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  1. #1
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    The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    So the 12 Officers thread is in the teens on page count with over 300 replies. There's also a lot of folks arguing straw men. So it's time to refocus the debate.

    I. Hume's argument:
    David Hume asked "Is he [god] willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?"

    This is where the debate begins and where it ends because theists haven't offered a valid answer. God is either, impotent, malevolent or non-existent. There are no other options that do not require redefining god, a logical fallacy, or a cop-out (or even all three). The most common theistic arguments fail as we'll see below:

    II "Suffering is okay"
    One of the most disturbing and intellectually bankrupt arguments in defense of god allowing suffering is to simply downplay the horror of suffering. I'm not going to spend much time on this "argument" because it simply seeks to change the context to give god a free pass. To be sure, children getting raped and murdered is a tragedy. If you think otherwise, then I submit that you're being (at BEST) deliberately obtuse.

    III "Free will requires suffering"
    I have not once seen a theist support this argument. No one has been able to prove that suffering is mutually exclusive with free will. When pressed, theists argued that without a negative, it's impossible to understand a positive... that we can't know good if evil doesn't exist. What theists fail to understand is this: what's required is a comparison. We don't require suffering to draw a comparison. Artwork provides the best example. We can freely choose what art is good or bad without having to endure suffering. So if god insists that we require suffering to make comparisons / have free will, then we are discussing a malevolent god.

    IV "Suffering is mitigated by some greater good / ultimate plan"
    This argument... in all it's many forms... fails because it implies that god is contrained by circumstances which is a very human flaw. Humans aren't omnipotent and all knowing. Thus, even when we're attempting to act benevolently, we can sometimes be forced into choosing a malevolent act because circumstances arise that we cannot control. We sometimes excuse such behavior, but only when it's proven that an individual had no other choice but to act malevolently. Most commonly, we excuse people who choose a lesser evil over a greater evil.

    However, we do not excuse people when, given the option for no evil, they choose evil.

    Now, there are a lot of theists who have argued that suffering is required for some greater purpose or goal. If that is the case then god is acting malevolently. Because an omnipotent being cannot (by the definition of omnipotence) be constrained by circumstances. He always has other options. So claiming that there's no other way for him to perform a goal makes no sense because it implies god is either not omnipotent ("there's no other way for him to do this") or malevolent ("there are other options but he chooses suffering").

    To see this illustrated, imagine a solider with his gun pointed at a suicide bomber's head... a bomber who happens to be standing in the midst of innocent children. If the bomb goes off, both the soldier and the kids will vaporize. The soldier attempts to reason with the bomber, but the bomber will not be deterred. So the soldier shoots him in the head. And we're okay with this because his only choices were "many innocents dying" and "one douchebag dying".

    But what if the soldier had all of god's attributes? How could he justify murdering the bomber? Couldn't he just teleport him away to a plae where he can't hurt anyone? Couldn't he turn the bomb into butterflies? If he wanted to be more subtle, couldn't he have made the bomb a dud? Or given himself the ability to shoot the trigger for the bomb and thus disable it? The answer to all these is yes?

    Why is the answer yes? Because if we give the soldier god's powers, then the soldier is no longer contrained by circumstances. The words "no other way" become silly & meaningless.

    So, when we look at god, we can see how he's malevolent (if he existed); not only does he have all the god-like soldiers options I detailed above, but he could have set things in motion so that war and bombs aren't an option. Remember that creating the potential for suffering/evil is an act of malevolence.

