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Eric Metaxas on the unlikelihood of our existence

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Yes, that Eric Metaxas:

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG Further to: Anything to get rid of fine tuning:

“Reason and science compels us to see what previous generations could not: that our existence is an outrageous and astonishing miracle, one so startlingly and perhaps so disturbingly miraculous that it makes any miracle like the parting of the Red Sea pale in such insignificance that it almost becomes unworthy of our consideration, as though it were something done easily by a child, half-asleep. It is something to which the most truly human response is some combination of terror and wonder, of ancient awe, and childhood joy.” Eric Metaxas – Miracles – pages 55-56

See also:Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

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Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

547 Replies to “Eric Metaxas on the unlikelihood of our existence

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to miracles:

    Hollywood Conversion? Angelina Jolie Drops to Knees in Prayer on ‘Unbroken’ Set
    By Katie Yoder | December 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Opening in theaters on Christmas, “Unbroken” tells the story of Olympic runner and World War II prisoner of war Louis Zamperini. His story – and Christian faith – inspired Jolie to kneel and “pray for a miracle” as she ran into problems directing the war drama.
    During a Dec. 5 press conference in New York, Zamperini’s daughter Cynthia Garris told the story of Jolie’s turn to prayer. While Jolie directed filming in New South Wales, Australia, she encountered severe weather.
    Garris explained:
    She was not a person of faith and had never prayed before but she found herself at the very last scene of the movie … they needed sunlight to shoot this very important scene and there had been a storm that had been going for a while.
    In response, Jolie begged God for help:
    [Angelina] said ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do so I’ll do what Louie would do.’ She got on her knees and she prayed for a miracle … everybody saw it … It stopped raining. The sun came out, a rainbow came out, she said, ‘let’s get this take’ [and] they shot the take. When she said ‘cut,’ it started to rain again.
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/k.....broken-set

  2. 2
    Moose Dr says:

    BA77, Thanks for the link. I added newsbusters.org to my favorites. Lets see of this event will, well, stick in Angelina’s life.

    Don’t worry about it having too much effect though. Things like that happen by random chance all the time, right?

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    From the Guardian, 2 August 2009:

    Girl died after father turned to prayer instead of doctors

    Dale Neumann, 47, convicted of reckless homicide in US over death of 11-year-old diabetic daughter

    A man in the US accused of killing his 11-year-old diabetic daughter by praying instead of seeking medical care has been found guilty of second-degree reckless homicide.

    Dale Neumann, 47, was convicted over the death of his daughter, Madeline, from undiagnosed diabetes.

    Prosecutors contended he should have rushed the girl to a hospital because she couldn’t walk, talk, eat or drink. Instead, Madeline died on the floor of the family’s rural home as people surrounded her and prayed. Someone called an ambulance when she stopped breathing.

    Are we supposed to believe that God looks more favorably on a fabulously wealthy Hollywood movie star than an 11-year-old girl dying from diabetes? Do you understand how much stories like that trivialize the notion of the Christian God?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, Metaxas’s book deals with issues such as the one you bring up. I’m enjoying reading his book very much.,, For what it’s worth, I recommend his book.

    http://ericmetaxas.com/books/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-hot_28OCk

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    We don’t claim to fully understand the mind of God. Our faith, indeed, our world, is full of mystery. Your is full of absolute knowledge, underpinned by a truly pathetically absolute ignorance.

    You are good for the menial works of science, but sterile when it comes to discovering new paradigms.

    If mankind had had to rely on you, atheist scientists, we would still be waiting for you to discover quantum mechanics! You are a disgrace to the modern world.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    of note: Since atheists have no experimental evidence of unguided Darwinian processes producing even trivial levels of the unfathomed levels of integrated functional complexity/information being found in life, it might not surprise many to find out that one of the main arguments for Darwinism is the argument from evil and/or imperfection. In fact Darwin’s Origin of Species, as well as current Darwinists, rely heavily on the Theologically based argument from evil. See Paul Nelson’s recent article on ENV for a few details.,,, But what I would like to point out is that atheists presuppose that there is no purpose as to why God should allow suffering. But that belief is clearly false since even right here on earth, we often endure hardships so as to reap a reward later on. Thus, God could very well have very good reasons for allowing suffering in this world so as to bring about a greater good.
    Along that line, At around the 15:00 – 17:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Neal spoke about how she, when in the presense of God and being able to see things from that much higher perspective, finally understood why God allows evil in the world and how our limited perspective severely clouds our judgments and our reactions to those tragedies in our lives. (The take home message is to trust God no matter what)

    Dr. Mary Neal’s Near-Death Experience – (Life review portion starts at the 13:00 minute mark) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=as6yslz-RDw#t=787

    Verse:

    Hebrews 12:2
    looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    The Mission / How Great Thou Art – ThePianoGuys (Wonder of The World 2 of 7)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHV6BjuQOZQ

  7. 7
    Moose Dr says:

    Seversky, “Are we supposed to believe that God looks more favorably on a fabulously wealthy Hollywood movie star than an 11-year-old girl dying from diabetes?”

    Hmmm, God seems to look as favorably on me as he does on fabulously wealthy Hollywood movie stars. I see miracles in my life quite frequently.

    That said, I am also diabetic. God has not chosen to heal me. Rather, he provided a medical system that is rather good at helping me manage the disease.

    There is a joke about a fellow who was stuck on the roof of his house as flood waters rose. He beseeched God to rescue him. As he was doing so, a canoe went by, the canoeist asked if he could rescue the guy. The guy said, “No, God will rescue me.” A bit later a larger boat made a similar offer, with the same response. Finally a helicopter came by offering to rescue the fellow as he clung to the chimney because the rest of his roof was under water. His response was the same.

    The next thing the guy new he ended up in heaven. He asked the Lord why he didn’t rescue him. The Lord said, “I sent a canoe, a boat and a helicopter. What more do you want?”

    You can find all sorts of other tragedies where God could have, but didn’t, intervene. So God sometimes intervenes, and sometimes doesn’t. I really don’t know His logic. I am rather sure that his sense of tragedy and ours are two very different things. (Assuming the 11 year old ended in heaven, for instance, it does put a different complexion on the story.)

  8. 8
    AVS says:

    God did not provide you with a medical system that is rather good at helping you, Moosey. It was the last 100 years of scientific breakthroughs that did that.

  9. 9
    Andre says:

    AVS……

    God did not provide you with a medical system that is rather good at helping you, Moosey. It was the last 100 years of scientific breakthroughs that did that.

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!

    When we enter the world what do we have? NOTHING! When we leave the world what do we have? NOTHING! Everything inside this system is not yours its borrowed including medical breakthrough’s! You don’t own the time and you don’t own the materials!

  10. 10
    Andre says:

    AVS

    And just to show you how false your statement is cancer is increasing so what medical breakthroughs?

    http://www.theguardian.com/soc.....t-20-years

    No what we observe is true to the Christian worldview a fallen world accelerating in its decay……

    2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.”

    Consistent with every single scientific find that we are losing information (decaying). The Bible said it first and scientific observation confirms it.!

    http://phys.org/news/2012-09-e.....mplex.html

  11. 11
    keith s says:

    Moose Dr:

    You can find all sorts of other tragedies where God could have, but didn’t, intervene. So God sometimes intervenes, and sometimes doesn’t. I really don’t know His logic.

    You and everyone else. He refuses to do even the simplest kindnesses for his creatures.

    It’s almost like he’s… like he’s… not really there! (Or else kind of a jerk.)

  12. 12
    Andre says:

    It’s almost like he’s… like he’s… not really there! (Or else kind of a jerk.)

    And there it is! Keith’s claim that unguided evolution is a trillion times better at explaining the diversity of life….. Because God is a jerk……(We usually call somebody a jerk when we feel they have hurt, offended or ignored us) So Keith S does not like Him because He is such a jerk and since God is such an a-hole Keith S might as well get back at Him by denying His existence……

    Been there done that, got the t-shirt myself.

    Now you know why Keith S trolls forums and says the stupidest things! He’s just angry at God for being such a jerk!

  13. 13
    keith s says:

    Um, Andre — I go with choice (a) — he’s not really there.

  14. 14
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    Tut tut……. You just had to throw in the jerk part because there is always some element of truth in what we say…. Humans are funny things…. Can’t fool somebody that thought exactly like you did for 34 years of his life….. Like I said;

    Been there done that got the T-Shirt.

    Regards

  15. 15
    Moose Dr says:

    Keith S, “It’s almost like he’s… like he’s… not really there! (Or else kind of a jerk.)”

    I have never watch Bruce Almighty, but I understand that the theme of the movie is that some guy thought he could run it all better than God himself could. Guess they modeled the movie after you, huh.

    I am a parent. When my kids were really young, I’d get them a new roll of toilet paper. Now that they are in their middle childhood, I make sure there are spare rolls of toilet paper in the cupboard. When they grow up and move out, I’ll be really teed off if one of them phones me up to complain that there’s no toilet paper on the roll. I figure that I am developing their sense of personal responsibility by not wiping their little hineys any more. ‘Guess I’m a jerk, huh.

  16. 16
    keith s says:

    Moose Dr:

    I have never watch Bruce Almighty, but I understand that the theme of the movie is that some guy thought he could run it all better than God himself could. Guess they modeled the movie after you, huh.

    We’re not talking about “running it all”. We’re talking about helping someone.

    All of us know that the decent thing to do, when someone is stranded on the toilet at one’s house, is to fetch them a roll of toilet paper. It’s basic human kindness and common courtesy.

    Given that your God never does it, the possibilities are:

    1) he’s not there;
    2) he’s a jerk;
    3) he isn’t powerful enough; or
    4) he has some other reason for never, ever, poofing a roll of toilet paper into the hands of the needy.

    The best answer is obviously #1, followed by #2 and #3, but believers tend to make excuses for their God, and for that reason they like #4.

    But why? What reason makes sense? If the evidence points to God’s absence, why not accept that God is absent? (It’s essentially the same question that my “bomb” argument raises: If the evidence points to evolution being unguided, why not accept that evolution is unguided?)

    I figure that I am developing their sense of personal responsibility by not wiping their little hineys any more. ‘Guess I’m a jerk, huh.

    Who said anything about “wiping their little hineys”, or phoning you up as adults? We’re talking about God, who doesn’t need to be phoned up, and who can magic up a roll with less effort than it takes you or me to raise an eyebrow.

    You’d certainly be a jerk if your kids were at your house, stranded on the toilet, and you refused to fetch a roll. And when you’re visiting them in the future, they would certainly be jerks not to fetch a roll for their dear Moose Dr parent.

    I’m genuinely interested, though — how do you explain this to yourself? Why does a perfectly loving God consistently, with no exceptions, refuse to do a small kindness that we, despite our imperfections, wouldn’t hesitate to do?

  17. 17
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    How do we choose good over evil if the genie is at our whim and command all the time? You do know that most misery in the world is inflicted by humans because they choose to do it right?

  18. 18
    keith s says:

    Andre,

    How do we choose good over evil if the genie is at our whim and command all the time?

    Suppose you or I fetch a roll of toilet paper for some poor stranded person. Does that prevent them from choosing good over evil?

    If not, then why should it make any difference if God does so?

  19. 19
    Andre says:

    The question is not can someone choose good over evil Keith S, the question is can I?

  20. 20
    keith s says:

    Andre,

    Someone fetching you a roll of toilet paper would impede your ability to choose good over evil? Why?

  21. 21
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    How do I respond to your stupidity? O Yes….. Unguided evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life!

  22. 22
    Cabal says:

    Axel said:

    If mankind had had to rely on you, atheist scientists, we would still be waiting for you to discover quantum mechanics! You are a disgrace to the modern world.

    Some names relevant wrt quantum physics are referenced here. I’ve always seen them as free thinkers not much into othodox religious beliefs: http://physics.about.com/od/qu.....hysics.htm.

    Richard Feynman is “further credited with coming up with the concept of quantum computing, which he spent several years exploring.”

    I suggest Axel is a provocateur or maybe just ill informed.

  23. 23
    keith s says:

    Cabal:

    I suggest Axel is a provocateur or maybe just ill informed.

    Mostly the latter.

  24. 24
    Joe says:

    He refuses to do even the simplest kindnesses for his creatures.

    LoL! keith doesn’t have a brain so he blames God.

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    All of us know that the decent thing to do, when someone is stranded on the toilet at one’s house, is to fetch them a roll of toilet paper.

    That is incorrect. Their stupidity put them in that situation and it isn’t up to anyone to help them with that. It is their responsibility.

    Why do atheists want to blame God every time they shirk their responsibility?

  26. 26
    Joe says:

    AVS:

    God did not provide you with a medical system that is rather good at helping you, Moosey. It was the last 100 years of scientific breakthroughs that did that.

    Those breakthroughs didn’t have anything to do with materialism nor evolutionism. Go figure…

  27. 27
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    It’s almost like he’s… like he’s… not really there! (Or else kind of a jerk.)

    Am I the only one to notice how keiths keeps attempting to make god into his own likeness?

  28. 28
    keith s says:

    I asked Moose Dr:

    I’m genuinely interested, though — how do you explain this to yourself? Why does a perfectly loving God consistently, with no exceptions, refuse to do a small kindness that we, despite our imperfections, wouldn’t hesitate to do?

    Andre, Joe and Mung fumbled the question. Can anyone else help them out?

  29. 29
    5for says:

    Well, I guess Joe’s response was quite clear. You are only deserving of help if you are blameless in the circumstances that led to you needing help. But that wouldn’t work for the Christians here.

    Re Joe’s position, I hope if he ever injures himself in an accident, that the ambulance driver doesn’t feel the same way.

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    A quote from Dr. Dembski on the argument from evil that atheists continually use:

    “Instead of presenting scientific evidence that shows atheism to be true (or probable), the neo-atheists moralize about how much better the world would be if only atheism were true. Far from demonstrating that God does not exist, the neo-atheists merely demonstrate how earnestly they desire that God not exist.8 The God of Christianity is, in their view, the worst thing that could befall reality. According to Richard Dawkins, for instance, the Judeo-Christian God “is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction. Jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic-cleanser; a misogynistic homophobic racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”9 Dawkins’s obsession with the Christian God borders on the pathological. Yet, he underscores what has always been the main reason people reject God: they cannot believe that God is good. Eve, in the Garden of Eden, rejected God because she thought he had denied her some benefit that she should have, namely, the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 10 Clearly, a God who denies creatures benefits that they think they deserve cannot be good. Indeed, a mark of our fallenness is that we fail to see the irony in thus faulting God. Should we not rather trust that the things God denies us are denied precisely for our benefit? Likewise, the neo-atheists find lots of faults with God, their list of denied benefits being much longer than Eve’s—no surprise here since they’ve had a lot longer to compile such a list!”
    William Dembski – pg. 10-11 – Finding a Good God in an evil World
    http://designinference.com/doc.....of_xty.pdf

    ,,,As to how dependent (faulty) theological reasoning is to Darwinian ‘science’, Dr. Nelson offers this insight

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

  31. 31
    Mung says:

    Can you imagine if keiths was the original adam?

    God creates a garden, creates keiths and places him in the garden, and tells him to eat whatever he likes from the trees.

    keiths admires the garden, admires the fruit, and reasons that because God didn’t hand the fruit to him that there’s no need of God to explain either the garden, the trees, the fruit or his own presence in the garden.

  32. 32
    keith s says:

    Is no one willing to answer the actual question?

    I’m genuinely interested, though — how do you explain this to yourself? Why does a perfectly loving God consistently, with no exceptions, refuse to do a small kindness that we, despite our imperfections, wouldn’t hesitate to do?

    How do you explain this to yourselves?

  33. 33
    Mung says:

    It’s ok keiths. People got along without toilet paper for thousands of years and never blamed God for it not being handed to them. You’re special I guess.

    If people aren’t answering to your satisfaction perhaps it is because your question is ill-formed. Are you asking us to explain why God is not kind?

    I think God is kind. For example, we don’t defecate out our noses. I think that’ a kindness. Our arms are long enough that we can actually wipe our butts. I think that’ a kindness. We don’t have to lick ourselves to clean ourselves. I think that’ a kindness.

    Just what point are you trying to make?

  34. 34
    littlejohn says:

    keith s

    #32 Perhaps Luke 18:1-30 will help you understand, at least in part.

  35. 35
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    I’m genuinely interested, though — how do you explain this to yourself? Why does a perfectly loving God consistently, with no exceptions, refuse to do a small kindness that we, despite our imperfections, wouldn’t hesitate to do?

    I once stood by while someone tortured my son with a needle. At least, that’s the narrative I saw in his accusing eyes. Why wouldn’t daddy do the small “kindness” of objecting to this torture? Immunization wasn’t a concept he could understand.

    I’ve withheld innumerable additional “kindnesses” over the years, motivated by an overwhelming love and concern for him. Sometimes I only get tears of anger as my thanks. He doesn’t understand my reasons, and frankly, doesn’t care.

    If I could have done, I might have extended “kindness” to an innocent Jew condemned to die on a cross. What do I know of propitiation? Thankfully, God did not extend such “kindness” to his only Son.

    I’m more interested in how one goes about convincing oneself that one is so eminently qualified in evaluating what is and isn’t kind. Maybe one should start by explaining something easier, like gravity.

    Or, as Someone answered a similar question:

    Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

    “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
    Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
    On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
    while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy?

    And it goes on like that. I’d encourage you to read the last four chapters of Job for a much better answer than I could ever give. It might inspire some humility.

  36. 36
    Moose Dr says:

    Keith S, “I’m genuinely interested, though — how do you explain this to yourself? Why does a perfectly loving God consistently, with no exceptions, refuse to do a small kindness that we, despite our imperfections, wouldn’t hesitate to do?”

    I was visiting friends this last weekend. They live in a large house, because the Lord has been generous to them. In the basement of their house they have a room that is the community’s “chapel”. Above the chapel room is their kitchen. While I was there, they loaded their dish washer, turned it on (or at least believe they had) then left. Hours later they returned to find that the dishwasher was not on, so they turned it on. At the same time the children were playing in the chapel. The children noticed water coming through the ceiling. As the water had just begun, the dish washer was turned off, and the small mess cleaned up. A little exploration showed that a rodent had chewed through the dishwasher’s drain hose. (Long story, but had they been listening, they wouldn’t have had the rodent incident at all.)

    Now, had the first attempt to turn on the dish washer worked, well they would have had a supreme mess on their hands. As it was, they ended up with a nuisance small enough that the the local supply of toilet paper was sufficient to fix it.

    You said, “with no exceptions”. I say, this is an exception. Personally, I see this kind of exception, this kind of protection and provision happening in my life all of the time. I find many exceptions to assertion.

    I still don’t believe that it is in our best interest for God to coddle us so much that we never ever get stuck with no toilet paper. If you think otherwise, well, “Bruce Almighty”.

  37. 37
    keith s says:

    Mung,

    If people aren’t answering to your satisfaction perhaps it is because your question is ill-formed.

    No, it’s a perfectly well-formed, intelligible question:

    I’m genuinely interested, though — how do you explain this to yourself? Why does a perfectly loving God consistently, with no exceptions, refuse to do a small kindness that we, despite our imperfections, wouldn’t hesitate to do?

    It’s no surprise that you can’t answer it.

  38. 38
    keith s says:

    littlejohn,

    Nothing in Luke 18:1-30 answers the question.

  39. 39
    keith s says:

    Phinehas,

    You are making choice #4:

    4) he has some other reason for never, ever, poofing a roll of toilet paper into the hands of the needy.

    Why choose #4 when #1-3 make more sense (especially #1) and actually fit the evidence?

    1) he’s not there;
    2) he’s a jerk;
    3) he isn’t powerful enough;

  40. 40
    keith s says:

    Moose Dr,

    Your story is a) about a dishwasher, not about toilet paper rolls; and b) doesn’t require a supernatural explanation.

    Can you answer the actual question?

    I’m genuinely interested, though — how do you explain this to yourself? Why does a perfectly loving God consistently, with no exceptions, refuse to do a small kindness that we, despite our imperfections, wouldn’t hesitate to do?

  41. 41
    keith s says:

    If it makes any of you feel better, I wouldn’t have been able to answer the question either, back when I was still a Christian.

    Belief in a perfectly loving, omnipotent God makes no sense in light of the evidence.

  42. 42
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    No, it’s a perfectly well-formed, intelligible question:

    No, it isn’t.

    Here’s a perfectly well-formed, intelligible question for you:

    Why do rabbits with large floppy ears appear more often in acid trip hallucinations than small fluffy elephants?

    keiths:

    It’s no surprise that you can’t answer it.

    I answered it, so you must be hallucinating. In your hallucinations, which do you see more often?

  43. 43
    Moose Dr says:

    Keith, you asked, “Why does a perfectly loving God … refuse to do a small kindness” Your didn’t ask about toilet paper, you asked about a small kindness. The dishwasher story was a small (or somewhat big, actually) kindness.

    Earlier you said, “You’d certainly be a jerk if your kids were at your house, stranded on the toilet, and you refused to fetch a roll.” Though I have been in church bathrooms many times, I have no memory of ever being out of toilet paper in a church bathroom. I therefore cannot relate. What I do not know is if the pastor, or custodian felt the prompting of the Lord on 5 occasions correcting the problem just before I got there. Ga’ley, the toilet paper might have mysteriously appeared just before I got there for all I know.

    Finally: “Your story … doesn’t require a supernatural explanation.” No it doesn’t, does it. Of course not. That is the difference between you and me. God blesses you, as he blesses everybody, but you are too blind to notice.

  44. 44
    keith s says:

    Moose Dr,

    You’re performing the classic believer two-step:

    1. Assume that a perfectly loving, omnipotent God exists.
    2. Interpret/distort all evidence in a way that supports #1.

    When something good happens, credit it to God. When something bad happens, either a) blame someone other than God, or b) assume that it’s somehow for the best. Who are we to judge God for apparent evil?

    The problem is that the opposite logic works equally “well”:

    1. Assume that a perfectly evil, omnipotent God exists.
    2. Interpret/distort all evidence in a way that supports #1.

    When something bad happens, credit it to God. When something good happens, either a) blame someone other than God, or b) assume that it’s somehow for the worst. Who are we to judge God for apparent good?

    Both stances are absurd in light of the evidence.

  45. 45
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Belief in a perfectly loving, omnipotent God makes no sense in light of the evidence.

    ok, so you ran out of toilet paper and no god was there to hand you one. Shame on God. Shame on you for not checking first.

    Frankly, a God who answered to my every whim would probably not qualify as God.

    You never did say what your point is. If you have one.

    God should be like I think God should be like. God is not like I think God should be like. Therefore there is no God. QED.

    Can you please explain for us poor rubes who still believe in God how your “toilet-paper argument against the existence of God” played a role in your own decision to deny the existence of God?

    To be honest, this is a new one to me. I’d never heard before the argument that God does not give everyone toilet paper upon demand, therefore there is no God.

    Was this argument the final nail in the coffin for you? The straw that broke the camel’s back?

  46. 46
    keith s says:

    Mung,

    God should be like I think God should be like. God is not like I think God should be like. Therefore there is no God. QED.

    No, it’s more like this:

    1. God is supposedly perfectly loving and omnipotent.
    2. We, who are quite imperfect, nevertheless willingly fetch rolls of toilet paper for our loved ones, even when it is inconvenient. It’s the decent thing to do.
    3. God could poof a roll of toilet paper into someone’s hands with far less effort that it would take one of us to lift an eyebrow.
    4. God never does it. Ever.
    5. No one can think of a plausible reason for this.
    6. Where does the evidence lead? To the obvious conclusion: there is no perfectly loving, omnipotent God.

    Can you please explain for us poor rubes who still believe in God how your “toilet-paper argument against the existence of God” played a role in your own decision to deny the existence of God?

    It didn’t. I like it because it highlights something that is under-appreciated: It isn’t just instances of great evil and suffering, like the 2004 tsunami, that are evidence against the existence of an omniGod. Less dramatic ones also work.

    Believing in an omniGod is a constant battle against the evidence. You have to do the believer’s two-step, as I explained to Moose Dr above.

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “Believing in an omniGod is a constant battle against the evidence.”

    Actually the scientific evidence for Theism is holding up quite well, whereas you pretty much have to deny everything that modern science has revealed to us to still be a materialistic atheist:

    “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence. I believe that the universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science.”
    Anthony Flew – world’s leading intellectual atheist for most of his adult life until a few years shortly before his death
    The Case for a Creator – Lee Strobel (Nov. 25, 2012) – video
    http://www.saddleback.com/mc/m/ee32d/

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted time-space energy-matter always existed. Whereas Theism predicted time-space energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is a ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (Gonzalez). –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geo-chemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photo-synthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become aware of the morally troubling situation and even prior to the event even happening.

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale.

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy, from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact it is even very good at pointing us to Christianity:

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy & The Shroud Of Turin – (video)
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

  48. 48
    Mung says:

    Mung: Can you please explain for us poor rubes who still believe in God how your “toilet-paper argument against the existence of God” played a role in your own decision to deny the existence of God?

    keiths: It didn’t.

    Time to move on then.

  49. 49
    Mung says:

    I guess the lesson keiths is trying to teach us is that even though his “toilet-paper argument against the existence of God” had no influence on his own rejection of God, if he had been confronted with it he would have immediately become a heathen.

    It’s just that compelling.

  50. 50
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Believing in an omniGod is a constant battle against the evidence. You have to do the believer’s two-step, as I explained to Moose Dr above.

    keiths: God doesn’t supply toilet paper on demand. The evidence supports this.

    keiths: If God exists, God would provide toilet paper upon demand. God does not provide toilet paper upon demand, therefore God does not exist.

    poor keiths.

  51. 51
    keith s says:

    To no one’s surprise, Mung can’t answer my question — but what about the rest of you?

  52. 52
    Mung says:

    To no one’s surprise, keiths has no case against ID.

    To no one’s surprise, keiths has no case against God.

    To no one’s surprise, keiths exists in a fantasy world where nothing he says is false or even can be false.

  53. 53
    Mung says:

    This is the same keiths, we assume, who claimed that a book he was reading sounded the death knell for ID. This is the same keiths, we assume, who claimed that we would be hearing from him a great deal from this book that he was reading that sounded the death knell for ID.

    Not so much.

    Instead, keiths resorts to “the toilet paper argument against the existence of God.”

    God ought to miraculously provide a roll of toilet paper to everyone who might need a roll of toilet paper.

    God does not miraculously provide a roll of toilet paper to everyone who might need a roll of toilet paper.

    Therefore, God does not exist.

  54. 54
    Mapou says:

    Keith is a deeply religious man, a fanatical jihadist for Darwinism. And not a very smart one either. I’m glad to see him getting what he deserves.

  55. 55
    keith s says:

    Read it again, Mung:

    1. God is supposedly perfectly loving and omnipotent.
    2. We, who are quite imperfect, nevertheless willingly fetch rolls of toilet paper for our loved ones, even when it is inconvenient. It’s the decent thing to do.
    3. God could poof a roll of toilet paper into someone’s hands with far less effort that it would take one of us to lift an eyebrow.
    4. God never does it. Ever.
    5. No one can think of a plausible reason for this.
    6. Where does the evidence lead? To the obvious conclusion: there is no perfectly loving, omnipotent God.

  56. 56
    Moose Dr says:

    You guys are being awfully harsh with Keith. I don’t know what caused Keith’s deep disappointment with God, but I doubt that it has anything to do with the science. It rarely does.

  57. 57
    Mung says:

    keiths, if you cannot see the holes in your argument I cannot help you.

    Here’s another one:

    God does not exist, therefore ID must be false.

    Good luck.

  58. 58
    keith s says:

    I’m not disappointed, Moose Dr. I’m sure he did his best, but existence was beyond his abilities.

  59. 59
    keith s says:

    Mung:

    keiths, if you cannot see the holes in your argument I cannot help you.

    True, because you can’t see any holes in it either.

    If you could, you would have pointed them out already.

  60. 60
    vividbleau says:

    Keith

    You know I am hopeful that we might have a productive dialogue on this subject. I think it is an important one. I can only speak for myself but I find that the subject matter you are alluding to is an important topic, a topic that to often receives highly unsatisfactory answers for the one asking the question. At least the answers given to me are un satisfying.

    Forget about the toilet paper how about showing a little kindness to the 6 million Jews that were slaughtered in the death camps. Or showing kindness to the starving children in Sudan. And what kind of God creates beings knowing beforehand that they will my suffer a miserable existence, die and spend eternity in hell ( I am coming from the Christian perspective)? I mean what’s the point?

    For all of my adult life I have grappled with questions like these. I have found that a lot of answers given are unsatisfactory to me. Often times I find that key pieces are never addressed at al or only superficially. Besides evil and suffering there is the question of the existence of evil in the first place. I mean how did evil penetrate an all good creation. I have never found the free will defense to be compelling as an answer to the appearance of evil springing forth from a perfectly good creation.

    All this to say that I think this is an important topic and indeed every serious thinking theist needs to not downplay the gravity of this objection to the existence of an all powerful,!good, loving being.

    So I hope we can have some constructive dialogue. I warn you in advance that my replies may be spotty since I have a very time consuming business to run but because I think you deserve honest answers to what I think is a legitimate objection regarding the existence of an all powerful loving being I will do my best to respond in a timely manner.

    The first thing I think we need to define is what is evil? Here are my thoughts. First evil is not a thing. Secondly evil is a deprivation of good. Within good there is potential evil.without good there can be no evil.

    Thoughts?

    Vivid

  61. 61
    Andre says:

    Everything that can be used for good can also be used for evil. But how do we know what good and evil even is?

    “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has an idea of what a straight line is said CS Lewis”

    So perhaps Keith S can start by asking himself how is it that I know what is good and what is evil? Where does that come from?

  62. 62
    Mapou says:

    keith s:

    1. God is supposedly perfectly loving and omnipotent.

    You only have a problem with your personal idea of God. God can both hate and love. For example, he hates Satan but he loves us and died to pay for our sins. Furthermore, even though his power is immense, he is not omnipotent. I say this as a Christian. Omnipotence and omniscience are crackpottery handed down to us by various Church leaders who either do not know any better or are/were charlatans, IMO. The Christian God once regretted having created mankind. Also, he has to test us because that is the only way our spirits can be known. Think about it.

    PS. God only creates physical matter. Souls/spirits can be neither created nor destroyed. So the idea that God can create a perfectly good moral being is nonsense.

  63. 63
    keith s says:

    Mapou:

    You only have a problem with your personal idea of God.

    No, because I don’t have any particular “personal” idea of God. That’s why I was careful to specify the kind of God that my argument addresses: perfectly loving and omnipotent.

    God can both hate and love. For example, he hates Satan but he loves us and died to pay for our sins.

    Judging by his behavior, he also seems to hate many of his creatures, or is at the very least indifferent to their suffering (unless he isn’t omnipotent, in which case he could be trying, but failing, to protect his creatures from suffering).

    Furthermore, even though his power is immense, he is not omnipotent. I say this as a Christian. Omnipotence and omniscience are crackpottery handed down to us by various Church leaders who either do not know any better or are/were charlatans, IMO.

    I congratulate you on that. Your beliefs are more rational in that particular respect than those of many of your fellow Christians, who insist on an omniGod.

    The Christian God once regretted having created mankind. Also, he has to test us because that is the only way our spirits can be known. Think about it.

    I have thought about it. Many stories in the Bible make no sense at all in terms of a God who is supposedly omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent.

    PS. God only creates physical matter. Souls/spirits can be neither created nor destroyed. So the idea that God can create a perfectly good moral being is nonsense.

    There are quite a few Bible verses that seem to conflict with your view. I take it that you are not an inerrantist.

  64. 64
    Mapou says:

    keith:

    Judging by his behavior, he also seems to hate many of his creatures

    Are you talking about animals? IMO, animals don’t have souls. So they are not conscious and they don’t suffer even if they look like they do. They’re just meat robots. 😀 We will build robots that will show similar emotional behavior as animals. It is called “reinforcement learning” in AI. It is a purely mechanical thing.

    Humans must suffer because there is a time for everything, a time for suffering and a time for happiness. This is the way of our yin-yang reality. There is no escaping it. We are Gods in training and this is our initiation period. Soon, the time for happiness will come. We are not going through any suffering that God did not go through.

    I congratulate you on that. Your beliefs are more rational in that particular respect than those of many of your fellow Christians, who insist on an omniGod.

    Well, I am certainly not like the vast majority of Christians, that’s for sure. In fact, I detest most of Christianity. Surprise. But I refuse to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    There are quite a few Bible verses that seem to conflict with your view. I take it that you are not an inerrantist.

    Of course not. Worshipping the Bible as the inerrant of God is idolatry, IMO. There is a lot of crap in the Bible, especially since many Church leaders and other miscreants have had their filthy hands in it for centuries. But so what?

  65. 65
    keith s says:

    vividbleau:

    You know I am hopeful that we might have a productive dialogue on this subject. I think it is an important one. I can only speak for myself but I find that the subject matter you are alluding to is an important topic, a topic that to often receives highly unsatisfactory answers for the one asking the question. At least the answers given to me are un satisfying.

    It’s a question that many believers try to avoid, because they have no good answer to it. Witness the evasions in this thread.

    Besides evil and suffering there is the question of the existence of evil in the first place. I mean how did evil penetrate an all good creation. I have never found the free will defense to be compelling as an answer to the appearance of evil springing forth from a perfectly good creation.

    Yes, the free will defense just doesn’t work.

    All this to say that I think this is an important topic and indeed every serious thinking theist needs to not downplay the gravity of this objection to the existence of an all powerful,!good, loving being.

    Well, I’m glad to hear that you acknowledge the seriousness of the problem.

    I warn you in advance that my replies may be spotty since I have a very time consuming business to run but because I think you deserve honest answers to what I think is a legitimate objection regarding the existence of an all powerful loving being I will do my best to respond in a timely manner.

    Don’t worry about it. We all have lives outside of UD. Whenever you have the time and inclination to comment, that’s fine.

    The first thing I think we need to define is what is evil? Here are my thoughts. First evil is not a thing. Secondly evil is a deprivation of good. Within good there is potential evil.without good there can be no evil.

    That’s the Augustinian view, but I find it to be problematic for a number of reasons.

    1. It’s subject to the same kind of inversion I mentioned above. That is, you could choose to think of evil as the absence of good, but you could also choose to think of good as the absence of evil. I see no principled reason for favoring the former interpretation.

    2. It fails to capture something essential about evil. For example, there is something actively malevolent about a sadistic killer who seeks out victims for the pleasure of torturing and killing them. Evil isn’t merely the absence of good.

    3. It doesn’t work as a defense of God. Even if evil really were just the absence of good, that wouldn’t excuse an omnipotent God for failing to minimize it. There are sins of omission as well as commission, after all.

  66. 66
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ keith!

    . God is supposedly perfectly loving and omnipotent.
    2. We, who are quite imperfect, nevertheless willingly fetch rolls of toilet paper for our loved ones, even when it is inconvenient. It’s the decent thing to do.

