Eternity is quite a long time

Half-formed posts, inchoate philosophies, and the germs of deep thought.

Eternity is quite a long time

Postby derleydoo » Thu Sep 24, 2020 11:22 am

This post was prompted by something Mister Kropotkin said in his excellent, long-running investigation. It got me to thinking: How often have you heard it said…. “If there is a God how come He lets little children die?” Or, if there is a God… how come, blah, blah, blah?

Little children dying of cancer. Can you imagine the horror of such a situation for a parent? To watch one’s child suffer with a terminal illness? Every minute must seem like an hour, every hour seems like a day, every day seems like a month, every month seems like a year, on and on it goes with no respite from the misery – how absolutely horrendous! How on Earth could a loving God be so cruel? No, it stands to reason, there is no such thing as God. No such thing as a Creative Spirit, no caring Mother Nature – no entity would inflict such calumnies upon His/Her/It’s offspring.

Unless, of course, we attempt to see things from the point of view of a caring, beneficent, mother nature-type creative, omniscient spirit god-like figure. An eternal – here for the long ride – operator? Then, of course, in terms of eternity, the cancer sufferer suffers for… click your thumb and your finger – gone, just like that. The human equivalent of a grazed knee, healed before you know it.

All of this hinges upon there being a God – creator – great spirit – mother nature-type entity, and us being blessed with eternal-like attributes. Then, of course it is not at all cruel, merely an opportunity to better get to know ourselves. Just a thought.
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:53 pm

just came across this....

excellent post, Derely....

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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Meno_ » Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:52 pm

Excellent post yeah, but we mere humans oft forget that God is of the spirit and not of the body. If He exists, that is. Or if He is a She.
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Godale » Thu Sep 24, 2020 9:41 pm

In my opinion the world seems to run on statistics rules which means that some people will be very lucky and also very unlucky in terms of state for an accepted period of time, but for most of us we'll feel somewhere in the middle.

- Hearing about an unlucky person can make a person who feels unlucky, feel lucky.

- Hearing about a very lucky person can make a person who normally feels lucky, feel less lucky.

Either can be used to feel appreciation for what we have, or motivation to strive for more, respectively.

A tiny droplet of water in the ocean may feel like life is meaningless and boring, only to realize that at least they aren't a droplet suspended in a compound of whale diarrhea, and still strive to be the droplet silkily streaming off of a beautiful model. Whether they become either is immaterial. Now, the droplet's life isn't boring, and may even have something approximating "meaning."

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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Ierrellus » Mon Sep 28, 2020 12:31 pm

It is only because we are immersed in time that we could hold God culpable for the death of a child. A way of seeing the logical error in blaming the temporal God for the sufferings of humans is to consider reward and punishment as situations in an afterlife. Nothing a human could do in the fly speck of human existence merits an eternity of anything. Timewise, reward and punishment in an afterlife are quid pro quo from a temporal standpoint. Reward, then, is given by grace and punishment is not the way of a loving God.
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby iambiguous » Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:51 pm

Ierrellus wrote: It is only because we are immersed in time that we could hold God culpable for the death of a child. A way of seeing the logical error in blaming the temporal God for the sufferings of humans is to consider reward and punishment as situations in an afterlife.


Okay, let's discuss this in regard to the death of an actual child: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brain-eati ... son-texas/

How is an omnipotent God not responsible for the death of this boy? And why on Earth would a loving, just and merciful God bring into existence a "brain eating amoeba?" Or a covid-19 virus? Or Ebola or HIV?

And it seems reasonable to note that the overwhelming preponderance of religious denominations do make distinctions between behaviors to be rewarded and behaviors to be punished. The very existence of their God revolves around one or another rendition of Commandments. And that makes sense because without a transcending font able to judge human behavior, who among us mere mortals gets to make the distinction between "this is good" and "this is bad"?

What does God being "temporal" have to do with any of this? What do you mean by that?

Ierrellus wrote: Nothing a human could do in the fly speck of human existence merits an eternity of anything. Timewise, reward and punishment in an afterlife are quid pro quo from a temporal standpoint. Reward, then, is given by grace and punishment is not the way of a loving God.


How do you know this? Isn't this basically a reflection of the "best of all possible Gods" that you have "thought up"? And though any particular human existence is surely a fly speck in the context of all there is, your God seems to react to all human behaviors as though nothing that anyone does [all the way up to Hitler] is deemed a punishable offense.

