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Problem of Evil

bsh1
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9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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Truth_seeker
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9/18/2014 10:24:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?

You said it perfectly.
Envisage
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9/18/2014 10:27:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Free Will theodicy in no way addresses naturalistic sources of suffering (disease, natural disaster, etc). To state that these are necessary in order for us to have free will is absurd on the face of it.

The only complete defence against the PoE is divine command theory, as far as I have worked out. Where it's just a case of what he says/has said is good, and thats it. If rape in instance X is decreed good, then it's good. This works because 'moral' and 'good' are badly defined, hence the theist just needs to define it according to their God and problem solved.

Of course this runs into serious issues (Eurythro Dilemma, the fact that DCT is arbitary,, etc). Anyway, I will address your points.

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

Yes... however benevolence depends on what is defined as 'good'. If we agree that suffering is generally bad though we can progress in this argument...

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

Even IF suffering is necessary for Free Will (which si absurd on the face of it), that in no way means the act of granting free will is in accordance of omnibenevolence. If the act of granting free will mandates suffering then it can be very easily argued that free will is not in accordance of what an omnibenevolent entity would do. It would be better to remain without free will, but in a maximally good state otherwise. Free will doesn't mean we are not self aware, or cannot sense anything, such as love etc.

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

Then even assuming this much (I have raised at least 2 flags so far), then you have the Problem of The Existence of Non-Deities to contend with (http://infidels.org...).

The key element of this is that God could have created us with free will, AND with omnibenevolence within our nature (just like God is by nature omnibenevolent), which would cut out all the suffering that would occur from having free will (such as rape etc).

The only way I see you can contest this is if:

1. You argue God can't make omnibenevolent entities (which ruuns into problems of omnipotence)
2. You argue that an omnibenevolent entity by nature doesn't have free will (in which case you have to accept that God himself wouldn't have free will either)

Neither are good.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

If you are arguing that we couldnt have this same level of 'meaningful good' (such as good acts being more pleasurable, with better natures, etc) without the suffering then you run into problems of God being omnipotent (you are basically claiming that God couldn't have done it better, which seems extremely impotent).

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Or (3) a world with real goodness and no evil whatsoever. God is omnipotent.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?

Personally I dont think the PoE works, because of the non cognitive nature of 'morals' and 'goodness' (which is why I am a nihilist), the only defence I can see is divine command theory, everything else just chases it's own tail.
bsh1
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9/18/2014 10:27:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:24:01 PM, Truth_seeker wrote:

You said it perfectly.

Thanks.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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YYW
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9/18/2014 10:33:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I will make a substantive response to this tomorrow, barring something unforeseen making that impossible.
Tsar of DDO
SamStevens
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9/18/2014 10:47:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

My response is a little off topic, but if a god is all knowing, how can we possibly have free will since he knows what we will do? Aren't we still slaves in a theological sense regardless?

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?
"This is the true horror of religion. It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own." Sam Harris
Life asked Death "Why do people love me but hate you?"
Death responded: "Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am the painful truth."
bsh1
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9/18/2014 10:50:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:27:44 PM, Envisage wrote:
Free Will theodicy in no way addresses naturalistic sources of suffering (disease, natural disaster, etc). To state that these are necessary in order for us to have free will is absurd on the face of it.

My goal was just to refute the POE insofar as it claims that any evil in the world would disprove the Omnibenevolent god. Insofar as some evil is necessary, as per my first argument, POE is false.

But, my second argument addresses your concerns too. The presence of disease, for instance, helps us to appreciate the beauty of health.

The only complete defence against the PoE is divine command theory, as far as I have worked out. Where it's just a case of what he says/has said is good, and thats it. If rape in instance X is decreed good, then it's good. This works because 'moral' and 'good' are badly defined, hence the theist just needs to define it according to their God and problem solved.

But, on an intuitive level, that's just false. Sure, we could say that God to decree anything to be wrong, but there is just this universal sense that if God declared something to be right which is wrong (like rape), God will have erred. To reference Plato, is it pious because the gods says so, or do the gods say so because it is pious. I think that the latter is probably closer to home.

