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Pascal

Study: Most Convincing Arguments For & Against God

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A recent study (use that term a bit loosely though) surveyed philosophers of religion, other kinds of philosophers and average people to find out what the most convincing arguments for and against a God are. The study also attempted to see what factors influence how people view an argument (eg. atheists vs theists if they are more negative or positive of the other sides argument, gender, education, etc)I've pasted part of the study below and the rest can be found in the link.

I'm really not at all surprised about the argument from evil being the strongest argument surveyed against God. I'm rather surprised the cosmological argument is as high as it is though.

For those that don't feel like reading, i decided to cut right to the chase and put the graphs right at the top:

For God

argumentspro.jpg

Against God

argumentsagainst.jpg

Assessment of natural philosophical arguments

Respondents were asked to rate how strong they found a series of natural theological arguments,on a likert scale of 1 (very weak) to 5 (very strong). Arguments were organized in two groups(arguments for and arguments against the existence of God) of 8 items each. The results are summarized in figures1,2,and 3 grouped in arguments for and arguments against. Overall, the strongest rated natural theological argument was the argument from evil (meanscore: 3.55). The second strongest rated argument was the argument from parsimony (mean score: 3.01), followed by the cosmological argument (mean score: 2.98). The argument from miracles and the argument from beauty were rated as weakest. The mean scores of the arguments are summarized in the bar chart on the existence of God.

output1t.jpg

Edit

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Another interesting bit:

In how far do atheists and theists differ in their assessment of individual arguments?

The largest disagreement is about the cosmological argument: theists find this a very strong argument (mean = 3.92), atheists assess it as significantly weaker (mean = 2.48). For arguments against God, the largest disagreement is on the argument from lack of evidence. Whereas atheists clearly hold that there is a lack of evidence (mean = 3.77), theists disagree (mean = 2.17).

There is most agreement about the argument from evil, which is assessed as strong by both theists (mean = 3.49) and atheists (mean = 3.73); also, both theists and atheists agree on the strength of the hiddenness argument (theists mean = 2.69; atheist mean = 3.12)

In full

-------

Preliminary results of the survey on natural theological arguments

Helen De Cruz

Centre for Logic and Analytical Philosophy, Catholic University of Leuven

Somerville College, University of Oxford

http://www.academia....gical_arguments

http://prosblogion.e...ts-of-the-.html

Edited by Pascal

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Unfortunately, that was not published with it. One of the links has error bars for data for an entire cohort (eg. atheists assessing theistic arguments) but doesn't say anything about the individual arguments. I think you raise an interesting point, this might be very interesting to see. Even in the absence of this though, i think we can still have a very rough idea of which ones are on the top and which ones are not so good. The argument from evil is considered one of the strongest ones whilst something like the telelogical argument or the argument from beauty aren't.

One of the most interesting points they raised (if not the most actually) was something i didn't paste above:

The results indicate that theist, atheist and agnostic philosophers significantly differ in their assessment of the strength of natural theological arguments. Does this mean that one’s religious beliefs already strongly influence one’s assessment of arguments, as Faust(2008) suggested?Faust holds that religious arguments are question-begging in a doxastic sense, i.e., whether or not one accepts the premises of an argument depends to a large extent on one’s antecedent beliefs in the conclusion (which is either “God exists” or “God doesn’t exist”). The prior likeli-hood one accords to premises in natural theological arguments thus depends on one’s religious worldview (De Cruz & De Smedt,2010)

If you believe God doesn't exist, you're more likely to try find something wrong with it or try believe its unconvincing rather than just totally drop everything and accept it. The flip-side seems true for believers. This might be one of the reasons arguments about religions go nowhere, even though we've had a strong body of philosophy on it for hundreds and hundreds of years. Even though we pretend to be rational and argumentative about it, maybe there's a lot more psychology than we think, for both sides. Interesting thought, hey?

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When someone argues from a position,they must use two things,reason and logic. Logic is deduction based reasoning,every dog is an animal,dog exists,animals exist.

The three premises

1- Every dog is an animal

2- Dog exists

3-Animals exists

Next,these three premises are argued using reason,and this is where difference opinions start arising up,because a person's reasoning may be bias from their disposition.

Some men are skilled at leaving their bias aside,some men aren't. When one leaves aside his bias and argues from a position that is clear,his heart sincerely searching for truth and not following a position because it better suits his life or career,then he will be led to Islam.

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Besides your little advert for Islam(which i disagree with), do you have much to say with the actual study?

Putting aside what you say about Islam, these arguments in the study aren't arguments for a religion, they're arguments for a God which doesn't (in most of these arguments), need to resemble anything like your God for the arguments to be valid.

Diderot, upon hearing Pascals wager for proving the Christian God said "an Imam could reason the same way"

These are just arguments for *a* God, they could lead someone to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahai, Sikhism, etc.

because a person's reasoning may be bias from their disposition.

I think everyone would have a bias one way or another. You obviously hold favorable views to God existing, so, that bias permeates through your reasoning and world view, just as mine for the lack of existence of a God does.

When one leaves aside his bias and argues from a position that is clear,his heart sincerely searching for truth and not following a position because it better suits his life or career,then he will be led to Islam.

I disagree with this. It seems like you're trying to imply everyone who isn't a muslim hasn't sincerely considered the arguments or worse still, don't want to or aren't bothering to because they want to keep drinking wine or something like that.

You say this about people who aren't muslims or believers but i could just as equally apply this charge in reverse.

It also seems to be you're suggesting everyone who didn't go down the path and believe what you did simply must be wrong, there must be a problem with them, there must be a problem with their logic, rather than the beliefs and how the arguments for those.

