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A heated "debate" with a Christian....

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posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 09:29 AM
A very old (Christian) friend of mine came to stay with me for the weekend, and while talking about the Noah's Ark thread I made the mistake of asking her a question which started of a pretty heated argument that went on 'til 3am, both of us ending up annoyed and unsatisfied.

I would like to ask the question here, not in the interests of winning any argument, but simply because of the fact that she couldn't answer the argument with logic, but had to rely on samantics, and I know that there are many people here who can not only match my ability to use logic, but surpass it by a long way. It also has relevance to the internal consistency of the Bible and the literal interpretation of it.

I know that some will feel I am simply attempting to rubbish their religion, but I assure you this is not the case. My friend and I have had no lasting annoyance today, and have spent a lovely day by the water, and I promise you that if she felt that had been my motivation last night I would have been slapped. Hard.

Enough qualification, here's the rub:

As I understand it, Humanity was given free will by God, hence his anger at the failure of Man to live in peace, hence the flood etc. I questioned his "right" to do so, given that, as an omniscient being, he must have known the choices that all Humans would make in advance, and the consequences of those actions. I then realised that the ideas of free will and an omniscient creator are mutually exclusive. If God knows the whole of History and all events are part of some ineffable plan, then there is only one possible choice that any of us can make in any given situation. Our choices are not choices at all. She insisted they are, as we had still made the choice. But surely this is semantics. Its like Henry Ford saying that his customers could have the model-T in any colour they liked, as long as it was black.

If we do actually have free will, then the future is not fixed, and so the outcome of our choices cannot be known in advance, and God is not all-knowing and all-powerful, as I understand the Bible maintains.

This is my dilemma. How can both be true?

[edit on 22-7-2007 by Karilla]

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 09:42 AM
They can't, and this is one of the reasons I don't believe in a god of any kind.

Here is a quote from what I think is an excellent site that "debunks" the existence of god:

Another way to approach the impossibility of God is to think about the concept of omniscience. If God is omniscient, then it means that he knows every single thing that happens in the universe, both now and infinitely into the future. Do you have free will in such a universe? Clearly not. God knows everything that will happen to you. Therefore, the instant you were created, God knows whether you are going to heaven or hell. To create someone knowing that that person will be damned to hell for eternity is the epitome of evil.

It has actually been argued to death here on BTS.

It's because of these sorts of paradox that religion and science will probably never see eye to eye. I know which side I'm on ...

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 10:42 AM
Yeah, I never understood this either. My question, too, was always-"If God knows everything, why are We even here? I mean, if God's omniscient He would know who's gonna go to hell or not, then Our exhistence would be unnecessary, correct? Someone once said- 'To give us the opportunity to change Our path'. Um, Wouldn't God know that too? I believe in God. Not a 'male' or 'female' version but an assexual being (if I hade to pick She's a female,of course). An all loving God who doesn't hate or condemn Us to hell for eternity. Hell would be the seperation of Ourselves from God. Organized religion and the bible for the most part is too illogical for Me. Too may things just don't jive.

Peace. K*

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 10:51 AM
Caution, some foul language

I can't remember if I saw this here or on another shooting forum I visit.

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 12:30 PM
First off, I can't say that I'm much of a "Believer" myself.

A parochial education pretty much stripped away any basis for "the Faith" that I once had.

But, to the point, neither "Omniscient" (all Seeing/Knowing) nor "Omnipotent" (all Powerful) in any way imply the excercise of Active Control.

The fact that "God" (or any deity) knows what your fate will be in no way takes way from you the choices and decisions which will result in your ultimate fate. Your "Free Will" is preserved in your ability to make those choices and decisions which determine your lifepath.

Could an "All-Powerful" (Omnipotent) deity intercede to influence, change, prevent, or even reverse your decisions? Certainly. But choosing not to intercede in no way lessens the deity's omnipotence!

"All prayers are Answered. It's just that sometimes the Answer is 'No'"

As to "Why would We even be created by an omnipotent, omniscient deity?", to me, seems to imply that we are, somehow, disconnected from said deity.

Is your body so separate from your mind, and are your body and mind so saparate from from your soul, if, indeed one can be said to have a "Soul"?

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 12:57 PM
But surely the knowledge that God is supposed to have in and of itself negates the idea that we have free will. It implies determinism, and you cannot have determinism and free will. If a Human being is presented with a so-called choice between two options, but the outcome of that decision is known before hand, then there was never any chance of them "choosing" the other option being chosen, ergo there was never any choice at all.

I have thought of one possible "get out" of this, what is in essence, a logical argument, but I think I will save it for later, in the interests of encouraging an open debate. I don't want to steal any thunder.

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 04:49 PM
I think the problem lies in the assumption that god is omnipotent / omniscient. If that was the case, then yes, free will would not exist being that god already knows the final outcome of everything. It is my belief, however, that god is not the all powerful being that our religions need it to be in order to demand our religions servitude, but rather, god is just the human architect. Much like humans will be when we develop artificial intelligence.

