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Free will and the problem of evil

natoast
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2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times? Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?
GarretKadeDupre
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2/19/2013 6:59:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us?

How many physical limitations would you prefer, as opposed to the number we have now?

Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him

Because that would be making us God. And God can't make anyone else God, that's illogical. I hope you don't ask why God can't defy the laws of logic because I really don't wanna get into that.

, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times? Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions?

Anecdotally, I've experienced what's it like to have no emotions. You may or may not believe me, but nevertheless, I decided to make the best of a horrible situation and discover if I could love (do helpful things) for people without obtaining pleasure from it. The answer: Yes.

If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will,

This is not obstructing your free will. This is influencing your decision, but it doesn't limit your free will in any way. Free Will is a faculty of the soul, while emotions are a faculty of the brain.

because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?
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medic0506
Posts: 13,450
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2/19/2013 7:07:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times?

It seems here that you seem to believe that free will would entail each individual being able to choose all properties that are applicable to them. I'm not sure that's even a challenge to free will. You're a human being, thus you have properties that all humans have. No one has the option of defying physical laws, but that is not what free will is about. It's having the ability to make decisions in our lives. To choose good over evil, right over wrong, etc. Free will does not imply that you get to choose every single detail about the world that you live in.

Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

You have compassion because of free will. You aren't born with it, just look at an angry toddler who hits and bites if he doesn't get his way, no compassion. Compassion comes through knowing the consequences of bad decisions, and the suffering of others. God is not making you donate to the church, that is a reaction to the compassion that you feel and a desire to want to help others. That is you exercising your free will for good, but you still can choose to not donate.
EvanK
Posts: 599
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2/19/2013 7:14:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times? Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

Not what I believe, but the common response I get is, God made us good, and we choose to be evil. Of course, there are many problems with this, but I think it comes down to people wanting it both ways. They want the good to be credited to God, and the evil to humans.

I'd go so far as to say that many people who do wrong don't do so because they wake up one day, and say "I'm going to be a mass murdering rapist", but do so because of outside variables, mainly, the way they are brought up.

So in a way, people really don't have "free will", per se. They have the will to choose between the options that they know of, and act on what feels right to them. In other words, someone with a rough upbringing won't feel the same way you or I do in regards to murder, rape, etc. Their ability to be good is damaged due to their upbringing (or other factors) and so they choose to be bad, because it is ok to them. But it really isn't their fault that they're this way.

My point is, the idea that God "gives" us our good, and we give us our bad is ridiculous. It seems to me that most people have the inate sense to do good, but there are, of course, those who aren't that way, for whatever reason (chemical differences in the brain or something?) On the large scale of things, this is how a large portion of our murderers, rapists, burglers, etc come about. They usually grow up in an atmosphere where these things are ok. So of course they will usually grow up believing such actions are ok.

What I mean to say is, it is arguable that we don't entirely possess "Free will", in the traditional sense that we believe we do. I, of course, don't think God has anything to do with it. Humans do.

Perhaps you wanted a response from a theist, but I felt like adding my two cents. I think human behaviour can be explained without God.
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

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GarretKadeDupre
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2/19/2013 7:18:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
EvanK, so if I were to go back in time and switch bodies with a person who would eventually rape children, I would definitely rape children too?
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EvanK
Posts: 599
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2/19/2013 7:26:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 7:18:12 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
EvanK, so if I were to go back in time and switch bodies with a person who would eventually rape children, I would definitely rape children too?

What do you mean, switch bodies?

Why do you think people rape children? Because they wake up one morning and decide to be a child rapist? Most would consider this unusual behaviour to say the least.

I suppose in the Christian world view, they do wake up and decide that they hate God and love the devil and decide to rape children. I choose to look at the problem rationally, and try to find the real root of the problem. It isn't spritual, it's mental.
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
GarretKadeDupre
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2/19/2013 7:32:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 7:26:09 PM, EvanK wrote:
At 2/19/2013 7:18:12 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
EvanK, so if I were to go back in time and switch bodies with a person who would eventually rape children, I would definitely rape children too?

What do you mean, switch bodies?

