Suffering, prayer and god's will

fortitude
Science Freak
fortitude's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2009-11-19
User is offlineOffline
Suffering, prayer and god's will

I ceased to believe in god when I finally let go of the idea that somehow suffering can be part of god's long term plan.  After quite a lot of other sh1t happening, my 30 year old husband of 10 years suffered permanent nerve damage to his lower spine due to cancer.  While he appeared to everyone else to be reasonably healthy, he was in fact unable to urinate.  He also lost sexual function and partially lost bowel function.  He had to self catheterize for the rest of his life.  Which turned out to only be another year due to proliferation of tumours in his brain. 

I am no philosopher.  I find that when people are talking about hypothetical occasions of suffering and god's will, they can always come up with hypothetical ways that God could be working in the situation.  So therefore, apparently, we have no right to judge it as unacceptable for an omnipotent god.  I could dismiss hypothetical suffering as not being in conflict with an omnipotent god.  I did for over a decade.  I could, however, not dismiss the private indignity and pain he suffered daily as being somehow beneficial to something.  No possible benefit could come of my husband being unable to urinate.  Noone will be inspired by a situation like that, and even if they were, it is abhorrent to think that it would in any way justify the suffering and indignity he went through.  It was a humiliation that brought him to depression.  I lost my belief in prayer then, and my belief in god followed along accordingly.

The christians in my life had many things to say about the situation.  At the time, the things were often hurtful, even as they were trying to be encouraging.  Things like 'it's all part of god's plan and god is always in control.  You just have to trust in him.'  It rang hollow.  More than hollow.  Horrifying really.  It was better for us to just admit that 'sh1t happens' to everyone, believer and unbeliever, worthy and unworthy.  He and I faced what came with courage.  And I was proud of the depths of courage he and I found in the horror that came.  He died almost two years ago.  And it was my strength that saw the situation through to it's conclusion.  Not god's grace.  I was there for our two children through all of it.  We came through it.  There was no'Footprints' poem moment where I realized that when my strength failed, that a magic daddy carried me.  I found depths to my humanity I didn't know I had.  I found wisdom in many situations that saw us through.  I was proud of myself for that.   And I was pround of my late husband for his dignity in facing death.  I became an atheist at peace with the choices I had made given a tragic situation.

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." Martin Luther King


FurryCatHerder
Theist
FurryCatHerder's picture
Posts: 1253
Joined: 2007-06-02
User is offlineOffline
ronin-dog wrote:I wasn't

ronin-dog wrote:

I wasn't aware of the G-d/Jewish thing. I do agree with Bob though, just replacing letters doesn't make a difference, you are still casually tossing his name around. Some people believe if they write F*k, frig, frak etc they aren't swearing, but it is they meaning that you apply to letters that make it a word. Calling him G-d, Allah, Jehovah or Jonny makes no difference if you mean God.

I am sorry for your suffering, but you don't get my meaning. God is omnipotent. A parent is restricted to isolating their child and that does not work, you are correct. But God would have the ability to stop to rapists etc without restricting the child. He could even remove any tendency for any human to want to have non-consenting sex. My other argument is that God actually created the tendency for rape, violence etc in the first place, seeing as he is the creator of everything.

Allowing someone to fall over and skin their knee is one thing, but how is disease and being a victim of assault necessary for human development?

I do the "G-d" thing because a lot of the arguments I tend to engage can border on "heresy" and "blasphemy" in the eyes of others.  I come from a VERY religious family and I was the religious trouble-maker, arguing all manner of things with parents, religious leaders, and the like, from a very young age.  I really DID engage in arguments with my father by which I attempted to prove that G-d didn't have a penis.  For me, it works, because it helps remind me that there is a fine line between making a religious argument and having a potty mouth for no useful reason.  So, while your argument is valid in a general sense, it is invalid in many individual instances.

I'm not the least bit "sorry" for what I've been through, which has been rather significant.  It's made me be the person I am today.  I can TELL people what I've been through, and a lot of them gasp, and some of them would rather not know the details, but my perceptions of the world around me, of human nature, human suffering, the "Universal Brotherhood of Man" -- these all come from what have been, in my lifetime, some really crappy experiences.  On the flip side, the opportunities for fully engaging the world all come from those crappy experiences.  I never thought sleeping in a rat infested house was going to be "enjoyable" (I'm an upper-middle class geek), and long since got past the need to be "poor", but having had that experience, other opportunities are available in ways they'd not be -- if I'd never done that.

It's been my experience that people for whom life has been "easy" tend not to get out all that much.  They might die a nice, peaceful death, but they seldom say "I've lived a full and rewarding life and I'm ready for an extended vacation."  My grandfather, the one I stood by while he died at my feet, had Malaria twice in his life.  He could have moved back to Canada (and stayed there) after the first time, but he didn't.  He went back to South America and did what he enjoyed doing.  When he retired from the clergy, he found other things to do, including the things that kept landing him back in the hospital.

So, the G-d you argue against -- the one that's supposed to be protecting me from everything "bad" or else He doesn't exist?  No thank-you.  I like the G-d I've got.  You keep the god you don't believe in, I'll stick with the one I do believe in.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


FurryCatHerder
Theist
FurryCatHerder's picture
Posts: 1253
Joined: 2007-06-02
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:I referred

BobSpence1 wrote:

I referred to my parents as "Mum" and "Dad". It wasn't so much a matter of respect, it was a matter of custom, convention, just as "G-d" is for you.

But it is still not a good analogy.

And of course I regard respect as essential part of human existence, but tying the concept to such a custom as God/G-d devalues genuine respect. As I said, if I wrote "M-m" it would be a more valid comparison.

Do you pronounce 'G-d' differently from 'God' when you speak it?

Because if the distinction does not come across in speech, it makes it even more ridiculous.

A practice that would make more sense would be to actually use a different 'familiar' name in casual use, which would be directly analogous to the way I addressed my parents.

I can see how this particular convention might have arisen, because I understand ancient Hebrew did not use vowel symbols?

Children LEARN respect by doing things that trivialize genuine respect.

The Jewish approach is to replace the four letter name of G-d, yud-hey-vav-hey, with the Hebrew for "My Lord", which is "Adonai".  So we do what you said would make more sense.  In idle conversation, "HaShem" -- "The Name" -- is used.

And really -- "G-d" is just one of those idiosyncrasies.  You'd have to get to know me better to more fully understand why I do it.  It's not required or anything.  I've just learned that when I write "God" too often, I tend to get too cavalier in my arguments.  In particular, I can become careless and confuse the Jewish god-concept with other religions' god-concepts.  The only name of G-d I don't "alter" is "Allah", which is just Arabic for "The G-d" (though more involved than that).  Islam is monotheistic enough that I never slip up and ascribe something to Allah that I wouldn't ascribe to G-d.  But when I start getting into debates with Christians, and especially with Christians, I need to keep myself on my toes.  The Christian god-concept is fully polytheistic and I need all the mental devices I can to keep from making statements that imply G-d is less than an absolute unity.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5850
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
I can see your point of

I can see your point of view, even as I still find it a little silly. We have had others in here using exactly the same convention.

I still should point out that child-parent thing involves a clearly different word for 'respectful' reference.

Using Ywh or something similar would seem to make the distinctions you are referring to clearer to both sides.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


jumbo1410
Theist
Posts: 166
Joined: 2009-07-25
User is offlineOffline
I'll keep this short so you

I'll keep this short so you can understand:

Quote:
According to your definition of God, He created everything, is responsible for everything, can change anything He wants and knows everything that is going to happen.

I did not give a definition of God. If I did, this was not it.

Quote:
Evil is what is against mankind's morality. God created evil, and could remove it if He so chose.

Have you thought about including an argument with your assertions?

Quote:
God put the evil inclinations in mankind. He could quite easily have the worst inclinations in mankind being theft and grumpiness,

Ad tedium. See above.

Quote:
however he made people who assault, rape and murder people, even in His own churches.

You don't beleive in God, so you are forced to replace 'God' in the above argument with "Humanity". Fail.

Quote:
It is not about the freewill argument and autonomy, it is about God creating it in the first place and then allowing it to continue.

Why do I bother? I might as well speak to your toddler, maybe there is a chance he/she will listen.

Quote:

Once again, God created disease, He inflicted this on us (and all living things). Did He create disease and let millions of people die every year from disease (most non-STDs) just to give us an insentive to improve our science and try to find cures? Even though diseases were around for millions of years  before we even had a chance to prevent the simplest of them?

I'm not even going to ask what whacky AIDS theory you subscribe to, it is not what we are talking about here.

...

Quote:
I thought your omnipotent being could do what is logically impossible, isn't that the point? In fact he did several times in the Bible. Actually the omnipotent being is a logical impossibility in the first place.

When did I say that? There is more than just that theory of omnipotence. If you can read, then I suggest you look up the meaning of the word "example".

Quote:

I don't represent anyone here other than myself. If you want to be arrogant with me that is your business, but don't extend it to others. There a quite a few here who do extensive research. 

Don't get your knickers in a knot, it is all fun and games, and nobody will lose an eye here.

 

 

Quote:
Wow jumbo I don't know if you realize it but you just came off as incredibly ignorant.  How many of us do you think grew up without some kind of religious training?  I'm sure a lot of us know just as much about your God as you do, and even if nobody did ronin-dog is correct in saying he doesn't need to research it because "God can do anything" is a pretty easy concept to understand. 

You people amaze me. STRAWMAN. URGH. "God can do anything" THAT IS WHY I AM SAYING HE CAN'T.

I suppose ignorance is better than arrogance. No one reads what I actually write anyway, so why should it matter?

Quote:
What the issue is here, as far as I can see, is the fact that while He is supposedly omnipotent, He fails to intervene when tragedy occurs. 

Quote:
Your argument is (if I gather correctly) that if God were to intervene and prevent the "evil" that is to occur, this would somehow override the will of Man.  Well, YEAH.  If God cares so much about whomever the "evil" is being acted upon, then (because He can do anything) He is more than capable of overriding the "inclination" of the one doing the "evil" so that he/she may do no such thing. 

It is not my argument. I'm not sure who coined it first, but it is over a thousand years old. I am using Plantinga's version.

I must say, you have a funny definition of "caring". I for one think that having a choice is a really good thing. I don't see a line up at the labotomy clinic lately, and most of the vegetables I meet don't seem particularly happy. Of course God is capable, but that is not the issue. Are you sure you want to maintain the position that "He is more than capable of overriding the "inclination" of the one doing the "evil" so that he/she may do no such thing"?

 

EDIT: Editted.


ronin-dog
Scientist
ronin-dog's picture
Posts: 419
Joined: 2007-10-18
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:I'll keep

jumbo1410 wrote:

I'll keep this short so you can understand:

Thank you for your arrogance.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
According to your definition of God, He created everything, is responsible for everything, can change anything He wants and knows everything that is going to happen.

I did not give a definition of God. If I did, this was not it.

I was paraphrasing, but that is a pretty standard claim of God's abilities according to Christians etc. So what is your definition of God?

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
Evil is what is against mankind's morality. God created evil, and could remove it if He so chose.

Have you thought about including an argument with your assertions?

