The Instigator
Rational_Thinker9119
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
JonathanDJ
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

If Evil Exists, God Does Not Exist

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,525 times Debate No: 41240
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)

 

Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

I will be arguing that if Evil exists, God does not exist. We all know what the conception of evil is, but just to be more specific about the deity in question:

God: "The factually necessary omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient being of classical Theism"

The focus over the years has been over the Evidential Problem of Evil. Most Atheist philosophers grant the theist the "free-will bone" due to Alvin Plantinga. However, many esteemed and prominent philosophers still don't buy it. I don't buy it. I think that Evil and God are not compatible.

First round is for acceptance.
Debate Round No. 1
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro




A Logical Problem of Evil


Most philosophers who engage in this issue today focus on evidential problems of evil, while many believe that arguments like Plantinga’s Free-Will defense does away with logical problems of evil. As Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig states:


"The logical problem of evil is just not defended anymore in the philosophical community." - William Lane Craig[1]


However, there are still plenty of philosophers who simply aren’t satisfied with the evidential argument from evil, and still smell something fishy with the idea of a perfectly good being allowing evil. I think that a sound argument can be made to show that there is a contradiction between these two propositions, despite common notions to the contrary.


(i)There is evil

(ii)An Omnibenevolent, Omniscient, and Omnipotent God exists


There is a simple problem with all theodicies and arguments against any problem of evil. They start with the evil we see then try to explain it in terms of God. However, they fail to realize that we can deduce evil cannot exist due to the very nature of such a being itself. Thus, neither free-will or any other type of morally sufficient reasons are sufficient to explain away logical problems of evil.


If God exists, then he has certain inherent modal properties. The most perfectly good God possible must have one of these two properties, but not both:


1. (i) The property of necessarily being the necessary condition for only good

2. (ii) The property of possibly being the necessary condition for evil


In order to make God compatible with evil, the Theist must say that the most perfectly good being possible has the property of possibly being the necessary condition for evil, while not having the property of necessarily being the necessary condition for only good. If that is not absurd; I don’t know what is. It seems self-evident that a truly perfectly good being would certainly have 1 without question. Some people may not be satisfied with that answer. Therefore, I will present more justification.


To Accept That We Can Do Evil If God Exists, Is To Accept That We Can Cough Up Round Squares If God Exists


What stems from God would just be a reflection of his nature. To say that God could create beings that can do evil, is on the same level as saying that God could create beings who can cough up round squares. If we cannot do one thing that goes against his nature (cough up round squares), why can we do something that violates his nature (do evil)? To expand on this, we have God’s nature grounding two things if he exists in this scenario according to standard Theism:


PG: Perfect goodness


LL: The laws of logic


Now we cannot say that the laws of logic are more necessary than perfect goodness if God exists, as it is the exact same thing making them necessary in the first place in this scenario (God’s nature). Thus, since we know it is true that if God creates someone, they cannot violates the laws of logic by painting a red house that is all blue, it follows that:


Principle: If God creates creature C, creature C cannot do any action which goes against PG or LL


However, according to this principle, no creature God creates can commit evil, as that would be the equivalent to this creature having a friend who is a perfectly clean shaven man with a beard.


A married bachelor and evil are two things which are just necessarily impossible under Theism, as it is the exact same thing which makes PG and LL necessary; the character of God himself. If we can create evil situations even though evil goes against God's nature, then it becomes inexplicable as to why we cannot create contradictory objects even though God's nature is perfectly logical. It would be absurd to say that part of God's nature can be contradicted, but not another as the entire nature of God would be necessary if God exists.


Why The Free-Will Defense Specifically Fails


The theist might still not be satisfied as free-will is an intrinsic good to them; not being able to commit evil undermines it. This objection fails for a number of reasons, but most importantly it fails because we could still have free-will and commit evil. Around a decade ago, philosopher Quentin Smith outlines a sound argument from evil in his paper called, well, "A Sound Logical Argument From Evil[2]. He outlines 3 types of freedom:


"A person is externally free with respect to an action A if and only if nothing other than (external to) herself determines either that she perform A or refrain from performing A.

