Why Must Children Suffer?
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22-08-2013, 10:08 AM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
(22-08-2013 09:48 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  And now we're down to it, thank the Lord. (Because I will continue to explain to all and sundry that Hitler and Stalin claimed social Darwinism and biological Darwinism so at least, they were liberal Christians. Smile)

Well, you know. Except for the part where they didn't, and that claim remains a dishonest fatuity. Social Darwinism was against the precepts and morals of Darwin himself, and both Hitler and Stalin denied the principles of evolutionary biology to boot. So there's that.

Or, perhaps we might consider the many repulsive actions taken in the name of religion. No doubt you claim they are not true followers. An aberrant belief does not reflect on the bulk of believers, if even one might consider them to be the same belief. Do you begin to understand why that argument is idiocy?

(22-08-2013 09:48 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  In this theistic universe suffering IS necessary and is a consequence of sin. At least admit the Bible is consistent on this point. It's not like there isn't an apologetic in the Bible. Rather, it states that all consequences for sin will be paid in either this world or the afterlife, AND it states that any suffering of the righteous will be redeemed. I believe in a best of all possible and sinful worlds, which means the child will say in Heaven "yes it hurt but now I'm not only better, I'm blessed." Get it?

Suffering exists. Therefore it is incumbant on the creator. That's what an all-powerful creator entails. If it is predicated on the nature, existence, and consequences of sin then that is as God made it.

And no, you absolutely cannot suggest that there was no other way to do things. That's not what all-powerful means. Free will is a red herring. It is eminently possible for an all-powerful God to create a universe with less suffering. If the universe behaves according to God's will then all of its ills are as God intended.

If even a child can recognize the flaws in that moral reasoning - eternal punishment for temporal actions, and unavoidable punishment for those not in a position to ever hear the way out? That's just pathetic.

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22-08-2013, 11:53 AM (This post was last modified: 22-08-2013 12:04 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
(22-08-2013 09:58 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote:(Translation: Because of stuff held in theistic belief, their suffering can be regarded as being of reduced import.)

I read your whole reply but if I may be brief regarding this most important point you made, to stay on the crux of things. This "stuff" "works". I've seen many people eased of suffering with prayer and the intercession.

Everyone talks of a consistent paradigm yet without making allowance for they way this paradigm is lived in reality. Is it okay if children suffer if God gives them strength to bear up? Has no one here read of a "little angel" who smiled in the cancer ward and said they were excited to be soon seeing Jesus?

The naturalist has medicines and doctors, the Christian has something extra, something special. Surely that counts for something (cringing, waiting for forum backlash).

I like how you put "works" in quotes. Let's deconstruct that. Essentially, you are saying that we should ignore whether your world view is correct, because regardless of whether it's correct it has positive outcomes, specifically in terms of alleviating suffering.

First, I'll point out that in suddenly shifting your focus to positive effects of faith, rather than discussing the questions raised by the problem of suffering, you have totally abandoned your attempt to refute the problem of suffering, letting your original post fall by the wayside instead of continuing to defend it. Maybe you'll come back to it in the future, but for now you've dropped it. You are no longer discussing why, for example, an omnipotent God couldn't create a world where rape was as physically impossible as, say, flapping your arms to fly to the moon, or why doing one would be a violation of free will while doing the other wasn't, or why He went ahead with this option even if He did have a less-painful alternative. If you want to shift the topic, that's fine. This thread has stayed on topic longer than normal anyway.

Studies have shown that praying for people about to undergo serious medical procedures has little effect, and what effect it has is mixed. Prayer healing -- essentially attempting to use this belief to alleviate suffering -- is not usually in itself harmful (though being dropped to the floor can be), but often causes people to forgo seeking medical care that actually works. Note the lack of quotation marks around the word works.

While many people enter the medical field with a religious context to their motivations, many do not. In particular, faith does not make a doctor a better doctor, or the absence of faith make one a worse doctor. Moreover, many articles often taken on faith can make them worse doctors. Consider the reliance on bleeding for most of Western history, just because Galen recommended it and without any study of the consequences. Or the current, faith-based attacks on stem-cell research that could alleviate the suffering of millions, even when measures were proposed that would prevent a single additional abortion to be caused to further this research. A doctor with similar views will often refuse to recommend or administer such a treatment, even if it could serve to reduce suffering.

