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  #201  
Old 05-17-2018, 08:53 PM
you with the face you with the face is offline
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Originally Posted by Skammer
I think the real reason people don't like Universalism is because they don't like the idea of people not getting punished for wrongdoing. They like mercy and forgiveness for themselves, but not others. Being on the inside is good only if there are people suffering on the outside. My cake only tastes good if you have no cake. Which, needless to say, is the very opposite of what Jesus taught.
This is the fatal flaw of all organized religion: interpretation is easily corrupted by cultural biases. People think they know how existence works, but their understanding is shaped by their upbringing and social programming.

I think traditional (fire and brimstone) Christians who’d be most accepting of universalism are also most at risk at abandoning their faith altogether. I say this because once you get the courage to reject something as major as eternal Hell, the rest tends to fall like a house of cards.

But the reasons other Christians might reject universalism is because of what you say above. We have a hard time imagining someone like Hitler receiving the same treatment as his victims. It calls into question the whole purpose of this experiment we call life. Your answer to this is “I don’t know”, which is my response as well. But my “I don’t know” also extends to the afterlife.

Traditionalists have more certainty about life and afterlife. It’s asking a lot of them to give that up.

Last edited by you with the face; 05-17-2018 at 08:53 PM.
  #202  
Old 05-17-2018, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
You may not have thought this out very well. You're essentially saying that a person's milieu has to be a certain way for them for them to believe a certain way. This is very opposite of free will. If people have free will, they can choose to believe whatever they want to believe. If a person sees God stop a hurricane in its tracks, free will makes it so that he can choose to rationalize it away any way he wants.

At any rate, belief in God isn't enough for Christians. Supposedly, love for God is what separates a Christian from a poseur. Just seeing God stop a hurricane is not enough to evoke love. It may actually cause more anger and resentment. "If God can stop hurricanes, why did hasn't he made me rich yet? GOD SUCKS!!!"
I think there's a passage saying that even the demons of hell believe. Even they'd have more of a leg to stand on than the Pascal's Wager crowd, who will claim to believe to hedge their bets. While we're at it, the whole "if there's no God\afterlife, why do good" thing is heresy from the pit of hell.
  #203  
Old 05-17-2018, 10:51 PM
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Again, you misunderstand Free Will. Free Will has nothing to do with where you live or really- how you die. It is that you have a Choice on whether to Choose God/Jesus or not.

Yes, people die. Not because of Free Will. Because other humans made bad choices or due to simple natural causes. Not because of God.

The only thing which connects Free Will to Natural disasters or bad things or suffering is that if God did hundreds of miracles daily to prevent these things, you would not effectively have free will.
So, did the people who lived before anyone got around to telling them about Jesus have free will or not?
Does the lack of a consistent set of Gospels, let alone reasonable independent verification of the words and activities of Jesus contribute to free will or not?

If an astrologer told you than not following the advice in the horoscope she cast for you would lead to disaster, but refused to respond to your questions about the lack of evidence for astrology, would you believe her or not?
People die due to simple natural causes? Who put them into place? Is God too feeble to create a world where the landmasses are stable and thus do not experience earthquakes? Not very omnipotent, is he.
Read your Exodus. They saw plenty of miracles, and still seemed to have plenty of free will. Doesn't matter that it didn't happen - that is the very clear message from the Bible.
God withholding evidence that he exists and in fact creating a world that looks very much like one with no god is not contributing to our free will a bit. Unless God wants us to be suckers. And of course the evidence does not support one god over another. Including the one I grew up with who I could talk to directly without going through any third parties.
Or maybe God likes it the way he is. He sees every sparrow fall - and then laughs like hell when the sparrow goes splat. Just as good an explanation as yours is.
  #204  
Old 05-17-2018, 11:01 PM
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I think the real reason people don't like Universalism is because they don't like the idea of people not getting punished for wrongdoing.
Good point. In the Ultimatum game, both players get some money, but either can reject the deal so that neither get money. Though the rational choice is to take the money, no matter what, since it is better than nothing, experiments have shown that if there is an imbalance in the payout the person getting less will veto the deal for being unfair. So something like rejecting a world where no one is damned because it is unfair seems built into our minds.
  #205  
Old 05-17-2018, 11:33 PM
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Okay, look, this debate has gotten way off track from my original post. Not that there haven't been some good comments, but I want to clarify a few things:

1. I specifically asked, "Why aren't more Christians universalists?" Most of the objections, at least on the last page and a half, have been from atheists or agnostics wanting to disprove or poke wholes in the concept of God or heaven or the afterlife or whatever. That's a fine debate but not really the one I was interested in. I was more looking for people who wanted to defend Hell as eternal punishment, or the theory of substitutional atonement or something.

2. I am not saying, by any means, that I know what heaven is like...
Emphasis added. I sympathize with your topicality issues. I refer you to post 126 in case you missed it.



I'll give the OP a shot, as best I can. If you put up someone's soul in front of a committee of Heavenly Ministers (ref: Book of Job), they presumably will assign a variety of destinies depending upon the subject's resume and the slots they have open. Special cases such as Hitler are less interesting, as they exactly that -- special cases.

Regardless, as Scripture and common experience indicate a policy of constructive ambiguity coming from the celestial communications office, Pascal's wager suggests that we should assume a worst case scenario. So eternal damnation it is.

Last edited by Measure for Measure; 05-17-2018 at 11:34 PM.
  #206  
Old 05-18-2018, 03:40 AM
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So, did the people who lived before anyone got around to telling them about Jesus have free will or not?
Does the lack of a consistent set of Gospels, let alone reasonable independent verification of the words and activities of Jesus contribute to free will or not?

.
Humans have had Free Will since Adam & Eve.
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  #207  
Old 05-18-2018, 07:00 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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Humans have had Free Will since Adam & Eve.
Adam and Eve refute your point that seeing God's miraculousness and being spared from suffering makes you lose your free will.
  #208  
Old 05-18-2018, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
Scriptures about the lake of fire

Let's see, at a glance I'm seeing mention of judgement. What need a universalist god for judgement? Matthew 25:46 also doesn't look terribly universalist to me. Honestly none of those verses look too good.

I'm thinking it's possible to argue for a fire-and-brimstone god from a scriptural basis, just on the basis of these scriptures alone.
Thank you! This is the debate I wanted to have.