Of course this runs into serious issues (Eurythro Dilemma, the fact that DCT is arbitary,, etc). Anyway, I will address your points.

Exactly.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

Yes... however benevolence depends on what is defined as 'good'. If we agree that suffering is generally bad though we can progress in this argument...

When I am referencing "good," I am referencing our common conception of good as it stands today--human rights, for example. But yes, we can agree that suffering is bad.

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

Even IF suffering is necessary for Free Will (which si absurd on the face of it)

If we do not have the ability to choose to do wrong, we do not fully have free will. For me, free will is an all or nothing concept--either we have it, or we don't. If we can't choose to do wrong, we don't have free will. That's what I'm asserting here. Not all forms of badness (e.g. disease) are necessary for free will, but many are (e.g. theft.)

that in no way means the act of granting free will is in accordance of omnibenevolence. If the act of granting free will mandates suffering then it can be very easily argued that free will is not in accordance of what an omnibenevolent entity would do.

I don't think you've grasped what I'm saying. I am saying that if presented with two choices, an Omnibenevolent deity would choose the option that maximized meaningful goodness. As a world in which free will didn't exist is a perverse evil unto itself, the deity would choose the world with free will.

It would be better to remain without free will, but in a maximally good state otherwise. Free will doesn't mean we are not self aware, or cannot sense anything, such as love etc.

Not if that goodness is artificial. Goodness as NO meaning whatsoever unless it was freely chosen. Therefore, a world with no free will, but which had maximal, artificial goodness, would have NO actual goodness. A world with some actual goodness and some evil therefore actually outweighs the former in terms of goodness.

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

The key element of this is that God could have created us with free will, AND with omnibenevolence within our nature (just like God is by nature omnibenevolent), which would cut out all the suffering that would occur from having free will (such as rape etc).

If we were created omnibenevolent, are good deeds would still be meaningless, because we never we given a meaningful chance to choose not to do good.

2. You argue that an omnibenevolent entity by nature doesn't have free will (in which case you have to accept that God himself wouldn't have free will either)

This is interesting. I would suggest that, if we were to stay within the framework of our argument, an Omnibenevolent God is only able to choose the most benevolent option, in which case, he doesn't have free will.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Or (3) a world with real goodness and no evil whatsoever. God is omnipotent.

Since I believe that something is good not because God says so, but that he says so because it is good, goodness is not something God can control. I never said God was omnipotent.

It's interesting though how these discussion always get entangled in paradoxes and logical quagmires...
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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9/18/2014 10:54:37 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:47:40 PM, SamStevens wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

My response is a little off topic, but if a god is all knowing, how can we possibly have free will since he knows what we will do? Aren't we still slaves in a theological sense regardless?

I never said God was Omniscient. I just said he was Omnibenevolent.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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SamStevens
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9/18/2014 10:56:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:54:37 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:47:40 PM, SamStevens wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

My response is a little off topic, but if a god is all knowing, how can we possibly have free will since he knows what we will do? Aren't we still slaves in a theological sense regardless?

I never said God was Omniscient. I just said he was Omnibenevolent.

Oh okay.
"This is the true horror of religion. It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own." Sam Harris
Life asked Death "Why do people love me but hate you?"
Death responded: "Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am the painful truth."
bsh1
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9/18/2014 10:59:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Yeah, I really just want this thread to focus on OMNIBENEVOLENCE, not any of the other "Omnis," unless they have some direct relation to the topic at hand.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
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9/18/2014 10:59:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:56:27 PM, SamStevens wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:54:37 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:47:40 PM, SamStevens wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

My response is a little off topic, but if a god is all knowing, how can we possibly have free will since he knows what we will do? Aren't we still slaves in a theological sense regardless?

I never said God was Omniscient. I just said he was Omnibenevolent.

Oh okay.

Good question though. You should definitely make a separate thread about it :)
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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matt.mcguire88
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9/18/2014 11:10:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:47:40 PM, SamStevens wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

My response is a little off topic, but if a god is all knowing, how can we possibly have free will since he knows what we will do? Aren't we still slaves in a theological sense regardless?