A person is internally free with respect to an action A if and only if it is false that his past physical and psychological states, in conjunction with causal laws, determine either that he perform A or refrain from performing A.

A person is logically free with respect to an action A if and only if there is some possible world in which he performs A and there is another possible world in which he does not perform A. A person is logically free with respect to a wholly good life (a life in which every morally relevant action performed by the person is a good action) if and only if there is some possible world in which he lives this life and another possible world in which he does not."[2]


We could be internally and externally free to commit evil, but be logically determined to do good (sort of like how we are internally and externally free to create a round square, but we are not logically free to do so). We know that this type of free-will is actually more intrinsically good than the type of free-will that allows us to do evil if God exists! Why? Because if God exists, then he is externally and internally free to commit evil, but is logically determined to do good (in his case it is because of omnibenevolence). If having internal and external freedom to do evil, but not logical freedom to do evil was intrinsically worse; then God wouldn’t have that property! Since God has the property of being logically determined to lead a good life even though he has internal and external freedom not to, we know that this is the type of free-will that is intrinsically better to have. Thus, if the theist believes free-will is intrinsically good and necessary for us, that harms my argument none. I have just shown that the type of free-will that would entail we never committed evil is actually intrinsically more valuable if God exists.


Possible Objection To The Above Argument Against The Free-Will Defense


The only philosopher I know in the literature who has challenged Quentin Smith's Argument is Alexander Pruss. His argument goes something like:


"The initial form of my argument is very simple. If Patricia is a creature who lacks logical freedom with respect to a wholly good life, then by Smith's definition either it is a necessary truth that if Patricia exists, Patricia leads a wholly good life, or it is a necessary truth that if Patricia exists, Patricia does not lead a wholly good life. For concreteness, take the first case: that Patricia exists entails that Patricia leads a wholly good life.... Then, that God creates Patricia entails that Patricia exists. Therefore, that God creates Patricia entails that Patricia leads a wholly good life. But surely that means that Patricia is determined to lead a wholly good life by something external to her, namely by God's creating her. Hence, she is not externally free with respect to leading a wholly good life" - Alexander Pruss


However, as Philosopher Luke Tracy points out:


"The free will defense is usually explained by distinguishing between strong and weak actualization. To strongly actualize a state of affairs is to be the cause of that state, whereas to weakly actualize a state of affairs is to strongly actualize (cause) a subset of some state of affairs containing free beings. Those beings complete that state with the free acts described by their counterfactuals of freedom. The point the distinction is to allow us to conceptually separate entailment (which both kinds of actualization imply) from causal responsibility (which only strong actualization implies). But for the distinction to work it must be the case that, though God's bringing about C would counterfactually entail some person-essence's action A, this entailment is not sufficient for God himself to be causally responsible for A." - Luke Tracy[4]

Conclusion

I have shown a sound argument from evil based on a simple self-evidently true property that God would have if he exists. Any theodicy or defense of Theism in this regards implies that "possibly being the necessary condition for evil" is a good making property, but "necessarily being the necessary condition for only good" is a bad making property; which anybody can see is self-evidently absurd. Just in case the claim of being “self-evident” isn’t satisfying; I closed all possible logical ties (I even closed the Free-Will defense tie). By default, any theodicy cannot work because it is logically necessary that if God exists, evil does not exist due to my argument. Therefore, God cannot exist if evil exists.



