The Instigator
A341
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Raisor
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

Omnipotence and Benevolence are Mutually Exclusive

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Raisor
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/8/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,047 times Debate No: 56246
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (4)

 

A341

Pro

First round is for acceptance.
Raisor

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
A341

Pro

Definitions

Benevolence : "the quality of being well meaning; kindness" [1]

Omnipotence: "(Of a deity) having unlimited power:" [2]

Mutually exclusive: "of or pertaining to a situation involving two or more events, possibilities, etc., in which the occurrence of one precludes the occurrence of the other" [3]

Argument

Epicurean paradox:

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"

This is usually simply referred to as the problem of evil and the essential part of this debate is that: if a being (who I will from here on refer to as god even though this being doesn't necessarily have to be a god) is benevolent and omnipotent then there should be no negative actions (which I will simply refer to as evil from now on) occurring, we can see that they do from everyday life therefore we can conclude that omnipotence and benevolence are mutually exclusive.

[1] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

[2] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

[3] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Raisor

Con

1) The Epicurean Paradox does not demonstrate the Resolution


a) The Resolution says only that Omnipotence and Benevolence are mutually exclusive.


The Epicurean Paradox relies on god being able to prevent evil, but this ability requires more than mere omnipotence. The ability to prevent evil requires both omnipotence and omniscience.


An analogy: I have both the ability and the desire to prevent stray kittens living in my basement from starving, but if I do not know there are starving kittens in my basement those little kitties will starve nonetheless.


Similarly, the Resolution leaves open the possibility of an ignorant god- a god which is omnipotent and benevolent but is unaware of the existence of evil.


Thus the Pro’s argument fails to prove the Resolution.


b) The Epicurean Paradox relies on the existence of evil; the Resolution only concerns Omnipotence and Benevolence.


The Resolution says Omnipotence and benevolence are mutually exclusive. The Paradox tries to show that omnipotence, benevolence, and evil are mutually exclusive. The paradox falls apart if any one of those three is removed and therefore does not prove that the two items in the Resolution are incompatible.


Looking to Pro’s definition of mutually exclusive, he must show that “the occurrence of one precludes the occurrence of the other.” The paradox fails to do this.


2) The existence of evil is necessary for the well-being of humanity.


If the existence of evil is required for the well-being of humanity, then a benevolent god would allow evil to exist. The paradox is then dissolved.


a) The possibility of evil is required for free will


A world with morally free beings (people) is better than a world without morally free beings. Moral freedom requires the ability to freely choose the good. Such a choice requires the real possibility for people to choose to act in an evil manner. It happens to be the case that many people use their moral freedom to act in an evil manner.


A world in which people are incapable of committing evil acts is logically incompatible with a world in which people are morally free. Omnipotence does not entail the ability to do things which are logically impossible, so there is no conflict with the Resolution.


b) Suffering and adversity are required for moral growth


Pleasure is not in itself good and suffering is not in itself evil. Excessive pleasure can be harmful; people can grow lazy and uncreative in environments of excess. Suffering can lead to great good; people can respond to suffering with tremendous personal growth and great acts of charity and compassion. The heroes of humanity have all emerged out of great suffering or have overcome great adversity. Gandhi became a model of peace and discipline in response to the great injustice of colonial India. Lewis and Clark gained renown for their courage in exploring the dangerous expanse of the American West.


The benevolence of god is best served by providing a world that allows humans to flourish and grow. A benevolent god would not place humans in a paradise where they would grow fat, bland, and have no opportunity for moral growth.


For this reason, a benevolent god would not create morally free beings and place them in absolute comfort and total provision. Instead he would create a world in which people have the tools to flourish but must work and strive to do so.


3) Pro assumes that a world without evil is possible


a) If it is logically impossible for a world without evil to exist, then there is no conflict between an omnibenevolent/omnipotent god and a world with evil. We have no way of knowing whether a world without evil is possible, thus we have no reason to see any problem with the existence of evil.


b) Additionally, if a world without evil could exist, it may be the case that such a world would be less valuable than the world we currently live in. If this is the cause then there is no conflict with the components of Pro’s paradox. This is a more generalized version of my 2) argument. Evil could exist because it is logically necessary for the valuable aspects of the world we live in.


