Infallibility of the Faith
#62
Going to butt in, as your comments about deism vs. Christianity sparked my interest, and I wanted to reply to some things you said.

Quote:For deism, I don't understand it the same as you do.  Although I used to.  When I say deism, I don't mean God created the universe and walked away.  God is the ground of all being.  If his attention looked away from us for a moment, we would cease to exist.  I believe that wholeheartedly.  So I do believe that he is loving and merciful, and I do believe that he is concerned with us, but I don't believe he alters the flow of the universe for us . . .  If he is constantly interfering with miracles, then it's not the brilliant creation of his that its supposed to be.  It would mean he created a faulty universe in the beginning that he constantly has to tweak because of the bugs in the program he apparently wasn't omniscient enough to prevent in the beginning.

Your conception of the cosmos as it relates to God is peculiar. First, God does not "alter the flow of the universe" by any traditional account. To change something he had previously created would require God himself to change, which is impossible. Rather, one would say that the universe alters its flow around God. Christ, for instance, did not somehow change the divine essence by becoming man. He changed the essence of man. Miracles are in principle no different.

Quote:He doesn't intervene to stop evil.  He doesn't heal amputations.  He doesn't (as of yet) resurrect from the dead, or even prevent death.  Multiple studies have shown zero efficacy to supplicatory prayer. I think just observing life, for whatever reason, shows that God wants the universe to unfold as it would.
Something about the statement "Multiple studies have shown zero efficacy to supplicatory prayer" seems very disturbing in a subtle way. It is disturbing in almost exactly the same way as the third stanza of this Auden poem is disturbing. On the one hand, to do a study on the efficacy of prayer strikes me as a very cold, mechanical, and scientific analysis of something that is alive--it is the same as the  arrogance to presume that one can understand a frog better by killing and dissecting it rather than by sitting and watching it. It is fundamentally an affront to humanity to think that one can prove something significant about prayer by studies. On the other hand, to submit prayer to statistic is like submitting the existence of God to empirical evidence.

Ultimately, prayer cannot be about the fulfillment of human desire. It is rather the battleground upon which the war over human desire is fought out. If my mother is dying, and I pray to God that she be healed, there are only two options: she will either get better, or she will die. Whichever happens is the will of God. Yet in my praying that God heal her, I would be doing two significant things--first, I would be bringing Him into the matter in my mind, which is important. One ought always think about God. Second, I am, by praying to him, admitting to myself that God can do as he pleases. Yet the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike--thus, those who pray may not receive what they ask for, and those who do not pray may receive what they do not ask for. All healings and all deaths occur according to the divine will, and this is why we have supplicatory prayer in the first place.


Quote:So death is natural, it's the way things are supposed to be.  Our death is natural, it's not the punishment of a forefather's sin.  God's choice to not interfere is loving, because it guarantees absolute free will, without w hich love of him is impossible. This explains pointless suffering, why babies die, and everything that calls into question how a loving God could let that happen when he is powerful enough to stop it.  If he intervened, even once, he would destroy our free will.
On the topic of death being natural, I disagree. Death is the most unnatural and evil thing there is. Based on you name "Melkite," I assume you have been to Divine Liturgy, and I imagine you have heard the Pascal Troparion:

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death
And on those in the tombs bestowing life.

Death is the last enemy that shall be destroyed--and so long as you continue to view death as natural, you will not find a way to reconcile yourself to Christianity, for Christ "gave himself up for the life of the world." I do not mean this as an indictment, but rather as a statement of fact.

And on this topic, I know no better recommendation than Fr. Alexander Schmemann's short book O Death, Where Is Thy Sting? He's Orthodox, and presents very well the Eastern Orthodox view of death. While we're on the topic of Schmemann, I would also recommend reading For the Life of the World, which is probably the most profound book I have ever read. It sort of acts like a sequel to the other one, though I think he wrote them in the reverse order. If you go to an Orthodox church, I'm sure you can borrow them from someone, or the church library should have them.