Sources


[3] Pruss, pp. 435-436

JonathanDJ

Con

I'd like to thank my counterpart for the interesting topic of discussion~

In the beginning God.....
I bet you think you know what I'm going to say next, but you'd be wrong. In the beginning God dreamed. Here is my theory at any rate. Before the beginning of all things God did a thought experiment. He asked Himself; what would a world be like that included all these people whom I've dreamt of and come to love if they had the greatest degree of freedom and the least amount of suffering. So, this world came to be and it's whole history beginning to end with all it's suffering and glory and the fates of all those who were destined to live there was lived out.
After this, God then physically created and played out all of those things which He had dreamt as if it were a play written down. This is how we have freewill, true choices and yet God is completely sovereign having total control of all things. We, however don't experience it that way because to us this is still the first time it's all happened.
Why does God let us suffer? Couldn't He make a world with less suffering? What makes us think that such is world is actually a better world? At what price? I think that what is most important is not a world of minimal suffering but a world of maximum freedom.
Is freewill how we got into this mess NO!!!! Our abuse of freewill is how we got into the mess our world is in. It started with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The tree wasn't a test of our obedience, or loyalty, nor was it a set up. It's job was done the moment the roots hit the soil. That's why God isn't guilty of a thing when it comes to the bad results concerning that tree. God put it there because without it there would be no genuine choice between God and self worship. There would be no ability to truly choose or choose otherwise. That Tree actualized that instantly.
The reason it's not God's fault what we do is because of the very nature of choice. If I have five pieces of fruit and apple, pear, peach, banana, and orange and I force you to eat one, I've give you one of my choices but you didn't really have a choice did you? But If I let you pick one and let's say it's the apple, then when it comes to that apple I no longer have control over that apple. I voluntarily gave up that choice to you, and doing so limits my choices. It's like that with God. He gives us real choices and when He does, it necessarily limits his choices that He's willing to exercise in the situation.
Let's define good and evil before we go any further. God is the source of all being. God is therefore the source of all meaning of that being. God is therefore the sole determiner of what is good. It could be alternatively said good is that which is consistent with the will of God. Evil is nothing more than to contradict God's intention. It's not a thing that it stands in opposition to God. It's really just damage or distortion to that which is good. This is why it's impossible for God to do evil. To do good is to do the will of God. God cannot contradict His own will. Will can mean two thing by the way. His absolute will is that something will be a certain way no matter what. Then there is His permissive will that says He may want something a certain way but will tolerate it being otherwise.
Debate Round No. 2
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Introduction

I thank my opponent for his response. In this round, I will show why my opponent's rebuttals fail, and why his objections do not put any dents in my case.

My opponent's Theory

Con speaks about his theory in which God creates a universe that is most free, with the least amount of evil. This is it. We don't understand it because we don't see the big picture. Essentially, he is saying that apparently gratuitous suffering we observe is necessary for some greater good that us ignorant, and finite creatures are just simply unaware of. Problem solved. Unfortunately, this just delves into radical epistemological skepticism. If you see your next door neighbour (who is known as the nicest guy in town) beating a little girl black and blue, it could be the case that we don't know why he is doing it, as he is the nicest guy in town and probably has some plan based on this known fact; he certainly must have a reason. However, no decent person would just let the beating occur without intervening or calling the police. If we took my opponent's logic seriously, then we get an absurdity:

P1: If it is the case that all occurrences of apparently gratuitous suffering are really necessary for some greater good, then we should not prevent apparently gratuitous suffering

P2: We should prevent apparently gratuitous suffering

C: Therefore, it is not the case that all occurrences of apparently gratuitous suffering are really necessary for some greater good

Defense of P1

If God exists, then all of the suffering that appears gratuitous is really necessary for some greater good without exception. Tampering with any apparently gratuitous suffering would cancel out the greater good that is necessarily entailed by it. Thus, one ought not do it (more goodness at the end of the day is better then less goodness at the end of the day).

Defense of P2

Certainly, if a little girl is being brutally raped and possibly may die, we ought to prevent it. Nobody in their right mind who stumbled across this situation would let it continue due to the fact that if they didn't let it continue, they would be cancelling out some greater good that is necessarily entailed by the apparently gratuitous suffering.

“The fact that a Christian would save the child if he could implies that Christians don't really believe that an apparently needless death [or suffering] serves any greater good.”
- Paul Doland[1]

The two premises of the argument seem plausible enough to affirm that at least some cases of apparently gratuitous suffering are actually gratuitous, even if other cases of apparently gratuitous suffering really do entail some greater good in the long run. Since if God exists, there would be no gratuitous or pointless suffering (all suffering would have to be for a greater good if a truly all-good being exists), and there is at least some gratuitous suffering; God does not exist.

Now, while I believe the above is a sound argument; it doesn't establish the specific resolution. However, I already did that in my last round. My opponent hasn't even attacked any of my arguments yet.

More Freedom, Less Evil?