I'm just curious as to how you came to work all of this out in your head. And how you are able to reconcile this loving God with the world that we actually live in today. I don't get your reasoning.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Ierrellus » Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:27 pm

For anyone who uses reason, eternal punishment does not fit a temporal crime, not even for Hitler. Neither would a loving God kill a child. That God did it in regard to the causes of human suffering is OT theology and excuses humans of their responsibilities toward each other. Jesus revised the OT concept of a wrathful God. Progressive Christianity declares as much. Read something other than conservative theology. Your response here is right out of the evangelical conservative handbook.
I will not debate you, Iamb, because you do not even see the God experience as anything other than a mental contrivance.
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Ierrellus » Tue Sep 29, 2020 12:50 pm

"We must love one another or die." W.H.Auden
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:05 pm

Ierrellus wrote:For anyone who uses reason, eternal punishment does not fit a temporal crime, not even for Hitler. Neither would a loving God kill a child. That God did it in regard to the causes of human suffering is OT theology and excuses humans of their responsibilities toward each other. Jesus revised the OT concept of a wrathful God. Progressive Christianity declares as much. Read something other than conservative theology. Your response here is right out of the evangelical conservative handbook.
I will not debate you, Iamb, because you do not even see the God experience as anything other than a mental contrivance.


I don't doubt for a moment that you believe all of this. Just as I do doubt very much that you have any real capaciity to demonstrate that other "reasonable" men and women ought to believe it too.

When you insist that "anyone who uses reason" will think this way instead of that way, what you mean [in my view] is "any reasonable person will think like I do".

An objectivist. Only, in regard to morality here and now and the fate of "I" there and then, one with a rendition of God and religion that is completely at odds with that of all the major religious denominations around the globe.

But: They are all wrong because, in not thinking like you do here, they are not being "reasonable".

Instead, what always fascinates me about spiritual paths, value judgments and the part after we die is not what anyone professes to believe "here and now" about them, but how their life actually unfolded in sustaining experiences that brought it all about. The "sojourn" I encompassed in regard to my own moral, political and religious trek here: https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 1&t=194382

That's less a debate than a discussion regarding the manner in which human identity is shaped and molded existentially out in a particular world understood in a particular way. There's mine and there's yours.

And that either interest you in a philosophy forum or it doesn't.

After all, when it comes to the part after we die, eternity really is "quite a long time" to be nothing at all but mindless matter on its way back to being "star stuff".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Ierrellus » Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:51 pm

So, Iamb, you would limit the scope of progressive Christianity to what my feeble mind could tell you when there are so many literate, reasonable works on the subject. Spong-- for one such creative writer. Your take is so artfully limited. Many Christians whose lives were made miserable by fundamentalist dogma now experience hope. Your philosophy does not offer that. BTW, the reclamation is about lives, not some return to star stuff as you would ridicule it in your bleak assessment of after death possibilities.
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 29, 2020 7:34 pm

Ierrellus wrote: So, Iamb, you would limit the scope of progressive Christianity to what my feeble mind could tell you when there are so many literate, reasonable works on the subject.


No, I would ask progressive Christians to examine the manner in which I believe we come to acquire our moral, political and spiritual values: as an existential "self" rooted in dasein rooted in particular historical, cultural and circumstantial contexts. Re the points I raise in my signature threads.

How is this not in fact the case for you?

Also, my interest in closing the gap between what someone professes to believe about God and religion and the extent to which they are able to demonstrate that it is in fact reasonable to believe what they do. How they demonstrate this even to themselves.

Finally, a more in depth examination of theodicy.

And in no way am I calling you or any progressive Christians "feeble minded". Instead, as I noted above:

[This is] less a debate than a discussion regarding the manner in which human identity is shaped and molded existentially out in a particular world understood in a particular way. There's mine and there's yours.

And that either interest you in a philosophy forum or it doesn't.


Thus John Shelby Spong would either go there himself with me or he wouldn't.

Ierrellus wrote: Your take is so artfully limited. Many Christians whose lives were made miserable by fundamentalist dogma now experience hope. Your philosophy does not offer that. BTW, the reclamation is about lives, not some return to star stuff as you would ridicule it in your bleak assessment of after death possibilities.


My take? In regard to what?

Let's focus in on a particular context like abortion, human sexuality, the role of government, animal rights, gun ownership, social and economic justice, war and peace etc., and explore the "take" of progressive Christians. Why their moral narrative and not the many, many other spiritual paths available to us?

And "my philosophy" does not revolve around what it gives me in terms of emotional and psychological sustenance. Instead, it revolves around what seems reasonable to me to believe. Here and now. Especially when examining this in a philosophy forum.

And, yes, as a polemicist I am wont to employ ridicule from time to time. But I can assure you that I would readily dispense with it in a discussion in which all are intent on discussing progressive Christianity intelligently and civilly.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby WendyDarling » Tue Sep 29, 2020 7:38 pm

Derleydoo wrote
Then, of course it is not at all cruel, merely an opportunity to better get to know ourselves.


