The Instigator
crazedAtheist
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Runezor
Con (against)
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0 Points

problem of gratuitous evil

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 741 times Debate No: 59123
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (15)
Votes (0)

 

crazedAtheist

Pro

i will be arguing and defending my version of the problem of gratouitous evil.

rules:
  • 1)first round for acceptence only. from then on we will debate back and forth until we run out of rounds.
  • 2)only the bible or the quran may be used as reference (if you use one, you are forbiden from useing the other)
  • 3)in acceptence you will state which book you intend to use. (and what translation you will be using)
    • - special exception: if you are of a certain religion that has extrenious books, like catholicism and its Chatecism, you may use those as well, but you must explain what religion you are and what extrenious texts you will be using (and what translations you will be using) as well as give an internet link to those books in acceptence.

failure to meet these rules is an immediate loss

Runezor

Con

In arguing against the famous problem of evil, I'll draw my reference from the King James Bible.

Since it's my opponent who will be making the argument, I'll first respond in the round after this one.
Debate Round No. 1
crazedAtheist

Pro

I apologize for not posting my version of the argument in the opening, how I forgot that is beyond me.

argument:
p1)if suffering (not resulting from free will) exists then an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient entity does not exist
p2)suffering not resulting from free will exists (cancer, birth defects, natural disasters)
c1)an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient entity does not exist. (p1 and p2 modus ponens)
p3)the god of the bible is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent entity
c2)the god of the bible does not exit

validity:
c1 is reached via modus ponens, c2 is reached via symmetry on c1 via p3.

defense of premise 1:
an omnibenevolent (in this case, both all good and all loving) entity would prevent suffering to occur if they could, an omniscient entity knows where suffering is occurring and an omnipotent entity has the power to prevent that suffering. thus an entity who has those three properties could not exist if suffering occurs because if they did, suffering would not occur.

defense of premise 2:
cancer, birth defects, natural disasters, harm caused by non moral agents (animals, plant toxins, bacteria, viruses, different kinds of parasites), damage caused by interactions with chemicals we do not know are dangerous (acids, bases, poisons) etc. all produce suffering that is not caused by other agents with free will.

defense of premise 3:
it is safe to say via the KJV that everything god does is good (psalm 107:1, psalm 145:17, James 1:17, etc)
it is also safe to say that he loves man (john 3:16) and he is not morally flawed like man (psalm 18:30, numbers 23:19)
there should also be no problem saying god is sufficiently powerful (Matthew 19:26, Luke 1:37, Jeremiah 32:27)
and no problem saying he knows everything (1 john 3:20, psalms 147:5)

from the provided verses, it should not be hard to say that the god of the bible is omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent.
Runezor

Con

Introduction:
I would like to start out by clarifying the difference between a proving a contraction within a proposition A and providing evidence against proposition A. A contradiction(Such as those used to prove some theorems in mathematics) shows that a proposition is undoubtedly false, while evidence against a proposition merely reduces the probability that it's true, while having no effect on a logical argument for the proposition.

Premise:
P1:"if suffering (not resulting from free will) exists then an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient entity does not exist".

Counterargument:
I'll start out by clarifying that the Bible does not say that humans were put here as animals in a zoo, only for god to take care of us and keep our happiness and wellbeing at a maximum value. It says we were put here to spend our mortal lives getting to know god. In a world where everything was taken care of by god, where there was no suffering, it's very possible that less people would get to know god.

One can compare the lives of two persons. An African villager who has to fight every day to feed his family, while simultaneously combating illness and poverty, may very well relate to the suffering Christ and from that come to know him, while a person who lives in a three story mansion, and has all his needs and wishes given to him by butlers and waitresses, may not see the need to find god.

My opponent may argue that having to suffer in order to know god is an unfair proposition, but once one gets to know god, he is awarded with eternal happiness in paradise, and with every day the suffering of his mortal life will seem less important compared to the eternal award.