    V Rebuttals

    The 12 officers thread as plagued by rebuttals that were hopelessly flawed. Let's try to avoid those by setting some ground rules for the debate. Do not offer a rebuttal that...
    • Demands we believe suffering isn't really that bad. This intellectually bankrupt sillyness isn't an argument. It's just a cop out. No one says to rape victims "Oh, your rape wasn't really that bad, kid." Because it really is that bad.
    • Implies that god is constrained by circumstances. An omnipotent being, by definition, isn't constrained by circumstances because an omnipotent being creates circumstances. Having to choose lesser evils is a human flaw. To be sure, god does NOT have to break eggs to make omlettes. And if he does break eggs or allows the eggs to be broken (where those eggs are children's heads) then he's acting malevolently.
    • Declare by fiat that suffering and free will are mutually exclusive. If you want to argue that suffering is necessary, then begin by explaining why we have the free will to choose between good and bad artwork without any suffering. You can then continue by trying to explain why those exposed to the most suffering seem to derive the least amount of meaning or enjoyment from life. We don't need to be murdered to enjoy living. We don't need to be raped to enjoy sex. Such arguments cannot stand against common sense.

    Finally, I'm largely uninsterested in posts that are contrary just for the sake of being contrary because they lead to all sorts of goofy context changes.

  2. #2
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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    I. Hume's argument:
    David Hume asked "Is he [god] willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?"
    I have been keeping up with the other thread and I have yet to see you counter the simple refutation to this argument. God may have a morally sufficient reason for permitting evil to exist. As long as this is even possible Hume's argument becomes a false dilemma. So unless you can prove that it is impossible the argument fails.
    If I find in myself a desire which nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another. C.S. Lewis

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Zhav, the responses and support are in the prior thread. I'm not going to start rehashing things in a new thread every time you want to pound your chest and say "I've defeated that" or "I haven't seen any good responses" - especially given that your failure to see good responses is (IMO) more a function of your comprehension than of any flaw in the responses themselves.

    Feel free to have the last word, if you like. Won't be participating in this thread, and I'd urge others to avoid it as well.
    Ah, well - apparently my kids were too distracting to stay as a sig. I take that as a compliment

  4. #4
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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by estill View Post
    I have been keeping up with the other thread and I have yet to see you counter the simple refutation to this argument. God may have a morally sufficient reason for permitting evil to exist. As long as this is even possible Hume's argument becomes a false dilemma. So unless you can prove that it is impossible the argument fails.
    You are implying there is a scenario where god's omnipotence is contrained by some circumstance that would force him to choose malevolence. Can you give an example of such?

    ---------- Post added at 12:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:25 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Zhav, the responses and support are in the prior thread. I'm not going to start rehashing things in a new thread every time you want to pound your chest and say "I've defeated that" or "I haven't seen any good responses" - especially given that your failure to see good responses is (IMO) more a function of your comprehension than of any flaw in the responses themselves.

    Feel free to have the last word, if you like. Won't be participating in this thread, and I'd urge others to avoid it as well.
    It's not about chest pounding, Kivam. The other thread had people arguing the same points over and over even after they'd been refuted (as Estill just did). If you cannot provide a rebuttal then what is your point in posting here?

    Also, threads that are 300 posts long are hard for new people to get involved in. And it would be nice to have some fresh perspectives.

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    You are implying there is a circumstance where god's omnipotence is contrained by some circumstance that would force him to choose malevolence. Can you give an example of such?
    Not necessarily, a morally sufficient reason would simply mean that God accomplishes a greater good purpose by allowing evil to exist. Since the existence of evil serves God's good purposes he is not malevolent.
    If I find in myself a desire which nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another. C.S. Lewis

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by estill View Post
    Not necessarily, a morally sufficient reason would simply mean that God accomplishes a greater good purpose by allowing evil to exist.
    Then the god you're talking about is not omnipotent.

    Since the existence of evil serves God's good purposes he is not malevolent.
    This is a tremendous cop out. It is a free pass to god to behave malevolently. Since you have provided no reasoning why god deserves such a free pass, the god you are arguing in favor of is malevolent.

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    Then the god you're talking about is not omnipotent.