I don't need to make an argument with every statement I make. The statement is just following from the "God made everything and can do everything" idea.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
however he made people who assault, rape and murder people, even in His own churches.

You don't beleive in God, so you are forced to replace 'God' in the above argument with "Humanity". Fail.

Of course I don't believe in God, but that is what we are talking about!!! I am not arguing about humanity you dolt!

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
It is not about the freewill argument and autonomy, it is about God creating it in the first place and then allowing it to continue.

Why do I bother? I might as well speak to your toddler, maybe there is a chance he/she will listen.

You have a consistent lack of logic, so I doubt you could even hold a conversation with a todler.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
I thought your omnipotent being could do what is logically impossible, isn't that the point? In fact he did several times in the Bible. Actually the omnipotent being is a logical impossibility in the first place.

When did I say that? There is more than just that theory of omnipotence. If you can read, then I suggest you look up the meaning of the word "example"

You state that omnipotent does not include doing the logically impossible. Does this mean that you think creating the universe and everything in it out of nothingness is not logically impossible? What can't an omnipotent being do?

jumbo1410 wrote:
 

You people amaze me. STRAWMAN. URGH. "God can do anything" THAT IS WHY I AM SAYING HE CAN'T.

How about you tell us what you think God can and can't do then?

jumbo1410 wrote:

I suppose ignorance is better than arrogance. No one reads what I actually write anyway, so why should it matter?

We are reading what you are writing, you are just not making any sense. If this is because your stance on God and his abilities differs from the Christian norm, then perhaps you should tell us what your opinion is instead of assuming that we know.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
Your argument is (if I gather correctly) that if God were to intervene and prevent the "evil" that is to occur, this would somehow override the will of Man.  Well, YEAH.  If God cares so much about whomever the "evil" is being acted upon, then (because He can do anything) He is more than capable of overriding the "inclination" of the one doing the "evil" so that he/she may do no such thing. 

It is not my argument. I'm not sure who coined it first, but it is over a thousand years old. I am using Plantinga's version.

Plantinga's argument is bogus, it is basically what we have been discussing. Also if you put forward that argument here, it is your argument too. It is basically grasping at straws to justify your beliefs.

jumbo1410 wrote:

I must say, you have a funny definition of "caring". I for one think that having a choice is a really good thing. I don't see a line up at the labotomy clinic lately, and most of the vegetables I meet don't seem particularly happy. Of course God is capable, but that is not the issue. Are you sure you want to maintain the position that "He is more than capable of overriding the "inclination" of the one doing the "evil" so that he/she may do no such thing"?

Once again, what has disease got to do with choice. What has birth defects, mental illness etc got to do with choice? Of course if somone is assaulting you they have a choice, but what choice do you have?

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


FurryCatHerder
Theist
FurryCatHerder's picture
Posts: 1253
Joined: 2007-06-02
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:I can see

BobSpence1 wrote:

I can see your point of view, even as I still find it a little silly. We have had others in here using exactly the same convention.

I still should point out that child-parent thing involves a clearly different word for 'respectful' reference.

Using Ywh or something similar would seem to make the distinctions you are referring to clearer to both sides.

What, you know Christians who write "G-d"?

I think the distinction is perfectly clear, once you're exposed to it.  And certainly clearer than "Ywh" since "Yahweh" isn't even a name of G-d.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5850
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
FurryCatHerder

FurryCatHerder wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I can see your point of view, even as I still find it a little silly. We have had others in here using exactly the same convention.

I still should point out that child-parent thing involves a clearly different word for 'respectful' reference.

Using Ywh or something similar would seem to make the distinctions you are referring to clearer to both sides.

What, you know Christians who write "G-d"?

I think the distinction is perfectly clear, once you're exposed to it.  And certainly clearer than "Ywh" since "Yahweh" isn't even a name of G-d.

I think they were Jewish. Yahweh is explicitly described in my online dictionary as

"a form of the Hebrew name of God used in the Bible. The name came to be regarded by Jews ( c. 300 bc) as too sacred to be spoken, and the vowel sounds are uncertain.",

so I am a little surprised at your comment. It is certainly commonly understood as that by most people, and would be much clearer than "G-d".

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


NoDeity
Bronze Member
NoDeity's picture
Posts: 268
Joined: 2009-10-13
User is offlineOffline
FurryCatHerder

FurryCatHerder wrote:
 God-as-puppet-master

From my point of view, that's irrelevant.  The argument from evil with which I am most familiar has nothing to do with moment-by-moment interference from a Super-Nanny in the Sky.  Rather, it has to do with the initial design of the universe.

An omnipotent God would be able to create a universe without the potential for evil.  

An omniscient God would know whether or not the universe was going to produce evil.  

A wholly good God would not knowingly create an evil-producing machine.

A perfect God is going to be sufficient in itself (i.e. not needy, not driven by desire) and so, if it is also wholly good, will not create a universe at all if it knows that it is not possible to do so without it becoming an evil-producing machine.

 

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


jumbo1410
Theist
Posts: 166
Joined: 2009-07-25
User is offlineOffline
Quote:Thank you for your

Quote:
Thank you for your arrogance

I apologise. I was having a little dig, and I did not mean it to be as serious as it was taken.

Quote:
I was paraphrasing, but that is a pretty standard claim of God's abilities according to Christians etc. So what is your definition of God?

The long answer is, I do not believe there is a definitive definition of God. HOWEVER, there are more accurate versions than others. For example, you wrote:

Quote:
He created everything

This is inaccurate. I can see where you are going with this, but it fails unfortunately. If A creates B and B creates C, does A create C? Using an analogy, If God created me and I painted the mona lisa, was God the creator of the Mona Lisa? No, of course not. Then presumably there are things that exist that God did not create.

Quote:
is responsible for everything

Here again, if God created man and man sins, is God responsible for sin?

Quote:
can change anything He wants

I guess this is your definition of omnipotence. For the purpose of this argument, omnipotence has to mean not capable of logical impossiblities. The reason is that if God were capable of LI - creating anything He wants - it undermines your position as well as mine. Your position is that God does not exist. But if God is capable of LI, then you are right and wrong at the same time, since existing and not existing at the same time is a logical impossibility - and one that God is completely capable of under this premise.

Quote:
knows everything that is going to happen.

Correct. But anything more than this definition becomes problematic. Some would argue that if X knew Y's actions (Z) beforehand, it does not change the fact that Y has a choice to not do Z regardless of X's knowlegde of the fact (Z). This is the compatabalist view on determinism and free-will.

Quote:
Evil is what is against mankind's morality. God created evil, and could remove it if He so chose.

...

I don't need to make an argument with every statement I make. The statement is just following from the "God made everything and can do everything" idea.

The idea is fundamentally flawed. You would have to address the argument that if A creates B and B creates C then A creates C. It is implicit in the argument that "creates" is a non-transitive relationship. As in the following case. If I am friends with you, and you are friends with bob, does that make me friends with Bob? "Are friends with", here, is also a non-transitive relationship. "Is older than" would be an example of a transitive relationship.

 

Quote:
You have a consistent lack of logic, so I doubt you could even hold a conversation with a todler.

You see? I find this funny.

Quote:
You state that omnipotent does not include doing the logically impossible. Does this mean that you think creating the universe and everything in it out of nothingness is not logically impossible?

If creating something out of nothing is logically impossible, then you have done yourself a disservice, as what would the scientific explanation involve? If the energy that existed was eternal, then all I have to do to alleviate the pressure on the logical impossibility of something from nothing; is say that God created the universe out of Himself - just as the energy condensed the universe out of itself in the scientific explanation.

Now the more estute might say the above is an ad homenim (tu quoque). However, the question is problematic on both sides. Solving one solves the other. Since there is no way of knowing with any certainty whether something can come from nothing (scientifically or divinely), the question is in fact irrelevant.

Quote:
What can't an omnipotent being do

Presumably the logically impossible.

Quote:
How about you tell us what you think God can and can't do then?

Well, this is the point of Plantinga's argument. You indicate that you can swat Plantinga aside. Perhaps then, it is time for you to do some reasoning instead of having someone spell it all out for you so you can skim of the top without knowing the process by which you came to any given conclusion.

Quote:
We are reading what you are writing, you are just not making any sense. If this is because your stance on God and his abilities differs from the Christian norm, then perhaps you should tell us what your opinion is instead of assuming that we know.

I apologise. It is not my opinion that matters. Through reasoning, we are trying to establish whether suffering contradicts God's nature. The argument, once again, is thus:

 

1. God is omnipotent

2. God is omniscient

3. God is omnibenevolent

---

4. Evil exists

 

This is a quarter of Plantnga's argument, that stems from a classical version:

1. God is all-powerful

2. God is all-good

---

3. Evil exists

The reason why it is inconsistent is that the combination of any two statements negates the third. IOW, If god is all powerful and all-good, then evil should not exist. If God is all powerful and evil exists, then God is not all-good. If God is all-good and evil exists, then God is not all powerful.

The reason why it fails (as Bob already pointed out), is because it is a non sequitur. The statements in the argument itself do not logically lead to the expected conclusion that evil should not exist. What is needed to bring out the contradiction is a set of definitions, which, when added to the argument produce a contradiction between God and the existence of Evil. As one sets about doing this, however, the contradiction does not arise.

 

I will put the argument up in full eventually. I will wait for any objections to what I have already written though, so as to be perfectly clear about the points in contention. If we cannot agree on some basic definitions, it is pointless continuing with the "suffering" debate, as the contention will be definitions, not the existence of evil.

 

Quote:
Plantinga's argument is bogus, it is basically what we have been discussing. Also if you put forward that argument here, it is your argument too. It is basically grasping at straws to justify your beliefs.

Why?

 

Quote:

Once again, what has disease got to do with choice. What has birth defects, mental illness etc got to do with choice? Of course if somone is assaulting you they have a choice, but what choice do you have?

This was in response to natural evil (rocks falling on the innocent, disease etc). It will come into play later. For now, it is not that important.

 


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
In case you were wondering, Ronin,

 

when this rusty little train comes chuffing into the station, it's the existence of suffering that's going to prove god exists. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


jumbo1410
Theist
Posts: 166
Joined: 2009-07-25
User is offlineOffline
Quote:From my point of view,

Quote:
From my point of view, that's irrelevant.  The argument from evil with which I am most familiar has nothing to do with moment-by-moment interference from a Super-Nanny in the Sky.  Rather, it has to do with the initial design of the universe.

1. An omnipotent God would be able to create a universe without the potential for evil.  

2. An omniscient God would know whether or not the universe was going to produce evil.  

3. A wholly good God would not knowingly create an evil-producing machine.

4. A perfect God is going to be sufficient in itself (i.e. not needy, not driven by desire) and so, if it is also wholly good, will not create a universe at all if it knows that it is not possible to do so without it becoming an evil-producing machine.

The only problem is premise number 3. What happens if the net position of this evil producing machine, from beginning to end, is marginally good? Say, for example that humans are entirely evil for the first five thousand years of the Earth's existence. But for the following five-thousnad-and-one years, were entirely good. Presumably then we have one year of good counting towards our existence. If God eliminated that 1 year of Good by not creating us in the first place, is God acting against his omnibeneovelence?

