Problem of suffering....
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13-09-2016, 02:28 PM
Problem of suffering....
Im a recovering catholic and I just recently discovered Bart Ehermans work on suffering..But I now consider myself to be agnostic and maybe borderline atheist.... And most of the answers that catholic apologetics give are....free will...Gods plan or God works in mysterious ways...or original sin...etc etc etc.... This might be the last straw for me......
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13-09-2016, 02:37 PM (This post was last modified: 13-09-2016 05:21 PM by unfogged.)
RE: Problem of suffering....
(13-09-2016 02:28 PM)jason197754 Wrote:  Im a recovering catholic and I just recently discovered Bart Ehermans work on suffering..But I now consider myself to be agnostic and maybe borderline atheist.... And most of the answers that catholic apologetics give are....free will...Gods plan or God works in mysterious ways...or original sin...etc etc etc.... This might be the last straw for me......

Welcome to reasoned beliefs. There are a number of recovering Catholics here; I was raised Catholic but it never took so I don't count myself as recovering, just lucky to have avoided it.

FYI, depending on your definitions atheist and agnostic are not always distinct categories. You can be an agnostic atheist if you do not believe any god claims (atheist) but don't claim to know that nothing that might deserve the label god doesn't exist (agnostic).

(edited to remove extraneous 'that')

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
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13-09-2016, 02:53 PM
RE: Problem of suffering....
Yeah, the problem of evil has plagued the biblical god concept clear back to Genesis.

There are no satisfying answers to it, ultimately the believer has to convince you that this is the best possible world for a loving god. This just isn't plausible.

Suffering also can't be tied to humans, organisms have been living and dying on this planet for billions of years before humans ever walked this planet.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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13-09-2016, 09:18 PM
RE: Problem of suffering....
Epicurus covered it and there isn't much to add:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. 
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. 
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? 
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?


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The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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13-09-2016, 10:19 PM
RE: Problem of suffering....
The problem is, they raised their god too high - beyond their own understanding.
All the little tribal gods used to be in charge of wind or corn or women's fertility or herring migration, but none of them had to answer for human nature, let alone Nature, all by him- or herself. When Jehovah kept getting those promotions - first to champion of Mesopotamia, then chairman of the Roman pantheon, then king of the world, then maker of the whole damn universe, he was more an more out of his depth, and the book became obsolete. It had been perfectly adequate for peoples who all had the same assumptions and rules of behaviour, but once you take it out among new-fangled peoples who think rape and enslavement of war booty are just plain bad, it stops making any sense. And when they start questioning the very essence of life, which is suffering and dying, torture and killing, it becomes wholly irrelevant.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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14-09-2016, 03:37 PM
RE: Problem of suffering....
(13-09-2016 10:19 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  The problem is, they raised their god too high - beyond their own understanding.

They pretty much had to. It simply doesn't do to have some unwashed savage come up and proclaim that his god can eat more oxen than yours can.

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14-09-2016, 10:25 PM (This post was last modified: 15-09-2016 01:48 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Problem of suffering....
(13-09-2016 02:28 PM)jason197754 Wrote:  Im a recovering catholic and I just recently discovered Bart Ehermans work on suffering..But I now consider myself to be agnostic and maybe borderline atheist.... And most of the answers that catholic apologetics give are....free will...Gods plan or God works in mysterious ways...or original sin...etc etc etc.... This might be the last straw for me......


Free Will

How much free will does it take to fight off cancer? Does having the free will to swim protect you from a tsunami? Free will, regardless of how you define it, just doesn't come close to being a sufficient answer to account for the very real and needless suffering that goes on every second of every day.


God's Plan

Lets for a second ignore that the premise alone assumes the existence of such a being and claims insights into it's motivation, all without evidence. Taken at it's face, the plan is also entirely antithetical to the free will argument. It there is a plan put in place by the all seeing and all knowing creator, then we are not free agents. People don't get cancer by chance, or as a result of their life choice, but rather because it's all part of the plan. That also means that natural disasters, and man-made ones, are also part of the plan. This plan entails the incalculable suffering of conscious and sentient creatures on a scale hardly fathomable, all in the name of some ephemeral plan, under the assumption that it's for the greater good. This of course ignores that an all powerful being, by definition, would be able to accomplish this same goal without suffering; thus making it entirely needless.



Original Sin

The all seeing and all knowing creator put all of the pieces in place. He created the world, the garden, the Tree of Knowledge, Adam, Eve, and the serpent. He didn't grant Adam or Eve the knowledge contained within the tree, so they didn't have knowledge of morality. All they had was a simple edict, but no way to understand why they should adhere to it. This is indicated by how after they ate the apple, they covered themselves, because only then were they aware that their own nakedness was somehow problematic.

If a human being placed an toddler inside a minefield, and instructed the toddler not to move, would we consider that human being a moral exemplar? When the toddler inevitably hurt or killed itself, would we not hold responsible the person who put in place such a maniacal Rube Goldberg machine?

Others will claim that we cannot judge a god by human standards. Bullshit. What other standards did he leave us with? It's nonsensical even within it's own framework.





The Problem of Evil

[Image: lesson-6-christian-problem-of-evil-4-728...1323177551]

Destroying the concept of omni-gods for ~2300 years.

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25-10-2016, 12:05 PM
RE: Problem of suffering....
I actually have my very own attempt of theodicy that I find particulary satisfying (I was trying to emphathise with theists perspective to improve my rhetoric skills, which is what I'm trying to do most of the time)

It goes like this:

Yahweh being omnibenevolent would want the greater achievable good for his creation, he then noticed that freedom its the best thing he could offer and maximizing freedom, and I mean giving the highest freedom he could conceive, was the most benevolent creation he could do.