    This is a tremendous cop out. It is a free pass to god to behave malevolently. Since you have provided no reasoning why god deserves such a free pass, the god you are arguing in favor of is malevolent.
    How so? It could be argued that God accomplishes more good with the existence of evil then he could without. This is an omnipotent God who is benevolent.
    If I find in myself a desire which nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another. C.S. Lewis

  8. #8
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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by estill View Post
    How so?
    Quote Originally Posted by Me
    This argument... in all it's many forms... fails because it implies that god is contrained by circumstances which is a very human flaw. Humans aren't omnipotent and all knowing. Thus, even when we're attempting to act benevolently, we can sometimes be forced into choosing a malevolent act because circumstances arise that we cannot control. We sometimes excuse such behavior, but only when it's proven that an individual had no other choice but to act malevolently. Most commonly, we excuse people who choose a lesser evil over a greater evil.

    However, we do not excuse people when, given the option for no evil, they choose evil.

    Now, there are a lot of theists who have argued that suffering is required for some greater purpose or goal. If that is the case then god is acting malevolently. Because an omnipotent being cannot (by the definition of omnipotence) be constrained by circumstances. He always has other options. So claiming that there's no other way for him to perform a goal makes no sense because it implies god is either not omnipotent ("there's no other way for him to do this") or malevolent ("there are other options but he chooses suffering").

    To see this illustrated, imagine a solider with his gun pointed at a suicide bomber's head... a bomber who happens to be standing in the midst of innocent children. If the bomb goes off, both the soldier and the kids will vaporize. The soldier attempts to reason with the bomber, but the bomber will not be deterred. So the soldier shoots him in the head. And we're okay with this because his only choices were "many innocents dying" and "one douchebag dying".

    But what if the soldier had all of god's attributes? How could he justify murdering the bomber? Couldn't he just teleport him away to a plae where he can't hurt anyone? Couldn't he turn the bomb into butterflies? If he wanted to be more subtle, couldn't he have made the bomb a dud? Or given himself the ability to shoot the trigger for the bomb and thus disable it? The answer to all these is yes?

    Why is the answer yes? Because if we give the soldier god's powers, then the soldier is no longer contrained by circumstances. The words "no other way" become silly & meaningless.

    So, when we look at god, we can see how he's malevolent (if he existed); not only does he have all the god-like soldiers options I detailed above, but he could have set things in motion so that war and bombs aren't an option. Remember that creating the potential for suffering/evil is an act of malevolence.
    Estill, you seem to be laboring under the misconception that you can just ignore arguments and keep making claims. That's not the case. You cannot do this on ODN and if you continue, I will be taking it up with the mods. You need to provide argumentation and support for that which you allege. In addition, you cannot simply pretend that rebuttals aren't there. I saw how you went back and forth with Dionysus and, frankly, I was highly disappointed by what I saw as a very childish argumentation. I am not calling you childish, but the ARGUMENTS you chose to employ were childish. And I know you're capable of more. So give an honest rebuttal. Don't just restate your assertion. Address what was in the first post. If nothing else, answer this. Why isn't the soldier with god's abilities acting malevolently if he slays the bomber? Saying, "because it could serve some greater purpose" isn't an argument. It's a cop out. It's not logic we would accept anywhere else and leads to a hypocritical stance on your part... where you insist that god is contrained by the human quality of falling victim to circumstance AND want us to believe that he's so smart as to be able to craft incredibly complex plans that carry out some goal. It's not a tenable stance, Estill.

    Time for you to step up.

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    Estill, you seem to be laboring under the misconception that you can just ignore arguments and keep making claims. That's not the case. You cannot do this on ODN and if you continue, I will be taking it up with the mods. You need to provide argumentation and support for that which you allege. In addition, you cannot simply pretend that rebuttals aren't there. I saw how you went back and forth with Dionysus and, frankly, I was highly disappointed by what I saw as a very childish argumentation. I am not calling you childish, but the ARGUMENTS you chose to employ were childish. And I know you're capable of more. So give an honest rebuttal. Don't just restate your assertion. Address what was in the first post. If nothing else, answer this. Why isn't the soldier with god's abilities acting malevolently if he slays the bomber? Saying, "because it could serve some greater purpose" isn't an argument. It's a cop out. It's not logic we would accept anywhere else and leads to a hypocritical stance on your part... where you insist that god is contrained by the human quality of falling victim to circumstance AND want us to believe that he's so smart as to be able to craft incredibly complex plans that carry out some goal. It's not a tenable stance, Estill.

