And besides... I think God is far more clever than to limit the true revelation of His existence to a Cracker-Jack surprise-like encoded secret "Hello world" message, hidden within the meaningless depths of the number pi ---- but hey, whatever opens your eyes.posted by blackholebrain at 7:19 PM on October 7, 2001
By giving us the freedom to choose either good or evil, heaven or hell, love or hate, etc., God leaves it up to us as to whether we serve him or ourselves, or others... or whatever.
The whole point of the WTC and this "Where was God?" debate is NOT to find out why God didn't hold out his hand and yell "Stop!" to the terrorists (although he could have, and evidently many believe he should have), but it hopefully might open a path to understanding for some that God's gift of free will to humanity is universal......allowing terrorists to choose evil --even unspeakably horrible evil-- instead of forcing them to bow down against their will.
Whether you believe in God or not, America was founded upon the very principle that our Creator gave us free will:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
No matter what you personally believe, Americans owe our freedom --our liberty-- to one of the greatest documents ever penned by human hand, the Declaration of Independence. And whether we like it or not, the freedom that enables all of us to have beer, baseball and barbecue --and even conversations such as this thread here on metafilter-- is exactly the same freedom that enables people like Mohammed Atta to communicate by killing thousands in a suicidal terrorist act.
No. Not the Declaration of Independence, or our Constitution, or even the Bill of Rights. It's the freedom given to all of us by our creator: free will... the essence of all other freedoms.
Oh yeah, one more thing... to me, prayer isn't telling God a bunch of stuff he already knows, or reciting 'holy poems'.... prayer is listening to God.posted by blackholebrain at 8:27 PM on October 7, 2001
if God was going to leave a message ... it'd be in English, and such colloqial English, to boot
I had a thought: if there was a God, and he was going to leave a message for mortals- wouldn't pi be a great way to do it? It'd be like that plaque sent out on Voyager, with the da Vinci man/woman and basic mathematical notions and units of Earth measurement. It's one of the most basic and central numbers, representative of the perfect circle. And because such a key number is infinite and non-repeating, it's a number that could conceal a similar "Hello World" message in every language, every colloquialism. Although I suppose that means it could really be concealing the message "There is no God!" in every conceivable language- a paradox that makes my head hurt...posted by hincandenza at 9:04 PM on October 7, 2001
"Okay, so how many of you found my secret message inside pi? [lots of mumbling] Oh really? [more mumbling] Nobody?!! You mean to tell me that not one of you thought maybe I might have left a clue somewhere for you, somewhere obvious, somewhere any idiot would have thought to look???!!! [silence] Hmm... well, that's too bad, you dumb sinning morons, because that was the one simple test I made for all of this universe, and you were too stupid to figure it out -- so to hell you go, for as long as it takes you to count all the digits of pi!!! Ha-ha-ha... [lots of wailing]
What nicwolff said, fooljay- for example, 9 divided by 11 (uh, to pick two numbers out of a hat) is .8181818181.... infinite, yet repeating. Whereas pi will have countless segments that repeat- obviously- but is not a repeating or in any way regular number.
BTW, I'm so proud my "VGER"/ pi thing got such clever responses like the "God Final Exam" and the long- lost Dante canto- although I don't know how you translate from the original Italian into "Bwaa Haaa Haaa"... :) That said, I'm waxing more metaphysical about this now that I keep thinking about it: why the hell IS pi so fawkin' irrational- you could never have a base-pi system, after all... If there is a God, would even He be forced to follow mathematical truths that supercede Him (one of the many, many reasons I reject anthropomorphic theism) or could he craft mathematics itself as He saw fit (i.e., create a rock so heavy he could not lift it)? Or is even the purest abstract mathematics itself just a human quirk, representative not of some deep understanding of "celestial harmonies" but just our own ability to invent imperfect yet compelling structures from the void?posted by hincandenza at 1:28 AM on October 8, 2001
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