I disagree with one of Matt's arguments...

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Postby Elman » Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:16 pm

bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:It would be speculation about Satan having perfect knowledge of God, but he would obviously have a lot more than we do.
I should have said perfect knowledge of God's existence. Which means he knows for a fact that God exists. That is the context in which Matt tends to use "perfect" in this case, so that is why I said it that way. Satan knows that God exists and still refuses to worship him.

The main point of Matt's argument is that this perfect knowledge of God's existence doesn't remove Satan's free will. This is counter to the particular apologists who claim humans would lack the free will to choose not to worship. That is often the reason we Atheists are shown for why God doesn't reveal himself to us.
OK I would not take that position.
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Postby bugsoup » Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:18 pm

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:It would be speculation about Satan having perfect knowledge of God, but he would obviously have a lot more than we do.
I should have said perfect knowledge of God's existence. Which means he knows for a fact that God exists. That is the context in which Matt tends to use "perfect" in this case, so that is why I said it that way. Satan knows that God exists and still refuses to worship him.

The main point of Matt's argument is that this perfect knowledge of God's existence doesn't remove Satan's free will. This is counter to the particular apologists who claim humans would lack the free will to choose not to worship. That is often the reason we Atheists are shown for why God doesn't reveal himself to us.
OK I would not take that position.
What would your position be?
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Postby Elman » Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:11 pm

bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:It would be speculation about Satan having perfect knowledge of God, but he would obviously have a lot more than we do.
I should have said perfect knowledge of God's existence. Which means he knows for a fact that God exists. That is the context in which Matt tends to use "perfect" in this case, so that is why I said it that way. Satan knows that God exists and still refuses to worship him.

The main point of Matt's argument is that this perfect knowledge of God's existence doesn't remove Satan's free will. This is counter to the particular apologists who claim humans would lack the free will to choose not to worship. That is often the reason we Atheists are shown for why God doesn't reveal himself to us.
OK I would not take that position.
What would your position be?
My position is that all human beings have the free will to love others which is the act of worshiping a Creator that created you for that purpose.
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Postby bugsoup » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:37 pm

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:It would be speculation about Satan having perfect knowledge of God, but he would obviously have a lot more than we do.
I should have said perfect knowledge of God's existence. Which means he knows for a fact that God exists. That is the context in which Matt tends to use "perfect" in this case, so that is why I said it that way. Satan knows that God exists and still refuses to worship him.

The main point of Matt's argument is that this perfect knowledge of God's existence doesn't remove Satan's free will. This is counter to the particular apologists who claim humans would lack the free will to choose not to worship. That is often the reason we Atheists are shown for why God doesn't reveal himself to us.
OK I would not take that position.
What would your position be?
My position is that all human beings have the free will to love others which is the act of worshiping a Creator that created you for that purpose.
Which has absolutely nothing to do with Satan or God revealing himself. That is what this thread is about.
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Postby Elman » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:56 pm

bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:It would be speculation about Satan having perfect knowledge of God, but he would obviously have a lot more than we do.
I should have said perfect knowledge of God's existence. Which means he knows for a fact that God exists. That is the context in which Matt tends to use "perfect" in this case, so that is why I said it that way. Satan knows that God exists and still refuses to worship him.

The main point of Matt's argument is that this perfect knowledge of God's existence doesn't remove Satan's free will. This is counter to the particular apologists who claim humans would lack the free will to choose not to worship. That is often the reason we Atheists are shown for why God doesn't reveal himself to us.
OK I would not take that position.
What would your position be?
My position is that all human beings have the free will to love others which is the act of worshiping a Creator that created you for that purpose.
Which has absolutely nothing to do with Satan or God revealing himself. That is what this thread is about.
It seems to me the thread was about our not haveing free will if God revealed Himself to us.
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Postby bugsoup » Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:17 pm

Elman wrote:
bugsoup wrote:
Elman wrote:My position is that all human beings have the free will to love others which is the act of worshiping a Creator that created you for that purpose.
Which has absolutely nothing to do with Satan or God revealing himself. That is what this thread is about.
It seems to me the thread was about our not haveing free will if God revealed Himself to us.
Matt gives the example of Satan as reason to believe we still retain free will. Unless I missed something, your position (quoted above) does not mention Satan or God revealing himself. If it does, show me where.

Do you agree with the following statements?

1. Satan knows that God exists and still refuses to worship him.
2. Satan's perfect knowledge of God's existence doesn't remove Satan's free will.
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Postby donnyton » Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:34 pm

And I think Matt should stop using that because Satan is never shown to have free will in the first place.

Stay on topic Elman, don't delve into ramblings that are irrelevant.

Where's Matt...I hoped he would give his thoughts on this...
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Postby bugsoup » Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:38 pm

donnyton wrote:And I think Matt should stop using that because Satan is never shown to have free will in the first place.

