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Infinity

By Garrett Fogerlie


We are all familiar with infinity. I’m sure you've heard that God is infinite, but what does that mean? Is it even possible for something to be infinite; much less to be infinite in a finite space, i.e. the universe or reality?


Infinity Symbol


For thousands of years the idea of infinity has existed but with it came the paradoxes. Ideas like a infinite number system contains twice as much odd numbers as even ones; while at the same time because it is infinite it must also contain an infinite amount of even numbers. There are numerous other infinity paradoxes but I chose this one because whenever I hear that God is infinite I always think that he must contain an infinite amount of evil then too.


Infinity is a concept, it is a thing we use to broaden understanding and solve problems. It should not be used to inflate a bible character! The bible was written in a time when people couldn’t solve Zeno’s paradox. It would be many lifetimes before mathematicians were able to solve Zeno’s paradox with what we now know as the theory of infinite series converging on a limiting value. But at the time the bible was written they could not understand how Achilles could pass the tortoise.


The bible, at least much of the Old Testament is supposedly God’s words written down. I’m not sure why God couldn’t write his own words down, or for that matter, just ingrain his story in our minds. This would surely have given billions of people the possibility of believing in him while his story was making the tediously slow journey out of the Middle East over the last few millennia. Because the people that wrote the bible had little if any understanding of infinity; we should, with a high probability of being correct, remove the title of infinity from God. At the very least, we know that the understanding of infinity has greatly changed since it was bestowed to God.


Infinity was a title given to a lot of things in a time when the number ‘0’ was not understood or even defined.


If God was infinite and contained all knowledge and was timeless, why does he make such human mistakes? Huge mistakes, like creating angels that don’t have freewill only to accidently give some of them free will? (I’m talking of course of Lucifer or Satan and the other angels that followed him to hell.) Mistakes like forgetting to make a mate for Adam after he made males and females of all the other species. God supposedly gave people free will so they could make their own choices but that went so wrong that God had to flood the earth to start over and then over again in the tribulation. Or my personal favorite, creating people with a brain and then punishing them and their offspring for all time because they gained the knowledge of good and evil (from a tree no less).


When it comes down to it, religion doesn’t comfort you, it was a wish of a people that thought that if it didn’t rain it is because they upset God and must now sacrifice a virgin. The euphoria you get from church is the same that you would get if you were with other people minus the religion. It is a wishful thought when you don’t have control over a situation, but you’re more likely to come through unscathed if you put your faith in humanity!



Comments...

kathysaid...

"Because the people that wrote the bible had little if any understanding of infinity; we should, with a high probability of being correct, remove the title of infinity from God. At the very least, we know that the understanding of infinity has greatly changed since it was bestowed to God"

first, the IDEA of infinity existed BEFORE math could explain it. then, math did explain it--according to what their theorems/worlds of thoughts allowed/said so. hence, it's clear that math made a definition of infinity for its own purpose. a definition of infinity FOR mathematics. it is not all encompassing. why then negate the whole idea of infinity assigned to those outside mathematics? you say infinity is a concept. it is a concept not exclusive to your math.

the idea of infinity was there. math USED it. then, there are people say math OWNS it.

*********

we are given freewill. freewill necessitated a thinking brain and a feeling heart. that's all we needed. (our bodies, our form, how we look are not covered by that free will. being humans as we are is not our choice)
there is good. there is evil. we were not *automatically* given these. otherwise, the one who gave us free will would have violated our free will if something was forced to us. if good was forced to us. if evil was forced to us.

but since good and evil were there. they were left there. they were not taken away/hidden from us either. otherwise, just the same as the first case, our free will would have been violated.

so good and evil were there. and we have free will to choose if we want to know about them or not. and after we know about them, which one we are to follow. it's up to us as free beings.

we were given a command. yes. but it was up to us to obey. or disobey.

****

thanks for the opportunity to respond

April 15, 2011 3:41 AM
Garrett Fogerliesaid...

Thanks, Kathy. I liked what you had to say, I'm not sure we are exactly on the same page. (but not too far off) I hope to discuss this with you further. You can email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or I will just reply to you again in this comment page. However for rite now I have to get to work. I just wanted to say thanks.

April 15, 2011 6:24 AM
kathysaid...

hi, i think i'll just wait for your comment here. but actually im more interested about free will. i also hope to discuss more on this topic.
i'll also find time to read your other blog posts. thanks.

April 15, 2011 7:56 PM
Garrett Fogerliesaid...

