'Thanks, but no thanks' - God and my existence

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Problem: God (in an Abrahamic religion) created me without asking me if I would want this life. Now I don't want this life. If I commit suicide, I will burn in hell for eternity. I just want to cease to exist, which he has made impossible. What is the God's justification for this situation?

Is this a known problem in theology? What are the common theologian answers to this problem?

Asmani

Posted 2018-08-24T08:28:43.330

Reputation: 417

1The mean, fearsome God is simply diluted over time. Many gods are not as fearsome as one "mean" fellow is. So Christ the son comes along. And the saints. Many gods. So there is some choice to make things more bearable. Of course I am speaking on a practical level. – Gordon – 2018-08-24T09:03:49.790

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There are two presumptions underlying your position: Firstly that a creature could judge or even understand the motives of the Creator. Second, that the "you", presently so discontent, is in fact the entire being of the "You" that has been created. You can also read about The Problem of Evil. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil

– christo183 – 2018-08-24T10:27:37.733

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an11/an11.002.than.html – Chris Degnen – 2018-08-24T10:28:28.497

"If I commit suicide, I will burn in hell for eternity" - this is Christian idea came after Jesus, a mere speculation. In either way, God does not need justification, he is One-Who-Is-Always-To-Be-Obeyed, whatever he commands: kill somebody, rape, etc. His laws do not work for himself. – rus9384 – 2018-08-24T11:25:33.270

It doesn't seem to be a problem in creationist Theology. Theologians usually see suicide it as a sin. But don't worry, they never say that they know it is. – None – 2018-08-24T11:41:53.017

@christo183 Thanks for commenting. I think the first presumption is common sense, but you made a good point about the second one. It may be argued that "you" agreed about living at some point in time, and then, by your own free-will, you decided to become a different "you". However, this interpretation is inconsistent with the main premise of religion. – Asmani – 2018-08-26T15:23:39.223

@Asmani But then again were does religion come from, is it from another time and another "us" or did originate in the "present" time (possibly) under different rules? My question: https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/q/55121/33787 may also be of interest.

– christo183 – 2018-09-17T10:23:05.603

Answers

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Before your birth there was no "you" who could have been asked if he want's this life.

Hence in my opinion, your question is framed in a wrong logical context.

Added due to several comments:

In a secular context the creator of a person are her parents. Hence IMO, one can detach the problem from its theological context and consider the underlying controversial question:

Does a person have the right to self-determine her life or does she has to follow the plans of her creator?

The question has been answered differently by different societies in different times. If the creator is a god, then Plato in his dialogoue Phaidon (62c) argues against the right of suicide. On the opposite, several modern societies grant to the individuum the right of self-determination, notably the right of suicide.

Jo Wehler

Posted 2018-08-24T08:28:43.330

Reputation: 17 204

Well, it does not mean there is no question "Why did God create every human?" In particular OP. And this question is not meaningless. – rus9384 – 2018-08-24T18:51:29.340

are you sure existence of you only appeared after your birth? what is your reason you are not before birth while you can not remember when you were a fetus? maybe you were before fetal age. – Hossein Vatani – 2018-08-25T04:46:30.130

@Hossein Vatani Of course you may replace "birth" by "conception". – Jo Wehler – 2018-08-25T05:06:10.837

sorry @jo-wehler, I'm not good at English. are you sure existence of you only appeared after your conception? what is your reason you are not before conception while you can not remember when you were a fetus? maybe you were before fetal age. – Hossein Vatani – 2018-08-25T06:06:51.103

What Hossein Vatani means there can be soul or something similar. However, there is a beginning of existense of the soul or whatever. It is impossible otherwise with the concept of creation which is the case in abrahamic religions. – rus9384 – 2018-08-26T10:05:37.233

@rus9384 If someone assumes the existence of a preexistence soul, I would like to aks him to provide some arguments for this concept. Arguments either from general experience or due to philosophical reasoning. – Jo Wehler – 2018-08-26T10:26:47.520

I only guess religious background. Hindu religion typically presupposes something like soul and reincarnation. – rus9384 – 2018-08-26T10:32:15.090

@JoWehler, I thought of mentioning this when I was writing the question, but it looked too obvious to me. What you say is an explanation of "why God created me without my permission", not disproving it. If it was impossible for God to ask my permission (let alone that asking is unnecessary for an omniscient creature), he let me in, and he must let me out if I don't like it. – Asmani – 2018-08-26T15:32:22.133

@rus9384, the JoWehler answer is correct but not complete and shown the main reason, there is another reason in Islamic philosophy. – Hossein Vatani – 2018-08-26T18:29:35.853

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you asked in philosophy then we should answer in philosophy way.

this is a very large question and need to be some parts:

  1. what/who is GOD?
  2. what are his characteristics?
  3. what are differences between his characteristics?
  4. what is hell? is it exactly so bad?
  5. what is a reason for our objection?

I tried to short answer:

assume there is only one GOD, he has characteristics as much as we can think.be care all characteristics are good in its very, but when we use in wrong place it would seems bad, for example,Mercy is a good character but Mercy to the criminal may be cruelty to the people.

for the third question, NO, the GOD is the creator as much as he is able as much as he is kind as much as he is repentable as much as hi is gracious as much as he is ... .

for the forth, in The World, if somebody did wrong what we do? surely we would try to correct him, maybe we jail him or like so. then hell is not bad with its reality. it duties clear who not clean to ready to entrance in Paradise. we do like that in life: melting down gold to separating impurities.

for fifth, Disadvantage. you could find many persons in the world that they satisfy of Live. maybe we told they have good life and benefit of life and I don't have them, OK!

