The Instigator
Chaosism
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
AndyHood
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

It is possible for a tri-omni god to coexist with the evil which exists in this World.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,239 times Debate No: 73886
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (35)
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Chaosism

Pro

I wish to argue that the Argument from Evil [1] is unsound, and that a omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent being can coexist with the evil which exists in this World. My goal of this debate is NOT to prove that such a being actually exists.

"If an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent god exists, then evil does not.
There is evil in the world.
Therefore, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God does not exist."

The characteristics of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence in of themselves are not within the scope of this debate, but they shall infer limitlessness.

My proposed definition of "evil" shall be:
[Noun] Profound immorality and wickedness. [truncated definition from Oxford Dictionary]

The only defined structure of this debate shall be that Round #1 shall be for acceptance of the debate, and of the definition of "evil". I am open to expansions or modifications of this definition if you wish to suggest so in Round #1. I possess the Burden of Proof, as I am making the positive assertion.

[1] Wikipedia: The Problem of Evil - http://en.wikipedia.org...
AndyHood

Con

I accept; I am also happy to work with Pro's definition of evil. Let's roll :)
Debate Round No. 1
Chaosism

Pro

Thank you for accepting my challenge.

P1 - The Perpetuity of Evil
Firstly, I will establish that the word "evil" is a lingual concept that belongs to man. It has no absolute definition by which we can determine, without question, that any given subject (i.e. action, thought, person) qualifies for the definition of evil or not. This means that the designation of the word or concept is subject to the subjective meaning and judgment of each individual. Even if we trace the meaning of the words that are used in the definition of "evil", the vagueness remains.

The concept of evil is relative to the opposite word, "good". Both of these terms provide a means by which an individual can judge the morality of a subject. Good and evil are co-dependant and relative to each other. This functions similarly (albeit, more complexly) to our descriptions of "high" and "low" in regards to numeric values.

To illustrate this, say that 100 individuals are assigned a random, whole, numeric value between 1 and 20, and that they are ignorant of possible numeric range. If a person is aware of all possibilities, then he will certainly describe 1 and the numbers approaching it as "low", and 20 and the numbers approaching it as "high". However, if the highest number that an individual is aware of is 5 (observing only a sample of the group), then his concept of "high" is radically different in that he will view 5 as a high number and those who are more aware will likely view 5 as a low number. This illustrates that such comparative labels are reliant on the perceived possibilities of an individual.

One may argue that the individual may still be able to perceive a number higher than 5, but since it is not been established that it is a possibility, it is not taken into consideration for the purposes of assigning such a label. Furthermore, if by chance no member of this group was assigned a number higher than 15, it would establish a universally different scale of judgment than it would be it all of the possibilities were known.

Consider a hypothetical scenario in which a small tribe of people form a community. This group has no concept of murder, as they have not yet even realized that this is a possibility. Now say that one member of this tribe is notorious for minor acts of theft and is often very rude to other members of the community. They would no doubt, cast the label of "evil" upon this individual as there is nothing worse to compare it to. Now, say another member of the tribe then outright murders another. Suddenly, their concept of evil will drastically change to suit the possibility of a greater degree of evil, and the former member may no longer be considered "evil" by the group via comparison. Certainly, the petty theft will remain negative, but it will pale in comparison to the act of murder.

Pro1 - Conclusion
The label of "evil" will be adapted to suit the perception of reality by virtue of being comparative. This means that there will be evil in the world as long as sentient beings exist to understand and exercise moral judgment. Even if all possibility of harm were stripped from reality, "evil" would still persist due to the existence of "good". In order for evil to be legitimately removed, all means of comparison would have to be removed, which in turn demands that all possibilities but one cease to exist.

By nature of the trait, an omnibenevolent being *must* perform the most beneficial action within its power and knowledge. Since the latter two traits pare also possessed by this being, there exists only one possible action that can be performed. As noted above, the act of eliminating evil would entail eliminating sentience, itself, which would utterly destroy humanity, thus, would be an action of greater evil than to permit its existence.