 

This assumes that every evil act has an equal and opposite good act. But some would argue that the small amount of good in humans actually outweighs the majority of bad.


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Hi Jumbo

jumbo1410 wrote:


This assumes that every evil act has an equal and opposite good act. But some would argue that the small amount of good in humans actually outweighs the majority of bad.

 

Sorry to jump in here but every else seems to be asleep or something. Anyway - do you really believe the core points of the above quote. That humans have a small amount of

good and a majority of bad? Do you really believe we are mostly bad? Or are you just talking about some one else's opinion?

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Never mind, Jumbo

 

Having reacquainted myself with the thread I know your position on this one.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


fishpaste (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
I cannot say I am sorry for

I cannot say I am sorry for your loss because I do not know you, and I've always felt it stupid to say you're sorry when you don't actually feel it emotionally. I can say that I wish you the best, as I do for anyone who has been through such a situation.

 

That said, I feel your reasoning has been hampered by your emotional tie to the situation, and ask that you think it through more (assuming you are in any way interested in philosophy or theology). I am obviously a bit biased since I consider the problem of evil to be one of the worst arguments in favor of atheism, but that said, understanding it, as well as understanding the real solid reasons for why god doesn't exist, I feel, are quite important to my life and the lives of many others.


jumbo1410
Theist
Posts: 166
Joined: 2009-07-25
User is offlineOffline
Quote:Having reacquainted

Quote:
Having reacquainted myself with the thread I know your position on this one.

Thats OK, I don't mind. To answer your question, no, I do not believe we are mostly bad. This strengthens my proposition that human existence is an overall good thing. Put another way, a world in which humans exist is better than a world in which they do not, even if it the net position of the world is evil. Why should the evil of some be used against the good of others? Presumably, God knows whether the world is better off with us in it or not.


NoDeity
Bronze Member
NoDeity's picture
Posts: 268
Joined: 2009-10-13
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:From

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
From my point of view, that's irrelevant.  The argument from evil with which I am most familiar has nothing to do with moment-by-moment interference from a Super-Nanny in the Sky.  Rather, it has to do with the initial design of the universe.

1. An omnipotent God would be able to create a universe without the potential for evil.  

2. An omniscient God would know whether or not the universe was going to produce evil.  

3. A wholly good God would not knowingly create an evil-producing machine.

4. A perfect God is going to be sufficient in itself (i.e. not needy, not driven by desire) and so, if it is also wholly good, will not create a universe at all if it knows that it is not possible to do so without it becoming an evil-producing machine.

The only problem is premise number 3. What happens if the net position of this evil producing machine, from beginning to end, is marginally good?

What happens is that the God has created a machine that produces both good and evil.  Without the machine, there would have existed only good and no evil at all.  So, for a wholly good God, it seems to me that the better choice would be to not create the machine.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
This assumes that every evil act has an equal and opposite good act.  But some would argue that the small amount of good in humans actually outweighs the majority of bad.

Where does one find a scale that measures such things? 

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


jumbo1410
Theist
Posts: 166
Joined: 2009-07-25
User is offlineOffline
Quote:What happens is that

Quote:
What happens is that the God has created a machine that produces both good and evil.  Without the machine, there would have existed only good and no evil at all.  So, for a wholly good God, it seems to me that the better choice would be to not create the machine.

Well, several issues spring to mind:

1. I can grant you that God created the "machine", but is it God's responsibility what that machine produces? G creates M, M creates E, is G responsible for E?

2. With regards to the sentence "God has created a machine (M) that produces both Good (G) and Evil (E)", I think a more accurate way of putting it is "G created M capable of both G and E".

3. Why would G triumph over E if M did not obtain? Are you saying M is entirely E?

4. How do you get to your conclusion given the above queries?

 

Quote:
Where does one find a scale that measures such things?

That is not my point. To make it simpler, imagine a universe with only two people in it. One is entirely Good (X), the other entirely bad (Y). Why should X not exist because of Y? Nowhere in your posts have you addressed this question.


ProzacDeathWish
atheist
ProzacDeathWish's picture
Posts: 3657
Joined: 2007-12-02
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:1. I can

jumbo1410 wrote:

1. I can grant you that God created the "machine", but is it God's responsibility what that machine produces?

 

     Was Divine Foreknowledge in effect before the machine was created ?

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." Mark Twain.


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5850
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:From

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
From my point of view, that's irrelevant.  The argument from evil with which I am most familiar has nothing to do with moment-by-moment interference from a Super-Nanny in the Sky.  Rather, it has to do with the initial design of the universe.

1. An omnipotent God would be able to create a universe without the potential for evil.  

2. An omniscient God would know whether or not the universe was going to produce evil.  

3. A wholly good God would not knowingly create an evil-producing machine.

4. A perfect God is going to be sufficient in itself (i.e. not needy, not driven by desire) and so, if it is also wholly good, will not create a universe at all if it knows that it is not possible to do so without it becoming an evil-producing machine.

The only problem is premise number 3. What happens if the net position of this evil producing machine, from beginning to end, is marginally good? Say, for example that humans are entirely evil for the first five thousand years of the Earth's existence. But for the following five-thousnad-and-one years, were entirely good. Presumably then we have one year of good counting towards our existence. If God eliminated that 1 year of Good by not creating us in the first place, is God acting against his omnibeneovelence?

This assumes that every evil act has an equal and opposite good act. But some would argue that the small amount of good in humans actually outweighs the majority of bad.

You have not produced a coherent argument against point 3. Anything that produces significant amounts of harm ('evil'), that cannot be argued is an inevitable by-product of some action which ultimately leads to a good outcome which greatly outweighs the harm, like the pain of surgery to remove a serious cancer, is unnecessarily evil.

Good actions do not outweigh bad, unless those 'bad' actions are only causing unavoidable bad effects as a necessary part of a set of actions leading to an overall positive result.

Any unnecessary or avoidable evil is an argument against an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God., whatever else of a more positive nature may also happen.

The imperfect nature of humans is the responsibility of the Creator in the God scenario.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


fishpaste (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:jumbo1410

BobSpence1 wrote:

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
From my point of view, that's irrelevant.  The argument from evil with which I am most familiar has nothing to do with moment-by-moment interference from a Super-Nanny in the Sky.  Rather, it has to do with the initial design of the universe.

1. An omnipotent God would be able to create a universe without the potential for evil.  

2. An omniscient God would know whether or not the universe was going to produce evil.  

3. A wholly good God would not knowingly create an evil-producing machine.

4. A perfect God is going to be sufficient in itself (i.e. not needy, not driven by desire) and so, if it is also wholly good, will not create a universe at all if it knows that it is not possible to do so without it becoming an evil-producing machine.

The only problem is premise number 3. What happens if the net position of this evil producing machine, from beginning to end, is marginally good? Say, for example that humans are entirely evil for the first five thousand years of the Earth's existence. But for the following five-thousnad-and-one years, were entirely good. Presumably then we have one year of good counting towards our existence. If God eliminated that 1 year of Good by not creating us in the first place, is God acting against his omnibeneovelence?

This assumes that every evil act has an equal and opposite good act. But some would argue that the small amount of good in humans actually outweighs the majority of bad.

You have not produced a coherent argument against point 3. Anything that produces significant amounts of harm ('evil'), that cannot be argued is an inevitable by-product of some action which ultimately leads to a good outcome which greatly outweighs the harm, like the pain of surgery to remove a serious cancer, is unnecessarily evil.

Good actions do not outweigh bad, unless those 'bad' actions are only causing unavoidable bad effects as a necessary part of a set of actions leading to an overall positive result.

Any unnecessary or avoidable evil is an argument against an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God., whatever else of a more positive nature may also happen.

The imperfect nature of humans is the responsibility of the Creator in the God scenario.

 

Explain why the pain of surgery is an unnecessary evil.

 

I know people who prefer surgery without anesthesia, and they are not sadists. We have a nervous system for a reason, ever read brave new world?

 

That said, I have trouble with the notion of any evil being unnecessary, or any evil being unimportant to the human condition. How could you even make that argument given you have no other universe to base it on? It's like you saying that if africa didn't exist, we'd be better off, when we in fact have not ever observed an africanless universe to know all of the effects of this.


fortitude
Science Freak
fortitude's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2009-11-19
User is offlineOffline
hmmmm....

Jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
We are reading what you are writing, you are just not making any sense. If this is because your stance on God and his abilities differs from the Christian norm, then perhaps you should tell us what your opinion is instead of assuming that we know.

I apologise. It is not my opinion that matters. Through reasoning, we are trying to establish whether suffering contradicts God's nature. The argument, once again, is thus:

 

1. God is omnipotent

2. God is omniscient

3. God is omnibenevolent

---

4. Evil exists

 

This is a quarter of Plantnga's argument, that stems from a classical version:

1. God is all-powerful

2. God is all-good

---

3. Evil exists

The reason why it is inconsistent is that the combination of any two statements negates the third. IOW, If god is all powerful and all-good, then evil should not exist. If God is all powerful and evil exists, then God is not all-good. If God is all-good and evil exists, then God is not all powerful.

The reason why it fails (as Bob already pointed out), is because it is a non sequitur. The statements in the argument itself do not logically lead to the expected conclusion that evil should not exist. What is needed to bring out the contradiction is a set of definitions, which, when added to the argument produce a contradiction between God and the existence of Evil. As one sets about doing this, however, the contradiction does not arise.

 

I will put the argument up in full eventually. I will wait for any objections to what I have already written though, so as to be perfectly clear about the points in contention. If we cannot agree on some basic definitions, it is pointless continuing with the "suffering" debate, as the contention will be definitions, not the existence of evil.

 

Quote:
Plantinga's argument is bogus, it is basically what we have been discussing. Also if you put forward that argument here, it is your argument too. It is basically grasping at straws to justify your beliefs.

Why?

 

Quote:

Once again, what has disease got to do with choice. What has birth defects, mental illness etc got to do with choice? Of course if somone is assaulting you they have a choice, but what choice do you have?

This was in response to natural evil (rocks falling on the innocent, disease etc). It will come into play later. For now, it is not that important.

Since my internet is working again, I think I will jump in at this point for starters.

Jumbo - you're having fun I'm sure laying out this well worn defense of god's character.  I heard all of this while I was facing terrible suffering.  It struck me like a note painfully out of tune at the time.  At the time it was delivered (repeatedly), it seemed disingenuous and dismissive of what was happening to my family.  It still does.

You can say that suffering is not that important to your discussion.  That somehow if you prove god is not responsible or capable of removing some particular instances of evil, that he would 'logically' be removed of responsibility for every other objectionable thing that we encounter as humans by extension.  False I say.

As far as what god is capable and not capable of doing, there is certainly no theist consensus on what is possible for god.  It is not as cut and dried as you would like it to be.  I belonged to a church that believed in faith healing.  Many christians believe in the power of prayer to affect their physical well-being.  They believe in intercessory prayer.  You've led us through an entertaining but frustrating circumnavigation of lots of bushes.  There is no proof that prayer works in any objective tests.  There are certainly millions theists suffering and dying of horrible illnesses, even with modern scientific medicine.  Just as many as non-christians and non-theists. 

