Here's my 1.74 cents.
I am not religious. I am an Atheist-Agnostic.
However, I am also a devout Jew.
One may ask, "How can this be?"
And to this I respond, "Suck it, bitch."
Anyway, here are my beliefs:
If God exists, he is evil. There is no denying that. That is because he has nothing to compare himself to. How can an all knowing God know the difference between good and evil? Good and Evil aren't scientiffic facts. You can't say, "X=morality squared." Good and Evil are just different points of view. This may sound absurd, but you have to realize that it's possible to have a point of view that says, "Making people suffer is good." God has no experience, no one to teach him, no one to be his conscience. And so he created the Angels, his perfect children. Except his Angels were perfect in the ways He thought were perfect--they couldn't be his conscience, because they believed the same things he did.
And so he created free will.
Free will--the ability to defy God's decision. The ability to say to God, "You are wrong. What you are trying to do is evil. I will not obey you." God created humans with free will, and created them so that they could fight against him. God has no concept of good or evil--he just knows what he knows. God has no free will, because every action he takes is, by definition, the right thing. And so he created humans. Imperfect. Evil.
And with the ability to say, "You are wrong."
That is free will--the ability to rebel against God and show him the error of his ways. God gave us free will so that we could choose for ourselves what was good and what was bad. When we finally reach Utopia, God will be able to see what Good truly is. He will see what will lead to pain and what will lead to happiness. And so we will teach him. Teach him to be good. At this moment, he's frantically observing us, nonstop, to see what leads to what--the consequences of our actions. Take, for example, the story of Soddom and Gomorrah. God was going to kill all those people because they were evil--and he didn't care if any good people were in there. But he met resistance. His Child, a young man, told him that what he was doing was evil. And so God was taught.
You may notice that, in the Torah, God is more...malevolent than in the New Testament. I don't personally believe in the New Testament, but I do believe in one thing--we taught God to not kill people because they were sinners. You may also notice that the Torah has messages in it that seem to contradict God's actions--messages of goodness and kindness. These are the things that we've taught God. The Torah is not meant to be a set of instructions for us--it's meant to be a set of instructions for him. True, he wants us to find Utopia--both for our sake and for his. He truly loves us, but we were created to suffer--suffer so that others wouldn't have to. God gave us the gift of free will, but the gift that God gave us was misfortune. We are the sacrificial lambs, the Judas Goat. We are the experiment, the sacrifice. I don't know how many have come before us. I don't know if we'll ever find utopia, something that by definition is impossible to find. I do know this: We must set an example for God. We must take our creator under our wing and teach him right from wrong, so that his next creation may be more perfect.
True, this all may be bullcrap. True, I'd rather believe in a God who wants something else, or in no God at all. And true, I do not neccesarily believe this. But it's something that I think about.
I am by no means religious. But I still want to show God how he should live. So that he may show us.
~The Gospel of a Heretic
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Reminds me of the first Vonnegut book I read (breakfast of champions, I think? anyway you should read it), where the main character finds "What is the purpose of life?" scrawled in a bathroom stall and replies:
"To be/the eyes/and ears/and conscience/of the Creator of the Universe/you fool."
I've arrived at a similar conclusion to you, in a different way...I think God is if anything a force, not something that can really have knowledge (as you said) and the purpose of humanity is to observe the Universe and give it meaning...sort of like the stars wouldn't matter if there were no one to look at them and make stories about the shapes or analyze their radiation or just stare...
Anyway the reasons don't really matter in the end do they...all we can do is try and hope it makes sense in the end, whenever that might be.
Did I tell you before how much I enjoy the idea of humans being God's conscience?
Is that your idea, or is that a Jewish one? *knows nothing at all about Judaism*
Anyway, yeah, I sort of really, really, really, really, really, really love that concept.
I assume it's not Jewish. If it is, they're totally ripping me off.
It's my idea, damn them. >_>
:D I wasn't sure what you thought of it at first because you didn't really say anything. I thought you dissaproved. Now I'm happy.
Our views are (from a religious standpoint) that which God intended them. Meaning: The point itself is moot. Our views on morality and goodness in general are determined by what God deemed them to be (once again from a religious standpoint.) Because I don't want to get into an argument of morals, I'm not going to say whether I agree with those values or not, but essentially the very first views of "right" and "wrong" in curent western culture were the Ten Commandments. Whether they were truly divinely influenced, or whether they were Moses saying "guys, this isn't gonna work unless we draw the line," it is the first example of somebody saying this is "right" and this is "wrong." So whether there's a god or there isn't, logically if you come to the conclusion that it exists, you would also have to come to the conclusion that it created everything, including values and morals as they're seen today.
Basically what I'm saying is:
1. Good and evil as they're known today is the epitome of the Abrahamic scripture's influence on our culture. Whether God is "right" or not, those ave been adopted as our general definition of good and evil.
2. As scientific evidence cannot exist to back up morality (as you pointed out,) data can consequently not exist to say whether it is correct or incorrect. The concept of a greater being isn't scientific, applying science to determine that it is evil is impossible.
Sorry, I needed to rant about something. Greatly appreciated.
However, I am also a devout Jew."
So you're a Reform or Reconstructionist Jew. Since when is that unusual?
This looks entertaining, so I'll go and do something more thorough on it later.
Working on my responses to everyone.
Oh, and EndOf: Er, no. You misunderstand. I'm not a Jew who follows Jewish customs, and just doesn't believe in God. I believe in God. I also believe that He doesn't exist.
Exactly, so you're Reconstructionist, or possibly Reform. Likely Reconstructionist, from the angle that I'm hearing.
But to pose a starting argument, it is illogical to suggest that God doesn't exist. The fact that we are talking about God is evidence that God exists to some degree.
Rather, your question, the way you should have phrased it, is as to the nature by which God exists. One possibility is that the theists are correct, and that God is a universally inherent, omnipotent, and all-powerful being. Another possibility is that God exists the same way that the United States and Unicorns exist; that God exists only on paper and as a thought in the heads of those who follow that system of thought. Or anything in between.
You correctly hit on that passage of Sodom and Gomorrah as evidence that God has made flaws (and can list plenty of other cases where he admits to it outright), but I don't agree with your opinion that the Torah is instructions for God, partially because I'm having trouble finding your evidence that the book is aimed the other direction (and the speculation on predecessor races is presented invalidly). Rather, I've always fancied God to be a really clever then-contemporary sociologist who devised rules convenient for the time and place. Problem is, that the sociology of yesterday doesn't always work with today's reality. Another way of looking at the same thing is to drag a phrase out of the High Holiday services, "Avinu Malkeinu," the important part being "Avinu" or "our father," which can be applied really well if you consider God purely as a parenting entity to the human race as a whole; smart, powerful, and scary when you're young, flawed, diminished, and behind-the-times as you get older.