I don’t need to prove a) and b) to win this debate; I only need to defend their plausibility. If a) and b) are plausible, then it is at least possible for omnipotence and benevolence to coexist; the two items are then not mutually exclusive.


4) Pro assumes total knowledge of the moral nature of the universe


Events which appear “evil” may ultimately cause an amount of good that far exceeds the original good. Additionally, it may be the case that much of the good that results from


Consider a young couple leaving a theater in a busy city. As they pass an alley a man darts out, mugs the couple, and leaves them for dead. A great evil has been done! But it turns out this couple was very wealthy and left behind a young child. This child eventually grows up and vows to go to extreme lengths to become a force for good in the world. He puts on a cape and every night goes around the city fighting crime and doing good deeds. Eventually the city comes to take great hope in their incredible protector and calls the man Batman.


A seemingly evil event ultimately resulted in a story of great heroism and led to a renewal of hope in a large city. In light of the incredible good caused by the original murder, we can see that what appeared to be an instance of evil was only a small part of a greater narrative of good.


Our perspective is limited. What appears evil to us may actually be a microscopic part of a universe which is on the whole good.

Debate Round No. 2
A341

Pro

Epicurean Paradox Requires Omniscience

If god lacks the power to prevent evil because god lacks the power to know everything then god is not omnipotent as god lacks the power to know everything. If god lacks the power to know everything then god is not omnipotent because god lacks the power to do something.

Evil is Required

"The Epicurean Paradox relies on the existence of evil; the Resolution only concerns Omnipotence and Benevolence."


Let's say I give you two pieces of information: Bob lives in England and Scottie lives in California but let's say you know from another sources that they are flatmates that makes the two statements "Bob lives in England" and "Scottie lives in California" mutually as they cannot exist together.

In the same sense let's say I give you two pieces of information: God is kind and God is all powerful, now you know from another source that "evil" exists and that makes the two statements mutually exclusive, they cannot be true at the same time.

Got to be Cruel to be Kind/Suffering and adversity are required for moral growth

This is the idea of a compromise that is not necessary with an omnipotent being.

"Free will"

Con has failed to define "free will". This leaves this argument more or less meaningless.

A World Without Evil is Impossible/Less Valuable

If god does not have the power to make a world without evil the she is not omnipotent as she cannot do everything.

This idea of value is completely subjective and therefore meaningless.
Raisor

Con

1)

My first argument is more than mere semantics- it is an exercise in rigorous analytical philosophy. If Pro does not uphold strictly what the Resolution claims, he has lost this debate. Regardless of Pro’s intention in drafting the Resolution, this debate is about the Resolution he actually wrote.

a)

Omnipotence only requires “the power to know everything.” Omniscience is that state of ACTUALLY knowing everything. An omnipotent being could have the power to know everything but choose not to exercise that power. I have the power to know what toilet water tastes like, but I do not have that knowledge because I choose not to exercise that power.

A god which is benevolent and omnipotent but unaware of the existence of evil avoids the Epicurean paradox.

The resolution does not establish the required knowledge of evil necessary for the Epicurean paradox, so Pro has failed to prove the resolution.

b)

The example Pro provides fails. The claims “Bob lives in England” and “scottie lives in California” are NOT mutually exclusive. Nothing about one claim precludes or excludes the other. What Pro has shown is that the THREE claims “Bob lives in England,” “Scottie lives in California,” and “Bob and Scottie are flatmates” are exclusive.

Only the introduction of the third term of “evil” creates a contradiction between omnipotence and benevolence.

The bulk of this debate is centering over what is entailed by the evil in the world and whether evil is necessary or even exists. This demonstrates that evil is the key part of Pro’s paradox, and it isn’t even in the Resolution. The paradox is not generated by omnipotence and benevolence, it is generated by evil.

