The soul - good and/or evil?

  • #1
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Those who believe in the existence of a soul often anticipate a day when they will be judged for heaven or hell. However, what marks the transition from one's worldly, morally relative being to that of absolute good and evil? Would there be segregation by overall ethics in this afterlife?
 

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  • #2
selfAdjoint
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Loren Booda said:
Those who believe in the existence of a soul often anticipate a day when they will be judged for heaven or hell. However, what marks the transition from one's worldly, morally relative being to that of absolute good and evil? Would there be segregation by overall ethics in this afterlife?


Of course the believers in heaven and hell specifically are the Christians. Other belief systems have other constructions, such as morally driven reincarnations. Christians take their beliefs from descriptions of Jesus' sayings in the gospels, and some inferences by others (Paul, mainly), together with the visions attributed to John in the apocalypse that closes the New Testament. These sources are available, but it doesn't seem that we could discuss or argue about them without treading on forbidden religious ground.
 
  • #3
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Loren Booda said:
Those who believe in the existence of a soul often anticipate a day when they will be judged for heaven or hell. However, what marks the transition from one's worldly, morally relative being to that of absolute good and evil? Would there be segregation by overall ethics in this afterlife?

No, what there would be is a union of knowing what absolute morals are since we would not have to make judements with brains that no longer existed.
 
  • #4
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Loren Booda said:
Those who believe in the existence of a soul often anticipate a day when they will be judged for heaven or hell.
The premise of a divine creator who will one day impose a divine judgement implies that humans must have (libertarian) free will.

But (libertarian) free will is an illusion.

What place is there for divine judgement in a universe without (libertarian) free will?

MF

Humans put constraints on what they can achieve more often by their limited imaginations than by any limitations in the laws of physics (Alex Christie)
 
  • #5
selfAdjoint
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moving finger said:
What place is there for divine judgement in a universe without (libertarian) free will?

Well the god of the Old testament has no problem with that. He first tells Moses that he will harden Pharaoh's heart, then punishes Pharaoh for things he did with that hardened heart.
 
  • #6
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Does physics negate the possibility that the whole of reality manifests intelligence? Put another way, anything (a galaxy, say) that contains reasoning beings (humans, say) might itself qualify as intelligent.
 
  • #7
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selfAdjoint said:
Well the god of the Old testament has no problem with that. He first tells Moses that he will harden Pharaoh's heart, then punishes Pharaoh for things he did with that hardened heart.
And you mean to tell me there are rational human beings who genuinely believe this is the act of a loving supreme being?

That kind of mean, nasty, conniving and tricky supreme being I can do without, thank you :biggrin:

Best Regards

MF
 
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  • #8
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Loren Booda said:
Does physics negate the possibility that the whole of reality manifests intelligence? Put another way, anything (a galaxy, say) that contains reasoning beings (humans, say) might itself qualify as intelligent.
How do you define "intelligence" in this context?

MF
 
  • #9
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moving finger,

Assuming I am intelligent, and I am a subset of the universe, would the universe therefore be considered intelligent?
 
  • #10
DaveC426913
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moving finger said:
And you mean to tell me there are rational human beings who genuinely believe this is the act of a loving supreme being?

That kind of mean, nasty, conniving and tricky supreme being I can do without, thank you :biggrin:

Best Regards

MF
It is shamefully easy to take potshots at ultra-simplified factoids such as this.
 
  • #11
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DaveC426913 said:
It is shamefully easy to take potshots at ultra-simplified factoids such as this.
Hey, don't shoot me, I'm not the one who pasted up the example of Pharaoh as a defence of the logical consistency of God in a universe without free will. I was just responding to it!

My point remains : The idea of a supreme creator in absence of genuine free will for his/her/its created beings is incoherent and nonsensical.

In other words, to remain coherent a belief in theism entails a belief in libertarian free will.

Best Regards

MF
 
  • #12
selfAdjoint
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moving finger said:
Hey, don't shoot me, I'm not the one who pasted up the example of Pharaoh as a defence of the logical consistency of God in a universe without free will. I was just responding to it!

My point remains : The idea of a supreme creator in absence of genuine free will for his/her/its created beings is incoherent and nonsensical.

In other words, to remain coherent a belief in theism entails a belief in libertarian free will.

Best Regards

MF

Scuse me, but I was the one who posted the Pharaoh "factoid". It was a sufficient problem that St. Paul thought he had to deal with it, so it;'s not something a Christian of today is really free to shrug off.

And mf, I wasn't defending theism, I was sort of setting you up to express what we both believe. Naughty me.:devil:
 
  • #13
arildno
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The Christian idea of "sin&judgment", as for example developed by Augustine, has nothing whatsoever to do with a freely willed breach of some moral code, and the appropriate punishment of such acts.
It is only the "inherited sin" concept that makes sense of Jesus' role as "saviour".

