Is this Gods Plan?

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Discussion by: Tacomakid
As I take a look at the world around me I can’t help but notice all of the horrible suffering taking place on our planet. Theists claim that God has a plan for us all. Is his plan to put billions of strangers on a small rock and watch as we hate and kill one another over our differences? Obviously a God would have had to seen this coming. The world is on the verge of nuclear war. Theists claim we have free will. Really? Do we have free will to be born in a country of our choosing? Do we get to pre select our parents before we are born? Do we have a choice on dying? Whether one is born to a life of peace or war is strictly a matter of luck. Same with being born into wealth or poverty. Does God choose some people to have a great life and others not so much? Im sorry, but if God exists and is so loving he could put an end to all this madness and appear on our T.V and say look humans, quit fighting over me. I am real. The next one who kills in my name will have to answer to me. Why would he think appearing 2000 years ago is a better idea than waiting until now when we have the internet? Or why not show yourself  and save our planet from being blown to smithereens? Personally I don’t believe there is any God. If I am wrong, what good is he? Anyone else feel this way? Peace to all.

31 COMMENTS

  1. “Is his plan to put billions of strangers on a small rock and watch as we hate and kill one another over our differences?”

    If it were and god gave us free all to stop it wouldn’t we be better off that being in a situation where there is no god, this is the case (1) in which we have free will, this is a plan we have have made for ourselves or evolved into from less enlightened ancestors, and don’t do enough to change (2) in which we do not have free will and is therefore inevitable to persist until when and if we evolve out of it. That is to say, we are hopelessly screwed.

    “Do we have free will to be born in a country of our choosing? Do we get to pre select our parents before we are born? Do we have a choice on dying? Whether one is born to a life of peace or war is strictly a matter of luck. Same with being born into wealth or poverty.”

    What do any of those examples have to do with free will? These are all situations where the reality of one’s position and power to effect the outcome is trumped by circumstances or indistinguishable between chance and the fulfillment of will.

    If god exists them according to some beliefs you have been gifted with free will. If not you are subject to the Free Will Theorem (J.H. Conway & S.B. Kochen), arguments that biology precludes free will, or maybe some other pro or con argument.

    • In reply to #1 by whiteraven:

      “Is his plan to put billions of strangers on a small rock and watch as we hate and kill one another over our differences?”

      If it were and god gave us free all to stop it wouldn’t we be better off that being in a situation where there is no god, this is the case (1) in which we have free will, this is a plan we have have made for ourselves or evolved into from less enlightened ancestors, and don’t do enough to change (2) in which we do not have free will and is therefore inevitable to persist until when and if we evolve out of it. That is to say, we are hopelessly screwed.

      “Do we have free will to be born in a country of our choosing? Do we get to pre select our parents before we are born? Do we have a choice on dying? Whether one is born to a life of peace or war is strictly a matter of luck. Same with being born into wealth or poverty.”

      What do any of those examples have to do with free will? These are all situations where the reality of one’s position and power to effect the outcome is trumped by circumstances or indistinguishable between chance and the fulfillment of will. To me these are great examples. Free will in my eyes has everything to do with personal choice and not fate. Do we get to choose any of these things before we enter the world? No.

      If god exists them according to some beliefs you have been gifted with free will. If not you are subject to the Free Will Theorem (J.H. Conway & S.B. Kochen), arguments that biology precludes free will, or maybe some other pro or con argument.

  2. I think you should stop tormenting yourself over this. There is no god so there isn’t a “god’s plan”. Life is so much simpler when viewed through the lens of science, logic and reason, which provide far more elegant and convincing explanations of everything, good, bad or indifferent, than religion has ever done. So I feel entirely relaxed about the way things are and I don’t expect miracles … literally.

    Mind you, my mother-in-law did pass the comment “god must have a plan for you” shortly after I suffered a life changing event. Being devout I am sure she meant well, but the sanctimonious and unconsidered manner in which it was made catalysed my atheism from something I was not open about to something far more militant and intolerant of religious stupidity (which is all of it).

    Fortunately my childrens’ generation is far more naturally sceptical and openly atheist. I’ve no doubt that, for their generation, religious adherence will take its proper place – that of a minority crank pursuit.

    • I was heading down this same “tormented” road but managed to turn myself around with a few simple observations:

      First, I impact many. Why not impact them positively?

      Second, I have no certainty beyond this life. I am surely alive, now. I need to maximize because there is nothing else.

