Can God do evil?

MrRage
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Can God do evil?

I came across a new (to me) line of thought recently. I'm posting it here to kick the tires, so to speak. Before anyone seriously flames me, I don't take the argument to seriously. (For instance some of the terms are left a little vague.)

Can God (the Abrahamic one) do evil?

If God cannot do evil, then we have two possibilities. 1) God is not omnipotent, because there's something he cannot do. 2) God is still omnipotent, but evil doesn't exist. That is, there is no deed that can be called evil.

Well, really there's a third option. One could say that God can only do what is logically possible, and so it would be logically impossible for God to do evil. This limit on God's omnipotence is usually used to address absurd questions like, "Can God make a rock that he can't lift?", or "Can God make a square with three sides?" But, the question, "Can God do evil?" is not an absurd question. Saying God can't do evil because it's logically impossible is answering the question by fiat. Besides, I am aware of no passage of scriptural that adds limits to God's omnipotence.

Let look at the case where God can do evil. I suppose one could say this isn't a problem, because God chooses not to do evil. God has free will after all, right? But this leads to the question, discussed several times on this site, why didn't God create humankind with free will and the ability to never choose to do evil? This leads us to the problem of evil, and the conclusion that God is imperfect.

Discuss.


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MrRage wrote:I came across

MrRage wrote:
I came across a new (to me) line of thought recently. I'm posting it here to kick the tires, so to speak. Before anyone seriously flames me, I don't take the argument to seriously. (For instance some of the terms are left a little vague.) Can God (the Abrahamic one) do evil? If God cannot do evil, then we have two possibilities. 1) God is not omnipotent, because there's something he cannot do. 2) God is still omnipotent, but evil doesn't exist. That is, there is no deed that can be called evil. Well, really there's a third option. One could say that God can only do what is logically possible, and so it would be logically impossible for God to do evil. This limit on God's omnipotence is usually used to address absurd questions like, "Can God make a rock that he can't lift?", or "Can God make a square with three sides?" But, the question, "Can God do evil?" is not an absurd question. Saying God can't do evil because it's logically impossible is answering the question by fiat. Besides, I am aware of no passage of scriptural that adds limits to God's omnipotence. Let look at the case where God can do evil. I suppose one could say this isn't a problem, because God chooses not to do evil. God has free will after all, right? But this leads to the question, discussed several times on this site, why didn't God create humankind with free will and the ability to never choose to do evil? This leads us to the problem of evil, and the conclusion that God is imperfect. Discuss.

I was raised to believe that "evil" was going against what god wanted.   So obviously god will always do good since it will do what it wants, therefore it would be impossible for god to do evil things.

god does whatever the fuck it feels like.  That's the christian defintion of 'good'.  I suspect many other religions also define "good" and "evil" on the so called personal views of their diety.

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The logical conclusion is

The logical conclusion is that for God to exist 2 must necessarily be true.  But it begs lots of questions. 

 

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   alot of

   alot of questions, 

yeah debating god is cool, it's called science and includes philosophy etc.

Debating the "god of abe" is embarrassing, yet unfortunatlely still necessary .... we gotta fix the tv for our kids


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Good and evil were concepts

Good and evil were concepts born out of "bad" people and "good" people. In reality though, good and bad are subjective, although i dont like murder, i don't think there is any divine rule that says it is bad, murder just is.


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Watcher wrote: I was raised

Watcher wrote:
I was raised to believe that "evil" was going against what god wanted. So obviously god will always do good since it will do what it wants, therefore it would be impossible for god to do evil things.

god does whatever the fuck it feels like. That's the christian defintion of 'good'. I suspect many other religions also define "good" and "evil" on the so called personal views of their diety.

Yeah, that definition of Good opens up a whole new can of worms. Anyway, my argument didn't have much to do with the definition of Good and Evil. I think it's largely independent of it.


Eloise wrote:
The logical conclusion is that for God to exist 2 must necessarily be true. But it begs lots of questions.

Yes...I guess I wasn't too clear on what was new to me. 2) is really the main idea of my argument.

BTW, about your sig, you're not an electrical engineer are you?


I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Debating the "god of abe" is embarrassing, yet unfortunatlely still necessary .... we gotta fix the tv for our kids

Yeah, it is embarrassing. The difficulties the argument I gave would largely go away if one was a had a negative theology though.

BTW, I agree with you about TV. You should read Al Gore's book The Assault on Reason. He feels the same way about TV that you do.


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    It really depends on

    It really depends on which side you are on, the example of murder or killing of others, which god has done in the bible, from his view it is not evil, but on those dying or about to die, i would say they probably thought god is evil, it's a matter of perspective, much like the nazi's, as a society as a whole many agree that the nazi's were evil (That was much of the premise of goverment propaganda during the war and much after it as well) but that nazi's didn't see themselves as evil, they saw themselves as fighting against evil (the jews, gays, gypies and other undesirables and if you weren't with them you were against them). It's all a matter of what is evil and what is good really.


