Posted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:45 am
by Michael
Thanks for the update, Michael. I'm sorry to hear that things are still going badly, but I'm glad to hear of some improvements.

Thank you Jason.
What I actually said, although you continued (and still continue) to shift it to something else

I don't see how I ever shifted to anything else.
...but you have always gone back quickly afterward to trying to insist that if someone cannot improve their existence by ceasing to exist (and related positions) then that must mean existence is worthless or at best worth no more than non-existence.

And you have always gone back quickly afterward to defend something you wrote in a book you recommended to me (an argument you used against annihilationists, in that book you wrote before we ever discussed this issue.)

I believe it's a flawed argument, and actually undercuts one of the main arguments against eternal conscious torment.

And when I brought the subject up, I wasn't speaking or thinking of someone attempting to improve their existence by ceasing to exist.

You read that into the question, assumed I was suicidal, and attempted to dissuade me from suicide by convincing me that no state of existence is any better than non-existence--and that still seems to be what you're saying.
Consequently, if your Mom ceased to exist, then her condition of existence did not improve upon ceasing to exist. Nor does she now exist in a worse condition. Or in the same condition. Or in any condition at all that can be compared to her condition before ceasing to exist. You didn't do her any favor, because you didn't improve her condition of existence if she ceased to exist.

So you're saying that all health care providers who don't believe in some kind of afterlife are giving family members a load of BS when they say their loved one's "quality of life" should be factored into their decisions?

By your reasoning, wouldn't "quality of life" be meaningless in deciding whether to prolong a suffering patient's existence, as it would be a fallacy to consider their continued existence (in a state of suffering) any worse than non-existence?

And when the owners of a thorough bred filly named Ruffian had her put down because she broke her leg in a race against Secretariat (and was in constant pain) they really did the animal no kindness?

I remember that race because dad bet on Secretariat, and even though he won a lot of money as a result of the accident, he cried for that horse

Even so, I think he would have done the same thing the owners did--but you're saying that's just because he shared their foolish fallacy, right?

The idea that there's some cruelty in letting an animal go on existing in pain is just a human fallacy, because ceasing to exist would be no better for the animal than existing in pain, right?

Isn't that the position you're defending here?
God knows perfectly well that Person X's condition of existence does not improve or degrade by coming into existence from non-existence or by ceasing to exist from existence.

Then God knows I'm a fool when I say my daily prayers, because the office for morning and evening prayer has a prayer of general thanksgiving, where we thank God for our existence, and all the blessings of creation.

But according to you the only beings that could be blessed by creation were those who already existed, so God could only blessed Himself by bringing us into existence--that is what you're saying, isn't it?

You do, too, occasionally, when I spell it out once again!

I deny "knowing" any such thing.

The only time I ever come close to agreeing with what you say here is when I'm in a very dark, nihilistic mood, and could easily stop taking the pills that keep my heart beating normally (or caring about anything.)
It is a category error to say that Person X's condition of existence is better in heaven than the condition of X's non-existent existence.

Why?
Aren't you actually playing semantics here?
I only denied that the condition of someone in existence can be better or worse off compared to the condition of someone who doesn't exist, because someone who doesn't exist doesn't even have the condition of being "someone"

"...doesn't even have the condition of being someone"?

Not even in the mind of God, where all possible worlds, and all the beings who could inhabit them exist as possibilities?
or any other condition of existence

Not even in the mind of such an omnisient Being?

If person X exists, wasn't it always possible for him to exist?

And don't all possibilities exist in the mind of God?


Your argument seems purely semantic to me, if you'd agree that anyone who does exist can exist?
I actually affirmed on a regular basis that existence is principally better than non-existence. I only denied that the condition of someone in existence can be better or worse off compared to the condition of someone who doesn't exist

When you say (as I think you occasionally did, before repeating the kind of thing you again repeat here) that "existence is principally better than non-existence," what do you mean?

And why do you always go on to deny that "the condition of someone in existence can be better or worse off compared to the condition of someone who doesn't exist"?

Are you just trying to make a semantic point?

Are you trying to say it would be better English to say "existence is better than non-existence," than it is to say "Jason is better off now that he exists than 'he' was before 'he' existed"?

If that's all you were ever saying, why did you always find it necessary to repeat such a minor point to someone who was greiving and confussed?

And isn't even your semantic argument questionable if we consider possibilities?

Can't we say that a sensless Jason Pratt (who exists merely as a potential in the mind of God) is any better or worse off than an actualized Jason Pratt (existing in a sensible state, in the world God created)?

Your answer seems to be "no," but I don't see why?

Are you really saying that if you (the real Jason Pratt, who actually exists in a real world created by God) could have the love of your life, and you both could live happily ever after (and enjoy all the bliss of heaven hereafter), you'd be no better off than one of the lifeless characters in one of your books?

Is that really what you believe?

Is that the position you're defending here (and the position you were defending in the pm's we exchanged when I had only recently lost my mother)?

If an actualized Jason Pratt is no better off existing in a world created by God (even enjoying the bliss of the highest heaven) than a Jason Pratt who never lived, I fail to see how God creating Jason Pratt could be viewed as an act of love.

And if an actualized Jason Pratt could suffer conscious eternal torment in hell without really being any worse off than one who never lived, what's wrong with the idea of double predestination?

By your logic, isn't any moral repulsion anyone here might feel at the thought of double predestination based on a category error?

Because wouldn't the damned be no worse off suffering eternal conscious torment then they would be if they were never created?

