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The God of Eth

  1. Nov 16, 2005 #1
    Assuming the existence of a God, why should we also assume that he is all good?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2005 #2
    We should not. But religions are social/cultural institutions, ie it is somehow beneficial for a culture to imagine an all-loving/all-good God. Not all religions do believe gods are all-good, the question you should ask is why those religions did. I think this is more of a cultural anthropology question.
  4. Nov 16, 2005 #3
    i believe that people just want to encourage others to do good deeds by saying that God is good and that if you're not good, he will punish you. People like to believe what they think is true and bend the rules a bit
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2005
  5. Nov 17, 2005 #4


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    Is there any example of a culture, outside of early medieval continental Europeans writing in Latin (and their descendents, of course), that believed God to be all-good? I suppose Aristotle viewed God as being perfect, but there was no moral element to it as the unmoved mover never acted. Heck, is this where the idea of a morally perfect God came from for the early scholastics? Were they just misappropriating Aristotle?

    Too many questions, no answers. Someone has to know these things; I'm not really up on comparative religion.
  6. Nov 17, 2005 #5
    Well if this discussion is to go anywhere, let's read the opening quote in that initial post, "Christians, Muslims, and Jews all believe that God is both all-powerful and all-good."

    And to TheSwerve, I agree with you that "we should not" believe that God is all-good, I personally don't believe there is a reason to believe that God even exists. As for your explanation for why societies believe in an all good god, I agree with u there also. but can you explain why an educated adult that is just as aware of cultural anthropology as you are might believe this? the author's point was that this assumption of an all good seems to come naturally to christians jews and muslims, but that it seems illogical, given all the evil in the world. I personally think that while the article is thought provoking, a person from one of these religions can say that it is logical to say god is all good because the evil in the world comes from the devil, who is all bad.
  7. Nov 18, 2005 #6
    Well, I recall reading somewhere that Hell and the Devil as we know him (pretty much a nemesis of God) are made up. In fact, Christians used to believe in reincarnation. I think the Judeo-Christian religions used to be much different. We really cannot say that they did believe in an all good God, just too much tampering with ideas and accounts. As far as we can tell, the Old Testament portrays a God that has whims and temperaments like any human, much closer to the Greek gods. The New Testament obviously portrays a more perfect and kind God, which seems to be for the purposes of getting others to follow set of moral rules.

    I myself am Catholic, but I don't adhere strictly to either of these views of God. I don't discard other beliefs as wrong, either. I pretty much think all beliefs are getting at the same general idea of how the world/existence is, and I chose Catholicism because the metaphors help me better grasp this truth (as I understand it). As for others who believe God to be all-good, but also find cultural anthropology to be valid, I'm not convinced this has to be a problem.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2005
  8. Nov 18, 2005 #7
    Also, anthropologists themselves debate what they mean by religion anyhow. The main purpose of anthropology is to understand why people are the way they are - studying religions as ways of unifying and organizing societies does not mean that that is the only reason religions were practiced.
    From wikipedia
    In Western culture, religion has become more or less synonymous with monotheism and the various moral codes that monotheism prescribes. Moral codes have also evolved in conjunction with Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, independent of monotheism. However, prescriptive moral codes or even normative ethical codes are not a necessary component of religious beliefs or practices any more than they are a necessary component of science and the scientific method.
    So, those religions which don't have those moral codes aren't functioning in the way we normally think religion does. I think we need to do some more research and clearly demonstrate what we are saying.
    Here's a good place to start
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2005
  9. Nov 18, 2005 #8