He observed that due to his omnipotence, his will was the absolute law on his universe, and thus he had never conceived anything that wasn't according to his will and nature.

And that the way to maximize freedom would be allow his creation to defy, and more importantly be intrinssicaly indiferent to his will.

But as there was not such a thing as "something against the will of the only omnipotent being in the universe" Yahweh sort of faced a dillema, granting the maximum freedom would necessarily imply a sacrifice on the reach of his power, changing his will would still make things only go according to his (new) will, so no freedom anyways.

He decided then to create something, a concept, aside from him, and completely against will own will and nature, something alternative to his will and nature.

Yahweh then (willingly) created evil, and infused humans with the ability to fluctuate towards and against his will and this alternative according to their own desires.

He knew ofc this would mean people will suffer a lot and shit would get real on earth really fast, he knew this meant to watch kids getting raped with indifference, that he wouldn't intervene to save little kids from getting hit by a drunk truck driver, otherwise he would himself defeat the purpose of creating evil.

But the alternative was even less benevolent, giving any less freedom would be less benevolent, at all cases.

So, basically, his priority was maximizing freedom and the way to do it was creating evil.

Follow? = ]

That which can be destroyed by the truth should be.”
-P.C. Hodgell - Seeker’s Mask - Kirien
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25-10-2016, 02:46 PM
RE: Problem of suffering....
(25-10-2016 12:05 PM)Velvet Wrote:  I actually have my very own attempt of theodicy that I find particulary satisfying (I was trying to emphathise with theists perspective to improve my rhetoric skills, which is what I'm trying to do most of the time)

It goes like this:

Yahweh being omnibenevolent would want the greater achievable good for his creation, he then noticed that freedom its the best thing he could offer and maximizing freedom, and I mean giving the highest freedom he could conceive, was the most benevolent creation he could do.

He observed that due to his omnipotence, his will was the absolute law on his universe, and thus he had never conceived anything that wasn't according to his will and nature.

And that the way to maximize freedom would be allow his creation to defy, and more importantly be intrinssicaly indiferent to his will.

But as there was not such a thing as "something against the will of the only omnipotent being in the universe" Yahweh sort of faced a dillema, granting the maximum freedom would necessarily imply a sacrifice on the reach of his power, changing his will would still make things only go according to his (new) will, so no freedom anyways.

He decided then to create something, a concept, aside from him, and completely against will own will and nature, something alternative to his will and nature.

Yahweh then (willingly) created evil, and infused humans with the ability to fluctuate towards and against his will and this alternative according to their own desires.

He knew ofc this would mean people will suffer a lot and shit would get real on earth really fast, he knew this meant to watch kids getting raped with indifference, that he wouldn't intervene to save little kids from getting hit by a drunk truck driver, otherwise he would himself defeat the purpose of creating evil.

But the alternative was even less benevolent, giving any less freedom would be less benevolent, at all cases.

So, basically, his priority was maximizing freedom and the way to do it was creating evil.

Follow? = ]

Of course, he could avoid all of that suffering by not creating living creatures in the first place.
That would be the greater good.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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25-10-2016, 03:15 PM
RE: Problem of suffering....
(25-10-2016 12:05 PM)Velvet Wrote:  I actually have my very own attempt of theodicy that I find particulary satisfying (I was trying to emphathise with theists perspective to improve my rhetoric skills, which is what I'm trying to do most of the time)

It goes like this:

Yahweh being omnibenevolent would want the greater achievable good for his creation, he then noticed that freedom its the best thing he could offer and maximizing freedom, and I mean giving the highest freedom he could conceive, was the most benevolent creation he could do.

He observed that due to his omnipotence, his will was the absolute law on his universe, and thus he had never conceived anything that wasn't according to his will and nature.

And that the way to maximize freedom would be allow his creation to defy, and more importantly be intrinssicaly indiferent to his will.

But as there was not such a thing as "something against the will of the only omnipotent being in the universe" Yahweh sort of faced a dillema, granting the maximum freedom would necessarily imply a sacrifice on the reach of his power, changing his will would still make things only go according to his (new) will, so no freedom anyways.

He decided then to create something, a concept, aside from him, and completely against will own will and nature, something alternative to his will and nature.

Yahweh then (willingly) created evil, and infused humans with the ability to fluctuate towards and against his will and this alternative according to their own desires.

He knew ofc this would mean people will suffer a lot and shit would get real on earth really fast, he knew this meant to watch kids getting raped with indifference, that he wouldn't intervene to save little kids from getting hit by a drunk truck driver, otherwise he would himself defeat the purpose of creating evil.

But the alternative was even less benevolent, giving any less freedom would be less benevolent, at all cases.

So, basically, his priority was maximizing freedom and the way to do it was creating evil.

Follow? = ]

That works tolerably well for certain types of suffering that humans cause. If you're willing to overlook the way that the Biblical God seems to have not the slightest regard for free will and causes more than a little suffering himself. We go against His Will, He drowns the planet.

That still leaves you with the grotesquerie that is all the suffering that has nothing to do with human choices. Loved one being devoured by cancer? Oriiginal sin. Wasps that lay eggs in living hosts so their larvae can chew their way out? Mysterious ways.

It's bad excuses all the way down and much more easily explained as the result of impersonal and uncaring natural phenomena than any sane, caring or competent deity.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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