First of all, I don't deny that there are verses that support a traditional theology of Hell -- it would be surprising if there weren't. So of course the challenge is to look at the whole of scripture for interpretation.

So, Revelation. First I should say that Revelation should be understood as a writing of apocalyptic vision and not a literal prediction of future events. Biblical literalism is a fairly recent phenomenon in the church. Anyway, chapter 20 describes the end of a great battle led by Satan against "the saints and the beloved city." When it's over, "the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire" (v. 10). Okay, but what about human beings?

Well the chapter then says "I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne... and the dead were judged according to there works as recorded in the books." (Oh-uh, that doesn't look good for 'by faith alone' Protestants). "The sea [and] Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done." So, this is consistent with other verses in the NT that describe people being judged before the throne of God (like Matt. 25, which I will get to).

(v. 14) "Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death... " Hallelujah! Satan and Death and the grave have been conquered by Jesus! Humankind is free from them! But uh-oh: "...and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." Well, shit. Who are those poor bastards? Chapters 13 and 17 say those names were written in the book "from the foundation of the world" and seems pretty clear that a lot of people are not written in it.

So here's my response:
-- Revelation is one of the best proof-texts for a "second death" for the non-elect. However, note that it describes annihilation of God's enemies; not eternal torture. So not exactly and endorsement of the "eternal punishment" theory.
-- These verses can also be used to support 1. Predestination and 2. Salvation by works, both of which are anathema to most evangelical protestants.
-- Revelation, from alpha to omega, it a pretty problematic book and difficult to parse. It's the only book of its genre in the Bible (except maybe parts of Daniel). Christians have argued for centuries about what it means. Is it about Rome? (probably, IMO). Is it about the end of the world? It claims to be.
-- Anyway, for me, it comes down to this: these verses are an insufficient to deny the message woven through the rest of the NT - that Jesus came to save all the world.

I'm out of time to delve into Matthew 25 right now, but I'll try to get back to it later. Very briefly, though, I don't think it negates a universalist view either.

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I don't think most church-going Christians go to church because fire and brimstone are constantly weighing on their minds. I think they go because church affirms their faith and keeps it strong. Losing just a little bit of faith is scary because once you start having doubt it's very hard to silence it. It snowballs. I don't think it's a coincidence that I found it easier to acknowledge my lack of faith once I stopped going to church.

snip

Church-going Christians go to church so that no one can ever take away their "true believer" status. But the non-church going Christians aren't all that worried about that happening to them. They simply value eating pancakes over "Meet the Press" more than they value singing hymns and listening to sermons. Maybe they have plenty of friends and family to shower them in love and acceptance.
Well, ask any five churchgoers why they go and you'll get 10 answers. "But people won't go to church" is way, way down on my list of objections to universalism. Most people don't regularly go to church now; and my concern is truth, not supporting the church as a social institution (as much as I love it myself, it is a very flawed institution). That that argument gets a shoulder-shrug from me. Maybe people will stop going; maybe the church will change; maybe a combination of both while portions of the existing institution live on. I'm comfortable leaving that in God's hands.
  #209  
Old 05-18-2018, 09:33 AM
andros andros is offline
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Humans have had Free Will since Adam & Eve.
This, coupled with the acknowledgement that billions of people throughout history have not been exposed to the gospel, is a strong philosophical argument for the "many paths to god idea." Joe Buddhist can still be saved by this way of thinking by accepting Christ within his own cultural and religious context (whatever that might look like) even if he has never been taught about Christ's atonement.

It's still heathen apostasy, of course, and rife with more questions. Sort of Universalist Lite. But it is at least an attempt to side step the idea of an evil god condemning the ignorant to hell.
.

Last edited by andros; 05-18-2018 at 09:34 AM.
  #210  
Old 05-18-2018, 12:48 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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Regardless, as Scripture and common experience indicate a policy of constructive ambiguity coming from the celestial communications office, Pascal's wager suggests that we should assume a worst case scenario. So eternal damnation it is.
Pascal's Wager should really be called Pascal's Sophistry, because it's so flimsy it can only be held to suggest things if a person deliberately sets up their examples to ignore everything that shreds whatever point they're going for. And there's always a possible afterlife that shreds the point, because there's no limitation on the possible gods so there could always be one that punishes what you're advocating and rewards what you're criticizing. Taken without sophistry it's literally impossible for the Wager to advocate for any specific belief or behavior.

It just annoys me to see that thing even referenced as if it could ever be useful.


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Thank you! This is the debate I wanted to have.
You're welcome!

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Originally Posted by Skammer View Post
First of all, I don't deny that there are verses that support a traditional theology of Hell -- it would be surprising if there weren't. So of course the challenge is to look at the whole of scripture for interpretation.
Sorry to stop you so early, but your OP asked how anybody could resist being a universalist. Most religious people don't challenge themselves by looking at the whole of their scripture; they just listen to whatever cherry-picked verses and stories and theoretical constructs their pastor chooses to feed them. So, yeah, there's the answer to your OP. Even if you have a nice tight argument that the only rational interpretation of scripture is that universalism is true (which I'm not sure you do), only you have that argument, and everyone else is left to their own devices.

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So, Revelation. First I should say that Revelation should be understood as a writing of apocalyptic vision and not a literal prediction of future events. Biblical literalism is a fairly recent phenomenon in the church. Anyway, chapter 20 describes the end of a great battle led by Satan against "the saints and the beloved city." When it's over, "the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire" (v. 10). Okay, but what about human beings?

Well the chapter then says "I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne... and the dead were judged according to there works as recorded in the books." (Oh-uh, that doesn't look good for 'by faith alone' Protestants). "The sea [and] Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to what they had done." So, this is consistent with other verses in the NT that describe people being judged before the throne of God (like Matt. 25, which I will get to).

(v. 14) "Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death... " Hallelujah! Satan and Death and the grave have been conquered by Jesus! Humankind is free from them! But uh-oh: "...and anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." Well, shit. Who are those poor bastards? Chapters 13 and 17 say those names were written in the book "from the foundation of the world" and seems pretty clear that a lot of people are not written in it.

So here's my response:
-- Revelation is one of the best proof-texts for a "second death" for the non-elect. However, note that it describes annihilation of God's enemies; not eternal torture. So not exactly and endorsement of the "eternal punishment" theory.
Universalism is okay with selective annihilation? I get that it's better than fire-and-brimstone (and in fact I'm perfectly happy with my belief that everybody "gets annihilated"), but I'm not seeing how it's particularly universalistic.

