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The PoE

innomen
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7/13/2011 3:04:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I've heard people lose their faith over 'the problem of evil' in some form or another, and i have often heard this as a debate point from atheists and agnostics.

I find the argument to be rooted in egocentric values and assumptions.

What if pain and suffering was only terrible to us, but they serve a means to an end, same with evil. What if the purpose of our existence was dependent on these components of life and how we cope with them, and build from them. What if our outrage at God for these occurences is no more than a one sided look at the situation, and there is purpose in those things that we take as being horrible, and without meaning.

What if the problem of evil is only a problem as we see it, but actually isn't a problem at all.
Indophile
Posts: 1,414
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7/13/2011 3:15:50 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:04:14 PM, innomen wrote:
I've heard people lose their faith over 'the problem of evil' in some form or another, and i have often heard this as a debate point from atheists and agnostics.

I find the argument to be rooted in egocentric values and assumptions.

What if pain and suffering was only terrible to us, but they serve a means to an end, same with evil. What if the purpose of our existence was dependent on these components of life and how we cope with them, and build from them. What if our outrage at God for these occurences is no more than a one sided look at the situation, and there is purpose in those things that we take as being horrible, and without meaning.

What if the problem of evil is only a problem as we see it, but actually isn't a problem at all.

What if the benefit of good is only a benefit as we see it, but actually isn't a benefit at all?
You will say that I don't really know you
And it will be true.
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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7/13/2011 3:17:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
This pretty much seems like the argument from ignorance to me. I don't like it because it makes God untouchable. You can say that for just about anything and it puts God beyond any kind of critique. Any logical, rational opposition to him can just be defended with "Well, God knows best" or "Oh, God has a bigger plan". I have debated this a thousand times before and trust me, it is like banging your head repeatedly against a wall.
Meatros
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7/13/2011 3:18:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:04:14 PM, innomen wrote:
I've heard people lose their faith over 'the problem of evil' in some form or another, and i have often heard this as a debate point from atheists and agnostics.

I find the argument to be rooted in egocentric values and assumptions.

What if pain and suffering was only terrible to us, but they serve a means to an end, same with evil. What if the purpose of our existence was dependent on these components of life and how we cope with them, and build from them. What if our outrage at God for these occurences is no more than a one sided look at the situation, and there is purpose in those things that we take as being horrible, and without meaning.

What if the problem of evil is only a problem as we see it, but actually isn't a problem at all.

That could be the case; however, what reason do we have to suppose it actually is the case?

It seems sufficient to me that if the evidence points this way, then absent good reason, I'll follow the evidence where it leads.
innomen
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7/13/2011 3:24:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
If our purpose for existing isn't to be happy, but to grow, and the two are often incompatible, unhappiness is a necessary component for our purpose.

I am a better person for the pain and suffering that i have experienced in my life, and i would not be as good a person without those things. Pain and suffering has contributed more to my growth than anything else, and without the pain and suffering i would be a lesser person. Our society is better off if it experiences and grows from pain and suffering, has to grapple with moral outrages and we will only make great strides in our growth through these things. Being happy and content will not contribute greatly to our existence without pain and suffering.
Meatros
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7/13/2011 3:30:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:24:18 PM, innomen wrote:
If our purpose for existing isn't to be happy, but to grow, and the two are often incompatible, unhappiness is a necessary component for our purpose.

I am a better person for the pain and suffering that i have experienced in my life, and i would not be as good a person without those things. Pain and suffering has contributed more to my growth than anything else, and without the pain and suffering i would be a lesser person. Our society is better off if it experiences and grows from pain and suffering, has to grapple with moral outrages and we will only make great strides in our growth through these things. Being happy and content will not contribute greatly to our existence without pain and suffering.