"Why did God create every human?" , " why did he create me when I have annoyed" the philosophy answer to this part needs a book but I gave an example to find it:

the GOD is The Creator and world creation is Actuality of this character, but why when you have been in a bad situation: your child told cried screamed in street for junk food, but you did not give him and told: my kid, there is much good food in the home wait and patient for that, what did your kid think about you? was he correct?

that the same about the GOD and us. I hope you find it useful.

P.S. regarding suicide, it meant you hopeless of GOD, who create the world and everything most of them is beautiful and GOD could not accept it because he is the end of Mercy. he told in his book:

Therefore have patience; Allah will not let the wage of the good-doers go to waste

Hossein Vatani

Posted 2018-08-24T08:28:43.330

Reputation: 159

2Hell is not made to correct people. There is no way from hell in Christian or Islam theology. This is the case. – rus9384 – 2018-08-24T20:12:43.510

1Hell is not made to correct people., it clear people from impurities and ready them for paradise .the hell is after death.sin is Man's impurities. Correction useful in this world, while we have Authority, and cleaning from impurities to be useful after death while there is not Authority – Hossein Vatani – 2018-08-25T01:36:04.610

@HosseinVatani -1, totally irrelevant. – Asmani – 2018-08-26T15:36:35.223

1@asmani, I could explain to you with our native language. – Hossein Vatani – 2018-08-26T17:36:36.520

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On your premises it is a matter of utilitarian calculation. You don't want to live but it is preferable to continue with a (time-limited) life which you don't want rather than enter, after suicide, a life of burning eternally in hell which you want even less.

I don't btw accept your premises :

As Richard Bauckham observes: 'Since I 8oo ... no traditional Christian doc trine has been so widely abandoned as that of eternal torment'.3 Similarly, in a recent publication by the Commission of Doctrine of the Church of England it is stated that 'over the last two centuries the decline in the churches in the Western world of a belief in everlasting punishment has been one of the most notable transformations of Christian belief'.

Why is it that the traditional doctrine of hell has been so widely rejected? The most forceful - and in my view valid - argument against it is that the idea of eternal punishment is not compatible with the perfect goodness of God. If God is perfectly good, he cannot do something which is unjust, i.e. punish finite human sins with eternal punishment. (Wilko Van Holten, 'Hell and the Goodness of God', Religious Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar., 1999), pp. 37-55 : 37-8.)

Everlasting punishment in Hell is a moral problem; I cannot see that it is compatible with the will of a perfect God. So I don't think you face the dilemma you define. There are, I suggest, separate arguments against suicide : but whatever their weight, the tonnage of eternal divine punishment has no place in the scales.

Geoffrey Thomas

Posted 2018-08-24T08:28:43.330

Reputation: 34 276

Well, the idea of hell itself contradicts love for enemies, which for Jesus is a property of God. But the premise that God (in Jesus' meaning of perfect one) has enemies already is flawed. Punishment itself contradicts the idea of forgiveness. – rus9384 – 2018-08-24T13:28:30.833

@rus9384. Very good. You make the crucial point concisely. I'm not sure that a loving God couldn't punish (compare loving parents perhaps) but I can make no sense of a perfect God punishing finite humans eternally, let alone horrifically with Hell-fire. Many thanks, great intevention. Best - GT – Geoffrey Thomas – 2018-08-24T18:41:46.317

Well, that all depends on the definition of punishment. Loving parents would not use coercion but instead would just stop providing some goods for a child. Like not buying sweets. In either way there are only two forces: stick and carrot. And omnipotent being can make its way without stick. – rus9384 – 2018-08-24T18:49:56.617

@rus9384. Well put ! – Geoffrey Thomas – 2018-08-24T19:26:17.977

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Not a religious person here, but I quite like the answer in Job 38-41:

Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?

... Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?

This is a nice answer because it states a position concerning the Euthyphro dilemma. God's justification here for his morals is that Might, ultimately, makes Right. God's just the one with the knowledge and power to decide and enforce his laws, and that is the core of the theological explanation of right action. You may have permission to question and challenge God's view of what is right if, and only if, you can match him in ability.

God is a tyrant. He may or may not have his reasons for why your life is what it is, but regardless he isn't accountable to you, because on the divine scale your life is miniscule, and your agency only a small part of the big picture. You haven't seen or done the smallest fraction of what he has, so what do you know about your place in the world? What could you know, even if he tried to explain it?

But that doesn't mean you can't disagree or do anything about it.

Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at all who are proud and bring them low, look at all who are proud and humble them, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave.

Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.

God, here, proposes that if you're not happy with your lot in this reality then do something about it. Show him your own power. Challenge him, make something better for yourself than his shitty plan, and do it with courage, honour and nobility.

And you might even succeed. But it's a hell of a fight. (possibly literally, depending on the theology)

Paul Ross

Posted 2018-08-24T08:28:43.330

Reputation: 4 801

Well, the idea of almighty God is problematic. If he is almighty why would not he create all people perfect and not just put them in heaven by the beginning? And by the start God was not seen as really almighty. By the way, Moses' God is material being. – rus9384 – 2018-08-26T10:10:52.793

@rus9384 There is an important distinction here between omnipotence and simply being enormously powerful. This argument only requires the latter, even though God titles himself "The Almighty". – Paul Ross – 2018-08-26T10:13:36.513