he justifies by claiming that God, as an omnipotent being, would not see any reason to take offence at humans not wishing to worship him. After all, this God has already got everything he needs to keep himself satisfied. He is, after all, an omnipotent being.

This has its basis in the writings of Epicurus, who held similar beliefs to Spinoza. Epicurus believed that there were many Gods, and that they did not concern their selves with human affairs as they had already reached a perfect state of ataraxia.

Theoretical physicist and socialist comrade Albert Einstein agreed: "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."

I am an Atheist, however, if there was proof and evidence of the existence of God, I would have to logically assume that this God must be the God of Spinoza and Einstein. The alternative is the God who Richard Dawkins rightly called "arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

Indeed, the God worshiped by Christians and Jews is "jealous and proud of it". See Exodus 20:5 for reference: "I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me."

The same can be said for the Muslim God, Allah. Prophet Muhammad, founder of the Islam faith said that "There is none having a greater sense of Ghira (Jealousy) than Allah. And for that He has forbidden the doing of evil actions. There is none who likes to be praised more than Allah does."

But what deity would have any reason to care about these things? An all-powerful God must surely be in a perfect state of ataraxia! Nothing ought to matter to them other than whether other people can achieve this state of ataraxia (As indeed, a God ought to be omnibenevolent as well as omnipotent). Of course, an all-powerful God would surely already be able to give this to us, leading to the problem of evil and the Epicurean paradox (which may have originated from Epicurus but probably didn't) but that's another story.

And now, here is the cartoon that provoked this post:

Image

This cartoon comes from the Christian cartoonist Adam Ford (adam4d.com). Well, since he (using the guy with a stubble as a mouthpiece) asked, here is how I see the conversation going for me.

God (to me): Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels! :x
Me: Okay, fine, but why? :|
God: Because I the LORD am a jealous God and you have done all sorts of things that have pained me. You denied my existence, you blasphemed against me, you did all which I deem unjust and unworthy for a human being to enter into my kingdom. Go to hell! :evil:
Me: What kind of a God are you that you expect me to worship you? You throw "sinners" into hellfire for the mere questioning of your existence, when surely you already have all that can be provided for you as an omnipotent being. How is the denial of your existence supposed to pain you? What motivation have you to give such "sinners" an eternity in hell? You are everything Dawkins called you and more! You are truly a pathetic excuse for a God! :geek:
God: Shut up! You damned! Go to the devil! :twisted:
Me: Okay. :?
(I jump into Hell)
Me: Bim bim bim! There is so much pain! Bim bim bim! Please make the pain end! :cry:
God: Good! That's what you get for hurting my feelings. :lol:
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:47 pm

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:56 pm
But what deity would have any reason to care about these things? An all-powerful God must surely be in a perfect state of ataraxia!
Not necessarily. Such a state would be mindless euphoria; a god would not necessarily want this. Much as you probably don't want to play a video game with a win button that offers no challenge. This would only be necessarily true if hedonistic psychological egoism were true of gods (and it doesn't even seem to be true of human beings).
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:56 pm
Nothing ought to matter to them other than whether other people can achieve this state of ataraxia (As indeed, a God ought to be omnibenevolent as well as omnipotent).
Maybe not ataraxia, but perhaps something not terribly far from it if the god were benevolent. It definitely wouldn't want to see the level of meaningless suffering we have now, and have had for a long time.

The assertion theists must make to oppose that is this something like:
'The world is as good as it possibly could be. If it had less innate suffering, that would take away the purpose of good people to alleviate that suffering and so the world would have less net good (good that comes from those people trying and succeeding at helping others, and feeling fulfillment and happiness at that, and the others experiencing joy of relief and gratitude). Overall, everybody gains more benefit than the suffering caused harm.'

And things like:
'God would not give us more adversity than we can handle or that optimally benefits us in character and sense of achievement for overcoming.'

The main notion theists must advance is that the suffering of us and others is for our benefit, so we have purpose in helping reduce that suffering, and even that relief of that suffering causes more happiness than the suffering caused misery.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:
Sun Dec 24, 2017 4:56 pm
This cartoon comes from the Christian cartoonist Adam Ford
Some theistic metaphysics holds that god doesn't send anybody to hell, but hell is merely the state of existing in spirit and apart from god.
That god can't admit sin (or a soul weighed down with it) into his being, because he's pure good and that would cause him to be not pure good; suggesting a mere drop of human sin could corrupt the goodness of god. Which seems to cause problem with the omnipotence/infinite nature of god, because no non-infinite amount of sin should affect him.
Christians might also consider it metaphysically impossible for sin to come into the presence of god, period.

Basically they need to construct an ad hoc list of things that God can not do to justify it.

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Post by Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz » Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:50 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 4:47 pm
Such a state would be mindless euphoria
Would it be? This isn't a rhetorical question as I am genuinely unsure. I was under the impression that ataraxia was a state of peace, freedom from stress and tranquility, but not necessarily ecstasy and mindlessness.
The main notion theists must advance is that the suffering of us and others is for our benefit, so we have purpose in helping reduce that suffering, and even that relief of that suffering causes more happiness than the suffering caused misery.
The problem with when theists say this is that they neglect the fact that there is no suffering in Heaven and simply unlimited happiness.

As for the rest of your comment, I wholeheartedly agree.
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:06 pm

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:50 pm
Would it be? This isn't a rhetorical question as I am genuinely unsure. I was under the impression that ataraxia was a state of peace, freedom from stress and tranquility, but not necessarily ecstasy and mindlessness.
From what we know how how the mind works, it seems so.

Literally no stress/anxiety/boredom/negative emotions, and even no loss of pleasure (which is negative). That would be euphoria, or at least a state of constant pleasure which would result in the same mindlessness.

When our actions can't modify our feedback further, our minds become superfluous and basically shut down. If nothing you can think or do provides positive or negative feedback, then you think and do nothing.

If the gods were in a state of ataraxia, they would become mindless and non-sentient. Which in a round-about way is to say they're nothing but mindless forces of nature if they do anything at all, and if they don't do anything then they don't exist (in any way more meaningful than a rock does).
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 6:50 pm
The problem with when theists say this is that they neglect the fact that there is no suffering in Heaven and simply unlimited happiness.
Yes, the beliefs in heaven are a serious issue.
It would seem they would become mindless too... which is basically just another way of dying.

Some Christians don't believe heaven is a place without any pain at all. And some believe they will just be literally resurrected on Earth after the end-times.

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Post by Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz » Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:25 pm

Is there is no boredom in ataraxia? I thought that it was simply classified as freedom from anxiety and stress, but not necessarily boredom, but I could be wrong.
"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:28 pm

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:
Wed Dec 27, 2017 7:25 pm
Is there is no boredom in ataraxia? I thought that it was simply classified as freedom from anxiety and stress, but not necessarily boredom, but I could be wrong.
Boredom creates stress and anxiety.
If the gods were bored, they could easily meddle in human affairs for entertainment.

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