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MrRage wrote: Watcher

MrRage wrote:
Watcher wrote:
I was raised to believe that "evil" was going against what god wanted. So obviously god will always do good since it will do what it wants, therefore it would be impossible for god to do evil things. god does whatever the fuck it feels like. That's the christian defintion of 'good'. I suspect many other religions also define "good" and "evil" on the so called personal views of their diety.

 Yeah, that definition of Good opens up a whole new can of worms. Anyway, my argument didn't have much to do with the definition of Good and Evil. I think it's largely independent of it.

 

When one defines 'good' as Watcher has here, though, then that third option of 'god' only being able to do that which is logically possible becomes a legitimate (from the theists persxpective, mind you) objection. It would be logically impossible for god to do evil if any act done by god is necessarilly good by the fact that god did it.

Of course the 'only able to do that which is logically possible' avenue has a host of problems of its own in that it places a nature, the nature of logic, in a place that is superior to god and for the most part renders god obsolete, but it is probably just as valid an objection as any.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Vessel wrote: When one

Vessel wrote:
When one defines 'good' as Watcher has here, though, then that third option of 'god' only being able to do that which is logically possible becomes a legitimate (from the theists persxpective, mind you) objection. It would be logically impossible for god to do evil if any act done by god is necessarilly good by the fact that god did it.

Yes, I'm aware that the third option is logically valid. My objection is that it's a "just so" answer to the question.


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latincanuck wrote: It

latincanuck wrote:
It really depends on which side you are on, the example of murder or killing of others, which god has done in the bible, from his view it is not evil, but on those dying or about to die, i would say they probably thought god is evil, it's a matter of perspective, much like the nazi's, as a society as a whole many agree that the nazi's were evil (That was much of the premise of goverment propaganda during the war and much after it as well) but that nazi's didn't see themselves as evil, they saw themselves as fighting against evil (the jews, gays, gypies and other undesirables and if you weren't with them you were against them). It's all a matter of what is evil and what is good really.

Option 2) above would fit with what you are saying. There is no evil could be taken to mean evil is completely relative. But, the argument is assuming a basic Christian/Jewish/Muslim world view, that is, there is some absolute standard of good and evil. (Perhaps I should have made that explicit.) If a believer chooses to define God as what good means, then that plays right into the first part of the argument.


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MrRage wrote: Eloise

MrRage wrote:


Eloise wrote:
The logical conclusion is that for God to exist 2 must necessarily be true. But it begs lots of questions.
Yes...I guess I wasn't too clear on what was new to me. 2) is really the main idea of my argument.

 

 Yeah? Interesting. Are you contemplating the idea that there is no actual deed which can be called 'evil'?

 

Mr Rage wrote:

BTW, about your sig, you're not an electrical engineer are you?

Er no, I just love the identity and what it tells us about i.

 

 

 


 

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Omni=All, so in calling the

Omni=All, so in calling the Abrahamic God "omni" by vertue of calling it "all powerfull" it must have the atribute of doing evil. Which shows the absurdity of the concept of a omni=benevolent god "all loving".

I would not call such a being who crosses his arms and watches Polly Klass get plucked out of her bedroom in the middle of the night, rapped and butchered, "all loving".

Out of all the sick barbaric things humans do to others you'd think that an all powerfull being would 100% of the time never allow child rape and murder.

So why do such sick things happen? Theists defend this claim of god with arguments like, "It is a test", or "it is human sin". WTF?

Ok, God  has a beef with a "sinner" fine, WTF would a 4 or 5 year old do to deserve God saying, "Sorry, I could stop you from being butchered, but it is all part of my plan"? What did the child do in their short time for God to say, "Sorry, I am going to sit this one out".

This shows the absurdity of Superman vs Kriptonite claims when it comes to serious crimes such as pediophilia. These sickos dont commit these crimes because they didnt suck up to Jesus. They didnt commit these crimes because a man with a pitchfork magically re arranged the neurons in their brain. They did it because of normal mundain human phycology. These sickos do it because of being abused themselves, feelings of low self esteem and inadquacy. The crime is commited to give the purp a sense of control. No magic needed to explain human behaivor.

In addition these sickos are not caught by consulting Ouiji boards or tarrot cards, and bibles and Qurans are just as useless in protecting children from these sickos. These crimes are studied by criminologists who study case after case and interview perp after perp to understand mentality and tactic.

There are lots of natural things in life that cause distruction that we dont want affecting us. We dont want cancer affecting us,and we dont want robbery affecting us. But these things are not caused by superstious devils or lack of faith. They are caused by natural environmental curcumstances.

My point is when you stick a so called "good puppiteer" into the mix, it explains nothing and the lack of consistancy shows the fallacy in the claim "all good" or "all loving" or "all powerfull".

When you accept reality, "shit happens" it frees you up to study it so that you can minimize the affects of distructive events without crossing your fingers or praying to snarfwidgets.

Just like ecoli is natural, unfortunatly crime is too. If you accept there is no magical source to ecoli you should be able to accept that their is no magical source to crime either. 

"Natural" to the theist is an absurd "DisneyWorld" view that good is from a magical source.

"Natural" to the objectivist is merely that wich repeats and can be studied. Lots of distructive things, such as environmental disasters to crime REPEAT ALL THE TIME. It doesnt mean we want it affecting us, it merely means it repeats. If we want it to repeat less, we study it as a natural event to figure our HOW to reduce it's affects on us. NO MAGIC NEEDED.