Why do you think people rape children? Because they wake up one morning and decide to be a child rapist? Most would consider this unusual behaviour to say the least.

I suppose in the Christian world view, they do wake up and decide that they hate God and love the devil and decide to rape children. I choose to look at the problem rationally, and try to find the real root of the problem. It isn't spritual, it's mental.

So I'm my body, and nothing more? Am I just my brain? When I said switch bodies, I meant replace my body with his but retain my consciousness / sense of identity. After all, we do have free will, don't we? Or do we have merely the illusion of free will?

I don't think people wake up one morning and decide to be a child rapist. It happens gradually, over time. After a period of time of choosing lesser evils, your brain's mechanisms of making child rape repelling and digusting become desensitized and you are less scrupulous. It doesn't mean you didn't choose it voluntarily though.
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EvanK
Posts: 599
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2/19/2013 7:50:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 7:32:55 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 2/19/2013 7:26:09 PM, EvanK wrote:
At 2/19/2013 7:18:12 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
EvanK, so if I were to go back in time and switch bodies with a person who would eventually rape children, I would definitely rape children too?

What do you mean, switch bodies?

Why do you think people rape children? Because they wake up one morning and decide to be a child rapist? Most would consider this unusual behaviour to say the least.

I suppose in the Christian world view, they do wake up and decide that they hate God and love the devil and decide to rape children. I choose to look at the problem rationally, and try to find the real root of the problem. It isn't spritual, it's mental.

So I'm my body, and nothing more? Am I just my brain? When I said switch bodies, I meant replace my body with his but retain my consciousness / sense of identity. After all, we do have free will, don't we? Or do we have merely the illusion of free will?

I cannot explain the science behind conciousness and free will. But from my understanding, yes, in a way, all we are, are bodies with brains. Your personality can be affected by brain damage (people with head injuries sometimes have personality changes). That being said, I think that personality has to do with your brain, not with your "soul". Do we have free will? Not in the way we think we do.

Most people, usually described as "normal", are good people. Our desire to be good is partly inate, but more due to our upbringing. Good parenting almost always = Good people (there are obviously more factors than parenting, but parenting is the most important). So when we reach adulthood, where most of our development is complete, we are almost programmed to be good. I couldn't imagine myself being a murderer, due to my upbringing. Even killing in self defense, I would have a problem.

Then there are those, who aren't normal by our standards. Obviously, they consider things like rape and murder to be alright. They are almost always thinking of themselves, never of any outside consequences. And this doesn't happen over night. You could say, their brains are programmed to think that these things are ok. They don't have the same morality as we do, and this is a mental problem, something that is almost always out of their hands.

So do we have free will? I personally don't believe that we have 100% free will, as we believe we do. I think we are programmed to do or not do somethings, or at least desire to do or not to do somethings. ie, I am programmed to not desire to kill, and a child molester is programmed to desire to harm children. This affects our ability to make choices, and so I believe that criminals aren't 100% responsible for their actions. Should they be punished? Yes. But that doesn't mean that it is entirely their fault.


I don't think people wake up one morning and decide to be a child rapist. It happens gradually, over time. After a period of time of choosing lesser evils, your brain's mechanisms of making child rape repelling and digusting become desensitized and you are less scrupulous. It doesn't mean you didn't choose it voluntarily though.

Yes, hence why I believe it is a mental problem, and not a spiritual one. Why I don't believe God has anything to do with our acting good or bad.
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of people's money."_Margaret Thatcher

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."_Thomas Jefferson

"The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."_Thomas Jefferson

"It is easier to fool someone than to convince them that they have been fooled."-Mark Twain
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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2/19/2013 8:02:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times? Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

Oh dear, i have so much to say about that, I better not say anything at all.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
natoast
Posts: 204
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2/19/2013 8:30:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 7:07:09 PM, medic0506 wrote:

You have compassion because of free will. You aren't born with it, just look at an angry toddler who hits and bites if he doesn't get his way, no compassion. Compassion comes through knowing the consequences of bad decisions, and the suffering of others. God is not making you donate to the church, that is a reaction to the compassion that you feel and a desire to want to help others. That is you exercising your free will for good, but you still can choose to not donate.