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-- These verses can also be used to support 1. Predestination and 2. Salvation by works, both of which are anathema to most evangelical protestants.
Is the thrust of your argument that Universalism is biblically supported, or merely that Fire-And-Brimstone (mostly) isn't? Because there's a pretty large middle there that you might be excluding.

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Originally Posted by Skammer View Post
-- Revelation, from alpha to omega, it a pretty problematic book and difficult to parse. It's the only book of its genre in the Bible (except maybe parts of Daniel). Christians have argued for centuries about what it means. Is it about Rome? (probably, IMO). Is it about the end of the world? It claims to be.
Most of the bible, including the new testament, is considered to be "up for interpretation", and has been "argued for centuries" about. Revelation is definitely worse than other chapters, but if biblical inerrancy is out then we need to apply the same lens of flexible interpretation to verses you like.

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Originally Posted by Skammer View Post
-- Anyway, for me, it comes down to this: these verses are an insufficient to deny the message woven through the rest of the NT - that Jesus came to save all the world.
I freely and enthusiastically admit that I'm not a font of detailed knowledge about the biblical text - I have other hobbies that I like way more, and they've gotten most of my attention. However what I have gleaned about the bible suggests that Jesus didn't come down to save all the world. I think that (within the fiction of the bible) he came down to offer salvation to all the world.

My impression is that the sequence of events will be as follows:

1) Everyone dies. (Not all at once.)

2) God resurrects everybody, so that he can judge them.

3) God gets really, really mad about the fact that anybody sinned at all.

4) Jesus reminds God that Jesus let god torture him to get that all out of his system. God reminisces for a while on that time he let off steam for a while, takes a deep breath, and calms down somewhat.

5) Some people are still too awful for him to accept. He tosses them into the incinerator. (He tosses Satan in there too, but he may be too sturdy to completely burn.)

6) Taking more deep breaths, he grudgingly says that he's fairly okay with everybody, and offers to clear their permanent records and pretend to forget the nasty things they did as long as they never do things like that again. (It's only pretend, because he's omniscient and can't really forget, but he makes a game effort.)

7) Some people, who have been watching this whole thing, aren't really sure about all this. Maybe they don't like scapegoat sacrifices and think that murder via cross is not wonderful; maybe they think that god seems to have a temper problem and is scary. Maybe they don't like accepting favors they can't pay back; maybe they're troubled by the idea that some people are currently burning to death in the incinerator. Or maybe they're just feeling contrary. Regardless of the reason, they reject God's offer. God responds by chucking them in the incinerator too.

8) The remaining people, who thought the deal mediated for them by Jesus with God is great, get their records cleared and are admitted into heaven, and live happily ever after, because nothing at all that just happened bothers them.

9) And, final note, maybe how everyone turned out was predictable in advance, because their natures are fixed (some people just don't like cross murders) or maybe it's just that God is omniscient and of course knows how things were going to go down. Doesn't matter; God still doesn't want annoying contrary sinner people in his condo, so to the incinerator they go.

I freely concede that everything is up for interpretation, but I believe that most or all biblical verses can be found not to contradict this model. Particularly if you're willing to bend them a little.
  #211  
Old 05-19-2018, 06:53 AM
truthseeker3 truthseeker3 is offline
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Being on the inside is good only if there are people suffering on the outside. My cake only tastes good if you have no cake.
I'd like to make a clarification. I know that some people have made the argument that hell is necessary for heaven to look good, but that's not the point I was making earlier. I was responding to monstro's question about the purpose of suffering in THIS life. Something like "My cake tastes good now because I was hungry before."

(The distinction between temporal - finite - suffering and eternal damnation might also be useful in the side debate that Czarcasm and DrDeth are having.)
  #212  
Old 05-19-2018, 10:43 AM
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Sorry to stop you so early, but your OP asked how anybody could resist being a universalist. Most religious people don't challenge themselves by looking at the whole of their scripture; they just listen to whatever cherry-picked verses and stories and theoretical constructs their pastor chooses to feed them. So, yeah, there's the answer to your OP. Even if you have a nice tight argument that the only rational interpretation of scripture is that universalism is true (which I'm not sure you do), only you have that argument, and everyone else is left to their own devices.
Well, yes, I was using a bit of rhetorical device, because of course you are right: people are taught eternal damnation from their pastors and either 1) believe it or 2) leave the church. But Universalism has been around as long as the church has been; and has at least as much if not more biblical support, and does't have to deal with the fact that a good God who loves the world sends people to hell. The only 'inconvenient truth' about universalism is that we don't get the satisfaction of Hitler burning alive for all eternity, which is not one of our better instincts to begin with.

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Universalism is okay with selective annihilation? I get that it's better than fire-and-brimstone (and in fact I'm perfectly happy with my belief that everybody "gets annihilated"), but I'm not seeing how it's particularly universalistic.

Is the thrust of your argument that Universalism is biblically supported, or merely that Fire-And-Brimstone (mostly) isn't? Because there's a pretty large middle there that you might be excluding.
No, the idea that some people are annihilated is inconsistent with Universalism. But it's also inconsistent with eternal torment, is my point. There are Christians who believe, based on this passage, that anyone not reconciled to God are eventually annihilated and not tortured forever but I don't think that is supported by the rest of scripture.

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Most of the bible, including the new testament, is considered to be "up for interpretation", and has been "argued for centuries" about. Revelation is definitely worse than other chapters, but if biblical inerrancy is out then we need to apply the same lens of flexible interpretation to verses you like.
No argument here. I believe that all scripture is inspired by God, and I believe that God through the holy spirit influenced which ancient writings have been included, but I don't believe in word-for-word inerrancy or literalism. The book was written and edited by dozens of people over several centuries, much of it handed down orally before that, and all of it translated from later copies. But it's the best source we have to understand God's relationship with the world.

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I freely and enthusiastically admit that I'm not a font of detailed knowledge about the biblical text - I have other hobbies that I like way more, and they've gotten most of my attention. However what I have gleaned about the bible suggests that Jesus didn't come down to save all the world. I think that (within the fiction of the bible) he came down to offer salvation to all the world.