P2 - Argument of Irrelevance
Since life is finite, and what exists afterwards is either eternity (afterlife) or non-existence (nothing), the suffering and evil that occurs in this word is irrelevant in comparison. Should one die and ascend to Heaven for eternity, the near-infinite period of time of suffering is almost infinitely irrelevant once the latter is significantly experienced. Should one descend to Hell, the eternal suffering will overshadow the previous worldly suffering in the same respect. Should there be nothing awaiting us but an end to our existence, our experiences are ultimately irrelevant.

Since God would possess the trait of omniscience, the outcome is already known. In the case of an afterlife, it is not the physical form of the being that matters, but rather the spiritual form, or a soul. The existence of an afterlife would necessitate the existence of a soul.

To link with my first argument, perhaps what should be the basis of judging evil should not be whether one's physical body is brought harm, but rather, one's eternal spiritual essence. We [almost] absolutely reject this concept: that bringing permanent harm to another's soul is impossible, so it is not considered in our comparative judgment of morality.

If it *were* possible for a man to harm another's soul or even to condemn another to Hell for all eternity, THAT would be the basis of evil, rather than the basis we have now. If an eternal soul exists, then all finite suffering is irrelevant by comparison to infinite suffering. It is possible that such a being has *already* removed that possibility from existence, and thus, our definition only addresses what we understand to be possible.
AndyHood

Con

Thank you for laying the challenge down; I like a challenge :)

P1 - The Perpetuity of Evil

Pro makes an interesting theoretical case for the inevitability of evil in any reality. I agree, in principle, at least with the idea that a word for "very not good" will exist in any sentient society; I don't think that this has any bearing on the debate.

I think that there are qualitative differences (not just quantitative, as Pro seems to defend) in levels of evil.

Indifference to the suffering of others could be considered one level; deliberately seeking the suffering of others is another level.

Now to dwell on this concept of suffering; it, like evil, is not a precisely measurable quantity. However, I think that we can come to some universal conclusions that could apply to any possible sentient society. For example, the concept "a fate worse than death" provides a definitive point of reference that could apply in any sentient society.

Thus, evil may exist of the form:

One individual causes another individual (or a group of individuals) to suffer a fate worse than death.

I beg the gentle reader consider: must evil exist in this form? That is to say, is it beyond the wit of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent creator to prevent at least this excess?

I can provide at least one way in which this excess might be avoided: if you gave all of your creations the ability to choose non-existence at will, there could be no such thing as "a fate worse than death". Torture would be a thing of the past - no, not quite: torture would never have been possible; it could never have had existed!

I suggest that the existence of torture proves beyond doubt that there is no omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent god.

P2 - Argument of Irrelevance

Whether there's an afterlife or not does not affect the fact that one might suffer in this life. An omnibenevolent God could not consider this irrelevant, as this would be indifference to suffering... omnibenevolence cannot include indifference to suffering.

Pro asks us to consider:

"If it *were* possible for a man to harm another's soul or even to condemn another to Hell for all eternity..."

I fear that Pro is forgetting that there is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god involved: Hell (and who gets to spend how long there) would be, would it not, entirely in his hands? Indeed, you cannot really have Hell at all with this all-kind, all-knowing and all-powerful god.

Personally, I wonder: if there is such a tri-omni god and there is a heaven... why aren't we all already just in heaven? Why create this mortal coil of suffering? So that some souls can be tortured forever? But doesn't this god know which souls they will be? Wouldn't it be better to just not create the rotten apples? Why create a soul that will "sin" and be punished for ever? That seems a wicked thing to do.

I think this is what the whole idea boils down to... you cannot believe in this tri-omni god unless you believe that we are living right now in the best of all possible Worlds. Pro, do you claim that this is the best of all possible Worlds?

I shall leave y'all with a joke (I don't promise it's a good one!)

What's the difference between an optimist and a pessimist?

The optimist believes that we live in the best of all possible Worlds.
The pessimist fears this to be true!
Debate Round No. 2
Chaosism

Pro

P1 - The Perpetuity of Evil

As "evil" is a word, it is a means of describing the perceived world. By nature, the word is non-specific and comparative, and is dependent upon the observing individual to assign qualitative differences. "Evil" is defined as "profoundly" wicked or immoral. Profound means, " very great or intense" [1], which is also a comparative term without a solid definition, hence, left as a subjective qualifier for the term by the observer. In essence, "evil" is a label that exists only in the mind of the observer.

