Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
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09-12-2014, 11:52 AM
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 11:44 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(09-12-2014 11:29 AM)Chas Wrote:  Benevolence is really a pretty simple concept. Its etymology is "good will" (bene + volens).

It is the desire to benefit others, and not harm them. And it is reasonable to assume that what benefits or harms oneself generally benefits or harms another.


Notice you're the one proposing that the standard of good to be "one between benefit and harm". This doesn't apply to those who might subscribe to a deontological view, or a virtue ethics view of morality, or those who view right or wrong based on intentions, rather than actions or consequences.

No, I have not proposed any standard, meaning, or definition of 'good'.

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09-12-2014, 11:56 AM
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 11:47 AM)tear151 Wrote:  
(09-12-2014 11:45 AM)Chas Wrote:  I did not define any of those extensions to the meaning of benevolence. Re-read my post, please.

You defined it as "good will"

No, I didn't. I gave its etymology.

Quote:Thus if it follows that helping others is benevolent, then it also follows from your definition that helping others is "good willed"

If something is "Good willed" then it is "Good", not simply you finding it to be "Good" but "Good", you need a different definition really, or to at least clarify it more.

To put it mathematically

Let Good willed= Benevolent

Let Benevolent = Helping others

=> Helping others = Good will

Let Good will (Is a proper subset of) Good

=> Helping others (Is a proper set of) Good

If you disagree with that analysis then I'm afraid you're simply not being clear.

So, since I didn't define it that way, no.

I have not anywhere here proposed that benevolence is good or bad, moral or immoral.

Simply that allowing unnecessary suffering violates the definition of benevolent.

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09-12-2014, 11:59 AM
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 09:15 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Please, my vacillating, has been for no other reason than sheer laziness, and arguing about the difference between suffering, pointless suffering, very benevolent, omnibenevolent, benevolent, is whole separate rabbit hole, which is somewhat irrelevant to the points being made.

You can substitute whatever terms you like in anything I've said, but my points still stand.

Unfortunately, changing the terms substantially changes the argument and makes it extremely difficult to follow. A benevolent entity might allow suffering for a greater good in the long run; pointless suffering is a different matter, especially if the entity is being defined as omnibenevolent (and usually omnipotent).

It also doesn't help further the conversation when you argue in abstracts instead of your actual beliefs. It is rarely clear which level you are operating from.

Quote:So are you arguing against the view of moral relativism, that there are no right or wrong answers to moral disagreements? Are you claiming there is in fact objective morality, and we can uncover this through rational and logical inquiry?

I would say that neither is the case. I do not accept moral relativism because it can be shown that some practices are objectively more harmful than others in the same circumstances. That does not make morals objective because they can vary depending on the situation. You set up objective morals and moral relativism as the only 2 options but there are others. Consequentialism and situational ethics play a part in my consideration of right and wrong.

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09-12-2014, 12:01 PM
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 11:56 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(09-12-2014 11:47 AM)tear151 Wrote:  You defined it as "good will"

No, I didn't. I gave its etymology.

Quote:Thus if it follows that helping others is benevolent, then it also follows from your definition that helping others is "good willed"

If something is "Good willed" then it is "Good", not simply you finding it to be "Good" but "Good", you need a different definition really, or to at least clarify it more.

To put it mathematically

Let Good willed= Benevolent

Let Benevolent = Helping others

=> Helping others = Good will

Let Good will (Is a proper subset of) Good

=> Helping others (Is a proper set of) Good

If you disagree with that analysis then I'm afraid you're simply not being clear.

So, since I didn't define it that way, no.

I have not anywhere here proposed that benevolence is good or bad, moral or immoral.

Simply that allowing unnecessary suffering violates the definition of benevolent.

I've always defined benevolence as "Exemplifying moral characteristics", that benevolent is the same thing as moral.

The problem with your definition is that mine is the fundamental usage, where as yours is a slightly altered done unwittingly by dictionary writers who assumed helping others must be moral.

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09-12-2014, 12:02 PM
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 12:01 PM)tear151 Wrote:  
(09-12-2014 11:56 AM)Chas Wrote:  No, I didn't. I gave its etymology.


So, since I didn't define it that way, no.

I have not anywhere here proposed that benevolence is good or bad, moral or immoral.

Simply that allowing unnecessary suffering violates the definition of benevolent.

I've always defined benevolence as "Exemplifying moral characteristics", that benevolent is the same thing as moral.

The problem with your definition is that mine is the fundamental usage, where as yours is a slightly altered done unwittingly by dictionary writers who assumed helping others must be moral.

That's a bold and unsupported claim which I reject.
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09-12-2014, 12:04 PM
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 12:02 PM)Rik Wrote:  
(09-12-2014 12:01 PM)tear151 Wrote:  I've always defined benevolence as "Exemplifying moral characteristics", that benevolent is the same thing as moral.