There are many people vastly more intelligent, logical, honest and truthful than ourselves, it just stands to reason. Most (if we just apply global statistics) of these people did not end up as muslims, surely, it suggests its not as clear cut as you suggest, its not self-evident to all people like you suggest.

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could you explain the graphs because i dont get it, why is there a bar for atheists in arguments for god graph?

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could you explain the graphs because i dont get it, why is there a bar for atheists in arguments for god graph?

Everyone was asked to evaluate arguments from both sides (that's what makes the study interesting, no one cares what you think about your own side!).

So, believers in God were asked to evaluate arguments *for* and *against* God.

Likewise, Atheists, were asked to evaluate arguments *for* and *against* God.

The number represents the mean (aka "average") score people assigned to that.

So, if we look at the Moral Argument in favour of God, we have three numbers:

3.4 is the average score believers assigned to it.

1.41 is the average score atheists assigned to it.

1.93 is the average score agnostics assigned to it.

Arguments were asked to be rated on a five point scale, with one being "very weak" and fivebeing "very strong".

Of course since the scale went 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 the numbers we get aren't actually real.

You didn't have the choice to answer 1.41 for example, it was either 1 or 2.

So, its just a result of their averaging procedure. If its around the middle x.4 - x.6 we can probably say they were equally close to each number. If it was like 1.1 or 1.9 though, its obvious which side it was closer to.

--------

Just as a little side note, the study found theists evaluate theistic arguments significantly higher than atheists (no brainer really). What was interesting is that self-identified agnostics seem to occupy a roughly middle position between the two. I mean its something we might expect but now we have some proof for it.

The reverse is true for atheistic arguments of course, atheists are more positive in evaluating them and theists are more negative.

Here's a graph of the mean total scores for each category (Eg. They added up the all the scores the atheists gave to theistic arguments, vice versa, etc):

4082082b0061.jpg

My area is in science but i assume the graphs are the same, the black band is the dead mean (eg. 1+4+5+6 = 16 , 16/4 = 4, thus mean is 4).

The yellow boxes are most likely where the majority of people fell within.

The black error bars represent just how high and low it actually went.

Edited by Pascal

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What I personally find interesting about the bar graphs, is how the theists and atheists rate the strongest argument for/against god. It seems that people mostly agree that Cosmological argument and argument from evil are the strongest and no surprise here because from my observation, most people tends to fall back to these after exhausting everything else.

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Well these are just arguments, Anyone could be right or wrong....... But I think for confirmation, one should really long for his death......... Definitely at time of death one really sees and hear truth(again my belief).........

Sometimes I wonder if there was no God, then how death came into existence, Why do human beings ever have to die or get old...........

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Yeah, that is very interesting.

I also wonder why that is exactly (which could warrant a study within itself).

I think it could be because they both deal with fundamental and basic truths of human existence: Why are we here and where did it all come from? and Why do bad things happen, why do people suffer?

These things go to the very root of humanity and how we all look at the world.

The cosmological argument in particular isn't something you can outright disprove either.

In the case of the cosmological argument by Aquinas:

  1. There exists things that are caused (created) by other things.

  2. Nothing can be the cause of itself (nothing can create itself.)

  3. There cannot be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist.

  4. Therefore, there must be an uncaused first cause called God.

1-3 are relatively uncontroversial to almost all people, so, we cant attack the premise like usual. Of course, the dodgy step is between saying there is a first cause and that first cause must be God (of course, it very well could be, this might be why its hard to disprove)

Same with the problem of evil, the idea that some people suffer, some of the time, is relatively uncontroversial as well.

What i also found interesting and this wasn't mentioned in the study, was the difference between the evaluations, how much people disagreed about how good an argument was.

I quickly whipped it up in excel:

Differences in rating/agreement over arguments, between both groups

excelrelig.png

The largest disagreement over ratings was over the Moral argument, followed by the argument from miracles. So, one side found it much more or less convincing or strong than the other.

In the case of miracles, we can see why atheists might disagree with this, most of the miracles, their proof is by the bible or the quran or whatever but they do not believe in those books. Seems automatic. They might not even believe its possible for God to work miracles.

The most agreement (aka smallest disagreement was found in the Problem of Evil, followed by an almost double as large gap, by the Argument from Divine Hiddeness.

This one is a little bit more confusing, in particular, they relate to how believers would believers would feel to cause this gap. Obviously, i'm not a believer, so, i dont know why they would feel that way.

I can hazard a guess. Most believers (just like most people) are rather compassionate and caring individuals, they can be rather charitable individuals as well.

I know growing up going to catholic schools all my life, a good chunk of the time allocated to religious teaching was actually more spent discussing charity, giving, why we should do it, ethics and things like that, rather than pure theological instruction. Our school raised quite a bit of money for a school in an impoverished country and every classroom had a donation box. Indeed, especially amongst more socialist type clergy, there seems to be an enormous emphasis on caring, its certainly one of the main roots of catholicism anyway. We give to charity to try fix a damaged world.

I guess it leads the question why are things bad or why is the world damaged? I had a religious friend, her parents were very steadfast in their faith, almost nothing got them but every once and awhile, her mother would ask in prayer, why do people suffer?

I guess its almost mystifying and like a splash of cold water to most people the first time they think about it. I can't speak for islam but for a lot of Christians, being a former one myself, i can understand why. You're told so much God is love and he loves you and yet you look around and see all this. Even if you're not religious, injustice and inequality really seems to perplex a lot of people.

I guess hiddennes also ties into that, why does God seem to do nothing? Why are miracles so abundant, seems like an almost daily occurance in some places in the bible, back then but now the supply of those types of miracles seems to have dried up? If God wanted us to believe or be good, why doesn't he come down and do it? That sort of thing i guess. That also might be the reason why people disagree over the argument for miracles, miracles constitute anything BUT hiddeness. It would be interesting if we had the raw polling available to run some stats on this kind of thing but it wasn't supplied.