Let's consider this statement of yours:
"Indifference to the suffering of others could be considered one level; deliberately seeking the suffering of others is another level."

This is an example of comparison. If the latter was removed from possibility by said OOO being, than the former would have nothing worse to be compared it to. It would then be the most profound evil possible by the "new" reality, and would qualify for the definition of evil. The goalposts will always be shifted if the 'field' (reality) is changed.

Let's consider another phrase you mentioned:
"One individual causes another individual (or a group of individuals) to suffer a fate worse than death."

The statement casts judgment upon a subject in a direct comparison to the solidly-defined status of death. It is almost a necessity for us to base our means of judgment (which is flexible) upon a solid grounding (something maximally inflexible). "A fate worse than death" directly compares the current subject with death (or murder to suit our definition of "evil"), so it applies to any subject that the observer judges to be worse; everyone will not agree on what warrants this phrase.

If every possibility of something that fits this phrase were removed from reality (i.e. extreme torture), then death (or murder) will become the ultimate evil, because there is nothing worse that could happen. This would invalidate the original phrase indicating that it is evil by comparison. If death was removed from reality, then we would not even be able to reference that because it lies outside of our realm of perceivable possibility. The comparison would have to be based on a different, perceived foundation.

We cannot deny that, in this world, there are "evils" we *can* imagine that are impossible. Or, at least we perceive them as impossible. For instance, torturing someone to death, bring them back to life, and torturing them to death again. Rinse (thoroughly) and repeat. These things would only be impossible if an OOO being *chose* to make them impossible. By choosing what is possible in creating reality, the being is also choosing what is *not* possible, since possibility is ultimately a dichotomy. Hence, there are infinitely more excessive evils that are already prevented, many of which we cannot even imagine.

In conclusion, evil cannot be permanently removed from any world without destroying that world. Therefore, *some* degree of evil *must* exist, since "evil" is comparative. By virtue of this, only an omniscient being would know the absolutely perfect degree of evil (omnibenevolent) to prevent from existing (employing omnipotence). Therefore, an OOO being can, and must, coexist with evil.

P2 - Argument from Irrelevance

I shall concede that no degree of suffering is irrelevant to an omnibenevolent being, as such as being would be perfectly good. And I do concede that an omnibenevolent being would not permit the existence of a negative afterlife such as Hell. ~glancing over at the Bible~

Now, let's move onto this statement:
" Personally, I wonder: if there is such a tri-omni god and there is a heaven... why aren't we all already just in heaven? "

Do you notice how everything is being removed from existence until there is one logical possibility left? First Hell, then the mortal realm? If an OOO *must* perform the perfect action, then all possibilities are removed from existence but ONE, which essentially destroys the very existence of benevolence in the process. A benevolent being is ONLY benevolent if non-benevolent possibilities exist. Therefore, an OOO being can, and must, coexist with non-benevolent possibilities.

Note that P2 has reached essentially the same conclusion as P1, so I don't think it is necessary to separate them, anymore.

To answer your question: I do not believe that we live in the best possible world (or instant). However, that is determined by my limited judgment of my perception of reality. I cannot say for certain if I am correct without being omniscient.
.
Blurry Definition of Evil
You have done quite well in avoiding referring to "death" and "suffering" as evil, but rather, the act of causing them. In case you were unaware, the Problem of Evil is accreditied to the philosopher, Epicurus [2], and he defined evil as pain and suffering in general, either physically or mentally. Since this is the foundation of this notion, you can refer to these things as evil if it is easier.

Re: Joke [Not part of this debate]

Very nice - I do like that one. I got a 'rise' out of it. (that's a clever reference to your other debate.)

[1] Oxford Dictionary: Profound - http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...
[2] Wikipedia: Epicurus - http://en.wikipedia.org...
AndyHood

Con

I think that there's one clear point that Pro and I agree on: "evil" is a word, the meaning of which is hard to pinpoint.

Okay, so, where do we go from there? I suggest that we look at the context in which the word is being used in the resolution and, instead of getting hung up on the word and its possible interpretations, we look to see what the meaning of the resolution is.