My impression is that the sequence of events will be as follows:

[snipped]

I freely concede that everything is up for interpretation, but I believe that most or all biblical verses can be found not to contradict this model. Particularly if you're willing to bend them a little.
Well, that's the point of my OP. The story you've laid out is pretty much in line with modern Evangelical theology, but is not the dominant thread of Christianity throughout it's history and not as scripturally sound as you think. I laid out a bunch of verses in the OP that seem to contradict this narrative, and there are many more. And yes, there are a few verses that seem to imply eternal torture too -- but I think most Christians are guilty of only seeing these verses through the context of the theology they've already been taught. When you start to look at the verses through the lens of "why doesn't God just save everyone?" it begins to look more and more like that's exactly what Jesus did.

Last edited by Skammer; 05-19-2018 at 10:44 AM.
  #213  
Old 05-19-2018, 12:35 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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Well, yes, I was using a bit of rhetorical device, because of course you are right: people are taught eternal damnation from their pastors and either 1) believe it or 2) leave the church. But Universalism has been around as long as the church has been; and has at least as much if not more biblical support, and does't have to deal with the fact that a good God who loves the world sends people to hell. The only 'inconvenient truth' about universalism is that we don't get the satisfaction of Hitler burning alive for all eternity, which is not one of our better instincts to begin with.
Yeah, like humans are primarily driven by better instincts.

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No, the idea that some people are annihilated is inconsistent with Universalism. But it's also inconsistent with eternal torment, is my point. There are Christians who believe, based on this passage, that anyone not reconciled to God are eventually annihilated and not tortured forever but I don't think that is supported by the rest of scripture.
Matthew 25:46 is not particularly vague, nor silent on the subject.

The bible is a big book. And, dare I say (I do!), a badly and inconsistently written one. It's more incomprehensible than anything short of James Joyce and Ikea instructions, and can be used to justify anything - including any disproof of anything. Including your interpretation of it. And I could say that with confidence without having to take into account what your interpretation is!

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No argument here. I believe that all scripture is inspired by God, and I believe that God through the holy spirit influenced which ancient writings have been included, but I don't believe in word-for-word inerrancy or literalism. The book was written and edited by dozens of people over several centuries, much of it handed down orally before that, and all of it translated from later copies. But it's the best source we have to understand God's relationship with the world.
Not that I believe in such things (or the bible either), but I would think that a modern-day prophet would be a much better source about God's relationship with the world than the end results of a centuries-long game of Telephone.

I gather that there are a number of different flavors of modern-day prophet around with all different levels of disreputability to choose from.

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Well, that's the point of my OP. The story you've laid out is pretty much in line with modern Evangelical theology, but is not the dominant thread of Christianity throughout it's history and not as scripturally sound as you think. I laid out a bunch of verses in the OP that seem to contradict this narrative, and there are many more. And yes, there are a few verses that seem to imply eternal torture too -- but I think most Christians are guilty of only seeing these verses through the context of the theology they've already been taught. When you start to look at the verses through the lens of "why doesn't God just save everyone?" it begins to look more and more like that's exactly what Jesus did.
I looked at your verses and I don't even have to bend them much to make them fall in line with the story I laid out.

There were the ones who said that all will be made alive. Sure they will! That was step 2. Gotta be alive to be judged, or there's no point. You can't torture a dead man.

Jesus said at several points that he was there to bring salvation to everyone, and be merciful to everyone, and bring all people to him, and all that. Sure! He's not limiting it or excluding anyone; everyone is brought to the table and offered a place at it. That doesn't mean everyone has to sit. Some people might see the crucified dude that's the centerpiece and back away. That would be entirely consistent with everything Jesus said, and the scriptures that say that there's going to be a pain party in that eternal fire pit that God prepared.

Trying to come up with something that is consistent with every verse in the bible is a fool's errand, of course, but I think there's more traction in an approach that includes both the "everybody gets salvation!" and "Some people (who don't redeem their ticket) are boned in boneville for a super-long time, even forever". It's hard to believe the claim that ignores more verses is more consistent with the book.

Last edited by begbert2; 05-19-2018 at 12:37 PM.
  #214  
Old 05-19-2018, 03:45 PM
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Humans have had Free Will since Adam & Eve.
Could those who never heard of Jesus choose him?
BTW, Adam and Eve is a myth.

You are walking along the street. Someone comes up to you and tells you that "too bad, you screwed up and now you are going to die."
You say "Wha?"
The man picks up a paper, under which is a card turned upside down, which reads "to save your life, count down from 10 now."
He says "see, you had every chance of saving your life. You blew it."
Just like Christianity. Except that if it really was like Christianity, the card and paper would be in the next state.
  #215  
Old 05-19-2018, 03:59 PM
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Except that if it really was like Christianity, the card and paper would be in the next state.
And originally written in greek.
  #216  
Old 05-19-2018, 10:28 PM
truthseeker3 truthseeker3 is offline
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Could those who never heard of Jesus choose him?
Some people would argue that those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, etc. are choosing Jesus whether they know his name or not.
Though if you want to claim that some professed Christians are not fulfilling that mission, well, that's another reason not to believe in universalism.
  #217  
Old 05-19-2018, 11:02 PM
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Some people would argue that those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, etc. are choosing Jesus whether they know his name or not.
Then those missionaries were wasting a lot of time, weren't they?
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Though if you want to claim that some professed Christians are not fulfilling that mission, well, that's another reason not to believe in universalism.
Why? I'd think that knowing heathens are more moral than Christians in this sense would be an excellent reason to believe in Universalism. And I thought that good works don't cut it.

But what do I know? I'm Jewish and your religion is all meshuggah to me.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:14 PM
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Though if you want to claim that some professed Christians are not fulfilling that mission, well, that's another reason not to believe in universalism.
Whether heathens can stumble upon "choosing god" by accident or not relates to the question of whether people choose God.

Universalism, as I understand it, is related to whether God chooses people. It's my understanding that in a truly universalist mythos whether or not you choose/find God would be an unimportant detail - something to chat about over afterlife-coffee, not something that significantly effects your future.
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:24 PM
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To answer the OP:

There is a misunderstanding of what "all" means. Salvation is OFFERED to all. It does not mean all will take it.
By analogy, the Los Angeles Lakers can offer free Lakers tickets to everyone for free and say "Everyone who brings a ticket to the stadium will be given admission to the game," but if someone does not take the free tickets, then when they show up to the stadium empty-handed, they will not be allowed into the facility.
Doesn't this assume that heaven has a maximum occupancy?
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:48 PM
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Doesn't this assume that heaven has a maximum occupancy?
It more assumes that participation is required by the entrant to gain entry. Of course how much participation is required becomes the rub. Here's a loosely graduated scale:

0: You WILL enter heaven. You have no choice.

