The Instigator
A1tre
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
BrendanD19
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

The Problem of Evil

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/25/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 337 times Debate No: 81542
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

A1tre

Pro

Welcome to my first created debate. I saw you were eager to debate this topic with someone who was not willing, and I thought I might offer myself as an alternative opponent.

The Problem of Evil was first stated by Epicurus and attempts to prove that there is a logical contradiction between the existence of God and that of evil. The argument goes as follows:

1. God exists and is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.

2. An omnibenevolent being wants to prevents all evil from existing.

3. An omniscient being knows how to prevent all evil from existing.

4. An omnipotent being has the power to prevent all evil from existing.

5. A being who wants to prevent evil, knows how to prevent evil and has the power to prevent evil will succeed in preventing evil.

6. Therefore if a being like God exists, there can be no evil.

7. There is evil, which therefore constitutes a logical contradiction.

As Pro I will argue that this contradiction truly holds, and that as a consequence one must either abandon belief in God or belief in evil.

As Con you must show that evil can coexist with God.

I hope for a fun and interesting debate and wish Con all the best.
BrendanD19

Con

I appreciate this challenge from A1tre, and I look forward to a riveting debate.

By using the Augustinian theodicy I will show that there is no contradiction in the existence of God and the existence of evil.
The Augustinian Philosophy was theorized by St. Augustine and states that god created a perfect world, and gave humans free will. It through the fall of man and the original sin of Adam and Eve, evil entered the world, when people chose to turn away from god. It can be summarized as such.

1) God is perfect. The world he created reflects that perfection.
2) Humans were created with free will.
3) Sin and death entered the world through Adam and Eve, and their disobedience.
4) Adam and Eve"s disobedience brought about "disharmony" in both humanity and Creation.
5) The whole of humanity experiences this disharmony because we were all "seminally" present in the loins of Adam.
6) Natural evil is sin or the consequence of sin.
7) God is justified in not intervening because the suffering is a consequence of human action.
8) God is loving by offering us forgiveness and salvation.

As con, I shall show that God can and does coexist with evil, through the Augustinian theodicy.
Debate Round No. 1
A1tre

Pro

I have the following Objections to the Augustinian theodicy:

A) How can a perfect world go wrong?

1) God is good and cannot create evil.
2) God creates a perfect world free of evil.
3) Evil enters the world.

Contradiction:
If evil can enter the world God created, then the world was not perfect to begin with.

B) How can perfect beings commit evil actions?

1) God created a perfect world.
2) Adam and Eve are a part of that world and were created by God.
3) If Adam and Eve are part of Gods perfect creation, they themselves are perfect.
4) As perfect beings, Adam and Eve cannot commit evil acts nor be corrupted by evil.
5) "Sin and death entered the world through Adam and Eve, and their disobedience."

Contradiction:
Augustine claims Adam and Eve created evil through their disobedience. Yet as perfect beings, Adam and Eve cannot create evil.

Concerning the claim that evil originates form Adam and Eve I would like to extend my initial argument

1) God created everything.
2) Therefore everything originates form God.
3) Evil exists in our world.
4) God is ultimately responsible for everything including evil.

Contradiction: An omnibenevolent Being cannot be responsible for evil.

To sum up I arrive at the following conclusions:
The two objections to the Augustinian theodicy show how the attempt to justify Gods coexistence with evil fails due to logical contradiction.
My extended argument once more shows that God (as I have defined him in my argument of round 1) cannot coexist with evil.
BrendanD19

Con

First I will extend my argument by elaborating the Augustinian Theodicy

1) God is good in that he is just and fair
2) God created a world that reflects his perfection.
3) This perfection is embodied in balance of nature.
4) God created man with free will (which will be defined as the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate).
5) Man could choose God's perfection or evil.
6) Man choose/was tempted to sin, bringing disharmony into the world
7) Evil enters the world through the choice of man, not God.
8) Natural evil is sin or the consequence of sin.
9) God is just by not intervening because evil is the result of human action.
10) God is fair and loving by offering us forgiveness and salvation.

The objections raised by the Pro ignore several key elements of the Augustinian Theodicy.
First, he claims that the world was created in absolute perfection. This is itself a contradiction because nothing, at all can be absolutely perfect. Roses were still created with thorns and wolves were created alongside sheep. The world is perfect in its balance, much like a pendulum. For every action their is an equal and opposite reaction. This balance is the way the world is perfect. His Argument in point A also ignores the link, which is the fall of man, and is therefore unsupported.

