Refuting "the problem of evil"
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18-08-2014, 12:50 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(17-08-2014 01:58 PM)TheInquisition Wrote:  If evil doesn't exist, then the biblical god does not exist. The bible is certainly replete with examples of evil and even describes god as the creator of evil.

Though if you consider evil a mere construct of the imagination, then god can be considered as a mere construct of the imagination.

I don't follow your reasoning here. I know "evil" does not exist because I deconstructed a direct personal experience of "evil" and found that it was based on an erroneous pre-conception.

Are you telling me that you have had a direct personal experience of god, which you have deconstructed and found to be based on an erroneous pre-conception?

I am a big fan of keeping things facts-based, which to me means I try to make sure that everything I say is based on some direct personal experience, and not based on stories or ideas that other people have passed on to me. In fact, I think a full knowing of a phenomenon requires direct, personal experience but at very least, if I base my position on other people's stories or theories there's always a risk I mis-interpret their story and don't hear it truly on their terms. Any position based on such a mis-interpretation would of course be a false position.

Phil
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18-08-2014, 01:12 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(17-08-2014 02:58 PM)Ray Butler Wrote:  But human perspective and experience is valid, we are inseparable from it, so denying it as a value is irrational itself, just we need to learn to see things for what they really are and be able to discipline impulses where appropriate.

Sure! I do not deny that the experience of "evil" exists. The subjective experience of spotting evil is very real. What I deny is that the experience resolves to a meaningful aspect of reality outside of a human mind. Rather, it resolves to an aspect of the human mind itself, namely - erroneous preconceptions that person might have about reality.



Quote:I will say that beliefs can be based on facts, but belief can really just be how we choose to interpret facts, notably in a way that gives us more strength than a clinical, cynical or apathetic interpretation.

Yup I agree with that, I think perhaps beliefs are always based on some sort of fact (e.g. some sort of direct experience) but frequently the facts held don't actually provide necessary and sufficient evidence for the belief, or alternatively there is some error of reasoning in the inferences made from the evidence.

I guess you could say the human perception of "evil" is an example of that! There is an actual experience, but an unsubstantiated and erroneous belief at the back of our mind cause the experience to be mis-interpreted.

Phil
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18-08-2014, 01:23 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(17-08-2014 03:22 PM)Atothetheist Wrote:  
(17-08-2014 12:36 PM)Vosur Wrote:  How would you address this problem if one were to substitute the word "evil" with "suffering"? Consider

Let's add 'Needless' before that suffering.

OK sure! Well, "needless" is an interpretation of reality, e.g. it's a story about reality rather than a direct actual experience of reality.

What I would say about it is this - If I look out at the world and judge some unpleasant occurrence as "needless", then essentially I'm going into reaction with the world, I'm disagreeing with cause and effect.

Because I accept rational cause and effect, I think everything has a reason, the reason may be out of sight to me but that does not mean it does not exist.

From that perspective, the gold standard for how reality should be is.... how it actually is! What's actually occurring right now, is always what "should" occur right now, from a rational cause and effect perspective.

That does not mean to say I can't work to make tomorrow a better day than today. But it does in my mind invalidate any perceptions I might have that something unpleasant that occurred was "needless".

I would say that if i experience a judgement of "needless" then that's actually evidence of my suffering, as defined earlier, e.g it's an unhelpful (and subjectively unpleasant) mind-story.

Phil
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18-08-2014, 02:30 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(17-08-2014 12:45 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  1 child being raped disproves an all powerful benevolent deity. Once you start equivocating you either put your imaginary friend in to the non-omnipotent category or the non-benevolent one.

This is perfectly true, but only from a relative or dualistic perspective.

Dualistic perspectives split the world into separate opposites (e.g. in politics, left wing versus right wing). Dualistic perspectives always see their opposite in the world as "wrong" or "bad" - democrats demonise republicans, republicans demonise democrats.

This process of demonisation does not lead to wisdom about the deeper nature of political reality. It's just simple political fact that both left wing and right wing political perspectives exist in human society, and in fact in terms of numbers, the supporters for either perspective are split roughly down the middle - this is because they actually create each other. Even though they hate each other...

So relative perspectives argue and fight, whereas an absolute perspective sees that opposite left wing and right wing perspectives are both right. Neither is the whole truth, but both have partial truth.