But IF one were to buy(which I would not) the claim that an "omni" god existed, based on the track record of human history and the obvious spotty selective self serving involvment with human affiars, if such a being existed, I certainly wouldnt kiss it's ass based on its piss poor preformance of being "all loving". I wouldnt call standing by and watching a child get butcherd "all loving" based on the claim that this same deity could, if it wanted to, in every case, stop it before hand 100% of the time.

In conclusion, it is not out of anger I bring up such a blunt example. It is pointing out the glaring fallacy of the "omni" atribute. The natural world without magical beings is a much better way to study distructive things such as desease, disaster and crime. 

 

 

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Eloise wrote: Mr Rage

Eloise wrote:

Mr Rage wrote:

BTW, about your sig, you're not an electrical engineer are you?

Er no, I just love the identity and what it tells us about i.

 

 

I think he asked because your sig used 'j' as SQRT(-1) mathematicians us 'i', where as Electrical engineers use 'j' because 'i' also denotes current.

 

IIRC Euler began to believe in God after he derived that. It might be an urban legend, but meh.

 

 


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MrRage wrote: Vessel

MrRage wrote:
Vessel wrote:
When one defines 'good' as Watcher has here, though, then that third option of 'god' only being able to do that which is logically possible becomes a legitimate (from the theists persxpective, mind you) objection. It would be logically impossible for god to do evil if any act done by god is necessarilly good by the fact that god did it.

Yes, I'm aware that the third option is logically valid. My objection is that it's a "just so" answer to the question.

Ah. It actually would lead you to your number 2 (so to speak) anyway.  If everything god does is necessarilly good and god created every poarameter of existence then there could not be any such thing as evil. So, no matter, the theist who makes this claim ends up saying evil doesn't actually exist.

Just because I'm interested, where was this line of thought (the no such thing as evil answer) leading you? 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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brian37 wrote: Out of all

brian37 wrote:
Out of all the sick barbaric things humans do to others you'd think that an all powerfull being would 100% of the time never allow child rape and murder.

I agree with this, but where would God draw the line? What bad things would God stop and what bad things would God allow? If God was all-good, and always stopped bad things before they happened, the world would be all good, and no freedom of choice would exist. If God exists and God created, what purpose would there be in a non-free creation? On the other hand if God created and choice is a part of that creation, then God's purpose in that creation would be to coexist with beings who could also create and choose in much the same way that God can.

Wes.

We could really use another Crusade...


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Eloise wrote:

Mr Rage wrote:

BTW, about your sig, you're not an electrical engineer are you?

Er no, I just love the identity and what it tells us about i.

 

I think he asked because your sig used 'j' as SQRT(-1) mathematicians us 'i', where as Electrical engineers use 'j' because 'i' also denotes current.

ah, yeah I see. well that demonstrates my greenness in electrical engineering doesn't it Sticking out tongue I didn't think of it that way at all, in pure math they are basically interchangeable wherever they appear alone.

I swiped that particular pic because the size and script was neat and it was in the identity convention rather than e^(i(pi))=-1 which doesn't quite illustrate the beauty of it.

Quote:

IIRC Euler began to believe in God after he derived that. It might be an urban legend, but meh.

I dunno, Cpt, but I'm sure there have been a few who began to believe, or at least wonder, after seeing it derived. Smiling

 

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Eloise

Eloise wrote:

Quote:


IIRC Euler began to believe in God after he derived that. It might be an urban legend, but meh.

I dunno, Cpt, but I'm sure there have been a few who began to believe, or at least wonder, after seeing it derived. Smiling

 

 

Derived from what? Taylor series? I'm pretty sure that's how Euler did it, though I have seen differential proofs.

 

Am I missing something about it making people wonder?

 

 


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Eloise wrote: Are you

Eloise wrote:
Are you contemplating the idea that there is no actual deed which can be called 'evil'?

No. Since I'm a non-believer, the argument doesn't apply to my world view.

Vessel wrote:
Just because I'm interested, where was this line of thought (the no such thing as evil answer) leading you?

I think it's a good argument for negative theology. But, I was wondering if a (positive) theist could wriggle out of the conclusion that there is no evil, i.e. I was testing out the argument to see if someone could find a weakness.

Recently, my attack angle, so to speak, when talking to a Christian has not been to flat out deny God, but to show the inconsistencies of giving positive attributes — or human attributes — to God.


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Heh, I really started a

Heh, I really started a tangent here, but I can't resist.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
I think he asked because your sig used 'j' as SQRT(-1) mathematicians us 'i', where as Electrical engineers use 'j' because 'i' also denotes current.

Bingo.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Derived from what? Taylor series? I'm pretty sure that's how Euler did it, though I have seen differential proofs.

Am I missing something about it making people wonder?

It is a nice little equation. I think there's an aesthetic value to it, and you can certainly wow freshman calculus students with the equation, but once you've taken a complex analysis class you quickly loose the wonder. Complex analysis is probably one of the most beautiful branches of math(s), and has many surprising results that eclipse Euler's equation.