How has the pain and suffering inflicted by the ebola virus turned out to be a net positive?
Thaddeus
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7/13/2011 3:30:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:17:17 PM, jat93 wrote:
This pretty much seems like the argument from ignorance to me. I don't like it because it makes God untouchable. You can say that for just about anything and it puts God beyond any kind of critique. Any logical, rational opposition to him can just be defended with "Well, God knows best" or "Oh, God has a bigger plan". I have debated this a thousand times before and trust me, it is like banging your head repeatedly against a wall.

It isn't actually argument from ignorance. It just states that the POE syllogism doesn't work to show there can not be a god if there is a sufficient moral reason for God to allow evil. Whether it makes the existence of god less likely is up for debate.
Thaddeus
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7/13/2011 3:33:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:30:14 PM, Meatros wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:24:18 PM, innomen wrote:
If our purpose for existing isn't to be happy, but to grow, and the two are often incompatible, unhappiness is a necessary component for our purpose.

I am a better person for the pain and suffering that i have experienced in my life, and i would not be as good a person without those things. Pain and suffering has contributed more to my growth than anything else, and without the pain and suffering i would be a lesser person. Our society is better off if it experiences and grows from pain and suffering, has to grapple with moral outrages and we will only make great strides in our growth through these things. Being happy and content will not contribute greatly to our existence without pain and suffering.

How has the pain and suffering inflicted by the ebola virus turned out to be a net positive?

The sneaky thing about the sufficient moral reason clause is that it doesn't need to deal with any specifics as no specific reason is being claimed.
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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7/13/2011 3:36:41 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:30:14 PM, Meatros wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:24:18 PM, innomen wrote:
If our purpose for existing isn't to be happy, but to grow, and the two are often incompatible, unhappiness is a necessary component for our purpose.

I am a better person for the pain and suffering that i have experienced in my life, and i would not be as good a person without those things. Pain and suffering has contributed more to my growth than anything else, and without the pain and suffering i would be a lesser person. Our society is better off if it experiences and grows from pain and suffering, has to grapple with moral outrages and we will only make great strides in our growth through these things. Being happy and content will not contribute greatly to our existence without pain and suffering.

How has the pain and suffering inflicted by the ebola virus turned out to be a net positive?

How we cope with it as a people, how we might grow individually in the experience, how we may build our empathy, or as a community deal with a crisis. It is especially easier to understand if you accept an afterlife so that our little stint here has even less meaning than the big picture of where we might go from here.
innomen
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7/13/2011 3:38:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:33:23 PM, Thaddeus wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:30:14 PM, Meatros wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:24:18 PM, innomen wrote:
If our purpose for existing isn't to be happy, but to grow, and the two are often incompatible, unhappiness is a necessary component for our purpose.

I am a better person for the pain and suffering that i have experienced in my life, and i would not be as good a person without those things. Pain and suffering has contributed more to my growth than anything else, and without the pain and suffering i would be a lesser person. Our society is better off if it experiences and grows from pain and suffering, has to grapple with moral outrages and we will only make great strides in our growth through these things. Being happy and content will not contribute greatly to our existence without pain and suffering.

How has the pain and suffering inflicted by the ebola virus turned out to be a net positive?

The sneaky thing about the sufficient moral reason clause is that it doesn't need to deal with any specifics as no specific reason is being claimed.

I believe i have given reason, and dealt with specifics. In all things there is purpose, and the purpose in all things is growth.
Thaddeus
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7/13/2011 3:41:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
We have faith there is purpose, but not necessarily knowledge of what the purpose is. I don't know why genocides and natural disasters happen.
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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7/13/2011 3:44:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
What if the purpose of our existence was dependent on these components of life
Not compatible with the existence of an omnipotent being.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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7/13/2011 3:45:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:30:14 PM, Meatros wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:24:18 PM, innomen wrote:
If our purpose for existing isn't to be happy, but to grow, and the two are often incompatible, unhappiness is a necessary component for our purpose.

