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Omnibenevolence is a great-making property?

Cyrano
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3/14/2013 5:58:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
What is it about omnibenevolence that makes it a great-making property?

It seems to me that the requirement of omnibenevolence is a human-imposed limit on god's power - he MUST do good and moral acts, not evil or immoral acts.

So he is able to rescue kittens stuck in trees, but he is not able to burn ants with a magnifying glass just for fun.

But in fact to god himself there would be no such limitation and if he one day felt the urge to pick up his magnifying glass a burn a few ants just to pass the time, then he could indeed do so.

The distinction between it being a good act or an evil act would be meaningless to god. Such a distinction is, from what I can tell, a purely human construct.

Why would it occur to god, when viewing the universe, to think "I should be really nice to everything I have created, because that will make me maximally great, whereas if I was nasty sometimes, I would be less great"?

Omnibenevolence as a great-making property, in god's view, makes as much sense as omni-right-handedness.
logicrules
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3/14/2013 6:02:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 5:58:25 PM, Cyrano wrote:
What is it about omnibenevolence that makes it a great-making property?

It seems to me that the requirement of omnibenevolence is a human-imposed limit on god's power - he MUST do good and moral acts, not evil or immoral acts.

So he is able to rescue kittens stuck in trees, but he is not able to burn ants with a magnifying glass just for fun.

But in fact to god himself there would be no such limitation and if he one day felt the urge to pick up his magnifying glass a burn a few ants just to pass the time, then he could indeed do so.

The distinction between it being a good act or an evil act would be meaningless to god. Such a distinction is, from what I can tell, a purely human construct.

Why would it occur to god, when viewing the universe, to think "I should be really nice to everything I have created, because that will make me maximally great, whereas if I was nasty sometimes, I would be less great"?

Omnibenevolence as a great-making property, in god's view, makes as much sense as omni-right-handedness.

Your construct is subjective, as such straw man.
Cyrano
Posts: 33
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3/14/2013 6:19:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 6:02:29 PM, logicrules wrote:

Your construct is subjective, as such straw man.

My construct? What construct? Please explain, i'm genuinely interested.
logicrules
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3/14/2013 6:57:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 6:19:16 PM, Cyrano wrote:
At 3/14/2013 6:02:29 PM, logicrules wrote:

Your construct is subjective, as such straw man.

My construct? What construct? Please explain, i'm genuinely interested.

See your post. It is constructed by means of your thought process with the attended examples. Res Ipsa Loquitor
Cyrano
Posts: 33
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3/14/2013 8:18:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
My example of the ants and the magnifying glass? Ok, please disregard it then and just consider the opening question.

The ontological argument for god"s existence uses a syllogism to show that a Maximally Great Being (MGB) necessarily exists.

A common counter-argument is that the same logic can show that a Maximally Evil Being (MEB) necessarily exists. (note: I am not trying to argue that here)

But then I've wondered why it is thought that the word Evil is, in this context, the opposite of the word Great. The counter-argument implies that the MEB is as powerful as the MGB, so what is it about the word "Great" that implies benevolence? Why could they not both be referred to as MGB's?

So then I thought, if the MEB and the MGB could be equally powerful as each other, why would an ultimate god be restricted to just one of either "good" or "evil"?

I know that when people define the MGB they usually refer to the 3 omni's, but I still think it is semantically misleading to include benevolence unless there is some reason that benevolence is indeed a great-making property.

Is it not like saying that if Yoda and Darth Vader fought each other to a stalemate, Yoda would be considered greater for the mere fact that he uses the light side of the force, not the dark side?
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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3/14/2013 8:21:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Omnibenevolence is entirely a subjective addition to "Great-Making Properties". And one that turns the whole thing into an incoherent mess...omnipotent but cannot do ANYTHING that isn't good? So he can create the universe, but he can't jaywalk.
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phantom
Posts: 6,774
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3/14/2013 8:24:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 6:02:29 PM, logicrules wrote:

Your construct is subjective, as such straw man.

All one needs to do is show that morality is non-objective since then there can be no such thing as actual moral perfection leading to the fact that an all great being would not necessarily be morally perfect and thus not omnibenevolent.

It's a fallacy to assume a maximally great being is morally great. Descartes assumed it to prove the external world and Craig uses it to defend theistic objective morality. I hardly see much objection to it for some reason but I find the assumption quite unjustified. Craig for example, defends objective morality by saying morality stems from God's essence, or that morality is rooted in God. That, he says, is evidenced, or at least supported as plausible, since God, as a maximally great being, must be maximally perfect and so morality is rooted in him. However, that's completely circular. Craig assumes the existence of God is explained by ontological necessity. But only attributes of God that are objectively great can be inferred from this assumption of his reason of existence. For example, one could argue that we can infer that God is omnipotent since that is an objectively valid great making property. What one could not assume is non-objective properties of God. For example, what kind of food God enjoys (if he did eat food). Any non-objective attribute of God would be contingent, and thus we couldn't infer what it is. The reason I use "objective" is because "maximally great" is a concept about the character of God, and thus any concept of greatness that you could infer on God, would have to an objectively great concept. Craig posits that morality is objective by saying it is rooted in God, but assumes it is rooted in God by saying God is a maximally great being thus must be morally perfect. However you can only say a maximally great being is morally perfect by first showing there is an objective morality and concept of moral perfection. So it's clearly circular.

Anyways, that was just an example. There's no reason to suppose a maximally great being must have moral perfection or omnibenevolence since there's no actual thing as moral perfection, just non-objective concepts of it. This is especially true if you're assuming the ontological argument as basis for God's existence.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Cyrano
Posts: 33
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3/14/2013 8:26:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 6:57:08 PM, logicrules wrote:

Res Ipsa Loquitor

I'm not sure what your latin reference means unless you are suggesting that there is a duty on god to be benevolent?

Unless you are referring to the slang use of the word "great" as in "that was a great movie". So omnibenevolence is therefore great like new shoes are great. THAT is a subjective viewpoint.

I think, when defining god, the use of great is referring to the magnitude of his power.
phantom
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3/14/2013 8:29:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 8:21:59 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Omnibenevolence is entirely a subjective addition to "Great-Making Properties". And one that turns the whole thing into an incoherent mess...omnipotent but cannot do ANYTHING that isn't good? So he can create the universe, but he can't jaywalk.

Omnipotence only pertains so far as what is compatible with his character. So if God were omnipotent as well as omniscient, God could not make himself not know what time it is. It's not a limitation on omnipotence since power, and therefore omnipotence, can only be brought to it's logical limits. That's why Christians say God is constrained by his character while still being omnipotent and I have no objection to that.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
bladerunner060
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3/14/2013 8:33:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
We can define powerful without reference to god, and determine which things are more or less powerful. We can do the same for knowledge. We can't do the same for "benevolence"; believers often say that god defines morality and/or benevolence, but that, of course, makes no sense if we're to give him omnibenevolence....we don't say "he's omnipotent, as measured by himself", we define it; we cannot say "he's omnibenevolent, as measured by himself".
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bladerunner060
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3/14/2013 8:35:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 8:29:28 PM, phantom wrote:
At 3/14/2013 8:21:59 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
Omnibenevolence is entirely a subjective addition to "Great-Making Properties". And one that turns the whole thing into an incoherent mess...omnipotent but cannot do ANYTHING that isn't good? So he can create the universe, but he can't jaywalk.

Omnipotence only pertains so far as what is compatible with his character. So if God were omnipotent as well as omniscient, God could not make himself not know what time it is. It's not a limitation on omnipotence since power, and therefore omnipotence, can only be brought to it's logical limits. That's why Christians say God is constrained by his character while still being omnipotent and I have no objection to that.

Except that they can't defend that the 3O god is more of a "maximally great being" than a 2 O god would be, except by assertion. A god who could create the universe AND jaywalk (or not; he gets to choose!) would seem to be obviously "greater" than a being that could only do the former. Believers seem to not understand that making Omnibenevolence a necessary aspect of god, they remove his free will while trying to claim he's maximally great.
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phantom
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3/14/2013 8:39:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 8:33:08 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
We can define powerful without reference to god, and determine which things are more or less powerful. We can do the same for knowledge. We can't do the same for "benevolence"; believers often say that god defines morality and/or benevolence, but that, of course, makes no sense if we're to give him omnibenevolence....we don't say "he's omnipotent, as measured by himself", we define it; we cannot say "he's omnibenevolent, as measured by himself".

Yes, I think that is a mistake many make. Some though, would measure God's morality by a whole independent objective morality. Other than that, I agree.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
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3/14/2013 8:49:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 8:35:41 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/14/2013 8:29:28 PM, phantom wrote:


Didn't see this one. Thought the last one was in reply to my post.

Except that they can't defend that the 3O god is more of a "maximally great being" than a 2 O god would be, except by assertion.