Where's Matt...I hoped he would give his thoughts on this...
Do you agree that without Satan having free will, he is merely a robot created by God to do evil in the world? This seems to negate the "all loving" God that Christians are so attached to. (Elman, that question was not for you. I know what you think, and I'm interested in talking to donnyton)
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Postby donnyton » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:57 pm

Right, with a model like this, God would be a being that seems to be all loving and tricks us into believing he is all good but really is just dicking around with our thoughts and feelings.

Think of a spoiled little kid who makes up an imaginary friend named Bob, and every time he does something bad, he says "But I'm the good one! I tried to make Bob put the vase down, but he was intent on breaking it!" and the next day, he says "I did a good deed today, I stopped Bob from dismantling the lamp. What a good boy I am!"
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Postby bugsoup » Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:13 am

donnyton wrote:Right, with a model like this, God would be a being that seems to be all loving and tricks us into believing he is all good but really is just dicking around with our thoughts and feelings.

Think of a spoiled little kid who makes up an imaginary friend named Bob, and every time he does something bad, he says "But I'm the good one! I tried to make Bob put the vase down, but he was intent on breaking it!" and the next day, he says "I did a good deed today, I stopped Bob from dismantling the lamp. What a good boy I am!"
Great analogy! Satan is really God's imaginary friend.
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Postby tomfoss » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:38 am

donnyton wrote:And I think Matt should stop using that because Satan is never shown to have free will in the first place.

I think the problem is that you might be going about this too logically. Matt's trying to argue from the assumption that the beliefs of the Christian arguer are correct, and the typical Christian who would give the "God can't reveal himself because it would violate our free will" (which, I assume, means "our ability to reject or accept him, because otherwise it's totally nonsensical) isn't going to agree that Satan is just God's tempting tool. Most evangelicals especially will ascribe to Satan some measure of independence and power, from "good can't exist without evil" to "Satan is the god of this world." For that set of definitions and "facts," I think Matt's argument works fairly well. And if a Christian takes your slant on the argument--God as "author of evil," Satan as his subcontractor (which, I agree, appears to be the more Biblically-supported position)--then they open themselves up to new and more uncomfortable questions.

So, more succinctly:
1. If God revealed his existence with certainty, we would no longer be able to choose whether or not to accept him, which would violate our free will.
2. God doesn't want to violate our free will, so he doesn't reveal himself.
3. But Satan had certain knowledge of God's existence, and was still able to choose not to accept God.
4. So, certain knowledge of God's existence does not violate one's ability to choose to accept or reject God.

If Satan lacks free will, then "free will" must not be "the ability to choose whether or not to accept God," since Satan was able to do that.
If Satan is God's puppet, then we lead right into the Problem of Evil, and God is revealed as a manipulative tyrant.

In any case, the Christian is led to an uncomfortable, unsupportable position.
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Postby donnyton » Sun Oct 21, 2007 5:04 pm

Actually, this counterargument I formed while debating a Christian who was surprisingly rational and did not subscribe to Satan as the idiotic scarlet devil that most Christians imagine. Matt likes to avoid arguments that smart theists can refute easily, and I think that apologetics and rational Christians would use the separation between humans and angels to counter his argument for belief and free will.
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Postby Diagoras » Sun Oct 21, 2007 9:16 pm

I don't think the apologists can squirm out of it that easily. How do angels still have the free will to reject God when they know he exists, they know he's all-powerful and they know they can't possibly win if they oppose him? This is obviously a freer kind of free will than we humans have, so why does God feel it necessary to give us only partial free will?
“Oh Neddy, it was terrifying. I thought I was headed for the eternal bliss of paradise!â€
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Postby donnyton » Mon Oct 22, 2007 12:11 am

Basically I'm saying that any good apologetic would realize that Lucifer doesn't necessarily have free will in the first place.
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Postby tomfoss » Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:55 am

donnyton wrote:Basically I'm saying that any good apologetic would realize that Lucifer doesn't necessarily have free will in the first place.

The thing is, you either run into equivocation on the term "free will," or you run into the problem of evil. The only way the "God doesn't reveal himself because he doesn't want to violate humans' free will" argument makes any sense at all is if "free will" is defined as (or includes) "the ability to accept or reject God." It's possible that Satan didn't have free will in the conventional, general sense, but he must have had the ability to reject God, since he did. If that's the case, then "ability to accept or reject God" must not be (part of) "free will."

If you go the other route, that the angels lack free will in totality and everything they do is essentially dictated by God, then the problem of Evil becomes incredibly strong--if God is in direct control of Satan and the fallen angels, then how can he be considered benevolent, let alone omnibenevolent?

The idea that God is the author of evil leads directly and inexorably to problems with the idea that God is good or benevolent (and the more abstract "I can imagine a being for which there is no greater being, therefore God" arguments), which is a lot harder to weasel out of apologetically than the idea that Satan had the ability to reject God.

In other words, refuting this argument (I think) either leads the believer to refute the initial premise (revealing yourself to beings must not violate their ability to choose to accept you) or to accept a less tenable theological position in which God is an evil manipulator.
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