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Author Topic: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox  (Read 7947 times)

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Offline mystictiger

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #50 on: October 07, 2010, 12:11:34 PM »
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.

In that sense, if I were to murder someone, are my parents guilty of the offence rather than me? If I were to stab someone with a knife would the person who made the knife be guilty?

I don't regard humans as being good or evil. Rather, we have the capacity for good or bad, just as the way that the knife can be used for good (e.g. cutting up this tasty apple I'm eating) or bad (murdering someone).

You entirely, I think, ignore the importance of choice. In fact, morality cannot exist without choice. It is the decision, the mens rea, the volition that forms part of the 'badness' of an act.

Your point about the volcano, I think, is groundless.

A volcano errupting is neither good nor bad. It's just something a volcano does. Your contention that God 'makes' the volcano errupt would suggest that you regard plate tectonics, stellar formation, and ultimately the big bang to be 'bad' because they result in death.

Further, you assume that all death is moral fault - that God decided that a person is to die if they were killed with my knife, by the volcano, or by the flu.

Death is part of the inherent nature of being alive - all that is alive will at some point stop being alive. This isn't a moral thing, but rather a design feature. Flu, for example, doesn't 'choose' to infect me. It does what flu does - it tries to propogate. If I die from the flu, or get mauled by a tiger, or something - that which kills me isn't immoral. In fact, if I were to die from radiation poisoning, would you say that the radioactive material is immoral for having killed me?

No.

These things cannot choose, and therefore cannot be moral.

Your answer to the question of the problem if evil relies on a concept of God that has little relationship to what even the most hardcore Christian fundamentalists believe. I would therefore suggest that it is your concept of God that is at fault, rather than God.

Offline Noelle

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #51 on: October 07, 2010, 02:24:31 PM »
In that sense, if I were to murder someone, are my parents guilty of the offence rather than me? If I were to stab someone with a knife would the person who made the knife be guilty?

It's not hard for parents to feel guilty when their children fail because their parents are the ones who imbued in them a basic sense of how to act. In fact, this is an extremely common sentiment for parents. If I see a child running around a store screaming and knocking things off shelves, I'm probably going to look to the parent wondering why they aren't doing more to keep their children in line instead of viewing it as if the child should know better. I guess that's where the main discrepancy comes from...As children are to parents, is that what humans are to God?

As for people who make things like knives and guns and the like, I'm sure it's crossed their minds before that the things they're making could be used to do harm, but it's a little different when you're making something that can make its own decisions (a la humans) and those that only act as the wielder wants it to (inanimate objects).

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Your point about the volcano, I think, is groundless.

A volcano errupting is neither good nor bad. It's just something a volcano does. Your contention that God 'makes' the volcano errupt would suggest that you regard plate tectonics, stellar formation, and ultimately the big bang to be 'bad' because they result in death.

Not necessarily. It's entirely possible that God set the world in motion and can intervene from time to time. Perhaps the plates shift on their own for a time, and God steps in when he feels an earthquake or a volcano or (insert disaster here) is necessary for some kind of grand plan of his. Nobody knows. But suggesting that God can make good as well as bad things happen does not automatically point to the conclusion that you must think everything is bad. It merely points to the fact that God can use these tools -- as humans use tools such as knives and guns -- to exert his will.

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Further, you assume that all death is moral fault - that God decided that a person is to die if they were killed with my knife, by the volcano, or by the flu.

Death is part of the inherent nature of being alive - all that is alive will at some point stop being alive. This isn't a moral thing, but rather a design feature. Flu, for example, doesn't 'choose' to infect me. It does what flu does - it tries to propogate. If I die from the flu, or get mauled by a tiger, or something - that which kills me isn't immoral. In fact, if I were to die from radiation poisoning, would you say that the radioactive material is immoral for having killed me?

No.

Your points are fairly valid, and I don't disagree. I'm not religious myself, so this isn't exactly my own personally-held beliefs, but you're completely ignoring the fact that many attribute seemingly random, tragic deaths to God's own actions. God can decide your trip to the zoo is a good time for you to die by giving the tiger a subtle nudge to jump over the fence, or decide to weaken your immune system to catch the flu, or slip on a banana peel and fall down a sudden sinkhole that magically manifests the moment you do. Science would suggest that the flu is a virus that just naturally inclines to multiply (since the goal of any living thing I can think of is to reproduce), but religion does not always leave it to simply science. Maybe a virus propagates naturally, but it was God who decided to make it naturally propagate in you. it's not the flu itself deciding to kill you, it's a tool for God's hand.

