Searching for a Better God

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One hidden assumption of Pascal's Wager is that the cost of worship is in fact infinitely small in some way. While this seems to be the case for limited human activities done in our mortal existence such as praying or church attendance, some religions in fact demand nontrivial efforts e. This applies most notably to the Judeo-Christian religion; if the Book of Revelation is to be believed, once the elect actually ends up in Heaven, they will be brainwashed to worship the creator for eternity and lose a part of their identity, never to be regained.

If you think that this would still be an axiomatically acceptable trade-off, ask how many people would be willing to trade an immortal existence of hedonism and pleasure in The Matrix if it meant forever being shielded from the truth. The number of people claiming that this is not a fair trade will be non-zero. Furthermore, if one believes that there is nothing after death, then instead of infinite gains and losses, an "insignificant" gain or loss in life is not at all insignificant; since it would affect the only thing one ever experiences, it instead becomes a maximum gain or loss.

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Thus, a truly accurate Pascal's Wager would look like this:. Because the consequences for belief are maximized, it is important to consider the probability of the existence of a god, thus disproving Pascal's Wager. Both wagers state that what one believes, and how one should act in life, can be determined irrespective of whether God exists by comparing the consequences of different outcomes — essentially risk management. However, they differ in their theological assumptions and thus conclude differently.

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The AA Wager takes a similar form to Pascal's Wager in that it compares outcomes based on how one acts in life. However, it differs in its theological assumptions; namely it assumes that God doesn't hold blind belief as the important factor in deciding who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.

Although there is no exact and official wording, the Agnostic Atheism Wager as laid below is attributed to the blog An Agnostic Atheist. The wager states:. Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe, when there is a significant lack of evidence of any one god's existence.

Unlike Pascal's Wager, which is an argument for a belief in God, the Atheist Agnostic Wager in this form isn't specifically an argument for atheism. It's no more than a post facto justification of non-belief, particularly if threatened with fire, brimstone and eternal damnation by an evangelist. The fact that it isn't strictly a logical pro-atheism argument isn't usually a problem, as the AA Wager is an argument for how one should behave and is just a rebuttal and response to Pascal's Wager.

It is often expanded upon from this form in several ways. One addition is to state that a god that would hold judgement against a good person purely on the basis of whether or not the person believes in or worships them, rather than on being a good person, would not actually be a god worth worshiping, and that perhaps living in Heaven with such a creature would be worse than any hell. A further extension takes into account the potential losses of believing in God if he doesn't actually exist — travelling to church, praying, following moral dictates that may be ethically questionable, and generally wasting time.

With this expansion it could be considered as an argument for atheism, but isn't an especially strong one as the cost-benefit of religious practice, assuming God does not exist, is very subjective. A tabulated form of Pascal's Wager can be laid out below. As can be seen, the best outcomes are associated with believing in God. The Agnostic Atheism Wager compares to this by adding an extra layer regarding behaviour of the individual and how God would take this into account, rather than just the blind belief of the individual.

As mentioned above, this is considered by proponents of the AA Wager as a more justified theological assumption. So the AA Wager proposes that the most positive outcomes are associated with behaviour, and are independent of belief as Pascal proposed. Assuming belief, in the event of God's non-existence, is waste of time the most favoured option is to be good and not believe.

Although the theological assumption that God would judge according to actions rather than belief is favourable to both atheists and believers alike, and also more in line with descriptions of God as a good character, it is still an assumption. Therefore, the AA Wager falls down should this assumption turn out false, but only in the event that God exists — and most real evidence suggests otherwise, which is the point. Like Pascal's proposal, the AA Wager suffers from the fact that there are multiple religions. Pascal's because you would have to pick the "right" religion to believe in and the Atheist Agnostic's because different religions and interpretations of God can consider different things to be "good".

God Is Looking for Men to Change the World

In some religions merely spreading the word of that religion is a good act in itself, which is why Mother Teresa is considered a saint when she never actually aided anyone, really. One particular Christian doctrine, sola fide , literally states that salvation comes "by faith alone" and is the distinguishing mark of Protestant belief — though as before, proponents of the AA wager would simply state that this makes God a complete dick and not worth worshipping as a good being.

In a more objective scope, both the AA and Pascal's wagers suffer from giving the Judeo-Christian concept of God far too much privilege, and ignore the potential for other religions whether they are practised on Earth or not to be the real thing. Although this can be excused in the case of the AA Wager because it is a direct response to Pascal's, this makes neither of them particularly comprehensive of all potential gods.

Because of this, to follow the AA Wager one would need to deal with trying to find the good way to live between many different, often conflicting, definitions of what it means to be good in the eyes of God — and that would include a God that sees belief as the one and only factor of judgement. This does tend to point out the stupidity of religious dogma , and lead one to a secular attempt to determine "how we should live".

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The AA Wager's focus on behavior rather than belief can be expanded upon to make it completely independent of God. Even if it doesn't get you into heaven, being a good person tends to make others like you more, and perhaps even inspire them to do the same. These factors are confined to the living world, which is guaranteed, and have nothing to do with the afterlife, which is only a small probability.

Since this life is certainly real for certain values of real and improving the circumstances in this life makes for a guaranteed improvement, it is favourable to be a good person for that reason alone than for a reason that is only a mild possibility. This is the basis of the "be good for goodness sake" campaign endorsed by various humanist groups.