Con claims:

"I think that what is most important is not a world of minimal suffering but a world of maximum freedom." - Con

My opponent just asserts the premise that I already tore down in my first round. In one goes back to Quentin Smith's argument, they will notice that I already demonstrated that out of these two types of free-will entailing:

(i) Being logically determined not to commit evil, but being internally and externally free to commit evil

and

(ii) Being logically free to commit evil, and logically and internally free to commit evil

...(i) is more valuable. This is because, it is the type of free-will God would have if he exists. God can only have properties that are better to have then not. Therefore, if an omnibenevoloent being is going give creatures free will, since he is the most benevolent being possible, he is going to give us the free-will that is more intrinsically valuable. If this is the case, then it follows that we should all be logically determined to lead a good life. We are not though, we can commit evil. Therefore, this evil is confirmation that God in fact does not exist.

The "Fall"

Pro talks about free-will and how we abused it, and are abuse of free-will is what lead to evil. This completely neglects the arguments I made in my first round. In my first round I argued that if you posit that God would allow any type of evil no matter what the cause, then he must have the modal property of "possibly being the necessary condition for evil" which is a [property that is better to have than not, but necessarily does not have the property of "necessarily being the necessary condition for only good", and that this is not better to have than not. This proposition is worse that something coming from nothing it is so absurd. The most perfect being possible must have one of the two below, but not both:

1. The property of necessarily being the necessary condition for only good

2. The property of possible being the necessary condition for evil

If you took bunch of random people in a room, who had no biased towards or against Theism, and asked them which property a perfectly good being would have; I'm certain that all of them would say that a perfect being had 1. However, this means that evil cannot exist. There isn't one theodicy or defense which is more convincing than the intuitively self-evident notion that a perfect being would have 1 and not 2. Therefore, because it is self-evident that a perfectly good being would have 1; evil and God are incompatible.

Con also dropped my argument regarding how us being able create evil situations, even though evil goes against God's nature, is equivalent to us being able to create illogical situations (cough up round squares), even though that is inconsistent with God's nature. God's nature links perfect goodness and logical absolutes together under Theism, making one just as necessary as the other if Theism is true. Since coughing up round squares is impossible if God exists, then it follows that doing evil should be impossible as well. Since it is not; God does not exist.

Is Evil God's Fault?

"The reason it's not God's fault what we do is because of the very nature of choice." - Con

Of course the evil in the world is God's fault if he exists. As I have already established, free-will can still exist without the ability to do evil. If a truly perfect being created us, who was really all good, he would have given us that type of free-will. How can I say that this type of free-will is better than the other? Well, because God necessarily has it over the other! Thus, by definition, it has to be a better property to have than not. Any God who would give us free-will the ability to do evil, is not omnibenevolent. He wired us up with the potential to do evil, even if we didn't have to. That is still evil in itself. Let me give an analogy. Lets say you wire a bomb up to potentially blow up, but it doesn't have to, it has a mechanical "choice" if you will. It could blow up, but it doesn't have to. Lets say you place the bomb in a school gym and it blows up. Teachers and innocent kids get killed, and there is rotting flesh and blood splattered everywhere. Certainly, even though the bomb didn't have to blow up, and it had a "choice" if you will, it was still wired up with that potential when it didn't have to be, so the bomb planter is still evil if he exists. Similarly, God wired us up with the potential for evil. Even if we didn't have to do evil (we could have chosen not to), God is still evil for even wiring us up with that ability in the first place. However, that means God doesn't exist, as God cannot be evil.

What Is Good And Evil?

"Let's define good and evil before we go any further. God is the source of all being. God is therefore the source of all meaning of that being. God is therefore the sole determiner of what is good. It could be alternatively said good is that which is consistent with the will of God." - Con

The above assumes that God exists. However, as I have already shown, God doesn't exist. Thus, these points are mute. Before Con can start talking about God like he exists, he must tear down my points which disprove God. All four of my arguments were not responded to, and were simply dropped.

"Evil is nothing more than to contradict God's intention."

Why should anybody accept my opponent's definition of evil? It certainly has no intuitive power. Also, if Theism is true, then evil contradicts his nature more fundamentally than his intention.