With any sort of treatment -- even a psychological one -- we must also be aware of negative side effects. That suggests we should examine the negative consequences of faith, in terms of the suffering it inflicts, side-by-side with any positive outcomes. I won't slog through the entire litany (pardon the religious term) of evils perpetrated and suffering caused due to subscription to the Christian memeplex, but I'll link two small examples, essentially drops in the ocean, to illustrate the point. In both cases, these acts were specifically motivated by the beliefs in question and not just a case of a twisted man getting perverse jollies while coincidentally happening to wear a collar. Unless you know of some way to separate this sort of side-effect from the faith (and if so, why haven't you done it?), it has to be considered a package deal. Hey, you're the one who wanted to focus on how it's lived out in practice. Now you may make the case that these aren't true Christians, that they are deviating from the actual teachings in this or that manner. Fine. I could toss back No-True-Scotsman, or argue that someone who behaves exactly as the Bible commands would be utterly evil, and you could argue otherwise, but let's leave all that aside for the moment. Instead I'll suggest that even if I were to accept that these people have deviated from Christianity, such deviants are an inevitable side-effect of Christianity. You may have people who do it right, but you'll also have people who do it wrong, and that's a predictable consequence of teaching a religion which history shows can be done so terribly wrong to humans who are so very fallible.

But okay, that might be casting the net too wide for you. You bring up the case of a kid in a cancer ward happy at the prospect of death and what she has been led to believe lies beyond it. If we're JUST interested in whether or not she's happy, and not whether the belief is true or not, why not construct a better, happier lie? You know, one where there isn't any question that her best friend in the cancer ward, who happens to be a Hindu, or (gasp) an atheist, will be joining her in heaven or not. Or for that matter, why not teach instead that she'll be reincarnated in a much better life in her next pass through the Dharmic cycle, for the suffering she endured and the grace with which she endured it, or that she'll go to Isles of the Blessed. (Hey, we're not worrying about whether it's true, so let's throw aside whether she'd merit entry to the Blessed Isles in the Hellenic mythos or not. It's all about how comforting the story is, right?) Now I want you to tell me that it's impossible that that child would have the same hope and optimism about her new incarnation, or the Isles of the Blessed, compared to what she'd have about meeting Jesus. And if you can't, I'd challenge you to explain what you mean when you say that Christianity has something special.

You know what else helps alleviate suffering? PAINKILLERS.

EDIT: I thought I'd clarify that I don't have any objection to pastoral care being allowed in hospitals, provided that it's done only with the permission or request of the patient or, in the case of minors, possibly with the permission or request of their guardians, and provided that it's done evenhandedly, without the hospital favoring one religion over another religion or, say, secular humanism. I agree that it can sometimes alleviate suffering, and I don't object to that happening. I'm just not greatly enamored with the notion that it's anything special compared to the alternatives, or that these positives alone somehow justify all the crap that comes as part of the package deal.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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22-08-2013, 12:07 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
(20-08-2013 01:56 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote:It's so nice to have a loving, benevolent God with the wisdom and compassion to separate children from evil in heaven, isn't it?

Bullshit! If he was all that, he would separate them here on Earth too!

1. You have a problem of infinite regression there, how much separation from suffering and pain do you demand for the children?

2. How do you know God hasn't minimized sin and suffering to the greatest possible extant possible for His free will creatures?

3. Will you not admit that if we come to your naturalist viewpoint instead of mine, that children may suffer or even be eaten by adults for food and that this is evolution at its level best?
You're either missing my point or you disagree with the premise.

Premise: In heaven, people have free will and also exist in total absence from suffering, which of course includes children.
Conclusion: If God can do that there, he could do the same here on Earth, but chose not to do so.

So first, do you agree with the premise? If so, how do you rectify that with the conclusion?