I don't think it's as fundamentalist as you're saying. There are plenty of people who believe in God's will and often use euphemisms for people who die unexpectedly. "It was their time to go," "it's what God wanted," etc. They may not draw out and make these exact connections, but common expressions such as those imply that God had some hand in the way they ended. There's comfort in religion -- it's more peaceful to think that this higher entity "took them home to Heaven" rather than "Billy was turned to human pulp after a horrific accident because the human brain is prone to momentary lapses of judgment and driving statistics indicate that the conditions were just right for everything to fall into place and so he died because of no real purpose at all except that it just happens sometimes."

Offline Huginn

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #52 on: October 07, 2010, 07:46:39 PM »
Oddly enough my own trials of faith have not been influenced much by this question. For reasons to follow it never seemed to be the linchpin that others make it.

Why do we exist at all? One might argue that if god were a supremely good and powerful creator life in general would hardly be necessary, we would exist knowing our place and spend eternity praising god in heaven for so kindly allowing us to exist to praise him. Kind of a dull existence in my mind. But what if god values the things that make us human? On this mortal plane we grow to understand suffering and through it to be charitable, even in the dredges of existence, the worst situations one can imagine, we are sometimes able to produce moments of exceptional charity and love that cannot be matched. Yes we might end up dead soon afterwords by bayonet or sword but mortality is finite no matter how you look at it. So what is the point of these moments? These choices? This damnable free will? Well to me it has always seemed a question of personal growth, I don't believe that we are wracking up points to score our way into heaven, but only through our understanding of what charity is that we can understand our own existence from gods point of view, and the only way we can learn is to have the reciprocal power to be utter shits in life, to experience greed and wrath in ways that truly hurt others. -Sighs a little- I wish I could explain this better, I wish I could simply speak instead of typing the torrent of words flowing through my cold medicine addled head.

I suppose outside of the ravings of a madman, my point is, for there to be a reason to be mortal, this must be some sort of learning place, the kindergarten of eternity. Learn to play nice, learn values, better yourself and connect with other people, and perhaps like  that age group, this will in all of forever be our most opportune time to do it, and thats why a god has slung us here allowing evil and the rest of it.

Offline Asuras

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #53 on: October 09, 2010, 04:34:51 AM »
Quote from: mystictiger

A volcano errupting is neither good nor bad. It's just something a volcano does. Your contention that God 'makes' the volcano errupt would suggest that you regard plate tectonics, stellar formation, and ultimately the big bang to be 'bad' because they result in death.

This is called natural evil. Presumably the creator of the universe is clever enough to know about what he creates - plate tectonics and otherwise - but if he isn't, then he's guilty of murdering millions out of reckless disregard for the world he created because he didn't study geology hard enough.

Quote from: mystictiger
Further, you assume that all death is moral fault - that God decided that a person is to die if they were killed with my knife, by the volcano, or by the flu.

Reckless liability

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #54 on: October 09, 2010, 05:28:33 AM »
Not so certain how reckless liability plays a part in this debate.  God set the world in motion and so must recognize that things could go wrong?  That would mean that every part who decided to have a child could be given over to reckless liability because they knew the risk that their child might hurt others.  All created items and concepts carry with them a weight of consequence that people do not hold them accountable for doing.  No one accuses the inventor of the automobile for all the deaths come motor vehicle accidents, even though they must have been foreseen at its creation. 


As for the natural evil, there seems to be an oddity here.  If God understands plate tectonics then he must mean to kill people, but if he doesn’t then he killed them through recklessness.  Seems to be quite a trap there.  Yet that works with the assumption that plate tectonics is its own entity and does not work on other principles.  Principles that allow life to continue and the universe as we know it to function properly.  Concepts like pressure, inertia, heat and so forth that form core elements of the universe work in plate tectonics.  Without those concepts then the universe would fail to function.

Offline Asuras

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #55 on: October 10, 2010, 12:07:48 AM »
Quote from: Pumpkin Seeds
That would mean that every part who decided to have a child could be given over to reckless liability because they knew the risk that their child might hurt others.  All created items and concepts carry with them a weight of consequence that people do not hold them accountable for doing.  No one accuses the inventor of the automobile for all the deaths come motor vehicle accidents, even though they must have been foreseen at its creation. 