I am a better person for the pain and suffering that i have experienced in my life, and i would not be as good a person without those things. Pain and suffering has contributed more to my growth than anything else, and without the pain and suffering i would be a lesser person. Our society is better off if it experiences and grows from pain and suffering, has to grapple with moral outrages and we will only make great strides in our growth through these things. Being happy and content will not contribute greatly to our existence without pain and suffering.

How has the pain and suffering inflicted by the ebola virus turned out to be a net positive?

I find it very hard to reconcile a perfectly kind, loving, benevolent God with diseases inflicted to babies in utero (tay-sachs for example) or natural disasters that claim thousands of lives like volcanoes and tsunamis. At least assuming that God is omnipotent and omniscient. All under the guise of some kind of a net positive "growth"?

No way. And if he is kind and loving AND omnipotent and omniscient, he should be able to do it in a manner that does not involve GREAT amounts of suffering. This argument works for minimal suffering, at best. Not for babies born into suffering with awful diseases and random freak earthquakes and tsunamies.

Furthermore, if you want to make the contention that it's all for growth in the long run, you negate the existence of a personal God, who would never allow one awful thing to happen to one being so another being can "grow" from it.

In short that argument raises 100000 more problems than it even attempts to solve and doesn't even solve what it attempts to.
innomen
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7/13/2011 3:48:00 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:41:30 PM, Thaddeus wrote:
We have faith there is purpose, but not necessarily knowledge of what the purpose is. I don't know why genocides and natural disasters happen.

Look at the holocaust; nothing in history has changed us as a people like the holocaust. It has changed the geography of the mideast, and has changed Judaism like nothing before. Our very understanding of humanity was changed as a result of the holocaust. As horrible as it is, it made us better to have made our way through it. The pain and suffering was beyond profound, but the impact on each of us, and society as a whole has also been profound. The lessons are innumerable and questions that we have posed on the meaning of life is unprecedented. Was it a good thing, no, of course not, did it add to our growth, very much so.
wjmelements
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7/13/2011 3:50:30 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
pain/suffering as a means to an end

Shouldn't an all-knowing all-loving god be able to find a means to the end that doesn't involve pain and suffering?
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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7/13/2011 3:51:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:45:30 PM, jat93 wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:30:14 PM, Meatros wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:24:18 PM, innomen wrote:
If our purpose for existing isn't to be happy, but to grow, and the two are often incompatible, unhappiness is a necessary component for our purpose.

I am a better person for the pain and suffering that i have experienced in my life, and i would not be as good a person without those things. Pain and suffering has contributed more to my growth than anything else, and without the pain and suffering i would be a lesser person. Our society is better off if it experiences and grows from pain and suffering, has to grapple with moral outrages and we will only make great strides in our growth through these things. Being happy and content will not contribute greatly to our existence without pain and suffering.

How has the pain and suffering inflicted by the ebola virus turned out to be a net positive?

I find it very hard to reconcile a perfectly kind, loving, benevolent God with diseases inflicted to babies in utero (tay-sachs for example) or natural disasters that claim thousands of lives like volcanoes and tsunamis. At least assuming that God is omnipotent and omniscient. All under the guise of some kind of a net positive "growth"?

No way. And if he is kind and loving AND omnipotent and omniscient, he should be able to do it in a manner that does not involve GREAT amounts of suffering. This argument works for minimal suffering, at best. Not for babies born into suffering with awful diseases and random freak earthquakes and tsunamies.

Furthermore, if you want to make the contention that it's all for growth in the long run, you negate the existence of a personal God, who would never allow one awful thing to happen to one being so another being can "grow" from it.

In short that argument raises 100000 more problems than it even attempts to solve and doesn't even solve what it attempts to.

That's because your understanding of God is stuck in the anthropomorphic accepted understanding of the nature of God.

Not true on the personal God. At the micro level God provides lessons that are often through pain and suffering in order for us to find greater happiness. When we make sense of this pain and suffering and understand where we stand in the universe, and who we are, we find greater happiness and enlightenment.
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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7/13/2011 3:53:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:48:00 PM, innomen wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:41:30 PM, Thaddeus wrote:
We have faith there is purpose, but not necessarily knowledge of what the purpose is. I don't know why genocides and natural disasters happen.