      Third, a quick, silly mantra:
      “bad moments, but not bad minutes. Bad minutes, but not bad hours. Bad hours, but not bad days…”

      These tiny little adjustments have made my quality of life rise!!!

      In reply to #2 by Matrix7:

      I think you should stop tormenting yourself over this. There is no god so there isn’t a “god’s plan”. Life is so much simpler when viewed through the lens of science, logic and reason, which provide far more elegant and convincing explanations of everything, good, bad or indifferent, than religion has ever done. So I feel entirely relaxed about the way things are and I don’t expect miracles … literally.

      Mind you, my mother-in-law did pass the comment “god must have a plan for you” shortly after I suffered a life changing event. Being devout I am sure she meant well, but the sanctimonious and unconsidered manner in which it was made catalysed my atheism from something I was not open about to something far more militant and intolerant of religious stupidity (which is all of it).

      Fortunately my childrens’ generation is far more naturally sceptical and openly atheist. I’ve no doubt that, for their generation, religious adherence will take its proper place – that of a minority crank pursuit.

  3. “Theists claim that God has a plan for us all.”

    Theists claim (only) their particular god exists and fancies us rotten, for some super unnatural reason. Which is naturally “Beyond human understanding”. Theists claim only their special god or gods exist and the other super unnatural stuff called “gods”, are nothing more than the construct of the human imagination. Theists claim other theists are culturally conditioned clowns. Or lost.

    Theists just “claim” stuff, a lot.

  4. the only god that would make sense is a sort of jobsworth undermanager type with a bit too much authority and not enough responsibility.

    with the actual creator having left to work on a new project he’s got the idea that a god is a sort of boss but one all the sentient beings really love and worship and spent a few thousand years tinkering with systems he doesn’t really understand and is now getting very frustrated with us all because it’s not working how he imagined

    one day the actual creator will return, see what a mess “god” has made of the world and tell him “you’re just lucky i didn’t have anything important planned for this planet. imagine how much worse things would have got if i hadn’t had the forethought to leave satan here to question your authority?”

    • In reply to #5 by SaganTheCat:

      the only god that would make sense is a sort of jobsworth undermanager type with a bit too much authority and not enough responsibility.

      with the actual creator having left to work on a new project he’s got the idea that a god is a sort of boss but one all the sentient beings really love and worship and spent a few thousand years tinkering with systems he doesn’t really understand and is now getting very frustrated with us all because it’s not working how he imagined

      one day the actual creator will return, see what a mess “god” has made of the world and tell him “you’re just lucky i didn’t have anything important planned for this planet. imagine how much worse things would have got if i hadn’t had the forethought to leave satan here to question your authority?”

      A pretty good summary of the gnostic belief that the real world was created by the evil “demiurge” and the real god had nothing to do with it–but could only be contacted by rejecting the material world. Neo-platonists often came up with similar explanations for theodicy. These beliefs were not uncommon in the ancient world–even among Christians.

  5. You bring up the issue of fairness which I’ve all ways thought was interesting from a religious perspective. How some people are born into lives of comfort with parents that are the “right” religion and who never really have to make any hard choices, were as other people are born into lawless zones in Africa with parents that are the “wrong” religion , abducted as children, brainwashed and then forced into committing atrocities for which most religious doctrines say they’ll go to hell for. It seems like the road to heaven is easier for some then others and I’ve all ways wondered what religious people make of this.

    Also, I think it’s almost universally accepted now by theist that young children who die too young to comprehend religious doctrines go to heaven, which I’m all for if heaven was a real place, but again it doesn’t seem quite fair that one person’s fate guarantees them heaven and another person has to work for it.

  6. I think the OP has presented the strongest possible argument against the existence of this strange entity “God”.

    The fact that, certainly in the Abrahamic religions, this “God” is claimed to be just loving and all powerful, is constantly contradicted by the reality of the world. If the world wars, the death camps and the deaths of some 30,000 children every day from poverty are all part of God’s plan, then this is a God who is mean hearted, vicious and capricious.

    Some smart arse rabbi was asked once “where was God at Auschwitz ?”, replied “”Where were you at Auschwitz ?” A typical side stepping of the question, to evade the fact that the Jewish God did nothing to stop the slaughter of Jews during WW2.

    Naturally the best possible explanation for the non-intervention of God is that He ain’t there, and He can’t do anything ! As for God’s plan, what a joke ! Those trying to interpret “God’s Plan”, remind me of the people who are working out how to spend the lottery money before the numbers are announced !