For now, I'm only to going to respond to this point, because I don't want to get into two debates at once and I think that it is the stronger of the two.
If I understand the standard refutation to the PoE, god has to allow evil because if he where to always have people be good, then we would no longer have free will.
I disagree that we are not born with compassion, but say we aren't. You said right in your example that we are born with anger. Anger is an emotion that compels us to act violently against others, an evil action. If god wants us to make decisions without his intervention, why does he sometimes urge us, with anger, to act violently?
joneszj
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2/19/2013 8:31:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 8:02:18 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times? Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

Oh dear, i have so much to say about that, I better not say anything at all.

Lol, this ^
GarretKadeDupre
Posts: 2,023
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2/19/2013 10:28:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 8:02:18 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times? Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

Oh dear, i have so much to say about that, I better not say anything at all.

Please do!
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Smithereens
Posts: 5,512
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2/19/2013 11:00:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times? Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

There are multiple problems with your opinion (in my opinion :D) but I do not hold the most informed position so any constructive criticism of my position is appreciated.

Firstly, your suggestion of what we should be like is based less on reason, more of what we as a human want to be like. God has granted us freedom of will and thought, not freedom from physical laws of nature. Imagine a world where all humans had god-like properties. Would it work? Not at all. We certainly wouldn't be human mentally. The environments we live in shape our personalities and our views and understanding of the world and the people in it. In Psychology, this is referred to as behaviourism.

Your point on emotions messing up free-will is self-defeating. Free-will is also emotions mixed into things. To say that free-will cannot have emotions in it is to claim that you know exactly, the objective meaning of having 'free-will,' only then can you know what should or should not be there in order to have free-will. In my view, emotions play closely to free-will. What is the free-will you talk about? It is merely a decision based on our logical reasoning, and nothing else. This is a cultural bias that says this, A native American tribe may describe true freewill as being the first impulsive decision you make in response to a situation, in fact, this view permeates our culture as well, when someone asks you a question and you give an answer straight away, they will be more inclined to believe that answer than if you were to change it to something else. So free-will can be based on emotions but should take all emotions into consideration. In this case, calm logical reasoning I would class as an emotion even though it isn't, since in this scenario we are talking about a state of mind.

This is just my view, feel free to correct me on anything.
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Sidewalker
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2/19/2013 11:14:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times? Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.

As I read this made my head hurt and I developed a twitch.

Thoughts?

I'm trying to think but nothing's happening.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
GarretKadeDupre
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2/19/2013 11:19:05 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 11:00:58 PM, Smithereens wrote:
This is just my view, feel free to correct me on anything.

I would like to correct... EVERYTHING since your view was brought to me by H.I.T.L.E.R. Its all wrong.
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Smithereens
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2/20/2013 3:58:28 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 11:19:05 PM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 2/19/2013 11:00:58 PM, Smithereens wrote:
This is just my view, feel free to correct me on anything.

I would like to correct... EVERYTHING since your view was brought to me by H.I.T.L.E.R. Its all wrong.

I support his good twin. however, if morality is subjective, you might as well consider the infamous twin to be the better of the two. However you want to take it, personally, I would recommend you see things my way. :)
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Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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2/20/2013 5:57:25 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 7:07:09 PM, medic0506 wrote:
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times?

It seems here that you seem to believe that free will would entail each individual being able to choose all properties that are applicable to them. I'm not sure that's even a challenge to free will. You're a human being, thus you have properties that all humans have. No one has the option of defying physical laws, but that is not what free will is about. It's having the ability to make decisions in our lives. To choose good over evil, right over wrong, etc. Free will does not imply that you get to choose every single detail about the world that you live in.

It seems you are cherry picking with regards to what free will means. Free will doesn't just deal with morals like you implied, it deals with exactly what the phrase itself implies: The freedom to carry out your will. If I don't have the freedom to teleport to Jupiter just by thinking about it, even though I will it, why do I have the freedom to pick up a knife and stab someone if I willed it? It's clear God has put limitations on our freedom, but not the freedom to do things most of us would deem as horrible. This doesn't strike you as odd?


Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

You have compassion because of free will.