I was talking about "natural evil."

I totally agree that if I invent the automobile, Henry Ford isn't responsible for car accidents. The idea of "natural evil" is about something completely different - agony and death that has nothing to do with free will, humanity, or intelligence. How do we absolve God of that?

Quote from: Pumpkin Seeds
As for the natural evil, there seems to be an oddity here.  If God understands plate tectonics then he must mean to kill people, but if he doesn’t then he killed them through recklessness.  Seems to be quite a trap there.  Yet that works with the assumption that plate tectonics is its own entity and does not work on other principles.  Principles that allow life to continue and the universe as we know it to function properly.  Concepts like pressure, inertia, heat and so forth that form core elements of the universe work in plate tectonics.  Without those concepts then the universe would fail to function.

God can't get around that? A miracle to stop when those physical laws cause an earthquake here and there perhaps?

Offline MasterMischief

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #56 on: October 10, 2010, 12:55:52 AM »
I believe The Tale of Twelve Officers makes some interesting points.  Warning, some may find it offensive.

I think comparing god to a parent is not a perfect analogy.  Parents are not omnipotent and omniscient, so they may have to let a child stumble to learn where an omnipotent being could imbibe its creation with that knowledge.  Also, a parent does not know before the child is even born if that child will turn out to increase suffering in the world, where an omniscient being would know if its creation was going to do more harm than good.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #57 on: October 10, 2010, 12:30:50 PM »
Liability for your creations only comes into account when you claim to be an all-powerful, perfect being.  The reason Henry Ford cannot be held accountable for the automobile accidents is because what he invented had a net gain on society and it isn't like he could've have done better but chose not to.  If god can do anything, and it's part of most religious dogmas that he/she/it/ can, and knows everything including the future, then anything that exists in reality becomes intentional.  Omnipotence precludes the possibility for attributing things to incompetence, which is why it's so baffling that there are so many fundamental faults in the design of human beings, and even Earth.

If you believe god is the creator of the universe, then you must accept that god make all things within it as well as designing what is possible to happen here.  You have to believe that god hardcoded the capacity for the atomic bomb to be created into reality, set up the potential for people to get cancer, gave human beings the defect of developing Huntington's disease, Alzheimers, and such.  Not to mention miscarriages, natural disasters, the supernova of our sun in several billion years, and millions of other defects of design.

I can see a fallible god making such mistakes, but that idea isn't quite as attractive.  It is a basic consequence of obvious logic that an infallible god must have set up reality to have all of these pitfalls that exist by design fully knowing how they would cause problems and potentially even the extinction of the human race in some instances.  It's really hard to see all of the suffering that we go through as a result of our construction, environment, and the laws of physics as anything but intentional when you think about it.

Offline mystictiger

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #58 on: October 14, 2010, 01:20:54 PM »
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If you believe god is the creator of the universe, then you must accept that god make all things within it as well as designing what is possible to happen here

No you don't. Well, you do if you're an evolution deny-ing fundamentalist. I accept that

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You have to believe that god hardcoded the capacity for the atomic bomb to be created into reality, set up the potential for people to get cancer, gave human beings the defect of developing Huntington's disease, Alzheimers, and such.  Not to mention miscarriages, natural disasters, the supernova of our sun in several billion years, and millions of other defects of design.

You presuppose that cancer, Huntington's and AD are 'evil'. Sure, it sucks to get them, but they're diseases. This is the feature of the way we've evolved. I personally see no conflict between religious belief (which explains why) and the theory of evolution (which explains how). Further, you presuppose that physical perfection and immortality are possible, and indeed desirable.

God made a universe that is governed in full compliance to certain natural laws. It is possible, using those natural laws, to create an atomic bomb. Without those natural laws, stars wouldn't burn.

I further utterly dispute two of your core underlying presuppositions: that being alive is good and that death is bad. Would you say that a lion that kills a human is evil? But when a lion kills a sheep, what then? In fact, a lion is a predator and therefore it is being 'good' (as in fit for purpose) when it kills something.

Again, I'm quite happy with my free will. I'd rather have free will and danger than perfection. You can't have both.