1: Anyone with even the slightest interest in doing so can enter heaven; alternatively there are other options, if they're not in the mood for harps.

2: Anyone with even the slightest interest in doing so can enter heaven; alternatively there's this lovely fire pit of eternal torture. There are no other options and this is not coercion at all.

3: You have to complete some sort of nominal task to enter heaven. Sincerely apologize, condone and endorse murder by cross, purchase a ticket, something. This can be done at the door, after you're dead; you don't have to do anything in life.

4) You have to complete some sort of nominal task to enter heaven, and you have to have done it in life. You can't buy the ticket at the door. If you didn't do this task you are SOL.

5) You have to be the right sort of person to enter heaven, and earth gave you the chance to grow into that sort of right person (unless you died as a baby or something). If you are not the right sort of person by the time you die you're SOL.

6) You have to be the right sort of person to enter heaven, and nothing you can do will change whether you're that sort of person or not. You were blessed or doomed right from the get-go. Some people are just SOL.

7) Forget heaven - nobody's getting in. Gods and angels only. Humanity exists only to writhe and dance for the gods' amusement from afar: the original reality TV.

Position 0 is certainly universalist, and position 1 probably would be considered so by most, and position 2 arguably by some maybe. Below that, not so much.
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:29 PM
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I like and appreciate that list, begbert2, but I have some problems with it.

For one thing, I'm not sure which, if any, of those options are compatible with a belief in some sort of Purgatory. But that's kind of tangential, at best, to the thread topic.

More relevantly, I'm not sure there's an effective difference between #3, and #1 or 2. If all that is required to enter heaven is "to complete some sort of nominal task," and it's a task that anyone can complete, doesn't that effectively mean that "Anyone with even the slightest interest in doing so can enter heaven"?

Personally, I'd break down the possibilities like this:

1. Everyone will be saved (or "enter heaven" or "have eternal life" or whatever wording you want to use).

2. Salvation is freely available to everyone, but some will choose to reject it.

3. Salvation is not available to everyone, or at least the "price of admission" is higher than some people are ready or willing to pay.

I'd only call #1 universalism, though I think some are including #2 under that label.

Each of these could be broken down into subcategories. For example, my #1 includes both your #0 ("You WILL enter heaven. You have no choice") and something like "Everyone will, ultimately, choose heaven."
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:38 PM
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Why? I'd think that knowing heathens are more moral than Christians in this sense would be an excellent reason to believe in Universalism. And I thought that good works don't cut it.
Well, I was thinking about the parable of the sheep and the goats. (See Mathew 25:31 and following. https://www.biblestudytools.com/matthew/25.html It's the third parable.) It seems to suggest that some nonbelievers are going to be welcomed in because they served Jesus in "the least of these", but it also seems to suggest that some nominal Christians are going to be cast out.
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Then those missionaries were wasting a lot of time, weren't they?
I don't think Jesus would consider building schools and feeding people and other humanitarian efforts to be a waste of time.
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:54 PM
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Whether heathens can stumble upon "choosing god" by accident or not relates to the question of whether people choose God.

Universalism, as I understand it, is related to whether God chooses people. It's my understanding that in a truly universalist mythos whether or not you choose/find God would be an unimportant detail - something to chat about over afterlife-coffee, not something that significantly effects your future.
Hmm... I'm not sure where you're going with this, but I'm not a universalist. I would put myself at Thudlo Boink level 2: salvation is available to everyone, but some will reject it.
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Old 05-20-2018, 07:54 PM
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Personally, I'd break down the possibilities like this:

1. Everyone will be saved (or "enter heaven" or "have eternal life" or whatever wording you want to use).

2. Salvation is freely available to everyone, but some will choose to reject it.

3. Salvation is not available to everyone, or at least the "price of admission" is higher than some people are ready or willing to pay.

I'd only call #1 universalism, though I think some are including #2 under that label.

Each of these could be broken down into subcategories. For example, my #1 includes both your #0 ("You WILL enter heaven. You have no choice") and something like "Everyone will, ultimately, choose heaven."
For #2, what does ďfreelyĒ mean? Does it mean that a person knows what will happen to them if they reject salvation? In other words, does rejecting it mean knowingly accepting an eternity of suffering or does it mean knowingly suffering until you eventually tap out and accept salvation? Because I think the latter fits under the universalist schema. With regards the former, if Hell is a place of great suffering, I canít imagine anyone turning down salvation unless personality disorders and mental illness carry over into afterlife.

Most importantly, though, is the question of when the choice is made. Conventional dogma says we make the choice only while weíre alive and weíre essentially bound to it permanently, but universalists believe that the choice can be made in the afterlife as well. This matters because in our earthly existence, we have eleventy hundred different religions to choose from (as well as the atheist option) and no empirical way to know which one is the ticket to salvation. Supposedly in the afterlife, the truth will be made crystal clear, so our choices will be immensely simplified. I donít think this should be overlooked in the different scenarios.
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:52 PM
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Pascal's Wager should really be called Pascal's Sophistry...
It just annoys me to see that thing even referenced as if it could ever be useful.
Oh it was highly useful: it was one of the earliest presentations of probability in a risk analysis context. Very influential.
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Pascal's Wager should really be called Pascal's Sophistry, because it's so flimsy it can only be held to suggest things if a person deliberately sets up their examples to ignore everything that shreds whatever point they're going for. And there's always a possible afterlife that shreds the point, because there's no limitation on the possible gods so there could always be one that punishes what you're advocating and rewards what you're criticizing. Taken without sophistry it's literally impossible for the Wager to advocate for any specific belief or behavior.
In the context of France in 1654 I think it was reasonable to put restrictive exogenous constraints on the range of plausible metaphysical frameworks. Not so much now.

