The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
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17-09-2014, 11:49 AM
The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
The problem of evil, there is suffering in the world, yet god does nothing to prevent it. This reveals three examples that run counter to the Christian god’s asserted character; lack of benevolence, lack of ability, lack of knowledge.
The apologist excuse: god allows free will; we suffer from the consequences of our choices.
Here’s why that is a cop-out:
Altering events with miracles does not take away choice.
Someone’s choice can affect many other people who had no choice to make.
Much suffering comes about independent of human choice, such as natural disasters or diseases.
God will not act at the behest of good people; he will not act at the behest of people with no choice in suffering, god is indifferent and/or god is unable to do anything and/or is unaware of human suffering.
If there is no God, then we get the exact same result: The universe does not act at the behest of good people; the universe will not act at the behest of people with no choice in suffering, the universe is indifferent. I don’t have to assert what the universe intends.
There is no intelligent agency directing the affairs of individuals or anything else, the randomness of suffering is direct evidence of this. The only way to make sense using intelligent agency is to provide convoluted explanations that never quite fit what we observe in reality.
Suffering is derived from human choice? Yet there are abundant examples of suffering independent of human choice. The choice excuse for why god allows the world to be the way it is, fails at the most basic level. Yet a world in which there is no intelligent agency in control provides the best explanation for all that we experience.
This is why many people that experience suffering are not comforted by apologist excuses; the universe simply does not conform to their concepts of justice, good or evil. The person that experiences such suffering knows that there is really no explanation that fits with a deity being in control of a situation.
Is it part of god’s plan that you suffer in pain until you die? Then that is pure malevolence, oh, and if you question that, you get to suffer eternally after you die-that’s even more malevolent.
To any theists –confront this contradictory nature of your god, be suspect of apologist excuses, do apologists really explain this? Or does it leave you with an uneasy feeling when they trot out their excuses?
Are you ok with god’s plan when it consists of over 150 thousand people dying each day of hunger, disease, war and violence?
Are you understanding when apologists try to come up with excuses for why god is still good despite this cruel reality?
Are you ok with simply saying “God works in mysterious ways?” and dismissing thoughts that question your omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omniscient god?

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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17-09-2014, 04:18 PM
RE: The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
I am reminded of an Essay written by the great Mark Twain entitled "Thoughts of God" in which he said the following of god:

"We hear much about His patience and forbearance and long-suffering; we hear nothing about our own, which much exceeds it. We hear much about His mercy and kindness and goodness-in words-the words of His Book and of His pulpit-and the meek multitude is content with this evidence, such as it is, seeking no further, but whoso searcheth after a concrete example of it will in time acquire fatigue. There being no instances of it.

For what are gilded as mercies are not in any recorded case more than mere common justices, and due-due without thanks or compliment. To rescue without personal risk a cripple from a burning house is not a mercy, it is a mere commonplace duty; anybody would do it that could. And not by proxy, either- delegating the work but confiscating the credit for it.

If men neglected "God's poor" and "God's stricken and helpless ones" as He does, what would become of them? The answer is to be found in those dark lands where man follows His example and turns his indifferent back upon them: they get no help at all; they cry, and plead and pray in vain, they linger and suffer, and miserably die.

If you will look at the matter rationally, and without prejudice, the proper place to hunt for the facts of His mercy, is not where man does the mercies and He collects the praise, but in those regions where He has the field to Himself.

The pulpit assures us that wherever we see suffering and sorrow, which we can relieve and do not do it, we sin, heavily. There was never yet a case of suffering or sorrow which God could not relieve. "

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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17-09-2014, 04:29 PM
RE: The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
Martin Gardner put this another way (although he was ultimately a theist): "If you see a blind man, kick him. Why should you be kinder than God?"
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17-09-2014, 07:42 PM (This post was last modified: 17-09-2014 07:51 PM by TheInquisition.)
RE: The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
(17-09-2014 04:18 PM)Dark Phoenix Wrote:  I am reminded of an Essay written by the great Mark Twain entitled "Thoughts of God" in which he said the following of god:

"We hear much about His patience and forbearance and long-suffering; we hear nothing about our own, which much exceeds it. We hear much about His mercy and kindness and goodness-in words-the words of His Book and of His pulpit-and the meek multitude is content with this evidence, such as it is, seeking no further, but whoso searcheth after a concrete example of it will in time acquire fatigue. There being no instances of it.

For what are gilded as mercies are not in any recorded case more than mere common justices, and due-due without thanks or compliment. To rescue without personal risk a cripple from a burning house is not a mercy, it is a mere commonplace duty; anybody would do it that could. And not by proxy, either- delegating the work but confiscating the credit for it.