That's not true. You are confusing cause and effect. If I see a toddler getting raped, it sickens me, so I decide to do something about it. I don't decide to do something about it, and that is what causes my compassion.

You aren't born with it, just look at an angry toddler who hits and bites if he doesn't get his way, no compassion.

Compassion comes through knowing the consequences of bad decisions, and the suffering of others. God is not making you donate to the church, that is a reaction to the compassion that you feel and a desire to want to help others. That is you exercising your free will for good, but you still can choose to not donate.
Rational_Thinker9119
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2/20/2013 6:02:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Also, the biggest problem I have with the free will aspect is that it assumes free will for everybody is a good thing. The argument could be made that giving evil people the freedom to do what they want is evil in itself. Also, If I knew George was going to kill Carl in 5 minutes, and I was watching the whole thing, had the power to stop it and didn't, I would be criminally charged. Meaning, God is just as guilty of crimes most of us would deem as immoral for not doing anything.
Rational_Thinker9119
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2/20/2013 6:07:10 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The PoE fails to get off the ground anyway. There are only things that us human collectively (subjectively, technically) view as evil, but there is no evidence that anything can be objectively evil if God doesn't exit. Since we are talking about an objectively good God, he would actually have to want to prevent objectively evil things if he exists. Meaning that for the PoE to work, morality has to be objective assuming no God exists. This is a hard point for the Atheist to push.
Sidewalker
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2/20/2013 7:12:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/20/2013 5:57:25 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 2/19/2013 7:07:09 PM, medic0506 wrote:
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times?

It seems here that you seem to believe that free will would entail each individual being able to choose all properties that are applicable to them. I'm not sure that's even a challenge to free will. You're a human being, thus you have properties that all humans have. No one has the option of defying physical laws, but that is not what free will is about. It's having the ability to make decisions in our lives. To choose good over evil, right over wrong, etc. Free will does not imply that you get to choose every single detail about the world that you live in.

It seems you are cherry picking with regards to what free will means. Free will doesn't just deal with morals like you implied, it deals with exactly what the phrase itself implies: The freedom to carry out your will. If I don't have the freedom to teleport to Jupiter just by thinking about it, even though I will it, why do I have the freedom to pick up a knife and stab someone if I willed it?

Oh, so that's what free will is, thanks for clarifying. So you are saying the First Amendment doesn't relly guarantee the right to free speech because I'm not free to speak Russian, or dolphin?

Given this methodology, wouldn't a screen name like rational thinker mean the person can think rationally? Looks like your argument fails big time.

It's clear God has put limitations on our freedom, but not the freedom to do things most of us would deem as horrible. This doesn't strike you as odd?

No, it doesn't strike rational people as odd, is your screen name meant to be sarcastic?

Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

You have compassion because of free will.

That's not true. You are confusing cause and effect. If I see a toddler getting raped, it sickens me, so I decide to do something about it. I don't decide to do something about it, and that is what causes my compassion.

So morality isn't based on free will or compassion, it's based on the "sickens me" reflex, yeah, that's the ticket. You're really good at this.

You aren't born with it, just look at an angry toddler who hits and bites if he doesn't get his way, no compassion.

Why doesn't the "sickens me" instinct keep the angry todler from hitting and biting? If they aren't born with it, where does it come from, is it magic? Please explain your "sickens me" theory of human nature.

Compassion comes through knowing the consequences of bad decisions, and the suffering of others. God is not making you donate to the church, that is a reaction to the compassion that you feel and a desire to want to help others. That is you exercising your free will for good, but you still can choose to not donate.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
DeFool
Posts: 626
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2/20/2013 7:21:11 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I am happy to see this thread.

Any god or goddess that allows free will is evil, and cannot be used as a moral example.

Consider:
If I allow my children "free will," shouldn't I go to jail? If I allow them to play in a busy highway (one example) am I not a bad example of a parent? Of course I am.

In matters of theology, this "free will" nonsense is simply a kinder word for neglect. It attempts to explain the non-existence of gods and goddesses by suggesting that there is a good reason for their invisibility.
Rational_Thinker9119
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2/20/2013 8:17:05 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/20/2013 7:12:20 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 2/20/2013 5:57:25 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 2/19/2013 7:07:09 PM, medic0506 wrote:
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times?