    Time for you to step up.
    I think you are attributing a line of argumentation to me that I have not made. I didn't argue that God could not prevent evil from existing. There are arguments that go that route but I'll accept that God could prevent evil from existing.

    Now you can't simply say God is therefore malevolent here. You have to prove that it is impossible that God could accomplish more good with the existence of evil then without. Now your argument above simply that saying God could achieve a greater purpose is a cop out. Is this your only refutation? If so then I consider the argument to be defeated. It being a cop out doesn't prove the argument to be illogical or the morally sufficient reason impossible.

    Now your scenario with the bomber. You are proposing that the soldier has all of God's attributes. It is possible that this soldier could see sometime in distant future a greater good being accomplished from the bombing occurring. How are you in a position to say that this is impossible?

    A final word, you can show that something is impossible by showing that it is logically contradictory or has been demonstrated to be in contradiction with well known facts. You may not appreciate my "cop out" but I am simply calling it to your attention that you are claiming that it is impossible for God to have a morally sufficient reason. You are going to have to come up with a quite compelling argument to do so.
    If I find in myself a desire which nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another. C.S. Lewis

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by estill View Post
    I think you are attributing a line of argumentation to me that I have not made. I didn't argue that God could not prevent evil from existing. There are arguments that go that route but I'll accept that God could prevent evil from existing.

    Now you can't simply say God is therefore malevolent here. You have to prove that it is impossible that God could accomplish more good with the existence of evil then without.
    This has already been accomplished. We've already established that god is omnipotent. So any way you argue, it still comes up short:
    • If you argue that god needs something in order to accomplish a goal then he's not omnipotent. Because omnipotent beings don't need things. It's nonsense. It's like claiming "god can do anything logically possible AND god can't do some things that are logically possible". It's a contradiction and you can't have those in your argument.
    • If you argue that god doesn't need suffering but uses it anyway, then god is malevolent. Period. There's no way around this, Estill. You cannot offer that the ends justify the means because A) they certainly do not for people and B) if god is omnipotent as Christians claim then he has the ability to set things up so that the ends shouldn't have to justify the means. Again, it's a contradiction. You are claiming "God is benevolent AND he does some malevolent things". Trying to add "but they're for a really good purpose" is nonsense; just another free pass you're offering to god.
    • If you're arguing that circumstances arise where god, though he has benevolent intentions, cannot find a way to avoid suffering, then either god isn't really benevolent or he's not really omnipotent.

    So which is it?

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    ---Morally sufficient reason---

    The possibility, and actuality of evil, and thus suffering is inherent to the following kinds of creatures.
    Creating Free willed creatures with authority and power.

    Define:
    Free will = Self originated choice.
    Authority = Responsibility over some thing.
    Power = The ability to effect something.
    Benevolence = Desire to do good to others.
    Evil = Against God
    Suffering = Things we don't want. (take rape for example, it is defined as non consensual sex. .. or sex we do not want.) It is this reason that if we don't want something bad enough, anything can constitute "suffering".

    ----The back drop
    Because these are "free willed" creatures, their acts are not the direct moral responsibility of God.
    -Support- Suppose God created only you, a plant. He then gave you authority over the planet (IE The plant is your responsibility), and the power (ability) to care for it. Then he commanded you to take GOOD care of it. This is the creation of a MORAL situation. Because an "aught" has been established. (yes, as creator of you both, God inherently has the ability to define the aught.) then you proceed to use your free will, to NOT take care of the plant, and it dies. God is able to judge your actions against what you AUGHT to be doing, and he is not personally responsible for the outcome. Nor can it be said that because God allowed it to happen ,because it is good for god to be able to judge, that the acts were ultimately justified and thus render God unable to judge. God can still accurately differentiate if you obeyed him or not.