Pro’s definition of mutually exclusive requires that “the occurrence of one precludes the occurrence of the other.” Nothing about omnipotence or benevolence precludes the other.

2a) I clearly defined free will:

“Moral freedom requires the ability to freely choose the good. Such a choice requires the real possibility for people to choose to act in an evil manner.

Free will is the ability to choose the good and the just without compulsion.

The superiority of decisions made freely is supported by moral wisdom: we value those who volunteer, donate to charity, and are spontaneously kind while we place no moral value on those who engage in the acts because they are forced to.

2b) I don’t know what Pro’s argument is. Pro says I have some idea of compromise- I do not know what he is referring to.

I made the argument that a benevolent god would desire the best of morally free agents, and this requires the opportunity to flourish and grow. A benevolent god would not place his creation in a pain-free safety box to keep them free of harm, but would place them on a wonderful playground to allow them freedom to explore and be joyous. His creation may scrape its knee on the playground, but if this possibility did not exist it would not be a playground at all.

3a) Omnipotence does not entail the ability to do what is logically impossible. If it is logically impossible for a world without evil to exist, then an omnipotent god could not create it.

If Pro insists that omnipotence means the ability to do the impossible, then his paradox is resolved. Benevolence, omnipotence, and evil can coexist because god is not bound by the laws of logic and can do logically contradictory things.

3b) I don’t know what Pro finds subjective about my idea of value. He has offered no argument against my argument that a world with evil could be more valuable than a world without it. Maybe a world without evil would require a world without ice cream and maybe the value of ice cream outweighs the negative value of evil. It’s a possibility, and as long as it is possible I have refuted resolution.

4) Pro totally ignores my argument. It may be the case that evil is illusory- that evil events only appear evil due to the limited perspective of humanity. It could be the case that from the perspective of god, the totality of creation is good.

My Batman example shows how “evil” events can result in a more beautiful and grand picture than could exist without “evil.” Certainly we all agree that a world with Batman is better than a world without Batman, yet “evil” is required for Batman to exist. Ergo, a world with evil is not really evil at all, its just a world with Batman.

Debate Round No. 3
A341

Pro

A341 forfeited this round.
Raisor

Con

My opponent has forfeited his chance to rebut my arguments.

As I have many arguments against the resolution that are unrefuted, I urge the judges to vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
A341

Pro

A341 forfeited this round.
Raisor

Con

My opponent has again forfeited, please vote con.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by oculus_de_logica 3 years ago
oculus_de_logica
I'll accept the debate if you agree to the following definitions: (just a formality)
Mutually exclusive:
" A statistical term used to describe a situation where the occurrence of one event is not influenced or caused by another event. In addition, it is impossible for mutually exclusive events to occur at the same time."

Omnipotence :
"The state of being all powerful, or having unlimited or unmatched power. Being able to do all things logical and possible."

Benevolence:
"the quality of being well meaning, kind or loving."

The resolution resolved is thus:
"It is not possible to be all powerful and yet be kind at the same time."
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
A341RaisorTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
9spaceking
A341RaisorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Zarroette 3 years ago
Zarroette
A341RaisorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con effectively argued that an omnipotent and benevolent god might be unable to act upon evils in the world, purely out of ignorance (non-omniscience). Even in Pro's second go at the Epicurean argument, it becomes obvious that omniscience needs to be a trait, in order to affirm the argument. I think Con's later arguments, about evil and free will potentially being necessary, are shaky arguments in themselves. Unfortunately, Pro's response is undermined by the fact that evil is basically required, yet as Con points out, evil is a 3rd trait not mentioned in the resolution. I think Pro confuses evil's correlation with benevolence, as the former does not necessarily follow from the latter, but I'm speculating as to his problem. Basically, a lack of omniscience and evil in the resolution dug Pro an inescapable hole. Otherwise, Pro's argument would have been formidable. Conduct to Con for Pro's later forfeits.
Vote Placed by Cold-Mind 3 years ago
Cold-Mind
A341RaisorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Ff.