Absolutely not. God knowing what we will do has nothing to do with what God decided, meaning that God did not decide what we would do rather He knows what we will do because He knows our intentions, He knows our desires because He knows what our thoughts are, if He knows what our thoughts are He knows what we will do it's simple.
There is no slavery involved. God did not determine the evil that man would commit...

James 1
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

This passage reveals that God does not instigate evil...

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?
SamStevens
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9/18/2014 11:19:38 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 11:10:01 PM, matt.mcguire88 wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:47:40 PM, SamStevens wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

My response is a little off topic, but if a god is all knowing, how can we possibly have free will since he knows what we will do? Aren't we still slaves in a theological sense regardless?

Absolutely not. God knowing what we will do has nothing to do with what God decided, meaning that God did not decide what we would do rather He knows what we will do because He knows our intentions, He knows our desires because He knows what our thoughts are, if He knows what our thoughts are He knows what we will do it's simple.

Okay, so he knows what we are subconsciously thinking before we consciously decide what to eat for breakfast, therefore he knows what we will do?

There is no slavery involved. God did not determine the evil that man would commit...

James 1
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

This passage reveals that God does not instigate evil...

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?
"This is the true horror of religion. It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own." Sam Harris
Life asked Death "Why do people love me but hate you?"
Death responded: "Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am the painful truth."
popculturepooka
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9/19/2014 12:57:39 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
How do you deal with ANIMAL suffering. That is, IMO, the hardest version of the problem of evil.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
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sovereigngracereigns
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9/19/2014 1:44:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?

The so-called "Problem of Evil" is only a problem for those who don't know God.

I dare you to listen to this sermon:

"The Wisdom of God In Using Evil"
http://www.sermonaudio.com...
dee-em
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9/19/2014 3:41:33 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?

You seem to be weighing up the greater evil between the actual doing of evil by free-willed humans and the 'evil' of denying humans the ability to 'fully appreciate' good by having the option of doing evil. (I could argue this - it's like saying you have to experience blindness in order to fully appreciate sight - I don't buy it).

I fail to see how you have justified that one evil is greater than another though. Your conclusion seems subjective. My view is that this is a no-brainer. By your definition of benevolence, God would have no option but to see maximum good done. He would have no control over how much evil was done if humans had complete free will, so he would have to go for the known quantity. A logical being trying to maximize benevolence could only take the safe bet.
bulproof
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9/19/2014 4:11:17 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:59:23 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Yeah, I really just want this thread to focus on OMNIBENEVOLENCE, not any of the other "Omnis," unless they have some direct relation to the topic at hand.
Omniscience is very relevant to the question of omnibenevolence.
Bible god's omniscience means that he creates people with the full knowledge that he is creating them for his eternal torture chamber, that rules out any benevolence at all.
Envisage
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9/19/2014 7:19:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:50:24 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:27:44 PM, Envisage wrote:

My goal was just to refute the POE insofar as it claims that any evil in the world would disprove the Omnibenevolent god. Insofar as some evil is necessary, as per my first argument, POE is false.

Sure, and naturalistic suffering isn't addressed by the Free WIll Theodicy, despite what you claim.

But, my second argument addresses your concerns too. The presence of disease, for instance, helps us to appreciate the beauty of health.

Which isn't compatible with omnibenevolence & omnipotence as far as I see.

1. Every time you give a reason why God wasn't omnibenevolent you concede it's something God couldn't have done another way even though he is omnipotent & omniscient

2. Every time you give a reason why God does something for the sake of 'greatest glory', 'for realization of goodness etc', then those things aren't actually compatible with what an omnibenevolent entity would do.

But, on an intuitive level, that's just false.

Not an argument...

Sure, we could say that God to decree anything to be wrong, but there is just this universal sense that if God declared something to be right which is wrong (like rape), God will have erred.

God is omnipotent... he can specify to each situation.

Yes... however benevolence depends on what is defined as 'good'. If we agree that suffering is generally bad though we can progress in this argument...

