The best of all possible worlds offense

RobbyPants
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The best of all possible worlds offense

I'm sure we've all heard the best of all possible worlds defense. The gist of it is that while things might look bad, and we'd wonder why a good god would allow it, perhaps God only has so much control over the universe, and this setup nets the greatest possible good.

Now, it's presuppositional as hell, and that's where it's greatest weakness lies. Once you're willing to go down that road, you can really start presupposing anything under these assumptions. The apologetic can be neatly turned against the apologist.

So, the apologist starts by assuming that things like horrible childhood illnesses are here because they are part of the greatest possible good. I'd say that sounds preposterous and that I can't possibly see how the world gets worse by removing them. The closest thing to a sane defense is for the apologist to say that the plan is so big and grand, that I can't possibly see it all, and I lack the foresight and judgment of Almighty God. Fair enough (well, not really). Lets try another scenario:

Can the apologist prove that the best possible good isn't attained by God sometimes lying to his people? Of course not. The idea is as nonfalsifiable as is the idea that God would never lie. I'll posit that we can't really understand what's "good for us", and God lies when it helps things. Their best defense would basically be to say "Nuh uh! That's not the god I believe in!", because that's all they've really got at this point: a preconceived notion of God and some nonfalsifiable defenses to prop up that god.

As long as we're willing to go that far, I could posit that the "greatest possible good" isn't really "good" in any sense that we'd use the word; it's just the exact outcome God wants. Again, can the apologist prove that childhood diseases aren't an ends unto themselves? Maybe that's exactly what he wants. It's not part of some puzzle to make the world a "better" place in some cryptic fashion; God just likes watching people suffer. Again, you'll be written off because this isn't the god that they want to picture. You only employ nonfalsifiable apologetics to uphold what you want, not what you don't.

In short, I think this illustrates how much this stock apologetic relies on circular reasoning (assume the god you want, then prove it by assuming it!) and special pleading (but don't prove gods you don't like by assuming). It's yet another tool to make the believer feel better while offering nothing of substance to a skeptic. 


zarathustra
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RobbyPants wrote:So, the

RobbyPants wrote:
So, the apologist starts by assuming that things like horrible childhood illnesses are here because they are part of the greatest possible good.

If god is all-powerful, it can achieve any "greatest possible good" without the need for any suffering.  If god is omni-benevolent, it would want to avoid suffering as much as possible.  Hence the existence of suffering indicates a hypothetical god is either not all-powerful; not omnibenevolent; or neither.  (Epicurus' Riddle)

When presented with this, apologists typically respond that suffering is the price for us having free-will - "god didn't want robots".  The problem still holds, as it means god preferred a scenario where there is suffering over one where there is not.  For theists who believe in heaven, it raises the further question of whether there is free-will in heaven:  If souls in heaven keep their free-will that means evil and suffering can occur in heaven.  If there is no evil and suffering do not occur in heaven, that implies there is no free-will, i.e., souls turn into "robots" in heaven.  For christians in particular, it raises the problem if jesus was a robot if he committed no evil.  (And if jesus somehow had free will yet committed no evil, then god should just have made every human like jesus - problem solved.)

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The closest thing to a sane defense is for the apologist to say that the plan is so big and grand, that I can't possibly see it all, and I lack the foresight and judgment of Almighty God. Fair enough (well, not really).
 One wonders if an apologist would accept that defense in a court trial:  The accused says "I had very good reasons for what I did.  I could explain, but you wouldn't understand since I'm so much smarter than you; just trust me."

There are no theists on operating tables.

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RobbyPants
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zarathustra wrote:If god is

zarathustra wrote:

If god is all-powerful, it can achieve any "greatest possible good" without the need for any suffering.  If god is omni-benevolent, it would want to avoid suffering as much as possible.  Hence the existence of suffering indicates a hypothetical god is either not all-powerful; not omnibenevolent; or neither.  (Epicurus' Riddle)

 

The other option is to redefine "good" into something that doesn't resemble the word in any way. It because a tautology in that God is goodGod-like. Yes. He is like himself. Who cares?

 

zarathustra wrote:
When presented with this, apologists typically respond that suffering is the price for us having free-will - "god didn't want robots".  The problem still holds, as it means god preferred a scenario where there is suffering over one where there is not.  For theists who believe in heaven, it raises the further question of whether there is free-will in heaven:  If souls in heaven keep their free-will that means evil and suffering can occur in heaven.  If there is no evil and suffering do not occur in heaven, that implies there is no free-will, i.e., souls turn into "robots" in heaven.  For christians in particular, it raises the problem if jesus was a robot if he committed no evil.  (And if jesus somehow had free will yet committed no evil, then god should just have made every human like jesus - problem solved.)
 