"It's not a thing that it stands in opposition to God. It's really just damage or distortion to that which is good. This is why it's impossible for God to do evil." - Con

I agree that it is impossible to do evil. This is the problem which makes God impossible to exist. If he exists, then the existence of evil makes God evil himself. Thus, God cannot exist, as his existence entails a contradiction (God is both evil, and not evil).

So what are good definitions of moral terms? I think Shelly Kagan makes it very easy. He states:

"Right and wrong is a matter of whether your behavior hurts people, or fails to help them. That is, a wrong action is something that hurts somebody [without justification of course], or fails to help them in the relevant circumstances. Right action is a matter of those behaviors that refrain from hurting people and do provide help." - Shelly Kagan

This makes much more sense than my opponents definitions. No rational person would walk in on a child being tortured and think "I better save him, this goes against the God I believe in!", we intuitive think "I better save him, this is clearly harming a the child!".

Conclusion

My opponent ingnored all my main arguments, and I anticipated all his objections in my first round.

The resolution has been affirmed.

Sources

[1] http://www.infidels.org...
[2] You-Tube[watch?v=Rm2wShHJ2iA]
JonathanDJ

Con

Look, I don't know about the rest of you but half the crap my counterpart is saying sounds like gibberish to me. Sorry. I don't follow it and that's because I'm not familiar with the technical language philosophers use in their writings. I'm willing to bet that most people reading this don't either. I do know that SOMETIMES the reason people write the way my counterpart does is in order to deliberately obscure what is being said; or to make them selves sound intelligent. I could be wrong.
My counterpart is wrong about my argument. He misconstrues it. I never said that all suffering could be explained in terms of a higher cause or that it would work out for a greater purpose. That's not even close to what I said. I said that suffering is the result of the misuse of freewill. I never said God was OK with it. I did say that when God created the Universe that He did so with the goal in mind of maximum freewill and minimum suffering in the context of all the people He imagined to create. So it wasn't as simple as erasing some inconvenient people. My counterpart argues that God should have made it so that people would have chosen good within the context of freewill. What nonsense! That's not freewill anymore than a loaded set of dice is a fair game of craps. Choice is there or it isn't. If it's fixed from the beginning then it isn't choice. REAL CHOICE COMES WITH REAL RISK. The reason choice is such a big deal to God is because Love is impossible without choice. The whole point to this is that God wants to have a real relationship with the individuals He created. The Bible teaches us that God is love. The choices we have have to be real. That means some loaded choice that results in a predetermined outcome isn't a choice and isn't love. He didn't "Wire us for evil" He wired us for freedom. My counterpart seems confused about the status of evil. Evil does not have a real ontological (real being) status. It is a state of affairs. If you use a skill saw to cut a board and you stick your hand in front of it and lose a finger, the skill saw is not evil. You end up suffering but it's not the saw's fault. I believe the reason many of the awful things that happen in this world are not stopped by God are not because He doesn't want to stop them. But He does have the power to that's true. He chooses not to. If he did intervene our freedom would be a joke.
Debate Round No. 3
Rational_Thinker9119

Pro

Introduction

It is unfortunate if my opponent is not philosophically inclined, but the issue of God's existence is a philosophical issue. I tried not to be that technical, but if my opponent doesn't understand my arguments then that is an issue on his end; not mine. He essentially dropped all my arguments, and did not sufficiently address them.

My Opponent Argument

My opponent claims:

"My counterpart is wrong about my argument. He misconstrues it. I never said that all suffering could be explained in terms of a higher cause or that it would work out for a greater purpose. That's not even close to what I said. I said that suffering is the result of the misuse of freewill." - Con

I did not misconstrue Con's argument. If the evil exists as a result of our free-will, then this free-will a greater purpose for a benevolent end. Therefore, the two positions Con mentions are inherently intertwined, and not mutually exclusive. Either way, I argued that God could have given us free-will even if we couldn't do evil. I even argued that this would be more intrinsically valuable than the free-will from which evil can flow out of. Thus, God would have given us that type of free-will. However, we don't, and evil exists. Therefore, God does not exist. The free-will defense doesn't work, as Quentin Smith's argument shows, as we would be logically determined to do good, and still be internally and externally free to commit evil if God exists (as he would enduce whatever was more intrinsically valuable). I even defined the terms in the first round I presented, so if my opponent still doesn't understand, or care to respond to my arguments, then there is not too much else to say in that regard.