When I am referencing "good," I am referencing our common conception of good as it stands today

Which is subjective. Are you now arguing that god is subjective?

--human rights, for example. But yes, we can agree that suffering is bad.

Great!

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

Even IF suffering is necessary for Free Will (which si absurd on the face of it)

If we do not have the ability to choose to do wrong, we do not fully have free will.

If you argue this, then you also argue that God does not have free will (since he doesn't have the ability to choose to do wrong, since he is good by nature). I don't necessarily agree it would eliminate free will anyway, since the Principle of Alternative Choices (which you seem to be defending) still holds, we would have choices, just those choices would not include evil acts.

http://www.jstor.org...

For me, free will is an all or nothing concept--either we have it, or we don't. If we can't choose to do wrong, we don't have free will.

Please show a local progression to this assertion. Again, you are asserting that God has no free will.

That's what I'm asserting here. Not all forms of badness (e.g. disease) are necessary for free will, but many are (e.g. theft.)

that in no way means the act of granting free will is in accordance of omnibenevolence. If the act of granting free will mandates suffering then it can be very easily argued that free will is not in accordance of what an omnibenevolent entity would do.

I don't think you've grasped what I'm saying. I am saying that if presented with two choices, an Omnibenevolent deity would choose the option that maximized meaningful goodness. As a world in which free will didn't exist is a perverse evil unto itself, the deity would choose the world with free will.

This is just false, and you seem to have missed what I said, we have 2 choices:

1. Maximized goodness
2. Maximized meaningful goodness

#1 is the only one that is directly compatible with an omnibenevolent entity, he must maximize goodness by his nature. Making something 'meaningfully good' necessarily subtracts from the overall goodness.

It would be better to remain without free will, but in a maximally good state otherwise. Free will doesn't mean we are not self aware, or cannot sense anything, such as love etc.

Not if that goodness is artificial.

So?

Goodness as NO meaning whatsoever unless it was freely chosen.

Again, so?

Therefore, a world with no free will, but which had maximal, artificial goodness, would have NO actual goodness.

That doesn't logically follow. Show the logical progression here.

A world with some actual goodness and some evil therefore actually outweighs the former in terms of goodness.

See #1 of the dilemma I posted at the opening of this post (God is omnipotent)

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

The key element of this is that God could have created us with free will, AND with omnibenevolence within our nature (just like God is by nature omnibenevolent), which would cut out all the suffering that would occur from having free will (such as rape etc).

If we were created omnibenevolent, are good deeds would still be meaningless, because we never we given a meaningful chance to choose not to do good.

Again.... so what?

Good would be maximized, and you consequently assert that God himself does no meaningful good (since he is omnibenevolent too). If so then why are you praying to him, given everything he does is menaingless?

2. You argue that an omnibenevolent entity by nature doesn't have free will (in which case you have to accept that God himself wouldn't have free will either)

This is interesting. I would suggest that, if we were to stay within the framework of our argument, an Omnibenevolent God is only able to choose the most benevolent option, in which case, he doesn't have free will.

Concession is noted.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Or (3) a world with real goodness and no evil whatsoever. God is omnipotent.

Since I believe that something is good not because God says so, but that he says so because it is good, goodness is not something God can control. I never said God was omnipotent.

So God is impotent? The PoE only addresses a God that is 1. Willing (All-Good) and 2. Able (Powerful & Knowing), the argument seeks to show that those attributes are mutually exclusive, so if you don't believe in an all powerful or all knowing God, then the PoE is irrelevant to you.
popculturepooka
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9/19/2014 9:57:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/19/2014 1:44:21 AM, sovereigngracereigns wrote:
on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?

The so-called "Problem of Evil" is only a problem for those who don't know God.

LOL
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Envisage
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9/19/2014 10:03:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/19/2014 1:44:21 AM, sovereigngracereigns wrote:
The so-called "Problem of Evil" is only a problem for those who don't know God.

You don't know God either, because God doesn't exist.

Hence the "Problem of Evil is still a problem.