You put forward that we, as humanity, are all responsible for the fact that health problems plague us and children go hungry.  Money spent on churches, preachers and theologians could be going toward advances in medical care or feeding the hungry.  Then perhaps we would be able to solve so many of the world's ills that you say are not god's responsibility to solve but rather fall on the shoulders of humanity.  We could surely reduce the amount of gratuitous pain and suffering.  Perhaps preachers could be retrained as nurses or counselors within the medical field.  It would certainly contribute more to the well-being of humanity than is the current state of affairs.  Whether or not a god exists, wouldn't this be better?

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." Martin Luther King


fortitude
Science Freak
fortitude's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2009-11-19
User is offlineOffline
So we are stupid are we?

FurryCatHerder wrote:

ARGH!  STUPID PEOPLE!

How many of you still live at home with your parents?  How many of you still allow your parents to make all of your decisions?  How many of you would allow your parents to interfere in your life each and every time something even remotely "dangerous" happened?

Replace "parents" with "G-d" and tell me that you'd really want G-d treating you like some kind of child who doesn't know what they are doing or can't be responsible for their own life.

God-as-puppet-master is just as horrible as god-as-super-nanny.  If you don't believe in G-d because G-d doesn't give you free ponies or keep you from getting an ouwie when you fall down, you've got bigger problems than you imagine.  Since most children eventually up and leave the protective cocoon of their parents' home, I can only assume that being protected and smothered all the time is not really part of the plan.  And I don't think it's part of the plan whether G-d does or doesn't exist.  Because Theist and Atheist kids alike all seem to agree that being able to make ones own mistakes and suffer the consequences, or enjoy the rewards, is a good way to be an adult.

So all these "omnibenevolent" arguments are bogus.  And they are bogus whether or not G-d exists, which is usually the best way to determine that an argument about G-d is or isn't valid.

I see....

So we are stupid are we??  Considering the initial subject of the thread, this is quite a surprising tack to take.  So if god did exist, we are responsible for our f*cked up genes that lead to excruciating and humiliating diseases?  Asking to be allowed to see ones children start kindergarten before one dies is hardly comparable to asking for a pony.  My husband died leaving a 3 year old and a one year old with me.  Suggesting there is a legitimate comparison is just a fresh example of how destructive religion is to the natural compassion that people have for their fellow humans.  I think that this ultimately was the main reason that I abandoned faith in god.  His followers had more allegiance to their god belief than to their fellow humans.  My family's situation was an inconvenient challenge to their trust in god, so therefore we should be shunned by our church community.

So is god then in the position in which he set a world in motion and is unwilling or unable (depending on the curcumstances; he gets to choose the excuse of course) to change the predetermined outcome of the larger scheme of the world?  Everything works according to the logical laws he set in motion?  He doesn't bother with the minutae of our insignificant lives, even when we ask in humble supplication for some respite for our situtation.  Either god occasionally (according to his will) interacts with the physical world to change our situation, due to the prayers of the faithful, or he doesn't.  Either there are situations when god interceeds to heal people or there are not.  If he doesn't interceed, why is it necessary to pray for healing or change in the world?  It certainly seems that there is no evidence for the effectiveness of prayer on our physical well-being beyond a placebo effect.   

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." Martin Luther King


NoDeity
Bronze Member
NoDeity's picture
Posts: 268
Joined: 2009-10-13
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:What

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
What happens is that the God has created a machine that produces both good and evil.  Without the machine, there would have existed only good and no evil at all.  So, for a wholly good God, it seems to me that the better choice would be to not create the machine.

Well, several issues spring to mind:

1. I can grant you that God created the "machine", but is it God's responsibility what that machine produces? G creates M, M creates E, is G responsible for E?

Yes,  of course God would be responsible, assuming we're talking about an omnimax God, because God would have certainly known the consequences.  If I knowingly build and turn on a shoe-making machine and it starts producing shoes, am I not responsible for the fact that shoes are being produced?  If I create the machine and set it in motion, how do I escape responsibility for what is produced by it?

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
2. With regards to the sentence "God has created a machine (M) that produces both Good (G) and Evil (E)", I think a more accurate way of putting it is "G created M capable of both G and E".

If God knew what the machine would do, then I think that the distinction is meaningless.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
3. Why would G triumph over E if M did not obtain? Are you saying M is entirely E?

I don't understand how the question is relevant.  Whether there is, on balance, more good than evil or more evil than good is completely beside the point.  A wholly good God is not going to want to create any evil at all.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
4. How do you get to your conclusion given the above queries?

I think I've already made that clear.  I honestly don't see that your queries cause any trouble at all for my argument.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
Quote:
Where does one find a scale that measures such things?

That is not my point. To make it simpler, imagine a universe with only two people in it. One is entirely Good (X), the other entirely bad (Y). Why should X not exist because of Y? Nowhere in your posts have you addressed this question.

I have addressed it by explaining that it is irrelevant.

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


fortitude
Science Freak
fortitude's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2009-11-19
User is offlineOffline
to fortitude:fishpaste

to fortitude:

fishpaste wrote:

That said, I feel your reasoning has been hampered by your emotional tie to the situation, and ask that you think it through more (assuming you are in any way interested in philosophy or theology). I am obviously a bit biased since I consider the problem of evil to be one of the worst arguments in favor of atheism, but that said, understanding it, as well as understanding the real solid reasons for why god doesn't exist, I feel, are quite important to my life and the lives of many others.

If experience has given me a rare perspective on on suffering, how is it a liability to bring that to bear on a discussion?  Is it because it makes discussions seem less trivial?  Less hypothetical?  That is the whole point of this thread.  It is important.  It isn't trivial for the many people being fed this particular 'problem of evil' brand of theological horse shit.  It is of vital importance to those in the midst of suffering.  My rationality and fortitude have allowed me to rebuild an enviable life for me and my children.  If anyone else agrees that my experience and perspective is not a welcome addition to this thread (which of course I started), please say so.  I certainly have not heard any similar sentiments from anyone else.

I am not here because I enjoy philosophical and theological vicissitudes.  Is this a philosopher-only zone?  I am here to share my perspective and bring it to bear among fellow intelligent human beings, whether atheist or not.

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." Martin Luther King


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5850
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
 fishpaste wrote:BobSpence1

 

fishpaste wrote:

 

BobSpence1 wrote:

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
From my point of view, that's irrelevant.  The argument from evil with which I am most familiar has nothing to do with moment-by-moment interference from a Super-Nanny in the Sky.  Rather, it has to do with the initial design of the universe.

1. An omnipotent God would be able to create a universe without the potential for evil.  

2. An omniscient God would know whether or not the universe was going to produce evil.  

3. A wholly good God would not knowingly create an evil-producing machine.

4. A perfect God is going to be sufficient in itself (i.e. not needy, not driven by desire) and so, if it is also wholly good, will not create a universe at all if it knows that it is not possible to do so without it becoming an evil-producing machine.

The only problem is premise number 3. What happens if the net position of this evil producing machine, from beginning to end, is marginally good? Say, for example that humans are entirely evil for the first five thousand years of the Earth's existence. But for the following five-thousnad-and-one years, were entirely good. Presumably then we have one year of good counting towards our existence. If God eliminated that 1 year of Good by not creating us in the first place, is God acting against his omnibeneovelence?

This assumes that every evil act has an equal and opposite good act. But some would argue that the small amount of good in humans actually outweighs the majority of bad.

You have not produced a coherent argument against point 3. Anything that produces significant amounts of harm ('evil'), that cannot be argued is an inevitable by-product of some action which ultimately leads to a good outcome which greatly outweighs the harm, like the pain of surgery to remove a serious cancer, is unnecessarily evil.

Good actions do not outweigh bad, unless those 'bad' actions are only causing unavoidable bad effects as a necessary part of a set of actions leading to an overall positive result.

Any unnecessary or avoidable evil is an argument against an omnibenevolent and omnipotent God., whatever else of a more positive nature may also happen.

The imperfect nature of humans is the responsibility of the Creator in the God scenario.

 

Explain why the pain of surgery is an unnecessary evil.

 

I know people who prefer surgery without anesthesia, and they are not sadists. We have a nervous system for a reason, ever read brave new world?

 

That said, I have trouble with the notion of any evil being unnecessary, or any evil being unimportant to the human condition. How could you even make that argument given you have no other universe to base it on? It's like you saying that if africa didn't exist, we'd be better off, when we in fact have not ever observed an africanless universe to know all of the effects of this.

I was afraid I phrased that a little awkwardly, and you have misread it. Sorry.

I was trying to say that the pain inflicted as part of surgery, assuming anaesthetics are not available, is a necessary 'evil'.

I am more familiar with the pain of dental work, and I see absolutely no reason to experience any more of that than unavoidable, such as the initial pain of the injection.

There is certainly some surgery which would be out of the question without anaesthesia. 

It was not the best example, since the availability of anaesthetics confuses the issue.

I haven't read BNW, but while I understand there are clear reasons for having pain receptors, I can see no good reasons for experiencing extreme and unnecessary pain. It actually risks psychological damage.

I see no justification for the existence of  'evil', in the normal sense of the word. That statement does not depend on observing a universe with no 'evil'. We only have to compare different places, times and societies with different experiences of what we would classify as 'evil' to be able to draw conclusions. Your statement about Africa would imply that many forms of scientific testing cannot possibly lead to useful information because we cannot control every aspect of the test.

Of course, I understand that in the real universe, the blind forces of nature and evolution and change in general are going to sometimes lead to injury, pain, death and disease. Some of this is going to have positive effects in 'training' people to avoid some things and actions. I would tend to reserve the word 'evil' for things where the harm is large, and seems to have little or no positive aspect, especially if there appears to be some agency, a will, behind it.

Even much of the evil which 'teaches' us to avoid actions leading to such outcomes is only beneficial because that particular possibility of 'evil' outcome exists in the first place.

There surely is some evil where the negatives massively outweigh any positives. What is the net positive benefit of the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust and their families? I can imagine it serves as a reminder of the depths to which people can descend under certain conditions, but that is only a 'benefit' because we have that capability in the first place.

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


fortitude
Science Freak
fortitude's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2009-11-19
User is offlineOffline
why is it

jumbo1410 wrote:

What I don't understand, Fort, is why you didn't read some more o those "forbidden" articles while you were a christian? Nothing prevents you from educating yourself (assuming you are free and not, say, in prison etc). Why did you have to give up God to open your mind?

Christians at the ground level - I mean those not employed by a church, a college or a university, are generally discouraged strongly from exploring non-Christian or extreme liberal perspectives and world views in all the evangelical churches I have ever been a part of.  We were to protect our minds and leave those difficulties to people who were more capable of 'defending the faith'. 

Before I had given up on belief in god and christianity , I would say that I let go my allegiance on a trial basis.  I had been told my entire life to protect my mind from the devil's snares in the form of deceiving arguments.  So I read 'The Sins of Scripture' and others by Spong and some books by Marcus Borg.  When my mother found out that I even had such books in my house, she was appalled.  I was apparently supposed to be 'feeding' my faith with devotionals and books that spoon feed the masses watered down theology and reassuring meaninglessness.  I allowed myself to truly consider the idea that the god I had worshipped for many years might not exist and if such a god did exist, the bible portrayed it as a despot.  I had never read a book or article by an atheist or agnostic before this.