Exactly what spiritual evolutionary existence is an eternity of getting to know oneself and acting accordingly through each rebirth of a lifetime. This topic brought me to the idea of guilt and self-forgiveness which I cannot do yet. Perhaps the biblical interpretation of Hell is too literal since it is said that we also make our own Hell. If we judge ourselves at the end of each lifetime when our conscious energy body returns to the eternal dimension where we exist without an actual physical body, then we may ultimately be sending ourselves to Hell in our next lifetime so we can learn, overcome, and grow. But that leads me to the question, are we slaves of existence with no respite, no end in sight, the oven timer never rings and we're done like a cake?
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Dan~ » Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:31 pm

If I was God all of a sudden,
one of the first things id try to do is work out a way to reduce suffering.
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Ierrellus » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:23 pm

Dan~ wrote:If I was God all of a sudden,
one of the first things id try to do is work out a way to reduce suffering.

Eastern philosophers have come up with ways to avoid suffering. Most of them have to do with getting rid of ego attachments. Living in the here and now and recognizing one's interdependence in all that exists is a good start.
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Ierrellus » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:32 pm

Iamb, No need to remind me that we are in a philosophy forum. I might remind you that this is the Sandbox, not the Debate chamber. I will not do your homework for you and explain Progressive Christianity. Did you even read the eight points? The real problem I have discussing things with you is that your take on things leaves no room for hope. Remember the sign over the gates of hell in Dante's "Inferno"? In case you haven't read it the sign goes "abandon hope all ye who enter here."
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby iambiguous » Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:28 pm

Ierrellus wrote:
Dan~ wrote:If I was God all of a sudden,
one of the first things id try to do is work out a way to reduce suffering.

Eastern philosophers have come up with ways to avoid suffering. Most of them have to do with getting rid of ego attachments. Living in the here and now and recognizing one's interdependence in all that exists is a good start.


How and why do we suffer?

There are many reasons: through accidents, through diseases, through natural disasters, through wars, through social, political and economic reactions to conflicting goods.

In some cases, we bring it upon ourselves. In other cases, it is brought to us -- imposed on us -- by others. Sometimes we have options to prevent it, other times things are completely beyond our control.

Some argue that much of the suffering we endure is embedded in a global economy in which a tiny fraction of the world's population owns and operates the means of production generating vast amounts of wealth and power for themselves. At the expense of the "toiling masses" that live from paycheck to paycheck. Or who barely subsist at all from day to day. And thus that the only way to end or to minimize this suffering is to organize politically and rebel against "the system" that sustains it.

But even if humankind were able to create a political economy that sustained the least amount of suffering for the least amount of people, there are still the parts embedded in disease and in natural disasters.

How is this not attributed to either the God of Western denominations or the "universe" of some Eastern paths?

Now, some in the West have argued here that 1] God is all loving but not all powerful or 2] he is both but we must subsume things like covid-19 and natural disasters in His "mysterious ways". And, again, all that is needed here is to believe it.

As for Eastern denominations like Buddhism...you tell me.

And "recognizing our interdependence" in regard to what set of circumstances, in which people on both sides of any well-known moral conflagration, sincerely believe their own political agendas are most in sync with the one true spiritual pathway. Or, if there is an ecumenical, or a most progressive alternative, how would that be described in regard to things like abortion or gun ownership or all the controversies that swirl around human sexuality.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby iambiguous » Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:56 pm

Ierrellus wrote: Iamb, No need to remind me that we are in a philosophy forum. I might remind you that this is the Sandbox, not the Debate chamber.


I said nothing about a debate. I suggested that we "focus in on a particular context like abortion, human sexuality, the role of government, animal rights, gun ownership, social and economic justice, war and peace etc., and explore the 'take' of progressive Christians." And I suggested that we engage in "an intelligent and civil discussion" about it.

Ierrellus wrote: I will not do your homework for you and explain Progressive Christianity. Did you even read the eight points?


Yes, I did. And how are they not basically "general description intellectual/spiritual contraptions" that do not address the particular contexts I proposed above. How might Jesus have "walked in this world with radical compassion, inclusion, and bravery to confront and positively change the injustices we experience as well as those we see others experiencing", in regard to the conflicting goods around the globe that most rend us?

Ierrellus wrote: The real problem I have discussing things with you is that your take on things leaves no room for hope. Remember the sign over the gates of hell in Dante's "Inferno"? In case you haven't read it the sign goes "abandon hope all ye who enter here."


