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Switch to Forum Live View The Best of All Possible Worlds
2 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2012 - 6:39AM #111
Adelphe
Posts: 28,744

Jun 27, 2012 -- 8:47PM, Kartari wrote:


What is that answer?



Sin and the fall.


Yes I do.  Wikipedia actually does a good job of explaining dukkha in a Buddhist context:


from Wikipedia:


Dukkha is a Buddhist term commonly translated as "suffering", "stress", "anxiety", or "dissatisfaction". Dukkha is identified as the first of the Four Noble Truths.


Within the Buddhist tradition, dukkha is commonly explained according to three different patterns or categories. In the first category, dukkha includes the obvious physical suffering or pain associated with giving birth, growing old, physical illness and the process of dying. These outer discomforts are referred to as the dukkha of ordinary suffering (dukkha-dukkha). In a second category, dukkha also includes the anxiety or stress of trying to hold onto things that are constantly changing; these inner anxieties are called the dukkha produced by change (vipariṇāma-dukkha). The third pattern or category of dukkha refers to a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all forms of life, due to the fact that all forms of life are impermanent and constantly changing. On this level, the term indicates a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards. This subtle dissatisfaction is referred to as the dukkha of conditioned states (saṃkhāra-dukkha).



Kay--thanks.


I read here...


The Four Noble Truths deal with the nature of "dukkha" in life, what is the cause of "dukkha", the cessation (cure) for "dukkha", and the techniques to bring about the cessation of "dukkha".


The first noble truth is presented within the Buddha's first discourse, Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma (Dharmacakra Pravartana Sūtra), as follows:[web 12]


"This is the noble truth of dukkha: birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, illness is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are dukkha; union with what is displeasing is dukkha; separation from what is pleasing is dukkha; not to get what one wants is dukkha; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are dukkha."[19]

Texts like the Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta[web 13] and Anuradha Sutta,[web 14] show Buddha as insisting that the truths about dukkha and the way to end dukkha are the only ones he is teaching as far as attaining the ultimate goal of nirvana is concerned.


...not (necessarily) that suffering is "illusion" but that the idea--essentially--is to look at it another way in order to end clinging to the concept of it as suffering.


So how isn't this compatible with a benevolent God?


I already gave you two improvements: less inevitable suffering in existence, and people who are wiser from the start.  So no, it's not the best of all possible worlds. :)



Not so fast ;-)--you gave me two ideas of what improvement might be, but you haven't given me how it would happen.  For example, what does it really mean to have "people who are wiser from the start" and how would that have manifested itself (and what are the implications in other areas?  Tweak this, that gets tweaked, etc.)



How does that answer my question?  Are you saying God had no choice but to create this, the best world possible, that it was this, or nothing, or something worse?



I haven't seen any other world advanced here (or anywhere, actually) that could be considered better so yes.


If so, my question remains unanswered.  Even if this were the best possible existence, it still requires (assuming ID) a creator capable of creating and allowing all this existence includes.  It would be capable of creating or allowing such atrocities as we've seen in human history, as well as humanly inevitable atrocities like infant mortality and the torture of children.  In short, I repeat: an all-benevolent and compassionate being is incapable of creating this universe and/or allowing it without intervention due to the nature of that being's compassion; it would be morally compelled to either create things differently or not create them at all.




A few comments here:


1.  In Buddhism, the notion of "suffering" is a...notion--so how do you answer that in this context?


2.  There is and has been intervention


3.  I asked this question earlier in this thread of someone (Blu?  I think?)--is not having any world at all really "better"?  Could we all say, for example, that we all wish we had never been born?

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2012 - 6:50AM #112
Adelphe
Posts: 28,744

Jun 27, 2012 -- 9:01PM, Kartari wrote:


A serious question then: if you were convinced that your God appeared to you and told you to strangle, with your own bare hands, an innocent infant to death in order to save the lives of one million people, would you do it?  Would you be capable of doing it to completion?


You don't have to answer me if you don't want to.  Just ask yourself this seriously, and also ponder your mental health and what would happen to it if you completed this task.



This appears to me to be a total non-sequitur from our discussion in this area but assume you're going somewhere with it?  Sure, I have no problem answering:  My God wouldn't do that so I couldn't be "convinced" of it.  It's incompatible with His nature on so many levels it's almost a nonsensical question to me.


The efforts to thwart it are part of God's plan,



Plan B.  You said "it is now exactly as God intended."  No, His intention was (and is) loving relationship with man.  It didn't have to be this way, it simply was.


if God is both the omniscient and omnipotent creator.  God would have foreseen the efforts, and would have created existence anyway, implying acceptance of the thwarting.  In fact, it is logically impossible to surprise an omniscient (all-knowing) being.



Agreed.  Acceptance isn't intention, however.



I'm not really using any specific hypothesis here, just using the concept loosely, as a counter to one universe (e.g. ours) being specially created above other possibilities.  The potential for a multiverse where all possible universes do exist simultaneously seems at least plausible, according to my (admittedly basic) understanding of quantum physics.




Okay--so again, what would yours look like?  I want to see if yours is better.  Play Creator for a day! Smile

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2012 - 6:55AM #113
Adelphe
Posts: 28,744

Jun 27, 2012 -- 9:08PM, Kartari wrote:


Adelphe,


If your answers by any chance refer to free will, you might enjoy reading my discussion with lope, e.g. post #78.




Yes, it does to a degree.  Read it but I still have my question in my first reply above.

Jun 27, 2012 -- 9:17PM, Kartari wrote:


Almost missed this one...


Certainly at least a lot wiser, that would be much better.  Always wise would be ideal.  We could have all been created with sufficient wisdom and empathy from the start to regard commiting murder and theft as the equivalent of putting our own hands into an open flame for five minutes, for instance.




Okay, but this assumes murder and theft are the only (or even the most important or ubiquitous forms or) causes of suffering.


Do you think that?

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2012 - 1:17AM #114
Kartari
Posts: 2,168

Adelphe,


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:39AM, Adelphe wrote:


Jun 27, 2012 -- 8:47PM, Kartari wrote:


What is that answer?



Sin and the fall.



...which God, knowing all that would transpire from the start, planned to happen anyway. Sin and the fall is not an answer, it merely brings us back to God as the first cause of evil.


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:39AM, Adelphe wrote:


Yes I do.  Wikipedia actually does a good job of explaining dukkha in a Buddhist context:


from Wikipedia:


Dukkha is a Buddhist term commonly translated as "suffering", "stress", "anxiety", or "dissatisfaction". Dukkha is identified as the first of the Four Noble Truths.


Within the Buddhist tradition, dukkha is commonly explained according to three different patterns or categories. In the first category, dukkha includes the obvious physical suffering or pain associated with giving birth, growing old, physical illness and the process of dying. These outer discomforts are referred to as the dukkha of ordinary suffering (dukkha-dukkha). In a second category, dukkha also includes the anxiety or stress of trying to hold onto things that are constantly changing; these inner anxieties are called the dukkha produced by change (vipariṇāma-dukkha). The third pattern or category of dukkha refers to a basic unsatisfactoriness pervading all forms of life, due to the fact that all forms of life are impermanent and constantly changing. On this level, the term indicates a lack of satisfaction, a sense that things never measure up to our expectations or standards. This subtle dissatisfaction is referred to as the dukkha of conditioned states (saṃkhāra-dukkha).



Kay--thanks.



You're welcome. :)


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:39AM, Adelphe wrote:

I read here...


The Four Noble Truths deal with the nature of "dukkha" in life, what is the cause of "dukkha", the cessation (cure) for "dukkha", and the techniques to bring about the cessation of "dukkha".


The first noble truth is presented within the Buddha's first discourse, Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma (Dharmacakra Pravartana Sūtra), as follows:[web 12]


"This is the noble truth of dukkha: birth is dukkha, aging is dukkha, illness is dukkha, death is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are dukkha; union with what is displeasing is dukkha; separation from what is pleasing is dukkha; not to get what one wants is dukkha; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are dukkha."[19]

Texts like the Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta[web 13] and Anuradha Sutta,[web 14] show Buddha as insisting that the truths about dukkha and the way to end dukkha are the only ones he is teaching as far as attaining the ultimate goal of nirvana is concerned.