Jumbo1410 wrote:

fortitude wrote:
I am familiar with CS Lewis' argument about pain, suffering and the existence of god.  I skimmed his defense of god, denying that a god who exists is responsible to alleviate suffering.  I threw it in the pile with the other tripe that spent more literary effort defending god than giving me any helpful way of seeing my situation.  All this effort was spend defending god in the face of suffering.  I guess I decided god had enough defenders.  I would not be among them anymore.  My loyalty to that 'faith' was done.

I don't think you are being entirely accurate when you say "defending God". Strawman, is all I will say.

Most of the unhelpful comments I received when my husband was so sick primarily served the purpose of reassuring everyone that in spite of appearances to the contrary, god was in control.  I call this 'defending god'.  You call it a straw man.  God knew best and all we could do was trust.  So says my church community and I must accept that or be separated from this 'community', the body of christ.  So I was separated.  I could not believe in something I couldn't respect.  Those people wouldn't talk to me anymore really, except as an enemy.  This is how most christians behave when their 'TRUTH' (TM) is threatened by reality.

Jumbo1410 wrote:
Hey, look, do whatever it takes to get you through. That is all anyone can expect, regardless of what is said. There are no right or wrong answers here, it is a subjective concept. You cannot prove "How is better than why", or vice versa. Thats just silly. Why works for me, how works for you.

When the religious stop taking advantage of the suffering of their fellow humans to expand the sphere of influence of their brand of religion, then it will be a 'no right and no wrong' situation.  When pastors no longer use hospitals and funerals to evangellize to the suffering and mourners, it will not matter so much.  Your brand of answers to 'why' was dished up to me so often, I could almost have punched someone at the time.  

 

Jumbo1410 wrote:

fortitude wrote:
I understood very well how.  As well as it was possible for me to understand.  I read research papers about his type of cancer.  The 'how' was vitally important for me to understand his treatment options and outlook.  Since there were no lifestyle causes for his disease, there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it happening.  Any other 'why' question was irrelevant.

You don't want to hear that in my extremity, 'why' was irrelevant.  It's basically the 'no atheists in fox holes' assertion: that in our utmost extremity, the usefulness of 'faith' will be vindicated.  It was not vindicated.  

It was like an umbrella with no fabric.  You can tell me that I was less wet with my faith umbrella.  I tried to convince myself of the same thing.  Ultimately I threw it away.

I'm not sure what you mean here, but I'm not sure if I really need to either. I am not trivialising "How", or what when if etc.

It is one thing to know how a bird sings, and another to know why. Which one you place emphasis on is up to you. Personally, I prefer the latter - it is one thing to know how a man dies, and another to know why...

 

The disingenuous thing is that while you can claim to know, while you can engage in conjecture, you really don't know.  Though that rarely stops the religous from sharing their opinion on this point.  That's the problem here.

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." Martin Luther King


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
It's fascinating to me

 

That the sale of jesus is conducted via endorphin rush but his defense taken quite out of the realm of the feelings that brewed him and conducted tortuously over impossible ground. 

Please some theist tell me whether I'm meant to be in love with jesus or am simply meant to believe he is a remote possibility, maybe, given the difficulty of arguing the non-existence of anything that's conceivable?

Who is this creature and what constitutes the actuality, the essence, of the 'faith'?

Is my relationship with jesus meant to be built on fallible, selfish, human love? Is love really the central pivot of the entire universe, and god its embodiment? Is the heart of god-ness as self serving as love can often be?

And if this personal relationship with jesus is taking place not on some equation-covered chalkboard in our heads, but in our mind's feeling centres, then surely it is subject to the rules of the brain structures and chemical balances that govern

feelings? If fortitude feels after long consideration there's no god and that god is a human concept without actual form or function, then that works perfectly well for me.

Feelings have a way of projecting truths the sub conscious has uncovered through a long, quiet process of sifting. 

And before you point your pistols of logic at me tell me - who is it that you theists love? An equation? A possibility? Or do you love, in your feeling places, the foot-bathing, god-man you believe died for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


BobSpence
High Level DonorRational VIP!ScientistWebsite Admin
BobSpence's picture
Posts: 5850
Joined: 2006-02-14
User is offlineOffline
The "problem of evil" is not

The "problem of evil" is not an argument against the existence of a God(s) in general, but it is a good argument against the set of assumed omni- attributes which includes omni-benevolence.

There are no good arguments for the existence of a God, but there is even a bigger logical gap, that I have rarely seen addressed, as to why any such assumed entity must be infinite or have any omni- attributes.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
FurryCatHerder wrote:ARGH! 

FurryCatHerder wrote:

ARGH!  STUPID PEOPLE!

How many of you still live at home with your parents?  How many of you still allow your parents to make all of your decisions?  How many of you would allow your parents to interfere in your life each and every time something even remotely "dangerous" happened?

Replace "parents" with "G-d" and tell me that you'd really want G-d treating you like some kind of child who doesn't know what they are doing or can't be responsible for their own life.

God-as-puppet-master is just as horrible as god-as-super-nanny.  If you don't believe in G-d because G-d doesn't give you free ponies or keep you from getting an ouwie when you fall down, you've got bigger problems than you imagine.  Since most children eventually up and leave the protective cocoon of their parents' home, I can only assume that being protected and smothered all the time is not really part of the plan.  And I don't think it's part of the plan whether G-d does or doesn't exist.  Because Theist and Atheist kids alike all seem to agree that being able to make ones own mistakes and suffer the consequences, or enjoy the rewards, is a good way to be an adult.

So all these "omnibenevolent" arguments are bogus.  And they are bogus whether or not G-d exists, which is usually the best way to determine that an argument about G-d is or isn't valid.

I don't think that is the point.  The point is if you were going to create an environment for your children to grow up in from (edit: from scratch), it would not include random and horrible ways to die or be maimed purely by chance.  Would it include challanges?  Yes.  Would it include consqequences?  Yes.  Would you let them make there own mistakes?  Yes.  Would you let them make fatal mistakes, if they really, really asked for it?  Possibly.  Would you let them make small mistakes that resulted in fatal consequences?  Probably not.  Would it include eye cancer because of genetic predisposition?  No.  Would you make a random sampling of your children be born with hideous birth defects that killed them slowly when they were toddlers?  No.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


jumbo1410
Theist
Posts: 166
Joined: 2009-07-25
User is offlineOffline
Well there is a lot here

Well there is a lot here again to respond to. I don't think I can get to all of it.

Quote:
Yes,  of course God would be responsible, assuming we're talking about an omnimax God, because God would have certainly known the consequences.  If I knowingly build and turn on a shoe-making machine and it starts producing shoes, am I not responsible for the fact that shoes are being produced?  If I create the machine and set it in motion, how do I escape responsibility for what is produced by it?

Here you beg the question (again). The analogy is a shoe making machine. If the anaolgy were accurate, then the 'M' in previous arguments is entirely producing 'E'. Once again, how is it that you think this universe is entirely evil? If it is not, then would you agree that a shoe making machine is also capable of making coffee? If the contention is why your shoe/coffee making machine is making more shoes than coffee, then we have an argument. If not, I'm not sure what else I can say, other than the fact you are providing me with statements, not arguments.

Put another way, you are comparing something without a choice, with something that presumably has a choice. If we number every action we perform in our lives from A(1) to A(n), are you not capable of doing the right thing over the wrong at every stage?

 

Quote:
If God knew what the machine would do, then I think that the distinction is meaningless.

Hmmm. Are you are saying that:

1. God is Omniscient

2. God knows there will be evil in the world

3. God is responsible for that evil in the world

---

4. He should not have made the world

 

If that is the case, you have just told me the conclusion again without reasoning for 3 or 4.

 

Quote:
I don't understand how the question is relevant.  Whether there is, on balance, more good than evil or more evil than good is completely beside the point.  A wholly good God is not going to want to create any evil at all.

So I am to take it that if the world was 99.9% good for ten thousand years, that .1% means the universe should not exist? Here is the relevance of the question. Why should (in this case) the majority of Good not exist for the minority of Evil? Is it not a Greater Evil to knowingly blot out the 99.9% of good people for the sake of a few bad ones?

You say that, "a wholly Good God is not going to want to create any Evil at all". What makes you think God created Evil? If it is the shoe machine idea, do you think we are only capable of Evil?

Quote:
I think I've already made that clear.  I honestly don't see that your queries cause any trouble at all for my argument

There are a lot of unreasoned premises here. To sum them up, you would have to:

1. Show that your analogy of a shoe machine was applicable to the universe in terms of being capable of producing both Good and Evil.

2. Provide some form of argument as to why you think M is entirely E.

3. Provide some form of argument as to why the above two points are not relevant if you disagree. (Not understanding is not an argument).

4. Explain how the shoe machine is not begging the question (it assumes all M is E).

5. Argue that God is responsible for E in M.

6. Explain why the Good should not exist because of the Bad.

7. Explain how 6 is something that an omnibenevolent being would want to do over the alternative.

 

 

Quote:

I have addressed it by explaining that it is irrelevant.

What you have addressed is my propositition p. What you have said is "not p" (my proposition is not relevant). This is in fact a fallacy, as you have not only not provided a reason for (not p), but have inferred from (not p) (not q).

 

In other words, you STILL have not addressed my question(s). But that is OK, I have probably misunderstood your answers. In which case, would you kindly explain them to me?

 

 


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:From

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
From my point of view, that's irrelevant.  The argument from evil with which I am most familiar has nothing to do with moment-by-moment interference from a Super-Nanny in the Sky.  Rather, it has to do with the initial design of the universe.

1. An omnipotent God would be able to create a universe without the potential for evil.  

2. An omniscient God would know whether or not the universe was going to produce evil.  

3. A wholly good God would not knowingly create an evil-producing machine.

4. A perfect God is going to be sufficient in itself (i.e. not needy, not driven by desire) and so, if it is also wholly good, will not create a universe at all if it knows that it is not possible to do so without it becoming an evil-producing machine.

The only problem is premise number 3. What happens if the net position of this evil producing machine, from beginning to end, is marginally good? Say, for example that humans are entirely evil for the first five thousand years of the Earth's existence. But for the following five-thousnad-and-one years, were entirely good. Presumably then we have one year of good counting towards our existence. If God eliminated that 1 year of Good by not creating us in the first place, is God acting against his omnibeneovelence?

 

This assumes that every evil act has an equal and opposite good act. But some would argue that the small amount of good in humans actually outweighs the majority of bad.

 

This is great if you are arguing for a deistic God who doesn't care about people.  It fails when arguing for a personal God who has an interest for an individual though.

Arguing that God is not responsible for the creations of his creations also abandons the idea of onmiscience.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


jumbo1410
Theist
Posts: 166
Joined: 2009-07-25
User is offlineOffline
Quote:There are no good

Quote:
There are no good arguments for the existence of a God, but there is even a bigger logical gap, that I have rarely seen addressed, as to why any such assumed entity must be infinite or have any omni- attributes.

 

Correct! It is all speculation or hearsay as far as I know. I doubt we will ever find out (it negates faith for one).