Look at the holocaust; nothing in history has changed us as a people like the holocaust. It has changed the geography of the mideast, and has changed Judaism like nothing before. Our very understanding of humanity was changed as a result of the holocaust. As horrible as it is, it made us better to have made our way through it. The pain and suffering was beyond profound, but the impact on each of us, and society as a whole has also been profound. The lessons are innumerable and questions that we have posed on the meaning of life is unprecedented. Was it a good thing, no, of course not, did it add to our growth, very much so.

- If he is omnipotent and omniscient he should be able to accomplish whatever positives the Holocaust accomplished, without something with as many negatives as the Holocaust.
- This argument, if valid, certainly negates the existence of a personal God, who wouldn't completely disregard the lives of millions in order to better the lives of others, no matter how many.
innomen
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7/13/2011 3:53:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:50:30 PM, wjmelements wrote:
pain/suffering as a means to an end

Shouldn't an all-knowing all-loving god be able to find a means to the end that doesn't involve pain and suffering?

No, why? If pain and suffering is only important to us, is OUR value not His, why? Pain and suffering is part of the process, we just don't like it much.
innomen
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7/13/2011 3:55:35 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:53:24 PM, jat93 wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:48:00 PM, innomen wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:41:30 PM, Thaddeus wrote:
We have faith there is purpose, but not necessarily knowledge of what the purpose is. I don't know why genocides and natural disasters happen.

Look at the holocaust; nothing in history has changed us as a people like the holocaust. It has changed the geography of the mideast, and has changed Judaism like nothing before. Our very understanding of humanity was changed as a result of the holocaust. As horrible as it is, it made us better to have made our way through it. The pain and suffering was beyond profound, but the impact on each of us, and society as a whole has also been profound. The lessons are innumerable and questions that we have posed on the meaning of life is unprecedented. Was it a good thing, no, of course not, did it add to our growth, very much so.

- If he is omnipotent and omniscient he should be able to accomplish whatever positives the Holocaust accomplished, without something with as many negatives as the Holocaust.
- This argument, if valid, certainly negates the existence of a personal God, who wouldn't completely disregard the lives of millions in order to better the lives of others, no matter how many.

I still don't see that. You're missing the point of pain and suffering being OUR value, not His.
innomen
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7/13/2011 3:57:06 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:44:35 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
What if the purpose of our existence was dependent on these components of life
Not compatible with the existence of an omnipotent being.

Still not bending from our value not being His value.
popculturepooka
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7/13/2011 4:48:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I've never quite understood people who aren't troubled by the poe to be honest.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
innomen
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7/13/2011 4:59:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 4:48:10 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
I've never quite understood people who aren't troubled by the poe to be honest.

Because the PoE exists for us, and our values and our understanding of how God should be on our terms, and our understanding of why we are here. It's completely an egocentric problem one based on an anthropomorphized God. A faith that is based on purpose doesn't have a problem with evil. It does create problems with those who adhere to the bible literally, which is a big reason why i cannot.
unitedandy
Posts: 1,173
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7/13/2011 5:18:29 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
As much as I respect your opinion Innomen, I've got to say I think you're dead wrong here. Your assessment of the problem of evil here sees it limited to trivial evils, like a stubbed toe or a bruised ego. There are things in the world where not only is it hard to reconcile given a God as described by Christianity, but I'm not sure such things could even be reconciled in principle. The examples of this that I often use when debating this is:

"Many babies each year are born with Down's syndrome. Most of these babies, with normal paediatric care, will grow up healthy. A significant number, however, have intestinal obstructions that will kill them if they do not receive an operation. Without the operation, dehydration and infection will cause these babies to wither and die over a period of hours and days. Today this operation is relatively simple, but not long ago these babies could not be saved . . . This baby (one born in the past with this) suffers for days, then dies."