"I never said God was OK with it" - Con

He must be Ok with it if he exists (which is where the contradiction entailed by his existence arrives). He is the one who chose to give us the free-will that potentially leads to evil, instead of the free-will where that is not the case. We know this type of free-will is more inherently good, as it is the type of free-will God has (God can only have properties that are better to have than not).

"I did say that when God created the Universe that He did so with the goal in mind of maximum freewill and minimum suffering in the context of all the people He imagined to create." - Con

I already refuted the above claim in my last round. I will repeat what I said:

My opponent just asserts the premise that I already tore down in my first round. In one goes back to Quentin Smith's argument, they will notice that I already demonstrated that out of these two types of free-will entailing:

(i) Being logically determined not to commit evil, but being internally and externally free to commit evil

and

(ii) Being logically free to commit evil, and logically and internally free to commit evil

...(i) is more valuable. This is because, it is the type of free-will God would have if he exists. God can only have properties that are better to have then not. Therefore, if an omnibenevolent being is going give creatures free will, since he is the most benevolent being possible, he is going to give us the free-will that is more intrinsically valuable. If this is the case, then it follows that we should all be logically determined to lead a good life. We are not though, we can commit evil. Therefore, this evil is confirmation that God in fact does not exist.

"My counterpart argues that God should have made it so that people would have chosen good within the context of freewill. What nonsense! That's not freewill anymore than a loaded set of dice is a fair game of craps." - Con

What my opponent is saying is logically incoherent, and completely contradictory to the definition of God. God is a being who cannot do evil, and has free-will. The reason he cannot do evil is because he is defined as the most benevolent being possible. Yet, he still has free-will. Therefore, my opponent is essentially saying that God is a robot, because he cannot do evil. That is nonsense, even if you cannot do evil, you can still have free-will. This is like saying that because I cannot teleport to Mars and back just by thinking about it, that this means I don't have free-will. Just because you cannot do something, doesn't mean you don't have free-will. I don't have the free-will to create a perfectly spherical cube right now (as that is a contradictory object, as it has edges, but no edges). That doesn't mean I don't have free-will. Just because you have free-will, that doesn't mean it follows that you should be able to do X (fill X with anything). There is tons of things we cannot do, even though we have free-will. If a truly omnipotent being existed, evil would have just been another one of those things.

"Choice is there or it isn't. If it's fixed from the beginning then it isn't choice. REAL CHOICE COMES WITH REAL RISK. The reason choice is such a big deal to God is because Love is impossible without choice." - Con

My opponent just disproved God. If God exists, then he has a necessary nature (that of being omnibenevolent). Therefore, he is logically determined to do good but still has free-will. If a being cannot be logically determined, but have free-will; then God cannot exist. If he did evil, then this contradicts the definition of a perfectly good being. God cannot contradict himself. If God exists, then his choices have to be between only good things; God cannot logically chose evil. Thus, it is possible to have free-will, even though you cannot commit evil. God would have made us the greatest created beings if he existed. because only such a being could live up to God's definition. We don't fit that description. Therefore, God does not exist.

"The whole point to this is that God wants to have a real relationship with the individuals He created." - Con

He could do that without evil if he was omnipotent. If he was omnibenevolent, he would. Thus, because evil exists; God does not exist.

"The Bible teaches us that God is love. The choices we have have to be real." - Con

If we only had the option to chose between good things, we would still self-evidently have free-will. The only thing that is needed to for free-will is the ability to chose between A and B. Evil is not necessary for any free-will.

"That means some loaded choice that results in a predetermined outcome isn't a choice and isn't love." - Con

We would be logically determined to chose good if God exists, but we would be logically free to chose whatever good we wished.

Choosing between multiple goods > Choosing between good and evil

Evil completely contradicts an omnibenevolent being's nature.

"He didn't 'Wire us for evil' He wired us for freedom." - Con

We could still be free even if we couldn't commit evil. Saying that we aren't free if we cannot do x, entails that I am not free because I cannot dig a hole to china right now with my mind. Just because we cannot do something, that doesn't mean we don't have free-will. If God existed, evil would just be one of the many things we cannot do already. He wired us with the potential for evil, when he didn't have to. That is completely contradictory to an omnibenevolent being's nature.