    What people don’t keep the toilet paper in their bathroom? Why does keith think that God should rescue someone from their own stupidity? Why does keith think it’s OK for people to shirk responsibility? And why does keith think that God should forced to do mundane chores?

    No, because I don’t have any particular “personal” idea of God.

    All evidence to the contrary, of course.

  67. 67
    littlejohn says:

    keith s

    Evil could only exist if there IS a God, otherwise, evil is just another creation of the imagination, and is meaningless. Indeed, God is terrible by his own admission, and believers therefore fear him.

    Acts of kindness are manifested by God from people, to people, as God appears to generally act by natural processes, rather than intervene in our daily lives. IMO, life would not be very interesting if the Almighty had to wipe our butts, or set our table, and so forth. The faithful should expect nothing more in this life except to suffer and die (follow Christ to the cross), and it is our duty to share what we have with the less fortunate.

    These points are a few of the many life lessons found in Luke 18. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (I Corinthians 15:19)

  68. 68
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    You are making choice #4:

    4) he has some other reason for never, ever, poofing a roll of toilet paper into the hands of the needy.

    First, I don’t know that God “never, ever” poofs a roll of toilet paper into the hands of the needy.

    Second, if God gets toilet paper into my hands by some method other than “poofing” (and, from my perspective, I’m ever so glad that He consistently does) why should I complain about His method?

    Third, if persons in need of toilet paper are alive, sitting on toilets, in bathrooms, in houses, then how thankless would they have to be to blame God for the lack of toilet paper? If they had toilet paper, they’d likely complain it wasn’t soft enough. Or that they didn’t have a bidet. Or that God had created them with a need to wipe themselves in the first place.

    Why choose #4 when #1-3 make more sense (especially #1) and actually fit the evidence?

    1) he’s not there;
    2) he’s a jerk;
    3) he isn’t powerful enough;

    For me, #1 doesn’t actually fit the preponderance of the evidence. Not even close. Even if purely natural causes can explain the origin of the species, I am still entirely too skeptical that anything but God can reasonably explain the origin of:

    – Matter
    – Physics
    – Time
    – Universal Constants
    – Information
    – Life
    – Consciousness
    – Logic
    – Morality

    Let’s be honest: explaining the origin of the species is low-hanging fruit compared to the above. The notion that, if the origin of the species can be explained in purely natural terms, someone may then suddenly become an intellectually fulfilled atheist despite the continued existence of the above list seems nonsensical to me. It’s like seeing someone with a long white beard and thinking, Huh, maybe there really is a Santa Claus. Never mind the issues with flying reindeer, fitting down chimneys, and delivering billions of toys in one night, the white beard thing has me convinced that I can believe in Santa and still be intellectually fulfilled!

    For me, it is much more intellectually fulfilling to believe that God is the origin of the above and that my internal experience of Him is real than to believe that all the above can somehow “emerge” from nothingness. Nothing comes from nothing. This is what fits the evidence. You have to ignore all evidence and throw away any shred of intellectual fulfillment to suppose otherwise.

  69. 69
    vividbleau says:

    Keith

    That’s the Augustinian view, but I find it to be problematic for a number of reasons.

    1. It’s subject to the same kind of inversion I mentioned above. That is, you could choose to think of evil as the absence of good, but you could also choose to think of good as the absence of evil. I see no principled reason for favoring the former interpretation.

    Okay that gives me something to think about.

    2. It fails to capture something essential about evil. For example, there is something actively malevolent about a sadistic killer who seeks out victims for the pleasure of torturing and killing them. Evil isn’t merely the absence of good.

    Nor is it a thing. Evil is not something you can send me in a box. There is nothing material about it. For sure the effects wrought by evil actions are observable but “evil” itself has no material composition.

    I am of the opinion that evil can only be manifested by moral agents making “evil” decisions. Evil seems to me to always go to the intent and motivation of the evil doer. The “evil” intent can appear to the one doing the action to be a good thing but that does not change whether the action itself is evil. No man can understand the heart , certainly not the heart of others and I doubt we can even understand our own heart.

    3. It doesn’t work as a defense of God. Even if evil really were just the absence of good, that wouldn’t excuse an omnipotent God for failing to minimize it. There are sins of omission as well as commission, after all.

    Thats good because I certainly am not using the existence of evil as an argument for Gods existence. I would add though that unless their is a real and objective good their cannot be a real an objective evil. We disagree I know and I am not interested in another debate about morality. I am not concerned about changing your mind on any of this for sure.

    Can we agree that evil is not a thing? Can we agree that its effects are related to moral agency and moral choices? Even in the case of God and your toilet paper analogy God , if it exists, is making a choice no?

    Vivid

  70. 70
    keith s says:

    vividbleau:

    Nor is it a thing. Evil is not something you can send me in a box. There is nothing material about it. For sure the effects wrought by evil actions are observable but “evil” itself has no material composition.

    I agree. Evil isn’t a material substance, nor is good.

    Evil (noun) is an umbrella term for things, actions, states of affairs, etc., that we regard as evil (adjective). Likewise for ‘good’.

    I am of the opinion that evil can only be manifested by moral agents making “evil” decisions. Evil seems to me to always go to the intent and motivation of the evil doer.

    The problem for omnitheists is that

    1) according to them, God is omniscient, so he is aware of every evil act and occasion of suffering before it happens; and

    2) he is omnipotent, so he has the power to prevent each of those evil acts and occasions of suffering; so

    3) we can conclude that every evil act and occasion of suffering occurs with God’s full knowledge and permission.

    It seems to me that the omnitheist’s only option is to argue that evil is somehow necessary in service of a higher good. That is what the free will defense attempts to demonstrate (quite unconvincingly, in my opinion). It’s also what the “suffering builds character” folks assert (also unconvincingly, in my opinion).

    I would add though that unless their is a real and objective good their cannot be a real an objective evil.

    I don’t think that either is objective. Judgments of good and evil are always relative to the moral intuitions of the person or entity rendering the judgment. That makes them subjective — even if the entity rendering the judgment happens to be God.

    Can we agree that evil is not a thing?

    It’s certainly not a material thing that can be boxed up (Pandora’s Box notwithstanding).

    Can we agree that its effects are related to moral agency and moral choices?

    Yes, with the caveat that instances of so-called “natural evil” (tsunamis, earthquakes, predation, etc.) also qualify, because the omniGod chooses to permit them.

    Even in the case of God and your toilet paper analogy God , if it exists, is making a choice no?

    Yes. An omniGod is aware of the strandee’s predicament and therefore must be deliberately choosing not to respond. The omnitheist’s task is to explain why God never makes an exception, despite the fact that most of us would take pity on the poor soul and fetch him or her a roll.

  71. 71
    keith s says:

    Phinehas:

    First, I don’t know that God “never, ever” poofs a roll of toilet paper into the hands of the needy.

    Let’s just say that the burden of proof is on you if you claim otherwise.

    Second, if God gets toilet paper into my hands by some method other than “poofing” (and, from my perspective, I’m ever so glad that He consistently does) why should I complain about His method?

    First, you are assuming, without evidence, that God is behind it when that happens. Second, we are talking about the occasions when the toilet paper isn’t there. Why doesn’t God help people out in those situations? What’s wrong with a little poofing to help someone in need?

    None of this makes sense in terms of an omniGod, but it makes perfect sense if the omniGod isn’t there.

    Third, if persons in need of toilet paper are alive, sitting on toilets, in bathrooms, in houses, then how thankless would they have to be to blame God for the lack of toilet paper?

    This isn’t a question of gratitude. The question is why your omniGod behaves the way he does. How do you explain it to yourself? Why not accept the obvious explanation, which is that he isn’t an omniGod, or (even more likely) that he isn’t there at all?

    For me, #1 doesn’t actually fit the preponderance of the evidence. Not even close. Even if purely natural causes can explain the origin of the species, I am still entirely too skeptical that anything but God can reasonably explain the origin of:

    – Matter
    – Physics
    – Time…

    Even if a God somehow turns out to be necessary to explain those things, that doesn’t support the notion of an omniGod, much less the Christian omniGod. Why assume an omniGod when the evidence points in another direction?

  72. 72
    keith s says:

    littlejohn:

    Evil could only exist if there IS a God, otherwise, evil is just another creation of the imagination, and is meaningless.

    Evil and good are in the eye of the beholder, just as beauty and ugliness are. God, if he exists, is another beholder.

    Good and evil are very meaningful to us even if they are ultimately subjective.

    Acts of kindness are manifested by God from people, to people, as God appears to generally act by natural processes, rather than intervene in our daily lives.

    Why? This sounds like a rationalization to me: “God’s really there, it just looks like he isn’t because he doesn’t want to intervene in our daily lives.” Why not? Parents intervene in their children’s lives all the time. Why not God?

    The faithful should expect nothing more in this life except to suffer and die…

    Why? Why shouldn’t they expect an omniGod to act like an omniGod?

  73. 73
    littlejohn says:

    keith s

    You make very good points, however, if God exists, as Creator, he is the ultimate source of good and evil, as well as One that experiences good and evil (a beholder).

    With regards to rationalizing God’s presence, the majority of people view your characterization in a different way. God is really here, being understood by what has been made (we see his work in the creation).

    Direct intervention is not necessary, for faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, and that word is delivered to the world by his people.

    Finally, God has acted precisely as He predicted- Christ came into the world in the body that was prepared for Him, suffered like all of creation, was hung on a tree, and rose from the dead on the third day.

    Natural history does not need to be guided by intervention, if we understand that it could not have been any other way.

  74. 74
    Joe says:

    Does keith s really think that the God he tries to mock is beholden to our definitions and our whims? Really?

  75. 75
    keith s says:

    Joe,

    This isn’t about God being beholden to our whims.

    It’s about what we should believe, given the evidence.

    The evidence doesn’t square with a perfectly loving omniGod. We have tsunamis at one end of the spectrum and toilet strandees at the other. The entire spectrum argues against the existence of an omniGod.

  76. 76
    bornagain77 says:

    keith s finally let’s the cat out of the bag:

    “Good and evil are very meaningful to us even if they are ultimately subjective.

    That is the whole point of contention between atheists and Theists, atheists hold that morality, like the sense of personhood, no matter how real it may seem to us, is ‘ultimately’ illusory and subjective. Whereas the Theist holds that morality, (as well as the sense of ‘self’, ‘I’, ‘me’), is exactly what it appears to be to us. That is Theists hold that the reason that morality ‘seems’ so real to us is because morality is in fact real and ‘objective’. Martin Luther King Jr. puts it like this:

    “The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws.”
    – Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

    It is hard to argue against the reality of morality, our entire justice system is predicated on the belief that morality is real. Practically every newscast has some story on whether something is morally right or wrong. For instance, in the last few days, the news has been filled with arguments as to whether it is morally right or not to torture Jihadists in order to try to extract information that may save American lives.
    Moreover, contrary to what the materialist/atheist would presuppose beforehand, we find much scientific evidence to back up Dr. King’s assertion that “there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws”. For instance, it is found that ‘moral evaluations of harm are instant and emotional’:

    Moral evaluations of harm are instant and emotional, brain study shows – November 29, 2012
    Excerpt: People are able to detect, within a split second, if a hurtful action they are witnessing is intentional or accidental, new research on the brain at the University of Chicago shows.
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....brain.html

    This following study shows that objective morality is even built/designed, in a very nuanced fashion, into the way our bodies differentiate between hedonic and ‘noble’ moral happiness:

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ’empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161952.htm

    And although a ‘instantaneous moral compass’, and the nuanced genetic responce between noble vs. hedonic happiness, is pretty good for establishing that “there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws”, the following studies go one step further and shows that our moral intuition transcends space and time:

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....Flies.html

    As well, the following experiment, from Princeton, is very interesting in that it was found that ‘perturbed randomness’ precedes a worldwide ‘moral crisis’:

    Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter – Random Number Generators – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE1haKXoHMo

    Mass Consciousness: Perturbed Randomness Before First Plane Struck on 911 – July 29 2012
    Excerpt: The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre four hours before they happened – but in the fevered mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked back by sceptics. But it also appeared to forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated the epic tragedy.,,
    Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with apparently inexplicable powers. ‘It’s Earth-shattering stuff,’ says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus researcher at Princeton University in the United States, who is heading the research project behind the ‘black box’ phenomenon.
    http://www.network54.com/Forum.....uck+on+911

    Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research – Scientific Study of Consciousness-Related Physical Phenomena – publications
    http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/publications.html

    There is simply no coherent explanation that a materialist/atheist can give as to why morally troubling situations are detected prior to our becoming fully aware of them or before they even happen. The materialist/atheist simply has no beyond space and time cause to appeal to to explain why the phenomena should happen! Whereas as a Theist, especially a Christian Theist who believes that the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again to pay for our sins, it would be fully expected that ‘objective’ morality would have such a deep, ‘spooky’, beyond space and time, effect.

    Moreover, to add futher weight to the Theist’s position that morality is real and objective, in Christian Theism it is held that there are two very different eternities that await us after death: A heavenly eternity or a hellish eternity:

    Matthew 25:34 & 41
    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.,,,
    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

    And just as with morality, and also completely contrary to what the atheist/materialist would presuppose beforehand, we also find scientific evidence for these two very different eternities.
    In special relativity it is shown that time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop for a person travelling the speed of light:

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest – 2005

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    https://vimeo.com/93101738

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    And, as with accelerating to the speed of light, it is found that for any ‘hypothetical’ observer falling to the event horizon of a black hole, that time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop for them. This is because the accelerative force of gravity at black holes is so intense that not even light can escape its grip:

    Einstein – General Relativity – Thought Experiment – video
    https://vimeo.com/95417559

    see: Gravitational time dilation tests
    per wikipedia

    Space-Time Curvature of a Black hole – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VOn9r4dq8

  77. 77
    Box says:

    Keith:
    The evidence doesn’t square with a perfectly loving omniGod. We have tsunamis at one end of the spectrum and toilet strandees at the other.

    I agree that the evidence doesn’t square with an omniGod, whose sole objective is to protect everyone from harm.

  78. 78
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related interest to the space-time curvature of a black hole, there is also tunnel curvature in space-time for any hypothetical observer accelerating to the speed of light. Please note, at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, (Of note: This following video was made by two Australian University Physics Professors with a supercomputer.).

    Seeing Relativity – Approaching The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQnHTKZBTI4

    It is also interesting to note that special relativity is found to ‘merge’ with quantum mechanics whereas general relativity does not ‘merge’ with quantum mechanics:

    Theories of the Universe: Quantum Mechanics vs. General Relativity
    Excerpt: The first attempt at unifying relativity and quantum mechanics took place when special relativity was merged with electromagnetism. This created the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED. It is an example of what has come to be known as relativistic quantum field theory, or just quantum field theory. QED is considered by most physicists to be the most precise theory of natural phenomena ever developed.
    In the 1960s and ’70s, the success of QED prompted other physicists to try an analogous approach to unifying the weak, the strong, and the gravitational forces. Out of these discoveries came another set of theories that merged the strong and weak forces called quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, and quantum electroweak theory, or simply the electroweak theory, which you’ve already been introduced to.
    If you examine the forces and particles that have been combined in the theories we just covered, you’ll notice that the obvious force missing is that of gravity.
    http://www.infoplease.com/cig/.....ivity.html

    It is also very interesting to note that Special Relativity and General Relativity reveal two very different ‘qualities of eternity’ (as predicted in Christian Theism). In particular, Black Holes are found to be ‘timeless’ singularities of destruction and disorder rather than singularities of creation and order, such as the extreme (1 in 10^10^123) order we see at the creation event of the Big Bang.

    “Einstein’s equation predicts that, as the astronaut reaches the singularity (of the black-hole), the tidal forces grow infinitely strong, and their chaotic oscillations become infinitely rapid. The astronaut dies and the atoms which his body is made become infinitely and chaotically distorted and mixed-and then, at the moment when everything becomes infinite (the tidal strengths, the oscillation frequencies, the distortions, and the mixing), spacetime ceases to exist.”
    Kip S. Thorne – “Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy” pg. 476

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?
    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”

    Moreover, in stark contrast to Darwinian claims for which we have no direct observational evidence, we have actual observational evidence from Near Death Experience testimonies of eternity and of people going through a tunnel to a higher heavenly dimension,,,

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    https://vimeo.com/92172680

    “I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.”
    Barbara Springer – Near Death Experience – The Tunnel – video
    https://vimeo.com/79072924

    Life After Life – Raymond Moody – Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z56u4wMxNlg

    As well, A man, at the 7:00 minute mark of this video, gives testimony of falling down a ‘tunnel’ in the transition stage from this world to hell:

    Hell – A Warning! – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=HSgH2AHkfkw&list=PLCB5F225ABC1F7330#t=420

    And to repeat, the ‘observational’ evidence from Near Death Experiences is far more robust that the ‘observational’ evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution is:

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a molecular machine), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real,’ researcher says – Wed April 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “If you use this questionnaire … if the memory is real, it’s richer, and if the memory is recent, it’s richer,” he said.
    The coma scientists weren’t expecting what the tests revealed.
    “To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors,” Laureys reported.
    The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. “The difference was so vast,” he said with a sense of astonishment.
    Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich “as though it was yesterday,” Laureys said.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/09/.....periences/

  79. 79
    bornagain77 says:

    A Doctor’s Near Death Experience Inspires a New Life – video
    Quote: “It’s not like a dream. It’s like the world we are living in is a dream and it’s kind of like waking up from that.”
    Dr. Magrisso
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/on-a.....31791.html

    In light of this dilemma that these two very different eternities present to us spiritually minded people, and the fact that Gravity is, in so far as we can tell, completely incompatible with Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity (i.e. Quantum Electro-Dynamics),,,in light of that dilemma, it is interesting to point out a subtle nuance on the Shroud of Turin. Namely that Gravity was overcome in the resurrection event of Christ:

    Particle Radiation from the Body – July 2012 – M. Antonacci, A. C. Lind
    Excerpt: The Shroud’s frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same amount of intensity, independent of any pressure or weight from the body. The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image. Radiation coming from the body would not only explain this feature, but also the left/right and light/dark reversals found on the cloth’s frontal and dorsal body images.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/19tGkwrdg6cu5mH-RmlKxHv5KPMOL49qEU8MLGL6ojHU/edit

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/i.....-formation

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life (Jesus) – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Moreover, as would be expected if General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (QED) were truly unified in the resurrection of Christ from death, the image on the shroud is found to be formed by a quantum process. The image was not formed by a ‘classical’ process:

    The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
    Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.
    http://cab.unime.it/journals/i.....802004/271

    “It is not a continuum or spherical-front radiation that made the image, as visible or UV light. It is not the X-ray radiation that obeys the one over R squared law that we are so accustomed to in medicine. It is more unique. It is suggested that the image was formed when a high-energy particle struck the fiber and released radiation within the fiber at a speed greater that the local speed of light. Since the fiber acts as a light pipe, this energy moved out through the fiber until it encountered an optical discontinuity, then it slowed to the local speed of light and dispersed. The fact that the pixels don’t fluoresce suggests that the conversion to their now brittle dehydrated state occurred instantly and completely so no partial products remain to be activated by the ultraviolet light. This suggests a quantum event where a finite amount of energy transferred abruptly. The fact that there are images front and back suggests the radiating particles were released along the gravity vector. The radiation pressure may also help explain why the blood was “lifted cleanly” from the body as it transformed to a resurrected state.”
    Kevin Moran – optical engineer

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....79512.html

    I consider the preceding ‘quantum’ nuance on the Shroud of Turin to be a subtle, but powerful, evidence substantiating Christ’s primary claim as to being our Savior from sin, death, and hell:

    Verses, Propitiation (i.e Grace), and Music

    John 8:23-24
    But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.

    G.O.S.P.E.L. – (the grace of propitiation) – poetry slam – video
    https://vimeo.com/20960385

    Matthew 10:28
    “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Evanescence – The Other Side (Music-Lyric Video)
    http://www.vevo.com/watch/evan.....tantsearch

  80. 80
    keith s says:

    littlejohn:

    You make very good points, however, if God exists, as Creator, he is the ultimate source of good and evil, as well as One that experiences good and evil (a beholder).

    If a creator God exists, then he is the ultimate source of everything. The things we consider good come from him, as do the things we consider evil. Likewise, the things that he considers good come from him, as do the things that he considers evil. He may not agree with us on the exact contents of those two categories, and vice-versa. Good and evil are still in the eye of the beholder, even if everything comes from God.

    With regards to rationalizing God’s presence, the majority of people view your characterization in a different way. God is really here, being understood by what has been made (we see his work in the creation).

    As I mentioned to Phinehas, even if it turned out that a God was necessary to explain those things, that wouldn’t mean that God is an omniGod, much less the Christian omniGod.

    Direct intervention is not necessary, for faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, and that word is delivered to the world by his people.

    Intervention is a logical necessity unless the world is already exactly the way God wants it. If he isn’t intervening, then everything we see, including all of the evil and suffering, is here with God’s full permission. (For that matter, even if he is intervening, everything is still exactly the way he wants it. He’s omnipotent, after all.)

    Finally, God has acted precisely as He predicted- Christ came into the world in the body that was prepared for Him, suffered like all of creation, was hung on a tree, and rose from the dead on the third day.

    All of which is problematic for an omniGod. Why would a good God insist on torturing his son (or himself, depending on how you look at it) to death to atone for the sins of his creatures, whom he created knowing full well that they would go on to sin? Why does he exact this gruesome penalty instead of simply forgiving people?

    Natural history does not need to be guided by intervention, if we understand that it could not have been any other way.

    The problem of evil arises either way. If God chooses not to intervene to prevent evil and suffering, then he is fully responsible for it. He knew it would happen before he created the world. He went ahead and created the world anyway.

  81. 81
    keith s says:

    Box,

    IIRC, you’ve mentioned that you’re not a Christian. If you’re comfortable sharing this information, could you tell us more about your religious beliefs?

  82. 82
    Andre says:

    People should really stop feeding the troll.

    For a guy thank knows there is no God he sure knows allot on how God ought to be or not.

    Again don’t feed the troll.

  83. 83
    keith s says:

    Andre:

    For a guy thank knows there is no God he sure knows allot on how God ought to be or not.

    Andre,

    Read my reply to Joe, who made a similar complaint:

    Joe,

    This isn’t about God being beholden to our whims.

    It’s about what we should believe, given the evidence.

    The evidence doesn’t square with a perfectly loving omniGod. We have tsunamis at one end of the spectrum and toilet strandees at the other. The entire spectrum argues against the existence of an omniGod.

  84. 84
    Mapou says:

    keith:

    If a creator God exists, then he is the ultimate source of everything. The things we consider good come from him, as do the things we consider evil.

    This is complete nonsense. Where do you guys dig up this crap? God creates neither good nor evil. Good and evil are spiritual entities/concepts that can neither be created nor destroyed. A conscious being is either good or evil. God happens to be good. Only 1/3 of the angels are evil. All humans are evil. Animals are neither good nor evil because they have no souls/spirits. Souls/spirits can neither be created nor destroyed. They just are. This is why God’s name is Yahweh, meaning “I am”.

    If God created good and evil, did he come before or after this creation?

    Think about it.

  85. 85
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    We have tsunamis at one end

    Right Keith and what causes Tsunami’s? Let me see……

    A tsunami is usually caused by a powerful earthquake under the ocean floor. This earthquake pushes a large volume of water to the surface, creating waves. These waves are the tsunami. In the deep ocean these waves are small

    Right so now we know…..

    But how important are these earthquakes for life? Will we quibble about the meaning of important or essential? This is of course just one of your examples.

    Plate tectonics -the movement of huge chunks, or plates, of a planet’s surface- are crucial to a planet’s habitability because they enable complex chemistry and recycle substances like carbon dioxide, which acts as a thermostat and keeps Earth balmy. Carbon dioxide that was locked into rocks is released when those rocks melt, returning to the atmosphere from volcanoes and oceanic ridges. “Recycling is important even on a planetary scale,” Valencia explained.

    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_.....nter-.html

    Earthquakes are life giving!

    You see Keith S I know you think God could have done it another way, and perhaps he could who knows?

    How does one construct a universe where creatures have absolute free will? I have spent a considerable amount of time on this problem in my life and quite frankly there is no other answer yet.

    Keith S you do understand the problems a perfect universe will present to creatures that have free will right?

    If the universe was perfect with no natural evil it is impossible for anything to change, and this will render free will pointless. How can you help anybody or be helped by anyone if nothing ever goes wrong ever?

    This perfect universe also presents a dilemma to moral evil….. In such a world you can not murder and you cannot be murdered. It would be impossible.

    In such a perfect world humanity will never be able to experience their full array of emotions, no sadness, no joy, no love, no suffering, no happiness, no fear, no anxiety nothing because everything will forever be the same.

    So how does a creator that wants creatures to follow him freely build a universe where they are completely able to choose by themselves? I am all ears to hear about your better model. Any other models I’ve built, looked at and tried to comprehend makes us just meat robots……

    Cause and effect is the only system that works for creatures with free will.

  86. 86
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    I’ve written an article a while back making the claim that this universe,was not created perfectly and it never will be perfect! Because that is not its purpose, I will repost it here for you;

    Perfect Creation Vs. Perfect Plan

    God’s Creation, was good, very good, and not so good but never perfect.

    There is currently a very big problem with the idea of a “perfect creation”, I undertake to outline that this idea is non-biblical and it does not support what scripture says.

    Good

    In the creation act God called his creation good six times! Not once did God say His creation was perfect! God Himself only called it Good.

    •Genesis 1:4 “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
    •Genesis 1:10 “And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called the Seas: and God saw that it was good.”
    •Genesis 1:12 “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
    •Genesis 1:18 “and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.”
    •Genesis 1:21 “And God created great whales, and every living creature that move, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
    •Genesis 1:25 “And God made the beast of the earth after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps upon the earth after their kind: and God saw that it was good.

    Very Good

    •Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

    Not so Good

    •Genesis 2:18 “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

    Genesis 1 and 2 is the description of God’s creation event, not once does He say that His creation was or is perfect, God said it was good, very good and not so good, this is a far cry from the statement “Perfect Creation.” The that God’s creation was perfect is non-biblical.

    How perfect was creation really?

    Weeds, death, pain and suffering existed before the fall of man and I will use scripture to point out that the belief of a “perfect creation” is not supported by any scripture in the bible. This idea of a “perfect creation” has a major implication on the Gospel and is a man made ideology that contradicts the Bible. I will elaborate on this as we analyse what scripture really says.

    Weeds & Work

    Weeds had a purpose in God’s creation and existed before the fall of man, if there was not any weeds why did we have to subdue the earth and cultivate and tend to the garden? If it was perfect why do all this work?
    •Genesis 1:28 “Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
    •Genesis 2:8 “The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.”
    •Genesis 2:15 “Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”

    Did plants die before the fall?

    Some animals only eat the roots of plants, thus the whole plant would have died, in addition sea animals eat diatoms and microscopic plants killing entire organisms, it is clear that plant death existed already by the fifth and sixth day of creation.

    Did animals die before the fall?

    The text on creation event of animals does not explicitly say if these animals are herbivores or carnivores but we can understand what the Hebrew word for beast means, that word is; chayah. When we examine the word as it is used in the Bible it is clear that the Genesis account is referring to carnivores the very same verse also makes a distinction between carnivores and herbivores by including a, herbivore (cattle) and then a beast (chayah). If the animals where all herbivores cattle could be left out because they would have been included as chayah.

    •Genesis 1:24-25 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and the beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.”
    Adam named the animals using terms that described their carnivorous activity

    Before the creation of Eve God brought all the animals before Adam for him to name, Scripture makes it clear that Adam and NOT God named the animals.

    •Genesis 2:19-20 “Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field”
    What did Adam name these animals?

    •Lion: ‘a?ri?y/’arye?h; in the sense of violence
    •Hawk: sha?la?k; Bird of prey
    •Eagle: nesher; to lacerate
    •Owl: cha?mas; to wrong do violence to, treat violently do wrongly

    Adam named them exactly by his observations of their activities, that he saw first-hand before the fall. It is reasonable to conclude that animal death did exist before the fall based on the names of the animals. Adam also knew what death was and this is evident when God said to Adam;
    •Genesis 2:16-17 “But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
    It is absurd to think that God would say something to Adam that he did not understand, has never seen or never experienced. It is clear Adam fully understood what death was he witnessed it first hand in the task God gave him in naming ALL the animals.

    God brags about feeding the Carnivores

    The Bible indicates that God Himself is implicated in the death of animals. First, God killed animals to clothe Adam and Eve after the fall and then killed many animals during the flood. God set up the system of animal sacrifice for atonement of sin. In addition, scripture tells us that God created carnivores (chayah) on day 6. Contrary to a “perfect creation” doctrine, the scriptures indicate that God provides food for the carnivores of the Earth, therefore condoning the death of some animals for the survival of others. If animal death was not part of God’s “perfect creation” I very much doubt He’d be bragging about it!

    •Job 38:41 “Who prepares for the raven its nourishment, when it’s young cry to God, and wander about without food?”
    •Job 38:39 “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,” [God speaking]
    •Psalm 104:21 “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from God.”
    •Psalm 104:25, 27 “There is the sea, great and broad, in which are swarms without number, Animals both small and great… They all wait for Thee, to give them their food in due season.”
    •Luke 12:24 “consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.

    Did pain exist before the fall

    Pain was part of God’s original creation and therefore creation was not perfect. The passage above clearly states that God increased pain not give us a new sensation or experience that did not exist.

    •Genesis 3:16 “Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

    Why a perfect creation is not Gospel and why it matters

    If God’s initial creation was perfect and humans managed to bungle it up then Jesus would be nothing more than God’s plan B for us because it means that His design was flawed from the onset and he had to create a backup plan. On the other hand if creation was perfect and we never sinned because Adam never ate from the tree and there was no death ever in this supposed “perfect creation” then there could never have been a resurrection. Part of God’s original plan involved the defeat of evil. According to the Bible, Satan, God’s highest created angelic being, rebelled against God, taking one third of the angels with Him. These beings attempt to deceive human beings into following them into rebellion against God. Jesus Christ came to earth as part of God’s original plan to defeat evil and redeem mankind. God has a higher purpose for this creation than the prevention of evil and suffering. The Bible indicates that evil and suffering provides believers with a means to witness to others, including angels, about our faith. Suffering also produces patience and endurance and conforms us to the image of Christ, the purpose for which we were created.

    God will not restore original paradise He will destroy it and He will create everything new

    If God’s original creation was indeed perfect as some believe then there would be no reason to destroy it, God can just restore it. The Bible is clear God will destroy this good, very good and not so good creation and will create a brand new perfect creation.

    •2 Peter 3:10 “As in the days of Noah, God is giving this sinful world an opportunity to repent before it is too late. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?
    •Isaiah 65:17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.
    •2 Peter 3:13 “But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
    •Revelation 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.

    What does Jesus have to say about his role in this?

    When Jesus spoke with Martha he had the following to say;

    •John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life” It is crystal clear that from the start there has been a perfect plan and not a perfect creation. Had it been a perfect creation tainted by humans then it would have been perfectly reasonable that Jesus would have said. “I have become the resurrection so I can save you”

    In Conclusion

    Believing that God’s original creation was “perfect” in every way; that had no weeds, no diseases, no suffering, and no death is incorrect. In reality, the “perfect paradise” paradigm fails in its lack of biblical support and also in the underlying assumptions that it forces upon a “Christian” worldview. Under the “perfect paradise” paradigm, God is relegated to the position of a poor designer, whose plans for the perfect creation are ruined by the disobedience of Adam and Eve.

    In this “perfect creation” idea God is now forced to come up with ” His plan B,” in which He vindictively creates weeds, disease, carnivorous animals, and death to get back at humanity for their sin. This also contradicts the Biblical teaching that God stopped with creation on day six because God would have had to biologically change all the animals so they may become carnivores, this would mean that God had to extend creation and that is blatantly false. In contrast, the universe was created with a perfect purpose, in which human beings are to choose good from evil and bring glory to God.

    The perfect purpose as opposed to “perfect creation” states that God created the universe as a temporary place, in which evil and suffering fulfil the will of God toward a higher goal than just to give us pleasure or a supposed perfect creation for his creatures to live in.

    It was through pain and suffering that we haven been enabled to witness the glory of God. Without pain and suffering being in God’s perfect plan there would never have been a Jesus. The bible is clear ” For Him and through Him all things were made.”

  87. 87
    keith s says:

    Mapou:

    God creates neither good nor evil. Good and evil are spiritual entities/concepts that can neither be created nor destroyed. A conscious being is either good or evil. God happens to be good. Only 1/3 of the angels are evil. All humans are evil. Animals are neither good nor evil because they have no souls/spirits. Souls/spirits can neither be created nor destroyed. They just are.

    And you know this… how?

  88. 88
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    I would like to add that the Hebrew word used for the creation event is TOV.

    This is what TOV means……

    What does “good” mean? The first use of this word is in Genesis chapter one where calls his handiwork “good”. It should always be remembered that the Hebrews often relate descriptions to functionality. The word tov would best be translated with the word “functional”. When looked at his handiwork he did not see that it was “good”, he saw that it was functional, kind of like a well oiled and tuned machine. In contrast to this word is the Hebrew word “ra”. These two words, tov and ra are used for the tree of the knowledge of “good” and “evil”. While “ra” is often translated as evil it is best translated as “dysfunctional”.

    http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/27_good.html

    What do we observe about the universe? That it is good? Evil? Perfect? No we observe it as functional…. Do you disagree that the universe is functional Keith S?

  89. 89
    Mapou says:

    keith:

    And you know this… how?

    I thought I gave you a strong clue in the paragraph that you conveniently declined to quote in your reply. I asked @84:

    If God created good and evil, did he come before or after this creation?

    Are you just being evil or should I spell it out for you?

  90. 90
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    So lets be clear, you were not created to have a toilet roll passed to you…….. Get up and get your own bog roll!

  91. 91
    keith s says:

    Never mind, Mapou. Your reputation precedes you.

  92. 92
    Mapou says:

    keith @91,

    I expected this much from you. You’re a gutless coward.

  93. 93
    keith s says:

    Mapou,

    You made it onto the honor roll this year.

  94. 94
    keith s says:

    Andre,

    I see you decided to feed the “troll” after all. That’s good, because the problem of evil is something that every theist should confront.

    Plate tectonics -the movement of huge chunks, or plates, of a planet’s surface- are crucial to a planet’s habitability…

    In all the possible worlds that God could have created?

    You see Keith S I know you think God could have done it another way, and perhaps he could who knows?

    Suppose he couldn’t, and that earthquakes are truly essential. In that case, why doesn’t God warn us when they’re about to happen? If you or I knew for certain that an earthquake was about to happen, we’d warn people! Why doesn’t God do that?

    He could have saved over 200,000 human lives if he had done that before the 2004 tsunami.

    How does one construct a universe where creatures have absolute free will? I have spent a considerable amount of time on this problem in my life and quite frankly there is no other answer yet.