Take other examples, like dementia - the systematic erosion of a person over a period of time, or the fawn trapped in a forest fire suffering for days in agony until it dies anonymously, or the very fact that the fate of all animals (excluding ourselves) is to be prey or predator and you kind of wonder if there would be any sufficient moral reason that could be feasible, even in principle. Offering solutions is very difficult I think when you have to defend these criticisms against someone who advocates the PoE, and from my experience, it's not difficult to see immediate flaws in pretty much any attempt to do so.

I'd agree with pop and you one further, either the PoE is very troubling to you, or you just don't have a grip on how bad some sentient beings have it. Anyway, I'd be more than happy to debate the PoE with anyone who thinks it is a poor argument, because, IMO, it's still by far the strongest argument in the God debate on either side.
ApostateAbe
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7/13/2011 5:36:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 3:04:14 PM, innomen wrote:
I've heard people lose their faith over 'the problem of evil' in some form or another, and i have often heard this as a debate point from atheists and agnostics.

I find the argument to be rooted in egocentric values and assumptions.

What if pain and suffering was only terrible to us, but they serve a means to an end, same with evil. What if the purpose of our existence was dependent on these components of life and how we cope with them, and build from them. What if our outrage at God for these occurences is no more than a one sided look at the situation, and there is purpose in those things that we take as being horrible, and without meaning.

What if the problem of evil is only a problem as we see it, but actually isn't a problem at all.

OK, so, suppose that I have tied up a little boy, and then I started poking lit cigarettes on all of the sensitive spots on his bodo, letting hobo spiders crawl over him and make nests in his clothing, and letting hungry rats feed on his extremities. You are standing off to the side holstering a stun gun and handcuffs. You say:

"That boy's suffering is only terrible to him, but it serves a means to an end. Besides, the purpose of his existence is dependent on those components of life and how he copes with them and builds from them. His outrage at me for these occurrences is no more than a one-sided look at the situation, and there is purpose in those this that he takes as being horrible and without meaning. The problem of evil is only a problem as he sees it, but actually isn't a problem at all."

Then I give you a thumbs up and proceed to sodomize him with a paring knife.

If you think this is unlikely, then I invite you to review this news article published in 2008:

http://abcnews.go.com...

Since the problem of evil is entirely a moral problem, then it can really hit you in the gut. But, the subjectivity of it also makes easy to shrug your shoulders, pass the buck, eat delicious food, swig a drink, light a cigar, watch TV, and go to sleep in your comfortable bed at night. Only by forcing yourself to have a realistic perspective can you have a true grasp of the magnitude of the problem.
RoyLatham
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7/13/2011 5:37:47 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It's usually called the Argument from Evil (AE) and is stated as "If there is an omnipotent, omniscient, and good God then there would be less suffering in the world than there is. The cases of interest are the seemingly random and pointless instances of deaths of small children by accidents and disease.

One resolution is to grant lack of omnipotence, with an evil being such as Satan locked in a struggle with God.

The resolution offered in this thread is that random suffering is really good, but that mortals are not able to understand the good. If random suffering is part of God's plan, then interfering to stop random suffering must be interfering with God's, because God clearly needed the suffering for His plan, because he allowed it in the first place. Moreover, if God wants people to do good, but apparently-needless suffering is sometimes secretly good and sometime not.

If one then says what is good from the viewpoint of God is not good from the viewpoint of man, then morality is relative and situation dependent. That is as serious a contradiction to Christian precepts as the original.
JustCallMeTarzan
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7/13/2011 5:42:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 4:59:36 PM, innomen wrote:
At 7/13/2011 4:48:10 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
I've never quite understood people who aren't troubled by the poe to be honest.

Because the PoE exists for us, and our values and our understanding of how God should be on our terms, and our understanding of why we are here. It's completely an egocentric problem one based on an anthropomorphized God. A faith that is based on purpose doesn't have a problem with evil. It does create problems with those who adhere to the bible literally, which is a big reason why i cannot.