For those that are feeling lazy, i put the above into a bar graph:

difratreliggrap.png

Edited by Pascal

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Besides your little advert for Islam(which i disagree with), do you have much to say with the actual study?

The actual study is irrelevant to whether these arguments are valid or not,so they have no affect on me or Islam.

Putting aside what you say about Islam, these arguments in the study aren't arguments for a religion, they're arguments for a God which doesn't (in most of these arguments), need to resemble anything like your God for the arguments to be valid.

Diderot, upon hearing Pascals wager for proving the Christian God said "an Imam could reason the same way"

These are just arguments for *a* God, they could lead someone to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Bahai, Sikhism, etc.

Common atheist tactic is to assume that rational/logical argumentation does not lead to the Islamic god,nothing could be further from the truth. Rational thinking leads one to remove attributes of the trinity,partners with god,his oneness,his immaterialness,etc.

Also you are forgetting that Islam itself has proofs.

If the Qur'an is proven to be not from a human,and nature proves the existence of god,then the Islamic god is proven quite reasonably.

I think everyone would have a bias one way or another. You obviously hold favorable views to God existing, so, that bias permeates through your reasoning and world view, just as mine for the lack of existence of a God does.

The reason for your bias is your own,but it is obvious you are not being rational.

You cannot account for life,its origin,the great structure and formation of this universe. You think that chance assembled you and the very universe you live in,my friend that is quite laughable.

I also have a thread debating evolution with medical journals,if you think you can contribute and want to debate the subject of evolution feel free to.

I disagree with this. It seems like you're trying to imply everyone who isn't a muslim hasn't sincerely considered the arguments or worse still, don't want to or aren't bothering to because they want to keep drinking wine or something like that.

People who aren't Muslims are not so for rational purposes or because their demographics/culture and they have not been presented Islam or have been lied to,if you don't think so then debate me on the topic.

You say this about people who aren't muslims or believers but i could just as equally apply this charge in reverse.

You can apply the charge but I doubt you can prove it. That is the difference between my position and yours.

It also seems to be you're suggesting everyone who didn't go down the path and believe what you did simply must be wrong, there must be a problem with them, there must be a problem with their logic, rather than the beliefs and how the arguments for those.

Could you please quote the words where I said everyone who isn't a Muslim has a problem with their logic?

Obviously a person may not be muslim due to their demographics,but they are excused for this as they have nothing to do with using logic/reason.

It is funny how you charge me with this when you yourself believe that atheism/agnosticism is the true position.

So I pose the question to you,why aren't people following your position?

I pose the question to you,why are people rejecting your position?

There are many people vastly more intelligent, logical, honest and truthful than ourselves, it just stands to reason. Most (if we just apply global statistics) of these people did not end up as muslims, surely, it suggests its not as clear cut as you suggest, its not self-evident to all people like you suggest.

A person not being a Muslim due to demographics is completely irrelevant to their ability to reason or use logic.

A person who is ignorant about Islam is not judged ,everyone is judged based upon their intent and capabilities.

Edited by Ibn-Ahmed Aliyy Herz

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(bismillah)

It's an interesting article you posted. However, It doesn't really have anything to do with the actual strength of the arguments. It's just based on people's own exposure and experience. For instance, most of these philosophers have probably looked at the "problem of evil" from a simply theological approach, hence even theists see it as the strongest argument against the existence of God. If they would view it from a philosophical perspective, they would see that the notion of evil / injustice doesn't apply to God.

Justice, essentially, entails observing the rights of others and injustice is the transgression of those rights. For example, person A has rights with respect to his / her life, freedom, and property as does person B. Each of them attained these rights independent of one another. If person A were to infringe on the rights of person B (or vice versa), that would be considered injustice. However, the relationship between God and His creation is different. Whatever the creation owns is bestowed upon him / her from the Creator. A person's privileges and properties fall within the vertical hierarchy of the Creator's precedence and ownership. There is none who can claim to have a right of ownership or privilege above God. Their entire existence is derived from His will. God has right of disposal over all things.

So, evil and injustice can never be attributed to God because there exists no concrete referent (no one has any right over anything relative to Him). God can do whatever He wills and it cannot be considered evil / injustice. The concepts of evil and injustice are only applicable to contingent beings like ourselves. I can be evil and unjust but not God.

(wasalam)

Edited by Al-Hassan

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(bismillah)

It's an interesting article you posted. However, It doesn't really have anything to do with the actual strength of the arguments. It's just based on people's own exposure and experience. For instance, most of these philosophers have probably looked at the "problem of evil" from a simply theological approach, hence even theists see it as the strongest argument against the existence of God. If they would view it from a philosophical perspective, they would see that the notion of evil / injustice doesn't apply to God.

Justice, essentially, entails observing the rights of others and injustice is the transgression of those rights. For example, person A has rights with respect to his / her life, freedom, and property as does person B. Each of them attained these rights independent of one another. If person A were to infringe on the rights of person B (or vice versa), that would be considered injustice. However, the relationship between God and His creation is different. Whatever the creation owns is bestowed upon him / her from the Creator. A person's privileges and properties fall within the vertical hierarchy of the Creator's precedence and ownership. There is none who can claim to have a right of ownership or privilege above God. Their entire existence is derived from His will. God has right of disposal over all things.

So, evil and injustice can never be attributed to God because there exists no concrete referent (no one has any right over anything relative to Him). God can do whatever He wills and it cannot be considered evil / injustice. The concepts of evil and injustice are only applicable to contingent beings like ourselves. I can be evil and unjust but not God.