So god permits certain kinds of sufferings: Those caused by free will(which my opponent addressed), and those caused that will further knowledge of god. My opponent rightly pointed out that god is described as good, but like the dentist drilling a persons teeth is acting in a morally correct way: God allowing some suffering to pave the way for greater wellbeing is not doing wrong either. What my opponent would have to show in order to have a successful argument is that there exists suffering which does not fit into either of the two categories.

Counterargument:
p1)if suffering (not resulting from free will or of a gratuitous nature) exists then an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient entity does not exist
p2)suffering not resulting from free will or non-gratuitous is not proven.
c1)an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient entity is not disproven. (p1 and p2 modus ponens)
p3)the god of the bible is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent entity
c2)the god of the bible is not disproven.
Debate Round No. 2
crazedAtheist

Pro

defense:

I will address key points in cons counter:

" In a world where everything was taken care of by god, where there was no suffering, it's very possible that less people would get to know god. "

counter 1- if the god of the bible does in fact have the properties of all good, all knowing and all powerful (a point which was not contended by con), then he would be able to create a world where there was no suffering and everyone knew of him. unless my opponent can show that it is some way impossible for such a world to exist then I would again refer to Mathew 19:26, "But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible".

it is my opponents burden to demonstrate a world with no gratuitous suffering and where all know god is impossible to exist or show that the bible makes a claim that would lead one to believe that such a thing is impossible for god, otherwise there is no reason to assume that an otherwise all powerful and all good god could not or would not create such a world.




"What my opponent would have to show in order to have a successful argument is that there exists suffering which does not fit into either of the two categories." (not furthering the knowledge of god or caused by free will)

counter - whilst this is false if my opponent fails to defeat my first counter, it is also false when relating to memory disorders or severe learning disorders. if someone has a memory or severe learning disorder, and suffers from any one of the problems I mentioned in my defense of premise 2 then the suffering must be gratuitous because such a person cannot learn from the suffering they experience, and thus could never come closer to god. the very existence of memory and learning disorders in conjunction with the other forms of suffering not caused by free will presents the potential for situations where people could suffer with no chance of gaining anything from it.

another example would be people with Alzheimer's who die from painful diseases. they loose there memories and find themselves not suffering in hospital beds for no reason. they have no chance of reflecting on such situations and thus they would die suffering gratuitously.

yet another example is those who have suffered and died before ever hearing of god. the bible describes god as the creator of the world, so if he was creator and all knowing, he must have created this world knowing there would be people who would die never even being introduced to him as a concept. such people would be unable to learn of him, and would suffer from nature just as much as any other, and die. such people will have likely experienced suffering that was neither caused by the free will of others nor capable of furthering their individual knowledge's of god (how could it, they had no such concept).

attack:
my counters serve as much as defenses as they do as rebuttals to P2 of my opponent's counter argument. if my opponent unsuccessfully attacks my argument, then (as his argument is a mirror of mine) any premise of his argument that does not agree with mine (just his P2) is false, making his argument unsound and thus inconclusive (necessarily falsifying his C1 and C2 as if his P2 is false, mine is true, and if my conclusions are true, his conclusions (as directly opposing mine) are false)
Runezor

Con

I"m happy to see my opponent has attempted to address p2, but while argued well, his opposition to it, I believe, ultimately fails, I"ll attempt to show why:

Response to counter 1:
"If the god of the bible does in fact have the properties of all good, all knowing and all powerful (a point which was not contended by con), then he would be able to create a world where there was no suffering and everyone knew of him. ".

I described before how in a world of no suffering, due to human nature, it"s unlikely that everyone would get to know god. Previously in the debate, my opponent has rightly taken into account the premise of free will, but he fails to take it into account here (Since god cannot rule over the human mind, and only attempt to convince it, a world without suffering may not be the most effective way of convincing the most amount of humans.