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    They're all descendents of those early medievals I'm talking about. Jews in the pre-Mosaic and Mosaic periods didn't believe that God was all-good; the earliest probably weren't even monotheistic. The Muslims just branched off from Christianity. I'm asking if there is any example of a culture that independently came to the conclusion that God is all-good, apart from any influence from late-Roman Christianity. Actually, since the scholastics did reason from a scriptural basis, I probably shouldn't credit them with this belief. Perhaps a better way of asking this is simply: Have any non-Abrahamic religions ever declared God to be all-good? If not, it's memetic success is probably attributable to something other than being logical or self-evident.
  10. Nov 19, 2005 #9
    Is this not like getting in the shower and not washing your left arm because it is not dirty?
    It seems to me, if you are willing to 'assume' one thing, that it doesn't really matter, intellectually, what your assumptions are. Assumptions are still 'beliefs' sans evidence, often imbibed from some 'authority', often filling an emotional position (need).
    Assumptions, IMHO, are for those unable or unwilling to 'dig deeper'...
    "The 'Truth' is often 'found' where the screaming is the loudest..."
    Assumptions make effective 'soundproofing'.
  11. Nov 19, 2005 #10


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    This attitude would destroy the whole enterprise of philosophy, since its method is to make assumptions and then examine their consequences to see if they remain coherent. I don't know what investigative method you are proposing to reach whatever it is you regard as "Truth", but if you reject critical examination you won't come up with anything others are even likely, much less bound, to accept.
  12. Nov 19, 2005 #11
    philosophy {Gk. filosofia [philosophia]}

    Literally, love of wisdom. Hence, careful thought about the fundamental nature of the world, the grounds for human knowledge, and the evaluation of human conduct. As an academic discipline, philosophy's chief branches include logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, and the appropriate aims and methods of each are the concern of metaphilosophy. (from the Philosophy Dictionary)

    First, I see no referrence to 'assumptions' in this definition of philosophy; "careful thought about the fundamental nature of the world, the grounds for human knowledge, and the evaluation of human conduct." need not involve 'assumptions' at all.

    My personal experience is that I find that as soon as one makes an 'assumption' further information invariably seems to evidence the error of that assumption. Which is why to 'ass-u-me' makes an 'ass' of 'u' and 'me'! *__- This is also why the more we learn, the less we 'know'.
    There is wisdom here.

    On this board alone, I have seen that every time someone makes an assumption (unless it is mutually agreed to play that particular game) it is immediately questioned and denounced.

    Is it not 'bass-ackward' to assume the existence of something and then try to prove or disprove? Is the 'foreward' method not to simply examine what we find, and through the judicious use of 'the razor of intellect' trim it down to it non-dependent, indivisible basic 'reality'? Is that not the task of philosophy? Metaphysics, anyway? Where is the assumption involved when we look in the mirror sometime and question the apparent reality (what we 'assumed' was 'reality') of our 'assumed' existence? Again, the error in the first place was in making that innitial 'assumption'.

    I find the reasons to 'assume' are intellectual laziness or incapacity, emotional need, egoic need.. Unfortunately, these factors have been ignored, Consciousness has been ignored by classical science to their detriment and is being included as we speak.

    We open our eyes and 'assume' that there is light and color 'out there'. There is not. We stub our toe and assume the 'reality' of that rock 'out there. We can never know whether there is or is not. Science says that there is not. We egoically 'assume' that the 'evidence' of our senses accurately portrays some sort of 'external reality'. That is error. Ego, emotion.. are factors that cannot be ignored. There IS no 'objectivity'.

    I realize that my 'understanding' can cause me to face excommunication by the Popes of classical sciences, but.. that is the nature of the 'lone voice'. Time to stop 'playing the game' and 'assuming' that the 'sand castles in the sky' are 'reality' solely because the (your) senses must be correct (emotion/ego)!! If the ultimate basis of one's 'hypothesis/theory' is an 'assumption', then it will only be a matter of time before the whole edifice, no matter the size and subsequent paradox laden complexity (which seems necessary to support the unsupportable assumption) collapses. Just watch the 'pseudointellectual gyrations' of 'true believers (assumers?)' to support 'from the top-down' their unfounded 'assumptions/beliefs'.

    Well, thats the news from Lake Woebegone for this morning.
    I don't 'expect' to sway anyone's opinions or assumptions in the matter as there is so much psychology involved. We come to our understandings as we do. Just scattering some 'seeds' for possible thought, if they happen to fall on fertile ground, so much the better.

    And, personally? I hope that I am never 'bound to accept' anything, nor would want that of others. Intellectual slavery?
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2005
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