So, perhaps we can ask ourselves this alternative question first:

Is it possible for a tri-omni god to coexist with the reality which we know?

Now, if we find that the answer is "no" because of some aspect of our reality, we must ask whether the word "evil" could be used to describe that aspect; if so, we have to reject the resolution.

So, again:

Is it possible for a tri-omni god to coexist with the reality which we know?

It seems to me that the reality we know can coexist with a tri-omni being IF AND ONLY IF this reality is the best of all possible realities. If there were a better reality possible and there was a being wise enough, with power enough and with desire enough to achieve it, it would already be achieved.

SO, we look at the World to see if it could, just possibly, be the best of all possible Worlds. Is it? Let me remind you of two things that Pro has said:

"No degree of suffering is irrelevant to an omnibenevolent being"
"I do not believe that we live in the best possible world (or instant)."

Now, Pro has also graciously conceded this:

"...he [Epicurus - see Footnote] defined evil as pain and suffering in general, either physically or mentally. Since this is the foundation of this notion, you can refer to these things as evil if it is easier."

Okay... thank you... so... putting it all together:



If you don't think that we live in a World that has the absolute minimum of pain and suffering theoretically possible, you must find against the motion.




Footnote:
(from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org...)
For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by ataraxia - peace and freedom from fear - and aponia - the absence of pain - and by living a self-sufficient life surrounded by friends. He taught that pleasure and pain are the measures of what is good and evil; death is the end of both body and soul and should therefore not be feared; the gods neither reward nor punish humans; the universe is infinite and eternal; and events in the world are ultimately based on the motions and interactions of atoms moving in empty space.

Sounds like a rational egg to me! Indeed, I've been a fan of Epicurus' original ideas for nearly 20 years. All this marvellous thought nearly 2500 years ago, too... what a legend!
Debate Round No. 3
Chaosism

Pro

I will begin my final round addressing your emboldened question and subsequent conclusion:

Q: "Is it possible for a tri-omni god to coexist with the reality which we know?"

C: " If you don't think that we live in a World that has the absolute minimum of pain and suffering theoretically possible, you must find against the motion."

I agree with your conclusion (except for the last portion), in that, I see many "evils" that exist in this world that don't have to. In fact, I am quite confident that no one of sound mind would disagree with you. Everyone will have some idea of "evil" that exists in this world. For instance, cancer should be a blatantly obvious example everyone can agree on. However...

The key issue with this question is the last part: "...the reality which we know". We are constrained to our experiences and to our human perception and limited cognitive ability to make this judgment. Who are we to declare that such a proposition is *impossible* while we are subject to such incredible limitations?

Impossibility (or "does not exist") is absolute and requires absolute certainly to be proven true. I am not merely appealing to the epistemological barrier [1] to take advantage of it, but omniscience is required to make a valid judgment to know the absolute answer to this question. As I have explained in previous argument, in order for evil to be removed from this world, ALL possibilities would have had to have been prevented from being possible. This due to concept of evil being both subjective and comparative.

In short (too late, I know), we can only declare absolute impossibility with certainly if the subject is subjective to our definitions (in that, we know everything about it since we created it), such as with a math problem. Here, we have an attempt to reach a hard, logical conclusion with the Argument from Evil, but since this is pertaining to reality (which is objective), the conclusion cannot be drawn with absolute certainty. Since our words do not define reality (they are subjective), we do not know everything about the subject in order to make an absolute claim, either way.

Also, as stated in my previous arguments, there is already an unimaginable amount of evil that has *already* been prevented from being possible if such a tri-omni being does exist, which would be a direct result of its will. This indicates that such a being has *already* determined the absolute minimum amount of evil to occur in this world. Since our perception and knowledge is limited, we cannot possibly understand this, whereas, the omniscient being has also taken into consideration that which we know to be impossible and that which we cannot even begin to fathom.

I will present two more examples to illustrate my point.

#1. Imagine that a malevolent, mosquito-like insect existed in this world; a venomous creature that, if it merely touched a person, it would infect them incurably. The victim's very DNA would be so mutated that they would fall into a catatonic state and even cease to age and no longer require the consumption of food and water. The victim, despite appearing catatonic, is actually fully aware as the venom creates unimaginable, perpetual agony. Finally, the creatures then carry off the helpless victim to hide them so they can't be killed by their fellows and their agony ended.