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I noticed you just signed up

I noticed you just signed up today, Wes. Good to cyber-meet you.

Wes wrote:
I agree with this, but where would God draw the line? What bad things would God stop and what bad things would God allow?

Although this is an interesting question, I'll pass. The argument I gave in the OP doesn't directly have anything to do with with what God does or does not allow.

Wes wrote:
If God was all-good, and always stopped bad things before they happened, the world would be all good, and no freedom of choice would exist.

This thread is directly related to freedom of choice. Specifically does God have freedom of choice?

If God cannot do evil, God doesn't not have freedom of choice, or the choice doesn't exist. If God doesn't have freedom, then why complain about God not giving us freedom? If the choice doesn't exist (i.e. no deed can be called evil) then what does it matter if God stops murders, rapes, etc.?

Let's say God does have free will. He could do evil, but always chooses to do good. Then, what's stopping humans from having freedom while living in an all good world? It's obviously possible.

Wes wrote:
If God exists and God created, what purpose would there be in a non-free creation? On the other hand if God created and choice is a part of that creation, then God's purpose in that creation would be to coexist with beings who could also create and choose in much the same way that God can.

I assume you're a theist who thinks God can do evil, but chooses not too. (If I'm wrong, correct me, please.) I'll repeat my question above. In this case what's preventing God from enabling all humans to choose as He does, i.e. to alway choose what is good?


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MrRage wrote: I noticed you

MrRage wrote:
I noticed you just signed up today, Wes. Good to cyber-meet you.

Yeah, a friend (fellow theist) turned me on to this site. I must say that I've learned alot from spending a few hours reading. To many theists bury their heads in the sand hoping to protect themselves out of ignorance. I have the feeling that I'm going to be stumped more often than I'll have an answer during the conversations I have on this forum. That's ok. It's the only way we learn.

MrRage wrote:
Let's say God does have free will. He could do evil, but always chooses to do good. Then, what's stopping humans from having freedom while living in an all good world? It's obviously possible.

How to word this....  Humans do have the freedom to never do evil, the only thing stopping us is ourselves.  As soon as God "fixes it" so that we don't do evil, freedom of choice is nonexistant.  For freedom of choice to exist, we must be able to do evil, and we do.  A basic Christian definition of God posits that God never does evil.  As soon as a human is incapable of doing evil, in this aspect, we become God, an impossibility for a Christian theist.  What makes us human rather than God is the fact that we do do evil.  

Does this make any sense?  I feel a little bit jittery since I had a little too much coffee tonight and my brain is quite a bit A.D.D...

Wes. 

We could really use another Crusade...


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Wes wrote:  To many

Wes wrote:

 To many theists bury their heads in the sand hoping to protect themselves out of ignorance. I have the feeling that I'm going to be stumped more often than I'll have an answer during the conversations I have on this forum. That's ok. It's the only way we learn.

 

I think we need more Theists like you here.


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: I

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
I think we need more Theists like you here.

Thanks! I feel a little bit like becoming an athiest when I hear some of those unsufferable, snot-nosed "Christians" making outrageous claims that are as far from a logical conclusion as you can get. I grew up on a farm in the middle of the bible belt and in as conservative a home as you can find. I once was one of those unsufferable types but have since seen the error of my ways. I'm still a believer, although I've come to the conclusion that I don't know everything. I wish some of my fellow believers would come to that same conclusion sometime soon.

Wes.

We could really use another Crusade...


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   YEAH geezz Brian37

   YEAH geezz Brian37 that was hot , so right on.

.... thanks for using the "god of abe" term, that's much more international, .... It is important.

.... Polly looked like my kid, I sobbed hard .....


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Wes wrote: To many theists

Wes wrote:
To many theists bury their heads in the sand hoping to protect themselves out of ignorance.

True. It's not just that they keep ignorant, they also try to hush anyone who simply asks a question. I'd probably still be a Christian if it wasn't for this. Anyway...

Wes wrote:
Humans do have the freedom to never do evil, the only thing stopping us is ourselves. As soon as God "fixes it" so that we don't do evil, freedom of choice is nonexistant.

Note I asked: Why didn't God make us so we always choose to do good? Freedom would stay intact here.

Wes wrote:
For freedom of choice to exist, we must be able to do evil, and we do.

Agreed.

Wes wrote:
A basic Christian definition of God posits that God never does evil. As soon as a human is incapable of doing evil, in this aspect, we become God, an impossibility for a Christian theist. What makes us human rather than God is the fact that we do do evil.

Again, I'm not talking about humans being incapable of evil. Just that they can always choose not to do evil.

I don't see why either possibility — incapable of doing evil or always choosing not to do evil — would make us God. This can't be the only thing that makes God God? Certainly God could still be God with other holy, but created, beings in existence. Care to elaborate what you mean? This certainly doesn't seem to be an orthodox view.


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MrRage wrote: Note I asked:

MrRage wrote:
Note I asked: Why didn't God make us so we always choose to do good? Freedom would stay intact here.

