Saturday, 19 February 2011

Omniscient God?

Karen Owens' nice little rhyme summarises a fundamental problem about prayer:

Can omniscient God who
Knows the future, find
The omnipotence to
Change his future mind?

Thanks to Richard Dawkins', The God Delusion, p 96 footnote for this lovely little nugget.

Of course there is a religious answer along the lines that "He can change but that He won't, because He already anticipated that it would all happen this way and He took account of it in advance."  (Maybe the pronoun should have been "She" throughout the last sentence?)

So it seems that all the suffering in the World is due to God's intentional cruelty.  Of course, this is evident throughout the Old Testament and indeed resulted in the death of his own son, so we should not be too surprised by this.

It seems that suffering is not just an accident that can be blamed on 'free will' after all.  Since he knew that someone was going to pray about it and already took that into account, one can only interpret that as predestination.  Therefore the alleged 'free will' that is often used by Christians as the excuse and explanation for suffering is not really there at all.  

What's the point of trying to argue using logic?  I feel a parallel with Douglas Adams' Babel Fish, but only realised that after writing the above.

6 comments:

Panda said...

Ah yes Free will! Why would God give us a free will if He knows what will happen any ways? Why should we bother praying to Him about our problems if He has predestined them to happen? Perhaps, prayer is more about just communicating with God. I am sure you have heard this before but is worth mentioning. God is our heavenly Father and just like our earthly fathers, he likes to have his children talk to him. If your child was in need would you not help them if you could, of course that is only natural that you want to help your child. But as your child grows you realize that you can not bail them out every time they get in trouble that they must learn to do it them selves or suffer the consequence. Same is true of God the Father, sometimes even though we pray and ask, the predestination is for us to suffer.
The Bible says that things are passed down to generation to generation to generation. Meaning that something I do could effect my children's children and so on. Can they not break free from something passed down on them, sure but they must realize it to break free from it and most have no clue what it is that is bogging them down.
Just like earthly parents, sometimes your child has to ask for help or meet you in the middle to receive the help, God is the same way.
Here is the big issue, none of what I just said will mean anything to you or any other atheist. Why? because you have never had a true experience with God. Until you have a true life experience with God you can not criticize or argue what God is or is not. Why? because you are only going on hear say and what others are telling you is true or not true about God.
If you really want to know why God does something or doesn't, ask Him yourself! lol ohh yeah forgot, you can't ask something that doesn't exist! Oh well, guess you will have to take my word on it but you won't will you? cause my word is tainted since I do believe!

Why are atheist so obsessed with proving that God doesn't exist anyways?

Sorry for the rant :) I still adore you even though you are a non believer! :)

Plasma Engineer said...

Thank you for the rant. There is absolutely no need for an apology. I'm delighted that someone is reading what I write.

I suppose atheists think it is important whether God exists or not, and if so, which God he is. Ultimately this makes a big difference to the way we understand the universe.

I don't feel that I am obsessed but I do think it matters. And of course we are all atheists, but I just happen to take it one God further than my lovely Christian friends.

RosaRubicondior said...

An inerrant, omniscient god and free will cannot coexist.

Such a god would not even have free will itself since all it's actions would be preordained. It could not even decide to make a decision! It could never do anything other than exist. It could not even decide to create anything, therefore, any universe with such a god in it could not have been created by it

A universe with an inerrant, omniscient god would be indistinguishable from one with no god at all.

Kenny Wyland said...

By the way, this quote from Hitchhiker's always stuck with me, even when I was a Christian:

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

Anonymous said...

Hi Panda,

Regarding a couple of your points :

"But as your child grows you realize that you can not bail them out every time they get in trouble that they must learn to do it them selves or suffer the consequence. Same is true of God the Father, sometimes even though we pray and ask, the predestination is for us to suffer."

It's fine for you to praise the work of God in your little ivory tower and ponder his mysterious ways but give a thought to the reality of life out there.

Because, oh, if only God WAS that reliable to protect us until we reach an age where we could indeed stand on our own two feet. But every day (amongst other daily atrocities), your God watches pedophiles abusing children, children dying from starvation, hospital wards with diseased and dying youngsters, etc but he does .... nothing!

So he foresees the moment of horror, witnesses it in real time too and yet, in most cases, brings no relief to the suffering. Predestination? Sounds pretty tough that he has predestined this.

How can you possibly praise a god for his great works when he shows no compassion to those who are in no position to accept or reject god? How can he possibly be expected to be glorified when he his heinous crimes scream out over the pages of the Bible and across the timeline of human history?

"Why are atheist so obsessed with proving that God doesn't exist anyways?"

Because if I can prove to people that God is unlikely to exist in the format that humans attribute to him, we will keep religion out of our government, schools and other areas of life that have no place to be infiltrated by followers of myths.

I was a fervent Christian for many years and I panicked at the thought of questioning the bible and his word. But actions speak louder than words and, to be blunt, God was found severely wanting on 'action'.

Kind regards.

@TastesLikeYou

Anonymous said...

p.s I must add, that his choice to ignore the pleas of the innocent are backed up in the bible :

"Job 9:23 When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent."

Perhaps he is just plain nasty after all.

@TastesLikeYou