Theodicy and kicking the can
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26-11-2014, 07:12 AM (This post was last modified: 26-11-2014 07:15 AM by RobbyPants.)
Theodicy and kicking the can
I was thinking about the apologetics of theodicy (the reconciling of the problem of evil), and I realized that the whole notion is nothing more than kicking the can another one or two steps back in a shell game to try to absolve God from the problems of the world.

So, we start with the basic form of the problem of evil, and it basically comes down to saying that either God can't stop evil or he won't. The most common answer to this lately is the notion of free will. It's basically the idea that we're allowed to do evil because it's super important (typically because of some very creepy, narcissistic reasons).

Now, take the concept of heaven. I've mentioned before the problems of heaven and the problem of evil. In short, people assume there is no suffering in heaven. This leads me to believe that either people can't do evil in heaven or they won't. If they can't, then free will obviously isn't important. If they won't, then why can't we be set up on Earth to just "never be bad", even if we technically have the choice? So, the apologists will come sweeping in to say things like free will is super important on Earth to test us, but then once we're in heaven, it's served its purpose.

This makes me wonder why this test is so important. Now, I'm not going to harp on the notion of a future-seeing god needing to test people being pointless. It is stupid, but the the apologists will typically hand wave away some portion of God's omniscience to make this necessary (God's power frequently waxes and wanes depending on the proximity of skeptics). That's neither here nor there. My concern is with why the apologists think there needs to even be a test. What is God learning? Apparently, it's super important to God to know who really loves him. So, we need to be given the ability to rape each other so that we can make the choice to turn that down to show God that we really love him. Now, if that sounds incredibly selfish, creepy and narcissistic, it's because it is. This one isn't really explained except something about God really loving us in a very non-convincing fashion. Probably something about salvation and needing to save us from ourselves (the nature he gave us, because free will was super important).

So, God really loves us and sent Jesus to save us. Now, at this point, it looks like we've completely changed topics and are no longer discussing theodicy. And that's really it in a nutshell. Theodicy is nothing but kicking the can back one step at a time, hoping the person will stop asking questions, because, eventually, you're going to have to truncate the conversation with "mysterious ways" or change the subject all together. Nothing is ever resolved; it's just moved about with some sleight of hand, hoping no one will notice.
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26-11-2014, 08:17 AM
RE: Theodicy and kicking the can
Had to quote you on

“God’s power frequently waxes and wanes depending on the proximity of skeptics.”

made me grin.

“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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26-11-2014, 08:29 AM
RE: Theodicy and kicking the can
This again. You're almost as bad as me and my Gwynnies with this stuff. Tongue

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26-11-2014, 08:33 AM
RE: Theodicy and kicking the can
(26-11-2014 08:29 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  This again. You're almost as bad as me and my Gwynnies with this stuff. Tongue

You should post us some Gwynnies...

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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26-11-2014, 08:49 AM
RE: Theodicy and kicking the can
Heh. I was noting more about the nature of can't vs won't in the version of this I posted on AF, and I realized that Archer is summing up my counter-apologetics quite nicely:

[Image: 4534b3ac839e20d7f53a3ba3e7bd8d4a.jpg]

"Can't, or won't Lana YHWH?"
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26-11-2014, 08:58 AM
RE: Theodicy and kicking the can
How do theists "prove" free will??? if god is omniscient...if things happen according to god's plan....seems theists admit predetermination, so how can theists claim free will?
When challenging my theist friends, I often get the responses of: a) free will; b) god's plan; c) god is mysterious; d) you just have to believe; e)god's ways are beyond our understanding....very frustrating.
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26-11-2014, 09:23 AM
RE: Theodicy and kicking the can
What gets me is they talk about free will like it's a good thing. For example, I'm all for toddlers having free will. I think the freedom to explore, play, and be themselves is very important for proper growth and development. But I'm still going to put the plugs in the electrical outlets because I don't see any good reason why they need to have the free will to stick their fingers in there and electrocute themselves. That's how I see evil. God (conceptually speaking) let's us electrocute ourselves and each other all the time. Unbridled free will is no gift.

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26-11-2014, 09:23 AM
RE: Theodicy and kicking the can
(26-11-2014 08:49 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  Heh. I was noting more about the nature of can't vs won't in the version of this I posted on AF, and I realized that Archer is summing up my counter-apologetics quite nicely:

[Image: 4534b3ac839e20d7f53a3ba3e7bd8d4a.jpg]

"Can't, or won't Lana YHWH?"


I thought their thinking was less kicking the can back and more... why bother even taking those ideas seriously, instead lets just imagine the wonders of going to whore-island.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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26-11-2014, 09:50 AM
RE: Theodicy and kicking the can
I forgot all about whore island! Maybe I need to reconsider my world views.
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26-11-2014, 10:19 AM
RE: Theodicy and kicking the can
(26-11-2014 07:12 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I was thinking about the apologetics of theodicy (the reconciling of the problem of evil), and I realized that the whole notion is nothing more than kicking the can another one or two steps back in a shell game to try to absolve God from the problems of the world.

So, we start with the basic form of the problem of evil, and it basically comes down to saying that either God can't stop evil or he won't. The most common answer to this lately is the notion of free will. It's basically the idea that we're allowed to do evil because it's super important (typically because of some very creepy, narcissistic reasons).

Now, take the concept of heaven. I've mentioned before the problems of heaven and the problem of evil. In short, people assume there is no suffering in heaven. This leads me to believe that either people can't do evil in heaven or they won't. If they can't, then free will obviously isn't important. If they won't, then why can't we be set up on Earth to just "never be bad", even if we technically have the choice? So, the apologists will come sweeping in to say things like free will is super important on Earth to test us, but then once we're in heaven, it's served its purpose.

This makes me wonder why this test is so important. Now, I'm not going to harp on the notion of a future-seeing god needing to test people being pointless. It is stupid, but the the apologists will typically hand wave away some portion of God's omniscience to make this necessary (God's power frequently waxes and wanes depending on the proximity of skeptics). That's neither here nor there. My concern is with why the apologists think there needs to even be a test. What is God learning? Apparently, it's super important to God to know who really loves him. So, we need to be given the ability to rape each other so that we can make the choice to turn that down to show God that we really love him. Now, if that sounds incredibly selfish, creepy and narcissistic, it's because it is. This one isn't really explained except something about God really loving us in a very non-convincing fashion. Probably something about salvation and needing to save us from ourselves (the nature he gave us, because free will was super important).

So, God really loves us and sent Jesus to save us. Now, at this point, it looks like we've completely changed topics and are no longer discussing theodicy. And that's really it in a nutshell. Theodicy is nothing but kicking the can back one step at a time, hoping the person will stop asking questions, because, eventually, you're going to have to truncate the conversation with "mysterious ways" or change the subject all together. Nothing is ever resolved; it's just moved about with some sleight of hand, hoping no one will notice.

The very idea of this existence on Earth being some kind of test is a concession that their god doesn't know everything. If the end result of you exercising free will is you end up in heaven where free will is removed, then what's the point? Your god may as well have created robots in heaven in the first place.
Also, if god is not omniscient, then god is not omnipotent, your deity has just been neutered.
Maybe it's best to point out that the writers of this ancient Hebrew myth just made stuff up and these kind of nutty contradictions result when a religious myth is created with very flawed and ancient human reasoning.

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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