God can only help, not hurt - Japan Earthquake, and the religious response.

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by spidergoat, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    I would pray for either God to make this a paradise, or leave us alone entirely. Either way, we know what's going on.
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Already discussed:

    A Defense of Theodicy:
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  5. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    No, its no the prospect of the things we value inevitably ceasing to exist?
    Then what is the tragedy of people dying or a branch falling from a tree?

    You are still not being clear what characterizes suffering so its a little difficult to go forward with an explanation.
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  7. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Part of the problem of our arrival here is that we weren't properly socialized around the "paradise" option ... hence we are left with your second option - namely coming to a sphere of existence where acknowledgment of god is merely optional
  8. Thoreau Valued Senior Member

    Ah! I see now what you mean. For a while there I thought you lost it! Sorry.

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    Suffering is a condition of life. And depending on your perspective, suffering can be avoided or overcome. Take a look at Buddhists. They believe that you can prevent suffering through letting go of attachments and living simply and by having the right mental state (ie enlightenment). They've even gone so far as to define and identify the causes of suffering.

    But it seems that they are the only ones who proactively do this. I have yet to hear a valid case from Christians, Jews, or Muslims why suffering occurs, much less how to overcome it. Most attribute it to Gods will, which in my opinion doesn't satisfy the question, especially since many theists believe that God loves us all and wants us to be happy. So, I suppose the question is reversed to the theists. Why does suffering exist? What is suffering? And what are its causes?
  9. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    So you don't think god realization works along the same lines - ie freeing one from the attachments that house our experience of suffering? Or do you expect god realization to accommodate ephemeral attachment sans suffering?
    not at all

    Suffering is a consequence of ignorance, namely because residing in the material world (ie accepting a temporary identity in the pursuit of temporary delights in a competitive environment with other living entities working to the same agenda) is a consequence of ignorance.

    The cause of accepting such a residence is the desire to be independent from god - a desire which is technically impossible, hence its shrouded in suffering
  10. Thoreau Valued Senior Member

    I don't know either way. But I will say that the Buddhist view makes sense for the most part, at least in my eyes.

    Can you provide examples of other religions that do this?

    So, let me make sure I got this right... Based on your last paragraph, you believe that a separation, or rather the desire of separation from God results in suffering...? If in fact this is what you're stating, and despite that it contradicts your first paragraph, it leads me to the following questions:

    1) Do you believe that the non-acknowledgement and non-worship of God results in suffering?

    2) Do non-Christians suffer more than Christians do?
  11. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    the vedic perspective in this regards basically incorporates the Buddhist perspective - IOW there is the same general break down of suffering in the material world as a consequence of attachment.

    The only difference is that Buddhists suggest that we have no individuality, and hence perfection involves absolving one of self hood - the vedic perspective however suggests that its impossible to completely absolve one's self hood (IOW one's eternal companion is attachment - its simply a question of what one is attached to) and that, rather, perfection involves refining the self above ephemeral attachment by developing attachment to god.

    how so?
    If one is not attached to god it begs then one must certainly be attached to temporary affairs (which in turn has consequences for suffering). Worship and acknowledgment certainly have a part to play in developing such attachment , but I think its also important to point out how material desire can run parallel with attachment to god for as long as one's attachment is not pure

    technically a christian follows Christ and if one follows Christ's instructions, then yes, they certainly would tend to suffer less than someone who didn't (on account of having purified attachments)
  12. Thoreau Valued Senior Member

    ... a popular misconception about Buddhist enlightenment. In fact, from my 10 year studies of Buddhism, I've found that overcoming suffering requires quite the opposite approach. But I won't go into detail about that here, it requires too much time and space to write about something that is fairly irrelevant in this conversation. Maybe we will discuss it in the Eastern Philosophy subforum soon.

    First paragraph equates to: Suffering is the result of attachments.

    Second paragraph equates to: Suffering is the result of not being attached to God.

    When you are attached to something, you 1) get the illusion of control which leads to 2) expectations.

    When whatever the attachment ends or is proven the opposite of your expectations, the result is suffering. And the same can be said not just about material things, but about mental perspectives and states of being as well, including the concept of God.

    So, if because they follow the instructions of Christ then Christians suffer less. What can be said of other holy or perceively divine instructions and teachings from other religions, or from simple social morality on it's own? Are they not equal to that of Christ? Can they not acheive the same, if not higher, amount of good in the world? And more relative to the discussion, is it not possible to lessen the effects of suffering as well as the cause of suffering itself to the same degree as Christians do?
  13. HeartlessCapitalist Ravager of Biotopes Registered Senior Member

    Fundamentalist (Christian) answer in brief: Because of Original Sin (Adam, Eve, Serpent, Garden of Eden, Tree of Knowledge), we're all sinners and deserve to die and suffer eternal punishment in Hell forever. Therefore the very question is wrongly put: We should rather ask why God allows us any happiness in our lives at all, and doesn't throw us into Hell right away like we deserve. That he doesn't demonstrates his infinite mercy and loving-kindness towards us. (But of course, we all still go to the eternal Hell unless we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.)