(wasalam)

So God can torture a baby for eternity just for fun or the heck of it, and it would not be evil?

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(bismillah)

It has nothing to do with whether or not God can torture a child without reason. I'm not saying that's evil, but God does not carry out evil actions. I'm not saying that God is All-Good, thus he would never do that (trying to exonerate HIm). That doesn't matter. The point is that since none of us have any rights over Him, there is no way for Him to be evil / unjust. Everything is from Him, so He has right over all creation. He can do whatever He wants to us (even if our sentimental side doesn't want to accept it).

(wasalam)

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Ash'aris say every thing God does is just and fair and so they believe that if, for example, God tortures an innocent being, it is just and maybe we don't know the reason or ... (I am not sure if they really believe it or not). Mutazeleh says if God tortures an innocent being, it is not just. It is cruel but God doesn't do it.

I think that Mutazeleh is right. How we can understand that Islam is a true religion? Because we see justice in it. If it was the religion of injustice, then people would not follow it. Therefore, I disagree with this sentence:

"God can do whatever He wills and it cannot be considered evil / injustice".

God can do whatever he wishes (because he has ability to do whatever he wants) and so he can commit injustice (because he has power), BUT he NEVER does it.

I hope I am not wrong.

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(bismillah)

^ Thanks for the post. Perhaps I wasn't clear about my statements.

Yes, you are correct that God would never do injustice. The Qur'an is a clear proof of this.

"Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining His creation with justice; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise." (3:18)

"Then how will it be when We shall gather them together on a day about which there is no doubt, and every soul shall be fully paid what it has earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly?" (3:25)

"These are the communications of Allah which We recite to you with truth, and Allah does not desire any injustice to the creatures." (3:108)

"To remind, and We are never unjust." (26:209)

However, I avoided the theological arguments for the justice of God because it presupposes the validity of the Qur'an (something not everyone accepts). Rather I was attempting to show that the very concept of justice / injustice cannot apply to God from a philosophical perspective. We have no right over God to claim injustice. Technically, He can do whatever He pleases. We didn't have any rights over Him before we were created and neither do we now.

We may hate the idea of God torturing someone, but this has nothing to do with the actual "problem of evil." (Again, God would never do this but that's beside the point) This is simply an appeal to our sentiments. For instance, MysticNight asked about God torturing a baby for fun. He could have very well asked about any innocent person, regardless of age or gender. However, an infant seems far more innocent to us and so the thought of God doing such a thing makes Him appear more "evil."

My point was that no one has an rights relative to God to claim injustice. The whole concept cannot apply Him. It can only apply to us.

(wasalam)

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Ash'aris say every thing God does is just and fair and so they believe that if, for example, God tortures an innocent being, it is just and maybe we don't know the reason or ... (I am not sure if they really believe it or not). Mutazeleh says if God tortures an innocent being, it is not just. It is cruel but God doesn't do it.

I think that Mutazeleh is right. How we can understand that Islam is a true religion? Because we see justice in it. If it was the religion of injustice, then people would not follow it. Therefore, I disagree with this sentence:

"God can do whatever He wills and it cannot be considered evil / injustice".

God can do whatever he wishes (because he has ability to do whatever he wants) and so he can commit injustice (because he has power), BUT he NEVER does it.

I hope I am not wrong.

then that must make satan a very courageous creation to challenge god...

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So God can torture a baby for eternity just for fun or the heck of it, and it would not be evil?

That's a silly example because you know it's not true. Babies and children are of those who are excluded from being punished. At least use an example that is valid.

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That's a silly example because you know it's not true. Babies and children are of those who are excluded from being punished. At least use an example that is valid.

How you been? Hows raising a baby going for you? Are you happy?

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All: Currently very busy right now but i will read all your comments. I'd really appreciate it if you try keep the discussion at least tangentially related to the survey or why people chose the results they did (funny that in a thread about it!).

Hassan: I've briefly read your thoughts and objections to the problem of evil, i don't believe they are a decisive argument against it. I don't have time to write up a full post full of reasoning why or double read everything in its totality. We've discussed the PoE many times here, if you are indeed interested in it, feel free to make a thread with your solution (it was a very good attempt though and one of the better attempted defenses ive seen in academia too) and i'm sure the others will comment. If you make such a thread, when i get the time, i will tell you why i do not think your response is decisive.

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The reason I feel the argument of evil is so strong, it's not that it's intellectually a valid argument (it's an argument from ignorance) but that we are all emotionally convinced.

We all don't want suffering at least major suffering and we also feel we should not want such suffering. We are naturally like that. This argument hits to the home of our empathetic feelings.

When we see someone tortured, we wish it did not happen. When we see a child striving, we wish that child didn't go through that. When a girl or women is raped, we wish it didn't happen.

When naturally disasters hit, we wish it didn't happen.

We are emotionally against suffering. So this argument hits to our natural feelings.

However, it is at the end an argument from ignorance.

Despite our feelings, for all we know, there is higher purpose that is benevolent in nature, behind all this. And whether we can articulate one or not, is another matter.

Remember the argument from design from biology was perhaps the strongest argument in appearance for a Creator. It seem the most strongest. However once a person came up with evolution, this argument from ignorance, was no longer strong. Intuitively we see design, so there must be a designer. Of course, no educated person thinks this is obvious anymore, even if it is true, it's not an obvious fact anymore because of the theory of evolution.

The cosmological argument is also "we cannot think of anything that would start the universe except a sentient super powerful being" therefore "God".

They are strong for similar reasons. But the argument of evil is even stronger because it hits to our emotions.

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All: Currently very busy right now but i will read all your comments. I'd really appreciate it if you try keep the discussion at least tangentially related to the survey or why people chose the results they did (funny that in a thread about it!).