We"re simply not in a position to say with anything resembling certainty that this is not the world where most humans get to know god, due to free will, some people may very well be impossible to save.

--
"Unless my opponent can show that it is some way impossible for such a world to exist then I would again refer to Mathew 19:26, "But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible".
it is my opponents burden to demonstrate a world with no gratuitous suffering and where all know god is impossible to exist or show that the bible makes a claim that would lead one to believe that such a thing is impossible for god, otherwise there is no reason to assume that an otherwise all powerful and all good god could not or would not create such a world."

In order for my opponents argument to be successful, it would have to show a contradiction within the theistic viewpoint, and therefore the burden of proof is on him to show that there exists a world with less suffering than this one in which more people out of free will would get to know god. Currently, the argument fails to provide a contradiction, and Theism survives the problem of evil(Unless my opponent shows that gratuitous suffering exists without a doubt):

P1): Gratuitous suffering may exist.
P2): God exists.
P3): An all knowing, omnibenevolent and omnipotent god would not allow the existence of gratuitous suffering.
P4: Therefore gratuitous suffering does not exist.

Response to counter 2:
Again my opponent merely gives evidence, not logical conclusions, this time for the existence of gratuitous evil.

--
" if someone has a memory or severe learning disorder, and suffers from any one of the problems I mentioned in my defense of premise 2 then the suffering must be gratuitous because such a person cannot learn from the suffering they experience, and thus could never come closer to god. "

I would like first of all to bring attention to chaos theory, which tells us that small things can have huge effects later on, often getting there through a nearly unpredictable pattern.

If a person has a memory or learning disorder, he/her may not get to know god themselves, but for example the family of the person may feel so much compassion that they see the light, or the suffering will simply prove to be non-gratuitous a thousand years later. While this may sound far fetched " remember, my opponent will have to show that it is logically impossible for such a thing to happen in order to have a successful argument.

--
" yet another example is those who have suffered and died before ever hearing of god."

After this my opponent goes on to speculate that an all knowing god could find a more effective way to spread the gospel, but again this is sheer speculation, without a logical conclusion to show it to be undoubtedly true.
One also has to remember that the gospel teaches that we"re all sinners. Even if god only chose to save a few, he"s not amoral just like the governor that also pardons one man on death row instead of all is not amoral.

--
" such people will have likely experienced suffering that was neither caused by the free will of others nor capable of furthering their individual knowledge's of god (how could it, they had no such concept). "

Again, while it may seem unlikely, in a world where there exists an all good, all knowing and always present god, along with chaos theory, their suffering will(If it hasn't already) somehow turn out to be for the greater good.

Defense of p2:
Thus I maintain that my opponent has not managed prove the existence of gratuitous suffering, and thus p2 remains valid.(Remember that it did not say that the existence of gratuitous suffering is false, it merely says that it is not certain).
Debate Round No. 3
crazedAtheist

Pro

Defense:

"
Since god cannot rule over the human mind, and only attempt to convince it, a world without suffering may not be the most effective way of convincing the most amount of humans."

counter -there is no reason why the god of the bible couldn't make himself known to all people without taking away their free will. they could always choose not to care about him or ignore him or even hate him.

"If a person has a memory or learning disorder, he/her may not get to know god themselves, but for example the family of the person may feel so much compassion that they see the light, or the suffering will simply prove to be non-gratuitous a thousand years later. While this may sound far fetched " remember, my opponent will have to show that it is logically impossible for such a thing to happen in order to have a successful argument."

counter - if this is the case, god could always have chosen to make a world without specific memory and learning disorders. this way, those individuals would be able to learn from their own experiences, and could also have the chance to learn of god, and the people watching them could still learn from their suffering. however, that is not the case.


Runezor

Con

Introduction:

Let me start out by clarifying how one would make a successful argument against the God of the Bible.

1) God has some certain traits which should be reflected in the world somehow.
2) These traits are not reflected in the world.
3) Therefore this god does not exist.