But Skammer has explicitly set aside a non-deistic, non-Christian universe, so I think it's fair rule out for the purposes of argument the possibility that eg a hostile deity is running the show. So, yes, I do think Pascal's wager works in this context. We're basically discussing 2 interpretations of scripture after all. Pascal's Wager is destroyed when you consider broad and competing metaphysical systems, but that's been ruled out here.
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:39 AM
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I don't think Jesus would consider building schools and feeding people and other humanitarian efforts to be a waste of time.
I've gotten Baptist and other missionaries at my door, and I'm pretty sure my house does not look like I need aid.
Never a Mormon one, but Mormons owned the house before me, and I think there is lamb's blood on the doorpost or something that keeps them away.
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:02 PM
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I like and appreciate that list, begbert2, but I have some problems with it.

For one thing, I'm not sure which, if any, of those options are compatible with a belief in some sort of Purgatory. But that's kind of tangential, at best, to the thread topic.
Purgatories that end eventually would fall under "some sort of nominal task". It's a hoop you have to jump through.

The way I figure it the really important distinction is whether you can ever reach a point where you can never get into heaven, no matter what you do thereafter - and whether that point comes before or after you get clear instructions about what the rules are (which is to say, before or after you die).

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More relevantly, I'm not sure there's an effective difference between #3, and #1 or 2. If all that is required to enter heaven is "to complete some sort of nominal task," and it's a task that anyone can complete, doesn't that effectively mean that "Anyone with even the slightest interest in doing so can enter heaven"?
I considered anything you might be required to do to be a "nominal task". Slaughter your entire family with your teeth. Burn in hell for a trillion years. Have your brain removed and replaced with a Furby. Concede you were wrong about something on the internet. No matter the task, no matter how grueling or nightmarish, if you were still always presented with an achievable path into heaven, then I categorized it as a 'nominal task'.

The difference between 1 and 2 was a dig at the idea that you have a free choice if only one option is even remotely tolerable. Technically 2 should have come before 1 because being offered a choice with a gun to your head is a lot like not being offered a choice at all, but having the options in the correct order would have weakened the joke, so yeah.

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Personally, I'd break down the possibilities like this:

1. Everyone will be saved (or "enter heaven" or "have eternal life" or whatever wording you want to use).

2. Salvation is freely available to everyone, but some will choose to reject it.

3. Salvation is not available to everyone, or at least the "price of admission" is higher than some people are ready or willing to pay.

I'd only call #1 universalism, though I think some are including #2 under that label.
I think that whether or not you can ever do something that will permanently close the door in your face makes a huge difference - and it's something that you don't seem to account for. In your list it would be an option #4 - prices of admission that people cannot pay, whether they want to or not.

Though I suppose that if you only consider your option #1 to be true universalism, it matters less: any system that allows people not to get in would be disqualified equally, regardless of the reason for their absence.

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Each of these could be broken down into subcategories. For example, my #1 includes both your #0 ("You WILL enter heaven. You have no choice") and something like "Everyone will, ultimately, choose heaven."
Regarding the "Everyone will, ultimately, choose heaven" option, my immediate question is why will they all ultimately choose heaven. If it's because they don't have actually have a choice, it's my option #0. If it's because there's a gun to their heads, it's my option #2. If it's something else, well, then what is it?
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:48 PM
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Regarding the "Everyone will, ultimately, choose heaven" option, my immediate question is why will they all ultimately choose heaven. If it's because they don't have actually have a choice, it's my option #0. If it's because there's a gun to their heads, it's my option #2. If it's something else, well, then what is it?
Boredom in limbo, self-interest insofar as heaven is more comfortable than limbo. It might take some time for a few stubborn folk though. Hey, we have all the time in the world, BWHAHAHAHA.
---

While I'm here, there's also a variant of begbert2 #2, where hell is eternal death (where the worm ever turns) but not eternal Hollywood horror show.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:46 PM
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Boredom in limbo, self-interest insofar as heaven is more comfortable than limbo. It might take some time for a few stubborn folk though. Hey, we have all the time in the world, BWHAHAHAHA.
Don't have much faith in the human spirit, do you?

Suppose you have the boring limbo/comfortable heaven scenario, except that it's ruled by the devil instead of god? Or you have to do something morally unconscionable to get in? Note that we're talking about people here - we make our own problems. Some people would consider it morally unconscionable to accept a heaven that also lets jews/blacks/women/cucks/liberals in.

Christians admire the concept of a martyr - one who sacrifices themselves for the greater good. But that goes the other way as well: a person can sacrifice themselves for the greater bad. (Bad in your opinion, anyway.) A person such as Hitler might choose to 'make the sacrifice' of not hobnobbing with jews forever - literally. Particularly if the punishment is mere mild boredom, I imagine it would be an easy decision to make, with the same outcome being reached day after day after day.

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While I'm here, there's also a variant of begbert2 #2, where hell is eternal death (where the worm ever turns) but not eternal Hollywood horror show.
The only difference between my #1 and #2 was that I was taking a potshot at the persistent argument that it's not coercive to only offer one good option. Whether or not annihilation is a coercively bad option depends on the person faced with the decision. I can easily picture myself happily choosing annihilation over condoning the horrors of the christian god.
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:35 PM
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"It's not coercive. We're just helping them along a little."

"They always talk tough in the beginning. But after a couple of thousand years of watching Leave it to Beaver they change their tune." ::cracks knuckles::


Option 2.

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Old 05-21-2018, 06:40 PM
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"They always talk tough in the beginning. But after a couple of thousand years of watching Leave it to Beaver they change their tune." ::cracks knuckles::


Option 2.
Good god, man, are there no limits to what you will do?!?!?
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Old 05-22-2018, 01:46 PM
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I've gotten Baptist and other missionaries at my door, and I'm pretty sure my house does not look like I need aid.
Then again, material wealth isn't mutually exclusive with misery.
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In the developed countries there is a poverty of intimacy, a poverty of spirit, of loneliness, of lack of love. There is no greater sickness in the world than that one.
http://www.boes.org/docs2/teresa07.html
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Old 05-22-2018, 01:53 PM
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Hey, we have all the time in the world, BWHAHAHAHA.
This is the usual assumption - that eternity is lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of time - but that might not be the case. I've heard people speculate that the afterlife is actually outside of time, which would mean that a person who isn't ready for heaven can't repent later because there is no later.
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Old 05-22-2018, 01:56 PM
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This is the usual assumption - that eternity is lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of time - but that might not be the case. I've heard people speculate that the afterlife is actually outside of time, which would mean that a person who isn't ready for heaven can't repent later because there is no later.
But who would care? Without the passage of time there is no experience. You just become a photograph; a statue.
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Old 05-22-2018, 02:07 PM
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This is the usual assumption - that eternity is lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of time - but that might not be the case. I've heard people speculate that the afterlife is actually outside of time, which would mean that a person who isn't ready for heaven can't repent later because there is no later.
"Outside of time"-What does that mean? Time isn't a location you can step into and out of. It is the "effect" of "cause and effect". Without time, everything doesn't happen slower or faster, and I doubt that everything would happen at once because things happen because a sequence of other things happened to cause that thing to happen.
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:25 AM
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"Outside of time"-What does that mean? Time isn't a location you can step into and out of. It is the "effect" of "cause and effect". Without time, everything doesn't happen slower or faster, and I doubt that everything would happen at once because things happen because a sequence of other things happened to cause that thing to happen.
I've heard of the Creator existing outside of time; this is the first time I've heard of the afterlife existing outside of it.