It seems here that you seem to believe that free will would entail each individual being able to choose all properties that are applicable to them. I'm not sure that's even a challenge to free will. You're a human being, thus you have properties that all humans have. No one has the option of defying physical laws, but that is not what free will is about. It's having the ability to make decisions in our lives. To choose good over evil, right over wrong, etc. Free will does not imply that you get to choose every single detail about the world that you live in.

It seems you are cherry picking with regards to what free will means. Free will doesn't just deal with morals like you implied, it deals with exactly what the phrase itself implies: The freedom to carry out your will. If I don't have the freedom to teleport to Jupiter just by thinking about it, even though I will it, why do I have the freedom to pick up a knife and stab someone if I willed it?

Oh, so that's what free will is, thanks for clarifying. So you are saying the First Amendment doesn't relly guarantee the right to free speech because I'm not free to speak Russian, or dolphin?

False analogy. The people who wrote the first amendment weren't believed to be omnipotent. Nice try though :)


Given this methodology, wouldn't a screen name like rational thinker mean the person can think rationally? Looks like your argument fails big time.

The irony is overwhelming. Your argument is the one that fails because you are comparing a human being's ability to allow or deny 'x', and a being who is apparently omnipotent, and this being's ability to deny 'x'.


It's clear God has put limitations on our freedom, but not the freedom to do things most of us would deem as horrible. This doesn't strike you as odd?

No, it doesn't strike rational people as odd, is your screen name meant to be sarcastic?

You know, throwing out insults of this nature usually show who is losing. However, it's not like we needed much clarification (no offense).


Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

You have compassion because of free will.

That's not true. You are confusing cause and effect. If I see a toddler getting raped, it sickens me, so I decide to do something about it. I don't decide to do something about it, and that is what causes my compassion.

So morality isn't based on free will or compassion, it's based on the "sickens me" reflex, yeah, that's the ticket. You're really good at this.

Your sad attempts and sarcasm and lack of valid arguments aren't really helping your case for me not being the rational one. Just saying...


You aren't born with it, just look at an angry toddler who hits and bites if he doesn't get his way, no compassion.

Why doesn't the "sickens me" instinct keep the angry todler from hitting and biting?

Wow, this has got to be one of the worst arguments I've ever read. A child is too young to fully understand surrounding scenarios and fully grasp situations. The fact you could not figure that out is a little disturbing.

If they aren't born with it, where does it come from, is it magic?

Everyone is born with that potential. It comes from brain development and social adaptation. If I was you I would put the gloves down big guy, it's not looking too good for you right now.

Please explain your "sickens me" theory of human nature.

I don't have any "theory", it's just a fact. The idea of raping a baby for example, sickens, or repulses, most of us. We all chose to act in different ways with regards to this, based on how each of our brains work to due both nature and nurture. The fact you want clarification on that, is truly strange. Are you saying you deny this?


Compassion comes through knowing the consequences of bad decisions, and the suffering of others. God is not making you donate to the church, that is a reaction to the compassion that you feel and a desire to want to help others. That is you exercising your free will for good, but you still can choose to not donate.
GarretKadeDupre
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2/20/2013 8:47:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
What is evil? I'd say its the absence of good, much as darkness is the absence of light.

Thus, evil is the absence of God. Since we have a choice to reject God, we have a choice to choose evil.

If we didn't have a choice to reject God, we wouldn't have free will.
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Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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2/20/2013 8:57:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/20/2013 8:47:27 AM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
What is evil? I'd say its the absence of good, much as darkness is the absence of light.

How so? If I stand in front of somebody looking at someone who is just starting at me, I'm not doing anything which can be considered good. I'm not helping them, or complementing them. There is a lack of "good", because there is a lack of anything substantial in the first place. Does this mean what I am doing is evil, because there is a lack of anything which stands out, or could be considered good? That doesn't make much sense to me if that's the case.

Thus, evil is the absence of God.

You assume that if a supreme being exists he is good. Maybe their is a God who is morally indifferent.