Offline Noelle

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #59 on: October 14, 2010, 02:42:01 PM »
No you don't. Well, you do if you're an evolution deny-ing fundamentalist. I accept that

Could you maybe elaborate? I'm having a hard time seeing how God could create the universe without creating...well, the universe. If he created it, what is it that he would've not created? It seems fundamentally contradictory to itself. Denying or confirming evolution has nothing to do with it -- you even say yourself that you don't think evolution and religion are incompatible, and certainly there are Christians out there who believe that God set evolution in motion...which would make it his creation :P


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You presuppose that cancer, Huntington's and AD are 'evil'. Sure, it sucks to get them, but they're diseases. This is the feature of the way we've evolved. I personally see no conflict between religious belief (which explains why) and the theory of evolution (which explains how). Further, you presuppose that physical perfection and immortality are possible, and indeed desirable.

God made a universe that is governed in full compliance to certain natural laws. It is possible, using those natural laws, to create an atomic bomb. Without those natural laws, stars wouldn't burn.

I further utterly dispute two of your core underlying presuppositions: that being alive is good and that death is bad. Would you say that a lion that kills a human is evil? But when a lion kills a sheep, what then? In fact, a lion is a predator and therefore it is being 'good' (as in fit for purpose) when it kills something.

Again, I'm quite happy with my free will. I'd rather have free will and danger than perfection. You can't have both.

You also presuppose. You presuppose that a perfect state of being is a pleasant and pain-free utopia. Fact is, you have no better idea of what any god's vision of perfection is any more than I do or anyone does. Perfection can mean achieving perfect balance -- that in order to appreciate the parts of your life that are good and fruitful, you must face things that are less-than-desirable. And ecological balance for a more perfectly-functioning world means that some things eat, and some things get eaten. Too much life means eventual mass death. Too much death means no life at all. That's balance. That is the perfect equation in order to keep a species perpetuating. If you accept that God created the universe, then God must also have created these balances, as well.

We assume death is unpleasant because it is hard-coded in our very nature as a species to avoid it. Self-preservation is one of the core basic instincts a creature can have. There's a reason that many fear it and go out of their way to stay alive. Life is all we know of and we don't actually know what happens for sure when we die. When an entire species is no longer alive, it no longer perpetuates. That's bad. That's extinction. The lion is not inherently good or bad, it's merely moving along in the way it was born to live. It's an instinctual creature incapable of making moral decisions. In the end, the lion wins out over the human and the sheep. Another species' drive to self-perpetuate was stronger than our ability to preserve our own. That's bad for us, but great for lions. The point you're making is only taking into account the rest of humankind's flawed reaction to a human being killed by a lion and not what, at a core, fundamental, and factual levle, actually happened. If it's bad and we can't know God's intent, then it's only superficially bad as far as our own limited and often-selfish point of view goes.

Besides that, our general vision of God is also lacking in one possible perspective. Not everything perfect is likable. We're so bent on creating a god that is our friend, one who makes decisions we have to like and has agreeable qualities, but we miss the point that perfection does not mean we have to like it -- because perfection may mean we don't get what we so selfishly want. Achieving perfection from an objective point of view is bound to piss a few people off; perhaps perfection is an equal balance of wealth distribution, but the rich probably aren't going to leap for joy about it. Perhaps perfection is an equal balance of lower, middle, and upper class. The lower class is going to hate that their position serves a purpose, because it gives us a reason to keep some lower class in place, or at least perpetuate it. God is not concerned with winning a popularity contest, it seems. It's entirely possible we have a god who sometimes causes things to happen that we dislike because for one reason or another it's deemed necessary in the world he's created.

Offline mystictiger

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #60 on: October 14, 2010, 04:43:04 PM »
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Could you maybe elaborate? I'm having a hard time seeing how God could create the universe without creating...well, the universe. If he created it, what is it that he would've not created? It seems fundamentally contradictory to itself. Denying or confirming evolution has nothing to do with it -- you even say yourself that you don't think evolution and religion are incompatible, and certainly there are Christians out there who believe that God set evolution in motion...which would make it his creation

To my mind:
1) Everything in the universe was created
2) Creation is good, meaning fit for purpose: a tree is very good at being a tree, a human is good at being a human.
3) Creation was gifted with free will and choice; the God I believe in is not like the Ancient Greek / Roman pantheon, playing dice and interfering with lives.
3) All those things that a human can do that is 'evil' to another represent a perversion of what they should be used for. I need muscles to be able to stand. I can choose to use those muscles for stabbing someone or planting crops.
4) Good or Evil require choice. Humans are probably unique in that they can perceive questions of right and wrong, of good and evil.
5) God intends humans to live good and happy lives, die, and go to Heaven.
6) Humans through their choices can act in either a good or an evil fashion.