The problem of evil cannot be dismissed as an egocentric misunderstanding of how god interacts with the world.

Just for clarity, I'm talking about the PoE formatted as if there is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god, why doesn't he know how to, know of, or seek to stop the occurrence of evil...

The problem is not one of the ego - the PoE arises completely from our understanding of god and morality. The basic root of the problem is either god has a moral code or he doesn't. If he doesn't, then our premise that he is omnibenevolent fails because there is no such thing as an "all-good being who doesn't differentiate good from evil." If he does, the only thing we have by which to judge his moral code is theology.

If we differentiate between natural and man-made evils (i.e. earthquakes vs murder), we run into the problem of free will. And anyone that has ever studied that issue should arrive at the obvious conclusion that either we do not have free will or god is not omniscient (or you use the cop-out of agency free will).

So we are left with one of:

We do not have free will and God causes evil.
God is not omniscient.
God is not omnibenevolent.
We don't know what we are talking about when we say "good" and "evil".
There is no god.

Take your pick.
innomen
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7/13/2011 5:49:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 5:18:29 PM, unitedandy wrote:
As much as I respect your opinion Innomen, I've got to say I think you're dead wrong here. Your assessment of the problem of evil here sees it limited to trivial evils, like a stubbed toe or a bruised ego. There are things in the world where not only is it hard to reconcile given a God as described by Christianity, but I'm not sure such things could even be reconciled in principle. The examples of this that I often use when debating this is:

I gave an example of the Holocaust, so i think I backed it up with something fairly profound.

"Many babies each year are born with Down's syndrome. Most of these babies, with normal paediatric care, will grow up healthy. A significant number, however, have intestinal obstructions that will kill them if they do not receive an operation. Without the operation, dehydration and infection will cause these babies to wither and die over a period of hours and days. Today this operation is relatively simple, but not long ago these babies could not be saved . . . This baby (one born in the past with this) suffers for days, then dies."

Again, you are using your values and saying they must be God's values, and this situation is more important, because it is more important to people. You are just repeating the same thing. Pain and suffering is the worst thing that can exist, and is bad, but if you take a step back, if life is eternal and our primary purpose is to grow, then pain and suffering is less important than the process of purpose. If this sort of moral outrage is sparked within you, then it is further developing your morality, and you are further growing.

Take other examples, like dementia - the systematic erosion of a person over a period of time, or the fawn trapped in a forest fire suffering for days in agony until it dies anonymously, or the very fact that the fate of all animals (excluding ourselves) is to be prey or predator and you kind of wonder if there would be any sufficient moral reason that could be feasible, even in principle. Offering solutions is very difficult I think when you have to defend these criticisms against someone who advocates the PoE, and from my experience, it's not difficult to see immediate flaws in pretty much any attempt to do so.

Again, pain and suffering is a problem for us because we deem it to be the worst things that can happen, as it should be. However, if they (pain and suffering) were considered an ingedient in the process of making us better and better, a component in the formation of a moral system, and distinguishing between good and bad, happy and unhappy, then our personal comfort is likely to be expendable.

I'd agree with pop and you one further, either the PoE is very troubling to you, or you just don't have a grip on how bad some sentient beings have it. Anyway, I'd be more than happy to debate the PoE with anyone who thinks it is a poor argument, because, IMO, it's still by far the strongest argument in the God debate on either side.
Since it is probably THE most common argument it is, i guess, considered it is a good argument, but in an examined life, one where a fearless and searching inventory was made, where all experiences and their impact on one's life is examined and understood, then the problem of evil evaporates.

Again, in a faith based on purpose the PoE doesn't exist.
innomen
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7/13/2011 5:54:56 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 5:36:01 PM, ApostateAbe wrote:
At 7/13/2011 3:04:14 PM, innomen wrote:
I've heard people lose their faith over 'the problem of evil' in some form or another, and i have often heard this as a debate point from atheists and agnostics.