What the Christian idea of sin really is, is the primitive idea of "evil as filth/defilement" something that adheres to you whether you want it to be there or not (See for example Paul Riceour's book on "The symbolism of evil").
The logical way to remove such a stain, is through an act of CLEANSING.

That is what "salvation" means in the Christian mindset; in affirming your "faith in Jesus", he in turn cleanses you of that stain which otherwise would make you unfit to meet the Creator.

There is nothing concerning the relevance of "free will" in this mindset,; it is just an extremely dumb deterministic model.
 
  • #14
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arildno said:
The Christian idea of "sin&judgment", as for example developed by Augustine, has nothing whatsoever to do with a freely willed breach of some moral code, and the appropriate punishment of such acts.
It is only the "inherited sin" concept that makes sense of Jesus' role as "saviour".

What the Christian idea of sin really is, is the primitive idea of "evil as filth/defilement" something that adheres to you whether you want it to be there or not (See for example Paul Riceour's book on "The symbolism of evil").
The logical way to remove such a stain, is through an act of CLEANSING.

That is what "salvation" means in the Christian mindset; in affirming your "faith in Jesus", he in turn cleanses you of that stain which otherwise would make you unfit to meet the Creator.

There is nothing concerning the relevance of "free will" in this mindset,; it is just an extremely dumb deterministic model.
Free will is fundamental to the idea that faith leads to salvation.

If the world is deterministic (ie if free will in the libertarian sense does not exist) then my actions are determined by antecedent conditions; hence whether or not I have faith in Jesus is determined by those same conditions.

Why should I be refused salvation for something that is determined by antecedent conditions? The idea is nonsensical, therefore for the theist the premise that the world is deterministic must be false, and the theist is forced to believe in libertarian free will.

Best Regards

MF
 
  • #15
Rade
Loren Booda said:
...Assuming I am intelligent, and I am a subset of the universe, would the universe therefore be considered intelligent?
:confused: You are a human, and thus a subset of the universe, would the universe thus be considered "human" ? I do not understand what you are asking.
 
  • #16
Les Sleeth
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If we can research the history of ideas behind any belief, why evaluate beliefs on face value or accept common opinion as worthy of discussing seriously?

The concept of judgment in Western religion, for example, is linked to the very old Jewish idea that bad things happen to people because they have not pleased God. It stems from pagan days before Moses, where each tribe had their own patron god. If you pleased your god, then you won wars and things went well; if you displeased your god, watch out! So when things were going bad, the priests would be wondering who was screwing up. This became a very strict thing, so much so that it became incorporated into the law of the land, the basis for theocracy, and the best followers obeyed not just the ten commandments, but all 633 precepts the faithful imagined God needed abided by to be pleased. In a way, it is fear of misfortune that drove this desire for perfect behavior.

Now, you can blame it on Moses, but he doesn’t come across as so anal; he just said, be good and love God. It was later interpreters, with all their karmic fears and concepts, who created the “religion.”

It is similar with Jesus. You cannot find anything concrete about hell and the devil in his words, which makes little sense if it is the threat that theologians today make of it. If hell/devil is real, then Jesus should have talked about it openly and often.

My view is that most people are superficial in their contemplation of all this. Moses had an inner experience and tried to communicate it in the language of and to the mindset of the time. Jesus had the same inner experience and spoke to how people understood then. You can’t blame guys having the original experience for what people developed over the centuries from their own ordinary experience.

The only choices I see are to accept that Moses, Jesus, the Buddha, Mohammed, et al found a new potential of consciousness, one that allowed them to experience something unavailable to ordinary consciousness, or we have to write them off as deluded.

However, real or deluded, that has nothing to do with the theological speculations that followed over the centuries.
 
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  • #17
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Rade
You are a human, and thus a subset of the universe, would the universe thus be considered "human" ? I do not understand what you are asking.
It would have the potential to be human. As far as information is additive, knowledge (intelligence) for a whole is at least the knowledge for any one of its parts.
 
  • #18
arildno
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moving finger said:
Free will is fundamental to the idea that faith leads to salvation.

If the world is deterministic (ie if free will in the libertarian sense does not exist) then my actions are determined by antecedent conditions; hence whether or not I have faith in Jesus is determined by those same conditions.

Why should I be refused salvation for something that is determined by antecedent conditions?
Essentially, because you stink in the nose of God, whether you want to or not. He doesn't bother with handing you the soap.

The idea is nonsensical, therefore for the theist the premise that the world is deterministic must be false, and the theist is forced to believe in libertarian free will.
What about "virtuous heathens"?
They are consigned to Hell all the same..
It is the ideas of "salvation" and the idea that a non-human has absolute authority in saying how humans should act that are non-sensical.