Hassan: I've briefly read your thoughts and objections to the problem of evil, i don't believe they are a decisive argument against it. I don't have time to write up a full post full of reasoning why or double read everything in its totality. We've discussed the PoE many times here, if you are indeed interested in it, feel free to make a thread with your solution (it was a very good attempt though and one of the better attempted defenses ive seen in academia too) and i'm sure the others will comment. If you make such a thread, when i get the time, i will tell you why i do not think your response is decisive.

(bismillah)

I will open another thread. I have already started on it, but I want to be thorough in my analysis. I have read the posts on your philosophy blog and will be sure to reply to your points in the thread. Insha'Allah, I will try and post it in the next couple of days.

(wasalam)

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Objectively, you are suppose to say nothing. You aren't suppose to talk to me.

Then why did you start talking to me ?

And why are you playing this game with me asking me questions where 1. you very well know I won't answer ; 2. Already know the answers to ; and 3. Know I'm not supossed to reply in the first place.

PS. I will spell supose however I want.

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Courage is not always a positive characteristic. Many cruel people who have carried out terrible massacres were courageous.

Some might argue that humans are kind creatures, that they were born perfect; this amongst other reasons given for how clean of sin our human nature is. (Im personally angry at Adam for clumsily sending himself to earth,

I contest this thinking. History and other personal and extra personal evidence indicate that humans are also very evil beings. Children can kill. Older people can kill. Women and of course men too can kill. They are also highly compassionate to other beings.

Satan was commanded to prostrate himself and he rejected that command whether he was right or wrong and whether God was right or wrong. He believed in his cause and that is to prove humans are filth (in so doing, proving himself too to be filth as he considered himself more honorable). In the inevitable event that he go to hell, he wants to bring us with him.

Satan is courageous, but he is not good, you are right.

The arguments that were present by the other posters basically sum up in this way: God does whatever he wishes, because he can never be wrong/unjust, but always right and just even if unjust or seemingly unjust, and that we have no right to claim injustice over him. So if I die and complain to him, even if my complaints are reasonable, Ill still go to hell because my complaints were unjust and unreasonable. Quite convenient if you ask me.

I am mostly angry at God, Adam for clumsily sending himself to earth, and my parents for things that happened to me, but who the hell am I too complain and seek answers for my problems ( i hope God doesn't increase them or give me worse!!)? I am confined to thinking of others worse off...but im tired of that thinking.

I cant enjoy my life because of these things (problems) that i cant get over and Im only kidding myself to attempt to "accept them" and "move on" because there are others "worse off" and thats the "right thing to do".

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(bismillah)

It's an interesting article you posted. However, It doesn't really have anything to do with the actual strength of the arguments. It's just based on people's own exposure and experience. For instance, most of these philosophers have probably looked at the "problem of evil" from a simply theological approach, hence even theists see it as the strongest argument against the existence of God. If they would view it from a philosophical perspective, they would see that the notion of evil / injustice doesn't apply to God.

Justice, essentially, entails observing the rights of others and injustice is the transgression of those rights. For example, person A has rights with respect to his / her life, freedom, and property as does person B. Each of them attained these rights independent of one another. If person A were to infringe on the rights of person B (or vice versa), that would be considered injustice. However, the relationship between God and His creation is different. Whatever the creation owns is bestowed upon him / her from the Creator. A person's privileges and properties fall within the vertical hierarchy of the Creator's precedence and ownership. There is none who can claim to have a right of ownership or privilege above God. Their entire existence is derived from His will. God has right of disposal over all things.

So, evil and injustice can never be attributed to God because there exists no concrete referent (no one has any right over anything relative to Him). God can do whatever He wills and it cannot be considered evil / injustice. The concepts of evil and injustice are only applicable to contingent beings like ourselves. I can be evil and unjust but not God.

(wasalam)

This reminds me of a certain argument I had, if you are aware of the DC Comics vs MARVEL debate of the characters of Hulk and Superman.

Fans of DC Comics claim that the Incredible Hulk was created to simply be unbeatable having no weaknesses There is no character from either comic company that can take on Hulk in any way.

As for the Person A Person B rights infringement, it goes like this: one human violates another human, say he burns his home or kills his family. That is not God's doing.

But if a person say has a physical deformity and struggles in life (good people and bad people avoid him/her), that person starts to question his status in life with the question of 'why me'?

Another example ( lol i know ithnaasharis will see this as a pathetic argument but for me it matters A LOT) would be the mating game of humans. I'm a short guy and pretty much useless in life or to any person (im relatively stupid--why god why!!). Some girls say that I am cute (i question that LOL) but those beautiful girls will never date a short guy because of biological/evolutionary/societal be it eastern or western preference and I have experience from Shia girls that proves that. i ask God why that such an insignificant trait makes it impossible for me to get the 'girl of my dreams' (or maybe the girl of dreams is fat and i rightly say EWW). Why do I have an unusually shaped head? Why am I stupid?

If i cant claim injustice against God then I should at least have right to claim it against my parents who bestowed upon me ridiculous genes, but even that I am not allowed. I have a gene of unhappiness and anger, that I see in my family members and extended family. Why?!?

Ive also noticed that I have great disbelief since I was quite young. I think that means Im going to hell, but am I destined for aplace there? There argument will be no but I say yes. Why? Because God is the boss and if he destined you to go there its because hes just.

And who says that IF i get to make it to heaven, it is what ive always longed for? my mother says heaven is greater than anything you can ever imagine. really, or will God just make me think that because he could?

In any case, by that logic, God is a very Evil Good Evil Good Sentimentally Unjust Just God that will Always be Good not Matter WHAT to some people but not to all because hes the boss.