GG.
YYW
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9/19/2014 10:05:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
A lot of Christians talk about "spiritual" forces acting upon earthly "officeholders" -such that the human actor is nothing more than the subject or instrument of those broader forces. I'm not saying that's totally inaccurate, but I do think it's overemphasized and that it's from that overemphasis that the problem of evil becomes a philosophical issue that seems hard to resolve or that pushes theology to extreme conclusions.

What's not talked about is the agency that those actors who are presumably being acted upon, retain -even though they very much do retain the freedom to chose even if they're being influenced.

Susan Garrett explains:

"But the Reformed tradition (which includes Presbyterianism) has insisted that the powers' earthly, human dimension be kept in view. We take the New Testament's language about "powers and principalities" to refer not (or not exclusively) to spirit-beings but (also) to social entities, and norms for behavior. Whether or not one understands the powers as spirit-beings, it is important to recognize the systemic dimensions of sin that they foster."

It's important to acknowledge that terms like "social norm" didn't exist in biblical times, but conceptually, norms and customs refer to what impact the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) has on contemporary decision making. This is one of many reasons I love the German language; it's so much clearer than English -but that's a secondary point...

Essentially, what the problem of evil should be understood as, is highlighting the tension between the self-serving tendencies we all have and the pursuit of a greater good for the collective. Garrett continues:

"Humans sometimes sin because forces larger than they blind them, deceive them, subjugate them. We are accountable before God both as individuals and as members of sinful communities whose biases and perversions we learn, act on, and pass on to others."

I'm just going to post another part of her article here, because she says it better than I can:

"How did we come to inhabit a world controlled by the powers? And where is God in the mix? The Apostle Paul traced our "present evil age" (Galatians 1:4) back to the time of Adam. When Adam sinned, a cosmic shift occurred: powers called "Sin" and "Death" entered into the world. God relinquished a measure of control over the world to these and to all the powers, which now determine the outcome of many earthly events, both natural and human-caused. The powers, fallen as they are, exercise control because God lets them do so.

But always God looks ahead to the Day of Resurrection, when the dead will be raised and Christ's lordship over the powers"initiated at his resurrection"will be complete. The Presbyterian Study Catechism says Christians share this "resurrection hope.".2 We hope not simply that we as individuals will live again, but that all of creation "will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:21). On that day, God will truly "be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).

From Paul's perspective God does not directly will bad things that happen. At the creation God gave the powers genuine authority, and they determine the shape of many events, including many instances of evil. Sometimes the powers work against God, just as we as individuals sometimes work against God. God does not directly will those things to happen, though God in God's sovereignty does allow the powers to have their way.

On the other hand, Paul writes, "all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). Paul is saying that God regularly turns even bad things to good ends. When we affirm God's providence, we are announcing our confidence that "God provides for the world by bringing good out of evil, so that nothing evil is permitted to occur that God does not bend finally to the good" (Study Catechism, question 22). Thus God permitted Joseph's brothers to take him captive, but though they meant it for evil "God intended it for good" (Genesis 50:20)."

http://www.presbyterianmission.org...
Tsar of DDO
popculturepooka
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9/19/2014 10:24:28 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
To quote Keith DeRose:

"I suspect that even God thinks there is something wrong with you if you are not at least tempted by such an argument from evil."

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
mrsatan
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9/19/2014 11:20:13 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:59:23 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Yeah, I really just want this thread to focus on OMNIBENEVOLENCE, not any of the other "Omnis," unless they have some direct relation to the topic at hand.

To clearly define what is meant by "God", i.e., what traits are ascribed to Him, is necessary to have any sort of meaningful discussion of the topic.

Perhaps God is omnipotent and omniscient, in which case I can think of a few things that would question Gods benevolence.

Or... Maybe God is omnipotent, yet so mentally challenged that he doesn't even think to use his omnipotence to make himself smarter. In that case, if we assume intent is required for an action to be moral/immoral, then it would be reasonable to consider God as morally neutral, since he would likely be incapable of forming intent for either. At the very least, any mention of an evil he has done could be put down with, "He didn't know any better."

Let's say God isn't even omnipotent. In that case, assuming he feels any existence is better than non-existence, maybe this universe, with all its evils, is the best he can do.