    ----Defining the problem.
    God does not have a moral responsibility to us. He is not morally obligated to offer salvation, and could just as easily create us for destruction. However, if we are to call God "benevolent", then he must fulfill the definition of it. But what is "good"? It is "right relationship with God".
    -Support- God is the embodiment of good. God is what good is. Good is not an external standard God ad-hears to, it is an inherent inseparable part of his nature. To deny this, is to not be speaking of the same God, and thus a straw-man. Right relationship with God is obedience.


    answer to the problem of suffering ... That reason is benevolence to all.
    Real benevolence to all creatures means that God would create them (because it is better to exist than to not exist), to give them a chance to be obedient (give them authority and power) and offer redemption to those that fail to be obedient. In this way God wants the maximum possible good for all parts.

    In contrast, the man questioning the 12 officers, does not care about being benevolent to the rapist. So is by definition NOT omni benevolent.


    The ultimate benevolent act is to offer salvation to the lost. If God refusing to act leads to more salvations, then he has acted in the maximum benevolent way. Thus Ultimately the "problem of suffering" is not an appeal to benevolence, but an ignoring of it. A special pleading that benevolence is owed to the rape victim, but not the rapist.


    Restraint of Judgment.
    God is able to intervene in all evil acts. His intervention would constitute just judgment (which is hell). This means the idea of simply restraining is an unjust judgment. In order for benevolence to exist towards evil creatures, judgment must be postponed. This makes the existence of evil (for a time) necessary for salvation. This however does not "justify" evil so as to make it good. Because the 'justification" is a calling of the evil act evil. To say that evil is good because it allows for salvation, is a contradiction and incoherent.


    Conclusion
    Because free willed creatures can be obedient, he has given them power and authority so that it may be actualized.

    Because Free willed creatures can be disobedient, he gives opportunity for salvation and redemption.

    Because free willed creatures can remain in disobedience, they are allowed the opportunity as long as possible without diminishing the maximum amount of obedient free willed creatures.

    God is benevolent to all, because he wishes and enables the greatest possible good for all free willed creatures.


    --We are unable to judge--
    Does an act or lack there of of God lead to more or less salvations?
    We are not in a position to know. Yet it is possible, and thus any conclusion that because God doesn't act he must therefore be malevolent, is unsupported. The problem of evil then suffers two things, special pleading, and a false dilemma. Special pleading because it does not demand benevolent acts towards the rapist. And a false dilemma because God failure to act could bring about the maximum good.
    To serve man.

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    God does not have a moral responsibility to us.
    Does he have any moral responsibility at all?

    If he doesn't, then he's not a moral agent, because an agent that has no moral obligations cannot be a moral agent. Being bound to moral expectations make an agent a moral one by definition. This means that God is neither good nor bad, and if that's the case, he cannot arbitrate morality, much less BE the essence of Good.

    On the other hand, if he does have moral obligations, then there's no distinction between his moral obligations and our own. That is to say, if God allows evil to preserve free will, then ALL moral agents should allow evil to preserve free will. On the other hand, if we are morally obliged to stop evil when it is being attempted, then he too is so obliged.

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    This has already been accomplished. We've already established that god is omnipotent. So any way you argue, it still comes up short:
    [list][*]If you argue that god needs something in order to accomplish a goal then he's not omnipotent. Because omnipotent beings don't need things. It's nonsense. It's like claiming "god can do anything logically possible AND god can't do some things that are logically possible". It's a contradiction and you can't have those in your argument.
    Well, you can say things like, "If God wants Adam to be married, He needs there to be another person." Or, "If God wants to draw a circle, He needs every point to be the same distance away from the center." So "If God wants there to be a maximum amount of goodness, He needs there to be a certain amount of evil" could be a legitimate claim--but only if "maximum amount of goodness" implies "certain amount of evil", which is the very point at issue. So I'd say it's circular rather than contradictory.

    ---------- Post added at 11:44 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:41 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Does he have any moral responsibility at all?

    If he doesn't, then he's not a moral agent, because an agent that has no moral obligations cannot be a moral agent. Being bound to moral expectations make an agent a moral one by definition. This means that God is neither good nor bad, and if that's the case, he cannot arbitrate morality, much less BE the essence of Good.

