The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
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17-05-2014, 01:35 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
OP, I understand what you're saying.

The idea of there being no god, or no over-arching purpose can be distressing to many people, this is true. It can be scary and depressing to many.

It's very understandable.

It's also very irrelevant.

Our emotional reaction to what is or what isn't usually has very little, if any, influence on what is or isn't.

I find poisonous spiders very distressing. In fact, I find pretty much all spiders distressing. I do not, at all, like the fact that there may be one within a few feet of me at any given time, especially while I'm outside. My reaction to this idea is rather negative.
Many other people do not have this reaction; they're more neutral. Still others would like to find the spiders and play with them, which I find revolting.

Our respective reactions to the spiders differ according to whatever factors are in play.

But our psychological reactions to spiders do not change one thing: Spiders exist. Our gut reactions do not change the facts... well, beyond the precise number of spiders in your house or something. You generally have some amount of control of critter infestations within your own house, yes. But spiders exist, and that's just fact. Me not liking it does not change it. It just is, and that's just life.

Same with a god or a lack thereof. We may discuss how we feel about each prospect and why, but this still has no bearing on whether or not a god actually exists. Okay, so a god is scary. And? Or... Okay, so there being NO god is scary. And? Figure out the reality and then find a way to deal with it. Do not commit the folly of declaring reality to be what we want it to be.

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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17-05-2014, 01:44 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
Not exactly. Atheism is a "moving away," it doesn't lead anywhere other than away from theism.

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17-05-2014, 01:57 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
Too often, we treat information and beliefs like prescription medication, sometimes without regard to whether or not this information/belief is necessarily accurate.
Well, she's feeling depression and anxiety for THIS reason, so we'll prescribe her THIS doctrine because it is shown to often counteract these symptoms. Side effects may include.....

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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17-05-2014, 06:17 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
How many atheists here would say atheists in general are people who seek to live rationally, honestly, and in accordance with reality, and value truth over delusional falsehoods propagated by the religious as coping mechanisms?

Would anyone here say that?
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17-05-2014, 07:34 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(16-05-2014 03:04 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  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.

Exactly. The point isn't to show that God doesn't exist. It's to show that a god that has the contradictory qualities that many Christians claim doesn't exist.
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17-05-2014, 08:10 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(17-05-2014 07:34 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(16-05-2014 03:04 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  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.

Exactly. The point isn't to show that God doesn't exist. It's to show that a god that has the contradictory qualities that many Christians claim doesn't exist.

Right. The next step then is to say that since these particular traits are contradictory to one another then this Christian God cannot exist as described.

Perhaps a "lesser" god, one might say exists, similar to those of Greek and Roman mythology with all their faults and shortcomings. In many respects gods like these http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Gre...al_figures are easier to imagine existing because none are omni-anything so there isn't the contradiction that exists with the Abrahamic god.

BUT however you describe any god the burden of proof still remains, you can attribute whatever qualities you want to a supernatural being but until there is substatiated evidence for their existence all you are doing is wishful-thinking.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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17-05-2014, 08:22 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(17-05-2014 06:17 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  How many atheists here would say atheists in general are people who seek to live rationally, honestly, and in accordance with reality, and value truth over delusional falsehoods propagated by the religious as coping mechanisms?

Would anyone here say that?

At this point you could ask "How many atheists here would say atheists in general are people that say the earth revolves around the sun" and I suspect many of us would withhold answering you as you haven't engendered much trust, at least the way I see it.

Protip: Generalizations are normally frowned upon in these here parts.

Maybe if you present your entire argument first I might be more inclined to answer, especially if you don't have me generalizing about what others might think.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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17-05-2014, 08:50 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(17-05-2014 06:17 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  How many atheists here would say atheists in general are people who seek to live rationally, honestly, and in accordance with reality, and value truth over delusional falsehoods propagated by the religious as coping mechanisms?

Would anyone here say that?

Always a trap with this one. Dodgy

My own definition goes like this: atheist- one who rejects contemporary theology. In general, what happens after that is up to the individual.

