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Author Topic: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox  (Read 7953 times)

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Offline RubySlippers

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2010, 08:09:10 AM »
ULC Ordained Cleric, Doctor of Bible Studies
I am humored that this is under your name, Ruby, and you're asking for Bible passages.  ;) Nevertheless, I shall oblige.

Psalms 107:1
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is GOOD; for His loving kindness is everlasting

Psalms 31:19
How great is Thy GOODness, which Thou hast stored up for those who fear Thee, which Thou hast wrought for those who take refuge in Thee, before the sons of men!

And the grand finale, words from the Jefe himself:

Exodus 33:19
“I Myself will make all My GOODness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion”

Psalms don't count they are songs bout God by King David.

As for Exodus God doesn't say He is good but before Him goodness will pass before the people and that He will bless His people with ocnditions. For me that is good like mom's best meatloaf is good as in comes from mom and her love.

Read this passage in context Moses wanted to see the resence of God before the people after they sinned and repented its not a gentle statement if they in return obey God and honorGod they get these things. If they are not gracious and compassionate as a people neither will God be that to them.

Where did God say He is good, without conditions, of Himself? Unlessyou can find such a passage we should not call then God good but rather a stern father that for our loyalty and devotions to Him with our hearts will be good in actions to us. How many times did God strike at the Hebrews for failures even taking eleven tribes into slavery later on for turning from God.

And my Doctorate was issued by my church I had to pass a complicated T/F test to earn it, its legal to use it.  :D

Offline Tom

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2010, 08:31:47 AM »
Hypothetically, if Abraham's God existed: Why does God allow bad things to happen?

We have several options:

A) God never intervenes with the world.
B) God always intervenes with the world.
C) God sometimes intervenes with the world.

Case B, is Sabby's Superman scenario.

Case C is what most Christians seem to believe. That your actions (including prayer) can make God intervene with the world and make good or bad things happen. If this is the case, the question is very valid. Why would he cause good things to happen to some people and bad things happen to other people - including the most horrible things imaginable happening to innocent children. Is it because they did't pray hard enough?

In case of A, God would be like a person rolling a snowball down a hill. He makes the snowball and sets the thing in motion, but he doesn't care what happens to it. If it hits someone, it would be the snowball's responsability, not his. In fact, it would be like he doesn't exist at all. Which he doesn't.


Offline Noelle

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2010, 11:33:29 AM »
As for Exodus God doesn't say He is good but before Him goodness will pass before the people and that He will bless His people with ocnditions. For me that is good like mom's best meatloaf is good as in comes from mom and her love.

Except you're completely ignoring the grammar in the quote. "My" denotes that the following word is a possession of his. Because that's how pronouns work.

Quote
Exodus 33:19
“I Myself will make all My GOODness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion”

Quote
goodness
- 4 dictionary results
good·ness
   /ˈgʊdnɪs/ Show Spelled[good-nis] Show IPA
–noun
1.
the state or quality of being good.
2.
moral excellence; virtue.
3.
kindly feeling; kindness; generosity.
4.
excellence of quality: goodness of workmanship.
5.
the best part of anything; essence; strength.
6.
a euphemism for god: Thank goodness!

God attributed the state of being good to himself via a pronoun that denotes possession. He didn't say "goodness in general" would pass, he didn't say "your goodness" or "his/her/its goodness", he said 'My goodness', with a capital M, even. By order of logic, if God is good even once, that means God has some attribute of goodness in him at least some of the time. Hell, they even threw 'goodness' in there as a euphemism, or another way to say God.

Quote
Where did God say He is good, without conditions, of Himself? Unlessyou can find such a passage we should not call then God good but rather a stern father that for our loyalty and devotions to Him with our hearts will be good in actions to us. How many times did God strike at the Hebrews for failures even taking eleven tribes into slavery later on for turning from God.

Besides my proof already stated, I've found a list of Bible passages on the goodness of God. They are not all spoken BY God, but if you're going to say that those quotes in the Bible don't actually count, then I'm probably just gonna close the book on this debate now. You can't hold the Bible to be a credible source to prove your point, but maintain that the other quotes speaking for the goodness of God somehow aren't true or don't count. These are disciples we're talking about. God's goodness.

We already covered the topic of a 'loving' God, as well. Parents punish their children all the time, but still manage to love their children and be good people. Love is a term that cannot be concretely pinned down to one specific action or emotion. Goodness is relative.