The trait in my opponents argument is that of omnibenevolence, which he does not feel reflected in our world. But remember, even if my opponent shows that such an evil likely exists, it's still not enough, as the god case would still survive:

1) There might exist gratuitous evil.
2) God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient and would not allow for gratuitous evil.
3) Therefore gratuitous evil does not exist.

The burden of proof is on him though, to show that gratuitous evil is existent in the world without a shadow of a doubt, but this seems an insurmountable task. If he does not show that there exists and evil that could not possibly, in a million years, lead to further knowledge of god, he will have failed to make an argument against the theistic case.

--
Response:
"there is no reason why the god of the bible couldn't make himself known to all people without taking away their free will. They could always choose not to care about him or ignore him or even hate him."

When I say know, I don't mean as if they simply know he exists. The god of the Bible is interested in a loving relationship with the humans(Reflected in many of Jesus parables). It may very well be that people are put off by his ways of doing so, and would thus turn away from him. Again I would also like to stress that in the Biblical view, we're all sinners and criminals, thus god is not obliged to save us, we should view a relationship with him as a gift, not as something he owes us.

"if this is the case, god could always have chosen to make a world without specific memory and learning disorders. This way, those individuals would be able to learn from their own experiences, and could also have the chance to learn of god, and the people watching them could still learn from their suffering. However, that is not the case. "

I will refrain to address this point specifically in fear of having my point lost. The thing is, we simply cannot know the outcome if we remove certain disorders of diseases. The burden is on you to show that we can know without a shadow of a doubt that the world would have a better relationship with god if they did not exist. It's not enough to show that it's likely as you have here, you have to take every single little precaution into mind, which makes the problem of evil an nearly insurmountable if not impossible argument to prove.
Debate Round No. 4
crazedAtheist

Pro

Defense:

"When I say know, I don't mean as if they simply know he exists. The god of the Bible is interested in a loving relationship with the humans(Reflected in many of Jesus parables). It may very well be that people are put off by his ways of doing so, and would thus turn away from him. Again I would also like to stress that in the Biblical view, we're all sinners and criminals, thus god is not obliged to save us, we should view a relationship with him as a gift, not as something he owes us."

counter - an omnibenevolent god is, in fact, obliged to save us. if he did not try, then he would not be all loving nor all good. of course, this specific god is also forbidden from altering our free will so there is a limit to how much he can help us, but if he is all loving (as the bible says he is) then he would be obliged by that trait to attempt to assist us.

the only reason we are 'all sinners' is because god has made us that way. he has either made the moral law such that we all inevitably break it or has made us with a fallen nature. every action we humans make morally will not ever be fully informed. our limited knowledge leads us to make mistakes that given more knowledge many of us would not make. if god supplied us with the knowledge of what is morally wrong or morally right, then he would be doing something more good that he would otherwise. similarly, the immediate knowledge of god would make it easier for us to get into a relationship with god. god may not be able to force us into a relationship, but he can make it easier for us to enter one.

if god is compelled to not inform us because of hell, then god should not have created hell in the first place as he is putting moral restrictions on himself, making it harder for him to make it easier for us to enter a relationship with him.

closing:

I would like to thank my opponent runezor for this enjoyable debate. his counters have been very compelling and have forced me to look at this argument from a different perspective. I look forward to any debates we may have in the future.
Runezor

Con

Counters:

"an omnibenevolent god is, in fact, obliged to save us. if he did not try, then he would not be all loving nor all good. of course, this specific god is also forbidden from altering our free will so there is a limit to how much he can help us, but if he is all loving (as the bible says he is) then he would be obliged by that trait to attempt to assist us.

the only reason we are 'all sinners' is because god has made us that way. he has either made the moral law such that we all inevitably break it or has made us with a fallen nature. "

Remember that it was not god who gave us our fallen nature, but Adam and Eva. You may god should have stopped them or created them differently, but that would be interfering with free will. In round 3 I gave the analogy of the governor and the criminal. Remember, compared to god, we're all moral abominations, since he is per definition the highest moral being. God is no more "obliged" to save us than the governor is obliged to save Ted Bundy. Human nature brought us here, god did not, thus he is not obliged to save us.