Since we have a choice to reject God, we have a choice to choose evil.

I don't think we "chose" what to believe, unless we purposely delude ourselves. We either respond to certain information in accepting ways, or we don't.


If we didn't have a choice to reject God, we wouldn't have free will.

Who says we do have free will?
GarretKadeDupre
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2/20/2013 9:08:19 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/20/2013 8:57:34 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 2/20/2013 8:47:27 AM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
What is evil? I'd say its the absence of good, much as darkness is the absence of light.

How so? If I stand in front of somebody looking at someone who is just starting at me, I'm not doing anything which can be considered good.

There is no such thing as neutral; there's nothing in-between good and evil. So that would be good. There is a reason you are staring at someone, anyways, isn't there?

I'm not helping them, or complementing them. There is a lack of "good", because there is a lack of anything substantial in the first place. Does this mean what I am doing is evil, because there is a lack of anything which stands out, or could be considered good? That doesn't make much sense to me if that's the case.

Thus, evil is the absence of God.

You assume that if a supreme being exists he is good. Maybe their is a God who is morally indifferent.

God must be good. It's part of the definition of God. All evil is caused by either people or angels who choose evil.


Since we have a choice to reject God, we have a choice to choose evil.

I don't think we "chose" what to believe, unless we purposely delude ourselves. We either respond to certain information in accepting ways, or we don't.

So you admit we can choose what we believe.



If we didn't have a choice to reject God, we wouldn't have free will.

Who says we do have free will?

Who is forcing you to sit at your computer and type this?
Proof that people witnessed living dinosaurs:
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medic0506
Posts: 13,450
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2/20/2013 10:21:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/19/2013 8:30:42 PM, natoast wrote:
At 2/19/2013 7:07:09 PM, medic0506 wrote:

You have compassion because of free will. You aren't born with it, just look at an angry toddler who hits and bites if he doesn't get his way, no compassion. Compassion comes through knowing the consequences of bad decisions, and the suffering of others. God is not making you donate to the church, that is a reaction to the compassion that you feel and a desire to want to help others. That is you exercising your free will for good, but you still can choose to not donate.

For now, I'm only to going to respond to this point, because I don't want to get into two debates at once and I think that it is the stronger of the two.
If I understand the standard refutation to the PoE, god has to allow evil because if he where to always have people be good, then we would no longer have free will.

Such a refutation says that man choosing evil means that God allows evil, instead of it being man's choice. Technically, I can't deny that since God does give us free will, which creates the possibility for man to show his depravity. However, I don't believe that is the correct way to look at the situation. I see the actions of man as being his own doing, not God's creation. God created man free from sin and evil, but with free will. Man used that free will to go another direction. So is it really fair to blame God for evil, when man certainly can choose to not be evil?? I don't believe it is.

Pedophilia is often used by atheists as an example so let's use that. God did not create pedophilia, and give man a choice in whether to use kids as sexual objects, or not. Man made the decision to use kids in that way. The thoughts came from within the mind of man, so to blame God for that just because He gave man free will is, I believe, an example of misplaced blame.

Therefore, I believe that the PoE is refuted by simply saying that man has free will and the ability to choose good over evil. Man chooses evil, therefore evil exists at the hands of man.

I disagree that we are not born with compassion, but say we aren't. You said right in your example that we are born with anger. Anger is an emotion that compels us to act violently against others, an evil action.

By anger in the toddler, I simply meant that he was reacting in the only way he knows how, to not getting his way. Kids that age simply don't understand yet, why they can't always have everything they want. That's a different kind of "anger" than what is displayed by adults, with the ability to make informed choices.

How can you be born with an emotion such as compassion?? That requires a knowledge of the suffering of others. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

If god wants us to make decisions without his intervention, why does he sometimes urge us, with anger, to act violently?

Why do you attribute that anger to God??

There are many verses about anger in the Bible. Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books. Chapter 7:9...

"Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools."
medic0506
Posts: 13,450
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2/20/2013 10:42:34 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/20/2013 5:57:25 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 2/19/2013 7:07:09 PM, medic0506 wrote:
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times?