Second, his claim that Adam and Eve were created as perfect beings completely ignore the notion of free will. Adam and Eve were created with the potential to be perfect much like God (this is not to say that this perfection is beyond consequence), but were tempted into sin creating disharmony.

In conclusion, it all comes down to balancing act of the world. God created a world that was perfect in its balance, and beings with the potential to be perfect, but had free will. Because man has free will, man choose not to follow god, and man created sin and evil.
Debate Round No. 2
A1tre

Pro

Let me start by clarifying what a contradiction is.

A contradiction occurs when two or more claims are made which cannot both be true
Formal example of a contradiction:
Claim1: If A, then always B
Claim2: A, but no B

Con states that the claim "the world was created in absolute perfection" is a contradiction. I'm not saying the claim is true, but it is certainly no contradiction. A contradiction must consist of at least two claims.

Example of a contradiction:
Con: "because nothing, at all can be absolutely perfect"
Con: "The world is perfect in its balance"/"This balance is the way the world is perfect"
=> contradiction: both claims cannot be true

Con: "because nothing, at all can be absolutely perfect"
Con: "2) God created a world that reflects his perfection."
=> contradiction: nothing is perfect/ God is perfect, cannot both be true

It would be false to claim that "absolute perfection" and "perfection" are not the same things and that there is no contradiction. There is no difference between perfect and absolutely perfect. Something is perfect if it can't be improved. If "absolutely perfect" is better than "perfect", well then "perfect" could have been improved and therefore wasn't "perfect" to begin with.
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Getting back to the topic of our debate I would like to clarify that I never claimed the world was perfect. It is Augustine who makes that claim. Con states the following in round 1: "1) God is perfect. The world he created reflects that perfection."
He also states: "The Augustinian Philosophy was theorized by St. Augustine and states that god created a perfect world, and gave humans free will."
It confuses me to read that Con thinks his claim is one I am making, and that the same claim is incorrect.

I fail to see how my previous objections ignore any key points of the Augustinian theodicy and I hope Con will at one point directly address the supposed mistakes in my arguments.
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It seems to me (and I am only assuming here) that Con thinks free will changes the situation and that all of my previous arguments ignore the aspect of free will. I will now try to show how that is not the case. I will start off by putting Cons argument in my own words in an attempt to prevent further misunderstandings. I expect Con to tell me at which point I went wrong and to be specific about it.

1) Evil does not start to exist on its own, it must originate from somewhere/someone.
2) God is perfect and can therefore not be responsible for evil.
3) God gave humans free will
4) Because humans have free will, they sometimes sin which leads to evil.
Conclusion: Evil originates from human beings.

My objection:
Human beings themselves originate from God. Therefore anything that originates from human beings must ultimately originate from God. This shows that if God created the ENTIRE universe with everything in it, he also created evil. This claim contradicts the way we defined God in the first round, proving my side of this debate.

Con argues: "7) Evil enters the world through the choice of man, not God." Does Con mean that there is something in this world that does not originate from God, but solely from human beings? "Evil enters the world" is vague language. Does evil already exist and is let into the world by humans?

Con: "Adam and Eve were created with the potential to be perfect much like God"
Either they were created perfect, or they were not created perfect. Having the potential to be perfect is different from actually being perfect. Which brings back the following question: Is Gods creation perfect or is it not perfect.
BrendanD19

Con

As the Pro has not stated what the definition of "perfect" is, and thus it should be defaulted to my definition of balance and all arguments made to contradict this point should be disregarded as they are undefined.

Second, God cannot create something that is inherently evil, but God can create something that has the freedom to choose what it does, even if it chooses something god would not do. It gave man the ability to "chose its own adventure," if you will, and that adventure can go down any path it chooses. God is not forcing man to go down one certain path. Therefore while God did not create evil, it his creation that did. I do know that makes us sound like some kind of Frankenstein's monster, but that is itself a very apt analogy, which I will not get into.

Third, evil enters the world is a way of saying that this is how evil came about. Evil ENTERED THE WORLD by the fall of man, ie evil came to be from the fall of man.