Deal with it!

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The arguments that were present by the other posters basically sum up in this way: God does whatever he wishes, because he can never be wrong/unjust, but always right and just even if unjust or seemingly unjust, and that we have no right to claim injustice over him. So if I die and complain to him, even if my complaints are reasonable, Ill still go to hell because my complaints were unjust and unreasonable. Quite convenient if you ask me.

I believe that if your complaints are reasonable, He will accept them. If He doesnt accept reasonable complaints, can we say that He is just? At the same time, I believe that his judgement is so accurate that we can not make any reasonable complaint against it. We may feel that our complaints are quite reasonable (We may feel so because of misunderstanding or our lack of knowledge) but I believe that on the Day of Judgement, God will clear up any kind of misunderstanding and will show us why our complaints are not reasonable.

By the way, I don't think that Satan will inevitably go to hell. He still has opportunity to repent.

Edited by shadow_of_light

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I believe that if your complaints are reasonable, He will accept them. If He doesnt accept reasonable complaints, can we say that He is just? At the same time, I believe that his judgement is so accurate that we can not make any reasonable complaint against it. We may feel that our complaints are quite reasonable (We may feel so because of misunderstanding or our lack of knowledge) but I believe that on the Day of Judgement, God will clear up any kind of misunderstanding and will show us why our complaints are not reasonable.

By the way, I don't think that Satan will inevitably go to hell. He still has opportunity to repent.

I take issue with that reasoning because unlike God I am not all knowing. He doesn't have misunderstandings but I do. I am so misunderstood that I am totally oblivious to that fact.People tell me that my complaints are unreasonable, but I cannot swallow that pill because they don't know or care about what i am going through.

What is a reasonable complaint? I have constantly read duas from the books of ahlul bayt that say to ask for "legitimate wishes"; what is a legitimate wish or complaint?

How do I know if my complaints in the end of the day are not reasonable, especially given that I FEEL THE TORMENT so much so that it effects my health in multiple ways. This reasoning basically assumes that I in the end will not be a benefactor of his mercy and justice because I have erred in thinking that my complaints were reasonable.

This just reminds me of the court system of the Ba'ath party: you're allowed right to a trial but your defense is unreasonable in the beginning because there can never be a defense against the ba'ath party, therefore the death penalty.

It is said that God's judgment is so accurate that we cannot make any reasonable complaint against it. So why complain? Why should I even bother being sad despite the load of evil and negatives that i encounter in my life. If i have a disease or a very troubled life (which personally I have), why should I feel bad about that while others are happy to some degree more or less without them? Say I had parents that mis-developed me genetically to perform horribly in this life, suffering constant rejection from people; does this mean I am misunderstanding my complaints? I am seen as worthless by many and their judgement is true. I am not a suitable son, brother, uncle, friend, and even husband because of these things I have NO CONTROL over or no more control over ANY LONGER.

To be more straightforward, the reasoning you and al-hassan give are very reasonable and flawless to the extent of my understanding but I HATE IT because it NEGLECTS ME. If God really exists there is no question that he is Infallible, All-Knowing and etcetera. He doesn't commit injustice even he does because what we complain of as injustice really isnt because we have not received his final verdict on our complaints. His rule in this universe totally violates me. It makes me hate not only myself but others too, both worse off and better off. Most of all it makes me hate God. Yes, I will continue to pray, give alms and 'be nice' but I will have a black and angry heart. How will i even care about imam hussein (as) death? I cant. Im too busy wallowing in my own blank and pitiful life.

But in the end it doesn't matter, I am the unreasonable one. I must go to hell for suffering in this life, to burn for my misguidance with satan, my friend and enemy!!

I belong to him and to him I return!! whether i am happy or miserable or both in life and death!!. I will suffer an agonizing death or a boring heaven!!!! its a judgment that i am forced to swallow!!!

='( LOL ='(

I believe that if your complaints are reasonable, He will accept them. If He doesnt accept reasonable complaints, can we say that He is just? At the same time, I believe that his judgement is so accurate that we can not make any reasonable complaint against it. We may feel that our complaints are quite reasonable (We may feel so because of misunderstanding or our lack of knowledge) but I believe that on the Day of Judgement, God will clear up any kind of misunderstanding and will show us why our complaints are not reasonable.

By the way, I don't think that Satan will inevitably go to hell. He still has opportunity to repent.

So after the accursed satan caused so much havoc and evil in heaven and hell that he has a chance of repenting or going to heaven? Whats the difference between repentance and going to paradise by the way?

And all those that erred in his wake and died committing injustice on large and small scales? I take it they suffer eternal damnation?

My mother says Islam is easy to practice, I say NO WAY, not in the least!!! =D

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I take issue with that reasoning because unlike God I am not all knowing. He doesn't have misunderstandings but I do. I am so misunderstood that I am totally oblivious to that fact.People tell me that my complaints are unreasonable, but I cannot swallow that pill because they don't know or care about what i am going through.

What is a reasonable complaint? I have constantly read duas from the books of ahlul bayt that say to ask for "legitimate wishes"; what is a legitimate wish or complaint?

How do I know if my complaints in the end of the day are not reasonable, especially given that I FEEL THE TORMENT so much so that it effects my health in multiple ways. This reasoning basically assumes that I in the end will not be a benefactor of his mercy and justice because I have erred in thinking that my complaints were reasonable.

This just reminds me of the court system of the Ba'ath party: you're allowed right to a trial but your defense is unreasonable in the beginning because there can never be a defense against the ba'ath party, therefore the death penalty.