It seems here that you seem to believe that free will would entail each individual being able to choose all properties that are applicable to them. I'm not sure that's even a challenge to free will. You're a human being, thus you have properties that all humans have. No one has the option of defying physical laws, but that is not what free will is about. It's having the ability to make decisions in our lives. To choose good over evil, right over wrong, etc. Free will does not imply that you get to choose every single detail about the world that you live in.

It seems you are cherry picking with regards to what free will means. Free will doesn't just deal with morals like you implied, it deals with exactly what the phrase itself implies: The freedom to carry out your will. If I don't have the freedom to teleport to Jupiter just by thinking about it, even though I will it, why do I have the freedom to pick up a knife and stab someone if I willed it? It's clear God has put limitations on our freedom, but not the freedom to do things most of us would deem as horrible. This doesn't strike you as odd?

A human's inability to defy physical laws does not refute free will. Free will is obviously applicable to decisions that humans make within their lifetime, within the world in which they live. It says nothing about a desire to teleport to Jupiter. Free will does not guarantee your ability to attain unrealistic goals, it simply means that you have the ability to make decisions that are applicable to your life, as it is.

Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

You have compassion because of free will.

That's not true. You are confusing cause and effect. If I see a toddler getting raped, it sickens me, so I decide to do something about it. I don't decide to do something about it, and that is what causes my compassion.

Why would it sicken you to see that if you weren't already a compassionate person, who knows the suffering that the child is going to go through as a result of that rape??

You aren't born with it, just look at an angry toddler who hits and bites if he doesn't get his way, no compassion.

Compassion comes through knowing the consequences of bad decisions, and the suffering of others. God is not making you donate to the church, that is a reaction to the compassion that you feel and a desire to want to help others. That is you exercising your free will for good, but you still can choose to not donate.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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2/20/2013 2:31:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/20/2013 9:08:19 AM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
At 2/20/2013 8:57:34 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 2/20/2013 8:47:27 AM, GarretKadeDupre wrote:
What is evil? I'd say its the absence of good, much as darkness is the absence of light.

How so? If I stand in front of somebody looking at someone who is just starting at me, I'm not doing anything which can be considered good.

There is no such thing as neutral; there's nothing in-between good and evil.

Says who? I just gave a perfect example of such a thing lol

So that would be good.

What is good about just staring at someone for no reason? There is nothing positive about that, or negative. It has the value of 0, completely neutral

There is a reason you are staring at someone, anyways, isn't there?

Doesn't mean that reason has to have a negative or positive value, instead of neutral. What if I just felt like it? I just raised my arm for no reason, what makes that good? Absolutely nothing. It's a neutral action.


I'm not helping them, or complementing them. There is a lack of "good", because there is a lack of anything substantial in the first place. Does this mean what I am doing is evil, because there is a lack of anything which stands out, or could be considered good? That doesn't make much sense to me if that's the case.

Thus, evil is the absence of God.

You assume that if a supreme being exists he is good. Maybe their is a God who is morally indifferent.

God must be good. It's part of the definition of God. All evil is caused by either people or angels who choose evil.

No, it's the definition of the Christian God. If God exists, there are other views on what he/she may be like. Are you trying to tell me that if a being created the universe and humans, but he was morally indifferent, that he wouldn't be considered God? That means that arguments like the Kalam Cosmological Argument don't establish the existence of God according to that logic, because nothing about this beings moral character are mentioned.


Since we have a choice to reject God, we have a choice to choose evil.

I don't think we "chose" what to believe, unless we purposely delude ourselves. We either respond to certain information in accepting ways, or we don't.

So you admit we can choose what we believe.

Yes, if we are on the fence and are forced to make a choice. In most cases though, we are either convinced by an argument or claim or we aren't upon exposure to this argument or claim. We don't chose how we react to things like that. If I look at a pair of tits I don't chose to like them, it's just a reaction to them I don't control. If I hear that someone raped a girl, I don't chose to get the feeling that I want to find the dude and clock him out. It's something beyond my control.




If we didn't have a choice to reject God, we wouldn't have free will.

Who says we do have free will?

Who is forcing you to sit at your computer and type this?