    Absolute free will (aka “libertarian” free will) is an incoherent concept, a logical impossibility. But let’s suppose for now that it isn’t, and that God is capable of creating us with libertarian free will. Read on.

    If the universe was perfect with no natural evil it is impossible for anything to change, and this will render free will pointless. How can you help anybody or be helped by anyone if nothing ever goes wrong ever?

    What’s wrong with a universe in which nobody ever needs help?

    This perfect universe also presents a dilemma to moral evil….. In such a world you can not murder and you cannot be murdered. It would be impossible.

    Sounds fine to me. What do you have against it? Aren’t you hoping that there will be no murder in heaven?

    In such a perfect world humanity will never be able to experience their full array of emotions, no sadness, no joy, no love, no suffering, no happiness, no fear, no anxiety nothing because everything will forever be the same.

    Why no joy, happiness, or love? Again, think of heaven. If you can’t be happy on a perfect earth, then you won’t be happy in a perfect heaven either.

    So how does a creator that wants creatures to follow him freely build a universe where they are completely able to choose by themselves? I am all ears to hear about your better model. the only system that works for creatures with free will.

    I’m glad you asked. There’s a simple solution, and I described it in my TSZ thread:

    Before God creates a person, he uses his omniscience to look ahead and ask whether that person will commit murder. If the answer is no, he proceeds. If the answer is yes, he refrains from creating that person and creates someone else instead — someone he knows will not become a murderer.

    He hasn’t changed anyone’s nature. Each person is completely free, and yet no one commits murder, because they all freely choose not to.

    If theists try to argue that by refraining from creating someone, God would be denying that person’s free will, then they put themselves in a bind — because that means that God is already denying free will to the gazillions of possible persons he never creates.

    Of course, this also works for any other kind of evil God wants to prevent. Why doesn’t he do it?

  95. 95
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    Character assassination is all you guys have, can’t win the argument bring down the man…… Shameful really but that’s how you lot operate. Water off a ducks back really…..

  96. 96
    keith s says:

    Andre #86,

    The perfect purpose as opposed to “perfect creation” states that God created the universe as a temporary place, in which evil and suffering fulfil the will of God toward a higher goal than just to give us pleasure or a supposed perfect creation for his creatures to live in.

    It was through pain and suffering that we haven been enabled to witness the glory of God. Without pain and suffering being in God’s perfect plan there would never have been a Jesus.”

    Why are pain and suffering essential? That doesn’t sound perfect at all to me. And what’s with the blood lust? Why does God demand that his son be tortured to death instead of just forgiving everyone?

  97. 97
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    Absolute free will (aka “libertarian” free will) is an incoherent concept, a logical impossibility. But let’s suppose for now that it isn’t, and that God is capable of creating us with libertarian free will. Read on.

    And you did not respond to me out of anything else but you Libertarian free will….. Your incoherent rambling refuted by yourself. Thank you.

    Suppose he couldn’t, and that earthquakes are truly essential. In that case, why doesn’t God warn us when they’re about to happen? If you or I knew for certain that an earthquake was about to happen, we’d warn people! Why doesn’t God do that?

    Keith S still wants the bog roll handed to him………. How about using our brains to learn how to figure this out and build our own warning system? That would be progress!

    Sounds fine to me. What do you have against it? Aren’t you hoping that there will be no murder in heaven

    I have nothing against it but I understand that in a cause and effect universe there will always be this; That which can be used for good can also be used for evil. Think of a knife……

    Why no joy, happiness, or love? Again, think of heaven. If you can’t be happy on a perfect earth, then you won’t be happy in a perfect heaven either.

    You are aware that there will be no free will in heaven right? The choices are made here. In heaven there will only be joy, no toil.

    Before God creates a person, he uses his omniscience to look ahead and ask whether that person will commit murder. If the answer is no, he proceeds. If the answer is yes, he refrains from creating that person and creates someone else instead — someone he knows will not become a murderer He hasn’t changed anyone’s nature. Each person is completely free, and yet no one commits murder, because they all freely choose not to.

    If theists try to argue that by refraining from creating someone, God would be denying that person’s free will, then they put themselves in a bind — because that means that God is already denying free will to the gazillions of possible persons he never creates.

    So God must use something like abortion to separate the wheat from the chaff? He should only create happy go lucky people? LOL so what you are really saying here is this! God you suck and I am angry at you for giving me free will! Why would you do that? Why could you not have just made meat puppets that only care for you and only love you, instead you gave everyone a free choice you are an a-hole for creating people with the right to choose!

    This God you are hoping for would not be fair and just…. He would load the die, stack the cards and cheat where he can! No Thank you, you can keep such a God!

  98. 98
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    Why are pain and suffering essential? That doesn’t sound perfect at all to me. And what’s with the blood lust? Why does God demand that his son be tortured to death instead of just forgiving everyone?

    Firstly, you do know that pain is a very important function for keeping biological systems alive right?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/hea.....d-you.html

    Do you know who Jesus is? Jesus is God Keith…. He is not another entity or person. Jesus is God in the flesh. He ransomed himself because He knew we could never meet His perfect commands. That is why you are under grace. It was through suffering that God redeemed us.

    Here is your take home, Even with our faults, our short comings and our rebellion, one message is clear God loves us anyway just as a father loves his children. I am very grateful for my life he gave, the people he put into it and the joy of experiencing his glorious Creation. Jesus said something I hold very dear of what is to come……

    John 3:12 “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?”

    There is something in store for us that we can never yet imagine, and in Christ my hope is found. Do you have hope Keith S?

    I do!

  99. 99
    keith s says:

    Andre,

    How about using our brains to learn how to figure this out and build our own warning system? That would be progress!

    You didn’t answer the question. Why doesn’t God warn us of impending earthquakes? He knows when they’re about to happen.

  100. 100
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    So God must keep passing the bog roll? Because that is what Keith S demands!

  101. 101
    keith s says:

    Andre,

    I take it you have no answer for my question.

    Anyone else want to give it a shot?

  102. 102
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    I have an answer, but I’m hoping (perhaps beyond any hope) that you will think about it and answer this yourself…..

  103. 103
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    If you’re struggling I’ll give you a clue…..

    God designed a way to distinguish between those who belong to Him and those who don’t….

    If this is compromised then everything becomes meaningless.

    Can you guess what it is Keith S?

  104. 104
    Box says:

    Keith: IIRC, you’ve mentioned that you’re not a Christian. If you’re comfortable sharing this information, could you tell us more about your religious beliefs?

    No, thank you. However, I would like to state that I’m sympathetic to Christianity and I prefer it over naturalism, simply because I prefer an impressive story with 70% rationality over barren madness. That said, certain aspects of Christianity – e.g. hell(!), omnipotence, Devil, trinity – make little sense to me.

  105. 105
    Joe says:

    Why doesn’t God warn us of impending earthquakes?

    Why should God warn us of impending earthquakes?

    Why are pain and suffering essential?

    They help us learn and gain knowledge. They are both drivers of knowledge. We couldn’t learn anything in a perfect world.

    What’s wrong with a universe in which nobody ever needs help?

    What is right with such a universe?

    And more importantly why does keith think if he stomps and screams that somehow does something to God?

  106. 106
    Andre says:

    Box

    hell(!), omnipotence, Devil, trinity – make little sense to me.

    True story and requires a ridiculous amount of Biblical research…..

  107. 107
    Joe says:

    This isn’t about God being beholden to our whims.

    All evidence to the contrary, of course.

    It’s about what we should believe, given the evidence.

    And yet you don’t know how to assess evidence.

    The evidence doesn’t square with a perfectly loving omniGod.

    LoL! Right back to your definition game! Are you really that soft?

    We have tsunamis at one end of the spectrum and toilet strandees at the other. The entire spectrum argues against the existence of an omniGod.

    Only in your feeble mind.

  108. 108
    Joe says:

    Tsunamis, earthquakes, pain and suffering all fit a God that created the universe for scientific discovery (by some of the created inhabitants).

    OTOH toilet paper is our sole responsibility. If one is too stupid to realize there isn’t any TP on the roll before starting then that is on them. Only irresponsible losers would try to blame God.

    What ever happened to “Thou shall not put the Lord thy God to the test?” Ignorant atheists don’t care about that one. Enter keith…

  109. 109
    Me_Think says:

    Tsunamis, earthquakes, pain and suffering all fit a God that created the universe for scientific discovery (by some of the created inhabitants).

    People living in and along the ring of fire area are sure very happy that God chose them to suffer

  110. 110
    Joe says:

    LoL! @ MT! People choose to live where they do and do so despite the dangers. Only a baby would blame God for that and here you are

  111. 111
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: H’mm, yet another thread-focus switcheroo . . .

    Why is it that at UD science or meta-science threads are routinely pulled off track towards theology debates and threads — there is one currently — that are set up for religion issues are the ones where science issues do crop up?

    Let’s see, searches will be by thread lead — that’s what search engines go for, and people go look at exchanges.

    That explains attempts at feeding the religion in a tuxedo talk point for supposedly sci oriented threads.

    And of course the imagined counter to religion is — a priori evo mat ideology dressed up in a lab coat.

    I therefore suggest that the underlying issue is a worldviews one and until that is sorted out on phil and worldviews warrant grounds, there is no basis of commonality to debate theological issues. On the way to that, a big clue is this as follows:

    Isa 55:Seek the Lord while he makes himself available;
    call to him while he is nearby!
    7 The wicked need to abandon their lifestyle
    and sinful people their plans.
    They should return to the Lord, and he will show mercy to them,
    and to their God, for he will freely forgive them.
    8 “Indeed, my plans are not like your plans,
    and my deeds are not like your deeds,
    9 for just as the sky is higher than the earth,
    so my deeds are superior to your deeds
    and my plans superior to your plans. [NET]

    If we are angry at God and hate his ways and thoughts, we are utterly unlikely to understand them. Or even, if we are indifferent and benumbed. If you doubt me, consider:

    Eph 4:17 So I say this, and insist in the Lord, that you no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.

    18 They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19 Because they are callous, they have given themselves over to indecency for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.

    20 But you did not learn about Christ like this, 21 if indeed you heard about him and were taught in him, just as the truth is in Jesus.

    22 You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image—in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth. [NET]

    In short, we need to ponder Jesus’ riff on Plato’s parable of the cave in the Sermon on the Mount:

    Matt 6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! [NET]

    In short, beware en-darkenment under false colours of enlightenment and the resulting warped view of reality.

    KF

    PS: Over in the thread that actually addresses religion, I have responded on the grounding issue here, at 95.

  112. 112
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Let me link, on worldviews foundations (which BTW includes taking on the problem of evils which on my experience, underlies the majority of atheistical objections to the Christian faith):

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu

    . . . and on the actual (Paul at Mars Hill, cf. Ac 17) offer of grounding for the specifically Christian view:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u1_grnds

    (The linked site may be of some help in general — cf the RH column of links. Beyond this, we ought to understand that there are always difficulties, questions we have not figured out answers to, and things we as individuals find hard to understand. Thence, if you are having problems with systematic theology or Biblical Theology, go to experts on those subjects. Archer’s Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties and Grudem’s Systematic Theology will be readily available in relevant bookstores, as a first point of serious reference. UD is not the right forum for such debates. I rather doubt that most commenters have the years of relevant training and/or study, and the focus is disparate from the purpose of the blog.)

  113. 113
    bornagain77 says:

    It is interesting to see the two very different reactions to evil and suffering in this thread. The Theists in this thread look at evil and suffering as an opportunity to build character, whereas the Atheists look at it as an opportunity to whine and complain,,, (thanks keith s, the toilet paper roll example puts the Atheist’s ‘spoiled child’ attitude more clearly than I’ve ever seen before!).

    In light of these two seemingly polar opposite reactions to evil and suffering, it is interesting to note the very different reactions to evil and suffering that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln had.

    Both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day and shared many strange similarities in their lives,

    “Both men lost their mothers in early childhood, both suffered depression and both struggled with religious questions. The two also had poor relations with their fathers and each lost a child in early childbirth. Lincoln and Darwin both share “late bloomers” disease: Neither found real success until their middle years — Darwin published The Origin of the Species at 50 and Lincoln was elected President one year later.”
    http://www.tressugar.com/Linco.....nk-1757730

    ,,,but the one common thing they shared that separated the two men drastically was the way they choose to handle the evil that happened in their lives. Darwin, though drifting away from God for a long while, was permanently driven away from God because of what he perceived to be the ‘unjust’ death of his daughter,,

    “The death of his daughter was a significant event in Darwin’s life, and certainly consolidated his belief that a bad world is incompatible with a good God.”
    http://askjohnmackay.com/quest.....ristianity

    (In fact, Origin of Species itself, instead of relying on any substantiating scientific evidence to try to make its case, relies primarily on faulty Theology in order to try to make its case for evolution: Dilley).

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 6, 2011
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    Whereas Lincoln, on the other hand, was driven from his mild skepticism into a deep reliance upon God because of the death of his son.

    Abraham Lincoln’s Path to Divine Providence
    Excerpt: In 1862, when Lincoln was 53 years old, his 11-year-old son Willie died. Lincoln’s wife “tried to deal with her grief by searching out New Age mediums.” Lincoln turned to Phineas Gurley, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington. Several long talks led to what Gurley described as “a conversion to Christ.” Lincoln confided that he was “driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have nowhere else to go.”
    Similarly, the horrors of the dead and wounded soldiers assaulted him daily. There were fifty hospitals for the wounded in Washington. The rotunda of the Capitol held 2,000 cots for wounded soldiers. Typically, fifty soldiers a day died in these temporary hospitals. All of this drove Lincoln deeper into the providence of God. “We cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.”
    His most famous statement about the providence of God in relation to the Civil War was his Second Inaugural Address, given a month before he was assassinated. It is remarkable for not making God a simple supporter for the Union or Confederate cause. He has his own purposes and does not excuse sin on either side.
    “Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war might speedily pass away…. Yet if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid with another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago so still it must be said, “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.”
    http://www.christianity.com/th.....99728.html

    I like the following attitude from a cancer survivor in regards to the evil and suffering that happened in his life:

    “We are His masterpiece. The greatest creation he has ever made. See what God has to offer you. See what He can do and you will be amazed. When something hits you hard, don’t put that blame on God put that weight on God. Say, “God, take that weight off me.” And He will and He will carry you through the shadow of death, because He wants you to come out on the other side.”
    – Mark Herzlich – The Linebacker Who Couldn’t Be Stopped by Cancer – video
    http://www.cbn.com/tv/3775240000001

    Verse and Music:

    Luke 23:39-43
    One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
    But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
    Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
    Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    Held- Natalie Grant – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk_y9204TBM

  114. 114
  115. 115
    Mung says:

    Intelligent Design does not preclude either good designs or bad designs, nor does it preclude good designers or evil designers. ID does not mean that an evil designer cannot make a good design. If there are evil designers ID is still true.

    And keiths claims to follow the evidence. hah.

  116. 116
    velikovskys says:

    joe:

    LoL! @ MT! People choose to live where they do and do so despite the dangers. Only a baby would blame God for that and here you are

    Since babies have no abilty to choose where they live ,you are correct

  117. 117
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    Phin: First, I don’t know that God “never, ever” poofs a roll of toilet paper into the hands of the needy.

    keiths: Let’s just say that the burden of proof is on you if you claim otherwise.

    You made the “never, ever” claim. I questioned it. Either it is a claim you can support or it isn’t.

    Phin: Second, if God gets toilet paper into my hands by some method other than “poofing” (and, from my perspective, I’m ever so glad that He consistently does) why should I complain about His method?

    keiths: First, you are assuming, without evidence, that God is behind it when that happens.

    You are assuming, without evidence, that He isn’t. Besides, though I know that my internal experience won’t count as evidence for you (and I don’t expect it to), it certainly counts for me. Nor is this the only evidence I feel I have.

    Second, we are talking about the occasions when the toilet paper isn’t there. Why doesn’t God help people out in those situations? What’s wrong with a little poofing to help someone in need?

    Again, if He poofed toilet paper into existence, wouldn’t you be questioning why He didn’t go ahead and wipe your a** for you too? Doesn’t the line where God does stuff for us have to be drawn somewhere? Else, we would no longer be agents, but only puppets. You don’t like where God decided to draw the line? OK. But don’t pretend this means anything about whether He exists or not.

    None of this makes sense in terms of an omniGod, but it makes perfect sense if the omniGod isn’t there.

    I’m pretty sure it is your concept of omniGod that doesn’t make sense. I probably don’t believe in the same omniGod that you don’t believe in.

    Phin: Third, if persons in need of toilet paper are alive, sitting on toilets, in bathrooms, in houses, then how thankless would they have to be to blame God for the lack of toilet paper?

    This isn’t a question of gratitude. The question is why your omniGod behaves the way he does. How do you explain it to yourself? Why not accept the obvious explanation, which is that he isn’t an omniGod, or (even more likely) that he isn’t there at all?

    This isn’t about gratitude so much as it is about expectations. Why expect the God that provided life, health, food, shelter, the toilet to sit on, and usually even toilet paper to poof some into existence just because you forgot to get a new roll on your way to the bathroom? And if you do, why not expect Him to wipe for you as well? God could have drawn the line at life or health or food. Why not simply rejoice that He apparently decided to draw it at poofing toilet paper instead?

    But the real question is and always has been: am I God? If not, why should I expect to understand why He behaves the way He does? Any God worthy of the name wouldn’t be expected to answer to me. And once I set out to write His performance review, who is God then?

    Are you God, keiths?

    You see, God isn’t just a label that you can throw around. There is a coherent concept of God that you have to wrap your mind around, to the extent that you are able. This concept is BIG. Putting a God label on a small concept and complaining about how ill-fitting the label is only says something about your concept. It says nothing about God.

    Phin: For me, #1 doesn’t actually fit the preponderance of the evidence. Not even close. Even if purely natural causes can explain the origin of the species, I am still entirely too skeptical that anything but God can reasonably explain the origin of:

    – Matter
    – Physics
    – Time
    – Universal Constants
    – Information
    – Life
    – Consciousness
    – Logic
    – Morality

    keiths: Even if a God somehow turns out to be necessary to explain those things…

    Even if? Somehow turns out? At the very least, provisionally, God is the only game in town for the above. Materialism-of-the-gaps requires way too much faith for me. I’m simply too much of a skeptic and too invested in intellectual fulfillment to settle for materialism’s promissory note when it is so very obviously not up to the task. Why should I just shut off my brain and bury my head in the sand when it comes to the origin and nature of the foundations of reality? If I didn’t believe in God, this is exactly what I would have to do, and then cover it up with a pretense about somehow, someday, maybe something will…what? Again, I simply lack the faith to do this.

    …that doesn’t support the notion of an omniGod, much less the Christian omniGod. Why assume an omniGod when the evidence points in another direction?

    If bringing something forth from nothing doesn’t support the notion of an omnipotent God, what exactly would? If creating everything that exists from quarks to quasars doesn’t support the notion of an omnipotent God, what exactly would? Poofing a roll of toilet paper into existence? Please. I’m sure someone would just put forward a scientific hypotheses about how toilet paper “emerges” and every atheist would nod and feel so terribly intellectually fulfilled.

    As for a Christian God, yes the evidence of General Revelation is not sufficient to convince anyone of much more than His eternal power and divine nature. But General Revelation is not the only evidence made available to us. You’d need to look to the law, the prophets, eyewitness testimony, and spiritual communion for additional evidence, but it is there if you look with an open mind.

  118. 118
    Joe says:

    vel:

    Since babies have no abilty to choose where they live

    Then the parents are to blame if they put their children in harm’s way. My wife and I put our wants and desires aside so that we could raise our kids in a very safe environment.

  119. 119
    keith s says:

    Phinehas:

    But the real question is and always has been: am I God? If not, why should I expect to understand why He behaves the way He does?

    No, the real question is this: What is the best explanation for the evidence we have?

    Here’s how I put it at TSZ:

    The sheer quantity of evil and suffering in the world is explained far better by the absence of a loving, powerful God than it is by a loving God who operates in mysterious ways that just happen to make it look like he’s absent.

  120. 120
    Joe says:

    What is the best explanation for the evidence we have?

    It definitely isn’t unguided evolution as that doesn’t explain anything.

    The sheer quantity of evil and suffering in the world is explained far better by the absence of a loving, powerful God than it is by a loving God who operates in mysterious ways that just happen to make it look like he’s absent.

    That is your wacky opinion, but that is all it is.

  121. 121
    HD says:

    The answer to Keith is simple:

    It’s not God’s job. Period. That has never been the working definition of God that the three major religions have used for God no matter how much you decide what God OUGHT to do when or where on your watch, based on your temperament as you check of the list of what God owes you in order to determine if he really exists or not. We thank God, because we are grateful. It MAY be due to God or it may not be directly due to God. Nonetheless….we are simply grateful. WHy is that a hard concept? It’s not a concept that needs so much dissecting unless one is simply looking to be a contrarian.

    It’s not God’s job to catch a boy falling off a treehouse.
    It’s not God’s job to make sure exposed wires are sealed.
    It’s not God’s job to put a warning sign on a slippery floor.
    It’s not God’s job to lift a little old lady if she slipped on the street.
    It’s not God’s job to warn you before you touch something hot and burn your hand.

    Add to this a billion more niceties God could do every single second.

    Yet, for all the time God has never stopped and given me a jumpstart to my car – which would be really nice of Him – I never use that to judge if he exists or not or is good or not.

    Keith….you are excellent when it comes to science. You are heads above me. But if this is the philosophical nonsense that comes out of your camp [does anyone remember Dawkins heavily criticized 747 gambit?…including from atheists themselves? ] than theists are in good shape.

  122. 122
    Box says:

    Keith:

    The sheer quantity of evil and suffering in the world is explained far better by the absence of a loving, powerful God than it is by a loving God who operates in mysterious ways that just happen to make it look like he’s absent.

    He may look absent for those morons who believe that everything can be explained bottom-up out of fermions and bosons. But He surely won’t look absent when we head home after our short stay on earth.
    A materialist is somewhat like that disturbed kid on summer-camp who keeps screaming that mommy and daddy don’t exist.

  123. 123
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    No, the real question is this: What is the best explanation for the evidence we have?

    Have it your way. What’s the best explanation for the origin of the following?

    – Matter
    – Physics
    – Time
    – Universal Constants
    – Information
    – Life
    – Consciousness
    – Logic
    – Morality

    What’s the best explanation for the following?

    – Fulfilled prophecy
    – Eyewitness accounts concerning the man, Jesus
    – The internal experience of a spiritual and moral reality
    – The testimony of those whose lives have been transformed (e.g. John Newton)

    In my estimation, the best explanation for all of these together, seen as a whole, is God. Materialistic explanations end up being so pathetic and laughable that I just can’t convince myself to take them seriously, no matter how much I might want to.

    The sheer quantity of evil and suffering in the world is explained far better by the absence of a loving, powerful God than it is by a loving God who operates in mysterious ways that just happen to make it look like he’s absent.

    Not even close. The quantity of both evil and good in the world is better explained by the human ability to make moral choices. Without God, evil and good both fall out into merely subjective personal tastes and preferences. Any appeal to the presence of true, objective evil is an appeal to the existence of an objective moral standard and a transcendent standard-giver.

    If you think the world looks exactly like it would without the presence of God, you are delusional. When the loving presence of God is completely removed, hell will be the result. Good is the presence of God, and the presence of God is good. There is no good without God. None. This absence of good is what we call evil.

  124. 124
    StephenB says:

    KeithS

    The sheer quantity of evil and suffering in the world is explained far better by the absence of a loving, powerful God than it is by a loving God who operates in mysterious ways that just happen to make it look like he’s absent.

    I can refute that statement very easily. How do you know that what you think is evil really is evil? You can’t answer except to contrast it with what is good, which takes you to God. If your unguided evolution is true, there can be no such thing as evil.

  125. 125
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help.

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.

  126. 126
    Barry Arrington says:

    SB @ 124: It never ceases to amaze me that atheists can’t seem to grasp that the argument from evil entails the very thing it attempt to refute.

  127. 127
    vividbleau says:

    BA re 126

    Lifting my head out from the work bunker.

    Me too. At least be consistent like Provine and the others whose names escape me at the moment.

    Vivid

  128. 128
    HD says:

    >>I can refute that statement very easily. How do you know that what you think is evil really is evil? You can’t answer except to contrast it with what is good, which takes you to God. If your unguided evolution is true, there can be no such thing as evil.

    Stephan,

    I am not on Keith’s side, and I realize by claiming there is evil, an atheist is somehow claiming some objective good that OUGHT to exist which lands him on the feet of theism, but swap the word “evil” with the word “suffering” and Keith’s question remains. And nobody can deny suffering exists.

  129. 129
    Barry Arrington says:

    HD @ 128.

    You have only succeeded in pushing the argument back one level:

    Person A: I don’t believe in God because he allows suffering.

    Person B: And why do you object to suffering?

    A: Because it is wrong.

    B: Ah, so you object to suffering because it is a manifestation of evil. Which gets us right back to where we started.

  130. 130
    HD says:

    Barry,

    I disagree with what you said. For example, some rare disease inflicted on a child is not “evil” yet it IS suffering. We count it as being wrong because someone is suffering and are happy when we are not having to cope with some disease…, not because it is evil.

  131. 131
    keith s says:

    Theists,

    Most of you are making the same mistake. It doesn’t matter whether I think that evil exists (I do, but I don’t think that it is objective evil). What matters is what you, as theists, believe.

    As long as

    1) you believe in an omniGod;
    2) you believe that God is good according to some standard of good and evil; and
    3) you believe that the world is full of evil by that same standard;

    …then you face the problem of evil. Why does God allow so much evil and suffering?

    At TSZ, I wrote:

    A theist can always say “God moves in mysterious ways, and it’s all for the best in the end” to excuse any particular instance of evil in the world. It is logically possible that this is correct, and that the slaughter of 220,000 people in the 2004 tsunami (for example) is really a good thing in some cosmic sense.

    It’s highly implausible, however, and much better explanations are available. Here are three:

    a) that God isn’t omnipotent, or
    b) that God isn’t perfectly good by our standards, or
    c) that the God with the specified characteristics simply does not exist.

    I vote for (c), of course.

  132. 132
    Joe says:

    keith continues to make the same mistake by thinking his strawman is an argument.

    A perfect world would be boring and there wouldn’t be any impetus for learning. However in a universe designed for scientific discovery it all makes sense. And it doesn’t matter if all, some or one of use doesn’t like. You can take your ball and live your life sulking cuz it ain’t goin’ the way you want.

    Now go take your nap

  133. 133
    Joe says:

    It is logically possible that this is correct, and that the slaughter of 220,000 people in the 2004 tsunami (for example) is really a good thing in some cosmic sense.

    Darwin called it natural selection. Blame him.

  134. 134
    Box says:

    Keith: Theists,

    Most of you are making the same mistake. It doesn’t matter whether I think that evil exists (I do, but I don’t think that it is objective evil).

    Indeed, it is irrelevant for the discussion what you, as a materialist, think or prefer. You prefer not to torture innocent children, another person does prefer to torture innocent children. All are equal under materialism. So your opinion in these matters is totally irrelevant.

    However, it is important to note that the argument from evil cannot be used by materialists – see StephenB #124. They cannot accommodate the concept, so they should just be silent.

    Keith: What matters is what you, as theists, believe.

    Indeed. The question is however, why should we discuss our beliefs with you? Materialism has nothing of value to add to the discussion.
    You think it has, but that’s your repeated mistake.

  135. 135
    littlejohn says:

    keith s

    A tsunami is not evil unless it was generated for the purpose of destruction of life or property. If I build my house on the San Andreas earthquake fault, and I die as a result of an earthquake, should my surviving widow blame God? Of course not.

    Although it is true that God accepted responsibility in ancient times for destroying civilizations, those acts were explained as justifiable, at least from God’s point of view.

    If God did not allow suffering and evil, etc., would you worship him/her/it/them? What version of God would you worship, if any?

  136. 136
    bornagain77 says:

    as to What version of God would keith s worship, if any?

    Well, since keith s wants a toilet paper fetching god (but supposedly not one to wipe his butt for him), I guess a Mr. Whipple type god would be close to the one keith s would worship 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciRry1eCGaE

  137. 137
    StephenB says:

    KeithS

    Most of you are making the same mistake. It doesn’t matter whether I think that evil exists (I do, but I don’t think that it is objective evil). What matters is what you, as theists, believe.

    You are contradicting yourself. To say that evil is not objective is to say that it doesn’t exist. Again, I can refute your argument with the greatest of ease by simply asking you to define the very word (evil) you are using.

  138. 138
    keith s says:

    Theists,

    A couple of questions for you.

    1. Suppose earthquakes and tsunamis are absolutely necessary for some reason. In that case, what harm would it have done for God to warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami? He could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

    Why didn’t he?

    2. Many of you have heard the story of Jessica Chambers, the Mississippi teenager who was set on fire and left to die. Why didn’t God intervene?

  139. 139
    StephenB says:

    Barry @ 126

    SB @ 124: It never ceases to amaze me that atheists can’t seem to grasp that the argument from evil entails the very thing it attempt to refute.

    Yes, one wonders what prevents them from understanding the inescapable implications of their position.

  140. 140
    Mung says:

    Phinehas:

    You made the “never, ever” claim. I questioned it. Either it is a claim you can support or it isn’t.

    keiths has assured us that he can defend all his claims. But what does the evidence show?

  141. 141
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    You are contradicting yourself. To say that evil is not objective is to say that it doesn’t exist.

    No. Evil and beauty are both subjective, but that doesn’t mean that they’re nonexistent.

    In any case, the question is not about my beliefs about evil. It’s about yours, as I already explained:

    It doesn’t matter whether I think that evil exists (I do, but I don’t think that it is objective evil). What matters is what you, as theists, believe.

    As long as

    1) you believe in an omniGod;
    2) you believe that God is good according to some standard of good and evil; and
    3) you believe that the world is full of evil by that same standard;

    …then you face the problem of evil. Why does God allow so much evil and suffering?

    If you, as a theist, believe #1 and #2, then you need to reconcile your beliefs with the contrary evidence of #3.

    How do you do that? Why not accept one of the more plausible explanations?

    a) that God isn’t omnipotent, or
    b) that God isn’t perfectly good by our standards, or
    c) that the God with the specified characteristics simply does not exist.

  142. 142
    StephenB says:

    KeithS

    Theists,

    A couple of questions for you.

    1. Suppose earthquakes and tsunamis are absolutely necessary for some reason. In that case, what harm would it have done for God to warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami? He could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

    Why didn’t he?

    Why should He? Would it be evil not to do so without a good reason? If so, why would it be evil? You are not thinking this through. You don’t know what you mean when you use that word.

    2. Many of you have heard the story of Jessica Chambers, the Mississippi teenager who was set on fire and left to die. Why didn’t God intervene?

    You are repeating yourself. Same as above.

  143. 143
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    As long as

    1) you believe in an omniGod;
    2) you believe that God is good according to some standard of good and evil; and
    3) you believe that the world is full of evil by that same standard;

    It’s a straw-god! Hide the fire!

  144. 144
    keith s says:

    littlejohn:

    A tsunami is not evil unless it was generated for the purpose of destruction of life or property. If I build my house on the San Andreas earthquake fault, and I die as a result of an earthquake, should my surviving widow blame God? Of course not.

    littlejohn,

    Let’s say you’re a bridge inspector for the state. You inspect a bridge over the Mississippi and and discover huge cracks. It’s clear that the bridge will fail very soon.

    If you choose not to report the cracks, innocent people will die. Would it be morally acceptable not to report them?

  145. 145
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Evil and beauty are both subjective, but that doesn’t mean that they’re nonexistent.

    lol. And you pretend like we’re the one’s struggling to answer you. The antithesis of beauty is not evil.

    You either meant to say that beauty and ugliness are subjective, in which case it warrants a big who cares, or you meant to say that evil and good are subjective.

    What a fine materialist you are.

  146. 146
    keith s says:

    Mung:

    It’s a straw-god! Hide the fire!

    It’s exactly the God that many, if not most, Christians believe in.

    But do tell us about your particular God:

    Is he omnibenevolent? Omniscient? Omnipotent?

    Is he good? Does he allow evil? If so, why?

  147. 147
    StephenB says:

    KeithS

    No. Evil and beauty are both subjective, but that doesn’t mean that they’re nonexistent.

    You are running away from the question. What is evil?

  148. 148
    keith s says:

    You either meant to say that beauty and ugliness are subjective, in which case it warrants a big who cares, or you meant to say that evil and good are subjective.

    No, Mung, what I meant is what I wrote. The fact that something is subjective does not render it nonexistent.

  149. 149
    Mung says:

    keiths, you’re all over the map. It makes you look weak. As others have attempted to point out to you, you don’t even have an argument yet.

    If God exists there would be no evil or suffering.
    There is evil and suffering, therefore God does not exist.

    Can you say non sequitur?

    You claim unguided evolution better fits the evidence.

    But for that to even make sense good and evil would need to be objective, which you deny. There is nothing there, there, for unguided evolution to explain. It follows that it cannot be the better explanation.

    It’s back to the drawing board for keiths.

  150. 150
    StephenB says:

    Keiths “Is he good? Does he allow evil? If so, why?”

    Until you answer my questions, you will wallow in intellectual absurdity. Why should God prevent evil? Is there anything wrong with evil? Why would it be wrong?

  151. 151
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    You are running away from the question. What is evil?

    You are running away from the question, which is: Why does God, whom you regard as good, permit so many things that you regard as evil?

    Do you have an answer? If not, then why do you continue to believe in an all-powerful, perfectly loving God?

  152. 152
    StephenB says:

    No, Mung, what I meant is what I wrote. The fact that something is subjective does not render it nonexistent.

    If it is subjective, it means that it exists only in the mind of the subject and not for anyone else.

  153. 153
    keith s says:

    Mung,

    You wrote:

    It’s a straw-god! Hide the fire!

    I responded:

    It’s exactly the God that many, if not most, Christians believe in.

    But do tell us about your particular God:

    Is he omnibenevolent? Omniscient? Omnipotent?

    Is he good? Does he allow evil? If so, why?

    Tell us about your real God, as opposed to my “straw God”. Answer those questions.

  154. 154
    Mapou says:

    keith:

    Mapou,

    You made it onto the honor roll this year.

    Absolutely and I would not have it any other way. I worked hard to get to this point. But you’re still a gutless coward, though. You’re still erecting little strawmen (e.g., God is omnipotent and the creator of good and evil but he won’t get you toilet paper), furiously wrestling them down to the ground and proudly declaring victory. Pathetic.

  155. 155
    Mung says:

    Well keiths, I have to say this isn’t about “my” God, it’s about your “god.” It’s your argument. If you don’t like it, change it.

    That said, how do you suppose that a god with all the attributes you attribute to the “god” of your argument could ever experience suffering and pain?

    And yet, that’s precisely the central claim made by Christianity, which it seems you were introduced to but never wished to partake of.

  156. 156
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    You are running away from the question, which is: Why does God, whom you regard as good, permit so many things that you regard as evil?