For the Deity, we can imagine the Creator viewing the formation of the Earth, its destruction when the sun turns into a red giant and everything in between all at once, as a panorama can be seen from a tall mountain or as a Lord of the Rings fan can consider the work after reading it a dozen times.

In the afterlife context, I suppose those with sufficiently high library privileges could do the same, regardless of their date of death.


Regarding the OP, rationalists with complete access to all relevant information might conceivably make identical choices, provided the choice set is discrete rather than continuous. Like robots. As for the irrational...
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:40 AM
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Then again, material wealth isn't mutually exclusive with misery.

http://www.boes.org/docs2/teresa07.html
I'm probably happier than they are.
When they came to the door, to get them out quickly and nicely, I told them I was Jewish, figuring out that if they thought I believed in God they'd leave me alone.
No chance. They started to tell me about how I wouldn't be saved until I became a Christian, which led me to launch into my 2,000 years of torture, oppression and forced conversion at the hands of Christianity.
They scampered away - and after that I knew I was happier than they were.
Actually, my happiness never came up.
We all know why missionaries go. Mitt Romney didn't go to Paris for the Mormons to improve their food and/or happiness. Missionary work is a gentler side of the forced conversions those nice Spanish priests forced on the Indians in the Americas. It was all done for the souls of the heathen.
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Old 05-23-2018, 01:27 PM
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I've heard of the Creator existing outside of time; this is the first time I've heard of the afterlife existing outside of it.
Being raised mormon, we were always told that the afterlife involved hanging around with God (well, the good afterlife anyway) and thus you'd be exactly as outside of time as God is. However I never interpreted the phrase "outside of time" as meaning that those outside of time don't experience time - that's kind of an absurd idea because without time no actions can take place and God is clearly described as doing things, so there you go: God experiences time.

It's just not necessarily our time, as we experience it on earth. Your description of a panorama and a reader's perspective on a book they're holding are good analogies.

The idea that god is experiencing his own time independent of time in our universe don't appear to be what truthseeker3 was talking about, however - they proposed that outside of time there "is no later". That's a theological model that makes little sense to me, because then it would be impossible for God to have ever done anything - including creating the universe. If God doesn't experience time then either the universe always seemed to exist for it, in which case it didn't need creation, or it doesn't exist and that's just the way it is; nothing God can do about it because God can't do anything.

Unless of course truthseeker3 meant that God experiences time, but in the afterlife we won't - we'll be frozen in amber for God's viewing pleasure. (Not really benevolent, that.) Or perhaps the model is simpler, and more plausible - our universe is a book that God is reading, and we only have an "afterlife" in the sense that after we die in-story, God is free to flip back through the pages and review the parts when we were alive - which we'll re-experience the same way we did the first time, because that's all we are. (Also everything is predetermined and free will is a lie, but we already knew that.)

That theological would be self-consistent, and would solve the problem of evil (because we're just fictional characters so god doesn't need to be benevolent to us), but bears virtually no resemblance to any standard christian afterlife model.
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Old 05-24-2018, 01:24 AM
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So it goes

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It's just not necessarily our time, as we experience it on earth. Your description of a panorama and a reader's perspective on a book they're holding are good analogies.
This interpretation is basically straight-up Calvinism.
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The idea that god is experiencing his own time independent of time in our universe don't appear to be what truthseeker3 was talking about, however - they proposed that outside of time there "is no later".
In Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, aliens known as Tralfamadorians feel sorry for Earthlings who can only see in 3 dimensions. Tralfamadorians view the world in 4D: humans appear as long centipeeds with a baby at one end and (perhaps) an elderly person at the other. By analogy of course. So they are not only outside of Earthling time, they are outside of their own time.

I don't pretend to know Vonnegut's degree of seriousness. But I see that wiki has an article on four dimensionalism which captures the framework.
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That's a theological model that makes little sense to me, because then it would be impossible for God to have ever done anything - including creating the universe. If God doesn't experience time then either the universe always seemed to exist for it, in which case it didn't need creation, or it doesn't exist and that's just the way it is; nothing God can do about it because God can't do anything.
I don't think the Tralfamadorians see things this way. They experience time, but they can also see it all at once. But does that really make any sense? Beats me It's a mystery!


Anyway, under this scenario the Celestials place mixing bowls with coils attached to the heads of newly harvested souls and give them a good zap so they can view things correctly in 4D. Once they acquire this quickened understanding, all of them automatonically make the wise and correct choice eventually/immediately/pretty much the same thing.

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  #240  
Old 05-24-2018, 01:34 AM
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Joking aside, I do think the concept of Hopeful Universalism is theologically sound and consistent with mainline Christianity. No guarantees are made, but adherents believe that there is basis for hope that the Lord will work something out for all His children.


Though I still like the theology of Mandated Universalism: "We can do things the hard way or the easy way..."

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  #241  
Old 05-25-2018, 06:47 AM
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Being raised mormon, we were always told that the afterlife involved hanging around with God (well, the good afterlife anyway) and thus you'd be exactly as outside of time as God is. However I never interpreted the phrase "outside of time" as meaning that those outside of time don't experience time - that's kind of an absurd idea because without time no actions can take place and God is clearly described as doing things, so there you go: God experiences time.

It's just not necessarily our time, as we experience it on earth.
I think that's what I meant. The way I heard it described was that we experience the afterlife as similar to one of the magical moments in this life where we completely lose ourselves in it and time seems to stop. One author in particular described it as "one eternal now" which I (perhaps erroneously) interpreted to mean there is no later.