  7. I grew up religious, I tried and tried to make things make sense or fit. I came to the unhappy conclusion when I was young that something must be wrong with me. My parents and all the adults around me “knew” there was a god. I read the Bible cover to cover twice (wow weirder than i thought), as well as another “book of god” many many times. One day it clicked for me, there is not god… Wow, I felt so relieved, and for good and bad the world and the things that happen in it made a lot more sense.
    A brother of mine had a similar path and he is also much happier.
    Take the first step or wondering if there could be no god. You’ll be happy you did. Now even considering any type of god happily seems silly to me.

  8. I just love the religiloons that ask me “Don’t you want to believe there’s a plan for you?” I tell them sure, I’d love to believe there’s a plan, I’d also love to believe I can snuggle down in bed at night with Paige Turco and Sasha Alexander. Since reality doesn’t work that way I’ll just stick with the idea that the universe doesn’t have a purpose.

  9. Third, a quick, silly mantra: “bad moments, but not bad minutes. Bad minutes, but not bad hours. Bad hours, but not bad days…”

    I like this. I say something similar but different. Each day I have the ability to choose differently (start over etc.) Each hour, each minute, each moment I can choose again (begin again.)

    I’d also love to believe I can snuggle down in bed at night with Paige Turco and Sasha Alexander.

    I am currently living in my imaginary beach house.

  10. Would it have been better for God to reveal himself now rather than 2000 years ago? I don’t know what the Internet would have to do with it, but most people on Earth today do not have Internet access. I suppose the only difference would be the slogan “Jesus Saves” would be “Jesus Saves All Tweets.”

    Looking around the Net, maybe God was wise to herald his existence 2000 years ago instead of now. He had to get a BIG head start to mitigate the influence of LOLCATS, for starters.

    • In reply to #14 by jack.blair.10:

      Would it have been better for God to reveal himself now rather than 2000 years ago?

      What’s really confusing is this deity revealing itself in tens of thousands of contradictory forms across the ages, leaving no trace of evidence. Unless you count the conviction of superstitious humans as evidence.

      Why would it do that?

  11. I don’t think the “argument from suffering” is the strongest argument against (say) the Christian God. If we could look forward to an eternity of bliss, any limited pain would be of zero significance in comparison. I’m sure that’s also the kind of “calculation” suicide bombers make.

    • In reply to #16 by logicophilosophicus:

      I don’t think the “argument from suffering” is the strongest argument against (say) the Christian God. If we could look forward to an eternity of bliss, any limited pain would be of zero significance in comparison. I’m sure that’s also the kind of “calculation” suicide bombers make.

      Except that the christian god doesn’t appear to be concerned with giving any thing but humans an “eternity of bliss” and suffering is not limited to humans. So, not a good god at all. A complete ass, actually.

      • In reply to #17 by susanlatimer:

        Except that the christian god doesn’t appear to be concerned with giving any thing but humans an “eternity of bliss” and suffering is not limited to humans. So, not a good god at all. A complete ass, actually.

        But the god of the bible conforms with this quite strongly. So I find the argument for suffering actually counts in favour of the biblical christian god, in as much as he’s a petty, murdering, sadistic, jealous, homophopic, sexist ‘ass’.

        It does count against the ‘benevolent, fatherly, god-is-love’ character worshipped by most xtians. But then, as this character is clearly completely man-made it sort of seems a redundant argument.

        • In reply to #23 by bob_e_s:

          In reply to #17 by susanlatimer:

          Except that the christian god doesn’t appear to be concerned with giving any thing but humans an “eternity of bliss” and suffering is not limited to humans. So, not a good god at all. A complete ass, actually.

          But the god of the bible conforms with this quite strongly. So I find the argument for suffering actually counts in favour of the biblical christian god, in as much as he’s a petty, murdering, sadistic, jealous, homophopic, sexist ‘ass’.

          It does count against the ‘benevolent, fatherly, god-is-love’ character worshipped by most xtians. But then, as this character is clearly completely man-made it sort of seems a redundant argument.

          Of course I agree.

          Logicophilosophicus was talking about one aspect of “the christian god”. There’s no such thing as “the christian god”, just versions that are framed to defend it.

          My point was that even if life was hell because logicophilosophicus’s chistian god designed it that way with something superfantastic waiting on the other side that would explain it all, and we bought into it, it doesn’t even begin to address that most life on this planet suffered and died for nothing before we even existed and it continues to suffer and die to this day.

          The fact that we only think human suffering is relevant is why we would even consider taking that argument seriously, unevidenced as it is.