The idea of infinity existed way before math was able to explain it. That was kind of my point, that a people with next to no REAL understanding of infinity, deemed God to be infinite. My understanding is that they gave all the good things to God, infinite love, forgiveness, etc.
However now-a-days we understand that infinity is pretty much just a concept. If the universe was infinite (as much as I would hope that it is) it would be forced to include God and an infinite amount of things larger then God, not to mention infinite forms of life. My point, at least in this article, was that we shouldn’t label God infinite anymore, because the meaning of the word has changed; how about just that God is great. Although I am an Atheist and completely believe that God is something that man created. Perhaps believe is the wrong word, I think it is the most plausible theory, and if a more plausible theory comes around and is able to hold water, then I would probably move on to that one.

Free will is a broad concept and like many things, people’s view of it varies greatly. What is your thought, do you think we are the only creatures on earth that have free will? Or do animals have it too?
I personally don't think that we have free will, at least no different than any other creature on earth.

We can of course override biology with free will, like saving someone’s life at our own demise. There are many things we can choose to do, but there are also many more we can't. That’s just the summed up version of my view on free will, as I said it is a huge topic.

What are your thoughts?

April 16, 2011 5:01 AM
kathysaid...

i think i get your point about infinity. if what you mean is that infinity is simply a concept of an implausible state. that nothing really can be infinite (if i still don't get it, just leave a short note and i'll find time to think it over)

as regards free will, the argument "there are many things we can choose to do, but there are also many more we can't" is usually raised by students new to existentialism classes, when they start talking about free will, choice, responsibilities, etc. if i can borrow what existential philosopher Sartre said, "we are merely thrown into this world." what we are is how we were made to be and where we are is where we were placed. we can't control that. but who we are, how we will live our lives, it is up to us.

there are things that we can't do about. (we can accept this as fact or not. nonetheless, they remain) we can always choose. then we are free.

..unless we want free will to mean that we can will ourselves to be, will other things to be according to our liking, will the universe to be something else. but for me this is clearly a flawed concept of free will.

my summed up version, our free will is contained in our current state and the current state of things outside of us. (and unfortunately we cannot will ours or others' current state to be otherwise.) we are free to change only we can change. because we don't have super powers and we don't exist seclusion, we only have one universe to share with others.

i have 2 pet dogs and they are very much dear to me. and i also think they like me very much. i'd like to believe that they *made a choice* to like me and be loyal to me. but i cannot converse with them so i can't know their thoughts. but in the current state of things, i don't think their free will is much like what human beings have.

***

this is (again) very long for a comment. i'm sorry for flooding your blog. i think im soon going to start my own blog (which ive been postponing for a decade)

thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

April 17, 2011 7:07 AM
kathysaid...

oh, about my comment about the existentialism class, actually i wanted to share that i also raised that question when we studied free will in first year college.

April 17, 2011 7:12 AM
Garrett Fogerliesaid...

Free will is a very broad subject indeed, and I think a lot of people go their entire lives without defining it, or worse, they define it as only having the choice to choose God or not, and nothing more. It has been a long time since I took humanities classes in college, and I’m sure my views have varied since then but this is the gist of what I think:

We (as humans) on a basic level, have the same free will as animals do, except that we have a much more evolved consciousness and understanding of 'the self'. But our choices are dictated in much the same way as animals choices are. I too have a dog, and if he had the option, he would run wild down the street, not because he doesn't like me (hopefully) but because he is driven by his hunger and sexual needs that are stimulated by all the different odors he can discern.

Free will is similar to morals; it can vary wildly and everybody should have their own definition for it.

Thank you for your insight. Be sure to send me a link to your blog once you get it up and going.

As a side note, what are your religious beliefs?

April 17, 2011 8:36 PM
Katherinesaid...

:)

I believe I am a creation. I’m not a product of chance. And just as all other creations, I was created with a purpose.

I believe my creator is good. Because I was created with reverence and respect. I know because I am unique and wonderful.

I believe my creator is mindful of me. Because I was given a life of my own. I could have been a mere subject—no free will of my own. But I am free. Free to enjoy that goodness of existence.

It is not my choice to exist. I did not choose my form or condition. But I exist, nonetheless. And I am given freedom to live my life as I will it.

In my existence, I remember I am a creation. I remember my creator. And I remember that I am created for a purpose—that which my creator willed. I am free. Yet my life is not mine, as my purpose is not for myself—but for and of my creator.

What good is a creation that doesn't serve its purpose?

I am free to will my own will. But I choose to will according to the will of my creator. Because I remember I am a creation.

And by my will, I give thanks.

What greater pleasure is there for a creation, in its freedom, to willfully please the creator?

I believe my creator is God. And that Jesus is His Son.

I believe that religion is often harsh and unkind. But God is not like that; He is good. And Jesus is equally good.

Therefore, I am not religious. I am a Christian—born again in Christ Jesus.