"My counterpart seems confused about the status of evil. Evil does not have a real ontological (real being) status. It is a state of affairs. If you use a skill saw to cut a board and you stick your hand in front of it and lose a finger, the skill saw is not evil. You end up suffering but it's not the saw's fault" - Con

It's God's fault for giving us pain receptors. That is self-evidently an evil act.

"I believe the reason many of the awful things that happen in this world are not stopped by God are not because He doesn't want to stop them. But He does have the power to that's true. He chooses not to. If he did intervene our freedom would be a joke." - Con

A perfectly good being giving us the type of free-will which entails potential evil is a joke. Con is just calling a less than omnibenevolent being; omnibenevolent. Even though, the being Con believes in does not deserve the title

Conclusion

I presented three arguments in favor of the resolution.

(i) It is self-evident based on the fact that to deny it, you have to say that God has the modal property of "possibly being the necessary condition for evil", and that this is a good making property, but necessary lacks the modal property of "necessarily being the necessary condition for only good". That is worse that something coming from nothing it is so absurd.

(ii) To say that we can commit evil, is equivalent to saying we can do illogical things (like cough up round squares), as both logic and perfect goodness are inherent to God's nature if he exists.

(iii) The free-will defense fails, as we could have free-will without the ability to commit evil. Since God has that type of free-will (due to being omnibenevolent, he cannot commit evil by definition but still has free-will), that is the most intrinsically valuable free-will. If he is going to create creatures, he is going to create creatures that are the most intrinsically valuable (or else he is not perfectly good). Thus, evil would not exist, and free-will wouldn't stop that fact. Evil exists. Therefore, God does not exist.

My opponent only responded to the free-will aspect, all of my other arguments were dropped. Thus, they stand. The free-will defense fails on numerous accounts. The only conclusion we are left with is that God does not exist.

The resolution has been established; Con hasn't even come close to sufficiently undermining my argument.

JonathanDJ

Con

I really appreciate my counterparts restatement of his views in his last post. It was very helpful. Thank you. My accusation about him potentially covering up his ideas or trying to "Sound smart" are clearly false and I apologize.
I wanted to clarify that it's not that I'm not philosophically inclined but that I'm not familiar with the way philosophers state things in their writings.
I think the trouble my counterpart and I are having is one of definitions. Our understanding of ideas like omnibenevolence are obviously somewhat different. It would appear that my counterpart's definition is that God would not allow anything seriously bad morally or situationally. I think the mistake in part is the assumption that because that's how we imagine it should be done and that we would do it that therefore that is the only reasonable way it can be done.
I believe that God's omnibenevolence expresses it self in His desire allow us to freely choose Him as a logical extension of His love. If the choice between Him and something else is real then the possibility for evil and suffering is real no matter what one does. It might help if I clarified a bit by pointing out that God's greatest desire for us is not freedom in and of it self but rather a loving relationship with Him. Love necessitates freedom. He wanted us to be able to choose Him or otherwise.
To to good is to act in accordance with God's will. To do evil is to act contrary to God's will. We have a world of suffering and evil because we deliberately chose it. When we chose to disobey God in the garden we chose to act contrary to His will and this is by definition evil. God is not strait jacketed by the definition of goodness. Rather goodness is defined by God's essence. Whatever choice God makes is automatically good. He is the source and He sets the standard.
My counterpart argues that it is possible to have freewill where only good choices are the outcome. This is to misunderstand the nature of good and evil and the nature of our first parents choices. There are only two choices. For God or against Him. That is why there can't be only good choices actually possible and freewill at the same time. Choices that are available only in theory but not in reality aren't real choices it seems to me. But love requires real choice.
I would like to point out something of practical importance. Ask yourself this. If everyone, today, started acting like Jesus, what would the world be like? That's what it would be like if we all at least started to attempt to obey God. Most of what we call evil would never happen again. So whose fault is it? It's ours. We make the choice to disobey God and not act like His Son. Why do we keep blaming Him? Who do we think we are to do that?
If we have freewill then we can choose against God's will. There are two kinds by the way, His sovereign will and His permissive will which could also be called His desire. The definition of evil is to chose against God's will. So evil is the logical outcome of choosing against God. God is untouched by it because He cannot do other than act in accordance with His own will. If evil is not a real possibility then it's not a real choice and love is not satisfied.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
The problem with the free-will defense is that God is supposed to have free-will, yet he cannot commit evil because he is logically determined to do good due to the fact that it would be a logical contradiction to say the most good being conceivable committed evil. Therefore, even if God is internally and externally free to commit evil, he is still logically determined to live a good life. Therefore, it is possible to have free-will btu not be able to commit evil, because this is the type of free-will God has! If we were really created in his image, he would have given us the same type of free-will. We would be the most perfectly good created beings conceivable (contingent omnibenevolence), thus it would be a logical contradiction for us to commit evil just like it would be if God did it (God would have necessary omnibenevolence) This is not the case. Thus, God does not exist.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"What point I think is not addressed in the debate is that God implicitly states He made man in His image. This means that man is capable of free will. It does not imply that God is the author of evil, just that He is not the only being with free will in the equation."