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 05:13 PM
Let me say that as a christian I don't doubt God's love for us , but face it, Most people are hard to love, when you know a lot about them. The reason I think god made us is to show his love for us. Adam and Eve had an easy life. All they had to do was choose the tree of life and paradise would have been without end, but they were pursuaded (by the devil) to choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil hence, they were driven from the garden. If you had a son and the only person and opinion they were exposed to was you, how could you be sure they really loved you? It's the same way with God. IMO. God gives us all kinds of tools and helps, so we can always do right, If we ask for his help. Some of us are too proud to admit we need help. Too proud period. But God waits patiently, not getting fed up and destroying us all like a human would do. He warns us and all we have to do is open our eyes to him and our hearts. GeneralT.s wife

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 05:35 PM
Understood General, the problems is the doctrine of predestination , if god was all knowing and seeing then he knew satan would fall, Adam and Eve would fail, and Judas would betray Christ, so with that in mind, was Judas a bad guy or was he part of the plan, were they all part of the plan?

Without Judas, and Christ as the sacrificial lamb, there would be no salvation,,so which one bore the greater burden Christ who knew he would be resurrected and loved as a martyr for all of humanity or Judas who would be hated because of the role he played, the same can be said for all the above?

[edit on 22-7-2007 by Stormdancer777]

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 05:51 PM
The story (life) is already written. We're just experiencing. All decisions are predetermined based on various external & internal influences (culture, genes, religion, upbringing, etc.). An advanced enough computer would be able to predict everything we say or do (ie. the Oracle from the Matrix).

Perhaps we write the story of our life before we come here though... there's a thought to ponder. "Before" being a term used loosely in this case, since our existence before this life is outside of time.

All IMO anyway.

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 06:16 PM

We're just experiencing. All decisions are predetermined based on various external & internal influences (culture, genes, religion, upbringing, etc.).

This is similar to some buddhist thought, The Dalai Lama once said he discourages people from leaving one religion to become another, because the religion they were born into was what they chose for this lifetime.

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 10:04 PM
Thought provoking indeed.

Here is my take on this whole question of pre-destination.

I am going to humanize this a little bit, just to allow it to make more sense (at least to me). Let's say, for example, that I knew that attackers where going to use planes and were to target the WTC. I also knew, that additional methods would be used to help bring down the towers, because the planners knew that crashing the planes would not be enough. Why they insisted on doing the plane thing with all the bombs and demolition in place is beyond me, but I'm just a person "in the know".

I also know that YOU work at the WTC, and that you work an early shift, you work on a high floor and will be there when this event happens. I could warn you ahead of time, but then I'd be breaking my pledge to my "informer" and my secret hand shake.

Without much doubt (while things could turn out differently, you are sick that day by chance) that you will die on that day.

If I know that you will die on a given day, have I taken away free will from you?

Personally, I don't feel that fore knowledge implies control, it implies fore knowledge. Just because someone knows the decisions I will make prior to my making them, doesn't meant that they where made for me, it simply means they knew ahead of time.

Now... let me change my example story a little bit. Let's say that I decided that you where of great value, you where the sole income for your family of 4 children, your wife had no possible way to provide and that over all, you where a good person. So, I have pity on you and decide to pay someone to kidnap you when you are walking out of the door that morning, and tie you up... and take you to a warehouse. Then 10 minutes before the first plane is to strike, I call the authorities and let them know where you are being held.

I have not blown my cover or my secret hand shake, and you have no clue that it was even me that saved your life for you, but based on the events that did unfold and the fact you where not at the WTC that morning, you ask yourself, is someone looking out for me?

posted on Jul, 22 2007 @ 10:07 PM
This post is too easy. All you have to do is take a position of "open theism", that is, God is NOT omniscient, he is merely the most powerful being in the universe, but not something so absurd as "all-powerful".

Anything in the Bible that seems to indicate that God DOES know the future is merely poetic hyperbole.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 04:46 AM
In my very extensive studies on this very question, I've encountered all of the questions and problems expressed here. Actually, just two days ago, I got into another conversation about this with my dad. It got heated for a minute, but it was over in a flash.

The problems stem from the very real fact that we don't know what our God does, and it drives us completely bonkers, for lack of a better word. It's been deduced by myself and those that I've discussed this with that God does in fact know all things, but he gave us the freedom of choice out of interest to see which paths we would take.

Consider, if you will, the analogy of the rat in a maze. The rat is dropped into the middle of the maze, where it has a choice of going in any direction that it could possibly go. This, in and of itself, is the freedom of choice. The rat can choose whichever direction that it wants, but we as the observers know what limited choices that the rat has.

This same analogy can be directly applied to life in general. We have to make choices everyday, and most of them have very limited responses. Most are yes or no types of situations. A few though present themselves with several choices, like ordering what to eat at a restaurant.