Also, you should learn a bit more about church and doctrine history before you make breezing (and incorrect!) statements as to what theists should mean.
(Review for example, the highly influential tradition with Augustine's pre-destination theory)
 
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  • #19
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moving finger said:
If the world is deterministic (ie if free will in the libertarian sense does not exist) then my actions are determined by antecedent conditions; hence whether or not I have faith in Jesus is determined by those same conditions.
Why should I be refused salvation for something that is determined by antecedent conditions?
arildno said:
Essentially, because you stink in the nose of God, whether you want to or not. He doesn't bother with handing you the soap.
And this is supposed to make rational sense? If God created me the way I am, and I had no choice about it, I sure hope He realises the smell is His own doing! :yuck:

moving finger said:
for the theist the premise that the world is deterministic must be false, and the theist is forced to believe in libertarian free will.
arildno said:
What about "virtuous heathens"?
They are consigned to Hell all the same.
Your response is not a rebuttal to my statement that the theist is forced to believe in libertarian free will (in fact your response is totally irrelevant to the issue). :uhh:
Which particular “heathens” are consigned to hell depends on which “God” is in charge, doesn’t it?

arildno said:
Also, you should learn a bit more about church and doctrine history before you make breezing (and incorrect!) statements as to what theists should mean.
With respect, I have studied such things, and I can respond to your above comment by saying that you should take the time and trouble to discuss issues rationally before accusing others of needing to learn more. If I have made an incorrect statement please do point it out.

Augustine's arguments are incoherent and ambiguous at best. If one takes his predestination argument as being that God simply has foreknowledge of human actions then what does that prove? Divine foreknowledge is not incompatible with free will. In the 6th century Boethius maintained that God is not in time and has no temporal properties, so God does not have beliefs at a time. It is therefore a mistake to say God had beliefs yesterday, or has beliefs today, or will have beliefs tomorrow. It is also a mistake to say God had a belief on a certain date, such as June 1, 2004. The way Boethius describes God's cognitive grasp of temporal reality, all temporal events are before the mind of God at once. To say "at once" or "simultaneously" is to use a temporal metaphor, but Boethius is clear that it does not make sense to think of the whole of temporal reality as being before God's mind in a single temporal present. It is an atemporal present, a single complete grasp of all events in the entire span of time. There is no incompatibility with free will.

What I am arguing here is not that divine foreknowledge is incompatible with free will but that the lack of human free will is incompatible with theism.

I welcome any theist telling me that he/she believes human free will does not exist, and being prepared to defend that notion from a theistic perspective….. o:)

Best Regards
 
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  • #20
arildno
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And this is supposed to make rational sense? If God created me the way I am, and I had no choice about it, I sure hope He realises the smell is His own doing!
Yet again, you attribute human qualities,motivations and justifications to a non-human being in a simplistic and naive manner.
Your response is not a rebuttal to my statement that the theist is forced to believe in libertarian free will (in fact your response is totally irrelevant to the issue).
Which particular “heathens” are consigned to hell depends on which “God” is in charge, doesn’t it?
Oh dear, oh dear!
Whenever was a BELIEF in someone as your saviour an ETHICALLY RELEVANT CRITERION?
It is religionists who set up belief in some saviour as the prime criterion for not being punished by God, that is, religionists are propounding a fundamentally non-ethical (in my view, un-ethical) theory.
Furthermore, whenever has devotion to a non-human been an ETHICAL or MORAL issue??


This shows that properly ETHICAL concerns (like that of free will) are, at best, secondary for religionists (and, in my view, for the most part absent).
If you re-read my original post, that's what I was concerned with.

There IS no rational (or moral) sense in the theist's worldview, his premise is nonsensical.
End of story.
 
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  • #21
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moving finger said:
Your response is not a rebuttal to my statement that the theist is forced to believe in libertarian free will (in fact your response is totally irrelevant to the issue). :uhh:
Why does that need to be refuted? Maybe I missed something but why exactly is the significance of theism and free will going hand in hand?
 
  • #22
arildno
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It is because moving finger wants to go on to show the converse:
That anyone believing in free will should also be a theist.
 
  • #23
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moving finger said:
I welcome any theist telling me that he/she believes human free will does not exist, and being prepared to defend that notion from a theistic perspective…..
I don't believe it, but I don't see why it's so hard to defend.

You're main point is that because we eventually receive divine judgement and sentenced to eternal reward (heaven) or punishment (hell); We must have free will, because a divine being would not punish us for the things we don't have free will over. But how do you prove that God wouldn't punish us just for the sake of it? And reward others just for the sake of it?

Sure, it violates western concepts of justice, but our concept of justice also assumes free will, so it's not really relevant.
 
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  • #24
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arildno said:
It is because moving finger wants to go on to show the converse:
That anyone believing in free will should also be a theist.
How would he do that? Just because theism requires free will doesn't mean free will requires theism...
 
  • #25
arildno
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Smurf said:
How would he do that? Just because theism requires free will doesn't mean free will requires theism...
Well, honestly, I can't figure out the relevance of his idea, unless it is to proceed onwards to show that the converse holds as well.
 

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