Yeah, heaven causes a lot of problems for theodicy. The closest a theist can get to getting this scenario to "make sense" is to declare life on earth to be "a test", which is still pretty creepy. Their all powerful god is still limited by our sense of justice and what we think people deserve. And as you said, no free will in heaven means God gets to keep those robots he "didn't want" for all eternity. Lucky him.

The theist can insist that there is free will in heaven, but everyone just chooses to be good. While this isn't logically impossible, it highlights the fact that we could all be good here on earth without being robots, but for some reason, God didn't want that. The end is always the same: we have unnecessary suffering because God wants it.


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Who wants to watch a massive

Who wants to watch a massive reality show where everything goes perfectly? Nobody wants to watch the happily ever after part, and since god made humans in his image, it makes sense that gods would like violent, pornographic and tragic shows just like humans do. 

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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I like happy endings. I

I like happy endings. I don't understand this god. He is not a Joss Whedon god. He's more of a M. Night Shymalan god.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:He's more

butterbattle wrote:

He's more of a M. Night Shymalan god.




which means he makes multi-million dollar glorified episodes of scooby-doo? fuckin' hate shyamalan. he's the biggest hyped-up crock of shit director ever. anybody who puts his name in possessive case over the titles of all his films knows deep down he's a fuckin' joke.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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I'm definitely not thinking

I'm definitely not thinking The Sixth Sense or Unbreakeable either. More like Lady in the Water.....or The Last Airbender, lol. 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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 Lol, I don't know, most of

 Lol, I don't know, most of Joss Whedon's worlds are pretty fucked up with lots of death and pain. Fun to watch, but I don't think I'd want to live in any of them. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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butterbattle wrote:I'm

butterbattle wrote:

I'm definitely not thinking The Sixth Sense or Unbreakeable either. More like Lady in the Water.....or The Last Airbender, lol. 




i gave up after "the village." i just got sick of all the twist ending bullshit. i mean, when you're known for making movies with twist endings, people are going to be looking for them, and they actually become formulaic. it's like scooby-doo: the bad guy is always some dude you see for three seconds near the beginning of the episode. thirty minutes into "the village," i leaned over and told my friend, "they're in the present time. they're in the present time and the monsters are made up to keep them from finding out." why? because it was the most random fucking thing possible (outside of a david lynch movie)...and i was right.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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If predictability was

If predictability was sufficient reason for me to not watch something, I'd have to stop watching everything. lol.

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i'm not criticizing

i'm not criticizing shyamalan for being predictable. predictability can be a good thing, because then people can appreciate subtle variations on a theme (that's why i love westerns). no, i'm criticizing him for being so fucking pretentious while lacking any kind of substance. iow, i'm criticizing him for being a hack.


i mean, howard hawks made the same goddamn john wayne movie three times (rio bravo, el dorado, rio lobo), and they're all fucking brilliant, each in its own way. well, the first two are, anyway. rio lobo leaves a bit to be desired.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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I only watched 2 of his

I only watched 2 of his movies to my recollection. 6th Sense was ok, but as it dealt with a theme I found ridiculous it didn't grab me. Unbreakable, however, was awesome. If you get any enjoyment at all out of superhero type genres, you have to watch it. It is one of those rare stories where there are no painfully cliché cartoon characters. You can see the ending coming, or at least I could, but it didn't detract from it at all.

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Stopped for Lunch but I happened to notice the quote . .

   Stopped for Lunch BUT couldn't help but notice the quote . .

 

  >

Beyond wrote:
Beyond said, ''Fun to watch, but I don't think I'd want to live in any of them ..''

 

 

 

  M. Night Shyamalan ''stuff'' I NEVER saw, really any of his stuff.  Joss Whedon's about one-third

 

  Off-Site ::

   Attention OFF-SITE  --

    By the Way,  One more second of your time, IF YOU PLEASE,  We'll probably have to get reintroduced  to fix this, I don't know after reviewing this !  For the life of me,  I have no idea  why a certain somebod(-y,ies)  would be freaked out  a bit  by some of these images (inside joke, with an off-site 'kindred spirit').  Yes,  We'll probably have  to get reintroduced to fix this!  I love you babe !! Oh Well, (hehe) !!

 Examples --

   

 

  


 



 


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i didn't mind unbreakable.

i didn't mind unbreakable. i saw it in the theater when it came out and while i expected something weird to happen at the end it didn't annoy me because it was one of his early films, before his ego exploded and he got a reputation for always having twist endings. i never saw sixth sense because it was parodied so much in the late '90s that i felt like i had seen it already. imo, it all went downhill from signs. i remember when--i think even during its theatrical run, but definitely by the video release--it suddenly was no longer "signs" but "m. night shyamalan's signs." i thought, "who does this cretin think he is? cecil b. fuckin' demille?" especially since signs fuckin' sucked on pretty much every level.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson