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What Is “Fundamental”
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It From Bit or Bit From It
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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

James Hoover: on 5/31/14 at 17:45pm UTC, wrote Paul, Having had rating problems with my Firefox browser and with some 5...

James Hoover: on 5/26/14 at 7:04am UTC, wrote Paul, Your discussion of Adam Smith's thinking does reveal the gap between...

Don Limuti: on 5/25/14 at 19:51pm UTC, wrote Hi Paul, It does seem to me that steering the future, requires some...

Gbenga Ogungbuyi: on 5/23/14 at 19:25pm UTC, wrote Dear Paul, I must commend your scientific article. You have justified your...

Georgina Woodward: on 5/16/14 at 9:55am UTC, wrote Hi Paul, a very different approach to the essay question. Well written...

Anselm Smidt: on 4/22/14 at 16:14pm UTC, wrote Ich verpasste den Punkt in Bezug nützlich.

James Dunn: on 4/18/14 at 17:21pm UTC, wrote Evil does not exist. The only time Evil is mentioned is to create...

Joe Fisher: on 3/10/14 at 15:56pm UTC, wrote Although man likes to think of himself as special and apart from all of the...


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FQXi FORUM
October 22, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: God and Economic Suffering by Paul Oslington [refresh]
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Author paul oslington wrote on Feb. 28, 2014 @ 16:46 GMT
Essay Abstract

Modern reformism wants to abolish suffering by redefining it as lack of commodities, so that the solution to any problems is more resources. Its naivety about evil, deformed account of scarcity, and false hopes undermine both our understanding of suffering and action against it.

Author Bio

Paul Oslington is a leader in the new interdisciplinary field of economics and theology. He holds a PhD in economics from University of Sydney and graduate BD from Melbourne College of Divinity, currently a DTheol Candidate. He has spent eh last year at Australia’s Pentecostal College Alphacrucis developing new business degrees as the college moves towards University status. He previously held a senior appointment t at University of New South Wales, and visiting appointments at Oxford, Princeton and UBC.

Download Essay PDF File

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Mar. 3, 2014 @ 10:07 GMT
Dear Paul

In this website where 'escapist' theories of multi-dimensional universes and ideas for settling other planets or even extrasolar planets are made to sound plausible, it was refreshing to read your 'down to Earth' essay.

You stress European thought about the subject of theology and poverty , and -understandably for you - only from a Christian perspective.

Suffering because of lack of resources is nothing new and creatures of all types have found ways to cope as best they can. I do not want to wade into this subject more than I can, but all sorts of solutions have been already offered, ranging from tribal sharing to Stoicism, Ghandi's economic ideas, Communism, to Liberation Theology. Each generation must find a solution to this perennial problem, but I am not sure the term 'evil' is helpful here. Selfishness, greed or or self-centerdness (as well as their opposite) are very human traits, evident even in infancy. Conjuring horned devils whispering in one ear distracts a bit from your fine research.

Best wishes,

Vladimir

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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 5, 2014 @ 16:05 GMT
Dear Professor Osligton,

I quite enjoyed reading your essay. May I just point out that the native peoples of Africa, Australia, and the Americas seemed to have had no trouble building long lasting reasonably peaceful societies until they were invaded and enslaved by armed hordes of European white Christian zealots. As I have pointed out in my essay, REALITY, ONCE, the biggest hindrance to the rational understanding of reality is the English language. Only unique exists. Unique cannot be evil. The English proved to themselves that an abstract God existed. They believed what they thought instead of only believing what they knew.

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on Mar. 9, 2014 @ 16:00 GMT
Dr. Oslington:

In reading your essay, I notice that you cite the work of Malthus on population. My essay ("Just Too Many People: Towards a Sustainable Future Earth") cites Malthus as well, although my perspective is quite different. When Malthus was writing, world population was ~1 billion; now it is 7B going towards 10B. Most traditional religions have promoted large families. Can you identify a theological basis for population control, given future global warming and resource depletion?

Alan Kadin

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Joe Fisher replied on Mar. 10, 2014 @ 15:56 GMT
Although man likes to think of himself as special and apart from all of the other life forms, he is nothing of the kind. Life is unique. To pretend that there are too many people and not enough rats is absurd. There is no fixed number of preferable life denizens. Due to the gross inadequacy of the English language, there would appear to be only animate or inanimate conditions existing simultaneously at any given time here on earth. That cannot be right. Just because there is a word for a presumed condition, reality is unconditional.

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James Dunn wrote on Apr. 18, 2014 @ 17:21 GMT
Evil does not exist. The only time Evil is mentioned is to create emotional influence for political purpose.

If evil is a partial condition, the word has no valid use. So a person is either evil or not. This is not useful for anything other than political influence.

To kill evil, never speak of it ever again.

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Anselm Smidt wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 16:14 GMT
Ich verpasste den Punkt in Bezug nützlich.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 16, 2014 @ 09:55 GMT
Hi Paul,

a very different approach to the essay question. Well written historical account, though it took up most of the essay, so how to steer was only reached at the very end. I suppose it could be argued that it was necessary to build a case on what was thought in the past. I would have liked to hear more about your view on evil, scarcity, suffering and what we should actually do to overcome them. Do you see it as being in our power to change the world for the better or is the future predetermined by God and thus unchangeable except by him?

Regards, Georgina

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Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on May. 23, 2014 @ 19:25 GMT
Dear Paul,

I must commend your scientific article. You have justified your wealth of experience in Economic. Why were you not responding to all these comments that could have made your essay more visible? There are so many fantastic essays but the altitude of the authors are not correlated. Unfortunately, this year essay forum is dry to say the list. So you could have added spice to your essay to increase its prominence! So many good essays like this that are not inviting. You can make a difference by starting now.

To your essay, I think humanity is responsible for all the evils in our world today. Since you refer to God, then I can possibly quote from the Bible to justify my claim. Ecclesiastes 7: 29.

Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made MAN UPRIGHT: but THEY have sought OUT MANY INVENTIONS.

The inventions may be evil or good, the combination of both have shaped our society in the direction we are today. Great essay. Please spice it a little more by responding to comments.

I will rate you high to increase your visibility.

I also invite you to read my essay on STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEM. This is is direct link http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2020

If you can leave a comment and rate it will be appreciated.

Regards

Gbenga

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Don Limuti wrote on May. 25, 2014 @ 19:51 GMT
Hi Paul,

It does seem to me that steering the future, requires some understanding of suffering and pain. I see all the entries including my own as dealing with remedies to pain and suffering.

Thus your essay directly is applicable to the contest and is foundational (IMHO).

My yoga teacher would always remind the class.... No brain no pain! Pain and suffering is very dependent on our context and thoughts. Bringing in religious philosophy is thus important.

Appreciate your essay,

Don Limuti

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 26, 2014 @ 07:04 GMT
Paul,

Your discussion of Adam Smith's thinking does reveal the gap between how his "invisible hand" phrase is used in contemporary society to justify greed and wealth as natural and fitting, but not his real concern for all sharing in the goods of freedom and prosperity. Certainly suffering was cast out in our two latest wars, telling people to shop and not asking them to be burdened with paying for the wars.

If we were rational consumers, some sacrifice for a viable future would be easier.

My solution of "looking beyond" orthodox science and "within" our neural universe is recognizing we are the stuff of stars who must mimic stars in leaving more of substance behind.

I would like to see your comments on my essay.

Jim

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James Lee Hoover replied on May. 31, 2014 @ 17:45 GMT
Paul,

Having had rating problems with my Firefox browser and with some 5 days remaining, I am revisiting essays I've read to see if rated. I find that I rated yours on 4/30.

I would like to see your comments on my essay: http://www.fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2008

Jim

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