    You will have to tell me what evil is before I can answer your question. You will also have to tell me why God should prevent it. At the moment all you are doing it telling me that God should prevent evil without telling me what it is or why it should be so. Why should God prevent something that subjective to you?

  157. 157
    keith s says:

    StephenB #142,

    You didn’t answer either of the questions.

    To refresh your memory, they were:

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    To actually answer those questions, you would need to write something like “God didn’t warn us of the tsunami because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    Regarding Jessica Chambers, you would need to write something like “God allowed Jessica Chambers to be burned alive because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

  158. 158
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    You will have to tell me what evil is before I can answer your question.

    No. Just use your own standard.

    You believe that God is perfectly good, correct?
    You believe that evil is not good, correct?
    If so, then explain to us why God permits evil to run rampant in the world he created.

    Remember, these are your beliefs. Can you justify them?

  159. 159
    keith s says:

    Mung,

    Well keiths, I have to say this isn’t about “my” God, it’s about your “god.”

    According to you, my argument addresses a “straw God”.

    So tell us about the real God that I should be addressing:

    Is he omnibenevolent? Omniscient? Omnipotent?

    Is he good? Does he allow evil? If so, why?

  160. 160
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    Evil and beauty are both subjective, but that doesn’t mean that they’re nonexistent.

    Evil has a subjective component and an objective component. I can explain it if you like, but first you will have to define evil in your own way so that I can correct your error. As it is, you don’t know the meaning of the word you are using..

  161. 161
    StephenB says:

    SB: You will have to tell me what evil is before I can answer your question.

    Keiths

    No. Just use your own standard.

    So you cannot define your terms? You don’t know what it is that God should prevent or why He should prevent it? If you don’t know what evil is or why God should prevent it, then what is the problem with God?

  162. 162
    keith s says:

    HD #121,

    It’s not God’s job. Period.

    But why? Parents love their children. It’s their job to keep their children safe. If your toddler starts to wander out into the street, it’s your job to stop her. If your six-year-old is walking over to pet the cute rabid raccoon in the back yard, it’s your job to intervene.

    Why wouldn’t a loving God intervene to prevent harm to his children?

  163. 163
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    You’re avoiding my questions.

    It’s understandable. What answers could you possible give that would make any sense?

  164. 164
    keith s says:

    Here’s a parable I offered on the TSZ thread:

    You are a child with an absentee father. Your mother and siblings all tell you how wonderful your father is; incredibly powerful, wise, and loving. Webcams and microphones are installed throughout the house. Your mother tells you that your father is constantly monitoring those so that he is aware of everything that happens in your home.

    A neighbor comes by periodically and beats you and your siblings with a baseball bat, in full view of the webcams. You cry out to your father, but he doesn’t respond, and despite all his power, he does nothing to prevent the beatings. When your uncle sexually abuses you, the same thing happens; you cry out to your father, but he does nothing to prevent the abuse. You begin to wonder if your father is loving after all, or whether he is as powerful as your mother claims. You even sometimes wonder if he exists at all. Maybe he’s dead, and your mother is just telling you an elaborate story to make you feel watched over and loved.

    You tell your mother about the beatings and the rape, and ask her why your father doesn’t intervene. She says that your father is far more loving and wise than you are, and that if he permits these atrocities, there must be a very good reason that’s beyond your ken. Perhaps he’s teaching you about perseverance in the face of suffering, or maybe it’s just really important to him that your neighbor and uncle be allowed to exercise their free will in beating and raping you.

    Would it be rational to accept your mother’s explanation? Is that the best explanation available?

    Of course not. It’s a ridiculous explanation, and the alternatives are far better.

    I hope it’s obvious how this analogy relates to the problem of evil, and why the theistic responses are so inadequate.

  165. 165
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    You have not answered my questions.

    I can answer your questions very easily. However, if I do, you will use those answers as a distraction to continue avoiding answering my questions.

    Here is my proposition: If I answer your questions and continue to answer them, will you answer my questions and continue to answer them (or else concede that you cannot answer them)

  166. 166
    Mung says:

    It’s amazing, isn’t it?

    The argument keiths is trying to make depends upon the objectivity of good and evil.

    He says they are subjective, but can’t seem to fathom why we don’t act like they are.

    It’s almost as if he thinks there is something we all OUGHT to find compelling about his “argument.”

    hilarious. really.

  167. 167
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Here’s a parable I offered on the TSZ thread:

    I don’t need a parable.

    All. Over. The. Map. Equals. Weak.

  168. 168
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    The problem of evil is not a problem for me, so my definition of evil is irrelevant. It’s a problem for certain omnitheists, most likely including you. I am not a theist. The standard of evil that matters is the theist’s standard, not mine.

    Adherents of divine command theory, like William Lane Craig, notoriously try to avoid the problem of evil by defining everything that God does as good, simply because he does it.

    Thus the genocide and killing of innocent children in the Old Testament are actually good things because God ordered them.

    Most of us reject that idea, but perhaps you don’t.

    Again:

    You believe that God is perfectly good, correct?

    You believe that evil is not good, correct?

    If so, then explain to us why the God you believe in permits evil to run rampant in the world he created.

    Remember, these are your beliefs. Can you justify them?

    And:

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

  169. 169
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    I hope it’s obvious how this analogy relates to the problem of evil, and why the theistic responses are so inadequate.

    You have yet to hear the theistic response, so you have no way of knowing if it is inadequate.

  170. 170
    Joe says:

    It’s exactly the God that many, if not most, Christians believe in.

    And yet every Christian here is telling you differently.

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    The Lord giveth and natural selection taketh away.

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    Because God allowed her to enter Heaven and that is the best of all outcomes. 😛

  171. 171
    Mung says:

    Mung: How do you suppose that a god with all the attributes you attribute to the “god” of your argument could ever experience suffering and pain?

    If keiths is not addressing his argument to THIS GOD then he is not arguing against Christianity. keiths knows this, so he tries to claim this God is “my God” as if “my God” is different from the god of his argument.

    And that’s exactly the point.

    If you are going to attack the God of Christianity, don’t make up some other God to substitute in His place. If keiths is attacking some other god, I could care less.

    keiths is faced with a conundrum.

  172. 172
    Joe says:

    You believe that God is perfectly good, correct?

    How is what anyone believes relevant?

  173. 173
    StephenB says:

    Keiths, do you accept the challenge or not,

    If I answer your questions and continue to answer them, will you answer my questions and continue to answer them (or else concede that you cannot answer them)

    Yes or no.

  174. 174
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    The problem of evil is not a problem for me, so my definition of evil is irrelevant.

    So “the problem of evil” had nothing to do with your rejection of Christianity?

  175. 175
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    I am not willing to change the subject, no.

    We are discussing the problem of evil. If you have an answer, please share it with us. If not, I’m interested in hearing whether the other theists here can answer my questions.

  176. 176
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    You have yet to hear the theistic response, so you have no way of knowing if it is inadequate.

    I’ve heard plenty of theistic responses, and I’ve read books on the topic such as David Bentley Hart’s The Doors of the Sea.

    What is your particular response to the problem of evil?

  177. 177
    Mung says:

    More hilarious nonsense from keiths:

    Thus the genocide and killing of innocent children in the Old Testament are actually good things because God ordered them.

    Most of us reject that idea, but perhaps you don’t.

    Apparently keiths thinks the children were not innocent and thus deserved to die.

    Most of us reject that idea, but perhaps you don’t.

    What idea does keiths reject, and why?

    Let’s assume that keiths rejects the idea that because God commanded the genocide and killing of innocent children in the Old Testament that the genocide and killing of innocent children in the Old Testament are actually good things because God ordered them.

    So what?

    keiths:

    The problem of evil is not a problem for me, so my definition of evil is irrelevant.

    The evidence indicates otherwise.

  178. 178
    Mung says:

    The OP of this thread is on the unlikelihood of our existence.

    All through the thread keiths has been trying to change the subject.

    keiths:

    I am not willing to change the subject, no.

    lol

  179. 179
    keith s says:

    An OP from TSZ:

    David B. Hart and the problem of evil

    Why do evil and suffering exist if the world is presided over by a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful and perfectly loving? That is the “problem of evil” in a nutshell. In an earlier post (and in the comments) I explained and argued against two common theistic responses to the problem of evil. Now I’ll tackle a third response from Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart.

    In the aftermath of the horrific Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, Hart addressed the problem of evil in a widely-read Wall Street Journal article, Tremors of Doubt: What kind of God would allow a deadly tsunami? He later expanded his argument into a second article, Tsunami and Theodicy, and a short book entitled The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? Because so many Christians have quoted Hart with enthusiasm (including Barry Arrington and Vincent Torley of UD in recent posts), it’s worth taking a closer look at his argument.

    Hart emphatically rejects the idea that God sets out to use evil or suffering as necessary means to a greater good:

    There is, of course, some comfort to be derived from the thought that everything that occurs at the level of what Aquinas calls secondary causality—in nature or history—is governed not only by a transcendent providence, but by a universal teleology that makes every instance of pain and loss an indispensable moment in a grand scheme whose ultimate synthesis will justify all things. But consider the price at which that comfort is purchased: it requires us to believe in and love a God whose good ends will be realized not only in spite of—but entirely by way of—every cruelty, every fortuitous misery, every catastrophe, every betrayal, every sin the world has ever known; it requires us to believe in the eternal spiritual necessity of a child dying an agonizing death from diphtheria, of a young mother ravaged by cancer, of tens of thousands of Asians swallowed in an instant by the sea, of millions murdered in death camps and gulags and forced famines. It seems a strange thing to find peace in a universe rendered morally intelligible at the cost of a God rendered morally loathsome.

    He sees evil and suffering as things that God works around, not through. They emanate entirely from the “powers” and “principalities” to which our fallen world is in thrall:

    The Christian understanding of evil has always been more radical and fantastic than that of any theodicist; for it denies from the outset that suffering, death and evil have any ultimate meaning at all. Perhaps no doctrine is more insufferably fabulous to non-Christians than the claim that we exist in the long melancholy aftermath of a primordial catastrophe, that this is a broken and wounded world, that cosmic time is the shadow of true time, and that the universe languishes in bondage to “powers” and “principalities”–spiritual and terrestrial–alien to God.

    And:

    In the New Testament, our condition as fallen creatures is explicitly portrayed as a subjugation to the subsidiary and often mutinous authority of angelic and demonic “powers;’ which are not able to defeat God’s transcendent and providential governance of all things, but which certainly are able to act against him within the limits of cosmic time.

    This raises an obvious question: why would God create a world in which the Fall, and the resulting evil and suffering, are possible? Hart says:

    God has fashioned creatures in his image so that they might be joined in a perfect union with him in the rational freedom of love. For that very reason, what God permits, rather than violate the autonomy of the created world, may be in itself contrary to what he wills.

    But if God chooses to permit evil and suffering, how does he evade responsibility for them? Hart writes:

    But there is no contradiction in saying that, in his omniscience, omnipotence, and transcendence of time, God can both allow created freedom its scope and yet so constitute the world that nothing can prevent him from bringing about the beatitude of his Kingdom.

    In other words, as long as everything ends well, God is off the hook for permitting temporary evil and suffering. Yet Hart also wants us to believe that God hates evil and suffering, even of the temporary variety:

    …when I see the death of a child I do not see the face of God, but the face of His enemy.

    So in Hart’s bizarre world, we have a God who supposedly hates evil and suffering, yet chooses to permit them — and somehow this is all okay because it’s only temporary. Good will triumph in the end.

    Hart continues in this bizarre vein:

    And while we know that the victory over evil and death has been won, we know also that it is a victory yet to come, and that creation therefore, as Paul says, groans in expectation of the glory that will one day be revealed. Until then, the world remains a place of struggle between light and darkness, truth and falsehood, life and death;

    What sort of omnipotent and loving God, having already “won the victory”, would fail to end evil and suffering immediately? It makes no sense, and neither does Hart’s argument.

    The problem of evil remains as much of a problem as ever for Christians. Yet there are obvious solutions to the problem that fit the evidence and are perfectly reasonable: a) accept that God doesn’t exist, or b) accept that God isn’t omnipotent, or c) accept that God isn’t perfectly benevolent. Despite the availability of these obvious solutions, most Christians will choose to cling to a view of God that has long since been falsified.

  180. 180
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    I am not willing to change the subject, no.

    keiths:

    So tell us about the real God that I should be addressing:

    Gee. Sorry. I, like you, am just not willing to change the subject.

  181. 181
    keith s says:

    keiths, to StephenB:

    The problem of evil is not a problem for me, so my definition of evil is irrelevant.

    Mung:

    So “the problem of evil” had nothing to do with your rejection of Christianity?

    It did, but my concept of evil was quite different before I deconverted.

  182. 182
    StephenB says:

    SB: Keiths, do you accept the challenge or not,

    If I answer your questions and continue to answer them, will you answer my questions and continue to answer them (or else concede that you cannot answer them)

    Yes or no.

    Keiths

    StephenB,

    I am not willing to change the subject, no.

    OK, so you are not prepared to dialogue. I will, therefore have to assume the role of teacher and you will have to be my student. Please do not presume to elevate our discussion to the level of a dialogue again or presume to be my peer since you willingly forfeited that privilege by refusing to submit your ideas scrutiny.

    First, let’s define evil since you obviously do not understand what it is. Evil has an objective component and a subjective component:

    Objectively, evil is a privation of the good. In order for evil to exist, it must exist as the absence of something. It cannot be a substance or species of some kind. Obviously, then, evil cannot exist unless the good that is being withheld, deprived, or missing also exists.

    Subjectively, evil is a perversion of the will. In that sense, it is present inside the person as a proclivity to act in a perverted way, that is, in a way that prevents self or others from obtaining a good that they might otherwise have.

    We are discussing the problem of evil. If you have an answer, please share it with us. If not, I’m interested in hearing whether the other theists here can answer my questions.

    Well, first, you must understand what evil is. At the moment, you are just throwing the word around without any understanding of what you are talking about.

  183. 183
    StephenB says:

    Keiths to Mung

    It did, but my concept of evil was quite different before I deconverted.

    You don’t have a concept of evil. I asked you to define it and you couldn’t do it.

  184. 184
    keith s says:

    Mung and StephenB don’t have answers, but what about the rest of you?

    StephenB #142,

    You didn’t answer either of the questions.

    To refresh your memory, they were:

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    To actually answer those questions, you would need to write something like “God didn’t warn us of the tsunami because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    Regarding Jessica Chambers, you would need to write something like “God allowed Jessica Chambers to be burned alive because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

  185. 185
    Joe says:

    Strange that there isn’t any “problem of evil” for anyone but the anti-religious zealots. And we have never met an atheist accept an answer to the alleged problem.

    So why should religious people care about what willfully ignorant atheists have to say about God?

  186. 186
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    Because there was no reason for God to do so. Haven’t you ever heard of a weather forecast?

    Do you think God should have warned us personally and not through the weatherman? If so, why do you think so? Oh, I forgot. You are afraid to answer questions or define terms.

    Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    Because He would have to eliminate free will and the consequences of freely chosen acts to do so, which would mean that they would no longer be freely chosen acts. Do you think God should have prevented Jessica Chambers from being burned alive by eliminating free will? If so, why do you think so?

    You said evil was subjective, and, in this case, the subjective opinion of the torturer was that he was not doing an evil act. So, what’s your problem?

    Oh, that’s right, you are afraid to answer questions.

    I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    Why would you be surprised? Your questions pose no challenge.

  187. 187
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    Keiths; Hey everybody–anybody– can you solve “the problem of evil?”

    Everybody: What is the “problem of evil?”

    Keiths: Beats the hell out of me.

    You’ve got to love it.

  188. 188
    keith s says:

    keiths:

    Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    StephenB:

    Because there was no reason for God to do so. Haven’t you ever heard of a weather forecast?

    Do you know what a tsunami is, Stephen?

  189. 189
    keith s says:

    keiths:

    Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    StephenB:

    Because He would have to eliminate free will and the consequences of freely chosen acts to do so, which would mean that they would no longer be freely chosen acts.

    No, he wouldn’t. I explained this to Andre earlier in the thread:

    There’s a simple solution, and I described it in my TSZ thread:

    Before God creates a person, he uses his omniscience to look ahead and ask whether that person will commit murder. If the answer is no, he proceeds. If the answer is yes, he refrains from creating that person and creates someone else instead — someone he knows will not become a murderer.

    He hasn’t changed anyone’s nature. Each person is completely free, and yet no one commits murder, because they all freely choose not to.

    If theists try to argue that by refraining from creating someone, God would be denying that person’s free will, then they put themselves in a bind — because that means that God is already denying free will to the gazillions of possible persons he never creates.

    Of course, this also works for any other kind of evil God wants to prevent. Why doesn’t he do it?

  190. 190
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers,

    The exchanges since about 120 above would be funny if they were not so sadly revealing of what has been going on.

    I note:

    KS, 157 etc: I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    But of course, he so assumes that he is lord of the matter that he obviously did not bother to make acquaintance of a linked 101 summary of a major, even epochal answer to the problem of evil, that has been on record for some 40 years now. One that moved off the table the logical form of the problem, and put the inductive form in due proportion suitable for answering through Judaeo-Christian, redemptive theism. Where, the existential form is pastoral in nature and is also addressed by way of a video dealing with rape.

    In addition, KS has — now, sadly predictably — dodged the underlying issue that the reality and objectionableness of evil point precisely to the need for an IS capable of grounding OUGHT. And, indeed, are evidence pointing to God.

    And, oh yes, those who would indict Christendom, or at least those troubled by arguments from the evils of theistic cultures, might find here on helpful.

    So, now, let us roll the tape on what KS obviously refused to pay attention to before running on with his drumbeat of long since sell-by date talking points:

    ______________

    >>125 kairosfocus December 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help.

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution [–> and notice, the pivotal significance of another unjust execution at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and the answer it provides to evils . . . ] — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.>>
    ______________

    I predict, on track record, that KS will again ignore or pretzel-twist the matter into a strawman caricature.

    Let us hope that, at length, he will finally prove such wrong.

    KF

    PS: While we wait, we might want to view Koukl’s lecture, here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifl9z_wy-OM

  191. 191
    Joe says:

    keith is creating the strawman that there is one and only one future for everyone. And according to the big religions God only Created the first humans. All the rest are descended with modification. So no, keith, God doesn’t Create each and every one of us.

    keith doesn’t want anyone to take responsibility for their actions.

    Do you know what a tsunami is, Stephen?

    Do YOU know what natural selection is, keith?

  192. 192
    keith s says:

    KF,

    Had you been a bit more diligent, you would have noticed that I have already addressed your objection:

    Theists,

    Most of you are making the same mistake. It doesn’t matter whether I think that evil exists (I do, but I don’t think that it is objective evil). What matters is what you, as theists, believe.

    As long as

    1) you believe in an omniGod;
    2) you believe that God is good according to some standard of good and evil; and
    3) you believe that the world is full of evil by that same standard;

    …then you face the problem of evil. Why does God allow so much evil and suffering?

    At TSZ, I wrote:

    A theist can always say “God moves in mysterious ways, and it’s all for the best in the end” to excuse any particular instance of evil in the world. It is logically possible that this is correct, and that the slaughter of 220,000 people in the 2004 tsunami (for example) is really a good thing in some cosmic sense.

    It’s highly implausible, however, and much better explanations are available. Here are three:

    a) that God isn’t omnipotent, or
    b) that God isn’t perfectly good by our standards, or
    c) that the God with the specified characteristics simply does not exist.

    I vote for (c), of course.

  193. 193
    StephenB says:

    SB: Because He would have to eliminate free will and the consequences of freely chosen acts to do so, which would mean that they would no longer be freely chosen acts.

    Keiths

    No, he wouldn’t. I explained this to Andre earlier in the thread:

    Explain it to me.

  194. 194
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, your repetition of a classic strawman caricature is a sign that you did not actually take time to examine the force of Plantinga’s response, which — forty years ago, on famous public record, at trilogy length! — definitively answered the logical form of the problem of evil and allowed us to put the inductive form in due proportion. When you show us that you have duly examined the core logical error in your presentation and the reason why the augmented theistic set shows there CANNOT be a contradiction in what serious theists actually believe concerning the nature of God, per the logic of contradiction, then we can make some progress. KF

  195. 195
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    Do you know what a tsunami is, Stephen?

    Do you know what a tsunami warning center is, Keiths?

  196. 196
    keith s says:

    Joe:

    Strange that there isn’t any “problem of evil” for anyone but the anti-religious zealots.

    William Lane Craig, “anti-religious zealot”:

    The problem of evil is certainly the greatest obstacle to belief in the existence of God.

    Joe, you crack me up.

  197. 197
    Dionisio says:

    @186 StephenB

    this is something you quoted from someone else:

    Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    why should God have to?

    Who determines what God does or doesn’t do?

    Do we the creatures determine what the Creator does or doesn’t do?

    Really?

    What God are we talking about here?

    A figment in our corrupted imaginations?

    Or the sovereign almighty God described in the Scriptures?

    BTW, why didn’t God prevent His only begotten son from being crucified? Why?

    Why did Jesus submit Himself to such a humiliating and painful death? Why?

    Couldn’t God have avoided it?

    Why didn’t God do it differently?

    Why didn’t God consult with us before doing anything?

  198. 198
    StephenB says:

    kairosfocus:

    KS, your repetition of a classic strawman caricature is a sign that you did not actually take time to examine the force of Plantinga’s response, which — forty years ago, on famous public record, at trilogy length! — definitively answered the logical form of the problem of evil and allowed us to put the inductive form in due proportion. When you show us that you have duly examined the core logical error in your presentation and the reason why the augmented theistic set shows there CANNOT be a contradiction in what serious theists actually believe concerning the nature of God, per the logic of contradiction, then we can make some progress. KF

    KF, Keiths is afraid to answer any question or meet any challenge. When confronted, he simply runs away. He wants to scrutinize without being scrutinized. He has no intellectual confidence in his own position, so the dialogue is always one-sided, skewed, and perverse. His rhetoric is bold but his interaction is timid.

  199. 199
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    Now that you know what a tsunami is (have you been living under a rock, by the way?), did it occur to you to check whether the folks in danger actually got a warning?

    From Wikipedia:

    Despite a lag of up to several hours between the earthquake and the impact of the tsunami, nearly all of the victims were taken completely by surprise. There were no tsunami warning systems in the Indian Ocean to detect tsunamis or to warn the general populace living around the ocean.

  200. 200
    StephenB says:

    Dionisio

    why should God have to?

    I agree. There is no reason why God should have to. I asked Keiths the same question, but he is afraid to answer. Perhaps you can bring him out of his shell. Don’t ask me, ask him.

  201. 201
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, again, you need to attend to the response that has been there all along. Let’s roll the tape one more time, from 190 (noting that the first link takes us to an extensive 101 level discussion that is in the context of much wider discussions on linked concerns):

    >>>>>>

    The exchanges since about 120 above would be funny if they were not so sadly revealing of what has been going on.

    I note:

    KS, 157 etc: I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    But of course, he so assumes that he is lord of the matter that he obviously did not bother to make acquaintance of a linked 101 summary of a major, even epochal answer to the problem of evil, that has been on record for some 40 years now. One that moved off the table the logical form of the problem, and put the inductive form in due proportion suitable for answering through Judaeo-Christian, redemptive theism. Where, the existential form is pastoral in nature and is also addressed by way of a video dealing with rape.

    In addition, KS has — now, sadly predictably — dodged the underlying issue that the reality and objectionableness of evil point precisely to the need for an IS capable of grounding OUGHT. And, indeed, are evidence pointing to God.

    And, oh yes, those who would indict Christendom, or at least those troubled by arguments from the evils of theistic cultures, might find here on helpful.

    So, now, let us roll the tape on what KS obviously refused to pay attention to before running on with his drumbeat of long since sell-by date talking points:

    ______________

    >>125 kairosfocus December 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help.

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution [–> and notice, the pivotal significance of another unjust execution at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and the answer it provides to evils . . . ] — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.>>
    ______________

    I predict, on track record, that KS will again ignore or pretzel-twist the matter into a strawman caricature.

    Let us hope that, at length, he will finally prove such wrong.

    KF

    PS: While we wait, we might want to view Koukl’s lecture, here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifl9z_wy-OM

    >>>>>>

    I await a sign that you have attended to the difference between your strawman argument and the properly augmented theistic set. Just, for starters.

    KF

  202. 202
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    Now that you know what a tsunami is (have you been living under a rock, by the way?), did it occur to you to check whether the folks in danger actually got a warning?

    I know what a tsunami is, you nitwit. The problem is that there is no reason why God should have to warn people when their neighbors should be doing it in His place. Do you really expect God to personally warn every individual who is in danger? Do you expect him to warn you if you forget to look both ways before crossing the street? Are you really that intellectually challenged?

  203. 203
    Dionisio says:

    @200 StephenB

    I asked rhetorical questions, because I knew you knew the answers.
    However, I prefer not to waste my time discussing anything with people who are not interested in the discussion at all.
    That’s why I asked you, because you analyze the question before answering it. Your interlocutors don’t seem to do so. Perhaps because our hearts are deceiving and have no natural cure. Only supernatural healing is available to all. But not all will accept it.

  204. 204
    StephenB says:

    SB: Because He would have to eliminate free will and the consequences of freely chosen acts to do so, which would mean that they would no longer be freely chosen acts.

    Keiths

    No, he wouldn’t. I explained this to Andre earlier in the thread:

    SB:

    Explain it to me.

    Keiths, I am still waiting. Explain it to me.

  205. 205
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus,

    KS, your repetition of a classic strawman caricature is a sign that you did not actually take time to examine the force of Plantinga’s response, which — forty years ago, on famous public record, at trilogy length! — definitively answered the logical form of the problem of evil and allowed us to put the inductive form in due proportion.

    My argument deals with the evidential problem of evil, not the logical problem, and I have already explained why Plantinga’s free will defense does not work:

    There’s a simple solution, and I described it in my TSZ thread:

    Before God creates a person, he uses his omniscience to look ahead and ask whether that person will commit murder. If the answer is no, he proceeds. If the answer is yes, he refrains from creating that person and creates someone else instead — someone he knows will not become a murderer.

    He hasn’t changed anyone’s nature. Each person is completely free, and yet no one commits murder, because they all freely choose not to.

    If theists try to argue that by refraining from creating someone, God would be denying that person’s free will, then they put themselves in a bind — because that means that God is already denying free will to the gazillions of possible persons he never creates.

    Of course, this also works for any other kind of evil God wants to prevent. Why doesn’t he do it?

  206. 206
    keith s says:

    StephenB, now:

    I know what a tsunami is, you nitwit.

    A few comments ago:

    keiths:

    Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    StephenB:

    Because there was no reason for God to do so. Haven’t you ever heard of a weather forecast?

    A weather forecast.

  207. 207
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The matter of tsunami warning is not so simple as KS makes out. Not only do we have the case of the little girl on vacation who — having been taught signs in school, recognised and gave a warning that saved many (pointing to a point of neglect in for example training of resort staff in a zone of known hazard), but we have both the point of means available and warnings not taken on board because systems and staff that in retrospect should have been in place were not; the old issue of least regrets vs the march of wise in own eyes folly. Here, we had warnings from the 1930’s based on two episodes of volcano-tectonic events in 30 years, not heeded and the ground breaking studies of the mid 80’s that even made it into a children’s book on volcanoes. Again not heeded, even in the aftermath of rebuilding after another known hazard and neglect, hurricane Hugo. Then we had a build-up from 1992 – 5, and a two year ramping up of eruptions until the fatal events from June to August 1997. I recall a public meeting Oct 30 1995 in which I took time to read from Nat Geog on the Mt St Helens disaster and warn on the risks being run. Two major general warnings were given by responsible volcanologists at the same time. Others gave warning. We were subjected to official threats to the point where I had to give grim warning to officials on clan- consequences of something untoward happening with me. (A topic that has had to come up again . . . and with some of the same individuals.) Warners were characterised as subversives and threatened when the next major emergency evacuation happened at the beginning of December. And we can go on and on. Such, are examples of the much broader problem of implications of choices that seem wise in our own eyes until after the fact of disaster; individual, community, global, temporal and eternal. And, all such point onward to the underlying issue that the already linked discussion addresses . . . a discussion that is itself in the same context of warning in the face of the tendency to be wise in one’s own eyes.

  208. 208
    keith s says:

    StephenB:

    The problem is that there is no reason why God should have to warn people when their neighbors should be doing it in His place.

    The neighbors didn’t know either, Stephen. There was no tsunami warning center.

    Your omniscient God knew the tsunami was coming. He knew that more than 220,000 people would die if there was no warning.

    He issued no warning. Why?

  209. 209
    StephenB says:

    Dionisio

    That’s why I asked you, because you analyze the question before answering it. Your interlocutors don’t seem to do so.

    Yes, I understand. I just wanted to dramatize the point that KeithS does not have enough intellectual confidence to defend his anti-intellectual rantings. This happens thread after thread. He is simply afraid to enter into any kind of rational dialogue or even submit to the discipline of defining his own terms. He just throws words around and hopes that they will add up to something if they are semi-organized ito a sentence structure decorated with a few punctuation marks.

  210. 210
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, if you bothered to read (and view), you would see that the linked deals with the logical, inductive and existential/pastoral forms of the problem of evils, and that there is in fact extensive and serious literature on the three forms; i.e. there is a grand strawmannish stereotyping at work. Further, there is a worldviews foundation issue also addressed that — on fair comment — you have spent dozens of comments ducking, the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world-foundation IS capable of grounding OUGHT as binding; without which — as further fair comment — your declared concerns evaporate into little more than rhetorically manipulating the pain of people to push an intellectually irresponsible talking point agenda. Where also, the point is, this whole exercise is a grand threadjacking given the focus of this thread vs the availability of another that was set up for such topics. As I have noted, it is significant that this thread on fine tuning has been diverted on theology and philosophy whilst the thread on such issues has met a priori evolutionary materialism dressed up in a lab coat. KF

    PS: Observe also, 207 on responsibility of decision makers and neighbours.

  211. 211
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus:

    PS: The matter of tsunami warning is not so simple as KS makes out.

    KF,

    Are you serious? You think that tsunami warnings are beyond the reach of an omnipotent God?

    If your God actually exists, then he knew that 220,000 people were going to die. He knew that tiny children would be wrenched out of their mothers’ arms to drown, frightened and alone.

    Yet he did nothing. How do you explain that?

    It makes no sense in terms of your imagined God.

    Here are three much better answers:

    a) God isn’t omnipotent, or
    b) God isn’t perfectly good by our standards, or
    c) God doesn’t exist.

    Follow the evidence where it leads, folks.

  212. 212
    keith s says:

    KF,

    Can you answer my questions?

    I’ll repeat them here for your convenience:

    StephenB #142,

    You didn’t answer either of the questions.

    To refresh your memory, they were:

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    To actually answer those questions, you would need to write something like “God didn’t warn us of the tsunami because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    Regarding Jessica Chambers, you would need to write something like “God allowed Jessica Chambers to be burned alive because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    [Emphasis added]

  213. 213
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    You didn’t answer either of the questions.

    I answered both questions. You didn’t like the answers because you could not offer a counter argument. So, you simply lied and said that I didn’t answer the questions. Would you like to take up each lie one at a time?

  214. 214
    keith s says:

    Stephen,

    My questions are for KF now. I was requoting them for his convenience.

    I rebutted your answers here and here.

  215. 215
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, again and again, you have been directed to where you can find relevant resources at 101 level, there being an extensive literature that goes all the way to world class professional level, in which light your arguments and talking points are fully forty years out of date. In response, you have consistently ducked, dodged and gone on to push talking points that should be modified in light of those referenced discussions. Where, too, much of your argumentation constitutes a demand that the world be made over in ways that you wish, ways that show no evidence of being seriously thought through on issues like, what if we live in a soul-making world in which we are truly free and responsible with minds of our own and duties of care to attend to but are not forced to do the right . . . not one designed for our every pleasure, indulgence and comfort? [As in, a pivotal theme of the Gospel — which pivots on the Divine overturning in God’s good time of a nasty power play culminating in unjust execution of an innocent man; which has its own separate warrant that should be heeded, cf. here at 101 level.] At no point — on fair comment — have you shown any more that a superficial, dismissive glance. The unresponsiveness on your part, on track record of several weeks, is unfortunately typical and now goes to drawing conclusions on agenda and person behind the agenda. I suggest, you may find it wise to reconsider the path you have taken. KF

  216. 216
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus,

    The questions are simple and straightforward. You are afraid to answer them because the answers you would give would be unconvincing, even to you.

    Given the evidence, it is irrational to believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God.

    If you disagree, then persuade us by answering my two questions.

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    To actually answer those questions, you would need to write something like “God didn’t warn us of the tsunami because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    Regarding Jessica Chambers, you would need to write something like “God allowed Jessica Chambers to be burned alive because _______”, and fill in the blank.

  217. 217
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    The neighbors didn’t know either, Stephen. There was no tsunami warning center.

    It is not God’s responsibility to prod the authorities to set up a warning system for earthquakes or tsunamis, just as it is not God’s responsibility to prod authorities to warn citizens about tornadoes, hurricanes, meteors, or floods. It is their responsibility to do it for themselves and for each other.

    Your omniscient God knew the tsunami was coming. He knew that more than 220,000 people would die if there was no warning.

    He issued no warning. Why?

    Because He is under no obligation to do so and because His creatures almost always ignore his warnings anyway, as is evident from the historical record. Many people are like you. When God does go above and beyond the call of duty, warning them they are in danger, they laugh in his face.

  218. 218
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    I rebutted your answers

    No. You evaded both points, which I repeated and elaborated on @217,

    Also, there is the problem that you are afraid to answer my questions.

  219. 219
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    You refuted and showed me zip….. Please and make this the last time you ever say;

    Given the evidence, it is irrational to believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God.

    As a materialist you can lay no claim reason and logic because reason and logic is grounded in an unchanging standard. If everything is subjective then there is no such thing as reason and logic.

  220. 220
    StephenB says:

    SB: Because He would have to eliminate free will and the consequences of freely chosen acts to do so, which would mean that they would no longer be freely chosen acts.

    Keiths

    No, he wouldn’t [have to eliminate free will to stop evil acts]. I explained this to Andre earlier in the thread:

    SB:

    Explain it to me.

    Keiths, (for the third time) I am still waiting. Explain it to me.

  221. 221
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    I explained it already. You can read it again here.

  222. 222
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    And just to put this to bed God takes full responsibility for all natural evil…..

    Exodus 4:11 “he LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?”

    Isaiah 45:7 “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.”

    So the all powerful Creator who is perfectly loving takes full responsibility for all natural evil, moral evil however er is our own responsibility and the choice to do good or evil is ours. You want God to intervene every time? Well then there will be no such thing as miracles and what was once supernatural will become natural (No more science BTW because everything will be an act of God all the time). But here is why it does not work like Keith S wants… If God constantly revealed himself to everyone there is no point to free will.

    So what Keith S is really angry about is the fact that God gave him free will, because he wants a God that constantly meddles, intervenes, and settles matters as he sees fit. Keith S really wants a scapegoat so that he does not have to give an account of anything one day.

  223. 223
    keith s says:

    StephenB:

    It is not God’s responsibility to prod the authorities to set up a warning system for earthquakes or tsunamis, just as it is not God’s responsibility to prod authorities to warn citizens about tornadoes, hurricanes, meteors, or floods. It is their responsibility to do it for themselves and for each other.

    Stephen,

    Let me ask you the same question I asked littlejohn:

    littlejohn,

    Let’s say you’re a bridge inspector for the state. You inspect a bridge over the Mississippi and and discover huge cracks. It’s clear that the bridge will fail very soon.

    If you choose not to report the cracks, innocent people will die. Would it be morally acceptable not to report them?

  224. 224
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    No, he wouldn’t [have to eliminate free will to stop evil acts]. I explained this to Andre earlier in the thread:

    I’m getting pop-corn please explain how preventing me from doing evil does not impede on my free will?

    Are you saying that God could make us all as goodie two shoes that could not have the ability to commit any evil acts? And also drop us on a planet where nothing could ever go wrong?

    Do you understand that there can be no free will in such a world Keith S because you never ever have to choose anything ever!

    Problems with such a world…..

    You can not kill or be killed.
    Everybody’s sports team will win every single time
    Everybody will always win the lotto
    You will have no emotions because everything is perfect!
    You can’t feel pain because you’ll never bump a toe!
    There will never be any scenarios for you to choose what to do because everything is perfect!

    1 Corinthians 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

    The perfect part is coming Keith S but only after we have chosen what we want.

  225. 225
    keith s says:

    Andre:

    Are you saying that God could make us all as goodie two shoes that could not have the ability to commit any evil acts? And also drop us on a planet where nothing could ever go wrong?

    First, let me reiterate that libertarian free will is an incoherent concept. I’m assuming that LFW is possible, but only for the sake of argument.

    Here’s what I’m saying:

    1. Suppose that God gives each of us free will.

    2. An omniscient God knows what each person will freely choose to do before he decides to create that person.

    3. If that person is going to do something evil, God has the option of deciding not to create that person.

    4. Therefore, any evil that a person commits is God’s responsibility, because a) God knew that it was going to happen, and b) God chose to create the person anyway.

  226. 226
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    Before God creates a person, he uses his omniscience to look ahead and ask whether that person will commit murder. If the answer is no, he proceeds. If the answer is yes, he refrains from creating that person and creates someone else instead — someone he knows will not become a murderer.

    Where in the name of sense did you come up with this? It has absolutely nothing to do with the free will argument. Nothing. If God created only those people whose actions were going to please him, then everyone would have free will and everyone would be a saint since no one else would have been allowed to exist.

    He hasn’t changed anyone’s nature. Each person is completely free, and yet no one commits murder, because they all freely choose not to.

    Yes, and we might as well apply your perverse logic to the angels as well. God knew which ones would fall and which ones would not, so He created only those who would not fall and everyone lived happily ever after. As a bonus, no human would ever get temped. Your fanstasy has absolutely nothing to do with my argument. Nothing

    If theists try to argue that by refraining from creating someone, God would be denying that person’s free will, then they put themselves in a bind — because that means that God is already denying free will to the gazillions of possible persons he never creates.

    I can’t imagine that any Christian would be so stupid as to argue that someone who was created with free will doesn’t have free will. Now, if you don’t mind, put away the nonsense and deal with my rebuttal.

    Keiths

    Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    Because He would have to eliminate free will and the consequences of freely chosen acts to do so, which would mean that they would no longer be freely chosen acts. Do you think God should have prevented Jessica Chambers from being burned alive by eliminating free will? If so, why do you think so?

  227. 227
    Mapou says:

    Keith has a beef against a subset of Christians known as fundamentalists. I am a hard core Christian but my idea of God is not anything like the idea of God that he’s attacking. I don’t believe for a moment that God is omniscient and omnipotent. These are silly Sunday school fables. Biblical scriptures do not support this view. In fact, they say the exact opposite.

  228. 228
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    It’s kind of pitiful that I have to explain this, but here goes.

    What I am describing in that passage is what God could have done to prevent evil while at the same time granting everyone free will.

    In other words, the free will defense doesn’t work, because an omniscient God can prevent evil without thwarting anyone’s free will.

  229. 229
    keith s says:

    Mapou,

    I’ll let you fight it out with your fellow Christians.

  230. 230
    Me_Think says:

    KF @ 215

    PS: The matter of tsunami warning is not so simple as KS makes out. Not only do we have the case of the little girl on vacation who — having been taught signs in school, recognised and gave a warning that saved many

    Don’t you find it strange that God chose to warn about tsunami through a hapless child frantically pantomiming to thousands of people?

    StephenB @ 226

    Because He would have to eliminate free will and the consequences of freely chosen acts to do so, which would mean that they would no longer be freely chosen acts

    Do you realize that you seem to be supporting suicide bombers?

  231. 231
    Box says:

    StephenB #198: Keiths is afraid to answer any question or meet any challenge. When confronted, he simply runs away. He wants to scrutinize without being scrutinized. He has no intellectual confidence in his own position, so the dialogue is always one-sided, skewed, and perverse.

    Isn’t this the typical materialist’ position? Whenever I debate a materialist I’m fully aware of the fact that I allow him/her to participate as if they are actual persons who are capable of reasoning. This is kindness on my part, since everyone knows that under materialism the person and rationality are mere “illusions” – in reality fermions and bosons are behind the steering wheel.
    So indeed, to engage in a dialogue with a materialist is in principle “one-sided, skewed, and perverse”.

  232. 232
    Seversky says:

    Mapou @ 227

    I don’t believe for a moment that God is omniscient and omnipotent. These are silly Sunday school fables. Biblical scriptures do not support this view. In fact, they say the exact opposite.

    Obviously, you are free to believe whatever you like but if yours is not the tri-omni God in which many Christians believe then what is it other than some sort of advanced – but not all-powerful – alien intelligence? It doesn’t sound like something to worship, something that could create the Universe or bestow everlasting life on its followers.

  233. 233
    CharlieM says:

    Hi Seversky, have you considered that God is all-loving. In order to give unconditional love an all-powerful being would have to relinquish some of its power.

    For example God was incarnate in Jesus. This was a sacrifice of power because of love for each and every human. It is easy to say that God is omnipotent; but to justify this statement is not so easy. Didn’t Satan temp Jesus to take back some of the power he had relinquished?

    As a general note: If parents were to pamper to the every need of their child such as bringing them toilet paper when they run out they would probably end up with a spoiled child. Better to allow the child increasing freedom as it developed. That way it is bound to make mistakes but it will become a better person because of this. In future it will have the wisdom to check in advance that there is enough toilet paper, or if it has no access to any toilet paper it will have to experience going without which is no bad thing in the long run.

  234. 234

    The concept of any meaningful “good” and “evil” requires a god of some sort (as objective moral foundation). Certainly, a god of some sort must be postulated as a necessary basis for this and other epistemological reasons.

    Yes, a god of some sort must exist to serve as the basis of good; and what we call good must be derived from that essential grounding of good. So, god must not only be good, but the standard of what good is.

    However, that alone doesn’t let keith’s challengers off the hook here. Keith is challenging a specific conceptualization of god which, if true, raises some very real logical problems that drive people away from theism because they see no palatable rational explanations. These same kinds of challenges drove me from theism many years ago.

    It’s one thing to understand that god is a necessary being; it’s another thing entirely to conceptualize god and our existence in an intellectually and emotionally satisfying way that at least in principle accounts for what we actually see in the world.

    My own theism isn’t subject to keith’s argument because it doesn’t hold to keith’s (or most Christians) conceptualization of what god and existence is. For me, and I imagine for keith and many others, it’s not enough for a god to be a necessary being; it must also be an intellectually and emotionally satisfying concept that isn’t full of glaring, troubling discrepancies that appeal to faith to overlook.

    While one doesn’t expect all questions to be answerable, and while some mystery must remain, keith is not raising mere quibbles here. I’m the first guy to point out when keith has a bad argument; these don’t appear to me bad arguments given the premises. These are real issues that can drive people away from theism.

    I suggest theists here take the time to respond to keith’s challenges thoroughly whether or not keith interacts in good faith in the discourse. This is too important a matter to leave up to keith to drive the dialogue. I also would like to hear how theists here reconcile their concept of god with the gist of keith’s challenges.

    Is he employing faulty premises wrt your conceptualization of god? Wrt your conceptualization of existence? Free will? For example, my view of God’s “omnipotence” is that it is not “magical” omnipotence; there are necessary constraints on what god can create, and whatever god creates, there are necessary logical implications and necessary effects manifested by any creation.

    In my view, god cannot create any “X” without necessarily creating “not-X” as the context or negative space within which X is an actual, discernible commodity. IOW, god cannot create anything good without also creating the negative space that gives good definition. The potential for great good requires the potential for great evil, just as a painting cannot have great contrast without both very light and very dark areas.

    Keith’s premises and my view diverge in many fundamental ways, but I would be interested in hearing from other theists more elaboration on their views in this matter.

  235. 235
    bornagain77 says:

    Eric Metaxas: Marriage, Miracles & Movies – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31VEEJVs8LY
    Joy interviews Eric Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer, about broken bones, marriage, his philosophy on dating, his new book MIRACLES and his upcoming movie!

  236. 236
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, an adequate answer for reasonable people has been given. KF

  237. 237
    kairosfocus says:

    MT,

    Do you think it strange that the almighty God would communicate to people as a newborn baby in a feeding trough in a stable? Or, would hang in agony from a cross — the cruel means of execution for the lowest of the low? Being there as a victim of judicial murder because of nasty power politics?

    Here is a response on such, that should bring us all up short:

    1 Cor 1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.”

    20 Where is the wise man?

    Where is the expert in the Mosaic law?

    Where is the debater of this age?

    Has God not made the wisdom of the world foolish?

    21 For since in the wisdom of God the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching. 22 For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom, 23 but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.

    24 But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. [NET]

  238. 238
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, useful questions, I suggest that KS and many others are in fact off base in their portrayal of the God of theism, and before he gets that far, that he has left unanswered the IS-OUGHT gap, which forces us to seriously consider as the IS that grounds ought, the creator-God who is a necessary and maximally great being. I add that at this level, there will always be difficulties and concerns and limits of our understanding of the core of ANY worldview, and I will note that too often Christians are not particularly theologically, biblically or philosophically sophisticated on a subject that gets rather deep very quickly and often without warning. (My own experience started at age 3 when we had a vine that died and the gardener chopped it, so I asked questions about life and death and finally my father said God made living things and man made non living ones. Promptly, I floored dad with, who made God? He said ask pastor. Sunday as soon as service was over I ran down the aisle, Pastor, pastor, who made God? He caught me up and explained simply, concerning infinite regress and necessary, ultimate beings, which I have never forgotten.) But then, in the first classes we were dealing with in Math back in grade school, we were at the threshold of infinity, the infinitesimal, transcendental numbers and more, and were blissfully unaware, being gently steered to one side or the other by our teachers. I suspect that much of the issue is, that we are less likely to get into major mathematics and linked phil debates, and certainly in a less contentious atmosphere, than with theology and philosophy. KF

    PS: I have already linked, at 101 level:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_gdvsevl

    . . . and this may be a beginning on the Nicene Creed summary of the Christian understanding of God:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u3_maker

    (Beware, a serious Systematic Theology will generally be 3 – 6,000 pp.)

  239. 239
    Me_Think says:

    kairosfocus @ 237
    No body minds if God wants to manifest Himself in various strange ways, but warning about an impending huge wave about to wipe out thousands of hapless humans (including children) through a child who is mute (dumb is archaic word) is absolutely underwhelming and not expected of omnipotent being.

  240. 240
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    @Me_think in 239

    What about a warning about a universal impending judgement about to fall on everyone through a humble carpenter in a backwoods town of a minor province in the empire?

    According to the wisdom of the world such a thing “is absolutely underwhelming and not expected of omnipotent being”.

    That is the point

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBCVIJBB7o4

    Merry Christmas

    peace

  241. 241
    Me_Think says:

    fifthmonarchyman @ 240

    What about a warring about a universal impending judgement about to fall on everyone through a humble carpenter in a backwoods town of a minor province in the empire

    That is not the view of other religions. They have their own omnipotent being(s) and His emissary, but your comment is just Pretzels twisting 🙂 and deploying chaffs 🙂 to change the direction of tsunami issue.
    Merry Christmas to you too.

  242. 242
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Me_Thinks says,

    but your comment is just Pretzels twisting and deploying chaffs to change the direction of tsunami issue.

    I say.

    No it’s not. I’m pointing out that you make unwarranted assumptions about what God would do in a given situation and when God does not act according to your assumptions you conclude he does not exist.

    That is the best example of foolishness in the Biblical sense That I can think of right now.

  243. 243

    kf said:

    I add that at this level, there will always be difficulties and concerns and limits of our understanding of the core of ANY worldview, and I will note that too often Christians are not particularly theologically, biblically or philosophically sophisticated on a subject that gets rather deep very quickly and often without warning.

    Agreed, and I don’t hold that against any Christians – but I think it’s what largely rhetorical arguments against Christianity bank on – the inability of many Christians to respond in a satisfying way.

    My first step towards a satisfying theism was deconstructing certain concepts about god that were formed via what I would consider to be an average childhood in America, where the God they taught about in Sunday School was pretty much the same kind of magical, arbitrary entity Keith’s arguments reflect (at least to my young mind at the time). Nobody said anything about classical theism, prime movers, or logically necessary grounding.

    Honestly, what I got growing up was pretty much a bunch of what seemed to be fumbling, self-contradictory, faith-based tropes and scripture that did more to put me off track than on. I have no problem with tradition, dogma or faith that leads one down a generally good path – which I now see that in general Christianity does – but, there are those like me that require(d) something more logically substantive.

    BTW, thanks again for all the information you’ve provided this thirsty mind on these topics.

  244. 244
    StephenB says:

    William J Murray

    While one doesn’t expect all questions to be answerable, and while some mystery must remain, keith is not raising mere quibbles here. I’m the first guy to point out when keith has a bad argument; these don’t appear to me bad arguments given the premises. These are real issues that can drive people away from theism.

    There is a price that must be paid for every sin ever committed, and the person who commits that sin does not always have to do all the paying. Sons and daughters must pay for the sins of their parents; future generations must pay for the sins of their forebears. It is impossible to disconnect ourselves from the human family and gain private justice with no loose ends. That is why there is a next world. That is there where the books are balanced.

    Accordingly, there is no free lunch in the moral world just as there is no free lunch in other realms. Acts, even private acts, have repercussions that reverberate into eternity. Pain and suffering are the effect; sin is the cause.

    Meanwhile, the pain and suffering that comes directly or indirectly from evil acts does not have to be useless or without purpose. Suffering can be used for good purposes, even by non Christians who are unaware of the good they are doing.

    First, pain can be used for expiation, that is, in order to make up for our past transgressions, failings, and sins. By accepting the suffering that comes our way without undue resentment, we can compensate for all the hurt we have brought to others.

    Second, pain can be used in reparation, that is, in order to make up for the failings, transgressions, and sins of others. In that sense, suffering is transferable. Saints willingly and literally take on suffering to purchase, yes purchase, the grace by which others are saved. There is nothing nobler in this world.

    Keiths arguments are not logical. Let’s take just one of them:

    1. Suppose that God gives each of us free will.

    2. An omniscient God knows what each person will freely choose to do before he decides to create that person.

    3. If that person is going to do something evil, God has the option of deciding not to create that person.

    4. Therefore, any evil that a person commits is God’s responsibility, because a) God knew that it was going to happen, and b) God chose to create the person anyway.

    This argument is not logical because it shifts the responsibility of an evil act from the transgressor to the creator. It’s like saying this:

    God gave Hitler the gift of free will
    Hitler misused that gift and created suffering for others,
    therefore, God is responsible for Hitler’s actions and should not have created Him.

    On the contrary, if God refuses to create people who will become bad, then it is not possible for good people to become good since they will experience no physical trials from nature, which remains uncorrupted by a Fall, and no frustrations from other sinners, since they have not been allowed to exist.

    Without bad people or an imperfect nature, heroic virtue would be impossible–indeed, all virtue would be impossible. Under the circumstances, there would be no wrongs to be righted; no trying circumstances in which character can be tested; no trials through which virtue could be acquired.

    How does one love if there is no opportunity to make loving sacrifices? Real love costs. No good deed is done without some cost to the doer. How does one practice or experience real, self-sacrificial love in a perfect world in which no sacrifices are called for. If there is no such thing as the flu, then there can be no such thing as a mother who stays of all night with her child with loving concern. One can only become a virtuous person in an imperfect world that includes pain and suffering. One can only be saved by loving God and one cannot love God without practicing virtue. No one is born with virtue and no one can be saved without obtaining it.

  245. 245
    Me_Think says:

    fifthmonarchyman @ 242

    when God does not act according to your assumptions you conclude he does not exist.
    That is the best example of foolishness in the Biblical sense That I can think of right now.

    Is it foolish to assume that His intention would have been to save thousands of people ?

  246. 246
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Me_Think asks,

    Is it foolish to assume that His intention would have been to save thousands of people ?

    I respond,

    Yes Biblically foolish. You must remember I’m a Calvinist I believe that humanity is radically depraved. We all deserve to die.

    peace

  247. 247
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus:

    KS, an adequate answer for reasonable people has been given.

    No, because reasonable people would like to see reasonable answers to these two questions:

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    To actually answer those questions, you would need to write something like “God didn’t warn us of the tsunami because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    Regarding Jessica Chambers, you would need to write something like “God allowed Jessica Chambers to be burned alive because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    Can you fill in the blanks, KF?

  248. 248
    Mapou says:

    An all-knowing God is an impotent God. Why? Because he can’t change his mind: he already knows everything.

    Only a God that can design and create a universe such as ours is worthy of worship. Only a God that can make mistakes and learn through trial and error can do such a thing. It did not come easy. It must have taken aeons of blind alleys and painstaking effort.

    This is the God I worship.

  249. 249
    keith s says:

    CharlieM:

    As a general note: If parents were to pamper to the every need of their child such as bringing them toilet paper when they run out they would probably end up with a spoiled child. Better to allow the child increasing freedom as it developed.

    CharlieM,

    The question is not “Why doesn’t God poof toilet paper into my hands every time I get stranded?”

    Rather, the question is “Why doesn’t God ever poof toilet paper into anyone’s hands when they get stranded?”

    Any decent person would take the trouble to fetch a roll for a spouse or a child in need. God supposedly loves us with a perfect love, much stronger than the love of a human parent for a child. Why won’t God ever do us this small kindness?

    Why not follow the evidence where it leads? The sensible explanation is: either God doesn’t exist, or he isn’t the perfectly loving, all-powerful being that most theists think he is.

    If you care about the truth, you want honest answers to these questions: Is God really there? If he is, then what is he really like?

    “Never mind the evidence; God is all-powerful and perfectly loving” is not an honest answer.

  250. 250
    keith s says:

    Mapou:

    An all-knowing God is an impotent God. Why? Because he can’t change his mind: he already knows everything.

    Knowing everything means that you can’t learn anything new, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind or that you are impotent.

  251. 251
    keith s says:

    StephenB:

    There is a price that must be paid for every sin ever committed,

    Why? Why can’t sins simply be forgiven?

    and the person who commits that sin does not always have to do all the paying.

    How is it fair to punish someone else for our sins? Why not simply forgive them?

    Sons and daughters must pay for the sins of their parents; future generations must pay for the sins of their forebears.

    Why? The fair thing to do would be to hold people responsible for their own sins only, and the merciful thing would be to forgive all sins without demanding punishment. Why does your God have this “Someone must suffer!” attitude?

    Meanwhile, the pain and suffering that comes directly or indirectly from evil acts does not have to be useless or without purpose. Suffering can be used for good purposes, even by non Christians who are unaware of the good they are doing.

    Sometimes suffering can be used for good purposes, but much of the time it is completely gratuitous. What was the point of Jessica Chambers’s agony as she burned to death? Was every bit of her pain needed for some higher purpose?

    First, pain can be used for expiation, that is, in order to make up for our past transgressions, failings, and sins.

    Again, what’s with the “Someone must suffer!” attitude? What happened to your “perfectly loving” God?

  252. 252
    keith s says:

    Keiths arguments are not logical. Let’s take just one of them:

    1. Suppose that God gives each of us free will.

    2. An omniscient God knows what each person will freely choose to do before he decides to create that person.

    3. If that person is going to do something evil, God has the option of deciding not to create that person.

    4. Therefore, any evil that a person commits is God’s responsibility, because a) God knew that it was going to happen, and b) God chose to create the person anyway.

    This argument is not logical because it shifts the responsibility of an evil act from the transgressor to the creator.

    No. If libertarian free will actually existed then the transgressor, as well as the creator, would be responsible.

    The creator clearly is responsible, because he committed the act of creation, knowing full well what the consequences would be.

    It’s like saying this:

    God gave Hitler the gift of free will
    Hitler misused that gift and created suffering for others,
    therefore, God is responsible for Hitler’s actions and should not have created Him.

    Correct. How can you argue that your God wasn’t responsible for the Holocaust? He’s omnipotent and omniscient. Everything that happens on earth, no matter how vile, happens with his full knowledge and permission.

    On the contrary, if God refuses to create people who will become bad, then it is not possible for good people to become good since they will experience no physical trials from nature,

    What’s wrong with people being good from the start?

    Without bad people or an imperfect nature, heroic virtue would be impossible–indeed, all virtue would be impossible.

    Not at all. It’s just that everyone would be virtuous. What is your objection?

    Under the circumstances, there would be no wrongs to be righted; no trying circumstances in which character can be tested; no trials through which virtue could be acquired.

    Again, what’s wrong with people being good from the start?

    How does one love if there is no opportunity to make loving sacrifices?

    One can be willing to make loving sacrifices even if those sacrifices are never necessary. The willingness is a consequence of the love.

  253. 253
    Mapou says:

    keith:

    Knowing everything means that you can’t learn anything new, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind or that you are impotent.

    Of course it does. But I refuse to take you by the hand. If you don’t get it, the hell with it. 😀

  254. 254
    Joe says:

    No, because reasonable people would like to see reasonable answers to these two questions

    LoL! No, reasonable people would laugh at anyone who asked those two questions.

    If libertarian free will actually existed then the transgressor, as well as the creator, would be responsible.

    Cuz keith sez so. All science so far

    The creator clearly is responsible, because he committed the act of creation, knowing full well what the consequences would be.

    The Creator would know all possible consequences. And each one is contingent. The purpose of the Creation is to let it all play out.

    What’s wrong with people being good from the start?

    People are good from the start. Have you ever seen or heard of an evil baby?

    So all people start out good and then learn to be evil- their choice.

  255. 255
    Joe says:

    1. Suppose that God gives each of us free will.

    2. An omniscient God knows what each person will freely choose to do before he decides to create that person.

    Again- God is not beholden to our definitions. keith loves humping strawmen…

  256. 256
    littlejohn says:

    keith s

    God does not warn of impending disaster for the same reason he will not provide you, or I with the winning lottery numbers. There is no variance with God’s will, and it is for this reason that God only intervenes at the appointed times

    This apparent indifference helps explain why both the good and wicked prosper, and both the good and evil die. Nevertheless, God does not take pleasure in death (or suffering). God allowed Christ to suffer and die because it was necessary to provide the way for a new, and better creation, where pain, suffering, and death is abolished.

    Perhaps if you view the resurrection, and consummation as the ultimate evolution, it will make sense? This event is characterized metaphorically where one branch (lineage) of the material realm, is translated into the spiritual realm, and the redeemed are grafted in by adoption.

    Finally, please keep in mind that we are like God emotionally, in many ways. We both hate and love, have joy and misery, happy and sad, angry and kind. He said we ARE gods, and so it is.

  257. 257
    vividbleau says:

    Keths

    Been a very busy week. I am glad that WJM agrees with me that this is an important topic that warrants serious discussion.

    So we agree that evil is not a material substance and that its effects are related to moral agency, moral choices and motives.

    We also agree that many explanations for evil are for me not very satisfying and for you preposterous and contradictory.

    Now I am sort of an odd duck in all of this and I fully anticipate that my take on this subject is going to rile both theists and non theists alike. I think that is not necessarily a bad thing.

    I readily admit that for me the entrance of evil into a universe which is under the control of a God who is infinite in His wisdom and power is a mystery which in our present state of knowledge cannot fully explain. Jonathan Edwards who is perhaps one of the greatest intellects this country has produced spent a lifetime trying to answer this question and was unable to do so. From my worldview perspective I am not surprised that evil can ever be fully explained by logic or reason since I consider it illogical and unreasonable.

    I think it is important to note that once one grants the existence of evil what follows is explainable by what one would term the “free will” defense. Since I think the term “free will” is an oxymoron, I prefer the “free self determined choice” defense.

    It does not bother me that there are certain things that I cannot fully understand, doesn’t bother me in the least. I wish I could but I can’t But this is true for everyone regardless of their worldview and that includes your worldview. KF has pointed out rightly that all worldviews are based on basic unproven beliefs and all worldviews have what he terms as comparative difficulties. This is a fact. It is true for my worldview and as I said it is true for yours.

    You speak a lot about evidence. Evidence comes in different ways. There is logical evidence, historical evidence, etc, etc. Taking all the evidence I believe that my worldview is the most coherent given the comparable difficulties that are present.

    So what evidence do I have that God is good even though there are things I don’t and will not fully understand intellectually? Well it is the season is it not? My evidence is the life and death of Jesus Christ. God is not a bystander. The word became flesh and dwelt among us. Gods love and justice was demonstrated at the cross. I know God is just because of Christ. I know God is loving because of Christ even if I only can currently see through the glass darkly.

    I know you think the death of Christ is barbaric and offensive but that is your problem not mine.

    Vivid

  258. 258
    Mapou says:

    Joe:

    keith loves humping strawmen…

    LOL.

  259. 259
    keith s says:

    littlejohn:

    God does not warn of impending disaster for the same reason he will not provide you, or I with the winning lottery numbers. There is no variance with God’s will, and it is for this reason that God only intervenes at the appointed times.

    That doesn’t make sense. You and I would warn of impending disaster. Recall my bridge example:

    littlejohn,

    Let’s say you’re a bridge inspector for the state. You inspect a bridge over the Mississippi and and discover huge cracks. It’s clear that the bridge will fail very soon.

    If you choose not to report the cracks, innocent people will die. Would it be morally acceptable not to report them?

    If we would be morally obligated to issue a warning, then why isn’t God? Is it “perfectly loving” to allow hundreds of thousands of people to suffer and die needlessly? Obviously not.

    And why wouldn’t one of the “appointed times” include the 2004 tsunami? When God was assigning the “appointed times”, what made him think “Oh, 220,000 people are going to die, but that’s not a reason to warn them”? How is that “perfectly loving”?

    God allowed Christ to suffer and die because it was necessary to provide the way for a new, and better creation, where pain, suffering, and death is abolished.

    God is supposedly perfect, so why didn’t he start out with this “new and better creation”? In other words, why did he screw it up the first time?

    And why was Christ’s suffering necessary? A perfectly loving God would simply forgive everyone’s sins, and a perfectly just God would refuse to punish his innocent son for the sins of others.

  260. 260
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Did a bit of web search for resources for rel, phil, theol and worldviews stuff. Came up with some thought sparkers:

    1] Tom Morris’ Our Idea of God, a good intro level reader:

    http://michaelsudduth.com/wp-c.....i.org_.pdf

    2] Berkhof’s Sys Theol weing in at a mere 800+ pp:

    http://books.biblicaltraining......erkhof.pdf

    3] Millard Erickson Sys Theol, a practical page-turning shortie

    http://media.sabda.org/alkitab.....rt%201.pdf

    4] Geisler on beware of phil (the bad sorts, which are all too common):

    http://www.etsjets.org/files/J.....9_JETS.pdf

    5] Some thoughts on suppressing truth one SHOULD know (cf p. 8 of the PDF on )

    http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z5259W.pdf

    I think these should be some useful reading.

    KF

    PS: For KS, I simply repeat, that I have already provided enough for the reasonable man by way of discussion and links to a much more comprehensive and integrated discussion. On his unfortunate track record I must take that as enough for the reasonable person, noting only that we do not have all answers instantly on tap to all questions (and in the face of black knight tactics), but that sufficient has been given to answer the pivotal matter. Which turns out to be a dilemma of sorts. If KS means that evil is real and objectionable, it points to the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world-foundational IS capable of bearing the weight of OUGHT. As already discussed, there is but one serious candidate — and KS et al obviously cannot provide another. If instead, he is only trying to manipulate the pain of others to push a rhetorical agenda that cannot stand in the face of the reality of OUGHT and the need for a grounding IS, then that speaks telling volumes and not in his favour.

  261. 261
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: In reply to a strawman caricature of the core Christian message, here it is in a nutshell:

    Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him . . . 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

    Remember, 500 eyewitnesses worth of historical backative, cf. here on.

  262. 262
    StephenB says:

    SB:

    There is a price that must be paid for every sin ever committed,

    KeithS

    Why? Why can’t sins simply be forgiven?

    For the same reason that a civil judge cannot forgive a murderer and sentences him to life in prison. Everyone understands the concept of justice and balanced books.

    SB: and the person who commits that sin does not always have to do all the paying.

    How is it fair to punish someone else for our sins? Why not simply forgive them?

    They are not being punished for those sins. They are experiencing the natural effects of those sins. We cannot be separated from the sins of our parents, and our children, if we have any, cannot be saved from the effects of our sins. So it is with our friends and neighbors or even those with whom we have never had any context. Evil actions have consequences both for the doer and the victims. God has nothing to do with it.

    Why? The fair thing to do would be to hold people responsible for their own sins only, and the merciful thing would be to forgive all sins without demanding punishment.

    Why is it not fair? Make your case. You said justice and fairness are subjective. Have you changed your mind? You have a lot of explaining to do on this one.

    Why does your God have this “Someone must suffer!” attitude?

    Pain and suffering are the natural effect of sin. That is one of the things that make it evil. If you violate a physical law, you will have to pay the price. If you violate a moral law, you (or someone else) will have to pay the price. You might as well ask why a person who jumps off of a tall building must die when he hits the pavement.

    Why do you, as a creature, choose to make others suffer for your sins? Why do you, as a creature, choose to insult the God who gave you life and a truckload full of blessings? Why must others suffer for your sins?

    SB: Meanwhile, the pain and suffering that comes directly or indirectly from evil acts does not have to be useless or without purpose. Suffering can be used for good purposes, even by non Christians who are unaware of the good they are doing.

    Sometimes suffering can be used for good purposes, but much of the time it is completely gratuitous. What was the point of Jessica Chambers’s agony as she burned to death? Was every bit of her pain needed for some higher purpose?

    She suffered because of the sins of her torturer. You have caused others to suffer agony because of your sins just as I have caused others to suffer agony because of my sins. We all caused Jesus Christ to suffer agony because of our sins.

    SB: First, pain can be used for expiation, that is, in order to make up for our past transgressions, failings, and sins.

    Again, what’s with the “Someone must suffer!” attitude? What happened to your “perfectly loving” God?

    A perfectly loving God cannot prevent suffering and preserve free will at the same time. It isn’t logically possible. IF He stops Jessica Chambers’ torturer from committing his act, he has taken away his free will and the capacity to choose the loving alternative. Love is a choice. There is no charm in a yes unless a no is possible.

    Your argument is not logical because it shifts the responsibility of an evil act from the transgressor to the creator.

    No. If libertarian free will actually existed then the transgressor, as well as the creator, would be responsible.

    Make you case. Tell me why God is responsible for the sin of Jessica Chamber’s torturer.

    You are saying something like this:

    God gave Hitler the gift of free will
    Hitler misused that gift and created suffering for others,
    therefore, God is responsible for Hitler’s actions and should not have created Him.

    Correct. How can you argue that your God wasn’t responsible for the Holocaust? He’s omnipotent and omniscient. Everything that happens on earth, no matter how vile, happens with his full knowledge and permission.

    That’s easy. To know something is going to happen is not to cause it to happen. God knows that the stock market is going to crash. That doesn’t mean that He caused it to happen.

    SB: On the contrary, if God refuses to create people who will become bad, then it is not possible for good people to become good since they will experience no physical trials from nature,

    What’s wrong with people being good from the start?

    Nothing, except that everyone starts out in the hole with an inclination to do the wrong thing as a result of the Fall. Our nature has been damaged; we are morally defective from birth. School children can be incredibly cruel. So, goodness must be earned the hard way with the help of God. Without God, it is impossible.

    SB: Without bad people or an imperfect nature, heroic virtue would be impossible–indeed, all virtue would be impossible.

    Not at all. It’s just that everyone would be virtuous. What is your objection?

    Everyone would not be virtuous. They would be moral blank slates. One cannot acquire virtue except through moral exertion. Courage must overcome fear and cowardice; temperance must overcome unruly desires without killing desire itself; justice must overcome greed without killing ambition.

    All these and other virtues can only be acquired through pain and suffering. Most of all, love requires suffering. It is impossible for humans to learn to love or be compassionate without first passing through suffering.

    One can be willing to make loving sacrifices even if those sacrifices are never necessary. The willingness is a consequence of the love.

    Actually, it is the other way around. One learns to love by making the sacrifices.

  263. 263
    bornagain77 says:

    This may be of interest to some readers:

    Unbelievable? Keith Ward and Michael Ruse debate the evidence for God – Dec. 13, 2014
    http://www.premierchristianrad.....ce-for-God
    Keith Ward is the former Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University. His new book The Evidence for God picks up on various aspects of human experience as proof of a spiritual realm.
    He is joined by atheist philosopher Michael Ruse for a lively discussion.

    (of note: Ruse is actually more honest than most atheists)

  264. 264
    Joe says:

    If we would be morally obligated to issue a warning, then why isn’t God?

    (gets down on one knee to look keith in the eye)

    Keith, God gave us the ability to take care of ourselves and each other. Good parents give their children everything they need to succeed and then when the kids are all grown, they can do it for themselves. The parents job is basically done at that point. A parent that is helping his children well after they have grown- constantly wiping their noses and butts- isn’t doing any good. At some point you have to cut your ties and your loses. Tsunamis are not new phenomena. How many do you think it should take before people understand their dangers? Also at some point in time we have to step up and take responsibility or we will not be worthy of everything God has given us. Now run along and play with your friends on the merry-go-round.

    (stands up, looks for and spots daughter reading a book under a tree and walks over)

  265. 265
    CharlieM says:

    Hi Keith. You wrote (#249)

    CharlieM,

    The question is not “Why doesn’t God poof toilet paper into my hands every time I get stranded?”

    Rather, the question is “Why doesn’t God ever poof toilet paper into anyone’s hands when they get stranded?”

    Any decent person would take the trouble to fetch a roll for a spouse or a child in need. God supposedly loves us with a perfect love, much stronger than the love of a human parent for a child. Why won’t God ever do us this small kindness?

