I just came across this on Wikipedia, and I am still reeling in astonishment. It's called the 'Omnipotence Paradox.' Just thought I'd throw it on here to give you guys some quick and easy ammo against theists. I'll give you the scientific idea, then the example (aka 'Paradox of the Stone').
If a being can perform such actions, then it can limit it's own ability to perform such actions. By this arguement, it cannot perform all actions, yet, on the other hand if it cannot limit it's own actions, then that is something it cannot do, and therefore, is not omnipotent.
And now for the easy version:

Could god create a stone so heavy that even he could not lift it? If so, he would then cease to be omnipotent. If not, he was not omnipotent to begin with.

Thank you for your time and patience. Another win for the Rationalists brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Atheist,

Maggie

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I am with you on this.  Sometime my life is just one big quest to demonstrate that one can be good and moral without swearing allegiance to the cosmic jewish zombie and his ilk.

I would say that a god would have certain qualities in his/her/their essence...let's call it an essence 'box'. Love, veracity, justice, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, et al.  He/she/they would have to necessarily 'limit' itself from performing any one of them that violates any of the other qualities. That, to a degree, makes sense.  But, if a god has lived forever in time 'past' and could know what he would be doing trillions and trillions and trillions of years later, to-wit:  creating a race of angels and those human beings 'lower' than the angelic estate...why wait?  It makes no sense. What would he/she/they do in the interim...talk amongst themselves about 'god knows what'?

 If I can imagine a god that has never 'not' existed, then I should have no problem contemplating a universe that has ALWAYS been here  and will ALWAYS be here...no beginning..no end.  Does that bother and/or annoy and/or frustrate me?  Not in the least. The universe is never ending in scope...the miscroscopic world is never end in scope because if you say you've reached the end point in either direction...then WHAT's beyond that?


Here is another one of similar ilk.

 

In regards to prayer, why would an all-knowing, all-loving being need to be asked to do something that would benefit a human before it will act?  And if it does not need these petitions in order to act then what is the use of prayer?

 

If its reasons are unknowable by humans then how can humans possibly determine that it is, indeed, all-knowing and all-loving?  Are these imputed attributes simply the fallible conjectures of humans on the basis of incomplete evidence or the mere say-so of the supposed being according to its prophets? 

Rosemary, You can pray to a tree or even  a stump & get exactly the same result .

I do believe that many theists do gain 'strength' from prayer, but not because some guy-in-the-sky is listening and either does or does not take heart. When one prays, he or she is basically communicating with themselves, both consciousness and subconscious.  It's a motivator in some sense, a plea in others, a confession of one's errors in life, etc.

 Inotherwords, prayer is, in essence, taking one's own counsel.  Theists believe they're talking to a son of god who is sitting 'at the right hand' of god the designated father (planner) with the holy spirit (the inspirer)seated at the father's left side....all in the 'throne room' theater. It's imagery that's used as a crutch to inspire..to create an alternate reality.

 Little do they recognize that each individual does take counsel with him/herself. We acknowledge mistakes and virtues to ourself.  It's a feedback. That's all it is, but it's a very important part of one's conscious being.

my favourite argument in this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1a1Ek-HD0

Excellent!

Of course, "God works in mysterious ways. Surely this imperfection serves its purpose in the grand scheme of things." is a typical answer you would get from those theists who are even open enough to listen to and look at this video.

 

Still, a perfect example of the improbability of Creationism

I have heard the expression : The lord works in mysterious ways, his blunders to perform.
boom! Dawkins owns again.
you're right, it doesn't, but i still thought that was awesome.
When I was about 10 years old the Methodist ministers sermon was "why does god allow the horrible events that happen?" His answer was, "because if god disallowed the evil that man does -- it would be at the cost of mans free will". So, in the ministers eyes, there can be an omnipotent being able but not willing to take away our freedom of choice!!! We can't have it both ways. We either have choice or a world determined by god. Not bad my immature mind thought -- I can live with that. And it's the only sermon I ever remembered as my maturing mind continued to dissect the incomprehensibility of theistic thought.

Like all paradoxes it falls short due to either deliberate confusion and/or problems of definition. To begin with if an omnipotent being can limit its own powers it may cease to become omnipotent if it does so, but is nonetheless omnipotent beforehand. Secondly, omnipotence is in relation to external factors not against the omnipotent being itself, a bit like saying if the strongest man in the world cannot beat himself up he cannot be the strongest and if he does then he is still not the strongest. Where's the fallacy? The strongest man is only stronger against external things ie other people, not against himself.

This could be an interesting sophists discussion :)

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