Now, I'm not sure I fully stand behind any of those arguments. I just wanted to point out how necessary it is to have an actual definition of what God is.

---

As for free will, I personally don't think such a thing exists, at least not beyond arbitrary decisions. However, I don't want to straw man you, so I would ask for your definition of free will, to make sure we're on the same page.

Myself, I would define it as, "The capability of choosing ones actions". My phones almost dead, so I'll leave it that for now. If you're interested, I'll share my thoughts based on that definition, as well as on your definition (if it differs).
To say one has free will, to have chosen other than they did, is to say they have will over their will... Will over the will they have over their will... Will over the will they have over the will they have over their will, etc... It's utter nonsense.
sovereigngracereigns
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9/19/2014 11:22:59 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?

It's all very simple.

Just look at the crucifixion of Christ.

The most evil act ever committed by men was the murder of the Son of God.

Yet, in crucifying the Lord of Glory, they unwittingly took part in the salvation of all of God's elect.

That is the prime example of how God uses evil to accomplish his purpose of redemption.

And every instance of evil in this world is used by God to accomplish this purpose of redemption.

Thus, there's no "Problem of Evil."
MadCornishBiker
Posts: 23,302
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9/19/2014 2:51:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?

Once you know the reasons behind it, the presence of evil not only proves the existence of God, but how much we need his guidance and what happens f we reject it.

It also gives proof of his love, justice, wisdom and mercy, as well as his power.

Strange, but very true
dee-em
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9/19/2014 6:24:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/19/2014 11:22:59 AM, sovereigngracereigns wrote:
At 9/18/2014 10:04:48 PM, bsh1 wrote:
Preface

I am, for the first time, I think, substantively entering the religion forum. I do so with some trepidation as I am neither typically interested in theological discourse nor desirous to be dragged into a flame war. However, I have an interesting question that EsocialBookWorm and I were discussing earlier, that I'd like more feedback on. Please be courteous and on-topic in your replies. Thank you.

She asked me recently about the Problem of Evil [http://plato.stanford.edu...] logically negates the existence of an Omnibenevolent deity. For the purposes of this thread, let's define "Omnibenevolence" as infinite benevolence, where "benevolence" is a disposition to see good done.

My Thoughts

I responded that, IMHO, free will held the answer to that question. Without free will, we are essentially slaves of God (in a theological sense) because He would have control of our actions, or would, at the very least, severely limit our range of actions.

If we were truly slaves of an Omnibenevolent deity, evil would not exist. Let's assume that this is true for the sake of argument. Therefore, it is logical to assume that since evil exists, we are not slaves, but have free will. Free will means that we can choose to do wrong just as much as we can choose to do right.

I then suggested that only chosen actions were meaningful. For example, X is something that is good to do, but I don't know that X is something good to do. I do X anyway. The goodness of X was not intended, and therefore it cannot be said that I meaningfully did good, because I didn't intend to do good. As Aristotle writes in his work, Nichomachean Ethics, "it is possible to do something grammatical either by chance or through suggestion. A man will be truly grammatical then, only when he has done something grammatical and done it grammatically, that is, doing it by the knowledge he himself possess of grammar."

I concluded that free will may enable evil to exists, but without free will, there would be no meaningful good. If God prevented us from doing anything but good deeds, that goodness would be artificial and not "real." Thus, by allowing humans to have free will, God has given us the potential to have meaningful goodness in our lives, which seems extremely benevolent.

The alternative--an environment ripe with artificial goodness--seems no better than Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World and it's environment of artificial happiness. It seems horrific to deny us the chance to experience meaningful goodness in our lives. Thus, God has two options: (1) create a horrific world without real goodness, or (2) create a world with some evil, but also the potential for real goodness. It seems most benevolent to choose the latter.

Later, I thought about how, if evil didn't exist, we wouldn't appreciate good as much. I didn't mention this to Esocial at the time, but I think it's important, nonetheless. Consider, if the world were just full of good or neutral acts, how could we meaningfully appreciate those acts and their beauty. It seems immoral to deny us the right to see the true beauty of goodness and to understand that for ourselves, and so the existence of evil is a prerequisite to promoting that understanding, and is thus justified even under the reign of an Omnibenevolent God.