This idea should seem as horrible to you as it is absurd. But, this is one of the possibilities of evil that HAS been prevented from being possible in this world if a tri-omni being exists. We are fortunate that all of the evils that DO exist in this world are temporal.

#2. Imagine that pain and death were not possible in this world, and that everyone is perfectly healthy at all times; there is no disease and no cancer. Now imagine a group of teenagers sitting in a classroom. The teacher intends to pass out iPads to each of the teenagers. He has exactly enough for all of them, but one of the iPads is older and inferior. The teenager who receives that iPad will view the unfairness and subsequent 'mental suffering' as "evil" (either the act alone, or the teacher for the decision) by at least that teenager because there is nothing worse to compare it to.

I formulated this example based around teenagers because we can all imagine some of them complaining and crying about getting an inadequate iPad. This petty "suffering" occurs because they do not have any "real" suffering to compare it to. This would occur to everyone if there was no "real" suffering in the world. The worst possibilities will always inherit the label of evil. Note that if all of the teenagers received the same inadequate iPad, there would not be any "mental suffering" which demonstrates a reliance on comparison.

Final Conclusion:
I believe that I have shown that it is *possible* for an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent being to coexist with the evils in this world because:

A.) Due to the subjective and comparative nature of the concept of evil, it will *always* exists as long as there is a means of comparison, which would entail the elimination of all but one available possibility.

B.) Due to point 'A', only an omniscient being would be able to comprehend where to 'draw the line' on the good/evil spectrum of possibility for minimum evil, and since our perception and knowledge is very limited by our perception, knowledge, and experience, we cannot expect to understand this perfect judgment.

Remember, I do not have to prove that such a being exists; merely that it is possible for such a being to coexist with the evil in this world.

I wish to sincerely thank my opponent for participating in this debate.

[1] Wikipedia: Epistemology ('Truth' section) - http://en.wikipedia.org...
AndyHood

Con

Firstly, I'd like to thank my opponent for suggesting the debate, being willing to negotiate the topic, and for a thoroughly enjoyable debate. However it goes, I've enjoyed it as, I hope, has Pro.

I do dislike the constant discussion of burden-of-proof on DDO (I feel that it should be understood implicitly by the gentle voters, not rammed down their throats) but I fear that I must bring it up here and now.

The resolution before us is this:

It is possible for a tri-omni god to coexist with the evil which exists in this World.

Now, Pro has pointed out the importance of the word "possible" in the resolution and suggests that this puts the burden of proof onto me: I must demonstrate with 100% certainty that such a God could not co-exist with the World as we know it. I will note that there is a large degree of truth to this line of reasoning and, to be fair to Pro, the original idea that we were discussing (see comments) was essentially arguing whether or not "the argument from Evil is sound". I ask the gentle reader accept, though, that 100% certainty is never achievable... and one does not vote on a debate based on whether either side has achieved 100% certainty... one votes on whether one feels that one has been reasonably convinced - and the threshold for whether a gentle voter is convinced is entirely a subjective affair.

Here's why we can never be certain: nobody can prove the brain-in-a-vat argument to be unsound. If I had to argue Pro's case in this debate, I would have proceeded like this:

1. No sentient being can be sure that they are not the only sentient being.
2. If you are the only sentient being, perhaps your life has been "perfect" in the sense of any pain being a life lesson.
3. Therefore your existence may be explained as being brought into being by an omnebenevolent creator.

But, I fear that one really must accept solipsism for this to wash.

I assume that the gentle reader, whilst allowing for the possibility of solipsism, is not too troubled by such philosophical concerns. I assume, for the purposes of this debate that we are to trust our own senses and to work with the thesis that everything we observe to be real is real. As an interesting side-note, I found more appeal in the idea of solipsism when I was a religious Chrisitan believer and as I have become atheist, I have found such concerns fade as I can focus more clearly on the here and now. I don't personally like the dream-like interpretation of reality that supernatural beliefs seem to entail (for me). I wish to remain balanced and centered in the here and now; the plight of children in Africa dying of AIDS matters to me. If I am indeed a brain in a vat and these kids don't really exist, sure, my existence could be the doing of an omnibenevolent being... BUT... if that were the case then His special purpose for me would be to have my heart bleed for these illusions as a way to deepen my soul - the only reasonable conclusion being that I should act as if this illusion is not, in fact, an illusion, but a reality... I would be fulfilling His purpose for me to the highest degree by engaging with the reality that I am faced with as if it was reality... and when He chooses not to reveal Himself to me then it seems that it is His will that I work with the assumption that He does not exist. Thus, I have even managed to justify my atheism (for myself, you don't have to find this convincing) from a theistic stance.