***
Why I believe in God and why I want to please Him. I tried to make it as simple as I can at the time of my writing this. But I expect many who would read to find loopholes. I am just hoping that soon I would be able to share in better language and detail what I believe in why I believe it. Your question was actually difficult. You asked me to summarize my beliefs as a comment to a blog (but minus many of the intricacies of my beliefs, of course). It was a hard task to explain it to an atheist. But I’m so glad I had the chance to do it. I hope you continue to listen to my thoughts as I continue to listen to yours. You’re free to contradict, it’s alright. And I’m looking forward to more thinking and sharing with you.

April 22, 2011 6:28 AM


I’ll try to be easy on you. Let me start of by saying that I was once a Christian, a committed one, I went on missionary trips, grew up in a Christian school, and was very active in the church; so I do know and understand where you are coming from. It wasn’t until I started questioning things, like the fact that there are billions of ‘good and holly’ people on earth but no more than about 1/3 share the same belief, so at the least, about 66% of ‘good and holly’ people would end up going to Hell.

Just like I questioned my own beliefs, I ask you to question yours:

I believe I am a creation. I’m not a product of chance. And just as all other creations, I was created with a purpose.

Without stretching your believes in any way, yet; You are in many ways a product of chance, from you surviving to this point, your parents having you, and their parents so forth and so on. Being created with a purpose isn’t always a good thing, look at Marjoe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoe it’s a very interesting story. I personally prefer to define my own purpose, my mother wanted me to be a doctor, but I was way more interested in electronics and physics.

I believe my creator is good. Because I was created with reverence and respect. I know because I am unique and wonderful.

Being created with reverence and respect says nothing about the character of the creator. example: Tomas de Torquemada, made Grand Inquisitor by Pope Sixtus IV, he created horrible means of touchier for the Christian Inquisition (fight against heretics) I chose him because working for the Pope and his faith, he certainly created his devices with reverence and respect; but is now thought of as one of the most evil people in history. Perhaps he may have not been a evil person if it wasn’t for his religion, to quote Steven Weinberg, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

I believe my creator is mindful of me. Because I was given a life of my own. I could have been a mere subject—no free will of my own. But I am free. Free to enjoy that goodness of existence.

I don’t quite see the connection of your “creator is mindful of you because you have your own life.” At any rate, any rebuttal to it would be based on just as vague ideas, I think.

It is not my choice to exist. I did not choose my form or condition. But I exist, nonetheless. And I am given freedom to live my life as I will it.

Similar to the above, however everything that exists didn’t choose to exist or it’s ‘form’ (form in the broad sense, cause you can modify your form partially.) If God exists, even he did not choose to, by the mere logic that something that does not exist cannot make a choice, not even a choice to exist. And your freedom to live your life is limited in many ways, from location, oppression, form and life/death, just to name a few. I know we already touched on this in a previous conversation.

In my existence, I remember I am a creation. I remember my creator. And I remember that I am created for a purpose—that which my creator willed. I am free. Yet my life is not mine, as my purpose 
is not for myself—but for and of my creator.

I think you are saying that these are things you determined/decided on, not things that were decided for you, right?

What good is a creation that doesn't serve its purpose?

Once again our views of purpose are what we decide, because we cannot know for sure what we were intended for. You seem to believe that God was your creator and he created you to serve him. On the other hand I believe that I am the product of millions of years of Evolution and if it had a purpose for me (it didn’t, but) it would be to live and reproduce. We both believe what we do based on our comprehending and acceptance of the evidence we have been confronted with. Not all creations serve their purpose, in fact that’s how new inventions and purposes emerge, by mistakes and errors.

I am free to will my own will. But I choose to will according to the will of my creator. Because I remember I am a creation.

I would reword the “Because I remember I am a creation” to because I believe I was created by God and I chose to serve him. Nevertheless, this is your thought and there is no short rebuttal to it while trying not to be disrespectful.

And by my will, I give thanks.

Ok, fair enough.

What greater pleasure is there for a creation, in its freedom, to willfully please the creator?

I don’t know, but I can purpose a situation that does not include you. In the bible it is very clear that God’s creations, sometimes angels and sometimes people, purpose was to kill and destroy other people, lives and civilizations. This still happens today, i.e. killing in the name of your God, etc. I know this is not what you meant, don’t get me wrong, but some people do believe this is why they were created, and if this was the reason I was created, I would have NO pleasure from it, nor would I be likely to actually do it. I assume as an intelligent and good person you wouldn’t either.

I believe my creator is God. And that Jesus is His Son.
I believe that religion is often harsh and unkind. But God is not like that; He is good. And Jesus is equally good.

Religion is often harsh and unkind, but this is a product of religion being based on so called ‘Holly Books’ that were written by barbaric people. And God is (at least if you believe the bible is true and his word) very evil. http://www.eviltheists.com/2011/04/old-testament-evil-god.html

Therefore, I am not religious. I am a Christian—born again in Christ Jesus.

I think you mean you are religious. Was that a typo or are to trying to explain something I missed?

Thanks you very much for your reply, I found your belief ideas very interesting.


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