I already refuted this point in the debate. God could have given us free-will even if we couldn't chose evil (Quentin Smith's argument). God, for example, is logically determined to go good because he is omnibenevolent (the most moral being possible). If God did evil, that would be a logical contradiction (an omnibenevolent being commits no evil). Therefore, God is logically determined for good. God could have made us the most moral created beings possible. If he was omnibenevolent; he would have. This would include logical determination for good just like God has; since we are in his image.

The free-will defense is a dude against the argument from evil.

"The depravity inherent in man is at the same time the most empirically verifiable fact there is and strangely the most intellectually resisted. We cannot pass the buck on this one by claiming genetics is to blame, which is the only other explanation left if God is excluded."

Genetics is to blame, the potential and urge for these evil acts are things are wired into us naturalistically. If God exists, he is certainly to blame.
Posted by ambassador4christ 3 years ago
ambassador4christ
well said simpleman!
Posted by simpleman 3 years ago
simpleman
What point I think is not addressed in the debate is that God implicitly states He made man in His image. This means that man is capable of free will. It does not imply that God is the author of evil, just that He is not the only being with free will in the equation.
The depravity inherent in man is at the same time the most empirically verifiable fact there is and strangely the most intellectually resisted. We cannot pass the buck on this one by claiming genetics is to blame, which is the only other explanation left if God is excluded.
Posted by ambassador4christ 3 years ago
ambassador4christ
I am a Christian and firmly believe in God. But Rational Thinker you are quite the debater. I disagree with almost all your points but you have the tact and flow of a natural, exceptional debater! Good work! I would very much like to debate you on this subject when I have more time, however I am swamped in school finals...! lol still sometime maybe!
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Corrections/ Round 3

* The property of possibly being the necessary condition for evil

* I agree that it is impossible for God to do evil
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Nobody is claiming that evil exists. Just that IF evil exists; God does not. Also, moral truths don't need a God; I suggest looking into Atheistic moral realism. And nobody is saying the universe created the universe (or x created x), that's a straw-man. I will gladly debate you on this topic once I am finished with this debate.
Posted by simpleman 3 years ago
simpleman
Hahaha. If you contend evil exists, then you must contend that good exists. If you contend good exists in contrast to evil, then you are contending the existence of a moral law. If you admit a moral law, you must have a moral lawgiver.
Or to explain in logical terms the ramifications of naturalistic thought, let us suppose the universe is X and we are Y. X exists and Y exists. Naturalism contends X created X. If X created X, you are presupposing X existed in the first place to create X, which cancels itself out. By the Law of Noncontradiction, X could not have both existed with creative ability, and at the same time not existed. Nothing means nothing; it is the absence of something.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Can you please accept the debate so I can post my first round? A simple "I accept" will do.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by ej3467273 3 years ago
ej3467273
Rational_Thinker9119JonathanDJTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had poor conduct. Con had good grammar and spelling, but not as good as Pro. Pro argued successfully argued his points while Con sputtered. Pro used sources. Con did not.