    Theodicy works only if you allow for the existence of unnecessary suffering. Fundies sidestep that by claiming that all suffering is entirely necessary and fully deserved by whoever suffers it, and hence necessary.
  14. JuNie Registered Senior Member

    That's interesting and it's exactly why Christianity is so dangerous. I hear all the time these preachers on T.V. claiming natural disasters are a result of people being evil. Like in Haiti when that T.V. personality claimed they were punished with an earthquake because they made a pact with the devil and thus deserved it. The earthquake is their own fault. Quite sad really.
  15. Thoreau Valued Senior Member

    That was Pat Robertson, (one man I truly despise with every beating thud of my heart).
  16. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    The governor of Tokyo apologized on Tuesday for saying the earthquake and resulting tsunami that left thousands dead were divine punishment for Japanese egoism, the country’s official news service reported. (CNN)
  17. birch Valued Senior Member

    the fact that when people pray over a problem and even religious people, they do it repeatedly for the same request shows that they must not really believe that god is 'everywhere' and around us or they see it as an energy they are trying to wield in their favor.

    if god was really an entity that was listening in, why would they need to repeat the same request multiple times? is god that busy elsewhere? is it that hard to get it's attention? and how does asking multiple times make it stick better?

    it seems prayer is more an exercise within the one doing the prayer or getting some aspect of personal power together or harness it. it goes to show that religious people who believe that they have a direct connection to god aren't that confident about it.

    also, it's hypocritical for religionists to praise god's creation as perfect and then beg through intercessionary prayers for themselves in crisis. they think the universe is supposed to move and change for them.
  18. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    are you talking about the perfection (ie the end game) of buddhism or something else?

    actually : suffering is a result of temporary attachments

    because god is not a temporary player
    attachment with a view to control is material
    attachment to god is quite the opposite - namely based on service
    in the Buddhist perspective there is no capacity for attachment to result in anything but suffering since there is no eternal player outside of the living entity in ignorance.

    IOW the whole business of getting the raw deal from attachment is what happens when the living entity is operating out of a false sense of self (ie surveying the pursuit of happiness in terms of everything is meant to serve me).

    Anything one attempts to place in that category fails, what to speak of if one tries to place god in it.

    there is only one religion : service to god

    depends on the authority the morality is pertinent to - if you are talking about simple social morality, then the best it can award is ephemeral results (IOW it speaks solely within the language of material existence, which is the very medium of suffering)

    No because the morality you speak of is pertinent to the material world, whereas the morality of christ talks about moving beyond it.

    Kind of like comparing social order in a jail in contrast to the social order of the free world. Even if the inmates are not smashing their bars or burning their mattresses (IOW they have a high degree of moral order) its still a stark contrast to the liberties of the free world

    I am under the impression that you are viewing philanthropy and such as the perfection of religious principles.

    Actually it has an aim quite higher than that - namely removing the living entity from the very medium that dictates philanthropy as a moral necessity
  19. PsychoTropicPuppy Bittersweet life? Valued Senior Member

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    It must be noted here that various Buddhist schools have quite different teachings about selfhood (and there is quite a bit of fighting going on between the schools on this issue).
    So let's leave Buddhism out of the discussion here.

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  21. Lori_7 Go to church? I am the church! Registered Senior Member

    that is what the bible says you know; the kingdom is a paradise described at the very end of the book, but only after the apocalypse.

    as far as god's concerned, everyone in this world dies, and who is to say that dying in a natural disaster is any worse than being hit by a bus, or dying from cancer, or any other way?

    and who's to say that it's any worse than continuing to live in this world?

    as far as those people are concerned who think god is judging the wicked and that they're still alive because they're so righteous, i think they might need a reminder that it's only going to get worse. to the point where to be alive will be a curse; it says so right in the book. perhaps their perspective regarding god's mercy and wrath are backwards, and they're the wicked ones to suffer.
  22. Thoreau Valued Senior Member

    I'm with Signal on this one, it's fairly irrelevent due to the large degree in which different sects' beliefs vary.

    To some, God is not a player at all.

    I disagree. Attachment in general, whether to loved ones, money or emotions can be destructive; especially attachment to the supernatural.

    Again, we will forego this argument for the sake of relevence and brevity.

    Some would say that 'attachment' is a natural part of the human condition. We are social creatures therefore we attach ourselves to those around us, be it friends or family (or animal). And the opposite can be said to your last sentence. What if we have an attachment for the betterment of others (which is actually quite common)? What if the attachment is based in altruism? Sure, it comes back around to please us because we are doing something that we want for the good of others, but the main focus is not on us. Nevertheless, even with that, we can still create suffering when, in the scenario, that the reciever is pained, destroyed, or simply ungrateful.

    See arguments above.

    Are you speaking out of your own personal beliefs or through fact? (See avatar). There are many religions which focus on humanitarian service rather than service to a god. (See Unitarianism, Unitarian Universalism, Deism, certain sects of Buddhism, Taoism, Modern Satanism (which I personally do not consider Pagan), some sects of Paganism, and even Atheism.

    Again, there are other moral codes from various belief systems that apply to the supernatural. Again, Buddhism comes to mind with their Tibetan Book of the Dead, not to mention countless other texts and teaching from various theologies that focus their "morality" on that of the non-material.

    As to the rest, I have no response.
  23. Thoreau Valued Senior Member

    Forgive my language here... but she is a


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