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RE: [existlist] certainty of meaning

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  • Eduard Alf
    Tim, It is a nice way of saying things, but for whom is it said; the Germans, the two who died instantly, the youth fought against the terror of death, the
    Message 1 of 58 , Aug 2, 2001
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      Tim,

      It is a nice way of saying things, but for whom is
      it said; the Germans, the two who died instantly,
      the youth fought against the terror of death, the
      Jewish society total, for the rest of us, etc.?

      I have the feeling it I said for those who stood
      by and watched. In effect, a reflection of
      themselves, who were all too human and sought
      after their own survive instead of doing
      something. "there but for the grace of god, go
      I".

      eduard

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Timothy R. Westerhof
      [mailto:twesterh@...]
      Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2001 12:09 AM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [existlist] certainty of meaning


      >let's consider the victims of the holocaust. i'm
      sure they must have prayed
      very >desperately for their survival from the
      bullets, bayonets and gas
      chambers of the nazi
      >concentration camps all over europe, & yet the
      whole load of them, counting
      by the >millions, was sent like herds of lambs to
      be slaughtered in such
      cold, even 'efficient' >manner. where is meaning
      and god in that situation?

      From Ravi Zacharias's book "Cries of the Heart":

      "Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize winner and Jewish
      survivor of the Holocaust, tells
      of the time when he was in a concentration camp
      and was compelled, along
      with a few others, to witness the hanging of two
      Jewish men and one Jewish
      boy. The two men died instantly, but the dying of
      the young lad for some
      reason became protracted as he struggled for half
      an hour on the gallows.

      Somebody behind Wiesel was heard to mutter, "Where
      is God? Where is He?"
      Then the voice ground out the anguish again,
      "Where is He?"

      Wiesel also felt the question irrepressibly
      springing from within him:
      "Where is God? Where is He?"

      Then he heard a voice softly within him saying,
      "He is hanging there on the
      gallows."

      Author Dinnis Ngien, in his article "The God Who
      Suffers," added a footnote
      to that story. He quoted theologian Jurgen
      Moltmann saying that any other
      answer would be blasphemy."

      Regards,

      trw.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2001 9:51 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [existlist] certainty of meaning

      >>>Since there is no proof that
      god exists [and the thought experiment would
      indicate that he/she/it does not exist], then it
      really does not matter what you believe. The sole
      criteria by which to measure the worth of a belief
      is that "it floats your boat". There is no
      certainty of meaning, so you might as well accept
      the fact and get on with things.<<<

      u seems to be equating god's existence with man's
      survival. your one & only
      criteria for worth of belief is whether the belief
      floats yr boat - that
      seems to be the finale of your thought experiment,
      because all along, u are
      already assuming that your pt of view is the sole
      criteria. it is eduard's
      criteria, and if there is a god he might think
      eduard is a pompous ego of a
      man. now, if u assume that there is already no god
      in the first place, then
      i'm afraid yr whole thought experiment is begging
      the question; if there is
      a god already, then it simply means eduard's
      'superior' intellect fails to
      understand/fathom his plan for mankind. remember,
      i am no believer, i'm just
      poking at your blindspots even as i'm atheist.
      whether there is god or not
      cannot be deduced by the thought experiment as u
      envisaged. don't talk about
      aliens and ufo and martians, there is no need to,
      for history has given us
      concrete examples enough already. let's consider
      the victims of the
      holocaust. i'm sure they must have prayed very
      desperately for their
      survival from the bullets, bayonets and gas
      chambers of the nazi
      concentration camps all over europe, & yet the
      whole load of them, counting
      by the millions, was sent like herds of lambs to
      be slaughtered in such
      cold, even 'efficient' manner. where is meaning
      and god in that situation?
      it is a situation that was more absurd than a
      atomic bomb were to drop on
      them in my opinion, for atomic bombs are faceless
      in a sense, & here u had
      humans doing such atocities to another humans face
      to face. their boats sank
      like nothing ever before, the entire race was
      almost wiped out. some of
      them, following eduard's style of thinking &
      criteria, has decided that god
      does not exist; or had existed but dead. but some
      looked at it in a
      different way, way that is perhaps not human but
      presuppose a deep faith in
      god. perhaps in their persecution they might have
      sensed god's presence,
      they might not have been able to get the answer
      the way eduard's style of
      thinking demands but god was real nonetheless to
      them, which is all that
      matter, at least to them; in these people they do
      not necessarily demand
      answers the way they want it, they allow god to
      tell them in his time and
      way. the missionaries got killed sometimes, and do
      they therefore conclude
      god does not exist? eduard set a standard/criteria
      and expect god to follow
      to prove he exist (if he exist); that is a pompous
      man, & if god were to
      exist, he may not necessarily has to buy it, and
      our dear intellect eduard
      with his 'brillant' thought experiment conclude
      therefore god does not exist
      independently of us. and religious experiences may
      have more significance
      than eduard is able to realise. eduard's thought
      experiment show not so much
      that god does not exist, but eduard's limitation
      in appreciating the ways of
      god if he exist. at the end of the day, god's
      existence is not something
      man's intellect is able to handle, and eduard,
      move on with life instead of
      cooking up more thought experiments concerning
      god. life will be more
      meaningful then at least if one does not have
      certainty of meaning. one
      thing is sure by this time: the concept of faith
      is totally alien in
      eduard's superior intellect.