Nobody is forcing me. However, my actions now are determined by my biology and the social aspects of my life which lead up to this point. This doesn't mean they are determined by another being.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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2/20/2013 2:44:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 2/20/2013 10:42:34 AM, medic0506 wrote:
At 2/20/2013 5:57:25 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 2/19/2013 7:07:09 PM, medic0506 wrote:
At 2/19/2013 6:20:26 PM, natoast wrote:
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the problem of evil. I'm sure most people are also familiar with the counter to the problem of evil, that evil is necessary for free will, because humans must be able to have the desire to do anything to truly have free will. But I have two problems with this. First of all, if god really wanted freedom for humans, why did he create so many physical limitations against us? Why wouldn't he give us the same abilities as him, except reserving the right to trump us on certain actions, instead of leaving permanent, extremely restricting physical laws on us at all times?

It seems here that you seem to believe that free will would entail each individual being able to choose all properties that are applicable to them. I'm not sure that's even a challenge to free will. You're a human being, thus you have properties that all humans have. No one has the option of defying physical laws, but that is not what free will is about. It's having the ability to make decisions in our lives. To choose good over evil, right over wrong, etc. Free will does not imply that you get to choose every single detail about the world that you live in.

It seems you are cherry picking with regards to what free will means. Free will doesn't just deal with morals like you implied, it deals with exactly what the phrase itself implies: The freedom to carry out your will. If I don't have the freedom to teleport to Jupiter just by thinking about it, even though I will it, why do I have the freedom to pick up a knife and stab someone if I willed it? It's clear God has put limitations on our freedom, but not the freedom to do things most of us would deem as horrible. This doesn't strike you as odd?

A human's inability to defy physical laws does not refute free will. Free will is obviously applicable to decisions that humans make within their lifetime, within the world in which they live. It says nothing about a desire to teleport to Jupiter. Free will does not guarantee your ability to attain unrealistic goals, it simply means that you have the ability to make decisions that are applicable to your life, as it is.

Those goals are completely realistic if one assumes an omnipotent God exists though. The point is, that God (if he exists), has clearly restricted us from doing certain things which most of us would see as good (like the ability to explore the corners of the universe without freezing to death, or being restricted by light speed ect.), but he doesn't restrict us from leading a party that kills millions of his chosen people, or picking up a gun. You fail to realize that you are programmed to function in this universe. God could have created a universe where stabbing someone was restricted, but teleportation wasn't. Then you would be saying "restricting us from teleportation would effect our free will, obviously expecting God to allow us to stab people is unrealistic".

Secondly, how can we really have unaltered free will if we have emotions? If I feel compassion, and I act on it and donate to charity, this is obstructing my free will, because I didn't chose to be capable of compassion, god must have endowed me with it. Therefore he has indirectly but knowingly directed me towards good instead of evil without my consent.
Thoughts?

You have compassion because of free will.

That's not true. You are confusing cause and effect. If I see a toddler getting raped, it sickens me, so I decide to do something about it. I don't decide to do something about it, and that is what causes my compassion.

Why would it sicken you to see that if you weren't already a compassionate person, who knows the suffering that the child is going to go through as a result of that rape??

Fair enough, one would have to be someone compassionate to care about something like that. However, the point is that one doesn't freely chose to be compassionate or not. Jeff Dahmer was missing certain emotions like empathy, thus, he did what he did. He didn't freely chose to be messed up in the head, anymore than I freely chose to care about the things I care about.


You aren't born with it, just look at an angry toddler who hits and bites if he doesn't get his way, no compassion.

Compassion comes through knowing the consequences of bad decisions, and the suffering of others.

So Ted Bundy was unaware of the consequences of what he was doing? False, he knew that he was hurting people and that he could go to jail. The point is, he didn't care. Are you trying to tell me he made the conscious choice not to care? Damn, I wish life was actually like that. I would have chosen not to care when my best friend died, would have saved me almost a year of depression. I would have chosen not to care when when my ex girlfriend broke up with me. You don't chose these things.

God is not making you donate to the church, that is a reaction to the compassion that you feel and a desire to want to help others. That is you exercising your free will for good, but you still can choose to not donate.