...not (necessarily) that suffering is "illusion" but that the idea--essentially--is to look at it another way in order to end clinging to the concept of it as suffering.


So how isn't this compatible with a benevolent God?



Not a bad assessment by Wikipedia, but I'd clarify further by making a subtle correction.  Different schools of Buddhism each have their own slight variations, but the view of suffering as illusory is not intended in any school (to my knowledge) to foster the belief that suffering is all purely illusion.  Suffering is of course a real phenomenon.  Rather, this view is more complex in that it relies on the evident reality that all is impermanent and changing, hence both real and unreal at the same time.  We refer to the self as if we were a constant entity, for instance, yet we are also always changing: biologically and mentally.  We're quite different today from who were were at birth, at 10 years old, at 20, etc.  This view helps us relinquish our wrong perceptions of reality as fixed in any manner, a perception which perpetuates ignorant streams of thoughts which in turn foster suffering.


As for God, I wouldn't say Buddhism is incompatible with theism in general (from a human vantage point).  But one must understand that Buddhism deals with suffering pragmatically, as it is.  The Bodhisattvas, avowed to help all sentient beings attain enlightenment and forego their own final nirvana until all beings are thus awakened and free from suffering, serve as the ideal in Mahayana Buddhist schools.  But they did not create this mess in the first place, they seek only to alleviate the mess.


The Christian God, however, is the cause of the world's existence according to the Bible, and therefore cannot be rightly called benevolent, since God has allowed the cruelties and hardships we experience to exist by intentional design.  The argument can be soundly made, therefore, that God is either indifferent or has a split personality (e.g. benevolent and malevolent qualities in one being).


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:39AM, Adelphe wrote:


I already gave you two improvements: less inevitable suffering in existence, and people who are wiser from the start.  So no, it's not the best of all possible worlds. :)



Not so fast ;-)--you gave me two ideas of what improvement might be, but you haven't given me how it would happen.  For example, what does it really mean to have "people who are wiser from the start" and how would that have manifested itself (and what are the implications in other areas?  Tweak this, that gets tweaked, etc.)



Let's start with one change: a world where people are bestowed with IQs of 200+, and the comparable wisdom and compassion to match.  A world where nobody has any desire to kill babies, abuse children, enslave other sentient beings, beat women into submission for millennia, or perform any of the variety of other evils we have seen in this universe.


So... what's wrong with this?  Why would it be worse than our world?


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:39AM, Adelphe wrote:


How does that answer my question?  Are you saying God had no choice but to create this, the best world possible, that it was this, or nothing, or something worse?



I haven't seen any other world advanced here (or anywhere, actually) that could be considered better so yes.



a) This is an argument from ignorance.


b) I have just clarified what I mean by such a world.


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:39AM, Adelphe wrote:


If so, my question remains unanswered.  Even if this were the best possible existence, it still requires (assuming ID) a creator capable of creating and allowing all this existence includes.  It would be capable of creating or allowing such atrocities as we've seen in human history, as well as humanly inevitable atrocities like infant mortality and the torture of children.  In short, I repeat: an all-benevolent and compassionate being is incapable of creating this universe and/or allowing it without intervention due to the nature of that being's compassion; it would be morally compelled to either create things differently or not create them at all.



A few comments here:


1.  In Buddhism, the notion of "suffering" is a...notion--so how do you answer that in this context?



I am not sure what you mean here?


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:39AM, Adelphe wrote:

2.  There is and has been intervention



Not nearly enough it seems. The fact that infanticide and other evils occur at all makes my case that if there is an omniscient and omnipotent creator, then it not only tolerates evils but caused them, and therefore cannot be considered benevolent.  Indifferent or apathetic would be the best case scenario to describe this God.


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:39AM, Adelphe wrote:

3.  I asked this question earlier in this thread of someone (Blu?  I think?)--is not having any world at all really "better"?  Could we all say, for example, that we all wish we had never been born?



My argument does not hinge on whether this is or is not the best possible world.  My argument is that a benevolent creator could not create this universe, period.  Because it would be morally compelled to create something different (e.g. create people with more wisdom and compassion, for starters) or not at all.