Now, in answer to your questions:

1. 100%
2. Because he doesn't exist. But, that aside to follow typical beliefs, he's supposed to be omnipotent. There is no "greatest possible" for him.
3. No, the reason for which should now be obvious from the premise and conclusion stated above. There should be no suffering at all for anyone given an omnipotent, perfectly benevolent, creator god.

"Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair
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22-08-2013, 12:51 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Hahahaha. Prayer alleviates suffering, hilarious. In addition to painkillers, you know what else alleviates suffering? Placebos.

Any effect of prayer, and there is very little to none actually documented, could easily be attributed to the Placebo effect. In most cases, the Placebo effect has a much stronger statistical correlation but I'll have to find the research to make this statement, so hold that thought. At a minimum the effect of prayer is not what Jesus anticipated it would be - moving mountains and the like - SUPERPOWERS - Yay!

Waiting to see how God helped Catholic priests not molest children through the !Power! of the Holy Spirit. I bet if a research study was done of Pastors and Priests, Buddhists Monks, Mulslim Clerics, and all other religious leaders worldwide, there would be no positive statistical correlation between people who should have the Holy Spirit molesting children less than people who aren't supposed to have the Holy Spirit. In fact, based on the problems of Catholocism, I would be that the statistical correlation would be negative - meaning that Christians statistically molest children more than other religions. Just conjecture here, but Catholicism has clearly put Christianity statistically behind I would think.

Also, the "double standard" argument about Naturalists or Rationalists "whining" about suffering only applies in the context of a Omniscient Being explanation of the universe. There is no reason to think otherwise EXCEPT when there is a loving, just, Omniscient God at the helm. That's when the question about suffering arises, no sooner. Not a double standard, just basic common sense. It seems like a double standard when it only applies to your faith, but its just holding God to some standard - any standard, based on Xianities claims about his greatness. (Something Xians Never do as a matter of practice - in fact they make excuses why God can commit GENOCIDE and its A-OK). PJ you don't seem dull, but either you are getting duller as you type or are being disingenuous that you don't get it this point. NO GOD = No meaning to suffering, it just is. Maybe this is what you want us to say. Just the same, as humans we can FIND meaning in meangingless events. Xians do it all the time, but attribute the meaning to endless worship of some great invisible being. It is NOT childish to say I wouldn't worship such a God.

Waiting with baited breath at the conclusion of the Genocide discussion. The word "Never" was used. Would like to see the apologetic backflips used that get us back to the "Never" conclusion.

*[Sound of Crickets Chirping]*
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22-08-2013, 01:14 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:To reiterate, the only problems that I was talking about, were problems of consistency of world views or concepts. I was making no comment -- at all -- about you or I or naturalists or supernaturalists or any human having a problem with suffering on an emotional, sympathetic, aesthetic, idealistic, moral, and/or personal level. Just in terms of whether the existence of suffering tends to contradict one's world views. My earlier comments will bear this out in careful review. (Assuming that there was a careful view in the first place, which I doubt.)

Will you stand by that then? If we want to be consistent about world views, then why are people incensed when we say Hitler and Stalin were motivated by Darwin? Isn't it "okay" and not "good" or "bad" that the fittest survive and kill their inferiors. I'm not being facetious here. When a person says, "There is no God, and I'm going to murder someone," why is that repudiated by Atheists? That doesn't make sense. A Christian says suffering is fine because that is 100% consistent with their worldview. Suffering is likewise 100% consistent with a naturalist's worldview. I don't see how the charges stick ESPECIALLY with an omniscient, omnipotent God. Just ask KC if you don't believe me!
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22-08-2013, 01:19 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:Enough with the passive-aggressive "Thank you" comments. It's childish and an amateur internet debate tactic. Put that ego of yours in check.
It's actually a quote I heard from someone preaching publicly as a genuine thank you. I'm sorry if it bothers you online, just as I'm sure we'd all get along better in person than online. Drinks at my place!

Quote:>No one is damned for not accepting Christ.
How do you receive forgiveness of sin by rejecting Christ? You are now bending your dogma to try and win a point. I'm hanging on to this quote of yours.