If men neglected "God's poor" and "God's stricken and helpless ones" as He does, what would become of them? The answer is to be found in those dark lands where man follows His example and turns his indifferent back upon them: they get no help at all; they cry, and plead and pray in vain, they linger and suffer, and miserably die.

If you will look at the matter rationally, and without prejudice, the proper place to hunt for the facts of His mercy, is not where man does the mercies and He collects the praise, but in those regions where He has the field to Himself.

The pulpit assures us that wherever we see suffering and sorrow, which we can relieve and do not do it, we sin, heavily. There was never yet a case of suffering or sorrow which God could not relieve. "

Wonderful quote of Mark Twain!

I was also ruminating further along this line of thought:

The self-evident nature of evil in the world should force an honest theist to choose which quality god lacks to explain the existence of evil, however; each quality that this god would lack negates the possibility of the afterlife.

Is god malevolent and allows evil? If god allows someone to die of disease, then why would god resurrect you and take you to heaven? This god would take pleasure or be indifferent to your death and suffering on Earth.

Is god impotent and allows evil? Then god lacks the ability to resurrect you and take you to heaven after death and wouldn't be able to heal you or help you find your car keys on Earth.

Is god not omniscient/omnipresent and allows evil? Then god allows people to suffer and die because he is unaware of their suffering. If he is unaware of your death, then he simply will take no action after you die or while you live on Earth, he's concerned with something else far away and far more important than a little speck on a nondescript planet among billions of others in this galaxy.

There is scriptural support for a god that is lacking all of these qualities in the bible.

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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17-09-2014, 07:46 PM
RE: The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
(17-09-2014 11:49 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  The problem of evil, there is suffering in the world, yet god does nothing to prevent it. This reveals three examples that run counter to the Christian god’s asserted character; lack of benevolence, lack of ability, lack of knowledge.
The apologist excuse: god allows free will; we suffer from the consequences of our choices.
Here’s why that is a cop-out:
Altering events with miracles does not take away choice.
Someone’s choice can affect many other people who had no choice to make.
Much suffering comes about independent of human choice, such as natural disasters or diseases.
God will not act at the behest of good people; he will not act at the behest of people with no choice in suffering, god is indifferent and/or god is unable to do anything and/or is unaware of human suffering.
If there is no God, then we get the exact same result: The universe does not act at the behest of good people; the universe will not act at the behest of people with no choice in suffering, the universe is indifferent. I don’t have to assert what the universe intends.
There is no intelligent agency directing the affairs of individuals or anything else, the randomness of suffering is direct evidence of this. The only way to make sense using intelligent agency is to provide convoluted explanations that never quite fit what we observe in reality.
Suffering is derived from human choice? Yet there are abundant examples of suffering independent of human choice. The choice excuse for why god allows the world to be the way it is, fails at the most basic level. Yet a world in which there is no intelligent agency in control provides the best explanation for all that we experience.
This is why many people that experience suffering are not comforted by apologist excuses; the universe simply does not conform to their concepts of justice, good or evil. The person that experiences such suffering knows that there is really no explanation that fits with a deity being in control of a situation.
Is it part of god’s plan that you suffer in pain until you die? Then that is pure malevolence, oh, and if you question that, you get to suffer eternally after you die-that’s even more malevolent.
To any theists –confront this contradictory nature of your god, be suspect of apologist excuses, do apologists really explain this? Or does it leave you with an uneasy feeling when they trot out their excuses?
Are you ok with god’s plan when it consists of over 150 thousand people dying each day of hunger, disease, war and violence?
Are you understanding when apologists try to come up with excuses for why god is still good despite this cruel reality?
Are you ok with simply saying “God works in mysterious ways?” and dismissing thoughts that question your omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omniscient god?

If there weren't any evil, than how would there be any good?

Anyway, that's all great and dandy but what's the point of posting it here? No one who would possibly be affected by it would come here, and any who could be wouldn't read it.