I would say in light of the fact that god is defined as actually being an absolute, then it is inappropriate to attempt to understand god concepts through relative perspectives, such a perspective simply isn't fit for purpose.

What's required to conceptualise the absolute is a non-dual or absolute perspective, a perspective which does not split reality into opposites.

Looking at your point from an absolute perspective, if we accept the omnipotent omnibenevolent definition of god then the murder of a baby is still explainable in terms of an absence of god. It is not necessarily evidence that god was present but fallible.

A lack, an absence, a "ontological Null" if you like, is not the same thing as a presence of a fallible entity.

As an analogy it's a bit like saying - what's the opposite of an apple? From a simplistic perspective (let's not get into anti-matter!), an apple does not really have an opposite, it's not really reasonable to say that the opposite of an apple is an empty fruit bowl because that could equally be the opposite of an orange, so "empty fruit bowl" does not uniquely define "apple's opposite". So from this simplistic perspective, I'd say that an apple is a nondual, absolute entity, it does not have an opposite.

And an empty fruit bowl is not evidence that we have an entity in the room which is the opposite of an apple, just as a child's murder is not proof of a false god since it can be explained by an absence of god, an empty bowl.

Here's something else about dualistic perspectives. They always based on unexamined beliefs, these unexamined beliefs are projected into reality and appear as "wrong" or "bad" in anyone who holds the opposite perspective.

So the ontological foundation of dualism is a lack of enquiry, a lack of actual knowledge. That should be a concern for a skeptic....

Phil
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18-08-2014, 02:43 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(17-08-2014 06:36 PM)Chas Wrote:  Harm. Actual harm disproves your thesis.

Harm is deliberately inflicted as a consequence of delusion, not as a consequence of "evil".

Delusion is not about what is, but about what isn't.

Phil
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18-08-2014, 02:44 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(18-08-2014 02:30 AM)phil.a Wrote:  
(17-08-2014 12:45 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  1 child being raped disproves an all powerful benevolent deity. Once you start equivocating you either put your imaginary friend in to the non-omnipotent category or the non-benevolent one.

This is perfectly true, but only from a relative or dualistic perspective.

Dualistic perspectives split the world into separate opposites (e.g. in politics, left wing versus right wing). Dualistic perspectives always see their opposite in the world as "wrong" or "bad" - democrats demonise republicans, republicans demonise democrats.

This process of demonisation does not lead to wisdom about the deeper nature of political reality. It's just simple political fact that both left wing and right wing political perspectives exist in human society, and in fact in terms of numbers, the supporters for either perspective are split roughly down the middle - this is because they actually create each other. Even though they hate each other...

So relative perspectives argue and fight, whereas an absolute perspective sees that opposite left wing and right wing perspectives are both right. Neither is the whole truth, but both have partial truth.

I would say in light of the fact that god is defined as actually being an absolute, then it is inappropriate to attempt to understand god concepts through relative perspectives, such a perspective simply isn't fit for purpose.

What's required to conceptualise the absolute is a non-dual or absolute perspective, a perspective which does not split reality into opposites.

Looking at your point from an absolute perspective, if we accept the omnipotent omnibenevolent definition of god then the murder of a baby is still explainable in terms of an absence of god. It is not necessarily evidence that god was present but fallible.

A lack, an absence, a "ontological Null" if you like, is not the same thing as a presence of a fallible entity.

As an analogy it's a bit like saying - what's the opposite of an apple? From a simplistic perspective (let's not get into anti-matter!), an apple does not really have an opposite, it's not really reasonable to say that the opposite of an apple is an empty fruit bowl because that could equally be the opposite of an orange, so "empty fruit bowl" does not uniquely define "apple's opposite". So from this simplistic perspective, I'd say that an apple is a nondual, absolute entity, it does not have an opposite.

And an empty fruit bowl is not evidence that we have an entity in the room which is the opposite of an apple, just as a child's murder is not proof of a false god since it can be explained by an absence of god, an empty bowl.

Here's something else about dualistic perspectives. They always based on unexamined beliefs, these unexamined beliefs are projected into reality and appear as "wrong" or "bad" in anyone who holds the opposite perspective.

So the ontological foundation of dualism is a lack of enquiry, a lack of actual knowledge. That should be a concern for a skeptic....