ProzacDeathWish
atheist
ProzacDeathWish's picture
Posts: 3657
Joined: 2007-12-02
User is offlineOffline
  fortitude I am profoundly

  fortitude I am profoundly impressed by your counter-arguments and your reasoned responses.  Btw, I am an accidental atheist.  I was formerly a fundamental Christian who looked much too closely at my religion and I did not like what I saw.  The loss of my faith was not celebrated; my religious faith was my support system and I had inadvertently stripped myself of the very thing that had given me hope.   Objectivity does not always lead one to a desirable outcome.

 

  I am so glad that you have joined us. 

I'm a right wing atheist because I enjoy being hated by everyone.

"When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction." Mark Twain.


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
My reply applies to the

My reply applies to the above post as well.  Your argument only works if you assume God doesn't care about the individual.  If 99% of the universe is good and 1% evil, that still leaves some lives that were 99% filled with evil and 1% with good.

 

I have yet to hear an explenation about how a 'good' deity would create a system where lives would exist filled with nothing but misery.  One of the posters even had a story about a toddler age sister with lukemia.  And what have we got from the two theists?  "I want to live in a world with consequences!" and "Well, it isn't all evil so you can't complain!".  Bravo.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
Also, Fortitude and others,

Also, Fortitude and others, very moving stories, thank you for sharing.

 

Also, this is the best thread I have seen on this forum so far.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


NoDeity
Bronze Member
NoDeity's picture
Posts: 268
Joined: 2009-10-13
User is offlineOffline
BobSpence1 wrote:The

BobSpence1 wrote:

The "problem of evil" is not an argument against the existence of a God(s) in general, but it is a good argument against the set of assumed omni- attributes which includes omni-benevolence.

 

Yep.  If the theist is willing to drop either the claim that God is wholly good or the claim that God is omnipotent/omniscient, then the argument from evil doesn't apply.

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


fortitude
Science Freak
fortitude's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: 2009-11-19
User is offlineOffline
consequences

For most people, the consequence for learning that god is either not completely benevelent or not all powerful is a gradually waning interest in god.   

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." Martin Luther King


jumbo1410
Theist
Posts: 166
Joined: 2009-07-25
User is offlineOffline
Quote:This is great if you

Quote:
This is great if you are arguing for a deistic God who doesn't care about people.  It fails when arguing for a personal God who has an interest for an individual though.

Arguing that God is not responsible for the creations of his creations also abandons the idea of onmiscience.

Lets be really, really, specifict about what you mean by "It fails when arguing for a personal God who has an interest for an individual though."

What interests are among those that a personal God would place emphasis upon given his omnibenevolence? If we are talking about a personal God, then wouldn't it follow that it is in our best interest to give us the freedom of choice, as opposed to, say, a labotamised, all-good existence whereby we could do no wrong?

 

Quote:
Arguing that God is not responsible for the creations of his creations also abandons the idea of onmiscience

Aside form the fact that this is just a statement, it does not follow from omniscience that God is resposible for what free people freely do. If you disagree, you will have to provide something that supports your view.

 

Quote:
My reply applies to the above post as well.  Your argument only works if you assume God doesn't care about the individual.  If 99% of the universe is good and 1% evil, that still leaves some lives that were 99% filled with evil and 1% with good.

I'm not sure if that makes any sense. Your conclusion is that my argument only works if we assume God doesn't care about the individual. What is the second half of the above meant to mean? Are you saying that the 1% of Evil people are not in fact entirely evil? Doesn't that change my proposition to suit your conclusion - otherwise known as a strawman?

 

Quote:

I have yet to hear an explenation about how a 'good' deity would create a system where lives would exist filled with nothing but misery.  One of the posters even had a story about a toddler age sister with lukemia.  And what have we got from the two theists?  "I want to live in a world with consequences!" and "Well, it isn't all evil so you can't complain!".  Bravo.

That is in fact what we are working towards - an explanation. But it requires a great deal of wisdom to understand. There is no point in telling you the answer, as it won't make any sense. As I have said numerous times before, the answer is in the "quasi-logical rules" one applies to the suffering debate. We are nowhere near the answer at this point. You have to arrive there on your own. BTW, you have just made the same mistake as NoDeity, viz, all M is E - without providing an argument. What have we got from Atheists? Unreasoned statements and strawmen. Bravo.

 

 

Quote:

Yep.  If the theist is willing to drop either the claim that God is wholly good or the claim that God is omnipotent/omniscient, then the argument from evil doesn't apply.

For fear of sounding like a broken record, perhaps you would like to read my posts from beginning to end. You point about dropping omnipotence, omniscience and omnibenevolenve was already stated. Here it is again:

Quote:

1. God is all-powerful

2. God is all-good

---

3. Evil exists

The reason why it is inconsistent is that the combination of any two statements negates the third. IOW, If god is all powerful and all-good, then evil should not exist. If God is all powerful and evil exists, then God is not all-good. If God is all-good and evil exists, then God is not all powerful.

The reason why it fails (as Bob already pointed out), is because it is a non sequitur. The statements in the argument itself do not logically lead to the expected conclusion that evil should not exist. What is needed to bring out the contradiction is a set of definitions, which, when added to the argument produce a contradiction between God and the existence of Evil. As one sets about doing this, however, the contradiction does not arise.

The definitions of these omni-attributes has to be a process of reasoning, otherwise they are as arbitrary as the attributes themselves (which is an entirely different argument) and hence will not make the ultimate conclusion very convincing. That is why I am asking questions, to see if the opponents wil argree with my (Plantinga's) definitions. If the answer is no (you disagree) then we cannot discuss the ultimate argument, "Does suffering contradict God's nature?"

 


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
Aside

jumbo1410 wrote:

What interests are among those that a personal God would place emphasis upon given his omnibenevolence? If we are talking about a personal God, then wouldn't it follow that it is in our best interest to give us the freedom of choice, as opposed to, say, a labotamised, all-good existence whereby we could do no wrong?

 

Roasting in the lake of fire I doubt we would any of us agree with this statement, that an all loving heavenly father would logically give us a free choice in the face of so much complexity and confusion, with so much collateral damage guaranteed.

This is a future akin to an eternal holocaust.

 

A lobotimised all-good existence where we can do no wrong? Sounds a bit like heaven to me...

 

 

 Edit: Illiteracy

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


NoDeity
Bronze Member
NoDeity's picture
Posts: 268
Joined: 2009-10-13
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote: Well there

jumbo1410 wrote:
Well there is a lot here again to respond to. I don't think I can get to all of it.

The size of this message is getting unwieldy.  I doubt that either one of us has time to write a book for the other.  I'll respond to each of your points for now but I think we should consider paring it down to one or two points at a time. 

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
Quote:
Yes,  of course God would be responsible, assuming we're talking about an omnimax God, because God would have certainly known the consequences.  If I knowingly build and turn on a shoe-making machine and it starts producing shoes, am I not responsible for the fact that shoes are being produced?  If I create the machine and set it in motion, how do I escape responsibility for what is produced by it?

Here you beg the question (again). The analogy is a shoe making machine. If the anaolgy were accurate, then the 'M' in previous arguments is entirely producing 'E'. Once again, how is it that you think this universe is entirely evil? If it is not, then would you agree that a shoe making machine is also capable of making coffee? If the contention is why your shoe/coffee making machine is making more shoes than coffee, then we have an argument. If not, I'm not sure what else I can say, other than the fact you are providing me with statements, not arguments.

The point is simply that if God knows that evil will be produced, then he acted knowing that his action would produce evil.  That something other than evil may be produced does not speak to the argument I'm trying to make.  Admittedly, I may not have been very clear so far in making that argument. 

This may be the sticking point: I think it is self-evident that evil would be anathema to a wholly good God and that, if he was able to do so, a wholly good God would not choose to do something that would produce evil.  Do you agree or disagree with that?

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
Put another way, you are comparing something without a choice, with something that presumably has a choice. If we number every action we perform in our lives from A(1) to A(n), are you not capable of doing the right thing over the wrong at every stage?

As I see it, the problem with the freewill defence to the argument from evil is that, knowing that some evil would be chosen, God proceeded with his creation anyway. 

You or I are probably not responsible for the long-term consequences of our actions if we could not have reasonably anticipated that our action would have eventually caused a particular event.  An omnimax God doesn't have "out".

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
Quote:
If God knew what the machine would do, then I think that the distinction is meaningless.

Hmmm. Are you are saying that:

1. God is Omniscient

2. God knows there will be evil in the world

3. God is responsible for that evil in the world

---

4. He should not have made the world

 

If that is the case, you have just told me the conclusion again without reasoning for 3 or 4.

I think that 3 is self-evident.  An omnimax creator, knowing the consequences of his creation, is responsible for those consequences.

4 follows from God being wholly good if it was not possible for God to create a universe that would not produce evil.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
Quote:
I don't understand how the question is relevant.  Whether there is, on balance, more good than evil or more evil than good is completely beside the point.  A wholly good God is not going to want to create any evil at all.

So I am to take it that if the world was 99.9% good for ten thousand years, that .1% means the universe should not exist? Here is the relevance of the question. Why should (in this case) the majority of Good not exist for the minority of Evil? 

How much evil should be acceptable to a wholly good God?  It seems self-evident to me that the answer is zero. 

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
Is it not a Greater Evil to knowingly blot out the 99.9% of good people for the sake of a few bad ones?

You can't do harm to that which has never existed and will never exist. 

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
You say that, "a wholly Good God is not going to want to create any Evil at all". What makes you think God created Evil? If it is the shoe machine idea, do you think we are only capable of Evil?

No, we're not only capable of evil.  Do you deny that God would have known that one of the consequences of his creation would be that there would be evil?  If you don't deny that, then how does God escape responsibility for his creation producing something that he knew it would produce?

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
Quote:
I think I've already made that clear.  I honestly don't see that your queries cause any trouble at all for my argument

There are a lot of unreasoned premises here. To sum them up, you would have to:

 1. Show that your analogy of a shoe machine was applicable to the universe in terms of being capable of producing both Good and Evil.

Whether or not both good and evil are produced is not relevant because my argument has to do with whether or not a wholly good God would willingly create any evil at all.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
2. Provide some form of argument as to why you think M is entirely E.

That's not what I claim.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
  3. Provide some form of argument as to why the above two points are not relevant if you disagree. (Not understanding is not an argument).

1 is not relevant because my argument has to do with whether or not a wholly good God would willingly create any evil at all. 

2 is not relevant because I don't claim that M is entirely E.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
  4. Explain how the shoe machine is not begging the question (it assumes all M is E).

I think I've already explained why I don't consider that to be relevant. 

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
5. Argue that God is responsible for E in M.

How does God escape responsibility for his creation producing something that he knew it would produce?

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
6. Explain why the Good should not exist because of the Bad.

How much evil would you expect a wholly good God to be willing to create?

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
7. Explain how 6 is something that an omnibenevolent being would want to do over the alternative.

Would you agree that, if God is sufficient in himself, then he doesn't need to create and he is not driven by the desire to create?  If so, then it is a small thing for him to refrain from creating if he knows that that creation will produce evil, especially if the production of evil is contrary to his nature as a wholly good God.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
Quote:
I have addressed it by explaining that it is irrelevant.