In short, it presents a way of dealing with uncertainty by assessing not probability but only the magnitude of potential gains against losses. In the " global warming wager", [7] the comparison is made between trying to help the environment and not helping the environment. Regardless of whether you believe global warming is a scam or hoax and regardless of whether you're right , the best outcome is still to protect the environment — a.

In the Wager, believing in God produces the larger gain whereas not believing produces the greater losses. This principle of comparing potential gains and losses is a way of ensuring against black swan like events "fragility" and "anti-fragility" according to Black Swan author Nassim Taleb particularly in economics. Such an event would be a greater loss than if you spread your funds over many investments where a single failure is not devastating but your chances of success are slightly increased.

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The actual probabilities are irrelevant; it is simply a way of shoring yourself up against the off-chance that you're unlucky. The question asks which route avoids the worst possible outcomes. The same thinking lies behind solutions to the prisoner's dilemma. Viewing unknown events through the eyes of Pascal's Wager eliminates the need to understand the probabilities behind events because decisions can be made by maximizing potential benefits and minimizing the harms.

Indeed, this is the very point of the Wager if it is stripped of its theological implications. Like most arguments for the existence of God, it seems more about reassuring existing believers than converting non-believers.

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This is because in order to convince a non-believer, a theological argument must both prove that the god it argues for is the One True God and disprove all other possibilities. People lacking a belief can see the potential for multiple gods existing, in fact an infinite number, but believers tend to be constrained by an existing view that either their god exists, or no god does. Only in this latter case does the reasoning behind Pascal's Wager make any sense. Jump to: navigation , search. Were you there?

See the main article on this topic: Problem of evil. It is only in the highest and most sacred things that he allows himself to do so. In reality these are only attempts at pretending to oneself or to other people that one is still firmly attached to religion, when one has long since cut oneself loose from it. See the main article on this topic: Blind faith. You gave me a brain to think skeptically and I used it accordingly. You gave me the capacity to reason and I applied it to all claims, including that of your existence.

You gave me a moral sense and I felt the pangs of guilt and the joys of pride for the bad and good things I chose to do. I tried to do unto others as I would have them do unto me, and although I fell far short of this ideal far too many times, I tried to apply your foundational principle whenever I could. Whatever the nature of your immortal and infinite spiritual essence actually is, as a mortal finite corporeal being I cannot possibly fathom it despite my best efforts, and so do with me what you will.

At least until all of the human sinners showed up and started wrecking the place with their whining. Then again, John Milton was a dyed-in-the-wool Puritan , so this might have been pretty horrific to him personally. Namespaces Page Talk. Views Read Edit Fossil record. Support Donate. Community Saloon bar To do list What is going on? Social media Twitter Facebook Discord Reddit. It fits our cultural narrative because people think perfection is synonymous with success.

Worshipping the false god of perfection denigrates the fact that mere excellence not only exists, but also thrives, in many places and at many levels.

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Hitting over 0. Simply ask them which vaccines they approve of. I believe them, and I acknowledge that some vaccines are not as effective as we hoped they could be. However, I part company with them because I know our current vaccines, though not perfect, provide strong protection against a plethora of infectious agents that can sicken and even kill us.

I also know that a world that was suddenly devoid of vaccines would be quickly overwhelmed by a global tsunami of suffering and death. I vaccinate because I want no part in making infectious diseases great again. Vaccine opponents peddle fear.

These anecdotal stories are offered up as proof that vaccines are harmful, though medical records backing up such claims are seldom provided. In fact, these narratives stand in direct contradiction of epidemiological data obtained by studying hundreds of millions of vaccinated people that show vaccines are both safe and highly effective. I suspect that a number of the illnesses presented in the anti-vaccine videos are actually due to some of the thousands of rare diseases , many of which are difficult to diagnose.

Symptoms of many of these disorders first appear at the same ages that kids are getting the majority of their childhood vaccinations. Effective treatments for these diseases, sadly, lag our ability to find out exactly what causes them. While the basis of these three disorders has been identified at the molecular level, a majority of rare diseases have no known causes. Most of these illnesses are genetic in nature and are actually present though not manifest at birth; vaccines could not cause them.

Determining the genetic underpinnings of these other rare diseases in likely to progress rapidly with the recent advent of affordable genomic sequencing technologies. Autism is also a genetic disease ; vaccines do not cause it. Those who are opposed to vaccines have somehow failed to locate the much larger repository of stories about people whose lives were devastated, or even ended, by infectious diseases. The medical literature is full of detailed statistics about illness and death from contagious pathogens, broken down by year and by state.

Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead. Careful reading of this volume demands frequent pauses for reflection on the inner-canonical connections that Dr Blackburn unpacks with stimulating verve. I am quite certain that most who work their way through this volume will never be able to read Exodus in the same way they did before doing so—and that is high praise. Not only does the text of Exodus come alive in a new way, but the God of whom it speaks becomes more clearly known.

To this end, Blackburn truly guides his readers to the missionary heart of Exodus. Series preface Author's preface 1.

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Introduction Concerning biblical mission Purpose and approach 2. Training in the wilderness Exodus —18 The problem: the significance of the wilderness Exegesis of the wilderness section Conclusion: the theological function of the wilderness section 4. The law and the mission of God Exodus 19—24 The problem: law, gospel and the generosity of God You shall be holy The law and the goodness of God Conclusion: law and gospel in Exodus 5.

The tabernacle instructions Exodus 25—31 Problems with tabernacle interpretation The theology of the tabernacle 6.

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