Now, does God know which one we'll pick? I'm sure he does, but at the same time, some part of me also wants to believe that he allowed us to have a choice so that he could see what we'd do without his guidance. Now, that doesn't mean that I do believe this; it's just an idea that I'm playing with. I think though, that we, as the rats in this maze, are making choices that our creator put before us, and are performing for him "for his own good pleasure". He likes to watch us, which leads me to assume that he left us with some sort of rudimentary ability to determine our own fates. I think he allows us to make certain choices that he knows are bad, just to teach us why it's a bad choice. It's as much a learning experience for us as it is for him, I'm sure.

That pretty much sums up my opinion on this question. If I had more time, I'd probably be able to go into greater depth on it, but maybe another time. Whatcha think? Think I'm cracked yet?


posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 05:48 AM

Originally posted by Karilla
I then realised that the ideas of free will and an omniscient creator are mutually exclusive. If God knows the whole of History and all events are part of some ineffable plan, then there is only one possible choice that any of us can make in any given situation. Our choices are not choices at all. She insisted they are, as we had still made the choice. But surely this is semantics.

[edit on 22-7-2007 by Karilla]

I think your problem lies in the assumption that a "divine plan" even exists. In other words, I think we fall into a basic human tendency to try to define reality with a beginning and an end. What matters is God expressing himself in this very moment, the exact present.

The more I think about this conundrum, the more I question our understanding of time and even consciousness. I keep coming back to the same internal debate of how our thoughts and actions (when perceived as if we choose our own destiny) actually manifest into the plan or destiny itself.

The only conclusion I can draw is that time does not exist and Man is confused in his efforts to apply time to our core foundations and philosophies. I think the whole notion of duality and predestiny falls apart if you avoid thinking about things with the idea that they began and so shall end.

In my opinion, God makes sense if you view god as expressing himself in the moment, and the way he expresses himself is through us and the universe. (reality as we know it)

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 05:55 AM
I completely agree OP
Logic tells you these things.

The universe is much more complex than a single entity's ability to understand and receive all things throughout all dimensions throughout the infinity of possibilities.

If you dont mind going slightly off topic but still in the right direction........

I have had an argument with a hardcore Christian before as well.....

Here is what I said.....

The bible states that everyone will get a chance to know and love Jesus. If this is true then its a pretty simple experiment to set up. Take a newborn, strand it on a desert island. I know that sounds cruel but it will prove a hypothetical point. This child grows up knowing the weather, and how to survive. This child would grow into an adult without knowing any language to speak of. The only way for this human to experience the teachings of "Jesus" with absolutely no other contact from the outside world would be the following.....

An "Angel" from "Heaven" would have to float down and communicate with this human and telepathically through images teach the teachings of "Jesus".

Now if this poor cat couldn't understand this "Angel" then his soul would be damned to spend eternity in Hell.

If this were to somehow work, and the angel was successful then all nations all native peoples all humans on the face of the planet would certainly have a similar experience. Jesus is the key to salvation according to the Christian view. Why if true, is not the entirety of the worlds population "Jesus freaks"?

The Christian I was talking to couldn't come up with anything at all, he left the surrounding area and didn't talk to me for a while after that.

Religion is just another way to push fear into peoples hearts and minds. Corrupting their entire "self" in the process.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 06:48 AM
I believe in God, I believe there is a divine plan and that God is all powerful and all knowing. Now just because God has foreknowledge doesnt negate the fact that we have free will.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 06:58 AM
Can you share your logic, as that was all my friend would say on the subject, well, along with: "Just because there was only one possible outcome, it doesn't mean we didn't choose". A choice of one option is not a choice, is it?

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:26 AM
What if there is a billion different paths your life can take an every decision you make changes that path. Of course there would be more then a billion but maybe God knows each and every path. He knows where ever your life is going in the path your going. But when you change paths and take a new route then he knows how you will end up on that path.

posted on Jul, 23 2007 @ 07:31 AM

Originally posted by HooHaa
I believe in God, I believe there is a divine plan and that God is all powerful and all knowing. Now just because God has foreknowledge doesnt negate the fact that we have free will.

Explain why then? If God knows what we are going to do, then how is that freewill?
I love how the ones who belive in this junk can post such a short answer and go to bed at night knowing in their hearts they are right?

I really liked many of the posts I saw on here.. This question has gotten me kicked out of churchs, and broke up many relationships Ive had with people, becasue they get so mad!! They can never give me an answer!!
I ask them, How is it freewill when they tell me, I can either Burn in hell forever, or go to a nice place with clouds and naked women..
Hmmm what kind of choice is that? Sounds like a bully to me!!

Ask yourself this.. If someone comes to you with a knife and says you must belive in me or I will stab you, tear out your eyeballs and keep you locked in my basement for a long time.. Or belive in me and I will give you lots of money, and you never have to worry about anything in your life agin!!
First off sounds like a bribe, thats what religion does, its a big bully that tells you that you have to!! Oh but you have a choice here, its either burning forever, or life umoung the clouds!!!

Its the biggest bunch of nonesene this world has ever known! And it still going on today!! And theres tons of people who will still defend those bullies till their last breath, or until they run out of bullish ideas!!

So they can go back to their churches.. If you ask me, If I was to belive in the who GOD thing, Id say those going to church and the whole bible thumping deal work for the devil! Or evil forces at work..

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