In fact (given your logic) God couldn't really be accused of hate if He created all of us knowing we'd suffer eternal conscious torment, because, in the final analysis, none of us would really be any the worse of than we would be if He never created us at all.

Isn't that right?

And (conversely) if the saints are no better off in heaven than they would be if they had never lived, God couldn't really be credited with acting out of love when He created them, could He?

These seem to me to be the inescapable corollaries of your logic.
God creates not-God reality as a loving gift of God by God to God

Given your logic, that's the only thing you've said that might make sense--but only if you assume God was stuck with His own existence, and needed creatures to improve His condition.

Is that what you believe?
and creates not-God reality in order to actively love that not-God reality, which He then does in various modes, even when the condition of that creature's existence degrades temporarily as a result of various factors.

I don't see how this makes any sense, from your stated point of view.

How can God actively love someone He's brougt into conscious existence if nothing He does will ever improve their original condition of being lifeless, senseless, possibilities.

And why not let their conditions permanently degrade if they'd really be no worse off in any condition.

It seems to me that the only point creation could have, given your logic, would be to make God's necessary existence more bearable, and then creation becomes a selfish act, not an act of love.

That's a thought I find very depressing, and I believe the enemy of my soul has used it (and words you've repeated here) when I've been tempted to give up on everything.

I don't think you'll ever talk anyone out of suicide (much less just letting themselves die, if their in need of daily medication to go on living) by trying to convince them that no state of conscious existence is any better or worse than non-existence.
Ceasing to exist doesn't improve any condition of one's own existence.

But whether a created being could improve his condition by choosing to cease his own existence was never my question.

Even though you repeatedly chose to clumsily try to answer that question while ignoring the one I was actually asking.
But I do want new members who aren't familiar with the situation, or old members who have forgotten, to be reassured that "someone here" has not in fact argued that existence is no better and no worse than non-existence, and certainly didn't try to convince you of that -- much the contrary.

Actually, you have Jason.

And that is what you've been arguing here.

And you again tried to convince me that you're right when you said

God knows perfectly well that Person X's condition of existence does not improve or degrade by coming into existence from non-existence or by ceasing to exist from existence. You do, too, occasionally, when I spell it out once again!

I again deny knowing any such thing, and all you've done in your conclusion here is to contradict yourself.

Example:

Existence has value, and life has value

Even though a living, feeling Jason, enjoying all the blessings of heaven, is no better off than a Jason who never lived?

Which is what you clearly implied here.
God knows perfectly well that Person X's condition of existence does not improve or degrade by coming into existence from non-existence or by ceasing to exist from existence.

How is possible for you not to see the contradiction?
even in the worst conditions.

Really?

Even for an animal who has nothing to learn from this life, no life beyond this, and is suffering in constant pain?

(Assuming for the moment, just for the sake of argument, that there's no afterlife for animals.)

Putting Ruffian out of her misery was no act of mercy?

And letting her go on in pain wouldn't be an act of cruelty?

And creating immortal souls destined for conscious eternal torment wouldn't be an act of cruelty either?


Existing in constant pain, without any hope of improvement, would be existing in the worse possible condition, would it not?

And you're saying here that existence, even in such a condition, would be better than not existing.

Aren't you?

And you don't see how that totally contradicts everything else you've said?

Non-existence has no value

But you just said it has a negative value when compared to existence.
You said
Existence has value, and life has value, even in the worst conditions.

That would mean non-existence has negative value when compared to existence (and you yourself make the comparison here.)
so it is better for you and your family to exist than to not exist

I thank you for that Jason.

Now can see see the many ways you've contradicted yourself?

By bringing anything into existence, God gives that creation actual (not merely potential) value. (And also potential value, at least from the perspective of the history of the creature. I'm not sure potential value has any meaning from God's omnipresently real perspective, except perhaps as an ultimately unrealized option for the creature's existence actualized in another way of value instead.)

Forgive me Jason, but that sounds like total double talk to me.
What He gives us creatures in actual value, is not however an improvement of our condition of existence compared to our prior non-condition of non-existence. Existence itself is the first actual value for us.

And how is it existence itself has value if not compared to non-existence?
Once we exist, then our conditions of existence can improve or degrade in various ways. If we ever cease to exist, our condition of existence cannot improve, or degrade, or even stay the same -- because we wouldn't exist anymore at all. Ceasing to exist would be a reduction of value, but not for us personally after we cease to exist. It would be a reduction of value for those who remain in existence (i.e. God and still-existent creatures).

I think what you're saying is that different states of existence can have positive or negative value when compared to each other, but have no value at all when compared to non-existence.

So, in your opinion, does this include the existence of God Himself?

Does His existence have no real value when compared to non-existence?

Does His existence have value to Him only because He already exists (and really has no choice in the matter)?

And did He need us to give His existence value?

Given your logic, who is the giver, and who is the receiver?

I believe you're totally wrong, and contradicting yourself right and left here.

And are you sure you're telling us what you really believe?

Once again, are you really saying that if you (the real Jason Pratt, who actually exists in a real world created by God) could have the love of your life, and you both could live happily ever after (and enjoy all the bliss of heaven hereafter), you'd be no better off than one of the lifeless characters in one of your books?

Is that really what you believe?

And can you show me where I've committed category errors here?

Or where my logical fallacy lies?

P.S. I apparently read over the last part of your post here the first time I read it, and neglected to reply to some of your comments.
For this I apologize.