What you have addressed is my propositition p. What you have said is "not p" (my proposition is not relevant). This is in fact a fallacy, as you have not only not provided a reason for (not p), but have inferred from (not p) (not q).

 

In other words, you STILL have not addressed my question(s). But that is OK, I have probably misunderstood your answers. In which case, would you kindly explain them to me?

I hope I've answered it in what I've already written in this message.  If not, then perhaps we need to strip away the clutter and focus on one point at a time.

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


mellestad
Moderator
Posts: 2927
Joined: 2009-08-19
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:This

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
This is great if you are arguing for a deistic God who doesn't care about people.  It fails when arguing for a personal God who has an interest for an individual though.

Arguing that God is not responsible for the creations of his creations also abandons the idea of onmiscience.

Lets be really, really, specifict about what you mean by "It fails when arguing for a personal God who has an interest for an individual though."

What interests are among those that a personal God would place emphasis upon given his omnibenevolence? If we are talking about a personal God, then wouldn't it follow that it is in our best interest to give us the freedom of choice, as opposed to, say, a labotamised, all-good existence whereby we could do no wrong?

 

Quote:
Arguing that God is not responsible for the creations of his creations also abandons the idea of onmiscience

Aside form the fact that this is just a statement, it does not follow from omniscience that God is resposible for what free people freely do. If you disagree, you will have to provide something that supports your view.

 

Quote:
My reply applies to the above post as well.  Your argument only works if you assume God doesn't care about the individual.  If 99% of the universe is good and 1% evil, that still leaves some lives that were 99% filled with evil and 1% with good.

I'm not sure if that makes any sense. Your conclusion is that my argument only works if we assume God doesn't care about the individual. What is the second half of the above meant to mean? Are you saying that the 1% of Evil people are not in fact entirely evil? Doesn't that change my proposition to suit your conclusion - otherwise known as a strawman?

 

Quote:

I have yet to hear an explenation about how a 'good' deity would create a system where lives would exist filled with nothing but misery.  One of the posters even had a story about a toddler age sister with lukemia.  And what have we got from the two theists?  "I want to live in a world with consequences!" and "Well, it isn't all evil so you can't complain!".  Bravo.

That is in fact what we are working towards - an explanation. But it requires a great deal of wisdom to understand. There is no point in telling you the answer, as it won't make any sense. As I have said numerous times before, the answer is in the "quasi-logical rules" one applies to the suffering debate. We are nowhere near the answer at this point. You have to arrive there on your own. BTW, you have just made the same mistake as NoDeity, viz, all M is E - without providing an argument. What have we got from Atheists? Unreasoned statements and strawmen. Bravo.

  

1. You miss the point.  It is not about freedom of choice.  Choice has nothing to do with childhood lukemia.  You keep ignoring or misinterpreting the point we are making.  See my response to Furry.

2/3. An omniscient, omnipotent God is responsible for what his creations do because they respond the way they do based on the initial conditions it created.  An omnipotent being could have created a world where the only evil happened as a direct result of personal choice...if that were the case, the system would be fair to some degree.  The fact that a persons subjective happiness is largely the results of random, unguided circumstance is why your result fails for a personal God.  Even if 99% of people had good, fair lives, 1% are going to have shitty, short, miserable lives simply because of their genetics or place of birth.  A benevolent God could not create a system where a human life could be spent on nothing but pain and misery through no fault of human action.  The fact that you did not understand what I meant does not mean I am using a strawman argument.  Maybe you need more wisdom?

4. Naturally we need wisdom to understand the overwhelming intellectual superiority of your position.  Your snide responses are letting your dogma peek out.  I have not seen a rational reason from you about why random, horrific suffering is a requirement for free will.  I accept that free will means consequences and so does everyone else here.  Again, see my response to furry, and again, if you let go of omni claims this is not an issue.  Maybe God just doesn't care about human suffering?  That would solve the dilemma handily.  Why would God care anyway?  In a universe as large as ours I imagine there are other things to spy on at least as interesting as human morality plays.

 

This has come up before...the simplest explanation is simply that God does not exist.  If you start with that idea, the only problem you have is where the universe came from and God does not help with that one anyway.  Let go of God and the universe actually makes sense, even if it is not a comforting reality.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


fishpaste (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
I was afraid I phrased that

I was afraid I phrased that a little awkwardly, and you have misread it. Sorry.

I was trying to say that the pain inflicted as part of surgery, assuming anaesthetics are not available, is a necessary 'evil'.

I am more familiar with the pain of dental work, and I see absolutely no reason to experience any more of that than unavoidable, such as the initial pain of the injection.

There is certainly some surgery which would be out of the question without anaesthesia. 

It was not the best example, since the availability of anaesthetics confuses the issue.

Haha, I think I read it the right way, but you seem to have misread my argument (though ya just pointed out a nice argument for theists, lol)

That said, lets assume anaesthetics do not exist, why would surgery be an unnecessary evil in that case?

Quote:
I haven't read BNW, but while I understand there are clear reasons for having pain receptors, I can see no good reasons for experiencing extreme and unnecessary pain. It actually risks psychological damage.

Explain the difference between "necessary" and "unnecessary" pain? Given an omnipotent god, you can make everyone completely immune to pain, simply by changing up their nervous system a bit. Pathetically easy task for such a powerful being.

 

The reason I asked about brave new world is because it describes just this, a world in which everyone is given drugs to make them immune to pain, a narcotic which provides constant euphoria and numbness. Does this make the people in it happy?

Quote:
I see no justification for the existence of  'evil', in the normal sense of the word. That statement does not depend on observing a universe with no 'evil'. We only have to compare different places, times and societies with different experiences of what we would classify as 'evil' to be able to draw conclusions. Your statement about Africa would imply that many forms of scientific testing cannot possibly lead to useful information because we cannot control every aspect of the test.

If there were no such thing as evil you would never have true free will. Integrity would be a meaningless word, as would merit, and good. If all is good, then nothing is good.

Quote:
Of course, I understand that in the real universe, the blind forces of nature and evolution and change in general are going to sometimes lead to injury, pain, death and disease. Some of this is going to have positive effects in 'training' people to avoid some things and actions. I would tend to reserve the word 'evil' for things where the harm is large, and seems to have little or no positive aspect, especially if there appears to be some agency, a will, behind it.

I do not consider the forces of nature blind, and view them as einstein did. As a reasoning power.

Does this make nature god or einstein a theist? No, but it is an effective allusion that describes the natural world better then a randomness machine would. Nature makes choices, and it has reasons behind those choices. Richard Dawkins often incorrectly states that the universe has no goals. This seems like a silly notion given how deterministic it is.

Quote:
Even much of the evil which 'teaches' us to avoid actions leading to such outcomes is only beneficial because that particular possibility of 'evil' outcome exists in the first place.

Evil is not just necessary because it teaches us things, it is necessary because of how important it is to us, and who we are.

 

Quote:
There surely is some evil where the negatives massively outweigh any positives. What is the net positive benefit of the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust and their families? I can imagine it serves as a reminder of the depths to which people can descend under certain conditions, but that is only a 'benefit' because we have that capability in the first place.

Assume the holocaust didn't happen, what would be different about today's society, what would be the same?

 

I can think of several very very good things that wouldn't have happened. Kandel wouldn't be a scientist, and the papanicolaou test would not have been invented (or it would have only been invented much later).

 


fishpaste (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
fortitude wrote:to

fortitude wrote:

to fortitude:

fishpaste wrote:

That said, I feel your reasoning has been hampered by your emotional tie to the situation, and ask that you think it through more (assuming you are in any way interested in philosophy or theology). I am obviously a bit biased since I consider the problem of evil to be one of the worst arguments in favor of atheism, but that said, understanding it, as well as understanding the real solid reasons for why god doesn't exist, I feel, are quite important to my life and the lives of many others.

If experience has given me a rare perspective on on suffering, how is it a liability to bring that to bear on a discussion?  Is it because it makes discussions seem less trivial?  Less hypothetical?  That is the whole point of this thread.  It is important.  It isn't trivial for the many people being fed this particular 'problem of evil' brand of theological horse shit.  It is of vital importance to those in the midst of suffering.  My rationality and fortitude have allowed me to rebuild an enviable life for me and my children.  If anyone else agrees that my experience and perspective is not a welcome addition to this thread (which of course I started), please say so.  I certainly have not heard any similar sentiments from anyone else.

I am not here because I enjoy philosophical and theological vicissitudes.  Is this a philosopher-only zone?  I am here to share my perspective and bring it to bear among fellow intelligent human beings, whether atheist or not.

 

Sorry I skipped your post in my last response, if a mod could merge this that'd be great.

 

I think that your perspective and your personal experience is an excellent discussion piece, and I am quite grateful you brought it up. I think you misunderstood what I meant. I am saying that you have probably allowed your emotions to cloud your reasoning about the issue, I am not saying you shouldn't bring the issue up, I am saying the opposite. You should examine it thoroughly, as should everyone you have presented it to. At least that's what I think since I care about morality and philosophy so much. Other people might not consider what you brought up worth discussing, but I think that's due to a strange modern prioritization on less relevant things.

I don't mean any offense by saying that your emotions have clouded your logic, I'm sure you can see why I would probably suspect this. They would cloud mine in that situation as well, I know that for sure. It's why I am glad you brought this up, and it's also why I often think of hypotheticals. If I consider something that hasn't effected me personally and is hypothetical (or even better, actually happened, but not to me) it leaves me able to be much more objective. Does that make sense?


fishpaste (not verified)
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Also just to respond to a

Also just to respond to a bit of what jumbo wrote that I found quite silly:

 

"I guess this is your definition of omnipotence. For the purpose of this argument, omnipotence has to mean not capable of logical impossiblities. The reason is that if God were capable of LI - creating anything He wants - it undermines your position as well as mine. Your position is that God does not exist. But if God is capable of LI, then you are right and wrong at the same time, since existing and not existing at the same time is a logical impossibility - and one that God is completely capable of under this premise."

 

You have it backwards. If god is capable of logical impossibilities, then he himself is logically impossible, rendering him non existent by the principle of noncontradiction, unless you use dialetheistic logic, in which case ANYTHING exists, including muffin flavored space turtles.

 

Effectively, proving god can do the logically impossible would be the same thing as proving he doesn't exist.


ronin-dog
Scientist
ronin-dog's picture
Posts: 419
Joined: 2007-10-18
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:I was

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
I was paraphrasing, but that is a pretty standard claim of God's abilities according to Christians etc. So what is your definition of God?

The long answer is, I do not believe there is a definitive definition of God. HOWEVER, there are more accurate versions than others. For example, you wrote:

Quote:
He created everything

This is inaccurate. I can see where you are going with this, but it fails unfortunately. If A creates B and B creates C, does A create C? Using an analogy, If God created me and I painted the mona lisa, was God the creator of the Mona Lisa? No, of course not. Then presumably there are things that exist that God did not create.

Quote:
is responsible for everything

Here again, if God created man and man sins, is God responsible for sin?

I realize that there is no universal definitive definition of God, however if you are debating God's properties etc then you must have your personal definition. How can you argue anything if you have not defined it?