If some of God's creations inconvenience us (like an earthquake) then boo hoo hoo. For God to intervene to 'save' us from the Earthquake would be for God to deny us choice. This is the fundamental thing that makes us human - the ability to choose.

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We assume death is unpleasant because it is hard-coded in our very nature as a species to avoid it. Self-preservation is one of the core basic instincts a creature can have

Well, that's not actually true. This kind of viewpoint doesn't explain family structures or altruism. Rather, I think the  nature of all life is to ensure the survival of genetic material. This is why plants reproduce, viruses infect things, and so on.

Unpleasant is not the same as evil. Death in itself is neither good nor bad. There is a big difference between unpleasant and evil.

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You also presuppose. You presuppose that a perfect state of being is a pleasant and pain-free utopia.
No. Jude said that God is flawed because we can get sick and die. I was responding to that conception of what perfection is. Rather, I think that we are perfect in that we are created just as God intended us to; capable of anything, with a desire to do good but also the capacity to do evil. Essentially, God created us with the ability to choose.

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And ecological balance for a more perfectly-functioning world means that some things eat, and some things get eaten. Too much life means eventual mass death. Too much death means no life at all. That's balance. That is the perfect equation in order to keep a species perpetuating. If you accept that God created the universe, then God must also have created these balances, as well.

These balances are not permanent and are very changeable - think of how many millions of years this planet was an airless rock, or covered in ice, or with a greenhouse atmosphere, or ruled by dinosaurs. If God specifically created the world to be for humans, why did God waste soooo much time getting to us?

What I absolutely reject is the idea that 'natural' evil exists. Shit happens.

Offline Noelle

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #61 on: October 14, 2010, 06:58:37 PM »
To my mind:
1) Everything in the universe was created
2) Creation is good, meaning fit for purpose: a tree is very good at being a tree, a human is good at being a human.
3) Creation was gifted with free will and choice; the God I believe in is not like the Ancient Greek / Roman pantheon, playing dice and interfering with lives.
3) All those things that a human can do that is 'evil' to another represent a perversion of what they should be used for. I need muscles to be able to stand. I can choose to use those muscles for stabbing someone or planting crops.
4) Good or Evil require choice. Humans are probably unique in that they can perceive questions of right and wrong, of good and evil.
5) God intends humans to live good and happy lives, die, and go to Heaven.
6) Humans through their choices can act in either a good or an evil fashion.

If God has given us the freedom to choose, then he has given us the freedom to choose to ignore him completely. There is no inherent knowledge in humans that there is a God, you're not born aware of God's existence. If I choose -- or even if I don't -- to be an atheist and God knows I can do this, why would he bother to punish those non-believers and those who make less-than-desirable choices? Essentially what you're saying is that God wants for us to do things in a certain fashion, but has given us the option not to, but is punishing those who don't. That's a system of coercion, more or less. Do it God's way or suffer.

If God wants humans to be able to choose and learn for themselves despite all of this and is still willing to punish those who don't live correctly, then we should probably reevaluate our idea of a "good" god into one that is a little more sadistic. The idea that God has expectations already limits our freedom of choice, and thereby goes against his original intent. In other words, if you never train a dog to stop pissing on your carpet, you can't really be too surprised or angry when it does.

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If some of God's creations inconvenience us (like an earthquake) then boo hoo hoo. For God to intervene to 'save' us from the Earthquake would be for God to deny us choice. This is the fundamental thing that makes us human - the ability to choose.

How would preventing an earthquake from causing mass devastation be removing a choice? What choice do humans have in suffering these events? Those who die to hurricanes and tornadoes and volcanoes and the like don't choose to, and they certainly don't choose to have their lives altered in such a dramatic way.

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Well, that's not actually true. This kind of viewpoint doesn't explain family structures or altruism. Rather, I think the  nature of all life is to ensure the survival of genetic material. This is why plants reproduce, viruses infect things, and so on.

Actually, it is true. Self-preservation is kind of key to the survival of genetic material, at least to some point. If you kill yourself, obviously you can't reproduce.

Family structures are intrinsic to our society because they allow a cohesive, self-sustaining unit in order to better develop future generations of humans, thus ensuring their perpetuation.