"every action we humans make morally will not ever be fully informed. our limited knowledge leads us to make mistakes that given more knowledge many of us would not make. if god supplied us with the knowledge of what is morally wrong or morally right, then he would be doing something more good that he would otherwise. similarly, the immediate knowledge of god would make it easier for us to get into a relationship with god. god may not be able to force us into a relationship, but he can make it easier for us to enter one. ".

Again my opponent merely speculates that in another world, there might be a better way for us to know god. He says that if he worked more on spreading knowledge about himself more would get to know him, but it may be so that less people would be interested in having a relationship with a god who constantly advertises himself. But don't forgot that it is only speculation, if my opponent does not take every single little factor into account he cannot prove that there exists a world in which more people would get into a relationship with god, and thus his argument fails.

"if god is compelled to not inform us because of hell, then god should not have created hell in the first place as he is putting moral restrictions on himself, making it harder for him to make it easier for us to enter a relationship with him."

One thing to remember, not all Christians view hell as a place with literal fire and gnashing of teeth. Many believe that is more so a metaphor simply for the agony of living without god, therefore hell is not as much a punishment as a consequence of our inherited sin.

--

Closing:
To those interested in a further discussion about the theistic arguments/counterarguments, I'd recommend the book God?(Which I'm myself currently reading), it's a written debate between two excellent philosophers, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott Armstrong, I myself used a lot of Craigs defenses in this debate, but Armstrong also comes with some excellent counters.

I would like to thank my opponent too for a very interesting and challenging entrance to the debate.org community. I would just like to mention that I am myself an Atheist/Agnostic, but I would still like to stress that in order to keep our integrity, it's important for us to sharpen and question our argument.
Debate Round No. 5
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by crazedAtheist 2 years ago
crazedAtheist
i haven't been on the site for a particularly long time, but as far as i know it can be hit or miss. i think debates will occasionally be promoted in the forums, but beyond that its really just depends on how many people were following the debate when it began, if any at all. and whether those people have been in enough debates themselves to be allowed to vote. beyond that some debaters are more prestigious then others, and they will naturally get a greater following than newbies like you and i. (where i'm slightly less new)
Posted by Runezor 2 years ago
Runezor
Erhm, no votes as of yet it seems. Is one supposed to promote the debate, or is it just not very interesting for the users here? Again I'm new here so I'm not sure.
Posted by Runezor 2 years ago
Runezor
Thanks for the debate. It was a really enjoyable way to begin my entrance into this debate.org thing, I've uploaded the final argument myself now, good luck in the voting section :)
Posted by crazedAtheist 2 years ago
crazedAtheist
final argument uploaded! this was enjoyable. ill have to rethink my approach to the problem of evil.
Posted by Runezor 2 years ago
Runezor
Sorry for my late rebuttal, I've been a little busy. But the debate carries on!
Posted by crazedAtheist 2 years ago
crazedAtheist
uploaded my response. sorry for its brevity.
Posted by Runezor 2 years ago
Runezor
Rebuttal uploaded. So far this has been quite an interesting debate.
Posted by crazedAtheist 2 years ago
crazedAtheist
i have no issue with technical stuff, as long as what your saying is both readable and unambiguous i won't use up my precious precious letter limit speaking about it :P

all joking aside, i look forward to what this debate has in store.
Posted by Runezor 2 years ago
Runezor
Posted my argument, I hope mr Crazed will give me a bit of leverage(On the technical part of debating) since this is my first debate here. And thanks for the comment Seeksecularism.
Posted by Seeksecularism 2 years ago
Seeksecularism
Impressive opening argument crazedatheist and I have a lot of respect for runezor for stepping into another view for a debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.