    On the other hand, if he does have moral obligations, then there's no distinction between his moral obligations and our own. That is to say, if God allows evil to preserve free will, then ALL moral agents should allow evil to preserve free will. On the other hand, if we are morally obliged to stop evil when it is being attempted, then he too is so obliged.
    I'm not sure if that's true. God could have entirely different moral obligations due to His different nature; what would be immoral for us might be entirely moral for Him, e.g. a parent can spank their child, but generally another adult can't. (Unless you're claiming that there's no such thing as two moral agents having different moral obligations, but this seems non-obvious and not logically necessary.)
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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    I'm not sure if that's true. God could have entirely different moral obligations due to His different nature; what would be immoral for us might be entirely moral for Him, e.g. a parent can spank their child, but generally another adult can't. (Unless you're claiming that there's no such thing as two moral agents having different moral obligations, but this seems non-obvious and not logically necessary.)
    Good points. Let me put it differently because I clearly didn't say it very well.

    Going back to child rape (or murder), if it is always wrong to rape a child, then it is wrong for ANY moral agent to rape a child, or to allow a child to be raped. But if reason "X" is given as justification for allowing a child to be raped (let "X" be the preservation of free will), then such acts should always be allowed because of "X", irrespective of who the moral agent is.

    Does that make sense?

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    Does he have any moral responsibility at all?
    let me ask you this.
    Does morality have any moral responsibility? If not, then it can't be moral. (at least according to what your saying).
    Moral responsibility in reference to a moral definer is a nonsensical statement. It doesn't mean anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    If he doesn't, then he's not a moral agent, because an agent that has no moral obligations cannot be a moral agent. Being bound to moral expectations make an agent a moral one by definition.
    He isn't a moral agent so as to have his actions compared to some outside "aught".
    He is a moral definer.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    This means that God is neither good nor bad, and if that's the case, he cannot arbitrate morality, much less BE the essence of Good.
    No, this means that there is nothing outside of himself to compare his actions, or to define what he aught to do.
    That does not prevent God from being a moral definer, and thus "good".

    You are confusing the use of the word good. We do not say that God is good, because he has fallen in line with an outside morality.
    We say that God is Good, because he defines (by his existence) what good is, God is the essence of Good.

    All of this is not a referral to him as a moral agent, but as the definition of morality. Morality and "Ought" has no meaning without God.
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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric View Post
    [*]If you argue that god doesn't need suffering but uses it anyway, then god is malevolent. Period. There's no way around this, Estill. You cannot offer that the ends justify the means because A) they certainly do not for people and B) if god is omnipotent as Christians claim then he has the ability to set things up so that the ends shouldn't have to justify the means. Again, it's a contradiction. You are claiming "God is benevolent AND he does some malevolent things". Trying to add "but they're for a really good purpose" is nonsense; just another free pass you're offering to god.
    If you look in my last post I already stated that God could prevent evil if he chose. This is not important to my argument.

    I've pulled out the part of your post that directly addresses the situation I am arguing for. Just to reiterate, God can accomplish more good with the existence of evil than without. Now omnipotent beings cannot do contradictory things. We agree on this. Then the argument goes.

    1. Goal A is morally superior to Goal B.
    2. God can accomplish Goal A with the existence of evil but not Goal B.
    3. God can accomplish Goal B without the existence of evil but not Goal A.
    4. God cannot accomplish both goals because they are mutually exclusive.
    5. God chooses to accomplish Goal A and therefore permits the existence of evil.
    6. Goal A is morally superior and therefore, God remains benevolent.

    Now can you prove with logic that God cannot accomplish both Goal A and Goal B.
    If I find in myself a desire which nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another. C.S. Lewis

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Good points. Let me put it differently because I clearly didn't say it very well.

    Going back to child rape (or murder), if it is always wrong to rape a child, then it is wrong for ANY moral agent to rape a child, or to allow a child to be raped. But if reason "X" is given as justification for allowing a child to be raped (let "X" be the preservation of free will), then such acts should always be allowed because of "X", irrespective of who the moral agent is.