Either way, I beseech my gentle audience to work from one basic assumption: what we see is reality. Even if you believe in a supernatural, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent being, it seems fair to assume that making the emboldened assumption is what He wanted.

So... why would I accept belief in an almighty as a possibility and then argue that the argument from evil disproves His existence?

Because the only way that this could work is if you believe that all you see around you is an illusion... this idea is either false, or, if the almighty created you and put you here for a reason, believing that seems to be contrary to His wishes and, therefore, a sin. And that, it seems to me, is a rock-solid theological argument as to why we should not accept the proposition!

Either way, I beseech my gentle audience to work from one basic assumption: what we see is reality.

I argue this both ways: either you are rational and already believe this; or you allow for a possibility of an almighty and should see that it is His Will that you should believe this. Reality has to be treated as reality, otherwise you lead yourself to a theological contradiction in which God wants you to not believe in God! God has put you in an illusion wherein the argument for evil is absolutely true, insofar as you believe the illusion. And you *should* believe the illusion: it's what you want to do, it's the only rational way and it is almost certainly what such a God would want of you if He put you in this unique illusion!

Let me remind the gentle voter what Pro said (starting by quoting me):

ME: " If you don't think that we live in a World that has the absolute minimum of pain and suffering theoretically possible, you must find against the motion."

I agree with your conclusion (except for the last portion), in that, I see many "evils" that exist in this world that don't have to. In fact, I am quite confident that no one of sound mind would disagree with you. Everyone will have some idea of "evil" that exists in this world. For instance, cancer should be a blatantly obvious example everyone can agree on. However...

The key issue with this question is the last part: "...the reality which we know". We are constrained to our experiences and to our human perception and limited cognitive ability to make this judgment. Who are we to declare that such a proposition is *impossible* while we are subject to such incredible limitations?

Well, I accept your point, Pro, I really do - we are subject to such incredible limitations. I could not have put it better myself. We ARE subject to such INCREDIBLE limitations. They are incredible; you would have to believe that you were a brain in a vat... which, it seems to me, would not be the desire of a God who had so carefully crafted such a convincing illusion for your benefit.

So, for the sake of rationality or for the sake of going along with the illusion that He created for you, I beseech the gentle voter to vote Con!
Debate Round No. 4
35 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Chaosism 2 years ago
Chaosism
Hey, Kozu. I started a thread here ->(http://www.debate.org...). Would you mind copy/pasting your response here to that thread? I will respond there.
Posted by Kozu 2 years ago
Kozu
@Chaosism

I wouldn't mind if you started a thread, Id join in.

"Also, we often use the term, "perfect", referring to such a being, but that term is also very subjective in this case; we can only truly perceive from our own point of view, and in our world, a perfect being would (likely) be described as perfectly benevolent."

So benevolence is subjective, as such, so is "perfect benevolence" aka omnibenevolence.

"This needn't be true to this being, because the being's judgment is likely not so driven by empathy are we are, given that such a being would not have the physical faculties that we have that grant us empathy."

Where did you get this from? I don't think god needs to have physical faculties to empathize, just like he doesn't need a brain to be intelligent. Why would god be benevolent if he didn't empathize?

"I have a distaste for the "Omni-" terms, and I believe that these terms are argued as absolute definitions for the purposes of exploiting the flaws within the definitions to disprove a being that, if existent, exists objectively."

The "omni" isn't the problem here, its the benevolence. I didn't say anything about existence either. I'm not sure if on the same page as you here. Morality must be objective when arguing for a benevolent god, as morality is contingent on said god, which is independent of human thought.