My Question

What are your thoughts on these ideas of on the P.O.E. more generally?

It's all very simple.

Just look at the crucifixion of Christ.

The most evil act ever committed by men was the murder of the Son of God.

It's not murder if the state finds you guilty of a crime and sentences you to death.

The extermination of millions of Jews in gas chambers by the Nazis in WWII doesn't rank?

Yet, in crucifying the Lord of Glory, they unwittingly took part in the salvation of all of God's elect.

I thought that was the plan all along. Are you saying the Jews/Romans had a choice in the matter?

That is the prime example of how God uses evil to accomplish his purpose of redemption.

A mythical man mythically sacrifices himself for mythical redemption of mythical sin. Yeah, makes sense.

And every instance of evil in this world is used by God to accomplish this purpose of redemption.

BS.

Thus, there's no "Problem of Evil."

Not when you hand-wave all problems away, no.
LifeMeansGodIsGood
Posts: 2,744
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9/19/2014 6:31:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
God knew that some of His Creatures would turn against Him, (evil) before He created any of them. He is love. He loves His work which is His creation. He knew that to prove His right to imprison in Hell those who turned agaisnt Him, as a testimony to those angels who did not rebell, and to forever end any possiblity of another rebellion happening so that His creation will be forever what He wanted it to be, nothing but complete perfect blessing for all of His creatures who will love Him because He loved them first, even before they were created. The smoke of the torments of those confined in the fire of Hell will testify forever to the problem of evil. Plato was a fool who put on a good show pretending to be wise.
LifeMeansGodIsGood
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9/19/2014 6:34:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Suffering is necessary because God allows time to continue for mankind after they fell into sin bringing death on themselves. For God to put an end to suffering now would be to end all of our lives since the suffering is caused by evil and the evil is in our hearts. If you are not saved from Hell, you are lost to it. You can be saved from it. Will you?
LifeMeansGodIsGood
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9/19/2014 6:43:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
People who say the problem of evil cannot be answeres simply do not want the answer because they don't want to admit that for the evil of their hearts, they deserve whatever suffering comes upon them. I deserve whatever suffering comes on me and so do you and everybody else. Those whose death is finalized in innocence such as babies and mentally impaired as in Downe's Syndrome will not be held accountable and they will be pardoned and excused from Hell. God loves you. If you have enough brains to read this, you do not have an excuse for rejecting God's offer of pardon through the blood of His Son who gave Himself as the ransom to pay for your sins to buy you back from Hell. "The problem of evil" is no excuse for the evil in your heart.
We all deserve to die and burn in Hell. God loves us all and wants none of us to be lost to Hell. God will not violate your free will to choose to admit you have sinned against Him and deserve His punishment. You can agree with God and seek His mercy and find it through the blood He gave in your place when he took your death as Jesus Christ, or you can disagree with God and say you deserve to live as long as you can live. In that belief, you are dying and have nothing but death forever. Eternal death or eternal life, you are making your choice. If you seek God with your whole heart, you will find Him and you will know He loves you and you will believe on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and be forgiven of your sins and have eternal life.
bsh1
Posts: 27,504
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9/19/2014 9:46:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 9/19/2014 12:57:39 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
How do you deal with ANIMAL suffering. That is, IMO, the hardest version of the problem of evil.

This is definitely an interesting question, and one I honestly hadn't considered. Perhaps animal suffering also shows us the beauty of a non-suffering state. Animal suffering, as the tear-inducing ASPCA commercials evidence, can trigger empathetic feelings in humans. It allows us to appreciate goodness all the more because we can know evil or wrongness like that.

Perhaps it helps us to become better people through being able to engage in moral epiphanies via empathy. We understand suffering to be wrong through our own experiences and through our empathy--animal suffering can help us become better human beings because it shows us that all suffering, even non-human variants, is wrong.

IDK though--I'm really just spit-balling answers here.
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