Fourth, the pro is proposing a false dichotomy without even defining the dichotomy, and attempting to suppress the correlative. If something is perfect it would not have free will, which violates the entire premise of the argument. It is also on the Pro, not the con, to fulfill the burden of proof, which has not been done and instead the Pro has prompted the con to provide justification.

On a procedural note, should we really continue into a fifth round? I don't really see the point of a fifth round in this debate since we jumped right into the arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
A1tre

Pro

A1tre forfeited this round.
BrendanD19

Con

By forfeiting this round the Pro has conceded to my arguments.
The Problem of evil is reconcilable by the Augustinian Theodicy which is
1) God is good in that he is just and fair
2) God created a world that reflects his perfection.
3) This perfection is embodied in balance of nature.
4) God created man with free will (which will be defined as the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate).
5) Man could choose God's perfection or evil.
6) Man choose/was tempted to sin, bringing disharmony into the world
7) Evil enters the world through the choice of man, not God.
8) Natural evil is sin or the consequence of sin.
9) God is just by not intervening because evil is the result of human action.
10) God is fair and loving by offering us forgiveness and salvation.

Vote for the Con
Debate Round No. 4
A1tre

Pro

1)I have defined the word perfect: "Something is perfect if it can't be improved."
The term "perfection in balance" in no way defines what perfection is.

2) Con: "Therefore while God did not create evil, it his creation that did" I have criticised this point already. This implies that God created something that is capable of evil (contradiction: omnibenevolence). It also implies something was created, but not by God. (contradiction: God created everything)

Con: "It gave man the ability to 'chose its own adventure,' if you will, and that adventure can go down any path it chooses."
Con implies that a possible path to choose is one going away from God, therefore going towards evil, a path of evil. Where did that path come from? Either God created a path of evil, or there is a path of evil in this world which was not created by God. Same to contradictions as above.

3)"evil enters the world", "evil came about". Con does a good job in remaining vague. From point 2) I will assume that Con is talking about Evil coming into existence, evil being created.

4) false dichotomy of perfection or non perfection: As Con has not registered my definition of perfection, I can not expect him to have understood that there is a TRUE DICHOTOMY at hand. Something is either perfect, or it is not. There is no middle ground.

Con: "If something is perfect it would not have free will, which violates the entire premise of the argument." So according to Con, God either created perfect human beings or he created human beings with free will. Con is arguing for the Pro position.

Burden of proof: According to Con, Pro has the burden of proof. This is indeed true, Pro has the duty to prove that there is a problem of evil, or in other words that there is a contradiction between the existence of both God and evil. I have fulfilled that proof in my opening argument. This debate has consisted of us discussing weather that proof is valid or not.
To claim I have not attempted to fulfill the burden is dishonest, to claim the proof brought forward is invalid is the duty of Con by definition.

End) This debate has failed because Con has no understanding of how to engage in arguments presented that do not confirm his initial belief. Con also lacks knowledge of logic, rendering this debate intellectually worthless. No progress has been achieved.
BrendanD19

Con

1) As stated Previously evil is not something that can be created, it is an absence. The absence of God is evil. When people turn away from god, evil enters the world. That has been my case throughout the debate. The Pro has ignored this point pursuing the idea evil was created.
3) There is no true dichotomy, and the Pro has demonstrated that he does not know how dichotomies work. A dichotomy implies there are two options, when in fact there are more than two options. There is no need for middle ground, there are simply alternatives.
3) The Pro has failed to acknowledge his role in the debate, that is to provide justification for his argument. He has not done this, and chosen to attack my argument instead. No Justification means the con wins on presumption.

End) Pro has failed to play his role in the debate by not providing any justification for his arguments, and has not fully participated. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Amoranemix 1 year ago
Amoranemix
@dsjpk5 :

That looks like a lazy vote. Are you sure you didn't agree with Pro before the debate ?
Posted by A1tre 1 year ago
A1tre
I will use round 5 as an answer and to make some final remarks to our debate. You of course have the last word, and you can use round 4 aswell to make arguments or comments if you wish
Posted by A1tre 1 year ago
A1tre
I am grateful that you accepted the debate
Posted by BrendanD19 1 year ago
BrendanD19
I very much appreciate this opportunity, and I look forward to this debate
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
A1treBrendanD19Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: This is an interesting debate. I will vote later, perhaps.