It is said that God's judgment is so accurate that we cannot make any reasonable complaint against it. So why complain? Why should I even bother being sad despite the load of evil and negatives that i encounter in my life. If i have a disease or a very troubled life (which personally I have), why should I feel bad about that while others are happy to some degree more or less without them? Say I had parents that mis-developed me genetically to perform horribly in this life, suffering constant rejection from people; does this mean I am misunderstanding my complaints? I am seen as worthless by many and their judgement is true. I am not a suitable son, brother, uncle, friend, and even husband because of these things I have NO CONTROL over or no more control over ANY LONGER.

To be more straightforward, the reasoning you and al-hassan give are very reasonable and flawless to the extent of my understanding but I HATE IT because it NEGLECTS ME. If God really exists there is no question that he is Infallible, All-Knowing and etcetera. He doesn't commit injustice even he does because what we complain of as injustice really isnt because we have not received his final verdict on our complaints. His rule in this universe totally violates me. It makes me hate not only myself but others too, both worse off and better off. Most of all it makes me hate God. Yes, I will continue to pray, give alms and 'be nice' but I will have a black and angry heart. How will i even care about imam hussein (as) death? I cant. Im too busy wallowing in my own blank and pitiful life.

But in the end it doesn't matter, I am the unreasonable one. I must go to hell for suffering in this life, to burn for my misguidance with satan, my friend and enemy!!

I belong to him and to him I return!! whether i am happy or miserable or both in life and death!!. I will suffer an agonizing death or a boring heaven!!!! its a judgment that i am forced to swallow!!!

='( LOL ='(

So after the accursed satan caused so much havoc and evil in heaven and hell that he has a chance of repenting or going to heaven? Whats the difference between repentance and going to paradise by the way?

And all those that erred in his wake and died committing injustice on large and small scales? I take it they suffer eternal damnation?

My mother says Islam is easy to practice, I say NO WAY, not in the least!!! =D

(bismillah)

Brother, I'm not sure what troubles or difficulties you are facing, so I can't say I empathize with you. However, it seems to me that most of these issues are physchological. Of course, they are legitimate. We all go through periods of intense stress and physchological burden. There can be a number of different reasons for this outlook. For instance, we may have just lost a large sum of money or underperformed on an important exam. These things cause us certain levels of stress and resentment. We may feel that Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) is neglecting us, even though we sincerely pray for help.

However, all of these are tests for us to improve ourselves. Many of these things are hidden potentials, only when we can realize them as such. For example, I might complain that I don't have attractive features. I see others more handsome, taller, and talented than myself. This can cause certain traits within us to come out like envy and greed. We wish that we had that wonderful voice or that attractive look. But would this actually make our life better? Think about the one who possesses these desired qualites. Are they any better off? Most of us would probably develop a sense of pride by just having these talents and traits. As much as you may think about how much greener the grass is on the other side, it really isn't. Think about how much you have to lose. You become so attached to these blessings from Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) and think somehow you're better than the next person.

I'm not saying that it's better to be without these talents and features. What I'm saying is that it depends on your outlook. If we have reliance on Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì), and realize how this world is transient we would not let such things bring us down. The only things that matter at the end of the day are your deeds and the purity of your soul.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) had it all. He had no imperfections. No flaws in character nor in appearance. He was the greatest human being Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) created. But just look at how many people rejected him. He faced immense oppression his whole life. He was perfect, yet many people of his time didn't like him. Even still, he never stopped spreading his message. He continued to exhibit the best morals, even when people deserved less. Sometimes he would be so grieved, that he would go to Sayyida Khadija (as) to console him. Its because of his ability to overcome such trials and tribulations that so many people today look towards him as a source of guidance and inspiration.

Anyways, I urge you to never despair from the mercy of Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì). It would by far be the worst decision to make. No matter how much bad you think you have done, the mercy of Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) is greater. None of us know where we will end up. If it wasn't for the mercy of Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì), none of us would make it to heaven. We wouldn't deserve it. How many times do we do things for the sake of others instead of Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì)? Yet, even still Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) invites us to repent.

I don't want to get into the philosophy of repentance as that will just make the post longer. There are plenty of good resources online. Here is one of several out there.

Many of the questions and issues you have are similar to what I experienced. But the more I looked (and continue to do so) the more profound the answers become. You just have to have patience and motivation to find the answer to all your questions. The answers are like hidden treasures that you have to look for to find. The more you learn, the stronger the thirst becomes. Not all answers are explicit enough for you to find in a book. Some answers require wisdom and insight and that comes after gaining knowldege and then applying it. Absolute submission to Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) is the goal of this life. When we come to this realization, we will achieve perfection and everlasting happiness.

"People, We have created you all male and female and have made you nations and tribes so that you would recognize each other. The most honorable among you in the sight of God is the most pious of you. God is All-knowing and All-aware." (Qur'an, 49:13)

(wasalam)

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I take issue with that reasoning because unlike God I am not all knowing. He doesn't have misunderstandings but I do. I am so misunderstood that I am totally oblivious to that fact.People tell me that my complaints are unreasonable, but I cannot swallow that pill because they don't know or care about what i am going through.

What is a reasonable complaint? I have constantly read duas from the books of ahlul bayt that say to ask for "legitimate wishes"; what is a legitimate wish or complaint?

How do I know if my complaints in the end of the day are not reasonable, especially given that I FEEL THE TORMENT so much so that it effects my health in multiple ways. This reasoning basically assumes that I in the end will not be a benefactor of his mercy and justice because I have erred in thinking that my complaints were reasonable.

This just reminds me of the court system of the Ba'ath party: you're allowed right to a trial but your defense is unreasonable in the beginning because there can never be a defense against the ba'ath party, therefore the death penalty.