Huh? No person is ever condemned merely for not accepting Christ. Jesus doesn't say on judgment day, "You didn't accept me." He says, "Your sin is unforgiven." What are you talking about?

Quote:I call bullshit on your rape comment. I call it RIGHT NOW. For starters, you will not be given access to a rape victim unless your either family or are personally requested because that particular patient wants a Christian witness. Unbelievable that you'd try to pull that one over on me just to get an angle on the argument. Really offensive, actually. We're done here.

See ya.

Huh? Um, I preach Christ in public places. I've had on several occasions, too many to remember, to be honest, people say, "But such-and-such happened to me and I was raped" or "my sister was raped" and then I ask "What should God have done?" and then we have the free will discussion in a public place. This wasn't private counseling sessions or Christian counseling sessions...
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22-08-2013, 01:24 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:Well, you know. Except for the part where they didn't, and that claim remains a dishonest fatuity. Social Darwinism was against the precepts and morals of Darwin himself, and both Hitler and Stalin denied the principles of evolutionary biology to boot. So there's that.

So Stalin killed Ukranians and Hitler Jews because they were inferior races, but they didn't believe in the concept of race or racial biology. Kind of makes you wonder why all those skull and skeleton specimens were placed by Mengele in Berlin museums, doesn't it?

Quote:Or, perhaps we might consider the many repulsive actions taken in the name of religion. No doubt you claim they are not true followers. An aberrant belief does not reflect on the bulk of believers, if even one might consider them to be the same belief. Do you begin to understand why that argument is idiocy?

Which is it? Were Stalin and Hitler not Darwinists at all or not true Darwinists?

Quote:If even a child can recognize the flaws in that moral reasoning - eternal punishment for temporal actions, and unavoidable punishment for those not in a position to ever hear the way out? That's just pathetic.

It IS pathetic which is why I never said someone is lost because they didn't hear about Christ. The mentally infirm go to Heaven, so they didn't "hear" about Christ if they don't understand the gospel, right? Straw man.
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22-08-2013, 01:30 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:I like how you put "works" in quotes. Let's deconstruct that. Essentially, you are saying that we should ignore whether your world view is correct, because regardless of whether it's correct it has positive outcomes, specifically in terms of alleviating suffering.

First, I'll point out that in suddenly shifting your focus to positive effects of faith, rather than discussing the questions raised by the problem of suffering, you have totally abandoned your attempt to refute the problem of suffering, letting your original post fall by the wayside instead of continuing to defend it. Maybe you'll come back to it in the future, but for now you've dropped it. You are no longer discussing why, for example, an omnipotent God couldn't create a world where rape was as physically impossible as, say, flapping your arms to fly to the moon, or why doing one would be a violation of free will while doing the other wasn't, or why He went ahead with this option even if He did have a less-painful alternative. If you want to shift the topic, that's fine. This thread has stayed on topic longer than normal anyway.
Huh? My original post was not to “solve the problem of suffering with an omnipotent God” it was to start with no assumptions, and concluded that there is no problem of suffering if one is a naturalist. Do you agree?
Quote:But okay, that might be casting the net too wide for you. You bring up the case of a kid in a cancer ward happy at the prospect of death and what she has been led to believe lies beyond it. If we're JUST interested in whether or not she's happy, and not whether the belief is true or not, why not construct a better, happier lie? You know, one where there isn't any question that her best friend in the cancer ward, who happens to be a Hindu, or (gasp) an atheist, will be joining her in heaven or not. Or for that matter, why not teach instead that she'll be reincarnated in a much better life in her next pass through the Dharmic cycle, for the suffering she endured and the grace with which she endured it, or that she'll go to Isles of the Blessed. (Hey, we're not worrying about whether it's true, so let's throw aside whether she'd merit entry to the Blessed Isles in the Hellenic mythos or not. It's all about how comforting the story is, right?) Now I want you to tell me that it's impossible that that child would have the same hope and optimism about her new incarnation, or the Isles of the Blessed, compared to what she'd have about meeting Jesus. And if you can't, I'd challenge you to explain what you mean when you say that Christianity has something special.
Thanks for sharing how prayer and the Christian religion can actually hurt sick and suffering people. I just want to know one thing: Am I talking about a “story” here as you wrote or does the gospel come in power? I’ve seen people healed, marriages saved and lives changed.
Quote: You know what else helps alleviate suffering? PAINKILLERS.