The problem with your definition is that mine is the fundamental usage, where as yours is a slightly altered done unwittingly by dictionary writers who assumed helping others must be moral.

That's a bold and unsupported claim which I reject.

Yeah, seriously - have you got some evidence that your [tear151] definition is correct?

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09-12-2014, 12:05 PM
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 12:02 PM)Rik Wrote:  
(09-12-2014 12:01 PM)tear151 Wrote:  I've always defined benevolence as "Exemplifying moral characteristics", that benevolent is the same thing as moral.

The problem with your definition is that mine is the fundamental usage, where as yours is a slightly altered done unwittingly by dictionary writers who assumed helping others must be moral.

That's a bold and unsupported claim which I reject.

How I define things doesn't need to be discussed because language is an arbitrary human construction but, yes, if benevolence is simply defined as "Helping other people" then not allowing them to suffer when you can help is not a benevolent being.

Note my definition is often given as the primary definition in dictionaries, the above one is usually the secondary.

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09-12-2014, 12:07 PM (This post was last modified: 09-12-2014 12:37 PM by tear151.)
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 12:04 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(09-12-2014 12:02 PM)Rik Wrote:  That's a bold and unsupported claim which I reject.

Yeah, seriously - have you got some evidence that your [tear151] definition is correct?

Language is an arbitrary human construct, that is what best describes my idea of benevolence. Unfortunately the title is rather vague, and leaves it open for interpretation, if we use the definition that being benevolent directly means "Helping people" then it also directly means "Not allowing them to suffer, so the statement in the title is false entirely a.priori and you are correct if that is truly your conception of the idea of benevolence.

the main problem with that definition is that now the statement is simply "All Bachelors are unmarried" and can be shown again using the same mathematical process

Let the Term God Imply an omnipotent being

Let Benevolent be defined as the will to help others

There is suffering in the world

An Omnipotent being could prevent this suffering, if they haven't they simply lack the will too

God therefore lacks the will to relieve suffering

Relieving suffering is a subset of helping others

God Therefore lacks the will to help others

The will to help others, or simply helping others when you can, is benevolence.

Thus God is not benevolent

You may wonder why that's a problem? Mainly because that's incredibly obvious, also considering that christians often defined god as "All-Good" they clearly don't mean your idea of benevolence.

Hang on yeah...

Omnibenevolence and all good are used interchangeably by the religious, so would you object to assuming the title means "Good"?

It's something the OP needs to define really.

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09-12-2014, 01:31 PM (This post was last modified: 09-12-2014 01:39 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 11:59 AM)unfogged Wrote:  Unfortunately, changing the terms substantially changes the argument and makes it extremely difficult to follow. A benevolent entity might allow suffering for a greater good in the long run; pointless suffering is a different matter, especially if the entity is being defined as omnibenevolent (and usually omnipotent).

Here's the problem, what makes certain suffering meaningless? If there is a God, would it be our inability to perceive or rationalize any possible meaning of suffering, that makes it meaningless? You seem to acknowledge that some suffering can be meaningful when it's in the service of a greater good. But what makes it meaningful though, the fact that we can think of a scenario in which it could be meaningful, or does it require us to perceive the mind of God and to know exactly what his intention, and higher purposes are?

This is entirely different rabbit hole, of who can judge what is meaningful or not, of what makes something meaningful or not, for the sake of discussion here, we don't even have to explore all that much.

Quote:It also doesn't help further the conversation when you argue in abstracts instead of your actual beliefs. It is rarely clear which level you are operating from.

Well, I'm not one making a positive claim, so I don't want anyone shifting the burden of proof on to me. I'm interested in addressing the validity of those making a positive statement, such as meaningless suffering negates benevolence. I enjoy the shoe on the other foot, pressing unbelievers to think of their beliefs, to explore the basis, and reasoning, and evidence for it.


Quote:You set up objective morals and moral relativism as the only 2 options but there are others. Consequentialism and situational ethics play a part in my consideration of right and wrong.

There are only two options, there are various iterations of these options, such as consequentialism and situational ethics. But they are just different dresses on these two options. I have yet to see a sound argument for a third option.

Quote:I would say that neither is the case. I do not accept moral relativism because it can be shown that some practices are objectively more harmful than others in the same circumstances.

So you think it's because some things can be shown to be objectively harmful, that this negates moral relativism?
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09-12-2014, 01:48 PM
RE: Is Suffering Compatible With God's Existence?
(09-12-2014 10:24 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  ... from the perspective of moral relativism, particularly meta-ethical moral relativism, there are no objectively right or wrong answers.
...

There are objectively right and wrong answers... depending on the questions. But not right or wrong cultures, ethics or behaviours.

(09-12-2014 10:24 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  ...
And as a result my moral view, that benevolence isn't negated by the existence of meaningless suffering, is not objectively wrong or right
...

So, you are saying that you are a Relativist?

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