3O 2O? What do yo mean?

A god who could create the universe AND jaywalk (or not; he gets to choose!) would seem to be obviously "greater" than a being that could only do the former.

A being who could make 1 plus 1 equal 3 would seem obviously greater than one who couldn't as well, however, that's why I said power can only go to it's logical limits. An omnipotent being couldn't change mathematics because that's not conceivable. Thus not everything imaginably great would be something an omnipotent being could do.

Believers seem to not understand that making Omnibenevolence a necessary aspect of god, they remove his free will while trying to claim he's maximally great.

Making him omniscient also removes some of his free-will. There's an objective mode of logic, at least let's pretend, so God couldn't make square circles and such. That's fine for a believer. A Christian can also say that moral perfection is a great making property, so even though it limits God's free-will, it must be an essential part of his character. He must be perfect just as he must be logical and omnipotence can only go as far as what is free from constraint. As stated, I have problems with morality being a great making property but not with the believers position on the one limiting God's power.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
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3/14/2013 8:51:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 8:49:16 PM, phantom wrote:
At 3/14/2013 8:35:41 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/14/2013 8:29:28 PM, phantom wrote:


Didn't see this one. Thought the last one was in reply to my post.

Except that they can't defend that the 3O god is more of a "maximally great being" than a 2 O god would be, except by assertion.

3O 2O? What do you mean?

A god who could create the universe AND jaywalk (or not; he gets to choose!) would seem to be obviously "greater" than a being that could only do the former.

A being who could make 1 plus 1 equal 3 would seem obviously greater than one who couldn't as well, however, that's why I said power can only go to it's logical limits. An omnipotent being couldn't change mathematics because that's not conceivable. Thus not everything imaginably great would be something an omnipotent being could do.

Believers seem to not understand that making Omnibenevolence a necessary aspect of god, they remove his free will while trying to claim he's maximally great.

Making him omniscient also removes some of his free-will. There's an objective mode of logic, at least let's pretend, so God couldn't make square circles and such. That's fine for a believer. A Christian can also say that moral perfection is a great making property, so even though it limits God's free-will, it must be an essential part of his character. He must be perfect just as he must be logical and omnipotence can only go as far as what is free from constraint. As stated, I have problems with morality being a great making property but not with the believers position on the one limiting God's power.

Fixed
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
logicrules
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3/14/2013 9:34:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 8:26:10 PM, Cyrano wrote:
At 3/14/2013 6:57:08 PM, logicrules wrote:

Res Ipsa Loquitor

I'm not sure what your latin reference means unless you are suggesting that there is a duty on god to be benevolent?

Unless you are referring to the slang use of the word "great" as in "that was a great movie". So omnibenevolence is therefore great like new shoes are great. THAT is a subjective viewpoint.

I think, when defining god, the use of great is referring to the magnitude of his power.

OK...1. Res Ipsa Loquitor means the thing speaks for itself, used in Western Law, and Logic.
2. Any assignation from humans to God are, by definition, subjective because they come from humans.
3...Moralist have debated for years what is Moral. An early principle of morality was If a thing acts as intended it must be good.
4. From natural or intended behavior then it is impossible for there to be a "natural evil".
5. Cats do not need saving after they climb a tree. Hurricanes, Floods,, even death are not evil.

Every individual should probably do the best he can in every situation, aware that we all will make errors. In other words, morality is nothing more, or less, than the exercise of individual right agency.
Cyrano
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3/14/2013 9:38:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 8:49:16 PM, phantom wrote:
Making him omniscient also removes some of his free-will. There's an objective mode of logic, at least let's pretend, so God couldn't make square circles and such. That's fine for a believer. A Christian can also say that moral perfection is a great making property, so even though it limits God's free-will, it must be an essential part of his character. He must be perfect just as he must be logical and omnipotence can only go as far as what is free from constraint. As stated, I have problems with morality being a great making property but not with the believers position on the one limiting God's power.

As you say - circular.
Benevolence as a great-making property begets moral objectivity which begets benevolence as a great making property.
bladerunner060
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3/14/2013 9:55:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 8:51:00 PM, phantom wrote:

3O 2O? What do you mean?

Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnibenevolent vs. Omniscient and Omnipotent.
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bladerunner060
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3/14/2013 10:06:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 8:51:00 PM, phantom wrote:

A being who could make 1 plus 1 equal 3 would seem obviously greater than one who couldn't as well, however, that's why I said power can only go to it's logical limits.

Ah, but omnipotence is generally only limited by that which is illogical.

I suppose it's limited in the "Can he do something he doesn't know he would do" sense, but that's not even really a violation of OMNIscience, I'm not sure it's possible for anyone to do something he doesn't know he would do; I think that's essentially just a facet of consciousness, though if you disagree, I'd love to hear the argument. In contrast, limiting the omnipotence by the omnibenevolence actually limits the power in a way a non-omnibenevolent thing would NOT be limited, which means that a non-omnibenevolent thing could be more powerful than an omnibenevolent one.

Making him omniscient also removes some of his free-will.

In what way? His knowledge of others' choices may impact their free will (though I've wondered before if it's omniscience is only compatible with free will IF it's limited to not knowing for certain the choice to be made until it's made), but I'm not clear how his knowledge of his own actions limits his free will in the matter? It just means he made all his choices when he began time.
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phantom
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3/16/2013 12:01:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/14/2013 10:06:27 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/14/2013 8:51:00 PM, phantom wrote:

A being who could make 1 plus 1 equal 3 would seem obviously greater than one who couldn't as well, however, that's why I said power can only go to it's logical limits.

Ah, but omnipotence is generally only limited by that which is illogical.

I suppose it's limited in the "Can he do something he doesn't know he would do" sense, but that's not even really a violation of OMNIscience, I'm not sure it's possible for anyone to do something he doesn't know he would do; I think that's essentially just a facet of consciousness, though if you disagree, I'd love to hear the argument.

Don't you mean you don't think it's possible for anyone to do something he knows he won't do?

In contrast, limiting the omnipotence by the omnibenevolence actually limits the power in a way a non-omnibenevolent thing would NOT be limited, which means that a non-omnibenevolent thing could be more powerful than an omnibenevolent one.

But power is not the only thing that factors into greatness. An evil omnipotent being would be more powerful than a morally perfect omnipotent being, but that doesn't necessarily mean the first is greater than the latter. Christians would say the latter is greater than the first since moral perfection is greater than non-moral perfection. Omnipotence is limited by your character. So while I don't think there's any such thing as moral perfection, I don't have a problem with Christians saying God is both omnipotent but limited by his omnibenevolence.

Making him omniscient also removes some of his free-will.

In what way? His knowledge of others' choices may impact their free will (though I've wondered before if it's omniscience is only compatible with free will IF it's limited to not knowing for certain the choice to be made until it's made), but I'm not clear how his knowledge of his own actions limits his free will in the matter? It just means he made all his choices when he began time.

He wouldn't be able to make himself not know something.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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3/16/2013 12:10:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/16/2013 12:01:44 PM, phantom wrote:
At 3/14/2013 10:06:27 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/14/2013 8:51:00 PM, phantom wrote:

A being who could make 1 plus 1 equal 3 would seem obviously greater than one who couldn't as well, however, that's why I said power can only go to it's logical limits.

Ah, but omnipotence is generally only limited by that which is illogical.

I suppose it's limited in the "Can he do something he doesn't know he would do" sense, but that's not even really a violation of OMNIscience, I'm not sure it's possible for anyone to do something he doesn't know he would do; I think that's essentially just a facet of consciousness, though if you disagree, I'd love to hear the argument.

Don't you mean you don't think it's possible for anyone to do something he knows he won't do?

In contrast, limiting the omnipotence by the omnibenevolence actually limits the power in a way a non-omnibenevolent thing would NOT be limited, which means that a non-omnibenevolent thing could be more powerful than an omnibenevolent one.

But power is not the only thing that factors into greatness. An evil omnipotent being would be more powerful than a morally perfect omnipotent being, but that doesn't necessarily mean the first is greater than the latter. Christians would say the latter is greater than the first since moral perfection is greater than non-moral perfection. Omnipotence is limited by your character. So while I don't think there's any such thing as moral perfection, I don't have a problem with Christians saying God is both omnipotent but limited by his omnibenevolence.

Making him omniscient also removes some of his free-will.

In what way? His knowledge of others' choices may impact their free will (though I've wondered before if it's omniscience is only compatible with free will IF it's limited to not knowing for certain the choice to be made until it's made), but I'm not clear how his knowledge of his own actions limits his free will in the matter? It just means he made all his choices when he began time.

He wouldn't be able to make himself not know something.

I question upon what grounds they claim omnibenevolence = greater than non omnibenevolence, though. What is their justification for it, other than assertion of opinion? (and of course, it would still require an external method of measuring that benevolence, but that's already been discussed).
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