It is said that God's judgment is so accurate that we cannot make any reasonable complaint against it. So why complain? Why should I even bother being sad despite the load of evil and negatives that i encounter in my life. If i have a disease or a very troubled life (which personally I have), why should I feel bad about that while others are happy to some degree more or less without them? Say I had parents that mis-developed me genetically to perform horribly in this life, suffering constant rejection from people; does this mean I am misunderstanding my complaints? I am seen as worthless by many and their judgement is true. I am not a suitable son, brother, uncle, friend, and even husband because of these things I have NO CONTROL over or no more control over ANY LONGER.

To be more straightforward, the reasoning you and al-hassan give are very reasonable and flawless to the extent of my understanding but I HATE IT because it NEGLECTS ME. If God really exists there is no question that he is Infallible, All-Knowing and etcetera. He doesn't commit injustice even he does because what we complain of as injustice really isnt because we have not received his final verdict on our complaints. His rule in this universe totally violates me. It makes me hate not only myself but others too, both worse off and better off. Most of all it makes me hate God. Yes, I will continue to pray, give alms and 'be nice' but I will have a black and angry heart. How will i even care about imam hussein (as) death? I cant. Im too busy wallowing in my own blank and pitiful life.

But in the end it doesn't matter, I am the unreasonable one. I must go to hell for suffering in this life, to burn for my misguidance with satan, my friend and enemy!!

I belong to him and to him I return!! whether i am happy or miserable or both in life and death!!. I will suffer an agonizing death or a boring heaven!!!! its a judgment that i am forced to swallow!!!

='( LOL ='(

So after the accursed satan caused so much havoc and evil in heaven and hell that he has a chance of repenting or going to heaven? Whats the difference between repentance and going to paradise by the way?

And all those that erred in his wake and died committing injustice on large and small scales? I take it they suffer eternal damnation?

My mother says Islam is easy to practice, I say NO WAY, not in the least!!! =D

What are your complaints? All people face different problems in their lives but most of the time, these problems are not sent by God but their causes lie in ourselves, other people or the society (I am not going to blame you for your problems because I dont know what they are; I mean that can we say God decided to create these problems in your life?).

If your parents or other people created these problems, you can complain against them (on the Day of Judgement) but why complain against God? I think that if you face unjust problems and difficulties in your life, in the afterlife God will compensate you for all of them.

As to Satan, I think even if he repents honestly and if he stops commiting sins and therefore, God decides to forgive him, he will be punished for some or all of his sins but at least he wont remain in hell for ever.

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(bismillah)

Brother, I'm not sure what troubles or difficulties you are facing, so I can't say I empathize with you. However, it seems to me that most of these issues are physchological. Of course, they are legitimate. We all go through periods of intense stress and physchological burden. There can be a number of different reasons for this outlook. For instance, we may have just lost a large sum of money or underperformed on an important exam. These things cause us certain levels of stress and resentment. We may feel that Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) is neglecting us, even though we sincerely pray for help.

However, all of these are tests for us to improve ourselves. Many of these things are hidden potentials, only when we can realize them as such. For example, I might complain that I don't have attractive features. I see others more handsome, taller, and talented than myself. This can cause certain traits within us to come out like envy and greed. We wish that we had that wonderful voice or that attractive look. But would this actually make our life better? Think about the one who possesses these desired qualites. Are they any better off? Most of us would probably develop a sense of pride by just having these talents and traits. As much as you may think about how much greener the grass is on the other side, it really isn't. Think about how much you have to lose. You become so attached to these blessings from Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) and think somehow you're better than the next person.

I'm not saying that it's better to be without these talents and features. What I'm saying is that it depends on your outlook. If we have reliance on Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì), and realize how this world is transient we would not let such things bring us down. The only things that matter at the end of the day are your deeds and the purity of your soul.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) had it all. He had no imperfections. No flaws in character nor in appearance. He was the greatest human being Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) created. But just look at how many people rejected him. He faced immense oppression his whole life. He was perfect, yet many people of his time didn't like him. Even still, he never stopped spreading his message. He continued to exhibit the best morals, even when people deserved less. Sometimes he would be so grieved, that he would go to Sayyida Khadija (as) to console him. Its because of his ability to overcome such trials and tribulations that so many people today look towards him as a source of guidance and inspiration.

Anyways, I urge you to never despair from the mercy of Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì). It would by far be the worst decision to make. No matter how much bad you think you have done, the mercy of Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) is greater. None of us know where we will end up. If it wasn't for the mercy of Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì), none of us would make it to heaven. We wouldn't deserve it. How many times do we do things for the sake of others instead of Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì)? Yet, even still Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) invites us to repent.

I don't want to get into the philosophy of repentance as that will just make the post longer. There are plenty of good resources online. Here is one of several out there.

Many of the questions and issues you have are similar to what I experienced. But the more I looked (and continue to do so) the more profound the answers become. You just have to have patience and motivation to find the answer to all your questions. The answers are like hidden treasures that you have to look for to find. The more you learn, the stronger the thirst becomes. Not all answers are explicit enough for you to find in a book. Some answers require wisdom and insight and that comes after gaining knowldege and then applying it. Absolute submission to Allah (ÓÈÍÇäå æ ÊÚÇáì) is the goal of this life. When we come to this realization, we will achieve perfection and everlasting happiness.

"People, We have created you all male and female and have made you nations and tribes so that you would recognize each other. The most honorable among you in the sight of God is the most pious of you. God is All-knowing and All-aware." (Qur'an, 49:13)

(wasalam)

Al-Hassan, you are a good man.

Too bad I don't have anyone at home that can leak a glimmer of some hope in my life. I do have problems that some here on shiachat do not seem to have or care about.

Im always thinking about God. I always have a feeling that he is there but I was tired of waiting. Im going to save your response to reflect on some more!

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