Yes, if you attempt to grapple with "I" out in the world today, such that your only goal is to attain and then sustain hope, then you are far more likely to think as you do than as "I" do. You are able to think yourself into believing that there are progressives behaviors embodied in the mantra "what would Jesus do?". And that whether you embody them yourself or not, no true God would ever punish anyone given our "temporal existence".

But I still see this as but one of hundreds of assumptions embedded in hundreds of spiritual pathways, none of which have of late been able to actually demonstrate why all rational and virtuous men and women should choose their own.

And, believe me, given my own grim assumptions that my own existence is essentially meaningless and en route to oblivion, you won't find many who want to believe that hope is possible more than I do.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Ierrellus » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:39 pm

Iamb, do you still believe that any take on progressive religion other than yours is a mental contrivance? If so, we have evolved into such a mindset. It must matter. Our evolution contains an evolving idea of what God is. Do we go forward or devolve into the God is to blame for suffering, hence does not exist, 20th century beliefs? Dasein, conflicting goods and worry over an afterlife do not amount to the sum total of human endeavors. There is Dasein as the "isness" experienced in presence. There are cooperative goods. And there is religion that does not cater to the "I"s notions of afterlife. The future cries for hope in change since as is does not work anymore.
I feel we have usurped this thread with a stalemate of ideological convictions in conflict.
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby iambiguous » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:35 pm

Ierrellus wrote: Iamb, do you still believe that any take on progressive religion other than yours is a mental contrivance?


First of all, you refuse to take your own mental assumptions regarding progressive Christianity and note why all reasonable and virtuous human beings ought to emulate what progressive Christians insist that Jesus would do...in regard to one of many conflicting goods that have rent the species for the last 2,000 years.

And my point revolves around the distinction between any "mental contrivance" regarding progressive Christianity and Evangelism, and the extent to which what one believes "in their head" about them is able to be wholly demonstrated as in fact true for all reasonable and virtuous human beings.

Ierrellus wrote: Our evolution contains an evolving idea of what God is.


The evolution of biological life on planet Earth has resulted in a life form with a brain configured into a mind configured into a self-conscious "I" able to ponder why anything exists at all. And why this existence and not another? The idea of God here is certainly one possible [and for others plausible] explanation. And I would certainly not argue that is not a possibility.

But: Where is the substantive and substantial proof that not only does a God, the God exist, but that it is your own progressive Christian God and not all of the hundreds and hundreds of others that have been "thought up" over the centuries.

And then the part about theodicy.

Instead, you'll note something like this:

Ierrellus wrote: Do we go forward or devolve into the God is to blame for suffering, hence does not exist, 20th century beliefs? Dasein, conflicting goods and worry over an afterlife do not amount to the sum total of human endeavors. There is Dasein as the "isness" experienced in presence. There are cooperative goods. And there is religion that does not cater to the "I"s notions of afterlife. The future cries for hope in change since as is does not work anymore.


Just another abstract intellectual/spiritual contraption from my frame of mind. None of the words take aim at a particular set of circumstances that most of us here are likely to be familiar with.

Ghastly human suffering does exist. As noted in the OP. And as explored by myself above.

And there are many, many, many spiritual and secular pathways embraced by many people who believe that "[t]he future cries for hope in change since [the present] does not work anymore".

But let me assure you that it is their own pathway they will plead for.

And my point is only to suggest here that many of them do become authoritarian objectivists. They become convinced that only their on take of the present and the future reflects the optimal path. Or, in fact, the only reasonable and virtuous path of all.

The rest, as they say, being history.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Ecmandu » Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:12 pm

Iambiguous,

I’m going to put this to you very simply:

If EVERY POSSIBLE thought is a ‘contrivance’... that’s oblivion. But we’re all still here.
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Re: Eternity is quite a long time

Postby Ierrellus » Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:54 pm

Godale wrote:In my opinion the world seems to run on statistics rules which means that some people will be very lucky and also very unlucky in terms of state for an accepted period of time, but for most of us we'll feel somewhere in the middle.

- Hearing about an unlucky person can make a person who feels unlucky, feel lucky.

- Hearing about a very lucky person can make a person who normally feels lucky, feel less lucky.

Either can be used to feel appreciation for what we have, or motivation to strive for more, respectively.

A tiny droplet of water in the ocean may feel like life is meaningless and boring, only to realize that at least they aren't a droplet suspended in a compound of whale diarrhea, and still strive to be the droplet silkily streaming off of a beautiful model. Whether they become either is immaterial. Now, the droplet's life isn't boring, and may even have something approximating "meaning."

By the way, "Hi".

Welcome to ILP.
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