As for altruism, this is trickier, but not all together impossible. Altruism is not found in many other species, which says to me that altruism is developed under certain conditions. In humans, we have evolved to be able to reason past a great many of our natural instincts, if we deem it necessary. We no longer have sex simply for procreation, but for recreation, for example. We have already suppressed our drive for self-preservation in a multitude of ways -- drinking, drugs, driving too fast, skydiving, unprotected sex...Teenagers are especially notorious for doing reckless activities that endanger them. There have been a few studies I've read that link altruism to the reward center of the brain, but there are even more reasonable shows of benefit, as well.

Altruism can better general living conditions in your environment, strengthen personal moral convictions, give a sense of self-righteousness, even promote altruism in return for yours (though by definition, this is not the prime motivator, but that's not to say it doesn't happen). Altruism can have practical purposes in a tribal society through creating friendly relations with others and showing good will. We show altruism to children and infants who require all of our time and resources -- though it's possible for parents to selfishly want a vessel to carry their own thoughts and beliefs on, just think of what a bastard a lot of kids are to their parents for the first 18~25 years of their life. The reward is extremely delayed and not even guaranteed. It can even backfire.

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These balances are not permanent and are very changeable - think of how many millions of years this planet was an airless rock, or covered in ice, or with a greenhouse atmosphere, or ruled by dinosaurs. If God specifically created the world to be for humans, why did God waste soooo much time getting to us?

And who's to say that perfection is a stand-still? We don't know what God's idea of perfection is. No clue whatsoever, and no way of knowing. Besides, I didn't ever claim that the world was created specifically for humans. If it were, I'd start creating a polite list of changes I would suggest because what we're living on now has largely been forced to flex to accommodate us the way we want.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #62 on: October 14, 2010, 07:01:07 PM »
Being able to get sick and die are necessary parts of reality, that's not my objection.  My objection is that reality is so fickle that often the things we do are not rewarded or punished, but that we suffer completely arbitrarily as a result of the structure of things.  You can blame free will when our problems are a result of free will, but I gave you many examples where they quite clearly are not.

People born with Huntington's disease are powerless to do anything but live a good 30 years before suffering complete neurological meltdown:  that disease is part of our very structure.  The suffering there is by design -- you can say that evolution is the designer and attempt to shift blame away from god that way, but then god simply becomes responsible for designing the process of evolution which works by basic cruelty.  In fact, evolution is so utterly cruel that it's basically a death lottery:  traits are randomly assigned and each individual organism either lives or dies on a whim that has nothing to do with the choices they make.

The problem is, if god is perfect, then this must be the best possible world that have could've created (i.e. a perfect expression of his intent and goals), because if not, then god made a mistake in the design.  All I need to do in order to disprove the perfection of god is think of a slightly more perfect world and it's done:  I would simply imagine a world without inherited, genetic disease, where people suffer more based on their actions and less based on randomness.  A world where free will actually does reign supreme, not this garbage where I can be born with a terminal condition and screwed from the outset no matter what free will does.  If god is all-powerful, then this is not impossible.

You can say you don't think life is good all you like, and that death is ultimately not evil, but I highly doubt you want to die.  The only human beings who do are those who find life so miserable that they choose not to live.  Dying without having much of a chance to live is clearly an example of basic unfairness, so if you refuse to accept that, I don't think we have any common ground to argue on.

EDIT:  To be fair, there's another possibility other than god's imperfect, and that's the possibility that god isn't good.  That this world was created perfectly in line with his intent and expectations, and things are moving along as he fully intended.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 07:04:50 PM by Jude »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #63 on: October 14, 2010, 07:52:07 PM »
Where do people get this nonsense God is omni- anything?

Almighty is a common term for God all that really means is no being can best or defeat His power hence is all powerful. But He has limits either logical (making a stone He can't move) or self-imposed (giving humans freewill). It also would explain why Lucifer and a third of heaven could manage to rebel and fall from grace He didn't see it coming.

As for all-good where do you get that one?

He is only the determiner of what is Good since noone can challenge Him. But in most cases his Goodness is conditional not absolute. If Israel follows Him faithfully His goodness will be before them and if they fail to do so he will raise his anger against them. He did both and sometimes tested mortals like Job for no reason.

Must I add we are at our best and worst when tested and tried, this can be being born disabled (like me) or a disaster man made or not or some other event. Its the times that test us that strengthens us.