          The OP, for all of its good intentions, buys into it. It doesn’t even begin to address most of the suffering inherent in life, which is non-human suffering. We are such a self-absorbed species that too many of us are vulnerable to taking logicophilosophicus’s argument seriously.

          It’s absurd on its face. It doesn’t even begin to address reality.

    • the plan thing is just smoke , it validates the wishers selfworth and if taken at face value , it sustains and feeds inaction and irationality in a persons life.

      Infact the plan is , to help myself.

  12. No need for the regress. You can cut it in the nub by saying that God is an unproven entity , so as such is only a construct of the mind. So why blame him? We have learned that life is in deadly competition with itself. Is it any wonder that there is such destruction and pain in our planet. You don’t need to blame this on God , it’s the nature of our world.

  13. Heaven and Hell, Elysium and Tartarus, Valhalla and Hel, these are contrivances of tribes that had no answers to the questions of why people die, what happens when they do and the nature of why we exist.

    The whole notion of the omnibenevolent, omniscient and omnipotent deity has always met with a host of self contradictory issues, but these are perhaps some of the worst: Why do the innocent suffer and why do the wicked thrive if god is omnibenevolent? Why is an afterlife of bliss better than a life of decency and a feeling of self worth? And why would an omnibenevolent god create a place of eternal torment in the first place?

    There are no good answers for any of them and ultimately any attempts at justifying them lead to dodging the direct issues the questions are designed to address by theists. It is simply easier to promise people things they cannot prove than it is to tell them the world is not as simple as the dichotomy of good and evil their faith tends to paint.

    But it is still far worse to say that than it is to appreciate the single life that we have and to make the best of it.

  14. Its a lottery. There is no God, not one like you will hear about in any regular church. I live my life, I try and be respectful of this planet and of people and animals. I endeavor to have a positive influence and I don’t screw people over for my own gain. If there is a God, and he has a problem with me because I didn’t worship him enough/confess my sins/accept jesus as my saviour/called him an asshole once or twice to make a point/had gay friends or whatever, if God really gives a shit about any of that I will tell him myself he’s a petty asshole, and I’ll take my chances with the guy downstairs. Somehow though I don’t think those would be the types of things an all knowing entity would care about, if there ever was such a thing.
    As for free will, I am sure it is somewhat of an illusion but it seems irrelevant. I make choices every day, we can acknowledge actions and thoughts which may be instinctual but not productive or ideal. We can change ourselves over time with small but deliberate actions and thoughts which eventually just happen of their own accord. I have not read much about the whole free will vs. No free will so I’m sure my opinion isn’t worth much or if any of what I just said is relevant. All I know is I can and do change myself with conscious effort, the argument against free will seems to me eerily similar in a way to the idea (prevalent in some parts of the world) that a man is not really at fault for raping a woman who goes out alone dressed indecently or the catholic idea of being ‘born in sin’.

  15. @susanlatimer
    [Not "logicophilosophicus's God" BTW - I'm an atheist.]

    The question is whether the Argument from Suffering works as a challenge to the traditional Christian world view, in which animals lack souls, and therefore are not conscious (in the human sense) of suffering – even though they show the neurological signs. To challenge that view, you have to argue either (as e.g. Buddhists) that animals have souls after all, or (as a materialist monist) that humans do not have souls. In both cases animal suffering would have the same kind (not necessarily degree) of moral status as human suffering; but the argument is THEN about the existence of souls, not, somehow independently, the existence of suffering. (And even then a Christian would ask you to define “evil… bad… wrong…” in material terms, backing you into a circular argument.) So, no, not the best argument at all.

  16. If a man suffers, another man will pity him. If ten men suffers, another man will pity them and also become wary that he doesn’t fall into the same group. If a million men suffers, another man will blame God.

    The big problem here, and it is a very big problem, is that man cannot grasp the meaning of diversity and big populations. Big populations means that suffering will multiply in number, but the amount of suffering each man has to go through is the same, will always be the same and will never change.

    As soon as millions suffer, man will blame God for it because he doesn’t understand big numbers.

    The truth is (hard to grasp), but the truth is that there is only one happy man in the world and there is also only one unhappy suffering man in the world.

    The only challenge we have with many suffering at the same time at the same place, is that the depression worsen when nobody is able to stand up for the next one, this effect can worsen the depression. But this doesn’t mean that God did it.

  17. But then again, what if the devil and God, and judgement are real? The way I understand it, hell is simply a consequence— much like blindness is a consequence for plucking one’s own eyes out.

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