I don't see it that way. As soon as you put in the words "God" "make" and "always" that's an infringement on freedom. God isn't subject to the same rule because God (by theistic definition) isn't a created being. As created beings, we are created one of two ways: with limitations or without limitations. What you describe, to me, is a limitation.

MrRage wrote:
I don't see why either possibility — incapable of doing evil or always choosing not to do evil — would make us God. This can't be the only thing that makes God God? Certainly God could still be God with other holy, but created, beings in existence. Care to elaborate what you mean? This certainly doesn't seem to be an orthodox view.

I make no claims of orthodoxy. Smiling I'm just a confused theist trying to sort out what I believe and I figure with a bunch of atheists challenging most everything I might say would be a good place to start.

I don't mean to say that we would become God, just more like God. And I agree, this definitely can't be the only thing that makes God God. From the Christian point of view, at one time, humans didn't choose evil, and in that time, we were "like God" and "with God" living in that weird garden thingy. (I'm not sold on the idea that most the OT, especially Genesis, is a literal history of things but that's another topic...)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, by definition, one of the things that separates humans from God is the idea of perfection. When you say the word "always" that implies a perfect record of some sort. If humans "always" choose good over evil, we would, in essence, be as perfect as God, becoming "like" God, but not the same as... (We would still lack the omni-traits among other things.)

I guess God could have created us to be perfect and to choose perfectly, but God didn't. I'm still working on the "why" of that idea, and I've got some guesses, but nothing worth putting here yet. I guess I probably agree with you that when you boil it down to that exact idea, it's God's fault that evil exists. Even if God didn't directly create evil, God created humans with the capacity for evil therefore indirectly creating the evil...

Wes.

We could really use another Crusade...


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I had another thought: If

I had another thought:

If the Abrahamic God exists and God truly is omnipotent, then God has the ability to create a world where evil is completely absent.  At the same time, if abe's God exists and abe's God is perfect and that God created the world as we know it, then the present world is necessarily better than the theoretical world where evil is completely absent.  

Therefore, I conclude there are only two options: Either there is some greater good inherent in the world that is, even with evil in it, or else God isn't.  As a theist, I'm forced to cognitively fathom an immeasurable God to adequately explain the "why" of a world where evil exists, an impossibility.   I guess that puts me at a logical dead end. 

-wes shrugs- 

We could really use another Crusade...


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   amen .....

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Wes wrote: MrRage

Wes wrote:

MrRage wrote:
Note I asked: Why didn't God make us so we always choose to do good? Freedom would stay intact here.

I don't see it that way. As soon as you put in the words "God" "make" and "always" that's an infringement on freedom. God isn't subject to the same rule because God (by theistic definition) isn't a created being. As created beings, we are created one of two ways: with limitations or without limitations. What you describe, to me, is a limitation.

MrRage wrote:
I don't see why either possibility — incapable of doing evil or always choosing not to do evil — would make us God. This can't be the only thing that makes God God? Certainly God could still be God with other holy, but created, beings in existence. Care to elaborate what you mean? This certainly doesn't seem to be an orthodox view.

I make no claims of orthodoxy. Smiling I'm just a confused theist trying to sort out what I believe and I figure with a bunch of atheists challenging most everything I might say would be a good place to start.

I don't mean to say that we would become God, just more like God. And I agree, this definitely can't be the only thing that makes God God. From the Christian point of view, at one time, humans didn't choose evil, and in that time, we were "like God" and "with God" living in that weird garden thingy. (I'm not sold on the idea that most the OT, especially Genesis, is a literal history of things but that's another topic...)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, by definition, one of the things that separates humans from God is the idea of perfection. When you say the word "always" that implies a perfect record of some sort. If humans "always" choose good over evil, we would, in essence, be as perfect as God, becoming "like" God, but not the same as... (We would still lack the omni-traits among other things.)

I guess God could have created us to be perfect and to choose perfectly, but God didn't. I'm still working on the "why" of that idea, and I've got some guesses, but nothing worth putting here yet. I guess I probably agree with you that when you boil it down to that exact idea, it's God's fault that evil exists. Even if God didn't directly create evil, God created humans with the capacity for evil therefore indirectly creating the evil...

Wes.

Truthfully, its not indirectly. It can't be. God, in the theistic worldview, is necessarilly directly responsible for everything. For the majority of theists 'god' created everything, every parameter of existence, therefor whatever is a part of this existence would be directly attributal to god.

In order to make the idea Mr. Rage is discussing a little more clear don't focus on the words 'make' and 'always'. Let's say god leaves people with the free choice to choose either good or evil, but only creates people who will not choose evil.

I have the choice of good or evil (for the sake of this discussion, without getting into freewill/determinism, absolute/objective morality) today. Today, as every other day of my life, I will choose the good option. I never make a free choice to do something that is evil. I think there are many people who actually try to live this way in their daily lives in the actual world in which we live (we will also leave what is actual good/evil as opposed to perceived good/evil aside for the purpose of this deiscussion). So why would god not only create the people who will freely choose to do good instead of evil?

Freedom of choice remains intact. For the most part, everything would be just as it is today, except that those who choose to do evil would never have been created. I see no reason why this would not be a logically consistent possible creation for a creator which loved the beings it created. 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Wes wrote: I had another

Wes wrote:

I had another thought:

If the Abrahamic God exists and God truly is omnipotent, then God has the ability to create a world where evil is completely absent. At the same time, if abe's God exists and abe's God is perfect and that God created the world as we know it, then the present world is necessarily better than the theoretical world where evil is completely absent.

Therefore, I conclude there are only two options: Either there is some greater good inherent in the world that is, even with evil in it, or else God isn't. As a theist, I'm forced to cognitively fathom an immeasurable God to adequately explain the "why" of a world where evil exists, an impossibility. I guess that puts me at a logical dead end.

-wes shrugs-

This is simply ad hoc rationalization. I could use this same argument no matter what the circumstances. Let's say that that human existence consisted of writhing in agony as you boiled in oil and that was all there was to life. We would have to reasonably assume that any god who created beings into such a situation was evil and sadistic. But one could easily say well, imagine that there is a god and it is perfect. Since this is our created existence then, obviously, writhing in agony as you are boiled in oil is the greater good.

Aside from which this line of reasoning still doesn't really add up. Being as that god, as the sole creator of existence, is responsible for every parameter of existence then logically he should be able to arrive at any good by a means devoid of evil. If we have two divergent paths that meet at a desired outcome then for god to choose the one where evil is the means to arrive at the destination over the one that avoids the evil leaves him directly responsible for allowing evil. Being as that this god is supposedly omni and the creator the non-evil path should always be an option in every possible situation. There is no reason that we shouldn't be able to reach any desired point along the line of existence without having to employ evil as a means to get there.

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Eloise wrote:

Quote:


IIRC Euler began to believe in God after he derived that. It might be an urban legend, but meh.

I dunno, Cpt, but I'm sure there have been a few who began to believe, or at least wonder, after seeing it derived. Smiling

 


Derived from what? Taylor series? I'm pretty sure that's how Euler did it, though I have seen differential proofs.

 

Am I missing something about it making people wonder?

 

 

Hey Cpt, 

Well the derivation (yep using series) is fairly remarkable in itself, it unfolds an underlying connection between algebra, complex numbers and trigonometry which is a little thrilling when you imagine how much application that must have; but its the moment you throw pi in that it just screws with your head, you've thrown together these irrational numbers and come up with the difference between 1 and 0?

I don't know how Euler actually put it together, but it's not how it comes together that makes the identity, it's how it ends up at this remarkable place with e, i and pi that trips the mind. 

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Vessel wrote: Wes

Vessel wrote:
Wes wrote:

I had another thought:

If the Abrahamic God exists and God truly is omnipotent, then God has the ability to create a world where evil is completely absent. At the same time, if abe's God exists and abe's God is perfect and that God created the world as we know it, then the present world is necessarily better than the theoretical world where evil is completely absent.

Therefore, I conclude there are only two options: Either there is some greater good inherent in the world that is, even with evil in it, or else God isn't. As a theist, I'm forced to cognitively fathom an immeasurable God to adequately explain the "why" of a world where evil exists, an impossibility. I guess that puts me at a logical dead end.

-wes shrugs-

This is simply ad hoc rationalization. I could use this same argument no matter what the circumstances. Let's say that that human existence consisted of writhing in agony as you boiled in oil and that was all there was to life. We would have to reasonably assume that any god who created beings into such a situation was evil and sadistic. But one could easily say well, imagine that there is a god and it is perfect. Since this is our created existence then, obviously, writhing in agony as you are boiled in oil is the greater good.

except that our existence does not solely comprise boiling in oil, Vessel, far from it. substantial increase in the chances of a greater good there, wouldn't you say?

Quote:
 

Aside from which this line of reasoning still doesn't really add up. Being as that god, as the sole creator of existence, is responsible for every parameter of existence then logically he should be able to arrive at any good by a means devoid of evil.

If we have two divergent paths that meet at a desired outcome then for god to choose the one where evil is the means to arrive at the destination over the one that avoids the evil leaves him directly responsible for allowing evil.

 

Hmmm, I've had this discussion before with Tilberian. I think Wes is referring to the greater good inherent in allowing both paths to exist. Would a perfect god choose one path of the two or allow both paths for the choosing? 

 

 

Quote:

Being as that this god is supposedly omni and the creator the non-evil path should always be an option in every possible situation.

perhaps there is?

Quote:
 

There is no reason that we shouldn't be able to reach any desired point along the line of existence without having to employ evil as a means to get there.

Wow, Vessel, I think that's what Jesus was supposed to have said, Seriously.  

 

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Question i'm seeing is . .

Question i'm seeing is . . .

Can an all powerful being be paradoxical? In other words, somehow exist outside our logic/reality

My answer would be . . .

Not to any human comprehension. At risk of sounding like a theist: If something exist outside our laws of what can or cannot exist, how would you describe it in terms that are bound by OUR reality?

It's like trying to comprehend your own non existance in a first person view.

just wont work....

 EDIT:

Can god of the bible do evil? by common agreement on what is evil for example: killing a 2 year old.

apparently.


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Eloise wrote: Vessel

Eloise wrote:
Vessel wrote:

This is simply ad hoc rationalization. I could use this same argument no matter what the circumstances. Let's say that that human existence consisted of writhing in agony as you boiled in oil and that was all there was to life. We would have to reasonably assume that any god who created beings into such a situation was evil and sadistic. But one could easily say well, imagine that there is a god and it is perfect. Since this is our created existence then, obviously, writhing in agony as you are boiled in oil is the greater good.

except that our existence does not solely comprise boiling in oil, Vessel, far from it. substantial increase in the chances of a greater good there, wouldn't you say?

I'm not sure I follow the logical progression, Eloise. If we are discussing evil being a means to a greater good, assuming that an existence of not boiling in oil creates a substantial increase in the chances for a greater good seems like a non-sequitur at best.

Even if we were to take it for granted that not boiling in oil does involve a greater chance for greater good, that does not change the ad hoc nature of the argument. Without some knowledge of this greater good that requires evil to be arrived at the argument is pointless. As pointed out it can be used in literally any situation with equal validity and therefor leads us nowhere. 

Eloise wrote:
Vessel wrote:
Aside from which this line of reasoning still doesn't really add up. Being as that god, as the sole creator of existence, is responsible for every parameter of existence then logically he should be able to arrive at any good by a means devoid of evil.

If we have two divergent paths that meet at a desired outcome then for god to choose the one where evil is the means to arrive at the destination over the one that avoids the evil leaves him directly responsible for allowing evil.

Hmmm, I've had this discussion before with Tilberian. I think Wes is referring to the greater good inherent in allowing both paths to exist. Would a perfect god choose one path of the two or allow both paths for the choosing?

First, if we can reach any 'good point' without the evil path, then allowing the evil path to exist translates to nothing more than evil for the sake of evil.

But I am not even being that restrictive. I am saying fine, allow that a god is doing us a service by allowing us an evil path which we could choose if we had the will to do evil. What part of that excuses this god  for creating people who willingly choose the evil path? That it exists, I am granting as acceptable. That people are created who will actually freely make the choice to use it as opposed to the good path is what seems to be completely unecessary.

 

Eloise wrote:
Vessel wrote:

Being as that this god is supposedly omni and the creator the non-evil path should always be an option in every possible situation.

perhaps there is?

Then no greater good requires the evil path. That would include the greater good of having people who freely choose the evil path. 

Eloise wrote:
Vessel wrote:
There is no reason that we shouldn't be able to reach any desired point along the line of existence without having to employ evil as a means to get there.

Wow, Vessel, I think that's what Jesus was supposed to have said, Seriously.

Actually I think I am alot like the biblical Jesus. Well, except, uh, you know, I'm real. 

 

“Philosophers have argued for centuries about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but materialists have always known it depends on whether they are jitterbugging or dancing cheek to cheek" -- Tom Robbins


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Vessel wrote: If we are

Vessel wrote:
If we are discussing evil being a means to a greater good

I don't think we are. It's the 'option' of evil. In your reference to a 'boiling oil' evil world, it's only valid in this line of thought if there is an option not to be boiling in oil. My understanding of the greater good doesn't actually require evil, it only requires the option. The only reason evil exists is because we put it there. Through creating, God definately had in mind the goodness you reference. It's us that don't.

Wes.

We could really use another Crusade...


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Vessel wrote: Eloise

Vessel wrote:
Eloise wrote:
Vessel wrote:

This is simply ad hoc rationalization. I could use this same argument no matter what the circumstances. Let's say that that human existence consisted of writhing in agony as you boiled in oil and that was all there was to life. We would have to reasonably assume that any god who created beings into such a situation was evil and sadistic. But one could easily say well, imagine that there is a god and it is perfect. Since this is our created existence then, obviously, writhing in agony as you are boiled in oil is the greater good.

except that our existence does not solely comprise boiling in oil, Vessel, far from it. substantial increase in the chances of a greater good there, wouldn't you say?

I'm not sure I follow the logical progression, Eloise. If we are discussing evil being a means to a greater good, assuming that an existence of not boiling in oil creates a substantial increase in the chances for a greater good seems like a non-sequitur at best.

Even if we were to take it for granted that not boiling in oil does involve a greater chance for greater good, that does not change the ad hoc nature of the argument. Without some knowledge of this greater good that requires evil to be arrived at the argument is pointless. As pointed out it can be used in literally any situation with equal validity and therefor leads us nowhere.

It's not ad hoc to say that our existence involves the rational discourse to challenge, question and even overcome what evil pains our being and thus rationalise a greater good is served simply in our individual oportunity to do so.

And the rest of it comes to this :

Vessel wrote:

 Being as that this god is supposedly omni and the creator the non-evil path should always be an option in every possible situation.

Eloise wrote:

perhaps there is?

Then no greater good requires the evil path. That would include the greater good of having people who freely choose the evil path.

So the "evil" path is not required, it just is. And in simply being, without necessity, it is not evil, it's just another dud in the reams of existential probability to reject and dump from the system.

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Wes wrote: Vessel

Wes wrote:

Vessel wrote:
If we are discussing evil being a means to a greater good

I don't think we are. It's the 'option' of evil. In your reference to a 'boiling oil' evil world, it's only valid in this line of thought if there is an option not to be boiling in oil. My understanding of the greater good doesn't actually require evil, it only requires the option.