Maybe I underestimate the guests that come here, but really.
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17-09-2014, 07:55 PM
RE: The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
(17-09-2014 07:46 PM)Li_Holodomer Wrote:  
(17-09-2014 11:49 AM)TheInquisition Wrote:  The problem of evil, there is suffering in the world, yet god does nothing to prevent it. This reveals three examples that run counter to the Christian god’s asserted character; lack of benevolence, lack of ability, lack of knowledge.
The apologist excuse: god allows free will; we suffer from the consequences of our choices.
Here’s why that is a cop-out:
Altering events with miracles does not take away choice.
Someone’s choice can affect many other people who had no choice to make.
Much suffering comes about independent of human choice, such as natural disasters or diseases.
God will not act at the behest of good people; he will not act at the behest of people with no choice in suffering, god is indifferent and/or god is unable to do anything and/or is unaware of human suffering.
If there is no God, then we get the exact same result: The universe does not act at the behest of good people; the universe will not act at the behest of people with no choice in suffering, the universe is indifferent. I don’t have to assert what the universe intends.
There is no intelligent agency directing the affairs of individuals or anything else, the randomness of suffering is direct evidence of this. The only way to make sense using intelligent agency is to provide convoluted explanations that never quite fit what we observe in reality.
Suffering is derived from human choice? Yet there are abundant examples of suffering independent of human choice. The choice excuse for why god allows the world to be the way it is, fails at the most basic level. Yet a world in which there is no intelligent agency in control provides the best explanation for all that we experience.
This is why many people that experience suffering are not comforted by apologist excuses; the universe simply does not conform to their concepts of justice, good or evil. The person that experiences such suffering knows that there is really no explanation that fits with a deity being in control of a situation.
Is it part of god’s plan that you suffer in pain until you die? Then that is pure malevolence, oh, and if you question that, you get to suffer eternally after you die-that’s even more malevolent.
To any theists –confront this contradictory nature of your god, be suspect of apologist excuses, do apologists really explain this? Or does it leave you with an uneasy feeling when they trot out their excuses?
Are you ok with god’s plan when it consists of over 150 thousand people dying each day of hunger, disease, war and violence?
Are you understanding when apologists try to come up with excuses for why god is still good despite this cruel reality?
Are you ok with simply saying “God works in mysterious ways?” and dismissing thoughts that question your omnibenevolent, omnipotent, omniscient god?

If there weren't any evil, than how would there be any good?

Anyway, that's all great and dandy but what's the point of posting it here? No one who would possibly be affected by it would come here, and any who could be wouldn't read it.

Maybe I underestimate the guests that come here, but really.

There are many theists that post here, but I know this will show up on some google searches if someone is asking the right questions. I feel compelled to share the good news! Thumbsup

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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17-09-2014, 11:36 PM
RE: The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
(17-09-2014 07:46 PM)Li_Holodomer Wrote:  Anyway, that's all great and dandy but what's the point of posting it here? No one who would possibly be affected by it would come here, and any who could be wouldn't read it.

Maybe I underestimate the guests that come here, but really.

I disagree. Even if I thought that posters here needed to justify themselves to anyone else, "the point" is exactly whatever the writer wishes it to be, even if only to satisfy a need to shout into the void.

You might be surprised if you were to know exactly who "would come here". I am the evidence that the forum is a force for de-conversion for believers who visit. Without this forum, things may have been different.

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

-Karl Marx
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18-09-2014, 08:28 AM
RE: The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
(17-09-2014 07:46 PM)Li_Holodomer Wrote:  If there weren't any evil, than how would there be any good?

False dichotomy and all round stupid statement.

Good and evil are comparative descriptions, not absolute.

Quote:Anyway, that's all great and dandy but what's the point of posting it here? No one who would possibly be affected by it would come here, and any who could be wouldn't read it.

What is the point of any of the posts? This is the internet; it is searchable; there are people who will benefit from reading that post.

Quote:Maybe I underestimate the guests that come here, but really.

Yes, you do.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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18-09-2014, 08:40 AM
RE: The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
(18-09-2014 08:28 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(17-09-2014 07:46 PM)Li_Holodomer Wrote:  If there weren't any evil, than how would there be any good?

False dichotomy and all round stupid statement.

Good and evil are comparative descriptions, not absolute.

Quote:Anyway, that's all great and dandy but what's the point of posting it here? No one who would possibly be affected by it would come here, and any who could be wouldn't read it.

What is the point of any of the posts? This is the internet; it is searchable; there are people who will benefit from reading that post.

Quote:Maybe I underestimate the guests that come here, but really.

Yes, you do.

Wow, I guess you really showed me.

Everything I say has to be uniquely philosophical, witty, and informed beyond doubt or else I'll be cut down.

Noted.
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18-09-2014, 09:20 AM
RE: The problem of evil: The problem of human choice
(18-09-2014 08:40 AM)Li_Holodomer Wrote:  
(18-09-2014 08:28 AM)Chas Wrote:  False dichotomy and all round stupid statement.

Good and evil are comparative descriptions, not absolute.


What is the point of any of the posts? This is the internet; it is searchable; there are people who will benefit from reading that post.


Yes, you do.

Wow, I guess you really showed me.

Everything I say has to be uniquely philosophical, witty, and informed beyond doubt or else I'll be cut down.

Noted.

Your post was off the mark as I pointed out. So is this last one.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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