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17-05-2014, 09:38 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(17-05-2014 01:35 AM)Charis Wrote:  Our emotional reaction to what is or what isn't usually has very little, if any, influence on what is or isn't.

But our psychological reactions to spiders do not change one thing: Spiders exist. Our gut reactions do not change the facts...

But spiders exist, and that's just fact. Me not liking it does not change it. It just is, and that's just life.

Same with a god or a lack thereof.

Do not commit the folly of declaring reality to be what we want it to be.



I agree with you that reality is what it is despite our feelings towards it, and I'm not trying to say that our feelings/desires determine reality.

I guess what I am getting at is that I don't understand or necessarily agree with the mentality of someone like Dawkins who preach this type of atheism (a reality in which we are all alone without purpose or final hope) as a kind of "good news".

I think a good example of what I am trying to explain can be seen in the debate between Dawkins and theist Rowan Williams which is mediated by agnostic philosopher Antony Kenny (link below). At 25:50-27:00 min they are discussing the topic of consciousness and Dawkins states that he believes it is probably an illusion and that we are actually something like computers. To this Kenny the agnostic replies that he thinks that this is a sad belief and feels sorry for Dawkins that he believes it. Kenny believes there are better ways of explaining the phenomena that are less depressing and maintain the belief in the reality of consciousness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzqa6VMI0UQ

My point then is not that our beliefs make something true or exist etc. but what I'm more asking is why we aren't more open to considering other possible solutions or possibilities which might give a better, more hopeful account of reality. To go back to the Dawkins/Kenny example, I agree that Dawkins' idea that our consciousness (perhaps our greatest attribute as humans) is just an illusion and that I am some stinking computer is a horrible idea and I'm not anxious to accept it. That doesn't mean my beliefs create reality, but it does mean that I look into other theories of explanation.
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17-05-2014, 10:01 AM
RE: The argument from evil proves that the world is horrible?
(16-05-2014 10:18 PM)Michael_Tadlock Wrote:  My personal view point, I think life is both simultaneously amazing and deeply dissatisfying by nature. There are things in this world so beautiful and awesome that while witnessing them you literally forget to breath, "take your breath away" as it were, and then inevitably we all pass and it all goes away. Birth is an amazing beginning, and death is agonizing, uncomfortable, and undignifying for almost everybody. Life is equal parts good and bad.

I think this is a quite well thought out paragraph that shows some real mature thinking on your part.


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I used to think I would prefer the reality where god exists, but incidentally it doesn't seem he does. Having an after life and a fatherly figure to look over you are comforting thoughts. Christopher Hitches, DarkMatter2525 and TTA helped me to realize that this world is actually much more ideal to any world where immortality is possible and especially one where the abrahamic/theistic god exists.










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I think there are questionable assumptions in these videos though. Hitchens argument all hinges on the assumption or on the contingency that eternal life is eternal slavery underneath a dictator. This I would agree is an unpleasant thought. But certainly the argument could be made that there are other possibilities for other types of eternity or other types of gods etc.

In the 2nd video I think the difficulty is that he is using a quantitative analogy (a single Mona Lisa vs. a million Mona Lisa's) as a comparison to something that is not quantitative (finite vs. infinite life, which is time rather than quantity). It is true I believe that something is of more value when it is unique rather than when it is inflated by duplicates. However I think with time it is different. We don't say that a life is better because it was only 2 years long rather than 100 years. Nor do we say that a love relationship is better when it is short rather than long. I think I would have to quote Nietzsche here to say that "joy wills eternity, deep deep eternity!". There are some experiences in life, which as you said, are truly breath taking and astonishingly fantastic. And whenever we have one of these experiences I believe we always, at least unconsciously, desire that such moments would last forever. For such a thing to not be possible would be mankinds greatest tragedy, namely, that we have such strong desires for realities which are not possible. In that way I think there is something sad about these types of atheism and I don't see them as the kind of "good news" that Dawkins and Hitchens hail them as. I see them more in line with Sartre and those who don't rejoice over the situation of atheism.
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