Offline Trieste

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Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #64 on: October 14, 2010, 07:55:39 PM »
I know, geez, and that whole 'alpha and omega' thing. You'd think it was in the Bible or something.  ::)

Offline Noelle

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #65 on: October 14, 2010, 08:50:21 PM »
Where do people get this nonsense God is omni- anything?

The nonsense called the Bible.

Quote from: Revelation 19:6
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Quote from: Matthew 28:18
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Quote from: Matthew 6:8
Be not you therefore like to them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him.

Quote from: Hebrews 4:13
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

And probably the fact that omnipotent is a synonym of almighty.

Quote
As for all-good where do you get that one?

Also in the Bible, and I believe I've also provided evidence of this to you in another discussion in Politics & Religion, complete with said Biblical quotes, if you'd like to refer back to that.

Offline alxnjsh

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #66 on: October 15, 2010, 09:23:52 AM »
I find Roman Catholics to have an interesting take on the position of God. Unlike many Christian religions, they see God as a presence that is always with us but not an interventionist. He's not some grand puppet master that pulls our strings causing us to act. One of the greatest gifts and curses man has is free will. Free will means we have the freedom to make decisions - whether they are right or wrong - and subsequently experience the consequences - whether they are good or bad.

In the same token, God created the Earth to be it's own living precious being. It's not the Earth's fault man, with free will, chooses to build in the path of hurricanes, floods, or tsunamis.

Catholics often request the intercession of Saints, angels, and others who have died. Other Christian religions often criticize this to mean that they are treating these beings as gods, but in reality they are asking for help from "things" that exist outside our world. It's because they can provide help by way of miracles or inspiration in ways that God won't.

So that's the crux of the situation. Man has the ability to live a life as he/she sees fit. That comes with amazing wonders and the opposite.

Seems simplistic, but it is also fascinating.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #67 on: October 15, 2010, 04:07:56 PM »
I don't know if you can really live as you see fit if you're born without a leg, nor do I see how that relates to a human decision to live in any particular area.

Furthermore, there isn't anywhere on the entire planet that you can live where you're 100% safe from natural disaster, and even if there was, it's not like human beings were born with intrinsic of weather patterns, earthquake faults, volcano locations, and a knowledge of climate (which isn't even constant -- it's changed during our time on earth even before we played a part in changing it).

I take special objection to your idea of the earth as "precious" in Catholicism.  I'm not sure where you're getting that from, especially when there are quotes like this in the bible:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Genesis 1:26

Catholicism was formed in direct opposition to paganism historically, it really took the opposite view on nature, one of subjugation and that it exists for the utility of mankind and no other reason.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 04:10:41 PM by Jude »

Offline Brandon

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #68 on: October 15, 2010, 04:24:40 PM »
Jude just because something is found in the bible doesnt mean any religious culture surrounding it follows it. If you want to make a case then please dont use the bible as a club, it only causes resentment and frustration between people. Instead use recent examples of real world situations to prove your point, those are much more easy for a person to accept and rarely breed the same resentment and frustration as what I refer to as bible clubbing.

Catholicism was not formed in direct opposition to paganism either. It was formed by Saint Peter to spread Jesus' philosophy. I'll be the first to say that is has fallen short of that philosophy but what long running society can claim they havnt fallen from their roots at one time?

I know Ive been gone from P&R for awhile but I really hope these false statements havnt been the norm

Offline Jude

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #69 on: October 15, 2010, 04:40:20 PM »
St Peter didn't form Catholicism, except maybe from a pure religious legacy point of view, Constantine did.  Under Constantine the Council of Nicea determined the structure of the bible, there was a radical transformation of the Roman Empire wherein Paganism as the official religion of the Roman Empire was wiped out and replaced by Christianity while modeling Christianity to perfectly fit the void Paganism left behind.  They supplanted all of the Pagan traditions, concepts, and locations with Christian ideas in order to erase Paganism.  For example:  even though Jesus wasn't born in Wintertime (which is fairly obvious with a little bit of scientific knowledge and biblical research) it's celebrated on the day that was the Winter Solstice, a big Pagan Holiday.

As far as the rest goes, I don't feel like playing Catholic-Agnostic proxy war anymore.  I'm not arguing Catholicism anymore with you Brandon, ever.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 05:04:46 PM by Jude »

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Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #70 on: October 15, 2010, 09:45:49 PM »
So this is a thread kind of about God... not necessarily religion.

Can we try to pretend that every thread about God doesn't have to be about Catholicism? Can it just be about the abstract concept of God? Because that would be good.

Offline Brandon

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #71 on: October 16, 2010, 02:03:48 AM »
Jude if you want to send me a PM about what you want to avoid thats fine, as I dont understand what you mean by Proxy wars. However please understand that Im not going to stay quiet when I see information presented that is not factual or when I see arguments or argumentative tactics that I feel are flawed or unfair.

Anyway, time for a history lesson

Your information is a bit off Jude. The christian church was formed around 33 AD by Jesus himself when he put Saint Peter in charge of Jesus' flock. In 45 AD Saint Peter went to Rome and assumed control of the church. Not long after the persecution of catholics began by the Roman empire. Emperor Nero imprisoned and planned to crucify Saint Peter, along with executing Saint Paul. Saint Peter felt himself unworthy to die in the same position as Jesus and requested to be crucified upside down. The execution was carried out around 67 AD.

The year Constantine was born is around 272 AD (this is backed up by a web search of various sites). Between a bit before St. Peter's death and around 306 AD the catholic church was more or less a secret society. My people were hunted down and murdered, enslaved, raped and worse for over 300 years by the Romans. 

In 306 AD Constantines mother Helena converted to christianity and urged her son to ease the persecution of christians. He followed through by decreeing that Christianity would become a state religion. However with so much division in the church he called the bishops (the title then was given to church elders) to Nicaea in 325 AD to discuss and unite the issues that divided the church. A little over 300 biships assembled and united the Nicaea Creed.

Several docturnes were put in place: (1) The Oneness of Deity (2) Easter would be celebrated on the same day (3) Preachers would remain single (4) Certain meats would not be eaten on Sunday by bishops (5) Greater recognition would be given to the bishops of Antioch, Constantinople, Alexandria, Rome, and Jerusalem. These bishops would be patriarchs, and all authority would be under them.

Time passed until 606 AD when Boniface the 3rd was given the title of universal bishop or pope of the church. This was the birth of the Roman Catholic church but the church of Christ goes back about 600 years prior, heralded by Saint Peter to spread Jesus' philosophy

------------------------------------------

Finally just to make sure I say this, I wasnt the one to bring up catholicism this time. Ive tried to be very fair with my comments, if someone feels Im being unfair then dont do the passive aggressive thing. Approach me respectfully like Im a human being and talk to me about it via PMs. Despite what I percieve is popular belief, I am not nor have I ever been a die hard religious zealot who is unable to see reason
« Last Edit: October 16, 2010, 02:41:50 AM by Brandon »

Offline Noelle

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #72 on: October 16, 2010, 02:20:47 AM »
Quote from: Jude
St Peter didn't form Catholicism, except maybe from a pure religious legacy point of view.

Just wanted to point that out, that if perhaps you read the whole sentence, he wasn't exactly misinformed. Catholicism -- well, Christianity in general was in danger of being eradicated until Constantine and the Holy Roman Empire came along and spread it around.

I think the disagreement was not that you are bringing up Catholicism in specific, but that every single thread is not the proper place to discuss it at length if you feel there are glaring errors. The whole thing about separate threads, etc.

Offline Brandon

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #73 on: October 16, 2010, 02:52:36 AM »
Actually it was my original wording that was off. Earlier I said "Catholicism was not formed in direct opposition to paganism either. It was formed by Saint Peter to spread Jesus' philosophy. I'll be the first to say that is has fallen short of that philosophy but what long running society can claim they havnt fallen from their roots at one time?"

What I should have said was: Catholicism was not formed in direct opposition to paganism either. Saint Peter formed the original church of Christ to spread Jesus' philosophy. Centuries later it would evolve into the Roman catholic church. I'll be the first to say that is has fallen short of that philosophy but what long running society can claim they havnt fallen from their roots at one time?

I take less issue with who started the church and more with the idea that it was created to replace paganism instead of spreading Jesus' philosphy

Offline mystictiger

Re: The 'If Gods so good' Paradox
« Reply #74 on: October 16, 2010, 05:24:27 AM »
The whole 'precious' thing comes mainly from Aquinas - creation is good. This is in direct contrast to the preaching of the Cathars, that believed that there were two gods, one evil one that created matter and one good one that created spirit.

As to trying to discuss God without religion, I think that would be like trying to discuss cookery without ingredients. The problem of Evil is heavily dependent on how you see God, and how you see God is a large part of religious doctrine.