    Why not follow the evidence where it leads? The sensible explanation is: either God doesn’t exist, or he isn’t the perfectly loving, all-powerful being that most theists think he is.

    If you care about the truth, you want honest answers to these questions: Is God really there? If he is, then what is he really like?

    “Never mind the evidence; God is all-powerful and perfectly loving” is not an honest answer.

    Well my reply to your first question is: How do you know that God never poof toilet paper into anyone’s hands? The only way you could know this is if you were omniscient. Do you consider yourself to be omniscient?

    You are basing your reasons for non-belief in God by answering a question. Ask yourself, “Do I really have the knowledge neccessary to answer that queestion?”.

    Regarding your last statement, if you read what I wrote you will see that did not claim that God is all-powerful.

  266. 266
    CharlieM says:

    Hi Me_Think. Re God you wrote in#245:

    Is it foolish to assume that His intention would have been to save thousands of people ?

    Socrates had an good answer to this. He asked why he should fear dying when he believed that he would not only still exist after death but he would have an existence that he always strove for.

    So to answer your question we would have to know their fate if they avoided the tsunami in comparison to their fate if they had not avoided it.

  267. 267
    Axel says:

    ‘(gets down on one knee to look keith in the eye)’

    Don’t say his heads been cut off now, Joe! He’ll be crowing over you for that … taunting you before long: ‘Ha! Ha! You didn’t shave off my eyebrows, jackanapes!

  268. 268
    Joe says:

    Axel, I am saying that keith is about 3-4 feet tall- average height for 7-8 year olds.

  269. 269
    Axel says:

    That was my first thought, Joe. Then I remembered the dread, Black Knight, and wondered…

  270. 270
    Joe says:

    Either way works for me 😉

  271. 271

    Stephen @262:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write these responses. I find them to be well thought-out and due serious contemplation. Passages like this are very enriching 🙂

  272. 272
    StephenB says:

    William @271, Thank you for taking the time to read my comments. Earlier, I wrote @244 especially for you. Of course, much has happened since then, but I just thought I would mention it.

  273. 273
    Me_Think says:

    CharlieM @ 266

    So to answer your question we would have to know their fate if they avoided the tsunami in comparison to their fate if they had not avoided it.

    Isn’t God all about helping you through difficulties ? If the victims’ fate would be difficult, His duty would be to help them through difficulties, not kill them.

  274. 274
    keith s says:

    vividbleau:’

    I am glad that WJM agrees with me that this is an important topic that warrants serious discussion.

    Every thinking theist understands that this is an important question. Is God for, against, or indifferent to evil and suffering?

    So we agree that evil is not a material substance and that its effects are related to moral agency, moral choices and motives.

    Yes, with my earlier caveat in mind:

    Yes, with the caveat that instances of so-called “natural evil” (tsunamis, earthquakes, predation, etc.) also qualify, because the omniGod chooses to permit them.

    vividbleau:

    We also agree that many explanations for evil are for me not very satisfying and for you preposterous and contradictory.

    Yes.

    I readily admit that for me the entrance of evil into a universe which is under the control of a God who is infinite in His wisdom and power is a mystery which in our present state of knowledge cannot fully explain.

    It’s only a mystery if you insist on believing in an omniGod. If you follow the evidence where it leads, you conclude that either

    a) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    b) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    c) God doesn’t exist.

    In those three cases, the existence of evil is not a mystery at all. It makes sense.

    Jonathan Edwards who is perhaps one of the greatest intellects this country has produced spent a lifetime trying to answer this question and was unable to do so. From my worldview perspective I am not surprised that evil can ever be fully explained by logic or reason since I consider it illogical and unreasonable.

    But it can be explained. Remember, the existence of evil is only a mystery if you cling to belief in an omniGod.

    I think it is important to note that once one grants the existence of evil what follows is explainable by what one would term the “free will” defense. Since I think the term “free will” is an oxymoron, I prefer the “free self determined choice” defense.

    A few days ago you rejected the free will defense:

    I have never found the free will defense to be compelling as an answer to the appearance of evil springing forth from a perfectly good creation.

    What changed your mind so quickly?

    In any case, the free will defense doesn’t work because an omniGod can prevent evil without denying free will to anyone.

    It does not bother me that there are certain things that I cannot fully understand, doesn’t bother me in the least. I wish I could but I can’t But this is true for everyone regardless of their worldview and that includes your worldview.

    We have to do our best. But doing our best means actually looking at the evidence and taking it into account. Too many believers start with their beliefs and then selectively filter or distort the evidence so that their beliefs remain standing.

    You speak a lot about evidence. Evidence comes in different ways. There is logical evidence, historical evidence, etc, etc. Taking all the evidence I believe that my worldview is the most coherent given the comparable difficulties that are present.

    I disagree, because the problem of evil is only a problem if you insist on believing in an omniGod. Why insist on that when the evidence points in the other direction?

    So what evidence do I have that God is good even though there are things I don’t and will not fully understand intellectually? Well it is the season is it not? My evidence is the life and death of Jesus Christ.

    The death of an apocalyptic prophet 2000 years ago doesn’t tell you that God is perfectly loving, or that he is all-powerful, or even that he exists at all.

    I know you think the death of Christ is barbaric and offensive but that is your problem not mine.

    No, it’s definitely your problem. In fact, it is a subset of the problem of evil.

    Why doesn’t God simply forgive sins without demanding that someone must suffer?

  275. 275
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus:

    PS: For KS, I simply repeat, that I have already provided enough for the reasonable man by way of discussion and links to a much more comprehensive and integrated discussion.

    KF,

    Reasonable onlookers are wondering why you won’t answer my straightforward questions. Is it because you are embarrassed by your answers, and realize that they will be completely unconvincing?

    Here are the questions:

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    To actually answer those questions, you would need to write something like “God didn’t warn us of the tsunami because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    Regarding Jessica Chambers, you would need to write something like “God allowed Jessica Chambers to be burned alive because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    To answer those questions, you merely have to fill in the blanks. Why won’t you?

  276. 276
    keith s says:

    KF:

    If KS means that evil is real and objectionable, it points to the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world-foundational IS capable of bearing the weight of OUGHT.

    I have answered this objection several times, and you continue to ignore my answers. Why?

    I wrote:

    Theists,

    Most of you are making the same mistake. It doesn’t matter whether I think that evil exists (I do, but I don’t think that it is objective evil). What matters is what you, as theists, believe.

    As long as

    1) you believe in an omniGod;
    2) you believe that God is good according to some standard of good and evil; and
    3) you believe that the world is full of evil by that same standard;

    …then you face the problem of evil. Why does God allow so much evil and suffering?

    At TSZ, I wrote:

    A theist can always say “God moves in mysterious ways, and it’s all for the best in the end” to excuse any particular instance of evil in the world. It is logically possible that this is correct, and that the slaughter of 220,000 people in the 2004 tsunami (for example) is really a good thing in some cosmic sense.

    It’s highly implausible, however, and much better explanations are available. Here are three:

    a) that God isn’t omnipotent, or
    b) that God isn’t perfectly good by our standards, or
    c) that the God with the specified characteristics simply does not exist.

    I vote for (c), of course.

  277. 277
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    It might be good to see how Jesus answered when he was asked a “tsunamis” question.

    quote:

    There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”
    (Luke 13:1-9)

    end quote:

    He doesn’t mince a lot of words.

    peace

  278. 278
    keith s says:

    StephenB:

    There is a price that must be paid for every sin ever committed,

    keiths:

    Why? Why can’t sins simply be forgiven?

    StephenB:

    For the same reason that a civil judge cannot forgive a murderer and sentences him to life in prison.

    Really? You think that God is merely obeying a higher Law? I thought you were Catholic.

    StephenB:

    and the person who commits that sin does not always have to do all the paying.

    The civil judge cannot sentence you for a murder your sister commits, because that would be unfair. Why is it fair for God to punish someone else for your sins? Why doesn’t he simply forgive them?

    They are not being punished for those sins. They are experiencing the natural effects of those sins. We cannot be separated from the sins of our parents, and our children, if we have any, cannot be saved from the effects of our sins.

    Yet that is exactly what Christ’s death supposedly does. Again, I thought you were a Catholic.

    keiths:

    The fair thing to do would be to hold people responsible for their own sins only, and the merciful thing would be to forgive all sins without demanding punishment.

    StephenB:

    Why is it not fair? Make your case.

    Suppose a Mafia boss is convicted for a horrific crime, and one of his foot soldiers steps up and offers to take the boss’s punishment. Would it be fair for the judge to accept the offer?

    If not, then why was it fair for Jesus to be punished in a horrific way for the sins of others?

    keiths:

    Why does your God have this “Someone must suffer!” attitude?

    StephenB:

    Pain and suffering are the natural effect of sin. That is one of the things that make it evil. If you violate a physical law, you will have to pay the price. If you violate a moral law, you (or someone else) will have to pay the price. You might as well ask why a person who jumps off of a tall building must die when he hits the pavement.

    You believe that God isn’t powerful enough to overcome the effects of sin? Again, I thought you were a Catholic.

    StephenB:

    Meanwhile, the pain and suffering that comes directly or indirectly from evil acts does not have to be useless or without purpose. Suffering can be used for good purposes, even by non Christians who are unaware of the good they are doing.

    keiths:

    Sometimes suffering can be used for good purposes, but much of the time it is completely gratuitous. What was the point of Jessica Chambers’s agony as she burned to death? Was every bit of her pain needed for some higher purpose?

    StephenB:

    She suffered because of the sins of her torturer.

    But the God you believe in could have protected her. You are a Catholic, right?

  279. 279
    vividbleau says:

    Keith

    But it can be explained..

    What is your explanation for its existence?.

    What changed your mind so quickly

    I have not changed my mind.

    Vivid

  280. 280
    keith s says:

    vividbleau:

    I have not changed my mind.

    Sure you have.

    vividbleau, December 10th:

    I have never found the free will defense to be compelling as an answer to the appearance of evil springing forth from a perfectly good creation.

    vividbleau, December 13th:

    I think it is important to note that once one grants the existence of evil what follows is explainable by what one would term the “free will” defense.

    What changed your mind?

  281. 281
    vividbleau says:

    Keith

    Why can’t sins simply be forgiven?

    Omnipotence does not entail that God can do anything and everything. God can do only that which is possible to do. It is impossible for God to deny His very being. To just “simply forgive” would require Him to deny His other attributes one of them being His justice.

    Vivid

  282. 282
    vividbleau says:

    Keith

    Sure you have.

    No I have not. I am talking about two separate things.

    1)The entrance of evil.

    2)After the entrance of evil.

    Vivid

  283. 283
    keith s says:

    vividbleau,

    If it works for one, it works for the other.

    In reality, however, it works for neither, as I explained earlier.

  284. 284
    keith s says:

    StephenB:

    First, pain can be used for expiation, that is, in order to make up for our past transgressions, failings, and sins.

    keiths:

    Again, what’s with the “Someone must suffer!” attitude? What happened to your “perfectly loving” God?

    StephenB:

    A perfectly loving God cannot prevent suffering and preserve free will at the same time. It isn’t logically possible.

    Sure it is, and I’ve already explained how it can be done:

    1. Suppose that God gives each of us free will.

    2. An omniscient God knows what each person will freely choose to do before he decides to create that person.

    3. If that person is going to do something evil, God has the option of deciding not to create that person.

    4. Therefore, any evil that a person commits is God’s responsibility, because a) God knew that it was going to happen, and b) God chose to create the person anyway.

    And:

    Before God creates a person, he uses his omniscience to look ahead and ask whether that person will commit murder. If the answer is no, he proceeds. If the answer is yes, he refrains from creating that person and creates someone else instead — someone he knows will not become a murderer.

    He hasn’t changed anyone’s nature. Each person is completely free, and yet no one commits murder, because they all freely choose not to.

    If theists try to argue that by refraining from creating someone, God would be denying that person’s free will, then they put themselves in a bind — because that means that God is already denying free will to the gazillions of possible persons he never creates.

  285. 285
    keith s says:

    StephenB:

    You are saying something like this:

    God gave Hitler the gift of free will
    Hitler misused that gift and created suffering for others,
    therefore, God is responsible for Hitler’s actions and should not have created Him.

    keiths:

    Correct. How can you argue that your God wasn’t responsible for the Holocaust? He’s omnipotent and omniscient. Everything that happens on earth, no matter how vile, happens with his full knowledge and permission.

    StephenB:

    That’s easy. To know something is going to happen is not to cause it to happen.

    But to fail to prevent something is to allow it to happen. If I knew that millions of innocent people were going to die, and I could easily prevent it, I would prevent it. Wouldn’t you? It would be a moral imperative for us. Why not for God?

    StephenB:

    On the contrary, if God refuses to create people who will become bad, then it is not possible for good people to become good since they will experience no physical trials from nature,

    keiths:

    What’s wrong with people being good from the start?

    StephenB:

    Nothing, except that everyone starts out in the hole with an inclination to do the wrong thing as a result of the Fall.

    But God could have easily prevented the Fall without denying free will to anyone, as I have already explained. He is responsible for the Fall, just as he is responsible for the Holocaust.

    StephenB:

    Without bad people or an imperfect nature, heroic virtue would be impossible–indeed, all virtue would be impossible.

    keiths:

    Not at all. It’s just that everyone would be virtuous. What is your objection?

    StephenB:

    Everyone would not be virtuous. They would be moral blank slates. One cannot acquire virtue except through moral exertion.

    You think an omnipotent God is incapable of creating virtuous people? I thought you were a Catholic.

    keiths:

    One can be willing to make loving sacrifices even if those sacrifices are never necessary. The willingness is a consequence of the love.

    StephenB:

    Actually, it is the other way around. One learns to love by making the sacrifices.

    No. If the love is not already there, the sacrifices won’t be made willingly. Being forced to make sacrifices against one’s will does not teach one to love.

  286. 286
    dgw says:

    Keith,

    You seem to have a great interest in why God chooses to act in certain ways (or why He chooses not to act). One way to find the answers you seek is to ask Him directly. Study His Book and ask him to show Himself to you.

  287. 287
    keith s says:

    fifthmonarchyman #277,

    Do you agree that God is not perfectly loving?

  288. 288
    keith s says:

    dgw,

    You seem to have a great interest in why God chooses to act in certain ways (or why He chooses not to act).

    No, because I don’t believe that God exists. However, I am quite interested in why people continue to believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God when the evidence points in the opposite direction.

    One way to find the answers you seek is to ask Him directly. Study His Book and ask him to show Himself to you.

    I did all of that as a Christian, but it became clear that Christianity was not true, so I abandoned it.

    Also, I’m sure you realize that asking God to show himself to you is a bad strategy. There are adherents of practically every religion who will say, quite sincerely, that the truth was divinely revealed to them. They can’t all be right.

    What amazes (and dismays) me is that so many theists have no interest in finding out what God is really like, or whether he exists at all. They already have a story that they like, and that’s good enough for them. They ignore the evidence and stick to their comfortable story.

    Suppose that God actually does exist and that he judges us after our deaths. What will those theists say if God asks them, “Did you seek the truth about me?” They’ll have to answer: “No. I had a story I liked, and I cared more about the story than I did about discovering the truth about you.”

  289. 289
    keith s says:

    vividbleau:

    Omnipotence does not entail that God can do anything and everything. God can do only that which is possible to do. It is impossible for God to deny His very being. To just “simply forgive” would require Him to deny His other attributes one of them being His justice.

    Which highlights another contradiction in the standard Christian conception of God. He cannot be both perfectly loving and perfectly just.

    Christians need to pick one, or the other, or neither. The evidence suggests that “neither” is the correct choice.

  290. 290
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid (attn KS et al),

    are you thinking of the Plantinga free will defense as a theodicy, and/or thinking in terms of the determinism/ freedom debate?

    If the former, you will miss the actual — logical — point being made, that if a set of claims X = x1 AND x2 AND . . . xn is suspected of being inconsistent, but on augmentation by some E, X AND E are coherent then by the logic of the AND operation X must be coherent. That’s because A AND B can only be true if A and B are separately true and also A AND NOT-A is necessarily false.

    This does not demand that x1 . . . xn be true or even that E be true, but simply that they be a logically possible state of affairs. (Note how I use it with the case of the timeline of Easter events, which are often claimed to be self-contradictory, here.)

    Now, a theodicy tries to be a justification of the existence of evils, and so is vulnerable to objections on plausibility. A defense in the sense used, as it addresses the logical stringency of the claim “contradiction,” does not.

    The success of Plantinga’s work is to be seen by the fact that the logical form of the problem of evils has largely been abandoned by those who formerly so eagerly pounced on it as the first rhetorical club to use in pouncing on someone who dared to suggest theism as a reasonable worldview option. I certainly remember those days vividly, and I recall when I first saw the defense and how it was as the turning on of a light. (And the linked other use of the defense strategy on the Gospel passion narratives was born in the midst of a public national assault on the integrity of scriptures by a modernist church leader and pundit in my homeland, using the platform of his regular newspaper column.)

    Plantinga effected a breakthrough, Vivid, and we all need to respect that.

    Next, the defense put the inductive form of the problem of evils in due proportion.

    It did so, by allowing us to hear out the point that evil is not a thing in itself but in effect like the hole in the middle of a doughnut, a gap. That is, the perversion, frustration or privation of what is good out of purpose. Which can be met by the breakthrough of one who through ultimate love redeems and restores, bearing the brunt of evil through innocent suffering and the transforming breakthrough of resurrection power.

    Where, the power to love and its impact on understanding the nature of virtue (and of purposing and of reasoning) is pivotal. To love, we must be free to choose to purpose the good of the beloved, which opens up a higher order of goods than a robotic, programmed deterministic world. In short, we cannot love unless we are significantly, responsibly free. Indeed, it is this responsible freedom that drives our ability to reason, warrant and know too.

    Freedom is an awesome gift, but one that bears a terrible responsibility, to use our abilities aright, towards our creational purpose, respecting the inherent dignity of both the Creator and those who are as ourselves in his image, even, our fellow creatures that come from his hand. (There is no excuse for cruelty, abuse and wastefulness.)

    I know you as a calvinist will have concerns and struggles here, but I ask you to ponder how freedom is a foundation to love, to purposing, to reasoning [as opposed to carrying out blind GIGO limited computations or programs], and thus to being what we are.

    Beyond that, in dealing with the ilk of a KS, I simply point to his track record of refusal to be corrected even when shown to be absurdly in error, associated with obvious message dominance divert and drum out talking points tactics.

    This thread was serially diverted from its focus on fine tuning into a religious-phil debate, suppressing a significant design issue that needs to be discussed. That was done in the midst of a situation where there was another thread set up for discussion of such topics. That thread is where objectors chose to raise issues and talking points pivoting on a priori materialism dressed up in the lab coat. Let us not be naive.

    It is only because this topic is important in itself that I have taken some time to address themes.

    In this case, I will again in brief underscore the pivotal issue that KS as usual is dodging.

    Namely, if evil is real and objectionable, it raises the issue that there is an IS-OUGHT gap that can only be bridged at world foundation level.

    There must be an IS that grounds OUGHT.

    For which there is but one serious candidate, the inherently good Creator God who is a necessary and maximally great being.

    That is, the objection can only work by implicitly assuming what it objects to. It falls of its own weight.

    If on the other hand, evil is only brought up as something of emotive, rhetorical force, you are looking at cynical manipulation of the pain of people to push an agenda that cannot even answer to grounding its key terms properly.

    Not a pretty sight on either horn of the dilemma.

    As to the oh why did God use a little child to warn or fail to warn etc, or why did some person suffer so horribly and the like, they first face the same dilemma.

    In addition, we see the issue of a soul-making world, one in which our responsibilities do shape events, so that we have duties of care to make the right priorities and do the right thing, but not an ultimate world in which all consequences are completed.

    The Pacific is a zone at risk of tsunamis etc.

    Warning networks based on telephone networks or wireless transmissions are readily possible, and there are seismic networks that can give reasonable advance notice of likely tsunamis based on earthquakes.

    If our governments, which by and large are democratically elected, cannot put enough priorities on something as basic as that, to put such reasonable precautions in place, whose fault is that?

    Likewise, if Tokyo Power Company puts power plants by the sea with inadequate protections from reasonably predictable quake and tsunami impacts, whose fault is that?

    Why are we so prone to blame God for what we individually or collectively refuse to do that is within our reach and responsibility if we were to genuinely take our duties of care seriously? Oh, it’s cheaper not to X does not cut it when X is reasonable on cost and responsible on duty.

    Do I need to spell out: least regrets principle?

    And, when some pervert kidnaps a school boy on his way home from school, drags the boy into bushes, gags him dangerously, then sexually abuses and rapes him leading to his death, whose fault is that?

    And, in the teeth of such a case, can you really cry that evil is not an undeniable reality, on pain of absurdity?

    Worse, the better to promote a doctrine (a priori, inherently amoral materialism) that multiplies the notion that might and manipulation and me-first impulses make ‘right’?

    Why then do you wonder at the multiplication of perversions and resulting destructive perverts, in an age where we know or should know that porn that is claimed to be a “right” under freedom of expression — never mind the known, documented [but often censored out of the media or public discussion] horrors of exploitation of women and children to produce it — is a major fuel to the out of control strange fires that drive such horrors?

    Likewise, with those who feed the notion that teenage rebellion and projection of blame to parents and other authorities is justifiable. (There are abuses, but the notion that to rebel and rage is a right . . . after all we can get away with it, is a destructive doctrine.)

    If you play irresponsibly with matches, why complain and blame God for the fires that rage out of control as a result?

    It is time to wake up and face some serious issues and responsibilities.

    Our civilisation is committing suicide as we speak.

    KF

  291. 291
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I will again clip and remind KS et al:

    >>>>>>

    The exchanges since about 120 above would be funny if they were not so sadly revealing of what has been going on.

    I note:

    KS, 157 etc: I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    But of course, he so assumes that he is lord of the matter that he obviously did not bother to make acquaintance of a linked 101 summary of a major, even epochal answer to the problem of evil, that has been on record for some 40 years now. One that moved off the table the logical form of the problem, and put the inductive form in due proportion suitable for answering through Judaeo-Christian, redemptive theism. Where, the existential form is pastoral in nature and is also addressed by way of a video dealing with rape.

    In addition, KS has — now, sadly predictably — dodged the underlying issue that the reality and objectionableness of evil point precisely to the need for an IS capable of grounding OUGHT. And, indeed, are evidence pointing to God.

    And, oh yes, those who would indict Christendom, or at least those troubled by arguments from the evils of theistic cultures, might find here on helpful.

    So, now, let us roll the tape on what KS obviously refused to pay attention to before running on with his drumbeat of long since sell-by date talking points:

    ______________

    >>125 kairosfocus December 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help.

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution [–> and notice, the pivotal significance of another unjust execution at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and the answer it provides to evils . . . ] — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.>>
    ______________

    I predict, on track record, that KS will again ignore or pretzel-twist the matter into a strawman caricature.

    Let us hope that, at length, he will finally prove such wrong.

    KF

    PS: While we wait, we might want to view Koukl’s lecture, here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifl9z_wy-OM

    –> really, really good, BTW

    >>>>>>

    Remember, onlookers, all of this has been on the table for a long time now, just ducked and dodged to get on to message dominance talking points and assertions which on serious examination have little or no no foundation other than opinion and — too often — irresponsible rhetorical manipulation.

    Having already pointed to serious and sober discussion of theological-phil and worldviews foundation issues, I will not delve here on trying to run after every talking point being pushed, confident that those who are serious know where to go for serious minded discussions and genuine expertise.

    I repeat, until the worldviews core is sorted out on phil and on the pivotal historical anchorage of the gospel, debated on theological talking points and accusations will be of little or no profit.

    No prizes for guessing why many objectors refuse to address foundation and core issues but rush off to favourite rhetorical talking points.

    KF

  292. 292
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus,

    Your continued refusal to answer my two straightforward questions is noted.

    As you like to say, it speaks volumes, and not in your favor.

  293. 293
    vividbleau says:

    Keith re 199

    Why can’t He be both perfectly loving and just?

    Earlier I asked you to explain the existence of evil which is in your words is”easily explainable” I am looking forward to your response.

    Vivid

  294. 294
    StephenB says:

    KeithS

    Really? You think that God is merely obeying a higher Law? I thought you were Catholic.

    The analogy is that both God and the civil judge are concerned with justice.

    Why is it fair for God to punish someone else for your sins? Why doesn’t he simply forgive them?

    God does not punish anyone for someone else’s sins. However, one may suffer from the natural effects of someone else’s sin.

    Suppose a Mafia boss is convicted for a horrific crime, and one of his foot soldiers steps up and offers to take the boss’s punishment. Would it be fair for the judge to accept the offer?

    You misunderstand my question. You said that justice or fairness is subjective. Why, then, do you say that this or that act by God is not “fair?” A subjectivist should say, “it doesn’t seem fair to me, but if it seems fair to you or anyone else, that’s fine”

    If not, then why was it fair for Jesus to be punished in a horrific way for the sins of others?

    It was fair because man’s debt was infinite by virtue of having offended an infinite God. Under the circumstances, only an infinite God taking on human flesh could pay an infinite debt. A mere finite human cannot pay an infinite debt.

    You believe that God isn’t powerful enough to overcome the effects of sin? Again, I thought you were a Catholic.

    God did overcome the moral effects of sin. That is what the paschal sacrifice is all about. However, the person must work with God to repair the residual damage. The man who sins by becoming addicted to pornography, for example, has changed the neuro pathways in his brain. God will forgives the (confessed) sin, but the man must work with God to reverse the resultant physical patterns by changing his viewing habits. Similarly, a young boy may maliciously break someone’s window. If he confesses his sin, God will forgive him. Still, the individual effects remain: the window must be repaired. God will not repair the window for him.

    Sometimes suffering can be used for good purposes, but much of the time it is completely gratuitous. What was the point of Jessica Chambers’ agony as she burned to death? Was every bit of her pain needed for some higher purpose?

    Maybe it was for the purpose of prompting people like yourself to ask questions about their own eternal destiny and take it more seriously.

    But the God you believe in could have protected her. You are a Catholic, right?

    The God I believe in could have protected His own apostles, yet all but one of them died a horrible death. That was because their master allowed them to practice heroic virtue by identifying with him all the way to the grave. Perhaps it was that way with Jessica Chambers.

  295. 295
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, pardon but you have the matter twisted around. Since at least 125, you have refused to address the first foundational matter that establishes whether you have a right to appeal to “evil” at all. So the tactic of posing something that pivots on your addressing something you refuse to do, and demanding of me that I endlessly repeat myself in answer to things that on track record you will pay no heed to, has forfeited the right on your part to be regarded as a reasonable interlocutor. This is multiplied by your further track record of black knight rhetorical tactics of refusal to address cogent corrections even at the expense of clinging to absurdity, as has been shown for several weeks. I suggest to you that if you wish to again become a reasonable interlocutor, you act more responsibly, and avoid such turnabout rhetorical tactics as you just attempted. In the meanwhile, you leave me little choice but to hold you as a poster child of the sort of breakdown or reasonableness occasioned by the rise of a priori evolutionary materialism and its might and manipulation make ‘right’ and ‘truth’ nihilism. I hope that you will turn over a new leaf, on the premise that in fact you are a person who can be reasonable and responsible, if you decide to be. KF

  296. 296
    keith s says:

    KF,

    KS, pardon but you have the matter twisted around. Since at least 125, you have refused to address the first foundational matter that establishes whether you have a right to appeal to “evil” at all.

    I’ve addressed that at least four times in this thread, starting here, as you know quite well. Your dishonesty is noted.

    The onlookers have now seen you, a purported Christian, frightened by an atheist, running scared from two straightforward questions, unable to defend your faith and lying in order to divert attention from your failure.

    StephenB at least had the courage to answer my questions. I give him credit for trying, even though his answers fell short (link, link).

    Perhaps you should step aside and let your braver fellow theists fight this battle, KF.

  297. 297
    StephenB says:

    kairosfocus,

    In addition, KS has — now, sadly predictably — dodged the underlying issue that the reality and objectionableness of evil point precisely to the need for an IS capable of grounding OUGHT. And, indeed, are evidence pointing to God.

    keiths

    I’ve addressed that at least four times in this thread, starting here, as you know quite well. Your dishonesty is noted.

    Sorry, but kairosfocus is not being dishonest at all. His point is that evil cannot exist except as a counterpoise to the good and is, therefore, inherently incompatible with unguided evolution. He is correct in saying that you have not addressed either point.

  298. 298
    kairosfocus says:

    KS, I spoke to you straightly, only to be accused falsely of dishonesty — which of course implies either that evil is real and objectionable or that you are seeking to insult and inflict pain then manipulate it rhetorically to promote an a priori evolutionary materialist view (or one of its fellow travellers) that cannot ground OUGHT . . . by playing on emotions. I repeat, the foundational issue without which matters of good and evil cannot reasonably be resolved, is the IS-OUGHT gap. From at least 125 on you have refused to deal with it and have run all over the place on talking points that can only be resolved by dealing with the foundational issue; besides, I have yet to see evidence that you have seriously read the linked discussion on the problem of evils in the three main forms, I only allude here to the further problem of longstanding status, that you have openly derided and dismissed the even more foundational issue of first principles of right reason (thus of warrant, the basis on which any reasonable discussion can be had) which is addressed just above the main linked from 125 on. All you have thus managed to do is show why it is reasonable to conclude that you are behaving both irresponsibly and disrespectfully, and indeed, that you have been doing so for a very long time. As of now, given the utterly unfounded accusation you just made, you owe a fairly serious apology for a breach of civility. Not that I expect you to show the reasonableness to take back and apologise for such unjustified words. I will, however call your attention to the matter and further call on you to amend your ways. KF

  299. 299
    kairosfocus says:

    SB: Thank you. KF

  300. 300
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let me again put back on the table what KS has been so eager to sweep off it:

    >>>>>>

    The exchanges since about 120 above would be funny if they were not so sadly revealing of what has been going on.

    I note:

    KS, 157 etc: I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    But of course, he so assumes that he is lord of the matter that he obviously did not bother to make acquaintance of a linked 101 summary of a major, even epochal answer to the problem of evil, that has been on record for some 40 years now. One that moved off the table the logical form of the problem, and put the inductive form in due proportion suitable for answering through Judaeo-Christian, redemptive theism. Where, the existential form is pastoral in nature and is also addressed by way of a video dealing with rape.

    In addition, KS has — now, sadly predictably — dodged the underlying issue that the reality and objectionableness of evil point precisely to the need for an IS capable of grounding OUGHT. And, indeed, are evidence pointing to God.

    And, oh yes, those who would indict Christendom, or at least those troubled by arguments from the evils of theistic cultures, might find here on helpful.

    So, now, let us roll the tape on what KS obviously refused to pay attention to before running on with his drumbeat of long since sell-by date talking points:

    ______________

    >>125 kairosfocus December 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help.

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution [–> and notice, the pivotal significance of another unjust execution at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and the answer it provides to evils . . . ] — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.>>
    ______________

    I predict, on track record, that KS will again ignore or pretzel-twist the matter into a strawman caricature.

    Let us hope that, at length, he will finally prove such wrong.

    KF

    PS: While we wait, we might want to view Koukl’s lecture, here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifl9z_wy-OM

    >>>>>>

    Of course, sadly, KS has run true to form.

    KF

    PS: Let me add:

    1: Grounding a worldview starting from first principles of right reason (which KS has derided long since):

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu

    2: Putting the issue of truth back on the table, pace Wm G Perry et al and the deleterious effects of radical relativism on education:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u1_rezon

    3: The offer of 500 eyewitness validated warrant for the Christian worldview and gospel that KS et al so patently despise:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u1_grnds

    4: Again, the response to the three main forms of the problem of evil that KS seems to refuse to simply read and respond to, starting from the IS-OUGHT gap problem:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_gdvsevl

    4: The challenge evolutionary materialism faces with the IS-OUGHT gap, and resulting amorality that opens the door to nihilism:

    http://iose-gen.blogspot.com/2.....ml#is_oght

    5: The broader problem such evo mat faces with grounding the reasoning, knowing mind:

    http://iose-gen.blogspot.com/2.....ml#slf_ref

    6: Plato’s warning, c 360 BC, to our civilisation, regarding the danger of embracing evolutionary materialism:

    http://iose-gen.blogspot.com/2.....#bkx_evmat

  301. 301
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: I added several links, and see comment — formerly 300 — marked for moderation. (At least, that proves my limited moderator powers as an OP contributor, h’mm, let me see if I can approve my own comment . . . nope. )

  302. 302
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: Looks like the old seven links per comment max may still be in effect — Mr Moderator can you help us on this, is that so or what is the limit now?

  303. 303
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    KeithS asks,

    Do you agree that God is not perfectly loving?

    I ask,

    What exactly do you mean by “perfectly loving”?

    Do you mean he must want to give everyone what they want?

    Do you mean he must want to give everyone what is best for them?

    Do you mean he must love everyone in exactly the same way?

    Do you mean he must place the desires of enemies who hate him above what is best for his own family?

    please be explicit and comprehensive in your answer

    peace

  304. 304
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    @KF,

    IMHO the value of Plantinga free will defense as a theodicy is that it established that the allowance of evil could be justified if it facilitates a greater good.

    Now as a Calvinist I think the expression of Amazing Grace is a better candidate for the greater good than free will.

    but to each his own.

    Either way the logical problem of evil has been soundly defeated. Word just hasn’t trickled down to the atheist masses yet.

    peace

  305. 305
    kairosfocus says:

    5th, Plantinga’s defense is not a theodicy, pardon. KF

    PS: For years, atheism advocates steered clear of the matter in serious fora. I suspect someone came along with talking points on how the evidential form would work rhetorically. In fact, any argument from evil must first ground the reality of evil and its objectionableness, or else it is little more than vulture-like playing on the pain of others to push emotional manipulation to promote a worldview agenda that cannot stand on its own footing. And with an ages-long track record of where might and manipulation make ‘right’ and ‘truth’ predictably ends up — the suicidal march of folly. But then, those who refuse to learn lessons of history paid for in blood and tears doom themselves to pay the same price over again.

  306. 306
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    KF,

    You are of course correct.
    But it could be used and has been used as one no?

  307. 307

    StephenB @272:

    William @271, Thank you for taking the time to read my comments. Earlier, I wrote @244 especially for you. Of course, much has happened since then, but I just thought I would mention it.

    Yes, but taking the time to respond to keith’s questions the way you did put a new light on what you wrote previously (at least for me).

    It seems to me that you and I are in agreement about certain aspects of God and the existence God has created, and how these things relate to Keith’s argument.

    Keith is arguing from a magically-omnipotent assumption – that god can literally do **anything** Keith can imagine. When Keith says “I already explained how God could do X”, keith is actually saying “I already explained how I imagined X could be accomplished.” That doesn’t mean God can actually do what Keith imagines god can do.

    Sin, or evil acts/intentions, carries with it necessary consequences, just like navigating the landscape and accounting for gravity. There is no reprieve from the effects of gravity or sin, so to speak. This is a position I’ve long held.