I find the argument to be rooted in egocentric values and assumptions.

What if pain and suffering was only terrible to us, but they serve a means to an end, same with evil. What if the purpose of our existence was dependent on these components of life and how we cope with them, and build from them. What if our outrage at God for these occurences is no more than a one sided look at the situation, and there is purpose in those things that we take as being horrible, and without meaning.

What if the problem of evil is only a problem as we see it, but actually isn't a problem at all.

OK, so, suppose that I have tied up a little boy, and then I started poking lit cigarettes on all of the sensitive spots on his bodo, letting hobo spiders crawl over him and make nests in his clothing, and letting hungry rats feed on his extremities. You are standing off to the side holstering a stun gun and handcuffs. You say:

"That boy's suffering is only terrible to him, but it serves a means to an end. Besides, the purpose of his existence is dependent on those components of life and how he copes with them and builds from them. His outrage at me for these occurrences is no more than a one-sided look at the situation, and there is purpose in those this that he takes as being horrible and without meaning. The problem of evil is only a problem as he sees it, but actually isn't a problem at all."

Then I give you a thumbs up and proceed to sodomize him with a paring knife.

If you think this is unlikely, then I invite you to review this news article published in 2008:

http://abcnews.go.com...

Since the problem of evil is entirely a moral problem, then it can really hit you in the gut. But, the subjectivity of it also makes easy to shrug your shoulders, pass the buck, eat delicious food, swig a drink, light a cigar, watch TV, and go to sleep in your comfortable bed at night. Only by forcing yourself to have a realistic perspective can you have a true grasp of the magnitude of the problem.

You're completely not getting it. The fact that you have moral indignation over this shows that your morality is strengthened by horrifying acts, and you are further compelled to do something about it. This makes you a better person.

I have no idea where you are getting anything that remotely suggests we should be consenting to evil, quite the opposite.
innomen
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7/13/2011 6:08:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/13/2011 5:42:23 PM, JustCallMeTarzan wrote:
At 7/13/2011 4:59:36 PM, innomen wrote:
At 7/13/2011 4:48:10 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
I've never quite understood people who aren't troubled by the poe to be honest.

Because the PoE exists for us, and our values and our understanding of how God should be on our terms, and our understanding of why we are here. It's completely an egocentric problem one based on an anthropomorphized God. A faith that is based on purpose doesn't have a problem with evil. It does create problems with those who adhere to the bible literally, which is a big reason why i cannot.

The problem of evil cannot be dismissed as an egocentric misunderstanding of how god interacts with the world.

Just for clarity, I'm talking about the PoE formatted as if there is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god, why doesn't he know how to, know of, or seek to stop the occurrence of evil...

I don't find it helpful to make any claim in understanding the exact nature of God, nor will i adhere to any concept of God. With that it is my contention that evil is a part of what helps us become better and to grow. Evil exists so we can become more.

The problem is not one of the ego - the PoE arises completely from our understanding of god and morality. The basic root of the problem is either god has a moral code or he doesn't. If he doesn't, then our premise that he is omnibenevolent fails because there is no such thing as an "all-good being who doesn't differentiate good from evil." If he does, the only thing we have by which to judge his moral code is theology.

The problem of evil helps define our morality, and is responsible for us learning a moral code. I don't think that i have said that God is an "all good being". Morality is a tool for us in order for us to become better.

If we differentiate between natural and man-made evils (i.e. earthquakes vs murder), we run into the problem of free will. And anyone that has ever studied that issue should arrive at the obvious conclusion that either we do not have free will or god is not omniscient (or you use the cop-out of agency free will).

Grappling with the evil within us is another example of how we grow. Omniscient, i don't know. It would be absurd for me to presume to have all the answers to something like this. Purpose makes sense to me in every corner of my life and the understanding of life that i have.