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Or perhaps the model is simpler, and more plausible - our universe is a book that God is reading, and we only have an "afterlife" in the sense that after we die in-story, God is free to flip back through the pages and review the parts when we were alive - which we'll re-experience the same way we did the first time, because that's all we are. (Also everything is predetermined and free will is a lie, but we already knew that.)
Here I'm going to disagree with the implication that free will doesn't exist. Knowing what someone is going to do isn't the same as making them do it; I know what's going to happen in Casablanca, but I don't make anybody get on that plane.
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:18 AM
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Here I'm going to disagree with the implication that free will doesn't exist. Knowing what someone is going to do isn't the same as making them do it; I know what's going to happen in Casablanca, but I don't make anybody get on that plane.
Free will and omnipotence are two different things. Just because characters in a book or movie don't do what you want them to do doesn't mean they have free will-They are still puppets to the person who writes and/or directs their lives.
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Old 05-25-2018, 12:38 PM
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I think that's what I meant. The way I heard it described was that we experience the afterlife as similar to one of the magical moments in this life where we completely lose ourselves in it and time seems to stop. One author in particular described it as "one eternal now" which I (perhaps erroneously) interpreted to mean there is no later.
So frozen in amber, but it's pleasant? We no longer think of anything or have thoughts (because thinking takes time), but we're simply locked into the static sensations of experiencing happiness?

Well, there are certainly worse ways to be preserved forever.

I'd still be entirely fine with annihilation though - it seems no worse than 'unthinking happiness forever'.

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Here I'm going to disagree with the implication that free will doesn't exist. Knowing what someone is going to do isn't the same as making them do it; I know what's going to happen in Casablanca, but I don't make anybody get on that plane.
Welllllll, this is highly debatable - and it's a debate I'd be entirely willing to have! I think that compatiblist free will is interesting, and even more entertaining is the futile effort to explain it to other people who don't believe in it! (Note: I don't think one can defend the idea that Ilsa and Laszlo had free will that allowed them to freely choose to get on that plane. But I'd be quite amused to see you try!)

So, fun discussion. But it would probably be a rather big digression from the current digression we're having.
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Old 05-25-2018, 05:39 PM
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Free will and omnipotence are two different things. Just because characters in a book or movie don't do what you want them to do doesn't mean they have free will-They are still puppets to the person who writes and/or directs their lives.
The problem of you knowing what they are going to do might or might not involve free will, but if they know what they are going to do then they clearly don't have any. It would be like being in a play where you have to speak the author's lines, and never ever get off stage.
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Old 05-25-2018, 06:14 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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The problem of you knowing what they are going to do might or might not involve free will, but if they know what they are going to do then they clearly don't have any. It would be like being in a play where you have to speak the author's lines, and never ever get off stage.
Are we actually going to have this discussion now?

There is a workable model for compatiblist free will that allows an agent to be perfectly predictable while still having free will. (Spoiler - it accomplishes this by defining "free will" in a way that others might find unintiuitive - people generally prefer not to define the term at all. And no, movie characters still wouldn't be considered to have free will.)

As noted, I will happily talk about this subject all day, however it remains a fact that this subject is only tangentially related to the subject of god's universalism. Whether humans have free will or not only really intrudes into that discussion by modifying how weird it is for God to be punishing people for things they couldn't help doing. An absence of free will can be used as an argument in favor of universalism being more moral (presuming you require God to be moral) because a universalist god wouldn't be punishing people for things they can't help - but it could alternatively be used to support an argument that a non-universalist God is morally correct to be filtering out inherently flawed merchandise.
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:53 PM
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I'm intrigued, but that does sound rather like another thread in its own right. If no one objects, I'll turn off the light.
  #247  
Old 05-27-2018, 03:51 PM
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Are we actually going to have this discussion now?

There is a workable model for compatiblist free will that allows an agent to be perfectly predictable while still having free will. (Spoiler - it accomplishes this by defining "free will" in a way that others might find unintiuitive - people generally prefer not to define the term at all. And no, movie characters still wouldn't be considered to have free will.)

As noted, I will happily talk about this subject all day, however it remains a fact that this subject is only tangentially related to the subject of god's universalism. Whether humans have free will or not only really intrudes into that discussion by modifying how weird it is for God to be punishing people for things they couldn't help doing. An absence of free will can be used as an argument in favor of universalism being more moral (presuming you require God to be moral) because a universalist god wouldn't be punishing people for things they can't help - but it could alternatively be used to support an argument that a non-universalist God is morally correct to be filtering out inherently flawed merchandise.
I didn't express an opinion on others predicting behavior, just a person predicting his or her own behavior. I've been through this movie before.
But we don't have to get into free will. Some people are born sociopaths, and some have almost unquenchable urges, and the question of whether these people are truly sinning is interesting. The secular legal system has a mental illness defense. In the old days you could blame demons - who do they blame now?
Which seems yet another argument for Universalism without getting into the free will quagmire.
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Old 05-27-2018, 04:15 PM
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Joking aside, I do think the concept of Hopeful Universalism is theologically sound and consistent with mainline Christianity. No guarantees are made, but adherents believe that there is basis for hope that the Lord will work something out for all His children.
..........except, again, for the verses in Scripture that clearly state that many will go to Hell.
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Old 05-27-2018, 06:14 PM
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..........except, again, for the verses in Scripture that clearly state that many will go to Hell.

Doesnít a bit in Scripture make clear that, if word from on high decrees the fate of some guy named Isaac, itís a good manís duty to ó well, to go through the motions down here, sure; but, in the end, thatís not really The Will Of God, because, hey, would that make sense? No, I know what was said; but who cares what was said? Didnít it all just turn out to be an act, a show, a put-on, a performance?
  #250  
Old 05-28-2018, 06:46 PM
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..........except, again, for the verses in Scripture that clearly state that many will go to Hell.
Wiki: "Believers in universal reconciliation may support the view that while there may be a real "Hell" of some kind, it is neither a place of endless suffering nor a place where the spirits of human beings are ultimately 'annihilated' after enduring the just amount of divine retribution."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_reconciliation

I assume advocates make hell into a sort of purgatory. I'm not claiming that universal reconciliation is the only valid interpretation of course, nor that it is even a majority view. I will opine that theologically I find watered down theories of the afterlife (e.g. "Hopeful") more attractive as they are more agnostic and less arrogant.
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