" For instance, an omnibenevolent being would be akin to a robot, only ever able to perform the most benevolent action in any given scenario. This is a preposterous attribute to ascribe to anything, in my opinion."

Your opinion would seem to be in the minority. People already believe that god only does the most benevolent actions. I also don't see how doing the contrary meet gods definition.
Posted by AndyHood 2 years ago
AndyHood
The real stinker here, the elephant in the room, is that we learn to do things subconsciously and therefore find it hard to retrain ourselves when we have formed bad mental habits; oft-times we are not even aware of those things that transpire in the magic hall of thinking that exists between our ears.

It is fair to agree with the sentiment so beautifully (but suspiciously illogically) expressed in the saw: the wise man knows that he knows nothing.
Posted by AndyHood 2 years ago
AndyHood
@Chaosism

I couldn't agree more: to feign certainty does nobody any good. Walking that line between being relatively sure of yourself whilst being open to acknowledging mistakes (and fixing them) is just one of those magic balancing acts that we all have to learn to perform as we walk the path from child to adult. It's a case of balance and is every bit as hard to learn (and becomes subconscious in the same way) as walking, which could be described as a state of perpetually, whilst constantly stopping yourself, falling forwards. Learning to walk not only in your own shoes but also (as closely as this is even possible) walking in other people's shoes is an even *harder* skill!
Posted by Chaosism 2 years ago
Chaosism
@ AndyHood

But, we should not be so quick to *absolutely* dismiss a possibility based on our current knowledge, either, because we know that our knowledge is not absolute. Even Dawkins expressed his lack of absoluteness; I think he expressed his sureness that God (or a god) didn't exist as a 6.9 on a scale of 1-7. As such, I believe that using the Argument from Evil to say God's existence is *impossible* is not truly rational.
Posted by Chaosism 2 years ago
Chaosism
@ Kozu

The terms, "good, "evil", and "omnibenevolent" are all entirely subjective. Even if a tri-Omni, universe-creating being exists, morality is still subjective to that being. I don't see how anything can be objectively moral or immoral if that label reflects a judgment. Also, we often use the term, "perfect", referring to such a being, but that term is also very subjective in this case; we can only truly perceive from our own point of view, and in our world, a perfect being would (likely) be described as perfectly benevolent. This needn't be true to this being, because the being's judgment is likely not so driven by empathy are we are, given that such a being would not have the physical faculties that we have that grant us empathy.

I have a distaste for the "Omni-" terms, and I believe that these terms are argued as absolute definitions for the purposes of exploiting the flaws within the definitions to disprove a being that, if existent, exists objectively. Our definitions are subjective to reality, and the only point that such an argument makes it that a being cannot exist with this "absolute" attribute. For instance, an omnibenevolent being would be akin to a robot, only ever able to perform the most benevolent action in any given scenario. This is a preposterous attribute to ascribe to anything, in my opinion.

If you'd like to start a forum thread, I be happy to hear comments on my line of thinking so I can be more aware of my flaws.
Posted by Kozu 2 years ago
Kozu
How can you argue evil is subjective while trying to objectively support the idea of a omnibenevolent god. Its completely ironic. If evil is subjective so is benevolence, gods existence is completely subjective then.
Posted by AndyHood 2 years ago
AndyHood
An admirably rational perspective. But, isn't this a "cross that bridge when we get to it" situation? Like science, we should be prepared to ditch ideas when the evidence requires it... But can we not rely with reasonable certainty on our thinking thus far? In the example you give, I have studied the source of what I consider wrong-thinking and expunged my mind of any remnants of it. Crikey, at one point in time, I believed Von Daniken! I've had to learn to weed the garden of my mind!
Posted by Chaosism 2 years ago
Chaosism
I don't know if I'd call it doubting your senses and reason, necessarily, but rather recognizing the limitations thereof. I've seen plenty of people here who call evolution stupid based on what they perceive as the truth, for instance, that we evolved from monkeys. To them, their reasoning indicates that they are right, but possessing more knowledge can change that judgment.
Posted by AndyHood 2 years ago
AndyHood
Yes, lots of your arguments made sense to me. I guess that my last round was the most honestly that i could answer. In short, the argument holds unless you are prepared to doubt your senses and your reason, which I am not!
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