If God creates mankind and he is omnipotent and omniscient, then he created mankind capable of sinning, in that way he is responsible.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
can change anything He wants

I guess this is your definition of omnipotence. For the purpose of this argument, omnipotence has to mean not capable of logical impossiblities. The reason is that if God were capable of LI - creating anything He wants - it undermines your position as well as mine. Your position is that God does not exist. But if God is capable of LI, then you are right and wrong at the same time, since existing and not existing at the same time is a logical impossibility - and one that God is completely capable of under this premise.

Once again- I am obviously arguing from the point of the existence of the God that most Christians advertise. Really... that should be obvious... I would not argue about the abilities of something that does not exist.

How are all of the miracles etc NOT logical impossibilities? Isn't that the whole point of omnipotence?

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
knows everything that is going to happen.

Correct. But anything more than this definition becomes problematic. Some would argue that if X knew Y's actions (Z) beforehand, it does not change the fact that Y has a choice to not do Z regardless of X's knowlegde of the fact (Z). This is the compatabalist view on determinism and free-will.

I do understand your point. However God also created Y, including all of the possible actions of Y. So an omnibenevolent God would create Y minus evil actions.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
You state that omnipotent does not include doing the logically impossible. Does this mean that you think creating the universe and everything in it out of nothingness is not logically impossible?

If creating something out of nothing is logically impossible, then you have done yourself a disservice, as what would the scientific explanation involve? If the energy that existed was eternal, then all I have to do to alleviate the pressure on the logical impossibility of something from nothing; is say that God created the universe out of Himself - just as the energy condensed the universe out of itself in the scientific explanation.

OK, that is a logical statement. There are other discussions that we could have about creation, but I'll try to stick to the topic Smiling

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
What can't an omnipotent being do

Presumably the logically impossible.

Nice avoidance. So what is logically impossible then?

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
How about you tell us what you think God can and can't do then?

Well, this is the point of Plantinga's argument. You indicate that you can swat Plantinga aside. Perhaps then, it is time for you to do some reasoning instead of having someone spell it all out for you so you can skim of the top without knowing the process by which you came to any given conclusion.

Perhaps it is time for you to answer the question instead of referring to someone elses work. You are the one in the discussion and I was asking about your point of view. I have actually done a lot of reasoning however you are not making any convincing arguments. If you think this is all in the realm of philosophers and above the comprehension of "lay people" why are you here?

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
We are reading what you are writing, you are just not making any sense. If this is because your stance on God and his abilities differs from the Christian norm, then perhaps you should tell us what your opinion is instead of assuming that we know.

I apologise. It is not my opinion that matters.

Don't sell yourself short, of course your opinion matters. That is the whole point of discussion.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Through reasoning, we are trying to establish whether suffering contradicts God's nature. The argument, once again, is thus:

 1. God is omnipotent

2. God is omniscient

3. God is omnibenevolent

---

4. Evil exists

 

This is a quarter of Plantnga's argument, that stems from a classical version:

1. God is all-powerful

2. God is all-good

---

3. Evil exists

The reason why it is inconsistent is that the combination of any two statements negates the third. IOW, If god is all powerful and all-good, then evil should not exist. If God is all powerful and evil exists, then God is not all-good. If God is all-good and evil exists, then God is not all powerful.

The reason why it fails (as Bob already pointed out), is because it is a non sequitur. The statements in the argument itself do not logically lead to the expected conclusion that evil should not exist. What is needed to bring out the contradiction is a set of definitions, which, when added to the argument produce a contradiction between God and the existence of Evil. As one sets about doing this, however, the contradiction does not arise.

Once again: what are your definitions? You can't just say "once I apply the definitions that I haven't told you about, it all becomes clear!!! Do you believe me now?"

jumbo1410 wrote:

I will put the argument up in full eventually. 

I look forward to it.

jumbo1410 wrote:
 

Quote:
Once again, what has disease got to do with choice. What has birth defects, mental illness etc got to do with choice? Of course if somone is assaulting you they have a choice, but what choice do you have?

This was in response to natural evil (rocks falling on the innocent, disease etc). It will come into play later. For now, it is not that important.

I'm not talking about accidents such as rocks or even traffic accidents, however if God created disease then that is not accidental. Disease is definitely important to this discussion. The post started with death from disease and disease does not include free will, so it should be the perfect topic for this discussion.

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


ronin-dog
Scientist
ronin-dog's picture
Posts: 419
Joined: 2007-10-18
User is offlineOffline
Thanks

Atheistextremist wrote:

 when this rusty little train comes chuffing into the station, it's the existence of suffering that's going to prove god exists. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised...

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


ronin-dog
Scientist
ronin-dog's picture
Posts: 419
Joined: 2007-10-18
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:From

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
From my point of view, that's irrelevant.  The argument from evil with which I am most familiar has nothing to do with moment-by-moment interference from a Super-Nanny in the Sky.  Rather, it has to do with the initial design of the universe.

1. An omnipotent God would be able to create a universe without the potential for evil.  

2. An omniscient God would know whether or not the universe was going to produce evil.  

3. A wholly good God would not knowingly create an evil-producing machine.

4. A perfect God is going to be sufficient in itself (i.e. not needy, not driven by desire) and so, if it is also wholly good, will not create a universe at all if it knows that it is not possible to do so without it becoming an evil-producing machine.

The only problem is premise number 3. What happens if the net position of this evil producing machine, from beginning to end, is marginally good? Say, for example that humans are entirely evil for the first five thousand years of the Earth's existence. But for the following five-thousand-and-one years, were entirely good. Presumably then we have one year of good counting towards our existence. If God eliminated that 1 year of Good by not creating us in the first place, is God acting against his omnibeneovelence?

How about just no evil? Let's see: 5000 years with no evil, add 5001 years with no evil. I think that adds up to more than a total of 1 year.

Who said anything about not creating us in the first place? I already mentioned that God could have created humans without evil tendancies.

Zen-atheist wielding Occam's katana.

Jesus said, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." - Luke 12:51


Vastet
atheistBloggerHigh Level ModeratorSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 10687
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
jumbo1410 wrote:I doubt we

jumbo1410 wrote:

I doubt we will ever find out (it negates faith for one).

That's not true at all. Faith is negated NOW. In order to have faith in something, you have to at the very least believe it exists. You may have faith in a friend, but you cannot have faith in ultraviolet monkeys. I cannot have faith in a god unless I know or believe it exists. If I know or believe it exists, then I can have faith in it, or choose not to. Without the knowledge there is no choice to make.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


jumbo1410
Theist
Posts: 166
Joined: 2009-07-25
User is offlineOffline
Quote:The point is simply

Quote:
The point is simply that if God knows that evil will be produced, then he acted knowing that his action would produce evil.  That something other than evil may be produced does not speak to the argument I'm trying to make.  Admittedly, I may not have been very clear so far in making that argument. 

This may be the sticking point: I think it is self-evident that evil would be anathema to a wholly good God and that, if he was able to do so, a wholly good God would not choose to do something that would produce evil.  Do you agree or disagree with that?

We are really not covering any ground here. I refuse to be forced into a plurium interrogationum. If you are of the opinion that "something other than evil [being] produced does not speak to the argument [you are] trying to make", then you have forced my posisition. There are too many pre-suppositions here - Good is irrelevant, omniscience is capable of knowing the LI, an omnibenevolent act is that which involves no evil - for the debate to remain on topic. Each one would have to be argued to the point of agreement. I disagree with you, in that I think "something other than evil" is relevant to what an omniscient being would have to take into consideration. I also do not think it is self-evident that evil contradicts omnibenevolence - it could be argued that evil is a logical component of good (without evil, good is not possible). If evil is then a logical component of good, then it would be LI to separate the two - so i disagree with  the statement "if he was able to do so [if God was omnipotent], a wholly good God would not choose to do something that would produce evil".

 

Quote:
As I see it, the problem with the freewill defence to the argument from evil is that, knowing that some evil would be chosen, God proceeded with his creation anyway. You or I are probably not responsible for the long-term consequences of our actions if we could not have reasonably anticipated that our action would have eventually caused a particular event.  An omnimax God doesn't have "out".

Well, it becomes a matter of how you define "Good and Evil". In deciding whether an action were Good or Bad (the creation of the universe, for example), the utilitarian would place the emphasis on the "ends" of the action, not the means. In the real world, this equates to God bringing about a greater Good by means of allowing Evil - the ends being Good, and no contradcition between his all-good nature arises. If this were reversed, and it were the means by which an action were deemed Good or Bad, then the consequences of that action would be irrelevant (which, mind you, would contradict your position). In the real world, this equates to the act of creating the world being a greater good, and the ends of the world (i.e. the Evil produced) are irrelevant, since it is not God's means by which it occurs.

Omniscience is silent on "it is not God's means by which it occurs" because foreknowledge of Evil has nothing to do with the "means",  rather it is relevant only to the "ends". The truth is, Gods actions may even transcend our logic, yet not be LI.

 

So, my friend, the debate continues. I can save you the trouble, and tell you where it ends (excuse the pun). It ends where Plantinga says it does - and we are getting close. Albeit by an alternate route.

 

Quote:
I think that 3 is self-evident.  An omnimax creator, knowing the consequences of his creation, is responsible for those consequences.

Define "consequences". With a bit of reasoning, I could say that the ultimate "consequence "of creation is a net position of Good, and that is all I would need to say to aleviate the pressure on an omnimax God. You could say that the omnimax result of the omnimax God's action was Good - or whatever.

 

Quote:
How much evil should be acceptable to a wholly good God?  It seems self-evident to me that the answer is zero

Depends on whether you think Evil enables Good. It is a bit hard to have bravery without fear, fortitude without suffering, patients without anger - and so on. I see free-will will come back into the argument very soon...

 

Quote:
You can't do harm to that which has never existed and will never exist

Ahh, but we are talking about an OMNISCIENT God. Just because God did not create the universe because of Evil, does not mean He would not know what would happen if He did create the universe. In other words, God would know the many lives of Good people were not going to exist because of His inaction. If omniscience does not include hypotheticals, then you have shot yourself in the foot - God is no longer responsible for the Evil in the universe, because He could not know such things, and this would not be something that an omniscient being should know.

 

Quote:
No, we're not only capable of evil.  Do you deny that God would have known that one of the consequences of his creation would be that there would be evil?  If you don't deny that, then how does God escape responsibility for his creation producing something that he knew it would produce?

One of the things that support my view that God acts towrads the "ends" of the earth, is the fact that He sent Jesus. He was in fact counting on our producing Evil, to save us. AtheistExtremeist may be right after all.

 

 

There are way too many posts to keep going today. This post is huge already. I will endeavor to answer all queries, time permitting.

 


Atheistextremist
atheistSilver Member
Atheistextremist's picture
Posts: 5102
Joined: 2009-09-17
User is offlineOffline
What are good and evil?

 

"Depends on whether you think Evil enables Good. It is a bit hard to have bravery without fear, fortitude without suffering, patients without anger - and so on. I see free-will will come back into the argument very soon..."

 

Jumbo - evil and good are in great part an issue of perspective. In the Second World War my old man blew the shit out of large number of Japanese soldiers in the pacific in his F4U Corsair. Was it good? Good for whom?

 

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck