God DOES heal amputees! (right)

BenfromCanada
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God DOES heal amputees! (right)

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=c71d73df82ac8f072145

My reply:

 

1: In the book of Luke, a soldier's ear was "amputated" by a sword, and Jesus healed it. Now, if this was in the Bible, it's possible for people to be healed who have lost body parts.

2: Amputation is not always a treatment. There are a lot of accidents that sever limbs. This is an injury that, by definition, takes off a limb.

3: Amputation does save lives. Doctors, not god, takes off limbs. Why do you give the credit to god, not the people who did it?

4: The Bible proves nothing to an atheist. If god healed an amputee TODAY it would convince. If he healed them in the bible, we have to trust the bible's word...and atheists don't.

5: Imagine that, years after someone has an amputation, they go christian. They pray for a new arm or leg, and they get it. Has this happened? No. Yet people who lose their hair permanently during chemotherapy (another treatment) or go blind as a side effect of a treatment sometimes recover, and sometimes after prayer. If prayer did it, and if faith could move mountains, why do other things get healed, even results of treatments, yet not amputation?

 


Archangel__7
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Really, the question of "Why

Really, the question of "Why doesn't God heal amputees" is just another kind of Problem of Evil. Amputation is an instance of human suffering that's said be inconsistent with the existence of a perfectly good and powerful God.

While amputation may, on the one hand, be seen as some sort of 'blessing' (since it's intended to avoid greater injury or even death), it's still a manner of disfigurement, which I think would be fair to say is not in itself a "good" thing. Far from a real "cure," it seems to be more of an affliction... an affliction of a lesser kind than the alternative, but a genuine affliction nonetheless.

I would prefer to examine the possibility of God having overriding reasons for allowing the amputee to live without his limb. God, in seeing the big picture, could well have sufficient reasons to allow this type of suffering.

It would require an enormous burden of proof on the atheist, however, to show that God could not have sufficient reason; apart from meeting that burden, God's perfect goodness, power, and the existence of this kind of suffering are not shown to be incompatible.

Has this happened? No.

I tend to think a more modest claim is warranted here; if such an event has occured, it has not occured in our experience. But that it hasn't been confirmed by one's experience counts as no evidence against its actual occurrence in someone else's.


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After reading your post

After reading your post Archangel, the image of a tiny Shi-zu with a little pink bow in it's hair being urged to jump through hoops pops into my head.  The logical hoops you had to jump to make this statement is truly absurd.

 "Wait, why am I supposed to be a paraplegic?"

"Because it's all part of God's big plan! Just trust him."

 "Ohhh, I see! Cool!"

Please.  It makes me really sad to imagine how distorted your reality must be.  Such little appreciation for the life we have to live here.

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...


Archangel__7
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How would you prefer I

How would you prefer I respond, Tomcat? None of my remarks diminish the seriousness of the injury; in fact, I made it clear that I depart from the video's author in order to strengthen it. If my treatment of the subject doesn't seem to adequately satisfy the felt reality of how painful it is, perhaps that's just because I'm dealing with the Problem of Evil and suffering at a theoretical level that doesn't require that I emote my way through it.

In any case, neither one of your comments amount to actual arguments against my reasoning, so I'm not sure what you're looking for in this poor beginning for an exchange.


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Why did Data gain weight in

Why did Data gain weight in the Star Trek movies even though he's an android?


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Very well, Archangel__7, if

Very well, Archangel__7, if Tomcat didn't answer your arguments properly, perhaps I will.

Quote:
Really, the question of "Why doesn't God heal amputees" is just another kind of Problem of Evil. Amputation is an instance of human suffering that's said be inconsistent with the existence of a perfectly good and powerful God.

While what you say is perfectly true, the whole problem of "why God won't heal amputees" isn't intended at good vs. evil, but at prayer.

Quote:
While amputation may, on the one hand, be seen as some sort of 'blessing' (since it's intended to avoid greater injury or even death), it's still a manner of disfigurement, which I think would be fair to say is not in itself a "good" thing. Far from a real "cure," it seems to be more of an affliction... an affliction of a lesser kind than the alternative, but a genuine affliction nonetheless.

Agreed.

Quote:
I would prefer to examine the possibility of God having overriding reasons for allowing the amputee to live without his limb. God, in seeing the big picture, could well have sufficient reasons to allow this type of suffering.

I wouldn't prefer to do that. Because if I did, I could just as well examine the possibility of 9/11, Katrina, the Inquisition or the Holocaust all having happened because of "God having overriding reasons for allowing" them to happen.

...which makes God's righteousness fly right out the window and also makes Satan suddenly look like a better choice when it comes to morality.

Now if you wonder why some of us are atheists, this is the answer.

Quote:
It would require an enormous burden of proof on the atheist, however, to show that God could not have sufficient reason; apart from meeting that burden, God's perfect goodness, power, and the existence of this kind of suffering are not shown to be incompatible.

An atheist doesn't have to prove that, Archangel__7. From our perspective, your god doesn't exist. The only thing you're proving to us with "god's reasons" is that you need a finger to hide behind when things go messy. We, however, don't.

Quote:
I tend to think a more modest claim is warranted here; if such an event has occured, it has not occured in our experience. But that it hasn't been confirmed by one's experience counts as no evidence against its actual occurrence in someone else's.

Can you give me one clearly documented example from history? Even if it happened in the 1600s, but was documented from a medical point of view, we might be willing to accept that.

 

Satisfied?

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"While what you say is

"While what you say is perfectly true, the whole problem of 'why God won't heal amputees' isn't intended at good vs. evil, but at prayer."

The Talmud, which, if memory serves me correctly is a discussion of Jewish law, has some examples of proper and improper prayers.  For example, on the way home from work, a fire truck races past me on the street, an improper prayer would be "God, please don't let it be my house burning."  The fact is, a certain house is already on fire and that's just the way it is.

Could God change that?  Absolutely, if He's indeed omnipotent.

Will He?  He might, but probably not.

Why?  He created the universe to function in acccordance with certain natural laws.  Time moves only in one direction, gravity is constant (well, if we limit our discussion to Earth, at least it is).  Hence, the cup of tea always cools.  The ice cube always melts, the egg always breaks.  It'd be damned inconvenient if t natural laws were constantly being suspended shilly-shally all over the place.  Sometimes people are sickened, injured or die because something caused them to somehow run afoul of one of these natural laws.

What good is prayer then?  Three reasons:

1.  A miracle could happen.  The happen all the time, far more often then I think we know.

2.  Prayer redeems people form  isolation.  It assures those needing them that they are not alone.

3.  Prayer puts us in touch with God, and allows us to find reserves of strength and courage we were previously unaware of. 

 

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


GUNT
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totus_tuus wrote: 1.  A

totus_tuus wrote:

1.  A miracle could happen.  The happen all the time, far more often then I think we know.

Can you give me any peer reviewed evidence of a miracle happening seeing as they happen all the time? 

Oh and make it something that opposes the laws of nature obviously.

G


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Quote: The Talmud, which,

Quote:
The Talmud, which, if memory serves me correctly is a discussion of Jewish law, has some examples of proper and improper prayers.  For example, on the way home from work, a fire truck races past me on the street, an improper prayer would be "God, please don't let it be my house burning."  The fact is, a certain house is already on fire and that's just the way it is.

So you mean that prayer isn't designed to change things, but possibly to prevent them from happening? Would a prayer like "God, please don't allow anything to happen that would make me end up not being a multi-billionaire businessman with an army of people who I can overpay to serve me" be considered proper?

Quote:
Why?  He created the universe to function in acccordance with certain natural laws.  Time moves only in one direction, gravity is constant (well, if we limit our discussion to Earth, at least it is).  Hence, the cup of tea always cools.  The ice cube always melts, the egg always breaks.  It'd be damned inconvenient if t natural laws were constantly being suspended shilly-shally all over the place.  Sometimes people are sickened, injured or die because something caused them to somehow run afoul of one of these natural laws.

Suuuuuuuure... that's why the Bible is head full of claims of miracles... which strangely, nobody else observed, by the way... some nations even failed to observe their own destruction...

Quote:
1.  A miracle could happen.  The happen all the time, far more often then I think we know.

Really? Where do they happen? I'm sadly oblivious to such events. Do they only happen in certain areas? Why only there?

Quote:
2.  Prayer redeems people form  isolation.  It assures those needing them that they are not alone.

If literally talking to a wall is supposed to assure me that I'm not alone, perhaps I'm the one that isn't normal.

Quote:
3.  Prayer puts us in touch with God, and allows us to find reserves of strength and courage we were previously unaware of.

So does wishful thinking. "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..."

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


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God isnt going to regrow

God isnt going to regrow limbs but there is certainly no reason why we can't, probably 20-30 years off through.

 I think our limits are the moment is we can regrow an ear the wonders of stem cell research


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Quote: God isnt going to

Quote:

God isnt going to regrow limbs but there is certainly no reason why we can't, probably 20-30 years off through.

 I think our limits are the moment is we can regrow an ear the wonders of stem cell research

Which makes me ask a very sensible question (considering the attitude towards stem cell research): Why does God want us to NOT start growing back limbs?

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


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Rational Response to

Rational Response to Rigor_OMortis

EDIT: Forgot to include this first segment in original reply:

Quote:
While what you say is perfectly true, the whole problem of "why God won't heal amputees" isn't intended at good vs. evil, but at prayer.

For proponents of the Problem of Evil, we understand "evil" to encompass all that, in general, "ought not to be". Whether the evil in question is moral or just simply catastrophic is irrelevant; for the purpose of the PoE, they're still "evils" in the classical sense.

Prayer then becomes somewhat of a superfluous consideration with respect to the PoE; the question remains, "Why doesn't God heal amputees?" doesn't it?

Quote:
I wouldn't prefer to do that. Because if I did, I could just as well examine the possibility of 9/11, Katrina, the Inquisition or the Holocaust all having happened because of "God having overriding reasons for allowing" them to happen.

This is exactly what I would propose.

Quote:
...which makes God's righteousness fly right out the window...

If God has genuinely overriding reasons for allowing each and every example you've given, how do they have any impact on his righteousness?

Quote:
....and also makes Satan suddenly look like a better choice when it comes to morality.

This makes little sense.

Quote:
Now if you wonder why some of us are atheists, this is the answer.

Well, then your reasons would be more emotional than rational. I agree that the issue is psychologically staggering, given some of the evils we observe in the world, but as a purely logical problem, the bigger question still remains, are they truly pointless? I'm suggesting that the atheist has yet to unequivocally demonstrate that God's goodness, God's maximal power, and the existence of evil in the world are shown to formally contradict one another; unless the atheist shows that the existence of mitigating reasons for allowing it (much as a parent would allow a child to endure pain for a hospital procedure, or as discipline) is not possible, no logical contradiction has yet been presented.

Quote:
An atheist doesn't have to prove that, Archangel__7. From our perspective, your god doesn't exist. The only thing you're proving to us with "god's reasons" is that you need a finger to hide behind when things go messy. We, however, don't.

Atheism, for all we know, could well be true, but that's not the point. If we're attending to over whether this challenge succeeds, then it is every bit of the atheist's concern to defend it. Otherwise, a person could have his atheism justified by some other means, but he could not use this argument to do it. So once again, with respect to this discussion alone, it would require an enormous burden of proof on the atheist to show that God could not have sufficient reason to justify the evils that exist.

Quote:
Can you give me one clearly documented example from history? Even if it happened in the 1600s, but was documented from a medical point of view, we might be willing to accept that.

I don't have to, for my original point to stand. I could have no proof whatsoever, but that only leads us to uncertainty of the question of God in any direction. If an atheist (or theist) has an argument in favor of his view, that's a different story. My point here is that from the absence of evidence, evidence of absence does not follow... unless you're a big fan of Arguments From Ignorance. I'm telling you the safest bet is to rely on your limited perceptions, which supposedly lack any validating experience of the phenomena in question; presuming to confidently account for others' perceptions throughout history is quite hopeless, believe me.


totus_tuus
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Rigor_OMortis

Rigor_OMortis wrote:

Quote:
The Talmud, which, if memory serves me correctly is a discussion of Jewish law, has some examples of proper and improper prayers.  For example, on the way home from work, a fire truck races past me on the street, an improper prayer would be "God, please don't let it be my house burning."  The fact is, a certain house is already on fire and that's just the way it is.

So you mean that prayer isn't designed to change things, but possibly to prevent them from happening? Would a prayer like "God, please don't allow anything to happen that would make me end up not being a multi-billionaire businessman with an army of people who I can overpay to serve me" be considered proper?

Quote:
Why?  He created the universe to function in acccordance with certain natural laws.  Time moves only in one direction, gravity is constant (well, if we limit our discussion to Earth, at least it is).  Hence, the cup of tea always cools.  The ice cube always melts, the egg always breaks.  It'd be damned inconvenient if t natural laws were constantly being suspended shilly-shally all over the place.  Sometimes people are sickened, injured or die because something caused them to somehow run afoul of one of these natural laws.

Suuuuuuuure... that's why the Bible is head full of claims of miracles... which strangely, nobody else observed, by the way... some nations even failed to observe their own destruction...

Quote:
1.  A miracle could happen.  The happen all the time, far more often then I think we know.

Really? Where do they happen? I'm sadly oblivious to such events. Do they only happen in certain areas? Why only there?

Quote:
2.  Prayer redeems people form  isolation.  It assures those needing them that they are not alone.

If literally talking to a wall is supposed to assure me that I'm not alone, perhaps I'm the one that isn't normal.

Quote:
3.  Prayer puts us in touch with God, and allows us to find reserves of strength and courage we were previously unaware of.

So does wishful thinking. "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..."

Try your methods, I'll try mine.

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


totus_tuus
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Rigor_OMortis

Rigor_OMortis wrote:

Quote:

God isnt going to regrow limbs but there is certainly no reason why we can't, probably 20-30 years off through.

 I think our limits are the moment is we can regrow an ear the wonders of stem cell research

Which makes me ask a very sensible question (considering the attitude towards stem cell research): Why does God want us to NOT start growing back limbs?

Which attitude toward stem cell research is that?

"With its enduring appeal to the search for truth, philosophy has the great responsibility of forming thought and culture; and now it must strive resolutely to recover its original vocation." Pope John Paul II


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This is so sad. Theists,

This is so sad.

Theists, in YOUR bible, there are multiple passages that assert that when we pray to god, or jesus we WILL get whatever we pray for.

 

"Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:

    For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
In Matthew 21:21
    I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.


The message is reiterated Mark 11:24:

    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus tells all of us just how easy prayer can be:

    "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

In Matthew 18:19 Jesus says it again:

    Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."





    How do you account for all the things that you, or millions of other christians have prayed for that have never happened? It says in the above passages VERY CLEARLY that anything and everything you pray for in the name of god will be granted to you.

    How will you attempt to rationalize this for yourself?

    I've heard plenty of times 'Jesus didn't say he would answer prayers,' well, yeah, in these passages he did.

    I guess it's not jesus' WILL to answer prayers?
    I mean first of all, that's contrary to what the bible passages state. Are you saying that jesus hears some peoples prayers(like those of amputees) and simply thinks that they are not GOOD enough to answer(And don't give me any of that god's plan rhetoric either. That line of logic asserts that EVERY abortion ever preformed, every murder, every rape, was GODS WILL. What kind of god would do that?)?

    Okay, wait, no I got it. You're going to say that this type of prayer TESTS god, and he doesn't like stuff like that, right?
    But EVERY prayer is a test, so we're never supposed to pray? Anytime you pray and ask god for something, you're testing him. If you believe your bible, then jesus is happy to give you whatever you pray for. So this line of thinking is merely poor rationalization for when you don't get what you asked for.


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Quote: For proponents of

Quote:
For proponents of the Problem of Evil, we understand "evil" to encompass all that, in general, "ought not to be". Whether the evil in question is moral or just simply catastrophic is irrelevant; for the purpose of the PoE, they're still "evils" in the classical sense.

Probably.

Quote:
Prayer then becomes somewhat of a superfluous consideration with respect to the PoE; the question remains, "Why doesn't God heal amputees?" doesn't it?

I'd rather name it "overkill".

Quote:
If God has genuinely overriding reasons for allowing each and every example you've given, how do they have any impact on his righteousness?

Of course, if God was a human being, or, not to stretch that much, if God wasn't omnipotent, then I'd agree with you 100%. He isn't, though, which is exactly the problem.

Consider an example: let's presume that Hurricane Katrina served a clear purpose of saving humanity from a greater disaster, overpopulation or whatever, you name it. Also consider that you are presented with a choice: make Katrina happen, or just let it flow by, while being aware that the latter choice will create an even greater disaster somewhere in the future. Normally, a good thing to choose would be to allow Katrina to happen, since it will hurt humanity, but potentially save it.

Now, apply this choice to God. Does the choice still stand? I doubt it does, because any matter of choice cannot be applied to God, given his omniscience and omnipotence. With these two characteristics, God could simply make the future disaster NOT happen and Katrina also NOT happen. Yet, he chose to destroy quite a lot, without warning or justification (seriously now, regardless of what funky arguments you may bring, if Katrina was God's will, neither you, nor anyone else actually has a valid clue about why it happened).

So allow me to correct myself: God does not have genuinely overriding reasons for allowing any of those disasters, other than his own wish. Which negates his righteousness.

Quote:
This makes little sense.

I was hoping you'd read more of the forums. No matter, just ignore that part.

Quote:
Well, then your reasons would be more emotional than rational. I agree that the issue is psychologically staggering, given some of the evils we observe in the world, but as a purely logical problem, the bigger question still remains, are they truly pointless? I'm suggesting that the atheist has yet to unequivocally demonstrate that God's goodness, God's maximal power, and the existence of evil in the world are shown to formally contradict one another; unless the atheist shows that the existence of mitigating reasons for allowing it (much as a parent would allow a child to endure pain for a hospital procedure, or as discipline) is not possible, no logical contradiction has yet been presented.

OK, let me give it a whirl: God is omniscient, he knows what every little particle of this Universe will ever do, and can predict any possible event with no less than 100% accuracy. God is omnipotent, therefore he can alter absolutely anything about this Universe if he chooses so, and, because he is omniscient, he will know 100% of the consequences with 100% accuracy as well. However, he chooses to do / not do some things that are at least questionable in human terms (even the Bible gives examples, such as the X kids (replace X with exact number that I don't remember) that were mauled down by bears for calling a bald prophet bald).

What I'm aiming at is that for every at least questionable action that God seems to do, there's an alternative that a human mind can think of that does not deny any of God's greatness (actually, some being miracles, increase his greatness) or qualities, achieves the same purpose, but yet cause less suffering amongst humans. Which leaves us to conclude that God is either not omnipotent, or not omniscient (and chooses the actions to take on what he considers to be fit at that moment), or is not omnibenevolent. One of these three characteristics have to fall.

Quote:
Atheism, for all we know, could well be true, but that's not the point. If we're attending to over whether this challenge succeeds, then it is every bit of the atheist's concern to defend it. Otherwise, a person could have his atheism justified by some other means, but he could not use this argument to do it. So once again, with respect to this discussion alone, it would require an enormous burden of proof on the atheist to show that God could not have sufficient reason to justify the evils that exist.

You are suggesting that we atheists suppose, for the sake of argument, that all religion says is true, and that we concentrate on this point alone. While I'd really like to bother with the challenge, I see no reason to do it, since there are many other points that make this argument redundant. You remind me of Alvin Platinga, which, in order to prove that God exists, has laid out an argument that requires proof that there are many other worlds and that one of them necessarily includes the condition for God to exist for it to also exist. What Platinga wishes to demonstrate as a premise is actually more difficult to demonstrate than the conclusion, which is your case as well.

Quote:
I don't have to, for my original point to stand. I could have no proof whatsoever, but that only leads us to uncertainty of the question of God in any direction.

Yes, you actually do. Otherwise it's just a naked claim, or a "what if...?", or a "possibly..." situation, neither of which must necessarily have any resemblance to reality.

Quote:
My point here is that from the absence of evidence, evidence of absence does not follow... unless you're a big fan of Arguments From Ignorance.

Apply the same to Santa Claus, Vishnu, Buddha (actually, not to Buddha, since we know that he existed) and so on and then you'll see why it isn't necessarily an argument from ignorance. I did not say that it is not possible, I only said that as far as I know, it didn't happen. And therefore follows the question of "why?"

Quote:
I'm telling you the safest bet is to rely on your limited perceptions, which supposedly lack any validating experience of the phenomena in question; presuming to confidently account for others' perceptions throughout history is quite hopeless, believe me.

I try really hard to believe you, but given that you yourself trust the word of the Bible (or another holy book, I presumed you're Christian here), which is nothing more of "others' perceptions throughout history", I can't.

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http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


GUNT
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GUNT wrote: totus_tuus

GUNT wrote:
totus_tuus wrote:

1.  A miracle could happen.  The happen all the time, far more often then I think we know.

Can you give me any peer reviewed evidence of a miracle happening seeing as they happen all the time? 

Oh and make it something that opposes the laws of nature obviously.

G

So totus_tuus are you having difficulty finding this evidence?


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Quote: Of course, ...if God

Quote:
Of course, ...if God wasn't omnipotent, then I'd agree with you 100%. He isn't, though, which is exactly the problem.

This fails to consider that omnipotence does not rule out self-restraint, just as 'omnibenevolence' does not rule out forbearance of suffering in light of justifiable reasons. Your example likewise does not rule out one crucially justifiable reason for evil and suffering: fostering a knowledge of God among the survivors where matters of eternal destiny are at stake. Even if God could avert many natural disasters, not even an omnipotent being can force a person to "freely choose" to have a deeper knowledge of Him. And it could well be that only where the greatest amount of evil and suffering occurs do the most people freely come to know him, which in the end will lead to ultimate fulfillment and happiness.

Quote:
Yet, he chose to destroy quite a lot, without warning or justification (seriously now, regardless of what funky arguments you may bring, if Katrina was God's will, neither you, nor anyone else actually has a valid clue about why it happened).

This is very odd, indeed. I agree we're in no position to claim knowledge about why such events as Hurricane Katrina are allowed to occur; but then how does one presume to know that God therefore could not have any good reasons (or that those reasons fail to meet the standards of righteousness)? At best, the argument remains inconclusive, not proven, and so atheism just does not follow.

Quote:
God is omnipotent, therefore he can alter absolutely anything about this Universe if he chooses so.

As you might have guessed, I have to disagree with this premiss. Not even an omnipotent being can bring about a logical contradiction.

Quote:
However, he chooses to do / not do some things that are at least questionable in human terms (even the Bible gives examples, such as the X kids (replace X with exact number that I don't remember) that were mauled down by bears for calling a bald prophet bald).

Well, on a purely theoretical level, the idea of holding God to account for his actions begs an enormous question; many atheists seem to take for granted that we'll accept just any old rubric as a replacement standard for determining what "goodness" amounts to apart from God. I mean, psychologically, appealing to one's emotions can be effective in convincing us about the seriousness of what's at stake, but by itself this fails to show that God could not have justifiable reasons for suffering.

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What I'm aiming at is that for every at least questionable action that God seems to do, there's an alternative that a human mind can think of that does not deny any of God's greatness (actually, some being miracles, increase his greatness) or qualities, achieves the same purpose, but yet cause less suffering amongst humans. Which leaves us to conclude that God is either not omnipotent, or not omniscient (and chooses the actions to take on what he considers to be fit at that moment), or is not omnibenevolent. One of these three characteristics have to fall.

One of these attributes "has to fall" only if it is conclusively shown that such suffering is truly pointless. We have yet to see that in this discussion.

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You are suggesting that we atheists suppose, for the sake of argument, that all religion says is true, and that we concentrate on this point alone.

No such thing is being suggested. Focusing on the matter at hand does not imply that therefore "all religion says is true." It could well be false, but that's not the point. The proponent of the Problem of Evil takes the assumptions that theists provide, and uses them as tools with which to construct the argument. The Problem of Evil is an examination of internal consistency, not one of truth.

At any rate, BenfromCanada presumes to know that God's perfect benevolence and omnipotence are incompatible with the given reality of suffering among amputees; If the challenge is going to even make sense, one has to assume God to begin with if only to show where the logical incompatibility lies; Accepting that criteria, I then argue that the atheist has shouldered an enormous burden of proof to show that God just could not have any overriding justification for the evils that occur; and if your response to that is going to be, "Well, we don't even believe God exists anyway, so your argument is moot," then my reply is going to be, "What's the point of debate?"

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While I'd really like to bother with the challenge, I see no reason to do it, since there are many other points that make this argument redundant.

Then despite your obvious breadth of knowledge on all other issues, I must say in all kindness that you don't have much to contribute to this topic. Sticking out tongue

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Yes, you actually do. Otherwise it's just a naked claim, or a "what if...?", or a "possibly..." situation, neither of which must necessarily have any resemblance to reality.

Only if I want to confirm that such an event has indeed occured, but that's not been my purpose in this entire thread; I only argue that BenfromCanada has not met his burden of proof to show that such miracles have never occured in anyone else's experience, as is called for by his earlier remark: "Has this happened? No."

This is where proving a universal negative in the absolute becomes such a hairy problem. Ben might try to say, for example, that there is nowhere in the universe a purple rock with blue spots. Why? Because he has yet to see one. How does it follow from his lack of experience that he can therefore speak for the experiences of everyone else that has ever existed? It's not far different than claiming that we've obtained infinite knowledge about the universe to claim that there exists no being with infinite knowledge. The points I raise here are accepted by many atheists, and it's just more intellectually honest to restrict Ben's original claim to something more modest.

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Apply the same to Santa Claus, Vishnu, Buddha ... and so on and then you'll see why it isn't necessarily an argument from ignorance.

Of Vishnu and Buddha, these are both entities that merit far more of our attention than some other being like Santa Claus, Leprechauns, or the Easter bunny, if for no other reason than because so many people hold to their existence and heightened status in the world. The same cannot be said of the Tooth Fairy or even the insipid FSM.

Simply granting these figures the attention merited by their following does not confer any truth-value to them, but only shows that while not all ideas are created equal (some ideas really are far more superior and more true than others), they are not properly dispensed with purely on the basis of one's metaphysical precommitments. A person who just uses their metaphysical prejudices to excuse themselves from responsible intellectual engagement with contrary ideas (however outlandish they might appear) is no longer a practicing freethinker, but a dogmatist.

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I did not say that it is not possible, I only said that as far as I know, it didn't happen.

That's fine, but you may not have noticed that this was not at all the original poster's claim, to which I was responding.

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I try really hard to believe you, but given that you yourself trust the word of the Bible (or another holy book, I presumed you're Christian here), which is nothing more of "others' perceptions throughout history", I can't.

The difference between you and I is I actually think the worldview with which I disagree is still a respectable, live option to hold. The mark of a freethinker to me is the willingness to consider that his worldview may actually be wrong. It's unfortunate how very little of that I see in many people's writings.


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Quote: This fails to

Quote:
This fails to consider that omnipotence does not rule out self-restraint, just as 'omnibenevolence' does not rule out forbearance of suffering in light of justifiable reasons.

Self-restraint is self-defeating for you. Can God restrain from allowing any evil or suffering in the world for one whole year? I haven't noticed such an occasion.

As for allowing of suffering for justifiable reasons... give it another shot: what are those "justifiable reasons" ? Because I fail to see any.

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Your example likewise does not rule out one crucially justifiable reason for evil and suffering: fostering a knowledge of God among the survivors where matters of eternal destiny are at stake.

I doubt the followers of Montezuma's predecessor ever had any knowledge of God before floating off from materiality, regardless of the ammount of suffering they endured. Argument self-defeating.

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Even if God could avert many natural disasters, not even an omnipotent being can force a person to "freely choose" to have a deeper knowledge of Him.

Another self-defeating argument. It could all go away with the one question: Why? But I'm going to show you another problem:

Knowledge can be acquired through some very specific methods. Logic is generally out of the way when it comes to theism. So observation is left. But since God, for some reason or another, doesn't seem very "observable", how are the pre-columbian americans supposed to know of God? Needless, I hope, to get into detail on what this means.

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And it could well be that only where the greatest amount of evil and suffering occurs do the most people freely come to know him, which in the end will lead to ultimate fulfillment and happiness.

Yes... think of all those Indians that are killed yearly in monsoonic storms, only to harden their belief in Vishnu (hope I got the god right)... or perhaps all those war casualties in Iraq, only to harden the belief in Allah... Or the guys in your very own tornado alley...

See where I'm getting, I hope...

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This is very odd, indeed. I agree we're in no position to claim knowledge about why such events as Hurricane Katrina are allowed to occur; but then how does one presume to know that God therefore could not have any good reasons (or that those reasons fail to meet the standards of righteousness)? At best, the argument remains inconclusive, not proven, and so atheism just does not follow.

Do a crime... and then give the same type of argument to a judge...

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As you might have guessed, I have to disagree with this premiss. Not even an omnipotent being can bring about a logical contradiction.

Very well, I will keep that in mind when debating you.

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Well, on a purely theoretical level, the idea of holding God to account for his actions begs an enormous question; many atheists seem to take for granted that we'll accept just any old rubric as a replacement standard for determining what "goodness" amounts to apart from God. I mean, psychologically, appealing to one's emotions can be effective in convincing us about the seriousness of what's at stake, but by itself this fails to show that God could not have justifiable reasons for suffering.

I'm still waiting for those justifiable reasons...

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One of these attributes "has to fall" only if it is conclusively shown that such suffering is truly pointless. We have yet to see that in this discussion.

STILL waiting for those justifiable reasons...

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The difference between you and I is I actually think the worldview with which I disagree is still a respectable, live option to hold. The mark of a freethinker to me is the willingness to consider that his worldview may actually be wrong. It's unfortunate how very little of that I see in many people's writings.

Actually, many of my arguments are start with a presumption for the sake of argument that God exists... and it's unfortunate that many of the theist arguments (I will not say all) are self-defeating.

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
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Rigor_OMortis

Rigor_OMortis wrote:

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This is very odd, indeed. I agree we're in no position to claim knowledge about why such events as Hurricane Katrina are allowed to occur; but then how does one presume to know that God therefore could not have any good reasons (or that those reasons fail to meet the standards of righteousness)? At best, the argument remains inconclusive, not proven, and so atheism just does not follow.

Do a crime... and then give the same type of argument to a judge...

Well, let us see what that would look like.

You honor, we ar in no position to claim knowledge about why such events as mass murderer are allowed to occur; but then how does one presume to know that my client therefore could not have any good reasons (or that thos reasons fail to meet the standards of righteousness) for killing those 50 people?  At best, the argument remains inconclusive, not proven, and so a guilty verdict just does not follow.

Oh yeah, I see that getting a person off the hook. 

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I find the expectation of

I find the expectation of God to conform  to  what people want on earth automatically  creates  two problems for me in the discussion.  First is that is makes god revolve around  people.  The person's desires, their perspective on  right  and wrong,  their timetables, etc.
The second is  we  wind  up  in  this whole 'infinite-X'  nonsense. God  is whatever it is. Old  terms  used  to describe him  in fancy ways can often now be torn down by logic  or semantics. Doesn't matter.  Omnipotence is  an argument from ingorance  to me. I don't  know  what he  can or can't  do.  I'm comfortable  assuming he could pull  off  anything someone asked him  to  do  2k  years ago. Now? Maybe,  maybe  not.

Biblical god didn't paint  himself into a corner with claims  to  go around healing everyone at this  point. He does point  to  a future  where he  gets heavily  involved in  wiping  out  pain and suffering,  but thats when  he gets around to  doing  it  and he  seems to like,  from the bible, this storybook  style of interaction  or  lack that  builds up situations  he wants to be seen  or  be seen dealt with.

Admittedly, we  currently have an almost entirely silent god  in the christian faith. Some small  groups have miraculous healings(though almost no  other miracles) and there are a few reports  of  demon possession here and there.  Almost all  of  this  occurs in undeveloped countries.  This could  be because it's  easier to scam people over there. It could  be because of the agendas of the 'supernatural.'  Miracles,  for the  most part,  haven't been described  as  something  to be  used  as a  m atter of convenience. Biblically,  they were  about  God  helping to prove and affirm  something at that time. Hasn't  been anything  new to  prove,  no  big shakeups in the theology from the official side.

It doesnt appear to me, from the bible, that the christian or  jewish god ever intended to be a  nanny. He supposedly  setup  a perfect garden  for at least a  small  part of the earth, and has  the offer  of a future  perfect earth, but  seems content  to allow things he  says he hates  take place  in  the  present  time to th e full extent  that  humanity and  nature cares to dish  it  out. In  my shoes,  this  has  much much less  to  do with the  existence of God  and more to do with  his character,  nature,  goals,  and agendas.

What I  see taken  from that  is people arguing how he's  evil based on their  goals  and  perspective.  As  a  person, letting someone  die  is pretty  serious. As  a  god  with  any sort  of afterlife  plan, it's  much  less  so. As  a god  that's telling a story  and  admits  to setting up  people  as  evil purposefully(bible's  god  does  this) in  order to achieve plot  points in  a  story  he's telling, we have  to face the  notion  of  what  kind  of role he may have  placed us in  or allowed chance(bible  says  chance  plays a  factor  in people's outcomes)  to  place  us  in.  Am I one  of the  suffering shmucks? Am  I  one of the deluded? Am  I one of the evil  monsters he's gonna  smack down?  Fuck!

Makes  for much more interesting discussions when the broader perspective of the material and  ourselves is taken into account. Simply  saying "God's  supposed to  be good  but I'm  hurt  and he won't heal me  so he  sucks!" is a  legitimate feeling, but a baseless argument in my  opinion.
Me, I happen  to have developed certain  lifelong diseases since  my turn  to devoted following of this god.  Some of them do  threaten  to end  my life,  others  are  very  manageable. Why  doesn't  god heal me  of at  least  tuberculosis? Why should he?

Mike Gravel for president!


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I find the expectation of

I find the expectation of God to conform  to  what people want on earth automatically  creates  two problems for me in the discussion.  First is that is makes god revolve around  people.  The person's desires, their perspective on  right  and wrong,  their timetables, etc.

I differ in that I see nothing beyond the wishful thinking proposed by religion. If a person today can desperately convince themselves of something that reflects their views; why not yesterday? Why should we suppose it ever had a basis outside of ignorance and fear?


The second is  we  wind  up  in  this whole 'infinite-X'  nonsense. God  is whatever it is. Old  terms  used  to describe him  in fancy ways can often now be torn down by logic  or semantics. Doesn't matter.  Omnipotence is  an argument from ingorance  to me. I don't  know  what he  can or can't  do.  I'm comfortable  assuming he could pull  off  anything someone asked him  to  do  2k  years ago. Now? Maybe,  maybe  not.

I'm happy to hear an “I don't know” from a theist.

[I have no comments here...]

Makes  for much more interesting discussions when the broader perspective of the material and  ourselves is taken into account. Simply  saying “God's  supposed to  be good  but I'm  hurt  and he won't heal me  so he  sucks!“ is a  legitimate feeling, but a baseless argument in my  opinion.

I don't think that's the argument. It takes less presumption to suppose that religions of old, as is blindingly obvious in cults of today, were made up. Religions make extraordinary claims, but the tangible evidence for these claims is either in the past, or perpetually being pushed against a “soon.” If it's justified to assume that the architects of religious texts were capable of writing out impressive things that were never real, the current “silence” of religious miracles supports the assumption.

If it rains tomorrow, I can look at maps that tell me where the storm is coming from, how long it's expected to last. I'm not forced to consider a philosophical purpose for it, or to rationalize about some intangible force at work. Things happen for natural physical reasons; if we don't defer to ideologies that are contrary to evidence, we're not forced to make unjustified inferences about the things that happen.


Me, I happen  to have developed certain  lifelong diseases since  my turn  to devoted following of this god.  Some of them do  threaten  to end  my life,  others  are  very  manageable. Why  doesn't  god heal me  of at  least  tuberculosis? Why should he?

I'm sorry to hear that.

 


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Quote: I find the

Quote:
I find the expectation of God to conform  to  what people want on earth automatically  creates  two problems for me in the discussion.  First is that is makes god revolve around  people.  The person's desires, their perspective on  right  and wrong,  their timetables, etc.
The second is  we  wind  up  in  this whole 'infinite-X'  nonsense. God  is whatever it is. Old  terms  used  to describe him  in fancy ways can often now be torn down by logic  or semantics. Doesn't matter.  Omnipotence is  an argument from ingorance  to me. I don't  know  what he  can or can't  do.  I'm comfortable  assuming he could pull  off  anything someone asked him  to  do  2k  years ago. Now? Maybe,  maybe  not.

I ask you, then: what is the point of prayer?

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He does point  to  a future  where he  gets heavily  involved in  wiping  out  pain and suffering,  but thats when  he gets around to  doing  it  and he  seems to like,  from the bible, this storybook  style of interaction  or  lack that  builds up situations  he wants to be seen  or  be seen dealt with.

There's one question looming above our heads: WHY ?

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Admittedly, we  currently have an almost entirely silent god  in the christian faith. Some small  groups have miraculous healings(though almost no  other miracles) and there are a few reports  of  demon possession here and there.  Almost all  of  this  occurs in undeveloped countries.  This could  be because it's  easier to scam people over there. It could  be because of the agendas of the 'supernatural.'  Miracles,  for the  most part,  haven't been described  as  something  to be  used  as a  m atter of convenience. Biblically,  they were  about  God  helping to prove and affirm  something at that time. Hasn't  been anything  new to  prove,  no  big shakeups in the theology from the official side.

As I said in my "The gods that have suddenly become silent" essay, surely any god that wishes to make his message known to as many people as possible, and, let's say for the sake of argument, that he also wishes for a funky reason for humans to do the broadcasting, would choose these times rather than 2000 years ago for such a broadcast... to say "there's nothing more to prove" is false, avec rien, as false as it can be: remember that we're disputing the very existence of your god, so there's everything more to prove.

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It doesnt appear to me, from the bible, that the christian or  jewish god ever intended to be a  nanny. He supposedly  setup  a perfect garden  for at least a  small  part of the earth, and has  the offer  of a future  perfect earth, but  seems content  to allow things he  says he hates  take place  in  the  present  time to th e full extent  that  humanity and  nature cares to dish  it  out. In  my shoes,  this  has  much much less  to  do with the  existence of God  and more to do with  his character,  nature,  goals,  and agendas.

God doesn't look like a nanny, indeed. He looks like a tyrant. "Love me or forever burn in hell" doesn't go well with even a neutral-type god.

If you don't believe in Hell, well, then that's fine with me. But then we atheists have got nothing to lose out of our current state if we choose to not love and worship God.

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What I  see taken  from that  is people arguing how he's  evil based on their  goals  and  perspective.  As  a  person, letting someone  die  is pretty  serious. As  a  god  with  any sort  of afterlife  plan, it's  much  less  so. As  a god  that's telling a story  and  admits  to setting up  people  as  evil purposefully(bible's  god  does  this) in  order to achieve plot  points in  a  story  he's telling, we have  to face the  notion  of  what  kind  of role he may have  placed us in  or allowed chance(bible  says  chance  plays a  factor  in people's outcomes)  to  place  us  in.  Am I one  of the  suffering shmucks? Am  I  one of the deluded? Am  I one of the evil  monsters he's gonna  smack down?  Fuck!

Actually, avec rien, in my opinion you're perfectly wrong here, and in the following paragraph. He cannot be considered good, because he didn't, to my knowledge, give us a choice: "Hey, avec rien, do you wish to live this life? You're going to develop some lifelong diseases, such as tuberculosis, and your life will end precisely 10 years after you've had the first contact with another loon named Rigor O'Mortis" (I do hope that this will be regarded, in 10+ years, as just an example, and not a prophecy, I really don't want you dead). Get my point? If it was my choice to live this life, suffer, be tormented or diseased, or whatever, then I'd understand, but it wasn't. It was like that quote from Evil Dead 3: "Welcome back to the land of the living! Now get a shovel and dig!"... And such an attitude, according to no moral standard that I can think of, can be considered good.

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I sincerely regret both the

I sincerely regret both the length of this response as well as the delay.

Quote:
Self-restraint is self-defeating for you. Can God restrain from allowing any evil or suffering in the world for one whole year? I haven't noticed such an occasion.

First, Do you mean to say that choosing to refrain from exercising power implies a logical contradiction? I'd really like to know how.

Second, I'd really like to understand where preventing evil for a year came from; what's interesting about this arbitrary stipulation, and why think God should commit himself to it?

But let's take this at face value anyway. We say then that it is broadly logically possible for God to actualize a state of affairs (the cessation of all evil for an entire year), but that it may not be feasible for God to actualize, given any mitigating factors. For example, if God had more compelling reasons for allowing evil to occur, then though it is within his ability to prevent it, doing so would be infeasible for God in light of that larger purpose. At any rate, the atheist has not shown how an omnipotent being practicing restraint amounts to an infringement on his ability to actualize the event had he otherwise intended to. Neither has it been shown that God could not have mitigating reasons for allowing evil, so no logical incompatibility has been demonstrated between God's perfect goodness and the existence of evil in our world.

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As for allowing of suffering for justifiable reasons... give it another shot: what are those "justifiable reasons" ? Because I fail to see any.

This is getting repetitive.

First, my purpose is not to propose actual reasons for God's allowing evil, but to show that the atheist has not achieved closure in his argument that God could not have such reasons. And even if the theist couldn't produce reasons that satisfy the atheist, this remains an interesting fact about the theist, not about the worldview in question.

Second, you've already conceded that no one is in a position to know anything about the justifiable reasons God could have for allowing evil (what those reasons may be, whether they are valid, or even whether they exist); I don't intend to go about showing that some particular reason is why God, in fact, allowed some instance of evil. Rather, by demonstrating that there exist possible mitigating reasons for allowing evil and suffering, I show that the Problem of Evil as construed above fails produce any substantive logical incompatibility between the existence of God and the existence of evil.

And again, using your example as a point of illustration, God could well allow natural evils to occur where matters of eternal destiny are at stake. It is often in times of great tragedy and suffering when people are more likely to confront the "big questions" of life, and have the greatest chance of coming to know God at a deeper level. And we need not rely on speculation to see that this is true; in fact, it is precisely in the world's developing nations where religious growth is seeing exponential increases, whereas here in the West, where we've become so comfortable, church growth rates tend to be more flat. There are also some evils which allow human beings to ascend to heights of goodness that would otherwise not be possible if such evils did not exist. It's unfortunate, but many movements in social reform only tend to pick up speed when someone dies, as we've seen in the life and death of figures such as Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and so on.

There could definitely be more. My point is that the existence of evil and God have not been shown to be logically incompatible.

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I doubt the followers of Montezuma's predecessor ever had any knowledge of God before floating off from materiality, regardless of the ammount of suffering they endured.

At least two responses one can make to this claim; first, while I know that many Christians, for instance, hold that one must at least know about Christ before they have eternal life, I'm not so sure that is the case. In fact, many of the ancient patriarchs would have to fall into that questionable category; there are several places in the biblical text which suggest that one's faith can well be accorded to a person as righteousness when all other avenues have been exhausted.

Or how about infants? To my knowledge, they don't possess sufficient mental capacities to comprehend very much, let alone basic doctrines of religious belief and faith. Should we say then that their eternal destiny is in peril too?

I see no real sacred text which commits us to the idea. And like assessing the status of God's justifiable reasoning, I don't think we are in a position to know with any certainty what the final verdict for each of these individuals would be. In the absence of that certainty, I'm not sure that even the posed problem actually exists.

But suppose just such a problem actually existed: if a person fails to somehow attain knowledge of God's plan for eternal life, whether by circumstances within or beyond his control, is there reason to think an omniscient God would have overlooked this detail? In other words, do we have here a necessary logical contradiction, or another area of uncertainty? I would hold that God in his omniscience knows all future contingents; he knows what you and I would freely choose in every possible world. So suppose in every possible world, John would fail to embrace God. In any given scenario and opportunity, John rejects God's plan for eternal life. Wouldn't God be well within his rights to place all such people in the parts of the world in history where he would never hear that message, since, he would never accept anyway had he heard it?

This seems promising. But a nagging question remains: why create such a being anyway if he's only going to suffer eternally later on? Well, it may be fair to ask if his continued existence would nonetheless be indirectly responsible for the salvation of others; perhaps his descendants would play a much more redeeming role. In any event, God's tolerance of evil in the world is far from inconceivable given some of the possibilities just mentioned.

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Another self-defeating argument. It could all go away with the one question: Why?

Because forcing someone to "freely choose" anything is a logical contradiction in terms, and logical contradictions are simply nothing at all--just fanciful arrangements of contradictory words or phrases.

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But I'm going to show you another problem: Knowledge can be acquired through some very specific methods. Logic is generally out of the way when it comes to theism. So observation is left.

Well, this is very fertile territory, so I hesitate to go very deeply here. I'll just say this seems to be a very close description of a logical positivist view of knowledge; it's one I sharply disagree with, but is probably irrelevant to the rest of the discussion. I trust my previous comments address the indigenous peoples of native America.

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Yes... think of all those Indians that are killed yearly in monsoonic storms, only to harden their belief in Vishnu (hope I got the god right)... or perhaps all those war casualties in Iraq, only to harden the belief in Allah... Or the guys in your very own tornado alley...

Absolutely. People can indeed respond to evil by just growing cynical about any purpose or meaning to life. That's just part of the "risk" inherent in free will.

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Do a crime... and then give the same type of argument to a judge...

But This analogy is deeply flawed. Consider this: when the question is simply that of justifying a person's being responsible for the cessation of life, this is no longer analogical to the Problem of Evil, as such; it becomes a matter of legal sovereignty. And I would contend that God, just by virtue of his title, has a sovereignty over all that exists, whereas human beings do not. When God takes a life, he merely takes what already belongs to him. Since no human in a court of law has any similar justifiable claim, the analogy fails.

Second, it's interesting how proponents of this analogy overlook that if we're going to hold God to "blame" for all the deaths that occur, consistency would require that we likewise hold as praiseworthy each life that begins.

Third, (and once again), the challenge begs an enormous question; some atheists persistently take for granted that we'll accept just any old rubric as a replacement standard for determining what "goodness" amounts to apart from God....

Fourth, in the case of a human murderer, such a defense would indeed be laughable, but that's because we really are in a much better position to discover what reasons a person has to bring about mass murder (Just ask him), and we're also more able to determine whether those reasons meet a moral criteria due to him as a human being.


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Excuse me for butting

Excuse me for butting in, but I really wanted to ask a couple of questions.

Let us, for a moment, examine the scenario where god allows evil as a means to greater good.

Could an omnipotent god not arrive at the same good without the evil as a necessary means? If so, why would this not be the course we should expect an all loving god to take?

Could an omnipotent god not create humans with the freedom to choose evil if they desired, but simply where they never desire to choose evil? I never kill my children. Does this mean I don't have the freewill to choose kill my children? If there is no logical contradiction in this, then how can one blame freewill for the presence of evil? 

It seems to me that when one, repeatedly, claims that it is the atheist's (or to be more accurate, the proponent of the PoE's) responsibility to show that the evil an omnipotent god allows is not toward some good before the PoE has merit, they are incorrect. All the PoE proponent need do is show that the same good could be arrived at without the evil as a necessary means. This is shown to be true as soon as the label omnipotent is applied to the god. Even if evil were allowed as a means to a good there is, for an omnipotent god, necessarily a means to the same good devoid of the evil, which is the means that we should expect to be employed by an all loving god.

 

  

“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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I'd love to see a theist

I'd love to see a theist respond to this. It just got ignored when it was posted:

Maragon wrote:

This is so sad.

Theists, in YOUR bible, there are multiple passages that assert that when we pray to god, or jesus we WILL get whatever we pray for.

 

"Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says:

    For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.
In Matthew 21:21
    I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.


The message is reiterated Mark 11:24:

    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus tells all of us just how easy prayer can be:

    "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

In Matthew 18:19 Jesus says it again:

    Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."





    How do you account for all the things that you, or millions of other christians have prayed for that have never happened? It says in the above passages VERY CLEARLY that anything and everything you pray for in the name of god will be granted to you.

    How will you attempt to rationalize this for yourself?

    I've heard plenty of times 'Jesus didn't say he would answer prayers,' well, yeah, in these passages he did.

    I guess it's not jesus' WILL to answer prayers?
    I mean first of all, that's contrary to what the bible passages state. Are you saying that jesus hears some peoples prayers(like those of amputees) and simply thinks that they are not GOOD enough to answer(And don't give me any of that god's plan rhetoric either. That line of logic asserts that EVERY abortion ever preformed, every murder, every rape, was GODS WILL. What kind of god would do that?)?

    Okay, wait, no I got it. You're going to say that this type of prayer TESTS god, and he doesn't like stuff like that, right?
    But EVERY prayer is a test, so we're never supposed to pray? Anytime you pray and ask god for something, you're testing him. If you believe your bible, then jesus is happy to give you whatever you pray for. So this line of thinking is merely poor rationalization for when you don't get what you asked for.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.


Rigor_OMortis
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Quote: First, Do you mean

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First, Do you mean to say that choosing to refrain from exercising power implies a logical contradiction? I'd really like to know how.

No, no logical contradiction.

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Second, I'd really like to understand where preventing evil for a year came from; what's interesting about this arbitrary stipulation, and why think God should commit himself to it?

Because that would do a lot of good to humanity... and God is omnibenevolent. So why not?

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But let's take this at face value anyway. We say then that it is broadly logically possible for God to actualize a state of affairs (the cessation of all evil for an entire year), but that it may not be feasible for God to actualize, given any mitigating factors. For example, if God had more compelling reasons for allowing evil to occur, then though it is within his ability to prevent it, doing so would be infeasible for God in light of that larger purpose. At any rate, the atheist has not shown how an omnipotent being practicing restraint amounts to an infringement on his ability to actualize the event had he otherwise intended to. Neither has it been shown that God could not have mitigating reasons for allowing evil, so no logical incompatibility has been demonstrated between God's perfect goodness and the existence of evil in our world.

I'll deal with this "no atheist gave any reasons..." piece in the next paragraph.

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First, my purpose is not to propose actual reasons for God's allowing evil, but to show that the atheist has not achieved closure in his argument that God could not have such reasons. And even if the theist couldn't produce reasons that satisfy the atheist, this remains an interesting fact about the theist, not about the worldview in question.

What you are asking for is almost the equivalent of saying "Atheists, prove to me that there are no pink elephants." You are simply shifting the burden of proof.

And now to attempt to show you that God could not have any good reasons to allow evil.

Let us consider P as a good reason why God should allow evil (1). Also, we have the premise that God is omnipotent (2) and omnibenevolent (3). From (2) we deduce that whatever the consequence C of the action described by P, God, through his omnipotence, can achieve the same consdequence C through not allowing evil to exist. Through (3) we deduce that God chooses the better for humans. Since the existence of evil is through definition worse than the lack of it, then either (1), (2), or (3) is false.

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Rather, by demonstrating that there exist possible mitigating reasons for allowing evil and suffering, I show that the Problem of Evil as construed above fails produce any substantive logical incompatibility between the existence of God and the existence of evil.

Oh, that's all very nice of you, but I haven't seen a demonstration yet.

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And again, using your example as a point of illustration, God could well allow natural evils to occur where matters of eternal destiny are at stake.

If there is destiny there is no free will. If there is no free will, some are sent to hell for actions they didn't freely choose to take. If there is free will, destiny cannot be invoked.

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There could definitely be more. My point is that the existence of evil and God have not been shown to be logically incompatible.

Yes, they quite have. It's about omnipotence combined with omnibenevolence. That, of course, excluding the case in which God cares more about Satan's former self than about us (and thus destroying Satan would do more bad than allowing him to make billions be tortured forever), in which case we are no longer "God's supreme creation".

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At least two responses one can make to this claim; first, while I know that many Christians, for instance, hold that one must at least know about Christ before they have eternal life, I'm not so sure that is the case. In fact, many of the ancient patriarchs would have to fall into that questionable category; there are several places in the biblical text which suggest that one's faith can well be accorded to a person as righteousness when all other avenues have been exhausted.

Or how about infants? To my knowledge, they don't possess sufficient mental capacities to comprehend very much, let alone basic doctrines of religious belief and faith. Should we say then that their eternal destiny is in peril too?

I see no real sacred text which commits us to the idea. And like assessing the status of God's justifiable reasoning, I don't think we are in a position to know with any certainty what the final verdict for each of these individuals would be. In the absence of that certainty, I'm not sure that even the posed problem actually exists.

But suppose just such a problem actually existed: if a person fails to somehow attain knowledge of God's plan for eternal life, whether by circumstances within or beyond his control, is there reason to think an omniscient God would have overlooked this detail? In other words, do we have here a necessary logical contradiction, or another area of uncertainty? I would hold that God in his omniscience knows all future contingents; he knows what you and I would freely choose in every possible world. So suppose in every possible world, John would fail to embrace God. In any given scenario and opportunity, John rejects God's plan for eternal life. Wouldn't God be well within his rights to place all such people in the parts of the world in history where he would never hear that message, since, he would never accept anyway had he heard it?

This seems promising. But a nagging question remains: why create such a being anyway if he's only going to suffer eternally later on? Well, it may be fair to ask if his continued existence would nonetheless be indirectly responsible for the salvation of others; perhaps his descendants would play a much more redeeming role. In any event, God's tolerance of evil in the world is far from inconceivable given some of the possibilities just mentioned.

This I said specifically for your defeat, Archangel__7, because it is possibly one of the few questions that silences just about all theists that have a notion of hell or its equivalent.

You've identified correctly: the problem is with the knowledge of J.C.... We have the following 6 possibilities that are certain:

1. good person, with knowledge and belief of J.C.

2. bad person, with knowledge and belief of J.C.

3. good person, with knowledge and no belief of J.C.

4. bad person, with knowledge and no belief of J.C.

5. good person, without knowledge of J.C.

6. bad person, without knowledge of J.C.

I suppose we can easily rule out possibilities 2, 4 and 6 as being quite obvious (though I'm really curious what you have to say about born-again serial killers, but let's leave it out of the discussion right now), which gives us only 1, 3 and 5 left. (premise 1)

It should be obvious that nobody is born with a "god-sense" (given the multitude of gods, any attempt to prove a "god-sense" is prone to humiliating defeat). (premise 2)

OK, the question is what happens to groups 3 and 5? If group 5 goes to hell, should come as no surprise that group 3 should also go to hell. But then the question comes "Why is group 5 sent to hell? They are in no way responsible for their lack of belief (they don't know, so they can't believe, it's not humanly possible otherwise)." Which means that God is putting innocent people in Hell, thus flying his righteousness straight out of the window.

If group 5 goes to heaven, then we have two possibilities: one in which group 3 also goes to heaven (thus showing that the standard God imposes isn't based on faith, but on achievement <- indeed, this is a god I'd be happy to praise in heaven; but if it was this way, the whole atheist vs. theist debate would be at least mostly redundant), and one in which 3 goes to hell. But... if 3 goes to hell, then we have another problem: the ones that have brought me knowledge about God have actually doomed me, since, without the knowledge of God, I'd go to heaven... It could be "Hey, dude, you know, there's someone up there named "God" that watches over us" <- obviously nobody would have any reason to consider this as something else than a fairy-tale... yet it gives knowledge of God, and automatically dooms, and that is a serious ethical problem.

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Because forcing someone to "freely choose" anything is a logical contradiction in terms, and logical contradictions are simply nothing at all--just fanciful arrangements of contradictory words or phrases.

GREAT answer. Now here's the problem:

Person P is faced with choice A or choice B. God, in his omniscience, knows P will make choice A. Can P make choice B?

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Absolutely. People can indeed respond to evil by just growing cynical about any purpose or meaning to life. That's just part of the "risk" inherent in free will.

Hint me: why do you go to such lengths to make it obvious that you believe no free will is possible without evil?

Actually, what I wanted to say there (but you missed the point entirely) is the same problem of plurality: Which god is the right one? None stands out of the crowd, and, by choosing the wrong god, you could end up in hell with a replica of myself having an "I told you so" kind of smile on his face...

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But This analogy is deeply flawed. Consider this: when the question is simply that of justifying a person's being responsible for the cessation of life, this is no longer analogical to the Problem of Evil, as such; it becomes a matter of legal sovereignty. And I would contend that God, just by virtue of his title, has a sovereignty over all that exists, whereas human beings do not. When God takes a life, he merely takes what already belongs to him. Since no human in a court of law has any similar justifiable claim, the analogy fails.

Then we are nothing but objects in God's hand. Considering that humans can think and have thought of a better way to treat intelligent beings (you are your mother's child, but you are not her property), God's omnibenevolence thus flies right out the window.

And actually, in some parts of the world, children or women are actually considered property. So in these parts of the world, humans in courts of law CAN make a similarly justifiable claim.

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Second, it's interesting how proponents of this analogy overlook that if we're going to hold God to "blame" for all the deaths that occur, consistency would require that we likewise hold as praiseworthy each life that begins.

...which would make us look at God with at most a neutral look, since I haven't seen anyone that wouldn't eventually die...

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Third, (and once again), the challenge begs an enormous question; some atheists persistently take for granted that we'll accept just any old rubric as a replacement standard for determining what "goodness" amounts to apart from God....

Unfortunately for you, it's not only YOU that have to accept the standard. You know, our eternity is at stake too. And we wouldn't want to let anyone else decide for us... that wouldn't be supremely just, now, would it?

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Fourth, in the case of a human murderer, such a defense would indeed be laughable, but that's because we really are in a much better position to discover what reasons a person has to bring about mass murder (Just ask him), and we're also more able to determine whether those reasons meet a moral criteria due to him as a human being.

You know, you can ask anyone who's committd a questionable deed. The only problem is whether it will answer back. And God isn't exactly known for that.

We're also able to determine if God's actions and reasons (supposed he ever gives us some) meet moral standards. We're just doing that in this conversation.

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
http://rigoromortis.blogspot.com/


Shanks
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Dude, Benny Hinn came to my

Dude, Benny Hinn came to my town and grew my arms back just so I could type this message proving that faith healing and God exists.


Archangel__7
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Rigor_OMortis, I'm now

Rigor_OMortis, I'm now right in the middle of preparation for finals week. I'll be devoting my full attention to this later; most likely within 3-5 days.

Here's a preview of the highlights:

You've protested what seems to you an illicit attempt to shift the burden of proof, comparing it to demanding my opponents to produce proof for the non-existence of pink elephants.* First, I want to say that the burden of proof has never really been on me since I'm not the one advancing the main argument. Further, it seems you're finally getting the idea of the enormous burden the proponent of this argument assumes if he wants to show that God's perfect goodness, omnipotence, and the existence of evil to be inexorably logically incompatible. The only way any of these characteristics "has to fall" would be to refute or rebut the possible scenarios I've given above and to show that no similar scenario could ever succeed. In your counterarguments, you've relied largely on natural evils that may be prevented in pursuit of more comfortable means to achieve the same end; While this argument may work well for "goods" sought during one's physical existence, you overlook entirely any possible eternal ramifications that forgoing temporary evil could have on humanity. This, I argue, is perhaps the weakest point in your defense of the PoE as conclusive; quite possibly fatal.

To establish a true logical incompatibility would require locating a formal contradiction between the existence of evil and God's relevant classical attributes. So far, you've done well to point out possible points of tension, but I see no progress in showing just where any actual logical contradiction lies... not while there remains at least several possibilities in which evil in general can be justified in light of an eternal cause or purpose (not necessarily "destiny" in any deterministic sense).

* I suspect the reason why this "pink elephant" reference might seem so compelling to you is because it has served as a useful rebuttal to theists who demand proof for the non-existence of God, and then use the atheist's ignorance as proof for God's existence. Indeed, this is fallacious reasoning on a couple levels, but notice I've done no such thing in the above interaction. My aim at this point has not been to show that God (or in this case, a justifiable reason for evil) actually exists. For now, I'm perfectly content to simply claim agnosticism on that score (though I don't think that's necessary), and begin by showing that the proponent of the Argument from Evil as construed above doesn't succeed in proving that either God's perfect goodness or omnipotence "has to fall" because it cannot even get off the ground in showing that God could not have justifiable reasons for permitting evil in the first place.