As for divine intervention, if God's intervening destroys our free will, then God's existence destroys our free will. Divine intervention is a particular way in which the world relates to God, and as such is not in principle different from the normal mode of relation to God.

Quote:So apparently, our free will is of the utmost good, relative to us, in this universe.  This is another reason why I completely reject predestination.  The evidence of life demands absolute free will.  We cannot be judged for our sins without a will that is not absolutely free.  We cannot love God without an absolutely free will.   We cannot repent of our sins without an absolutely free will.

An absolutely free will--what does that even look like? Every attempt I have heard to separate the will from the human person and deem it free has simply resulted in bad philosophy. The whole dichotomy between free will and predestination just requires all the wrong presuppositions in order to even arise as a question. The question  "Are our wills free or predestined?" can be rephrased as "Are we free to choose, or does God choose for us?" Yet to phrase it so leads to more questions: what is it to be free to choose? Certainly I can't choose to make a square circle, or to fly, or to be a bat. The first is logically impossible, while the second is only impossible given man's essence. The third is possible, but it does not happen to be the case. I suppose what people mean when they speak of a free will is something like choosing to have or to not have ice cream or whiskey or sex. To which it seems that the only reasonable answer is, yes, you can choose to have ice cream, whiskey, sex, or any combination of the three. This is clear by the fact that people obviously do eat ice cream, drink whiskey, and have sex, all without any apparent divine intervention. Yet if someone prevents me from any of these things, I do not claim that my free will has been violated. And if subliminal advertising somehow causes me to will all three (or really just variations of the last one disguised as other things), I also do not claim that my free will has been violated.

Talking about real things, people are much more reasonable about free will. It's when they talk about Platonic hyperspace that everything get's confused. This is because, when talking about free will versus predestination, people somehow separate man's ego from his actual instantiated reality. The only way of talking about things like human will and the soul that seems reasonable is something like Aristotle's claim that the soul is the form of the body. The will cannot be like a quantum particle, for that is randomness, not freedom. The will has to be actually instantiated in a living person, which makes freedom something other than the ability for the will to act in any manner as regards its object. That just doesn't make sense, because that is not how any actual living person actually works.

Ultimately, free will and predestination are just two sides of a coin that doesn't exist.
Reply


Messages In This Thread
Infallibility of the Faith - by J Michael - 06-22-2014, 10:20 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-22-2014, 10:41 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-22-2014, 11:01 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by medievalman86 - 06-22-2014, 08:50 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by seanipie - 06-22-2014, 09:39 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 12:48 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 08:04 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by PolishTrad - 06-23-2014, 08:10 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 10:14 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 10:19 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 10:20 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 10:33 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 10:59 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 11:03 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 11:06 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 11:09 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 11:11 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Clare Brigid - 06-23-2014, 11:12 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 11:17 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 11:18 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 11:20 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 11:24 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 11:29 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 11:35 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 11:36 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 11:45 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 12:03 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by J Michael - 06-23-2014, 12:11 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 12:13 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 12:14 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 12:20 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 12:22 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Clare Brigid - 06-23-2014, 12:24 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 12:27 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 12:31 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 12:34 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 12:35 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by J Michael - 06-23-2014, 12:40 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 01:03 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by J Michael - 06-23-2014, 01:22 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 01:50 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 01:57 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 02:07 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by J Michael - 06-23-2014, 02:10 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 03:24 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 03:26 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by J Michael - 06-23-2014, 03:44 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 03:54 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Copeland - 06-23-2014, 03:56 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 04:26 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 04:31 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by J Michael - 06-23-2014, 04:40 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Qoheleth - 06-23-2014, 08:52 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Melkite - 06-23-2014, 09:46 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Beardly - 06-24-2014, 12:00 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Clare Brigid - 06-24-2014, 09:09 AM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by J Michael - 06-24-2014, 12:51 PM
Re: Infallibility of the Faith - by Beardly - 06-24-2014, 03:57 PM



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)