Let me put it to you this way.  Say for the sake of argument you are God(dess).  You want to create a universe with beings to love.  Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the best possible world you can imagine is our actual universe, as is.  Do you think you would be capable of creating beings who murder, rape, abuse, molest, get diseased, and endure other forms of suffering and die?  Would you, as a benevolent being, be able to stand by and watch millions and millions of infants drowned to death, beaten to death, strangled to death, etc, without intervening?


I don't think you would.  I certainly would not be able to create this in the first place, let alone stand by and watch it unfold.  Hence, a benevolent being could not have created this world (unless it also lacks omniscience and/or omnipotence, in which case not all factors were under God's control, though Christianity espouses a God with those qualities).


Be back for your remaining posts another day...

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 16, 2012 - 10:10AM #115
Adelphe
Posts: 28,744

Kart, still here?

Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, for to go against conscience would be neither right nor safe.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.  Amen.
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2 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2012 - 11:25PM #116
Kartari
Posts: 2,168

Sorry Adelphe, been very busy!  I'll take a look now...

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2012 - 11:50PM #117
Kartari
Posts: 2,168

Adelphe,


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:50AM, Adelphe wrote:


Jun 27, 2012 -- 9:01PM, Kartari wrote:

A serious question then: if you were convinced that your God appeared to you and told you to strangle, with your own bare hands, an innocent infant to death in order to save the lives of one million people, would you do it?  Would you be capable of doing it to completion?


You don't have to answer me if you don't want to.  Just ask yourself this seriously, and also ponder your mental health and what would happen to it if you completed this task.



This appears to me to be a total non-sequitur from our discussion in this area but assume you're going somewhere with it?  Sure, I have no problem answering:  My God wouldn't do that so I couldn't be "convinced" of it.  It's incompatible with His nature on so many levels it's almost a nonsensical question to me.



I'm losing my train of thought after all this time... but, likewise, killing other human beings is incompatible with Gandhi's nature and philosophy. That was my primary point here, as I recall.


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:50AM, Adelphe wrote:


The efforts to thwart it are part of God's plan,



Plan B.  You said "it is now exactly as God intended."  No, His intention was (and is) loving relationship with man.  It didn't have to be this way, it simply was.



An omniscient and omnipotent creator God would know from the first moment exactly how everything turns out. This God would therefore not need to make any alternate plans. Hence, everything that has happened and will happen must be as the omniscient and omnipotent creator God intended. It is illogical to state otherwise, no?


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:50AM, Adelphe wrote:


if God is both the omniscient and omnipotent creator.  God would have foreseen the efforts, and would have created existence anyway, implying acceptance of the thwarting.  In fact, it is logically impossible to surprise an omniscient (all-knowing) being.



Agreed.  Acceptance isn't intention, however.



Again, for whatever reason, the existence of what exists must be intended as well as accepted by the omniscient and omnipotent creator God. Simply because it exists in a universe created by a God with unlimited knowledge of, and control over, everything. An omniscient and omnipotent creator cannot create what it does not intend, it is logically impossible.


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:50AM, Adelphe wrote:


I'm not really using any specific hypothesis here, just using the concept loosely, as a counter to one universe (e.g. ours) being specially created above other possibilities.  The potential for a multiverse where all possible universes do exist simultaneously seems at least plausible, according to my (admittedly basic) understanding of quantum physics.



Okay--so again, what would yours look like?  I want to see if yours is better.  Play Creator for a day! :)



Already done in my previous post. :)

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2012 - 11:53PM #118
Kartari
Posts: 2,168

Adelphe,


Jul 4, 2012 -- 6:55AM, Adelphe wrote:


Jun 27, 2012 -- 9:17PM, Kartari wrote:

Almost missed this one...


Certainly at least a lot wiser, that would be much better.  Always wise would be ideal.  We could have all been created with sufficient wisdom and empathy from the start to regard commiting murder and theft as the equivalent of putting our own hands into an open flame for five minutes, for instance.



Okay, but this assumes murder and theft are the only (or even the most important or ubiquitous forms or) causes of suffering.


Do you think that?



They are major ones, but were just two examples. The cause of suffering is ultimately traced back to ignorance, which in turn causes craving; it is from craving that actions like murder and theft arise, among others.


A wiser people would have less ignorance by definition, so...

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