    Does that make sense?
    I don't think that argument holds in general, although I suspect it holds for the purposes of this discussion.

    X could be tailored to particular classes of moral agents--we might not say that it's immoral for an animal to rape a human. That is, suppose X was something along the lines of "It is moral to allow rape to occur if you are unable to stop it." For agents that are unable to stop it, X will be a moral justification for permitting rape. For agents that are able to stop it, X no longer provides a moral justification for permitting rape. It is not necessary in general that moral obligations and justifications commute among all moral agents.

    But for the purposes of our discussion, the particular justification is "Permitting suffering is okay because more good comes from it than would be possible without suffering" or "Permitting suffering is okay because to do otherwise would destroy free will". But in our context, we know something about the capacity of the moral agent in question, God: He can certainly do anything we can do. Additionally, it is often claimed that God defines goodness, such that an act is good <=> it is consistent with God's nature. Thus by calling a particular act good, we are saying that it is consistent with God's nature. So we can commute certain moral properties between humans and God within this context.

    ---------- Post added at 12:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:18 PM ----------

    He isn't a moral agent so as to have his actions compared to some outside "aught".
    He is a moral definer.
    If God defines what is moral--i.e., what is moral for us as humans--then our moral obligations perfectly coincide. It doesn't make sense to say "God defines what is good" if the things He does are only good for Him, but not for us. Unless God defines which ethical/moral principles we are supposed to follow or attempt to maximize or something like that...

    ...you know, I'm not entirely sure what is meant by "God defines what is good." If God does something, that doesn't mean we should do it too (since God can do things we can't, we won't always be able to do what He would do in our situation). Likewise, if we do something good, that doesn't mean that God in His infinite capacity would do the same thing in our circumstance. So what does it mean to say "God defines what is good"?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    let me ask you this.
    No dude, just answer the &%$# question. You don't answer questions with questions for goodness sake. Stop with that nonsense or I swear I'm out of here. First and last warning.

    If God IS good, then he's bound to his own nature to BE that. And if child rape is evil, then he can neither do nor allow such an act. So, does God have any moral responsibility or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    He isn't a moral agent so as to have his actions compared to some outside "aught".
    OUGHT

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    He is a moral definer.
    Ok, so if he defines something as evil, can he do that thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    No, this means that there is nothing outside of himself to compare his actions, or to define what he aught to do.
    That does not prevent God from being a moral definer, and thus "good".
    Is God good because of what he is, or because of what he says is good?

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    You are confusing the use of the word good. We do not say that God is good, because he has fallen in line with an outside morality.
    We say that God is Good, because he defines (by his existence) what good is, God is the essence of Good.
    I don't think I've confused it at all. In fact, I'm pretty confident that I've corrected many Christians over the years, possibly even you, on the usage of the term.

    The point is this, if God isn't morally obligated in some way, it is essentially saying that God can be untrue to his very nature. So if he's not obliged to be what he is, which is good, then he can be something other than good, which means he's not good in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    All of this is not a referral to him as a moral agent, but as the definition of morality. Morality and "Ought" has no meaning without God.
    Right, which is why he's obliged to be what he is.

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dio
    No dude, just answer the &%$# question. You don't answer questions with questions for goodness sake. Stop with that nonsense or I swear I'm out of here. First and last warning.

    If God IS good, then he's bound to his own nature to BE that. And if child rape is evil, then he can neither do nor allow such an act. So, does God have any moral responsibility or not?
    You might be able to go at it from the other end, too. Instead of asking why God doesn't intervene to stop every act in some class of acts, you could ask, "When does God intervene to stop any evil act?"
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

    HOLY CRAP MY BLOG IS AWESOME

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    Re: The unsolveable problem of evil (12 Officers redux)

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Benevolence = Desire to do good to others.
    That's where I stopped reading because I have a question to ask you. If god is an omnipotent being capable of doing anything logically possible, what is a scenario where his desire would not match his action?

 

 
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