And this is exactly my point. The greater good you are referring to is what you would call the freedom to choose, or freewill, correct? Well, there is nothing about freewill, or the freedom to choose one of two or more options, that requires that any being does choose any given option. The freedom to choose remains even if evil is never chosen, so we don't lose the greater good of freedom of choice simply because evil is never chosen.

Let's look at it this way. I have the freedom to choose to murder someone. I have not ever murdered anyone. If I continue on this course of never murdering anyone for the entirity of my existence does this mean that I never had the option of choosing to murder someone; that I wasn't free to make that choice through my freewill? Of course not.

Now extrapolate that situation across the entire population and across all possible situations.  The freedom to choose evil still exists, it is just never acted upon.  There is nothing in this type of existence that  intrudes upon freewill yet evil never occurs. We still have the greater good of the ability to choose evil, its just that there is no one who ever chooses it. 

Quote:
The only reason evil exists is because we put it there. Through creating, God definately had in mind the goodness you reference. It's us that don't.

But even if we allow that there may be a good in the ability to choose to 'put it there', there is no reason to think that the existence of people who actually make that choice is good, and the existence of these people who make said choice is directly attributal to god in the theistic worldview. In order for the actual choosing of evil to be considered a greater good we would have to state that the act of doing the evil itself was a good and this is non-sensical. 

Do you see what I am saying?

I just don't see how freewill or greater good can be considered to be adequate justifications for the existence of evil, if evil does indeed exist. In order for me to consider this a legitimate objection to the Problem of Evil one wouldneed to demonstrate how the actually choosing of evil leads to a greater good.  

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Eloise wrote: It's not ad

Eloise wrote:

It's not ad hoc to say that our existence involves the rational discourse to challenge, question and even overcome what evil pains our being and thus rationalise a greater good is served simply in our individual oportunity to do so.

But it is ad hoc. To suggest, as the post I was responding to did, that if there is a god, and that god is perfect, then a world with the existence of evil would have to be better than one without is completely ad hoc. It doesn't address the problem of the existence of evil, it just waves it away.

What you describe above is gaining something from the existence of evil by overcoming evil, resisting evil, what have you. Without evil, how would this be a greater good. It could only be a greater good in a world where evil existed. So the evil's existence would need to be prior to the good derived from it. Do you see the problem here?  

If the only reason for evil is to overcome evil, or not choose evil then that is basically evil for the sake of evil. 

Aside from this it still doesn't justify the fact that there are people in existence who choose evil. A world where everyone resists their free ability to choose evil is obviously better than one where people sometimes freely choose evil. And, in this scenario, everyone has then had the great fulfilling experience of resisting or overcoming the temptation of doing evil, so the greater good is exponentially greater, yet no evil is ever done. 

 

Quote:

So the "evil" path is not required, it just is. And in simply being, without necessity, it is not evil, it's just another dud in the reams of existential probability to reject and dump from the system.

Then the fact that humans suffer seems strangely at odds with the existence of an omni loving creator god. 

Have I strayed beyond sight of the "can god do evil" topic? If so, sorry about that, Mr. Rage. Sometimes I end up looking around and going, "How the hell did I get here?"

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vessel wrote: Let's look

vessel wrote:
Let's look at it this way. I have the freedom to choose to murder someone. I have not ever murdered anyone. If I continue on this course of never murdering anyone for the entirety of my existence does this mean that I never had the option of choosing to murder someone; that I wasn't free to make that choice through my freewill? Of course not. Now extrapolate that situation across the entire population and across all possible situations. The freedom to choose evil still exists, it is just never acted upon. There is nothing in this type of existence that intrudes upon freewill yet evil never occurs. We still have the greater good of the ability to choose evil, its just that there is no one who ever chooses it.

I agree with these statements. If we as humans never choose evil, that doesn't take away our ability to choose evil. However, if God creates us not to choose evil, that does take away our ability to choose evil. It is contradictory to state that God creates us to be free to choose between two options, yet creates us to always choose one over the other.

Vessel wrote:
But even if we allow that there may be a good in the ability to choose to 'put it there', there is no reason to think that the existence of people who actually make that choice is good, and the existence of these people who make said choice is directly attributable to god in the theistic worldview. In order for the actual choosing of evil to be considered a greater good we would have to state that the act of doing the evil itself was a good and this is non-sensical.

The existence of the choice is attributable to God. The existence of the people who make the choice is also attributable to God. However the existence of the choice itself is attributable only to the person making the choice. I agree with what you're saying here. Your last sentence here right on. The actual choosing of evil cannot be considered a greater good, but that's not what I'm saying. It's the equal ability for us to choose that is the greater good, not the actual choosing. I guess I would conclude that in creating the choice, God allows us to actually fulfill the intended greater good by choosing good, or deny the intended greater good by choosing evil. A non-God, having the option of choosing the same as God and choosing that option over another, not-the-same-as-God option would have to be the definition of the greatest good. Non-coerced similarity with God.

Wes.

We could really use another Crusade...