      this is interesting.

      james.







      From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
      Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      Subject: RE: [existlist] certainty of meaning
      Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001 18:36:44 -0400

      hi james,

      You have given a lot of examples in your reply.
      Such as examples of people who have "religious"
      experiences at church. But this does not get up
      further along in the thought experiment.

      What I am trying to get at is whether one could
      state with some validity whether there is a god
      separate from the awareness of humans. And in
      this I have used as a definition the god
      perspective of Christianity. I am trying to stay
      away from defining "god" in the sense of universal
      mechanism. For if we were to look at such a
      mechanistic god, then it takes us away from a
      divine concern for the human condition. A concern
      which would lead to some kind of intervention such
      as the arrival of a messiah.

      Perhaps I have not been too clear in my thought
      experiment. Lets go a step further and create a
      third plane of reference. On this plane [it can
      be located anywhere] stands an alien who has a
      singular ability to make observations. These are
      true "Spoke-like" observations without any
      influence from outside.

      Lets now go to your case of the people in church
      "with tears flowing as they 'worshipped'". An
      atomic bomb will be dropped on them in 3 seconds.
      I would suspect that the alien observer would see
      only a one sided event. The people on their plane
      of reference, and the "projection" of their
      religious feeling upon a screen which is still
      within their plane of reference. The second plane
      of reference which is supposed to be that of the
      god, remains empty. The alien is not able to see
      anything happening on this second plane. When the
      3 seconds go by and all the people are killed by
      the atomic bomb, this first plane also becomes
      empty, along with its projection screen. No
      change occurs on the second plane which is that
      supposed to be the residence of the god.

      I grant that you can find any number of people who
      have had a religious experience, but the result of
      the thought experiment is the same. That there is
      no god in the convention sense.

      Now if one is an existentialist and there is a
      need for choices, one can make whatever choices
      are necessary to survive. And this may involve the
      creation of a god. Since there is no proof that
      god exists [and the thought experiment would
      indicate that he/she/it does not exist], then it
      really does not matter what you believe. The sole
      criteria by which to measure the worth of a belief
      is that "it floats your boat". There is no
      certainty of meaning, so you might as well accept
      the fact and get on with things.

      eduard



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    • C. S. Wyatt
      No one knows anything beyond what he or she experiences. All else is faith and / or bias. As far as I can tell, everything is a matter of meaning and intent.
      Message 58 of 58 , Aug 2, 2001
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        No one "knows" anything beyond what he or she experiences. All else is faith
        and / or bias.

        As far as I can tell, everything is a matter of meaning and intent. I have a
        great deal of faith that there are things greater and more important than
        mankind, though I dare not try to name that which is above man. (My Judaic
        bias, with some pagan "universe" worship.)

        From my web site:

        Logic has too many definitions to use the term without referencing the
        logical model being utilized in analysis. I tend to favor phenomenological,
        mathematical, or scientific logic. These conflict with other models due to
        their reliance upon individual proofs -- the proofs human beings can
        understand. In other words, what I cannot prove to myself, I cannot accept
        on a logical basis -- but I can accept on faith.

        Faith is important to me and most other humans. Faith and logic are, at
        least using the definitions utilized in modern philosophy, at odds but not
        exclusive: eventually I might prove those concepts in which I have faith.
        Faith is "accepting as fact that which cannot be mathematically or
        scientifically proven beyond all doubt." Notice the phrase "all doubt" and
        its importance.

        Ethics: (1) The study and philosophy of human conduct with emphasis on the
        determination of right and wrong. (2) A system of morals.

        Moral: (1) Based on probability; generalized human behavior. (2) Conforming
        to group standards of conduct.

        Justice: (1) The rendering of what is due or merited. (2) Being impartial.
        (3) Honest or equitable.

        Truth: (1) Conformity to requirements. (2) Faith in a statement's logic. (3)
        Conforming to a system of rules.

        - C. S.
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