Phil


Sorry Pal either he is not omnipotent or he is not benevolent. You can equivocate all you want the fact that every day millions of innocent children are raped/killed/starve to death disprove there is any kind of Benevolent Omnipotent intercessory Deity.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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18-08-2014, 02:58 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(17-08-2014 06:53 PM)CiderThinker Wrote:  If evil is a delusion as you suggest, then please explain the bible verse in Isiah where it says - "I make peace and create evil, I the Lord do all these things"

As discussed in a previous post it's fair to say that evil exists in terms of a psychological experience, in that most of us have had a perception of evil at some time or other. The experience is an actual experience in fact, even though the experience is misinterpreted by our mind as being about the external situation, rather than being about our false preconceptions around that situation.

Because it's actually experienced, "evil" does have a reality to it as an actual experience, even if it's interpretation of the situation is false. I guess you could call the underlying reality experience part of the (created) cosmos.

Phil
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18-08-2014, 03:07 AM (This post was last modified: 18-08-2014 03:17 AM by phil.a.)
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(17-08-2014 07:54 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  If evil is merely our human way if categorizing harm and doesn't come from above.

There's no value to fearing or worshiping that God which exists in the world.

Yup I agree! I certainly don't do it.

However, I am a rational (formal operational) thinker, I understand cause and effect, therefore I can discern the future unpleasant consequences (e.g. punishment) of shoplifting and simply choose not to do it on that basis.

A pre-rational (concrete operational) thinker lacks full awareness of linear time and cause and effect and consequently cannot ethically discern through reason in the manner I have outlined above. So they'll shoplift, unless you support them not to do it with fear-based consequences.

I think it's fair enough to tell such a person that "cause and effect will smite him down" if he shop-lifts, although remember that a pre-rational thinker can't understand "cause and effect" so I better give it a simpler, more catchy symbolic name.

Oh, I dunno - how does "god" sound, as a symbolic name for rational cause and effect?

Phil

In the following description of stages of psychological development, it's important to realise that not all adults reach the final stage. If someone is a religious fundamentalist, you can take it as a given that they haven't yet.

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18-08-2014, 03:14 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(18-08-2014 02:44 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Sorry Pal either he is not omnipotent or he is not benevolent. You can equivocate all you want the fact that every day millions of innocent children are raped/killed/starve to death disprove there is any kind of Benevolent Omnipotent intercessory Deity.

Thanks for your response. Can you please reflect back your understanding of the concept of dualistic perspectives versus nondual perspectives, as explained in my previous post?

Before going any further, I'd like to be sure we are both on the same page.

Phil
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18-08-2014, 03:22 AM
RE: Refuting "the problem of evil"
(18-08-2014 02:58 AM)phil.a Wrote:  
(17-08-2014 06:53 PM)CiderThinker Wrote:  If evil is a delusion as you suggest, then please explain the bible verse in Isiah where it says - "I make peace and create evil, I the Lord do all these things"

As discussed in a previous post it's fair to say that evil exists in terms of a psychological experience, in that most of us have had a perception of evil at some time or other. The experience is an actual experience in fact, even though the experience is misinterpreted by our mind as being about the external situation, rather than being about our false preconceptions around that situation.

Because it's actually experienced, "evil" does have a reality to it as an actual experience, even if it's interpretation of the situation is false. I guess you could call the underlying reality experience part of the (created) cosmos.

Phil

Evil is attributed to intelligent causation. Animal are not evil, because they generally lack the intelligence required for moral contemplation. Moral accountability extend only as far as your knowledge. The nature of the universe, if not caused, is not evil; uncaring and completely oblivious to our presence, but by no means evil. If however reality was caused to be the way it is (as is proposed by religions with creation deities), then the very nature of reality carries with it an underlying causation and intent by a being with sufficient intelligence to have accountability. If the universe was intended to be a place of such needless suffering, especially when it could have been otherwise, we would rightly label that intentional harm as 'evil'. Thus a deity or being responsible for intentionally engineering a system that knowingly causes such needless suffering can be described as 'evil', as are their actions (or lack thereof). This would of course be incompatible with anything even remotely close to good, let alone something with the attribute of omnibenevolence.

We understand at least this much about our universe, and our universe contains suffering. So either the aspects attributed to the creator of this universe are incorrect, or it didn't create this universe, or it doesn't have the power to do otherwise. Omnipotence and omnibenevolence would logically require the creation of a universe far different than the one we currently exist in. Since we don't live in that universe, it's safe to say that those attributes are either being misapplied, or the creator itself simply doesn't exist.

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