    It seems to me that in your position on god is that justice is an innate quality of god – god can no more generate an unjust creation than god can generate an evil or irrational system. IOW, God cannot simply “forgive” evil acts because that would be unjust – meaning, wipe away the consequences of the act. It’s not a decision god makes; it’s an innate characteristic of god.

    I think that what keith and others struggle with is the necessity of evil in existence if god is good. Because keith can imagine a world without evil, keith believes god could have created a world without evil. What keith doesn’t understand is that God is bound by other aspects of its nature that serve as the foundations of an orderly, comprehensible existence.

    IOW, God isn’t omnipotent in the way Keith assumes.

    Thoughts?

  308. 308
    kairosfocus says:

    5th,

    actually, trying to pretend that

    a: a defense on logical coherence is a theodicy that

    b: has to use premises plausible to a selectively hyperskeptical objector instead of

    c: proposing a logically possible state E that with X will be coherent and so shows X coherent,

    . . . is exactly one of the strawman tactic dismissals that have been improperly used.

    We must understand the difference.

    At more basic level, the root challenge is, to soundly address the IS-OUGHT gap, in light of the patent reality and objectionableness of evil.

    KF

  309. 309
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, the basic problem we must not overlook, is that 99% of people have little familiarity with or inclination to philosophising. To them, it seems like unnecessary complexities . . . these days, often starting with first principles of reason (thus coherence) truth, right and the like. Our civilisation has been badly dumbed down, many are captive to media-projected Plato’s Cave shadow shows set up by various agit-prop agendas and the real ideology of our day that hides its true name . . . fascism, and there is frequently an impatience with trying to clean up the mess. That holds in Sunday School class, in the pew and — God help us — too often the Pulpit and even the Seminary lecture hall. Then, too many of those who do take up phil questions are entangled in nests of fallacies in interlocking rationality kill zones. The dominance of Scientism, a priori evolutionary materialism, subjectivism, radical relativism, selective hyperskepticism and more, speaks volumes. As a result, as a civilisation, we are heading hard for the cliff. I think the issues start long before we get to the nature and balance of Divine attributes and logical constraints on reality. For instance, I suspect many will find the point that if core attributes of a being or state of affairs stand in mutual logical contradiction, such a being or state, necessarily will be impossible for the same reason you cannot bend a paperclip into a square circle. And yes, that means that God’s omnipotence is not overturned because he cannot make a square circle. Just so, God cannot build a world in which love, focussed purpose and rationality are possible in which people are not therefore free to be self-indulgent and selfish, wayward in their chosen purposes, and irrational. For all of these pivot on the power of responsible choice. KF

  310. 310

    KF @ 308,

    That’s the kind of argument that would have mattered to me, and I think would matter to at least some others; that while arguments such as keith’s are emotionally and rhetorically appealing, they are founded on a view of god and existence that is not logically sound in the first place.

    I was musing about Keith’s question about why not just generate heaven with virtuous people populating it in the first place, because that was a question I had actually asked myself in my youth. I was also thinking about Keith’s “explanation” about simply “not creating” those individuals who would do evil in the future.

    Of course, I consider such imagined sequences to miss a rather large aspect of God; God’s timelessness. IMO, God doesn’t “look in the future” and “decide what to do”, in the ordinary sense that keith’s questions/explanations imply.

    I think a better way of characterizing this for Keith may be to say that God did exactly what Keith thinks God should have done in the first place; create an eternal Heaven populated with virtuous people. Except, for God, there is no “in the first place”, because God is not a temporal entity.

    But, even god cannot create an “A” when no “not-A” exists; in order for an eternal Heaven that is good and populated by virtuous people to exist, “not-A” must necessarily also exist. There is no doughnut without the hole, no virtue without the context that gives it value and meaning. There is no identifiable, meaningful good without evil, no right without wrong.

    For an entity to hold a thought or image of an “A” in their mind, so too must “not-A” exist in their mind. For god to manifest the existence of “A” in its mind, “not-A” must also be made manifest in god’s mind.

    IOW, that Heaven cannot exist without this world. This world and what occurs here, even if it comes to a temporal end, will eternally exist as the logically necessary “not-A” counterpart to the heavenly “A”. This world is necessarily existent as context for the other in the mind of god, and as such, necessarily exists as what it must be in order for that heaven to exist.

  311. 311
    Seversky says:

    To propose an omniscient god who demonstrates knowledge of what, to us, is the future is to deny free will. Even an omniscient god can only know what exists to be known. The corollary of that is that whatever he knows must exist. If this god knows what our future holds, it already exists and will come to pass whatever we choose. We may think we are exercising free will but that is only because we have no foreknowledge of the future.

    We agree that even an omnipotent god could not create a square circle. The concept is a logical contradiction by definition. But you would need to justify practically any other limitation on his powers unless you are prepared to cede omnipotence as a divine attribute which, it would appear, some here are prepared to do. Such a concession is a slippery slope for any claim of absolute divine authority, however.

    We would all hope that a god would be both just and honest but, in the case of the Christian God, the evidence is against that right from the beginning of the Bible. An omniscient God would have known in advance that Adam and Eve were going to give way to temptation and eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He did create them after all. So to feign ignorance and outrage when it happened is dishonest. To punish them for what He must have known they would do, for behaving as He created them to behave, is certainly unjust. And in what Earthly jurisdiction is it considered just to punish not only the offenders but all of their descendants in perpetuity? There is no way that can be considered just.

    I would accept that the Christian God should not be able to act in any way that is contradictory to His nature so we are left with only two options: either the Christian God is not all He is claimed to be or the Biblical account is unreliable on these matters.

  312. 312
    Box says:

    StephenB,

    In #262 you place evil and suffering in a context of a learning process.

    StephenB:

    All these and other virtues can only be acquired through pain and suffering. Most of all, love requires suffering. It is impossible for humans to learn to love or be compassionate without first passing through suffering.

    I fully agree and moreover believe that this is the only answer to the problem of evil. In short: there are vital lessons to be learned and unfortunately the only way is through evil and suffering.
    God is not omnipotent in the sense that He can create humans who already have those virtues.

    That said, what remains is the question:

    doesn’t everyone deserve equal opportunities to acquire those precious virtues?

    Under Christianity, is there a second chance for those who die at a young age? If not, why not?
    In general: if there are vital lessons to be learned, reincarnation makes a lot of sense.
    What are your thoughts on reincarnation?

  313. 313
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Seversky said,

    We would all hope that a god would be both just and honest but, in the case of the Christian God, the evidence is against that right from the beginning of the Bible.

    I say,

    you realize that is exactly the argument that the serpent made to Eve.

    God is not honest “You will not surely die”
    God is not good “God is not good because he forbids you to eat the fruit that is obviously good for you”

    Apparently you agree with the logic the serpent was laying down and therefore agree with her choice to eat.

    I don’t think you can complain about what happened as a result ;-).

    Of course you know there are others that don’t agree with that conclusion and think that God was perfectly in his rights to exercise lordship just because he was God.

    quote:

    But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory–
    (Rom 9:20-23)

    End quote:

    peace

  314. 314
    Joe says:

    keith:

    The onlookers have now seen you

    Onlookers have seen YOU avoid all refutations of your childish antics, The onlookers have seen YOU act like a little spoiled brat. And the onlookers have seen YOU as the ignorant troll that you are.

    Nice job

  315. 315
    Joe says:

    MT:

    Isn’t God all about helping you through difficulties ?

    No.

  316. 316
    Joe says:

    If you follow the evidence where it leads, you conclude that either

    a) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    b) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    c) God doesn’t exist.

    That only applies to the feeble minded. The evidence says that God is al-powerful- heck just look at the universe, ie God’s Creation. Parents love their children but cannot always protect them.

    God gave us the ability to control our lives. Little whiney keith wants to blame God because of our irresponsibility.

    It is really unfortunate that keith’s employer cannot witness keith’s willful ignorance.

  317. 317
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    kairosfocus,

    Your continued refusal to answer my two straightforward questions is noted.

    As you like to say, it speaks volumes, and not in your favor.

    Pathetically hilarious. keiths berates kf for not living up to keiths’s subjective moral standard.

    And how often do we see that here from the athiests/materialists? As in all the time.

    Spare us the hypocrisy and righteous indignation please.

  318. 318
    Mapou says:

    Omniscience and omnipotence are pure unmitigated crackpottery from certain deluded/deceitful factions of Christianity. These ideas are the work of the devil. They are meant to drive thinking people away from the truth. But if anybody allows these lies to become stumbling blocks in the way of their salvation, you got it coming.

  319. 319
    Mapou says:

    Jesus once healed a woman who had been sick for a long time. When asked whether her sickness was caused by her sins or the sins of her ancestors, Jesus said it was neither. He said that it happened so that the glory and power of God could be seen.

    We don’t suffer because we sin. God already paid for our sins. We suffer because we live in a Yin-Yang reality as Solomon so aptly understood thousands of years ago. There is a time for everything, a time for peace and a time for war, a time for good and a time for evil, a time for suffering and a time for happiness. There is no escaping it.

    Wanting to have happiness without suffering is like wanting to have left with right or up without down. And blaming God for not delivering us from our suffering is the ultimate in cowardice.

  320. 320
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, to know timelessly — God as One “in whom we live, and move and have our being” as Paul cited was it Cleanthes, would be present everywhere and every-when — is not the same as to force the state of affairs of what is future to us by some deterministic chain from the present or pat. In short, knowing that which is future to us is categorically distinct from forcing it willy-nilly to take that state of affairs. So, foreknowledge in this sense is compatible with responsible freedom on the part of creatures made with ability to love, and thus necessarily significant freedom. Even on the human level, we are able to accurately predict many things without deterministically controlling them. So, I think you should ponder a term used by Plato to describe ensouled life: self-moved, with all that implies about reflexivity and agency. KF

  321. 321
    vividbleau says:

    KF RE 290

    Yes I was thinking of it as a theodicy thanks for the clarification.

    It is not the logical obstacles as it is “the how” evil entered Gods creation. How did a morally good agent, one that only desires good choices, decide to make an evil choice? Where did this desire come from? So the mystery for me is the how? To say free will is the reason does not explain where the desire sprang from. A good tree produces good fruit a bad tree bad fruit.

    I am not really looking for an answer although if one has one other than “free will” I am open to it. Regardless I am not vexed over this since for me the answer is found at the cross. If Christianity is true we have the most evil act ever perpetrated by man in all of human history used for the most good. If Christianity is not true I echo Paul that we are to be the most pitied.

    Vivid

  322. 322
    StephenB says:

    SB: A perfectly loving God cannot prevent suffering and preserve free will at the same time. It isn’t logically possible.

    Keiths

    Sure it is, and I’ve already explained how it can be done: [creating only those people who would become saints]

    There are at least three problems with that solution. First, such an act would be taking away free will through the back door. It would be granting free will only to those who will accept God and withholding it from those who would reject Him. Second, it would take away God’s right to create spontaneously and fashion the world of his choice. In effect, potential sinners would be telling God what to do. Third, it would eliminate his universe of soul making, by which individuals grow in virtue by overcoming difficulties and loving unlovable people.

    If theists try to argue that by refraining from creating someone, God would be denying that person’s free will, then they put themselves in a bind — because that means that God is already denying free will to the gazillions of possible persons he never creates.

    It doesn’t matter if God denies free will to someone He doesn’t create as long as it was not part of His plan to create that person in the first place.
    SB: Everyone would not be virtuous. They would be moral blank slates. One cannot acquire virtue except through moral exertion.

    You think an omnipotent God is incapable of creating virtuous people? I thought you were a Catholic.

    God did create virtuous people. They were called Adam and Eve. They fell from virtue. We don’t start with the same clean slate that they did.

    One can be willing to make loving sacrifices even if those sacrifices are never necessary. The willingness is a consequence of the love.

    Yes, willingness is a consequence of love when it comes to loving people who are already lovable. However, one must learn to love unlovable people. In those cases, one begins by making sacrifices for the unlovable person in order to learn to love him. Also, there is the issue of how much of a price the lover is willing to pay for the beloved. It is only through pain and suffering (united to Christ’s pain and suffering) that the person builds sufficient character to love heroically. Most people feel like loving, but they falter when the price gets too high. Real love will pay any price—even martyrdom.

  323. 323
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    But to fail to prevent something is to allow it to happen. If I knew that millions of innocent people were going to die, and I could easily prevent it, I would prevent it. Wouldn’t you? It would be a moral imperative for us. Why not for God?

    Yes, I would, but I think God should, for the most part, limit his intervention to spiritual matters. He is far more concerned with eternity. However, let’s think in earthly terms. If God does prevent it [2004 tsunami), what does He say to those who died in the San Francisco earthquake when they say, “You saved them, why didn’t you save us?” Since you want to play God, go ahead and speak for God.

    What about those who died in the World Trade Center or in a Nazi concentration camp? What is your standard for deciding when God should intervene. What is your reason for saying that He should intervene at all. Is suffering an objective evil to be avoided at all costs? If so, what happened to your claim that evil is subjective? Please explain yourself.

    Or, do you think God should prevent all disasters even at the individual level? What about someone who drowns in his own swimming pool? Should God step in and prevent it? Should God eliminate the effects of sin by stripping the cause (sin) from the effect (suffering). Provide me with your God-like standard.

  324. 324
    CharlieM says:

    Me_Think @ 273:

    Isn’t God all about helping you through difficulties ? If the victims’ fate would be difficult, His duty would be to help them through difficulties, not kill them.

    Let us disregard where the responsibility for their deaths lay for a moment. If we assume that God is real then it stands to reason that anyone who suffers an innocent death enters His kingdom. They move on from this world of suffering into God’s kingdom. If you feel the need to speculate about what God would do then you have to accept that if God is real then death may be a blessing. Buddha’s first of the four noble truths proclaims the fact that Earthly life is suffering. Thomas a Kempis believes that if there were any other way Christ would have proclaimed it. But Christ’s life is an example to us that it is the only way.

    From http://www.worldinvisible.com/.....r%2037.htm

    Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, from chapter 37:

    Had there been a better way, more profitable to the salvation of mankind than suffering, then Christ would have revealed it in His word and life. But He clearly urges both His own disciples and all who wish to follow Him to carry the cross, saying, `If any will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.'(Mark 8:34) Therefore, when we have read and studied all things, let thus be our final resolve: ‘that through much tribulation we must enter the Kingdom of God.'(Acts 14:22)

    Many people are willing to endure pain and suffering to achieve their ends. In fact they realise that they cannot reach their goals without enduring the pain. Even people who have pain and suffering forced on them quite often claim that they have become a better person on coming through it.

    Now moving on to your implication that if there is a God, he killed the tsunami’s fatalities, I am with the author of the Bhagavad Gita on this one:

    The one who thinks that the Spirit is a slayer, and the one who thinks the Spirit is slain, both are ignorant. Because the Spirit neither slays nor is slain. (2.19)
    The Spirit is neither born nor does it die at any time. It does not come into being, or cease to exist. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval. The Spirit is not destroyed when the body is destroyed

  325. 325
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus:

    In addition, KS has — now, sadly predictably — dodged the underlying issue that the reality and objectionableness of evil point precisely to the need for an IS capable of grounding OUGHT. And, indeed, are evidence pointing to God.

    keiths:

    I’ve addressed that at least four times in this thread, starting here, as you know quite well. Your dishonesty is noted.

    StephenB:

    Sorry, but kairosfocus is not being dishonest at all. His point is that evil cannot exist except as a counterpoise to the good…

    That isn’t his point. He’s claiming that I must address the is-ought gap, and that I have failed to respond to this objection.

    In reality, I have responded at least four times. And now, a fifth:

    Theists,

    Most of you are making the same mistake. It doesn’t matter whether I think that evil exists (I do, but I don’t think that it is objective evil). What matters is what you, as theists, believe.

    As long as

    1) you believe in an omniGod;
    2) you believe that God is good according to some standard of good and evil; and
    3) you believe that the world is full of evil by that same standard;

    …then you face the problem of evil. Why does God allow so much evil and suffering?

    When KF claims that I haven’t addressed the issue, he is lying.

    A fine ambassador for Christianity, isn’t he? Afraid to answer two straightforward questions, and then resorting to dishonesty in order to divert attention away from his failure.

  326. 326
    keith s says:

    What’s even worse for KF is that the is-ought problem applies to him as a believer in objective morality, but not to me as a subjectivist.

    He hasn’t thought this through at all.

  327. 327
    keith s says:

    keiths:

    Do you agree that God is not perfectly loving?

    fifthmonarchyman:

    What exactly do you mean by “perfectly loving”?

    Whatever you mean by it. Remember, you are a theist, and I am not. The question is whether your concept of God is coherent and compatible with the evidence.

    The same goes for your fellow theists.

    Either way the logical problem of evil has been soundly defeated. Word just hasn’t trickled down to the atheist masses yet.

    As already stated, I am concerned with the evidential problem of evil, not the logical problem.

    The evidential problem of evil is a huge problem for omnitheists.

  328. 328
    StephenB says:

    William J. Murray

    It seems to me that you and I are in agreement about certain aspects of God and the existence God has created, and how these things relate to Keith’s argument.

    Yes, I get the same impression.

    Keith is arguing from a magically-omnipotent assumption – that god can literally do **anything** Keith can imagine. When Keith says “I already explained how God could do X”, keith is actually saying “I already explained how I imagined X could be accomplished.” That doesn’t mean God can actually do what Keith imagines god can do.

    I agree. It also seems that Keiths wants to transform the real purpose of creation, which is to provide a moral stage for soul making, into a universe that facilitates a carefree existence. In effect, he is telling God how and why to construct the cosmos.

    Sin, or evil acts/intentions, carries with it necessary consequences, just like navigating the landscape and accounting for gravity. There is no reprieve from the effects of gravity or sin, so to speak. This is a position I’ve long held.

    Right.This is big.

    It seems to me that in your position on god is that justice is an innate quality of god – god can no more generate an unjust creation than god can generate an evil or irrational system. IOW, God cannot simply “forgive” evil acts because that would be unjust – meaning, wipe away the consequences of the act. It’s not a decision god makes; it’s an innate characteristic of god.

    That is, indeed, my position. I think also that the problem of why God created the universe (for soul making) is even more important than the fact that His Creation happens to reflect his just character. He wants, I would argue, to give humans a share of divine life, which requires a great deal of cooperation from the human side. It cannot be a one-way project..

    An atheist cannot accept the proposition that he must die to a lower order of existence in order to live in a higher order of existence. He is like a mouse chewing away at the inside of a piano, unable to comprehend why a musician would spoil all his fun and use the piano to play Mozart. Can listening to a beautifully-designed and skillfully- executed piece of music possibly be any more edifying that eating wood? Not in the mind of a mouse. Can worshiping God and growing in virtue possibly be any more edifying than hanging out in a strip club. Not in the mind of some secularists. That is one of the many problems with atheists, they have no imagination—that can’t believe that every human longing can be satisfied at the deepest level in a way that remains thrilling and peaceful forever. They can’t believe that heaven is not boring.

    I think that what keith and others struggle with is the necessity of evil in existence if god is good. Because keith can imagine a world without evil, keith believes god could have created a world without evil. What keith doesn’t understand is that God is bound by other aspects of its nature that serve as the foundations of an orderly, comprehensible existence.
    IOW, God isn’t omnipotent in the way Keith assumes.

    It would be one thing for God to create a universe without suffering, but it would be something else entirely to create a universe without suffering that also contains a moral stage on which the players use their free will to pursue a noble destiny. The first scenario might be possible, but the second one would clearly be impossible. To me, though, this gets to your point. Even if the first scenario is logically possible, such a frivolous enterprise would not be in keeping with an omnipotent God who is serious about His creation.

  329. 329
    keith s says:

    William J Murray:

    Keith is arguing from a magically-omnipotent assumption – that god can literally do **anything** Keith can imagine.

    No, I am arguing from the theist’s assumption of omnipotence, whatever the theist means by that. Again, the question is whether each individual theist’s conception of God is coherent and supported by the evidence. I am not a theist, so the problem of evil does not affect me.

    When Keith says “I already explained how God could do X”, keith is actually saying “I already explained how I imagined X could be accomplished.”

    It means that I have explained how X could be accomplished according to the standard understanding of what the omniGod can do. Most omnitheists do believe that God can predict the future. Most omnitheists do believe that God has the option of creating, or not creating, any particular person. It therefore follows that God is assenting to whatever evil the created person will go on to commit. If he didn’t approve, he could always decline to create the person in question.

    Sin, or evil acts/intentions, carries with it necessary consequences, just like navigating the landscape and accounting for gravity. There is no reprieve from the effects of gravity or sin, so to speak. This is a position I’ve long held.

    But as I just explained, a standard omniGod can use his omniscience to avoid creating sinners. If you disagree, then what it is that makes sin inevitable? Why isn’t God powerful enough to create beings who don’t sin?

    It seems to me that in your [StephenB’s] position on god is that justice is an innate quality of god – god can no more generate an unjust creation than god can generate an evil or irrational system. IOW, God cannot simply “forgive” evil acts because that would be unjust – meaning, wipe away the consequences of the act. It’s not a decision god makes; it’s an innate characteristic of god.

    I think that what keith and others struggle with is the necessity of evil in existence if god is good. Because keith can imagine a world without evil, keith believes god could have created a world without evil. What keith doesn’t understand is that God is bound by other aspects of its nature that serve as the foundations of an orderly, comprehensible existence.

    IOW, God isn’t omnipotent in the way Keith assumes.

    Thoughts?

    I don’t believe in God, so of course I don’t assume anything about his omnipotence. Again, I am just reasoning from the typical theist’s assumptions.

    If you believe that every bit of evil and suffering in the world is somehow necessary, and that God can’t get rid of any of it without making the world worse, then the problem of evil is not a problem for you.

    In other words, if that’s what you believe then you are like Dr. Pangloss, convinced that this sorry world is the best of all possible worlds. Others will not likely be persuaded by this odd assertion, so you’ll need to come up with a good argument for it. Most Christians, in particular, see our world as a fallen world, so the idea that it is the best of all possible worlds will seem ridiculous to them. For them, the problem of evil is still very real — and daunting.

  330. 330
    Mapou says:

    Keith:

    Why isn’t God powerful enough to create beings who don’t sin?

    Keith makes a perfectly correct argument against the concept of an omnipotent God. Many Christians believe in an omnipotent God but it is a fundamentally flawed belief. The Biblical answer is that God can only create physical stuff. He does not create your spirit. In fact, God cannot even know if your spirit is good or bad until he puts it to the test. As every Christian should know, every spirit must and will be tested.

    Your spirit is your own and it is the only thing that has moral agency. Morality has nothing to do with the physical.

  331. 331
    keith s says:

    William,

    I think a better way of characterizing this for Keith may be to say that God did exactly what Keith thinks God should have done in the first place; create an eternal Heaven populated with virtuous people. Except, for God, there is no “in the first place”, because God is not a temporal entity.

    But, even god cannot create an “A” when no “not-A” exists; in order for an eternal Heaven that is good and populated by virtuous people to exist, “not-A” must necessarily also exist.

    That’s as silly as saying that “1+1=2” cannot be true unless somewhere else “1+1” doesn’t equal “2”. Or that God couldn’t create giraffes with long necks unless giraffes didn’t have long necks at some other time and place.

    For an entity to hold a thought or image of an “A” in their mind, so too must “not-A” exist in their mind. For god to manifest the existence of “A” in its mind, “not-A” must also be made manifest in god’s mind.

    Even if that were correct (and it isn’t), it wouldn’t mean that God would have to create a world in which “not-A” is true. To create a bicycle with round wheels it isn’t necessary to create one whose wheels aren’t round.

  332. 332
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Me asks

    What exactly do you mean by “perfectly loving”?

    KeithS Responds

    Whatever you mean by it.

    ME again,

    Then Absolutely God is perfectly loving!!!

    I would expect perfect love to be at least as complex and nuanced as what we would find morally praiseworthy in a human.

    If I have the ability to love my enemy but not in exactly the same way as I love my children surely God can accomplish this as well.

    Quote:

    The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
    (Joh 3:35-36)

    end Quote:

    Just as it would not be loving for a father to give people who hate his son his son’s things.

    So it would be unloving for the “Heavenly” Father to shower unconditional goodies on folks who despise his Son and constantly steal from him.

    The Father’s love for his creation should not override his love for his own Son. If it did then it would be deficient

    I find the atheist idea that a loving God needs to be a cosmic doormat genie who grants wishes to rebels who would kill him and his Son and steal his throne if they could to be morally reprehensible.

    If such a god existed he would not be worthy of worship

    peace

  333. 333
    keith s says:

    fifthmonarchyman:

    I would expect perfect love to be at least as complex and nuanced as what we would find morally praiseworthy in a human.

    Then I invite you to give complex and nuanced answers to the following two questions…

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    …and then show us how your answers are compatible with a “perfectly loving” God.

  334. 334
    keith s says:

    Mapou:

    Keith makes a perfectly correct argument against the concept of an omnipotent God. Many Christians believe in an omnipotent God but it is a fundamentally flawed belief.

    It’s interesting that Mapou keeps writing things like this, but the Christians here are not challenging him. Why?

    ETA: And this:

    Omniscience and omnipotence are pure unmitigated crackpottery from certain deluded/deceitful factions of Christianity. These ideas are the work of the devil.

    OmniChristians, what would you say to Mapou to justify your belief in an omniGod?

  335. 335
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Mapou says,

    In fact, God cannot even know if your spirit is good or bad until he puts it to the test.

    God says,

    as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
    (Rom 3:10-18)

    Mapou says,

    He does not create your spirit

    God says,

    For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
    (Col 1:16)

    nuff said,

    peace

  336. 336
    keith s says:

    Seversky #310:

    To propose an omniscient god who demonstrates knowledge of what, to us, is the future is to deny free will. Even an omniscient god can only know what exists to be known. The corollary of that is that whatever he knows must exist. If this god knows what our future holds, it already exists and will come to pass whatever we choose. We may think we are exercising free will but that is only because we have no foreknowledge of the future.

    Seversky,

    You and I had this conversation back in 2012 at TSZ:

    Seversky,

    Going back to free will, it seems to me that the problem for Christians is that the existence of an omniscient God would render it impossible. An omniscient God is one who knows all that exists to be known. If the future exists to be known then such a God must know it. Conversely, if such a God knew the future then it would already exist in order to be known, it would be pre-ordained and we would have no free will in the matter.

    There are a lot of problems with the concept of libertarian free will, but I don’t think that is one of them. The causality clearly runs one way: you make a free decision in 2012, and your free decision causes God, back at the beginning of time, to know exactly what you are going to do in 2012. It’s a weird, backwards-in-time causality, but I think it is nevertheless coherent. God’s knowledge is not forcing your decision; it’s your decision that is forcing God’s knowledge.

    Consider two gods, one omniscient (the O god) and one not-so-omniscient (the NSO god). The O god thinks “Seversky is going to scratch his(?) nose while reading this sentence.” The NSO god thinks “No, Seversky will cough instead”. Turns out that the O god is right — you scratch your nose. But the O god’s thought didn’t cause your behavior any more than the NSO god’s thought did. The O god’s thought is the result of your behavior, not the cause of it.

  337. 337
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Keiths askes

    1)Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    I say,

    Because to do so would be to deprive his Son of Justice that is rightfully his, Justice againist those who hate him and want nothing more kill him and take his birthright.

    Absent the restraining grace of God everyone including me and including those who were affected by these tragedies is an evil rebel who would do worse than Hitler if they had the chance. God’s wrath is simply the small part of the punishment that our rebellion deserves.

    Every day of their lives these rebels were showered with unspeakable patience and kindness and long suffering love but did they ever take even a minute to thank God for any of the gifts he gave. No they used the stuff he gave them to sin in ever more deprived ways

    Now there are some who belong to Christ who died in these events but for them their suffering was not a tragedy at all but a glorious opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ (Philippians 3:10)

    peace

  338. 338
    Me_Think says:

    If we assume that God is real then it stands to reason that anyone who suffers an innocent death enters His kingdom. They move on from this world of suffering into God’s kingdom. If you feel the need to speculate about what God would do then you have to accept that if God is real then death may be a blessing.

    Most people who are far removed from the victims have a similar spiel.

    Now moving on to your implication that if there is a God, he killed the tsunami’s fatalities, I am with the author of the Bhagavad Gita on this one:
    The one who thinks that the Spirit is a slayer, and the one who thinks the Spirit is slain, both are ignorant. Because the Spirit neither slays nor is slain.

    I am sure it is reassuring to the mother who lost her child, and children who lost their mothers. Accusing the victim of being ignorant is a great way to establish God’s love 🙁

  339. 339
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Me_thinks says,

    I am sure it is reassuring to the mother who lost her child, and children who lost their mothers. Accusing the victim of being ignorant is a great way to establish God’s love

    I say,

    If I was speaking to a mother I would point her to the cross and to the promise of the resurrection.

    Not to be harsh but I’m not speaking to a grieving mother but to a rebel who want’s to use his feigned disappointment in god as an excuse to continue in his hatred and rebellion

    such a person requires a different answer

    peace

  340. 340
    Mapou says:

    fifthmonarchyman:

    God says,

    So why did you not post something like “Thus sayeth the Lord”? Why do I have to believe Paul’s word. Is Paul my God? Show me a scripture where God says that he created our spirits or ANY spirit for that matter.

    Having said that, I do agree with Paul that all humans are bad. And I agree that all things physical were created by God.

    The truth is that Yahweh Elohim did not know that humans were bad until he tested them (see Genesis). So much so in fact that he said that he regretted having created man. One who knows everything cannot have regrets.

    Furthermore, if God knew all things past and future, then free will is a joke and a lie. We have free will precisely because God did not create our spirits.

    PS. Jesus himself said somewhere that the spirit can only be known by its actions.

  341. 341
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Mapou,

    If you don’t want to listen to the Word of God then I can’t help you here.

    Just please don’t presume to speak for those of us who do value it. All of it.

    quote:

    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
    (2Ti 3:16-17)

    end quote:

    peace

  342. 342
    Me_Think says:

    fifthmonarchyman @ 338

    If I was speaking to a mother I would point her to the cross and to the promise of the resurrection.

    What if she was of a different faith ? Will you say that she deserved the death of her child because she isn’t a Christian?

  343. 343
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Me_Think asks,

    What if she was of a different faith ? Will you say that she deserved the death of her child because she isn’t a Christian?

    I say,

    Depends is she a different faith because she is seeking God but has yet to find him or because she is an idolater and knowingly gives what she should give to the one true God to a demon?

    peace

    Carry on all Ive got stuff to do I’ll check in later

  344. 344
    Mapou says:

    fifth monarchy mesiter:

    Mapou,

    If you don’t want to listen to the Word of God then I can’t help you here.

    Just please don’t presume to speak for those of us who do value it. All of it.

    I only speak for myself. In my personal opinion, you are a devil’s disciple and you speak with a forked tongue. I respect Keith more than I respect you. I don’t care what church you belong to. See you around.

  345. 345
    keith s says:

    Me_Think,

    Isn’t it pitiful? Most of the victims of the 2004 tsunami were not Christians. So as far as many Christians are concerned, not only did those people die horrible deaths, but they are now suffering in agony for eternity because they held the wrong religious beliefs.

    And this is what counts as “perfectly loving” in many Christian circles.

  346. 346
    StephenB says:

    Box

    Under Christianity, is there a second chance for those who die at a young age? If not, why not? In general: if there are vital lessons to be learned, reincarnation makes a lot of sense. What are your thoughts on reincarnation?

    As usual, you really know how to ask probing questions. Let me work my way to the question about dying young by first describing what I believe to be the normal course of events. From my experience, most people have settled in on their belief system and their way of living by the age of 40. There are a few glorious exceptions of those who have lived an immoral life and turned it around late in life, and, conversely, there are a few who have lived a moral life for many years and then fell away, but these things do not happen very often.

    As the saying goes,
    Sow a thought, reap an act;
    Sow an act, reap a habit;
    Sow a habit, reap a character;
    Sow a character, reap a destiny.

    This phenomenon is related to another point. There are no spiritual planes. A person is either getting closer and closer to God or drifting farther and farther away. By the time he reaches old age, he has ratified his decision to either love or not love God millions of times. By that time, and for all practical purposes, his decision has become final. So, I don’t really think there are any second chances insofar as a million chances have already passed by.

    Of course, the God-hater’s attitude will likely change when he comes face to face with the consequences of his decision, but by then it is almost impossible for his sorrow to be sincere. He will not be sorry because he refused respond to God’s love, a noble act that would be graciously received, but because he is about to be punished. At this point, he is not capable of self-less love, only selfish regret. .
    So, what about those who die young? In my judgment, God would deal with that issue by accelerating the process so that a lifetime of decision making could be crowded into a few months or years. God might even illuminate a person’s mind at the moment of death as if he had experienced a life-time of opportunities and experiences, enabling him to make his final decision.

    I will try to address your question about reincarnation tomorrow. Thank you for opening up the discussion.

  347. 347
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    You’re contradicting yourself right and left:

    keiths:

    What’s wrong with people being good from the start?

    StephenB:

    Without bad people or an imperfect nature, heroic virtue would be impossible–indeed, all virtue would be impossible.

    keiths:

    Not at all. It’s just that everyone would be virtuous. What is your objection?

    StephenB:

    Everyone would not be virtuous. They would be moral blank slates. One cannot acquire virtue except through moral exertion.

    keiths:

    You think an omnipotent God is incapable of creating virtuous people? I thought you were a Catholic.

    StephenB:

    God did create virtuous people. They were called Adam and Eve. They fell from virtue.

    Good grief, Stephen. It appears that you’ve never even thought about this before. You’re stumbling over yourself and contradicting what you’ve just said.

    If you aren’t serious enough about your religious beliefs to think them through carefully, then why should anyone else listen to what you have to say?

  348. 348
    keith s says:

    Box #311, to StephenB:

    I fully agree and moreover believe that this is the only answer to the problem of evil. In short: there are vital lessons to be learned and unfortunately the only way is through evil and suffering.
    God is not omnipotent in the sense that He can create humans who already have those virtues.

    That said, what remains is the question:

    doesn’t everyone deserve equal opportunities to acquire those precious virtues?

    Under Christianity, is there a second chance for those who die at a young age? If not, why not?
    In general: if there are vital lessons to be learned, reincarnation makes a lot of sense.
    What are your thoughts on reincarnation?

    Box,

    It’s a good question, and I’m sorry that StephenB gave you such an unsatisfactory answer.

    Most Christians do not believe in reincarnation in the usual sense. By their lights, each of us has just one earthly life, though many Christians do believe that our souls will eventually be reunited with our physical bodies.

    StephenB’s answer is silly:

    So, what about those who die young? In my judgment, God would deal with that issue by accelerating the process so that a lifetime of decision making could be crowded into a few months or years. God might even illuminate a person’s mind at the moment of death as if he had experienced a life-time of opportunities and experiences, enabling him to make his final decision.