EDIT: I thought I'd clarify that I don't have any objection to pastoral care being allowed in hospitals, provided that it's done only with the permission or request of the patient or, in the case of minors, possibly with the permission or request of their guardians, and provided that it's done evenhandedly, without the hospital favoring one religion over another religion or, say, secular humanism. I agree that it can sometimes alleviate suffering, and I don't object to that happening. I'm just not greatly enamored with the notion that it's anything special compared to the alternatives, or that these positives alone somehow justify all the crap that comes as part of the package deal.
I appreciate the disclaimer but you’re ducking what I wrote (I don’t think intentionally) which was painkillers are doctors are wonderful, and then when you want more that they offer or something special in addition to what they offer…
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22-08-2013, 01:33 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
Quote:You're either missing my point or you disagree with the premise.

Premise: In heaven, people have free will and also exist in total absence from suffering, which of course includes children.
Conclusion: If God can do that there, he could do the same here on Earth, but chose not to do so.

So first, do you agree with the premise? If so, how do you rectify that with the conclusion?

Now, in answer to your questions:

1. 100%
2. Because he doesn't exist. But, that aside to follow typical beliefs, he's supposed to be omnipotent. There is no "greatest possible" for him.
3. No, the reason for which should now be obvious from the premise and conclusion stated above. There should be no suffering at all for anyone given an omnipotent, perfectly benevolent, creator god.

I guess you've never seen the Matrix films, where the computers explain that the original Matrix had far less pain and suffering but humans couldn't handle it. So let me rephrase this way, "Are you absolutely certain that a perfectly benevolent God would not allow ANY suffering?" I MAKE my children suffer at times. It's called correction and it's good for them. The scriptures even say that Jesus learned perfect obedience through His suffering.

So I'll ask again, since it's like--repeated--like--over and over by different freethinkers on this thread, that Omnibenevolence = no pain which I say = no gain.

Are you absolutely certain that a GOOD leader NEVER would allow followers (or deserters and rebels) to suffer?
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22-08-2013, 01:40 PM
RE: Why Must Children Suffer?
(22-08-2013 01:24 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  So Stalin killed Ukranians and Hitler Jews because they were inferior races, but they didn't believe in the concept of race or racial biology.

Nothing Stalin did was racially motivated, but don't let pesky facts get in your way.

They didn't believe in the concept of races or racial biology as any evolutionary biologist would accept. They were scientifically illiterate even for their time. Which brings us to -

(22-08-2013 01:24 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  Kind of makes you wonder why all those skull and skeleton specimens were placed by Mengele in Berlin museums, doesn't it?

Whoops, shock-value straw man in the way. Which brings us to -

(22-08-2013 01:24 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  Which is it? Were Stalin and Hitler not Darwinists at all or not true Darwinists?

They, as anyone, were free to call themselves anything they liked. Hitler called himself a moral man. Was he a moral man?

If one takes the supposed [false, unattested] claim by them that they were Darwinists at face value, then there are two possibilities. Either they are not, despite the claim, because their beliefs are incongruent with the vast majority who accept and apply the term, or they are poor ones, because although we may accept them for what they call themselves their beliefs are incongruent with the vast majority who accept and apply the term.

It is very simple, really. It is a matter of interpretation. It is also utterly irrelevant to anything.

(22-08-2013 01:24 PM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  It IS pathetic which is why I never said someone is lost because they didn't hear about Christ. The mentally infirm go to Heaven, so they didn't "hear" about Christ if they don't understand the gospel, right? Straw man.

There are hundreds of millions of people of sound mind who are born and die without having heard of Jesus.

Are they damned? Then they cannot possibly have avoided it.

Are they saved? Then their knowledge of Jesus is irrelevant.

Pick one.

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