The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
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16-05-2014, 02:58 PM (This post was last modified: 16-05-2014 03:02 PM by WimpyPete.)
The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
Hi guys,

I was just curious about your thoughts on this. I know the argument from the problem of evil is often used in a negative sense against theists to try to demonstrate that God does not exist (thus as a 'negative' proof), but what exactly does the argument demonstrate in a positive sense? It seems like the conclusion of the argument that evil exists and therefore God does not exist, really ends up meaning positively that the world is tragic and in a sense horrible because there is just all this suffering and death and eternal separation from loved ones etc without any purpose or ultimate resolution. I guess I bring up the question because usually it seems like unbelievers are sort of excited about the argument of evil, but it seems like its conclusion is sort of a sad one in my opinion. Just curious about your thoughts.
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16-05-2014, 03:04 PM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(16-05-2014 02:58 PM)WimpyPete Wrote:  Hi guys,

I was just curious about your thoughts on this. I know the argument from the problem of evil is often used in a negative sense against theists to try to demonstrate that God does not exist (thus as a 'negative' proof), but what exactly does the argument demonstrate in a positive sense? It seems like the conclusion of the argument that evil exists and therefore God does not exist, really ends up meaning positively that the world is tragic and in a sense horrible. I guess I bring up the question because usually it seems like unbelievers are sort of excited about the argument of evil, but it seems like its conclusion is sort of a sad one in my opinion. Just curious about your thoughts.

The argument from evil is not so much that God doesn't exist but that the Abrahamic God cannot possibly be all-powerful and all-good and simultaneously allow evil to exist.

BTW the only thing unbelievers get sort of excited about are babies wrapped in bacon slow roasted with a touch of paprika. Drooling

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16-05-2014, 03:05 PM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
I don't think excited is the right word for how non-believers approach the problem of evil. It's simply recognized as a strong argument against the god concept that has all the "omni" adjectives. So, yes, it's used often, but that doesn't equate to people being happy about the existence of evil.

Regarding the "tragic world", it's true that evil makes the world less attractive in general, but there is still plenty of good to outweigh the evil. Still, it would be even better if we could rid the world of at least some of the evil. Thus, battling the religions that promote evil is important.

@DonaldTrump, Patriotism is not honoring your flag no matter what your country/leader does. It's doing whatever it takes to make your country the best it can be as long as its not violent.
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16-05-2014, 03:14 PM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
The argument from evil shows that if god exists, he's not benevolent.

The conclusion one can draw from the existence of natural disasters is not that the universe is bad, just that the universe is indifferent to us.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-05-2014, 04:12 PM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
Ok thanks, that is clarifying.

Maybe since it is relevant to your responses I would just ask for opinions on a 2nd question. Does the absence of God lead to the existentialist (Sartre, Camus etc) position about an absurd, meaningless world in which life is only "nausea"? Obviously, as you said, there are good things still in life, and we certainly have experiences which are meaningful, but does the ultimate lack of an overarching and final meaning, and the large amount of suffering that exists coupled with the final ending of all life in ultimate destruction discolor the good which we do experience so much that we should call existence tragic as Sartre etc does?
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16-05-2014, 04:13 PM (This post was last modified: 16-05-2014 04:17 PM by Chas.)
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(16-05-2014 04:12 PM)WimpyPete Wrote:  Ok thanks, that is clarifying.

Maybe since it is relevant to your responses I would just ask for opinions on a 2nd question. Does the absence of God lead to the existentialist (Sartre, Camus etc) position about an absurd, meaningless world in which life is only "nausea"? Obviously, as you said, there are good things still in life, and we certainly have experiences which are meaningful, but does the ultimate lack of an overarching and final meaning, and the large amount of suffering that exists coupled with the final ending of all life in ultimate destruction discolor the good which we do experience so much that we should call existence tragic as Sartre etc does?

You can fall into the pit of despair or you can stare into the abyss and laugh.

I prefer laughing.

one life and short time,
cold and lonely universe -
laugh at the abyss

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-05-2014, 04:25 PM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(16-05-2014 04:12 PM)WimpyPete Wrote:  Ok thanks, that is clarifying.

Maybe since it is relevant to your responses I would just ask for opinions on a 2nd question. Does the absence of God lead to the existentialist (Sartre, Camus etc) position about an absurd, meaningless world in which life is only "nausea"? Obviously, as you said, there are good things still in life, and we certainly have experiences which are meaningful, but does the ultimate lack of an overarching and final meaning, and the large amount of suffering that exists coupled with the final ending of all life in ultimate destruction discolor the good which we do experience so much that we should call existence tragic as Sartre etc does?

That would really depend on someone's personal response, which may be heavily influenced by their background.
If a person is raised, say, naturalist, that person will not likely be too bothered by it. A person who is currently believing in an ultimate meaning to all existence may find the idea a very empty one. Those who are transitioning or have recently transitioned from one ideology to the other will vary pretty dramatically.
The response is very specific to the person's disposition and to his or her circumstances.


I love your questions so far, by the way.

A person very dear to me was badly hurt through a misunderstanding and miscommunication. For this, I am sorry, and he knows it. That said, any blaming me for malicious intent is for the birds. I will not wear some scarlet letter, I will not be anybody's whipping girl, and I will not lurk in silence.
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16-05-2014, 04:29 PM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(16-05-2014 04:12 PM)WimpyPete Wrote:  Ok thanks, that is clarifying.

Maybe since it is relevant to your responses I would just ask for opinions on a 2nd question. Does the absence of God lead to the existentialist (Sartre, Camus etc) position about an absurd, meaningless world in which life is only "nausea"? Obviously, as you said, there are good things still in life, and we certainly have experiences which are meaningful, but does the ultimate lack of an overarching and final meaning, and the large amount of suffering that exists coupled with the final ending of all life in ultimate destruction discolor the good which we do experience so much that we should call existence tragic as Sartre etc does?

The absence of a god should put your mind at ease and give a great deal of meaning to your life when you realize that there is not a dictator in the sky in which in his court there can be no appeal. It's the father that never leaves you, that you can never escape from, that you will never hear the end of.

Hitchens says it a bit better




Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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16-05-2014, 04:45 PM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
The argument of evil says that either
-god created evil, therefore is immoral and shouldn't be worshipped
-god can't prevent evil, therefore isn't a real god and shouldn't be worshipped

Both outcomes still have some sort of supernatural being existing. Might makes right is still in play.

Also, you can just easily make up that in the afterlife, they'll be in so much bliss that any torture or evil "in the real world" is easily a tiny price to pay.

All these games and arguments are just stupid.
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16-05-2014, 04:49 PM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(16-05-2014 04:45 PM)PoolBoyG Wrote:  Also, you can just easily make up that in the afterlife, they'll be in so much bliss that any torture or evil "in the real world" is easily a tiny price to pay.

Actually, this is exactly the argument used by many Christians, especially in the context of persecution. They even go a step farther than that and say, more suffering for the cause of Christ=more reward in Heaven.

A person very dear to me was badly hurt through a misunderstanding and miscommunication. For this, I am sorry, and he knows it. That said, any blaming me for malicious intent is for the birds. I will not wear some scarlet letter, I will not be anybody's whipping girl, and I will not lurk in silence.
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