Edit: Also found this, too. The Goodness of God.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 11:43:00 AM by Noelle »

Offline Hemingway

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2010, 11:48:37 AM »
I think Serephino was going for the 'if there was no shadow, how would we recognize light' analogy.  It's like when I talk to friends of mine in Georgia, and they say how cold it is out - at 50F.  Meanwhile, I'm bundling up to go shovel snow, and say 'You don't know what cold is!' Of course, when I'm claiming how hot it is at 85F, and they're in the triple-digits, then I 'don't know what heat is'.

If there was nothing even as evil as the person that ate the plums in the icebox that I was saving for breakfast, how could we claim to know good or evil?

It may not be possible to tell good from evil without knowing them both, but that does not change the fact that evil is evil. If you think that any evil that god allows is acceptable, or even good, because it ends well for the person ( i.e. paradise, or whatever ), then that's a double standard. You're allowing god to get away with something you wouldn't let, say, your neighbor get away with. Isn't that equivocation?

Offline Jude

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2010, 09:22:22 PM »
Hypothetically, if Abraham's God existed: Why does God allow bad things to happen?

We have several options:

A) God never intervenes with the world.
B) God always intervenes with the world.
C) God sometimes intervenes with the world.

Case B, is Sabby's Superman scenario.

Case C is what most Christians seem to believe. That your actions (including prayer) can make God intervene with the world and make good or bad things happen. If this is the case, the question is very valid. Why would he cause good things to happen to some people and bad things happen to other people - including the most horrible things imaginable happening to innocent children. Is it because they did't pray hard enough?

In case of A, God would be like a person rolling a snowball down a hill. He makes the snowball and sets the thing in motion, but he doesn't care what happens to it. If it hits someone, it would be the snowball's responsability, not his. In fact, it would be like he doesn't exist at all. Which he doesn't.
God never intervening makes zero sense to begin with since, you know, creation is intervention, especially when you're an omnipotent, all-knowing being who can see the consequences of creation while creating.

It's not like God had no idea when he made a genetic defect a possible part of the human condition, that a kid would be born with a heart on the outside of his body if you ascribe to the notion of an all-powerful god.  He's basically responsible.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 09:23:37 PM by Jude »

Offline Serephino

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2010, 09:57:44 PM »
I never said evil was good.  My point was for both to exist there must be a balance.  Okay, so thousands of people are starving to death.  That's bad; no argument there.  Doesn't that make you grateful that you are not starving?  Doesn't the existence of disease make you appreciate your good health?

My point is that if nothing bad ever happened, then good would not be good, but rather expected.  There would be no good.  You would expect to wake up every morning and have a big meal, the sun would be shining, you'd go to work where everything would go smoothly.  Everything would be just peachy all the time 24/7/365.  You know all that gossip, especially about celebrities, people enjoy so much?  That wouldn't exist.  There would be no happy endings to books and movies, because things would end well and it would be expected because that would be all we knew.  There might not even be books and movies because we wouldn't need entertainment to make us happy, and there wouldn't be anything to write about anyway.  Every story has an antagonist, but if no one ever did anything bad how can there be an antagonist?

Love, creativity, beauty, passion...  They uplift our spirits and bring us joy because they counteract the bad.  If nothing bad ever happened we wouldn't need anything to cheer us up, so whatever makes you feel better after a bad day, forget that.  Sunrises are pretty, but it would be impossible to ever see one if the sun shone all the time because there was no darkness.  We could never appreciate a sunny day if it never rained. 

We wouldn't need Science either.  Our lives wouldn't need improving, so why bother?  There would be no diseases to cure.  There wouldn't be natural disasters to try and understand and predict.  Necessity is the mother of invention, so if we don't need anything what reason would there be to invent?

See where I'm going with this now?  There cannot be one without the other.  Our world is full of opposites.  Good and evil, up and down, light and dark, joy and sadness....  Without one you can't appreciate the other because that would be all you know.  Everything serves a purpose.  We may not understand it, but there is a reason.   

Offline Nyarly

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2010, 02:15:05 AM »
I understood you the last time already. I still don't see why we need it. True, the world and the humanity would be totally different, but as I see it it would be an improvement. Especially considering the balance thing. I don't see a balance between "good" and "evil" in this world. I only see that "evil" is stronger.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2010, 03:04:46 AM »
I understood you the last time already. I still don't see why we need it. True, the world and the humanity would be totally different, but as I see it it would be an improvement. Especially considering the balance thing. I don't see a balance between "good" and "evil" in this world. I only see that "evil" is stronger.
I believe this youtube video will explain his argument more eloquently:  Up there- satan- Southpark song(specifically around 1:00 in the video)
« Last Edit: September 17, 2010, 03:07:22 AM by Jude »

Offline Hemingway

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2010, 04:01:20 AM »
I never said evil was good.  My point was for both to exist there must be a balance.  Okay, so thousands of people are starving to death.  That's bad; no argument there.  Doesn't that make you grateful that you are not starving?  Doesn't the existence of disease make you appreciate your good health?

My point is that if nothing bad ever happened, then good would not be good, but rather expected.  There would be no good.  You would expect to wake up every morning and have a big meal, the sun would be shining, you'd go to work where everything would go smoothly.  Everything would be just peachy all the time 24/7/365.  You know all that gossip, especially about celebrities, people enjoy so much?  That wouldn't exist.  There would be no happy endings to books and movies, because things would end well and it would be expected because that would be all we knew.  There might not even be books and movies because we wouldn't need entertainment to make us happy, and there wouldn't be anything to write about anyway.  Every story has an antagonist, but if no one ever did anything bad how can there be an antagonist?

Quote

See where I'm going with this now?  There cannot be one without the other.  Our world is full of opposites.  Good and evil, up and down, light and dark, joy and sadness....  Without one you can't appreciate the other because that would be all you know.  Everything serves a purpose.  We may not understand it, but there is a reason.   

I find that attitude somewhat objectionable, actually. Other peoples' suffering does not exist to put my ( relative ) happiness into perspective. I would also argue that there are certain instances of evil that may allow you to better appreciate the good in your life, but there are also those that are completely pointless. A child that doesn't make it past its first few days, dying before it's old enough to even be aware of its own existence? I don't see how letting that child die serves to make anyone happier. You may stop for a moment and consider how lucky you are, but is it really worth it? I mean, while I would feel happy, I'd also feel very sad, knowing that somewhere, someone lost their child.

I see two problems with evil being necessary, too. Firstly, why is god bound by the very human logic that states you can't have one without the other? I mean, the feeling of euphoria is there even if you've never been sad in your life. Secondly, I fail to see how it in any way justifies god's actions. The question isn't "why does evil exist?", it's "if god is good, why does he allow evil to exist?". If you ask me, these answers implies that god, if he exists at all, is not good at all. In fact, it sounds a lot like if we were discussing a person rather than god, he'd be locked up.

Offline DudelRok

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2010, 09:32:40 AM »
To Argue: Beyond the concept already brought up, kinda, that "good" and "evil" are human concepts:

Light can not exist without darkness.
Black can not exist without White.
Silence can not exist without sound.

Scientifically proven concepts beyond the subject of philosophy which involve a witness to conclude the existence of anything.

"g/God(s) is/are Good" isn't difficult when you imply a second force to be the "evil." It isn't to much of a stretch for their to be two omnipresent all knowing things of both positive and negative universal results, is there?

I mean, almost all arguments about a "all powerful being" gets rejected once it becomes at least two (or more) which explains everything and makes the question ignorable.

What we see as "God" is "Good" and all those other things but he's also fighting a secondary equally powerful force which we've chosen to ignore or have been lied to about. A "white lie" is still considered "good" by most people, isn't it? :p (Note: I don't believe "white lies" count as anything other than lies, I'm just explaining an argument.)

To Argue: God is not good, those were human heard misunderstandings that have now caused massive amounts of confusion.

To Argue: I also don't see why "g/God(s)" has to be "good" in order to fit within the concepts. I mean, in a lot of stories he's a real anal-retentive asshole. Do as he says or go to hell. To many sinners, kill EVERYONE (sinner or not) but a couple by flooding the earth. Offer own son up for execution. Why does "g/God(s" being "good' have any relevance on proving or disproving existence beyond biased words which can be interpreted in either direction?

To Argue: "Doesn't do" and "can't do" are two different things. Do not denounce someone as not having an ability simply because they refuse to show it to you.

"I can't go to the store naked because I'll get arrested." Is poor english and denotes a misunderstanding to what "can't" means as a word.

"I don't/won't go to the store naked because I'll get arrested."

"I can go the store naked BUT I'll probably get arrested."

Deciding not to do something but still having the ability is not a "can't" and deciding against doing something does not make you a "bad guy" when there are MILLIONS of things to take care of. Not to mention isn't there a phrase something like this: "God helps those who help themselves."?

Humorous Fictional Anecdotes: Bruce Almighty showed a little view of what might happen if everyone got their way by "goodly means." Chaos was the result, right? Pure and utter CHAOS.

Or Futurama: "If you do everything right, people wont know you've done anything at all."


The entire "Paradox" is a fail argument if I ever saw one and I don't even really believe in the concept of "a god."


I omitted the quotes because I am lazy but take them each as different arguments (debate subjects/whatever).

Offline Serephino

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2010, 08:31:33 PM »
I never actually said God was good.  And you're still missing the point.  Making you appreciate what you have is only part of it.  Think of it this way if you must.  Have you ever known someone who pretty much got everything handed to them their entire lives?  Did you enjoy being around them?  They don't have any true appreciation for anything.  They expect you to just drop everything and pay attention to them.  They are lazy and self-centered.  Now imagine the entire world being like that. 

How could an infant dying benefit anyone?  Well...  What if the doctor that was treating that infant is so moved by this event that he/she decides to do more research on whatever killed the infant so that the next time it happens the infant doesn't die?  What if dozens of infants are saved because they find a way to treat it?  It would be really sad for the parents of the first baby, but some good could come from it.  One never knows. 

Offline Noelle

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2010, 09:25:12 PM »
I am really curious to see how you might explain your theory to one of the many starving people, or perhaps the parents of said dead infant. I think it gets a little more difficult to explain to someone that their suffering is for your own personal benefit when they become tangible to you rather than a figurative, impersonal example.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2010, 09:28:35 PM »
I never actually said God was good.  And you're still missing the point.  Making you appreciate what you have is only part of it.  Think of it this way if you must.  Have you ever known someone who pretty much got everything handed to them their entire lives?  Did you enjoy being around them?  They don't have any true appreciation for anything.  They expect you to just drop everything and pay attention to them.  They are lazy and self-centered.  Now imagine the entire world being like that. 

How could an infant dying benefit anyone?  Well...  What if the doctor that was treating that infant is so moved by this event that he/she decides to do more research on whatever killed the infant so that the next time it happens the infant doesn't die?  What if dozens of infants are saved because they find a way to treat it?  It would be really sad for the parents of the first baby, but some good could come from it.  One never knows. 

I think you should read Candide.

Offline Trieste

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Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2010, 09:31:42 PM »
I am really curious to see how you might explain your theory to one of the many starving people, or perhaps the parents of said dead infant. I think it gets a little more difficult to explain to someone that their suffering is for your own personal benefit when they become tangible to you rather than a figurative, impersonal example.

It doesn't make the point moot; it simply makes it more tragic.

However, as a nonbeliever, I find it difficult to wrap my head around this question, so get out your salt shaker.

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Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #39 on: September 17, 2010, 09:34:17 PM »
Oddly enough, I saw an episode of Dr. G. that dealt with 'dead child -> benefit to others -> better feelings for the dead child's parents'.  In fact, one of the recipients of the dead girl's donated organs wrote to the mother personally to thank her for making that terribly painful decision.

Offline Wolfy

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #40 on: September 17, 2010, 09:59:09 PM »
I think the question can be solved with a simple: "You can't make an omelet without cracking a few eggs."

I.E., bad things must happen for good things to occur. Keeps the universe in balance and all that.

Then again, as an Athiest, the whole god and balance thing is moot to me, sooo...

Offline Noelle

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2010, 11:56:36 PM »
It doesn't make the point moot; it simply makes it more tragic.

However, as a nonbeliever, I find it difficult to wrap my head around this question, so get out your salt shaker.

I didn't say it made the point moot, simply pointing out that it's easier to consider tragedy to your benefit when it doesn't affect you that profoundly. Who do the people we use as examples to benefit our own outlook have to benefit theirs?

Offline Will

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2010, 12:27:47 AM »
If there is a god, it's certainly not within our realm of understanding.  So how can you judge a god by human standards?  I can't even begin to grasp the motivations of an all powerful deity.  There could be a reason for the pains and troubles that people deal with every day, and we just don't have the viewpoint or the information necessary to realize it.  If you believe in god and a world outside of this one, then it's pretty clear that we are painfully ignorant.  Is this god malevolent, benevolent, or an uncaring entity?  We don't really know enough to make that call, in my opinion.

I think it's obvious enough that I'm not a religious individual, but I can see where they're coming from.  It's all faith.  Faith that your god exists, and faith that anything that happens, happens for a reason, even if it's not immediately obvious to you.  The question "If god's so good, why do bad things happen" is a logic-based issue, and there is the problem.  Faith is not logic; faith will probably seem illogical much of the time.  For me, this was enough to make me agnostic, but for others, it isn't.  *shrugs*  I can at least respect their faith.

Offline Hemingway

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #43 on: September 18, 2010, 01:23:34 PM »
I never actually said God was good.¨


At least we agree on something, but that's about the only thing, too.

Offline mystictiger

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #44 on: October 03, 2010, 07:19:32 AM »
There's plenty of food in the world (therefore, one could suggest that God has done God's bit) but it's not reaching the people that have a lack thereof.. The question for me, rather, is why humans permit there to be starving people and dead babies.

A volcano is not inherently good or bad. It's not a moral event. It just... is. It's not like the volcano is sitting there, just biding its time and waiting for the best time to errupt and disrupt global air travel.

Offline Qt

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #45 on: October 03, 2010, 04:43:16 PM »
There's plenty of food in the world (therefore, one could suggest that God has done God's bit) but it's not reaching the people that have a lack thereof.. The question for me, rather, is why humans permit there to be starving people and dead babies.

A volcano is not inherently good or bad. It's not a moral event. It just... is. It's not like the volcano is sitting there, just biding its time and waiting for the best time to errupt and disrupt global air travel.

I would think it goes to the point where human is still a creation of god therefore god is still the ultimate cause, therefore the question can't be dodged by simply pointing at humans being "bad", when god it the cause of it.

Of course there is also the question that is "evil" is a requirement for having freewill (ie freewill entails the possibility of evil). Then one could argue that people in heaven, don't have freewill. And that if it is better to have freewill and be evil, than being good. Then under that logic, earth is better than heaven.

It ultimately goes to if god does indeed claim credit for his creation of human, then whatever the humans do, he's got to take that responsibility as well.

The same goes for the volcano, if god has the power to control when that volcano erupts then allowing it to kill people would be somewhat evil.

I understand that this topic of god can be quite sensitive at times, so please forgive me if I have offended anyone, it was not intentional.

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #46 on: October 05, 2010, 01:48:18 AM »
I would think it goes to the point where human is still a creation of god therefore god is still the ultimate cause, therefore the question can't be dodged by simply pointing at humans being "bad", when god it the cause of it.

Of course there is also the question that is "evil" is a requirement for having freewill (ie freewill entails the possibility of evil). Then one could argue that people in heaven, don't have freewill. And that if it is better to have freewill and be evil, than being good. Then under that logic, earth is better than heaven.

It ultimately goes to if god does indeed claim credit for his creation of human, then whatever the humans do, he's got to take that responsibility as well.

The same goes for the volcano, if god has the power to control when that volcano erupts then allowing it to kill people would be somewhat evil.

I understand that this topic of god can be quite sensitive at times, so please forgive me if I have offended anyone, it was not intentional.

Very enlightening.

Offline Asuras

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #47 on: October 05, 2010, 02:16:54 AM »
This is called the problem of evil and lots of people have tried to answer it...in fact so many people have answered it that there is a word for it: theodicy.

I am convinced as an atheist that the value of free will warrants evil. It is better to have free will than to have restricted minds incapable of evil.

There is then the problem of natural evil, which I cannot justify. Big reason I'm an atheist.

Offline Qt

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #48 on: October 05, 2010, 02:28:53 AM »
This is called the problem of evil and lots of people have tried to answer it...in fact so many people have answered it that there is a word for it: theodicy.

I am convinced as an atheist that the value of free will warrants evil. It is better to have free will than to have restricted minds incapable of evil.

There is then the problem of natural evil, which I cannot justify. Big reason I'm an atheist.

Hmmm, interesting yet totally reasonable explanation for being an atheist.

My reason for being an atheist is actually a lot more simple. I try not to drag in the fore-mentioned problem of evil or any other factor. A simple "there's no evidence" is enough for me to justify not believing in a god.

Offline Asuras

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #49 on: October 05, 2010, 02:48:25 AM »
Hmmm, interesting yet totally reasonable explanation for being an atheist.

My reason for being an atheist is actually a lot more simple. I try not to drag in the fore-mentioned problem of evil or any other factor. A simple "there's no evidence" is enough for me to justify not believing in a god.

And yet here is the skeptical hypothesis...which basically says that you (or I) have no good reason to believe anything.

On examination I could not disagree. The world could have been created a moment ago and could end from now and the brief flash of existence could be completely in my mind. The only thing that could refute this is pure and completely illogical faith in continuity.

Arbitrary faith, by the way. And once one takes the leap into arbitrary faith into one thing....hm. You can't take Occam's Razor with you since it's based on empirical evidence. Which you have no right to have faith in.

But if you're willing to have faith in Occam's Razor and atheism, this is not qualitatively different from taking the other direction and believing in the Greek pantheon, Christianity, or atheism. All of them make statements based upon equally un-solid empirical grounds in view of skepticism.