    First, Stephen offers no explanation of why God can’t create virtuous people (besides contradicting his earlier statement about Adam and Eve).

    Second, even if there were such an explanation, this question remains: If God can accelerate the process of “virtuizing” a person, as Stephen says, then why doesn’t he do that for everyone? What’s the point of allowing all of the evil and suffering to happen in reality if God could just as easily accomplish it via this virtual reality “virtuizing” process?

    Stephen clearly hasn’t thought this through. He’s making stuff up as he goes.

  349. 349
    keith s says:

    vividbleau #320:

    It is not the logical obstacles as it is “the how” evil entered Gods creation. How did a morally good agent, one that only desires good choices, decide to make an evil choice? Where did this desire come from? So the mystery for me is the how? To say free will is the reason does not explain where the desire sprang from. A good tree produces good fruit a bad tree bad fruit.

    The standard theistic response is that a world with free will and some evil is better than a pristine world full of robots lacking free will.

    The problem with that excuse is that God can have his cake and eat it too. He can have free will and no evil, as I’ve explained several times:

    Before God creates a person, he uses his omniscience to look ahead and ask whether that person will commit murder. If the answer is no, he proceeds. If the answer is yes, he refrains from creating that person and creates someone else instead — someone he knows will not become a murderer.

    He hasn’t changed anyone’s nature. Each person is completely free, and yet no one commits murder, because they all freely choose not to.

    If theists try to argue that by refraining from creating someone, God would be denying that person’s free will, then they put themselves in a bind — because that means that God is already denying free will to the gazillions of possible persons he never creates.

    Of course, this also works for any other kind of evil God wants to prevent. Why doesn’t he do it?

    vividbleau:

    I am not really looking for an answer although if one has one other than “free will” I am open to it. Regardless I am not vexed over this since for me the answer is found at the cross. If Christianity is true we have the most evil act ever perpetrated by man in all of human history used for the most good.

    That doesn’t solve the problem, because the crucifixion is only one tiny instance of all the evil and suffering that needs to be explained.

    It doesn’t answer my two questions, for instance.

  350. 350
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    You’re contradicting yourself right and left:

    You do not possess the intellectual equipment to detect logical contradictions. Pay attention to context.

    SB: Nothing, except that everyone starts out in the hole with an inclination to do the wrong thing as a result of the Fall. Our nature has been damaged; we are morally defective from birth. School children can be incredibly cruel. So, goodness must be earned the hard way with the help of God. Without God, it is impossible.

    Notice the context (AFTER THE FALL)

    SB: Without bad people or an imperfect nature, heroic virtue would be impossible–indeed, all virtue would be impossible. (AFTER THE FALL)

    (After the fall, Virtue can only be acquired by interacting with imperfect people and situations)

    (consistent with my earlier claim)

    Keiths, the nitwit, changes the question from how virtue is acquired to the subject of whether God can create a person with virtue, which opens up the possibility that one could receive virtue prior to the fall.

    You think an omnipotent God is incapable of creating virtuous people? I thought you were a Catholic.

    SB: God did create virtuous people. They were called Adam and Eve. They fell from virtue.

    Good grief, Stephen. It appears that you’ve never even thought about this before. You’re stumbling over yourself and contradicting what you’ve just said.

    Good grief, Keiths, you are an idiot. Obviously, you cannot follow a rational argument.

    If you aren’t serious enough about your religious beliefs to think them through carefully, then why should anyone else listen to what you have to say?

    I am serious enough to know that you are a nitwit, as I have just made clear.

  351. 351
    Andre says:

    Keith S

    The problem with that excuse is that God can have his cake and eat it too. He can have free will and no evil, as I’ve explained several times:

    And I have told you already that God only making good people to suit Him is loading the die…… Why are you ignoring those that have sinned but changed their ways? Does only those that ever do good deserve a chance? Does only those that God know will follow him get a chance? That means you would not exist and neither would a single atheist. So it again just boils down to this……

    Keith S is angry because God gave him the ability to choose……

    Now I have to say God only choosing Christians would be great but that is unfair to the rest and with that I have a problem.

    You see I was a atheist for 34 years but became born again in 2010. I thank God that He did not discard me, but gave me the opportunity to decide for myself!

  352. 352
    keith s says:

    Fifthmonarchyman’s answers to my questions are both appalling and unconvincing:

    keiths:

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    fifthmonarchyman:

    I say,

    Because to do so would be to deprive his Son of Justice that is rightfully his, Justice againist those who hate him and want nothing more kill him and take his birthright.

    Huh?

    Absent the restraining grace of God everyone including me and including those who were affected by these tragedies is an evil rebel who would do worse than Hitler if they had the chance. God’s wrath is simply the small part of the punishment that our rebellion deserves.

    Perfectly loving, perfectly sensible.

    Every day of their lives these rebels were showered with unspeakable patience and kindness and long suffering love but did they ever take even a minute to thank God for any of the gifts he gave. No they used the stuff he gave them to sin in ever more deprived ways

    Now there are some who belong to Christ who died in these events but for them their suffering was not a tragedy at all but a glorious opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ (Philippians 3:10)

    So he loves the ones he hates by making them suffer, and he loves the ones he loves by making them suffer.

    And he is perfectly loving. Got it.

    Are there any Christians out there who can answer my two questions in a way that won’t make God and Christianity look horrible?

  353. 353
    StephenB says:

    keiths

    ….and I’m sorry that StephenB gave you such an unsatisfactory answer.

    I didn’t answer his question about reincarnation, you lying
    nitwit. I told him I would address that subject tomorrow.

    Keiths, the lying nitwit, doesn’t know that I was addressing the first of two questions. I would ask him a few pertinent questions, but as we know, he is afraid to answer questions.

  354. 354
    keith s says:

    StephenB:

    Keiths

    You do not possess the intellectual equipment to detect logical contradictions…

    Keiths, the nitwit, changes the question…

    Good grief, Keiths, you are an idiot. Obviously, you cannot follow a rational argument…

    I am serious enough to know that you are a nitwit, as I have just made clear.

    …you lying nitwit…

    Keiths, the lying nitwit…

    Oh, dear. Stephen has forgotten what Jesus said:

    and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

    Matthew 5:22, KJV

  355. 355
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    So now you are claiming:

    (After the fall, Virtue can only be acquired by interacting with imperfect people and situations)

    And you know this how? It looks like you just made it up in an attempt to cover your mistake.

    Besides, the method I’ve described would have allowed God to avert the Fall altogether. Instead of Adam and Eve, he could have created two humans who would have freely chosen not to succumb to the serpent’s temptation.

    Why didn’t he?

  356. 356
    kairosfocus says:

    KS (in re 324 as of now),

    Nope, you dodged the IS-OUGHT gap, then tried to project it to me instead — inadvertently reflecting

    a: that you failed to understand why I referenced Hume’s guillotine’s valid part (as in his “surpriz’d” when IS-IS becomes IS-OUGHT) and

    b: pointed out the alternative on oughtness being real. Namely, that

    c: once that is so (and the option that ought is an illusion falls of its own weight) there is a world-foundation level IS that grounds OUGHT. Where,

    d: as I repeatedly pointed out, across centuries of exchanges, there is but one serious candidate, namely

    e: the inherently good Creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being.

    All of which holds a world of philosophy and draws out that which can and should be known & acknowledged of God from the world without and our inner life within.

    In short, you again falsely accuse me, have failed to do due diligence before projecting accusations, and show that you either simply have not read carefully and reflected before accusing, or else have utterly failed to understand, or else something of like order.

    In addition, you attempted to present a rhetorical evasion on your part as if it were an answer to the IS-OUGHT gap.

    Instead, you have inadvertently indicated your want of an adequate answer, which is long since known for evolutionary materialism and/or its fellow traveller views. Which, consistently end up in, Plato’s characterisation of such: “the highest right is might.” Or, expanding slightly for those in the back of the class looking to take the drop provision . . . problem is, every tub must stand on its own bottom at worldviews level . . . might and manipulation make ‘truth’ and ‘right’ etc.

    That is exactly what I summarised at 125 when I long since responded:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    >>125 kairosfocus December 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help. [–> Oops, I noticed a gap where a quote-link was not there]

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution [–> and notice, the pivotal significance of another unjust execution at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and the answer it provides to evils . . . ] — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    [–> in case that is not plain enough, subjectivising the reality and objectionability of evil is tantamount to, evil is a perception projected to the world, a delusion that somehow fosters differential reproductive success, etc; which ends up equivalent to good/evil is just a rhetorical tool for might and manipulation make ‘right’ ‘truth’ etc, ending in disaster. And leaving you open to the charge of manipulating the pain of others to promote a worldview that cannot even acknowledge the reality of evil or ground truth and reason etc.]

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.>>

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    I hope that, at length, you will finally take a very serious matter seriously.

    Starting from, self-evident first principles of right reason and first truths (per fair comment, I have not forgotten your stumbles in this dept of thinking, which are the root of much else that has gone wrong in your thinking):

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu

    Moving on to getting truth straight, pace Wm G Perry et al and their deleterious impacts on education and much more:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u1_rezon

    Taking time to actually work through the already linked on the problem of evils in its three forms, and pausing to watch and take on board Koukl’s video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifl9z_wy-OM

    And, while you are at it, you may find it profitable to read and see why Christians hold the views they do, starting here:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u1_grnds

    . . . and working your way through the context of a 101 survey.

    KF

  357. 357
    vividbleau says:

    Keith

    That doesn’t solve the problem, because the crucifixion is only one tiny instance of all the evil and suffering that needs to be explained.

    Doesn’t solve what problem? Secondarily whose problem? It looks to me that you are the one that has a problem.

    Vivid

  358. 358
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    So now you are claiming:

    I am not “claiming” anything. I just documented for the umpteenth time that you are a lying troll and I want nothing more to do with you. Just stay away from me and my comments and I will do the same for you. Say nothing to me or about me. Be content to interact with the others.

  359. 359
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: As the links budget beckons, I should add a link on the irretrievable incoherence of evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers, which creates a nest of confusions, contentions and manipulations, here:

    http://iose-gen.blogspot.com/2.....ml#slf_ref

    This is aptly exemplified by Haldane’s longstanding challenge:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [[“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209.]

    And of course, such a view simply cannot ground OUGHT:

    http://iose-gen.blogspot.com/2.....ml#is_oght

    . . . where Will Hawthorne aptly highlights:

    Assume (per impossibile) that atheistic naturalism [[= evolutionary materialism] is true. Assume, furthermore, that one can’t infer an ‘ought’ from an ‘is’ [[the ‘is’ being in this context physicalist: matter-energy, space- time, chance and mechanical forces]. (Richard Dawkins and many other atheists should grant both of these assumptions.)

    Given our second assumption, there is no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer an ‘ought’. And given our first assumption, there is nothing that exists over and above the natural world; the natural world is all that there is. It follows logically that, for any action you care to pick, there’s no description of anything in the natural world from which we can infer that one ought to refrain from performing that action.

    Add a further uncontroversial assumption: an action is permissible if and only if it’s not the case that one ought to refrain from performing that action . . . [[We see] therefore, for any action you care to pick, it’s permissible to perform that action. If you’d like, you can take this as the meat behind the slogan ‘if atheism is true, all things are permitted’.

    For example if atheism is true, every action Hitler performed was permissible. Many atheists don’t like this consequence of their worldview. But they cannot escape it and insist that they are being logical at the same time.

    Now, we all know that at least some actions are really not permissible (for example, racist actions). Since the conclusion of the argument denies this, there must be a problem somewhere in the argument. Could the argument be invalid? No. The argument has not violated a single rule of logic and all inferences were made explicit.

    Thus we are forced to deny the truth of one of the assumptions we started out with. That means we either deny atheistic naturalism or (the more intuitively appealing) principle that one can’t infer ‘ought’ from [[a material] ‘is’. [Blog: Atheism is Dead]

    Finally, I must again point out Plato’s warning from 2350 years ago in The Laws, Bk X:

    Ath. . . . [[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only. [[In short, evolutionary materialism premised on chance plus necessity acting without intelligent guidance on primordial matter is hardly a new or a primarily “scientific” view! Notice also, the trichotomy of causal factors: (a) chance/accident, (b) mechanical necessity of nature, (c) art or intelligent design and direction.] . . . .

    [[Thus, they hold that t]he Gods exist not by nature, but by art, and by the laws of states, which are different in different places, according to the agreement of those who make them; and that the honourable is one thing by nature and another thing by law, and that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.- [[Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT. (Cf. here for Locke’s views and sources on a very different base for grounding liberty as opposed to license and resulting anarchistic “every man does what is right in his own eyes” chaos leading to tyranny. )] These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might [[ Evolutionary materialism leads to the promotion of amorality], and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [[Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others [[such amoral factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless tyranny], and not in legal subjection to them.

    Yes, the lessons we seem determined to learn again the hard way were first paid for in blood and tears in Ancient Athens c 400 BC, thanks to Alcibiades and company, then placed on permanent record a generation later by one of the leading lights of our civilisation.

    For shame!

  360. 360
    kairosfocus says:

    Now, KS: I have sufficiently highlighted some serious breaches of not only reason and warrant, but of civility on your part, and over many weeks now you have shown a clear agenda of message dominance by rhetorical manipulation, culminating in false accusations. You need to seriously address these and other matters, or stand exposed as uncivil and destructively amoral, even nihilistic. Trollishness would not be inappropriate as a conclusion, if you refuse to resolve the breaches you have carried out. KF

  361. 361
    Me_Think says:

    344
    keith s @ 344

    Isn’t it pitiful? Most of the victims of the 2004 tsunami were not Christians. So as far as many Christians are concerned, not only did those people die horrible deaths, but they are now suffering in agony for eternity because they held the wrong religious beliefs.

    And this is what counts as “perfectly loving” in many Christian circles.

    Yes, it is pitiful. I also find the strategy of defending God by blaming the victims tactless and devoid of any ‘Godly love’.

  362. 362
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, part of KS’ track record has been to refuse to interact seriously with interlocutors, creating and knocking over cruelly mocking strawman caricatures. This of course comes right out of Alinsky’s book. One of the results he is hoping for is to infuriate and set us up for further caricature. I think at this point, until and unless he shows himself sufficiently remorseful and civil to retract, apologise and correct himself, we should simply write for the benefit of the onlooker “Re KS” — not expecting him to behave in a reasonable and responsible way but instead as a poster child of the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of evolutionary materialism and its fellow travellers. KF

    PS: One of the ultimate lessons of the story of Alcibiades is that in the end he had so destroyed his credibility that, when he saw a mistake by the Athenians in preparing for a sea battle near his exile home and tried to warn them, they did not listen, utterly mistrusting him. They lost the battle, a major contribution to Athens’ eventual defeat. Those who parasite off civility and play at manipulation are in the end utterly corrosive and destructive to the reasonable trust in authorities that is a major element of a sound culture . . . something that is already beginning to show itself in our time.

  363. 363
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus,

    Feigning indignation won’t get you out of this mess.

    After falsely accusing me of avoiding the is-ought problem, you are now avoiding it yourself.

    I addressed it directly. It affects you, not me, because you believe in objective morality while I don’t.

    Can you address it? How do you get from “is” to “objectively ought”?

    Here’s your “is”: “There is a God who (supposedly) wants me to do X.”

    Here’s your “ought”: “I objectively ought to do X.”

    How do you get from your “is” to your “ought”? Be specific.

    Meanwhile, you are still refusing to answer my two straightforward questions:

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    To actually answer those questions, you would need to write something like “God didn’t warn us of the tsunami because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    Regarding Jessica Chambers, you would need to write something like “God allowed Jessica Chambers to be burned alive because _______”, and fill in the blank.

    To answer those questions, you merely have to fill in the blanks. Why won’t you? Are you ashamed of your answers?

  364. 364
    keith s says:

    Everyone,

    As usually happens when critics aren’t censored*, KF looks quite foolish and hypocritical at this point. Based on past experience, he is likely to begin lobbying for my banning.

    Just a reminder: if I abruptly disappear, it will be because I was silently banned. If that happens, you can find me at The Skeptical Zone.

    *Of course, critics have already been censored since the “general amnesty”, but I have escaped so far.

  365. 365
    kairosfocus says:

    MT,

    Pardon fair comment: yet another tangent that pivots on misunderstanding both the foundation of morality and Christian theology.

    Before brushing that observation off and running on to the next handy talking point [did it ever occur to you that there may be a reason why such talking points are ever so handy, in a world of media-projected Plato’s Cave shadow shows and clever but ruthless spin doctors . . . ?], please pause and allow an explanation.

    I first point out that before assuming the right to pontificate — the right term if your view ends in might and manipulation make right — on moral, ethical and theological matters, you need to show grounding for OUGHT. As in, kindly provide the missing evolutionary materialist and/or fellow traveller answer on a world foundational IS that grounds OUGHT. Or else stand convicted of seeking to manipulate the pain of others to promote a scheme that cannot stand on its own merits. (Kindly, cf above in this thread.)

    Second, I will pause to point out that death comes to all at one time or another, and that thereafter we would face judgement.

    The notion that one ought to be spared death until one has set him or herself right, would end up in a world dominated by those whose every thought is evil continually.

    In short, one of the theological and morally defensible reasons for death is that it sets a limit to how rotten we can get and how much we can work as the bad apples that spoil others in the barrel.

    In that context, once one has access to a world full of signs that point to the eternal power and inherently good Divine Nature of its source (regardless of how we may individually and collectively suppress such evident truth) we have more than sufficient cause to heed conscience by the degree of light we have.

    And, the explicit teaching of the Bible on this is:

    Rom 2:6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil . . . 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality . . . .

    13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus . . . .

    13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong [or, harm] to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [ESV]

    It is noteworthy that, in setting up the basis for what would become modern liberty and democracy pivoting on liberty and justice, in Ch 2 Sec 5 of his second essay on civil gov’t, Locke cited canon Richard Hooker in Ecclesiastical Polity, as he drew out these themes and alluded to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis (a synthesis of a thousand years of Roman legal thought), in its built-in textbook:

    . . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8 and alluding to Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civilis:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]

    In short, you have set up and knocked over a loaded strawman caricature.

    Judgement, in foundational and sound Christian teaching (unfortunately, there is a fair amount of sincere but ill-informed Christian opinion about on such), is by light, and based on what we do with the light we have and acknowledge or should acknowledge. This specifically, explicitly includes that “to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”

    In short, all of us who are of age and reasonably sound constitution have light of intuition, reason and conscience in light of moral government. That small little voice ever comes to us, this is the way, walk in it. We are reasonably expected to heed that voice and its message of duty to cherish and help rather than harm and abuse neighbour as self. Yes, we will stumble.

    So, what do you do about it?

    Try to pretend that you are all right, and brazen out wrong? Stifling that voice?

    That is not patient persistence in the way of well-doing.

    Instead, the even inchoate heart of penitence, and resolve to get up and keep on moving towards the light is the response to the candle set up in us. The response that reaches out to the gift of eternal life and which will by Divine promise be rewarded.

    But, in that is a duty to the truth that is weighty indeed:

    Jn 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

    And which brings us right back to the challenge of truth in the teeth of the legacy of Perry et al:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u1_rezon

    . . . also, to the Gospel and its warranting evidence that is so easily accessible to us today:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....l#u1_grnds

    So, MT, the issue is, what is your response to light, why.

    And, that applies to every soul on that boxing day 2004, and it applies to us here and now, and at the hour of our death.

    Are you willing to spend a few hours investigating the truth and taking a fearless moral inventory of your own life, that is a test.

    By God’s grace let us all have the courage to meet it, painful though it inevitably is.

    Much, of eternal weight, hangs on it.

    KF

  366. 366
    keith s says:

    KF, to Me_Think:

    In short, one of the theological and morally defensible reasons for death is that it sets a limit to how rotten we can get and how much we can work as the bad apples that spoil others in the barrel.

    So you see, it was a good thing that 220,000 people died in the Indian Ocean tsunami. They were bad apples who needed to be snuffed out before they could spoil the others in the barrel.

  367. 367
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus,

    There is now a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean. Shall we shut it down in case God wants to purge hundreds of thousands of “rotten apples” again?

  368. 368
    kairosfocus says:

    KS,

    you compound accusations and turnabout projections, refusing to actually deal with the matter at stake. I note that unless there is a grounding for OUGHT, the objectionableness of evil becomes little more than might and manipulation making right and truth. A notion that patently falls of its own weight. I again remind you:

    >>>>>>>>>

    >>125 kairosfocus December 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help.

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution [–> and notice, the pivotal significance of another unjust execution at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and the answer it provides to evils . . . ] — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.>>

    >>>>>>>>>

    To date, I see no significant sign that you have taken the matter sufficiently seriously to actually pay focussed attention, but have resorted to worn, fallacy-riddled rhetorical tactics such as turnabout accusations and piled on accusations generally.

    I have now spoken to you enough, and will now simply treat your remarks, when I take time to deal with them as appropriate, as examples of the sort of trollish misbehaviour and nihilistic behaviour we have warned of again and again.

    To come back in the circle of civil behaviour, you know what to do. Retract, correct yourself, and show some reasonable responsiveness.

    Good day.

    KF

    PS: I see you are still pushing talking points on alleged censorship, a patent case of yet more manipulation that refuses to address the issue that those who disrupt civility and particularly those who indulge in ungrounded and slanderous accusations, are exploiting liberty and turning it into license to the detriment of all. And of course, it seems that the cry censorship on the part of the trollishly abusive boils down to little more than a demand to freely slander and dismiss correction or the duty to be fair and accurate. The very existence of a law of tort shows why that should not stand.

  369. 369
    kairosfocus says:

    Re KS,

    it seems this objector cannot understand the concept of a lesser of evils, and/or refuses to read with reasonable fairness in context, preferring instead to snip and snipe.

    All of us face death, and death — an admitted evil and in the scriptures explicitly an ENEMY — is a limit to the progress of evils as I drew out in outline. In due course, as the progress of the redemption so extensively highlighted as our hope of felicity now and evermore advances, there will come a day when death too will be destroyed, but with it, those who have chosen to cling to darkness and flee the light of the truth and the right.

    But this objector, sadly, could not resist the urge to snip, strawmannise and snipe.

    Let us hope that at length, he will learn from the final warning of the Apostle Peter, on the eve of unjust execution on a false accusation of being a ringleader of a murderous cult that burned Rome . . . yes, false accusations can be destructive indeed. And the scriptures warn, life and death lie in the power of the tongue and those who love it (especially its destructive power . . . ) will taste of its fruit:

    2 Peter 3:15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

    It is time to go for now.

    KF

  370. 370
    Joe says:

    As usually happens when critics aren’t censored, they look quite foolish and ignorant. Well keith s always has looked quite foolish and ignorant, far as we can tell.

    Besides, the method I’ve described would have allowed God to avert the Fall altogether.

    And how do you know this? It appears you just made it up to avoid having to defend your ignorant spewage.

  371. 371
    Joe says:

    sock puppet:

    I also find the strategy of defending God by blaming the victims tactless and devoid of any ‘Godly love’.

    We find the strategy of blaming God by trying to shirk personal responsibility, tactless and devoid of any ‘human sensibility’.

  372. 372
    Joe says:

    Why does God need to create the World at all.

    We are puzzled by this. Who said God needed to Create anything?

    Why does he not just make Heaven and put everyone in it?

    What would be the purpose?

  373. 373
    Box says:

    //An attempt for clarification//

    StephenB,

    If I understand you correctly you place evil and suffering in a context of a learning process. They are the necessary means in order to acquire/learn all-important virtues.
    Those virtues are so important that they make up for all the evil and suffering in the world. The end justifies the means.

    Why Auschwitz?
    Because there was no other way for you to acquire those virtues.

    Are we in agreement, so far?

    If so, can you tell me what those virtues are? You speak of selfless-love, morality and the decision to love God.


    p.s. looking forward to see how you address my question about reincarnation.

  374. 374
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    KeithS said,

    So as far as many Christians are concerned, not only did those people die horrible deaths, but they are now suffering in agony for eternity because they held the wrong religious beliefs.

    I say,

    You give rebels way to much credit

    If anyone is suffering for eternity it is not because they held wrong religious beliefs.

    It’s because they hate God and want nothing more than to kill him and take his stuff.

    People are only punished for what they do.

    If the punishment lasts for eternity it is only because people continue in their rebellion after the judgement and it is either more just or more gracious to sustain rather than annihilate them.

    peace

  375. 375
    kairosfocus says:

    Box, Why Auschwitz? Corrie Ten Boom (a concentration camp survivor who lost her sister in a death camp) would answer, because we allowed demonic evil to get out of control, and — all of the leading nations of the world are implicated, in the failure of the League of nations — would not do enough to stop it when it could have been stopped at far less cost than 60 million lives and a devastated continent or two. And, looks a lot like we are setting up the very same nonsense again, this time with nukes in play from the outset. Blaming God for our refusal to act in good time on our known responsibilities, does not look very sound to me. Remember, the implications of a world where evil is impossible: a world of robots. Heaven is a world that exists after the choices have been made and finalised, it is not a contrast to the world in which we can choose to love and so can also choose to do other than love. KF

    PS, let us remember Heinie’s grim prophetic warning of 1831 in Religion and Philosophy in Germany — yes, a full century ahead of t Nazis (and in 1914 it was widely published, a foreshadowing of what was to come a generation later, we have no excuse), and then please let us hear those who advocate much the same tell us that we should not be concerned when the same forces are let loose again in a world in which nukes are in play:

    >> Christianity — and that is its greatest merit — has somewhat mitigated that brutal German love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered [–> the Swastika, visually, is a twisted, broken cross . . .], the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame. …

    The old stone gods will then rise from long ruins and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and Thor will leap to life with his giant hammer and smash the Gothic cathedrals. …

    … Do not smile at my advice — the advice of a dreamer who warns you against Kantians, Fichteans, and philosophers of nature. Do not smile at the visionary who anticipates the same revolution in the realm of the visible as has taken place in the spiritual. Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. German thunder … comes rolling somewhat slowly, but … its crash … will be unlike anything before in the history of the world. …

    At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead [–> cf. air warfare, symbol of the USA], and lions in farthest Africa [–> the lion is a key symbol of Britain, cf. also the North African campaigns] will draw in their tails and slink away. … A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll. >>

    I’d say God gave us all the warning and opportunity to have done better we needed, and need.

    We are on track right now to do even worse, with nukes in play from the outset.

  376. 376
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    KeithS and Me_thinks

    Please understand that God has graciously and abundantly showered blessings on us since the day we were born. These unmerited blessings have come at terrific expense.

    Not only have we not stopped for one minute to thank him but we have spent the time he has graciously given us on this planet inventing evermore clever ways to do evil.

    When God finally decides that enough is enough and shuts off the fountain of blessing we scream bloody murder about how he is cruel and unfair.

    If anyone dares to point out the absurdity and ingratitude of our position we think he is mean and pitiful.Talk about delusional

    quote:

    For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
    (Rom 1:21-22)

    end quote:

    peace

  377. 377
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Mapou said,

    you are a devil’s disciple and you speak with a forked tongue

    I say,

    I am truly sorry you feel that way. My prayer is that both of us trust God and learn from him alone.

    peace

  378. 378
    Box says:

    KF#375,
    The point I’m making is that, in the grand scheme of things, there is either a function for evil and suffering or not. So, is Auschwitz (evil and suffering) – irrespective for the reasons of why it took place – offering an opportunity to acquire virtues or not? And is the only way to acquire certain virtues through evil and suffering or not?

  379. 379
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: In case that was not enough, let’s see what happened in the late 1890’s in the opening of H G Wells’ War of the Worlds, i.e. one of the most popular and discussed works of fiction of all time, where Wells was a student of Huxley (and watch the lecture here by Weikart):

    No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water . . . No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us . . . . looking across space with instruments, and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of, they see, at its nearest distance only 35,000,000 of miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope, our own warmer planet, green with vegetation and grey with water, with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through its drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow, navy-crowded seas.

    And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us. The intellectual side of man already admits that life is an incessant struggle for existence, and it would seem that this too is the belief of the minds upon Mars. Their world is far gone in its cooling and this world is still crowded with life, but crowded only with what they regard as inferior animals. To carry warfare sunward is, indeed, their only escape from the destruction that, generation after generation, creeps upon them.

    And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?

    The same Wells sounded the alarm again and again, in Time Machine and Island of Dr Moreaux [?].

    In short, the survival of the fittest, ruthless struggle to survive thesis, analysis and predictions in Descent of Man — and whatever precursors were there in earlier decades, it is indisputably Darwin whose work effected the scientific and cultural revolution — had by the turn of C20 so pervaded western culture that a very popular science fiction work by a celebrated author could begin from the Darwinian thesis. At least, we see here a sense of moral concern, and hints of a warning of what could easily come about in the century to follow.

    Would, that we had heeded this warning!

    Do I need to go farther, to point out the precursors in Darwin that fed the stream of thought that would gather demonic strength in the C20 just past, ending in Eugenics, Scientific racism and holocaust, driven by a breakdown of ethics and respect for neighbour?

    Here is Herr Schicklegruber in his demonic madness in Mein Kampf, my struggle:

    Any crossing of two beings not at exactly the same level produces a medium between the level of the two parents . . . Consequently, it will later succumb in the struggle against the higher level. Such mating is contrary to the will of Nature for a higher breeding of all life . . . The stronger must dominate and not blend with the weaker, thus sacrificing his own greatness. Only the born weakling can view this as cruel, but he after all is only a weak and limited man; for if this law did not prevail, any conceivable higher development of organic living beings would be unthinkable.

    The consequence of this racial purity, universally valid in Nature, is not only the sharp outward delimitation of the various races, but their uniform character in themselves. The fox is always a fox, the goose a goose, the tiger a tiger, etc., and the difference can lie at most in the varying measure of force, strength, intelligence, dexterity, endurance, etc., of the individual specimens. But you will never find a fox who in his inner attitude might, for example, show humanitarian tendencies toward geese, as similarly there is no cat with a friendly inclination toward mice . . . .

    In the struggle for daily bread all those who are weak and sickly or less determined succumb, while the struggle of the males for the female grants the right or opportunity to propagate only to the healthiest. [That is, Darwinian sexual selection.] And struggle is always a means for improving a species’ health and power of resistance and, therefore, a cause of its higher development.

    If the process were different, all further and higher development would cease and the opposite would occur. For, since the inferior always predominates numerically over the best [NB: this is a theme in Darwin’s discussion of the Irish, the Scots and the English in Descent], if both had the same possibility of preserving life and propagating, the inferior would multiply so much more rapidly that in the end the best would inevitably be driven into the background, unless a correction of this state of affairs were undertaken. Nature does just this by subjecting the weaker part to such severe living conditions that by them alone the number is limited, and by not permitting the remainder to increase promiscuously, but making a new and ruthless choice according to strength and health . . .

    And where might such thinking find idea roots?

    Try Darwin’s Descent of Man, chs 5 – 7, esp this at the opening of Ch 6 which reveals the moral hazard Darwin failed to solidly address before going back to his main point on how fossils will be scarce:

    Man is liable to numerous, slight, and diversified variations, which are induced by the same general causes, are governed and transmitted in accordance with the same general laws, as in the lower animals. Man has multiplied so rapidly, that he has necessarily been exposed to struggle for existence, and consequently to natural selection. He has given rise to many races, some of which differ so much from each other, that they have often been ranked by naturalists as distinct species . . . .

    At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

    Ah yes, the darwinists are in a g=rage, as usual over daring to put up this cite.

    Darwin did not directly cause nor would he approve the holocaust. Hitler was to blame!

    True enough, though the moral hazard in the system needed to be solidly addressed from the outset. That would have at least given authoritative ammunition to those who could stand up and speak out.

    But then, there is another side to this.

    Why is it that we want to blame God for the holocaust when at any number of points along the road we could have taken steps to avert or stop it?

    The allies didn’t even bomb the railway station at the entrance of that foul city of death.

    As for giving refuge to Jews from Europe, perish the thought, save for a few places like the Dominican Republic.

    As for not putting in place the laws that Hitler built on, those awful Eugenics Laws, where were the ideological ancestors of the so many objectors playing at clever rhetoric games?

    Why it is that it was only a very few such as that horrid Christian G K Chesterton, who spoke up in the teeth of the authority of Science? Do I need to highlight the terrible implications of the logo for the Eugenics Conferences?

    Science, falsely so called, but overawing in its so impressive lab coat.

    Why didn’t people, educated people — even church leaders stand up and warn?

    Why was the Scopes Monkey trial played as an indictment of those horrid fundies, impugning the character and reputation of the man who did stand up on t dangerous implicaitons of Darwinism let loose as a lab coat clad ideology shaping the future of society, William Jennings Bryan?

    Why is it that Hunter’s Civic Biology [the textbook at the pivot of that infamous publicity stunt and trial] — a Eugenics Laced textbook — was not pilloried from one end of America to the next, by one and all, in the name of stopping an immoral horror?

    Surely, if we want to insulate Darwin from blame because he only propounded a theory in science, we should see the folly of impugning God Almighty for the horrible crime of giving us the gift of a mind of our own so we can love, and do the right freely from the heart?

    Let us stop and think again.

  380. 380
    kairosfocus says:

    Box, Auschwitz and the like do have a function, if we will listen. The lessons of history were paid for in blood and tears, so let us heed them today. That is the path of wisdom. If we instead insist on the march of folly and refuse to listen, we will pay the same price over and over again. KF

  381. 381
    Dionisio says:

    @379 kairosfocus

    Let us stop and think again.

    Very wise advice. But many won’t heed it.
    Soon it will be too late to react.

  382. 382
    Joe says:

    There is now a tsunami warning system in the Indian Ocean.

    Geez, the Thailand elephants were running for higher ground- they had the same warning the people had. And then there are the “sea gypsies” saved themselves by observing nature.

    If you live near the ocean, feel an earthquake and don’t immediately head to high ground, you deserve a Darwin Award.

  383. 383
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    What’s even worse for KF is that the is-ought problem applies to him as a believer in objective morality, but not to me as a subjectivist.

    As if it OUGHT to apply to kairosfocus but OUGHT NOT apply to you.

    keiths:

    A fine ambassador for Christianity, isn’t he?

    Not sure why you think kf OUGHT to exhibit the characteristics of your subjective morality.

    Spare us the self-righteous hypocrisy please.

  384. 384
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    Remember, you are a theist, and I am not.

    So? That means you OUGHT TO get a pass and a theist OUGHT NOT get a pass?

    The question is whether your concept of God is coherent and compatible with the evidence.

    Why does that even matter? Why OUGHT it matter?

    The same goes for your fellow theists.

    As if it OUGHT to. Sez who?

    This is hilarious.

  385. 385
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    I am not a theist, so the problem of evil does not affect me.

    Anyone else buying this?

    Anyone here think the problem of evil doesn’t affect keiths?

    Poor, fixated, keiths. Not bothered by the problem of evil.

    Could have fooled me.

  386. 386
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    StephenB,

    You’re contradicting yourself right and left:

    Shame on you StephenB. keiths’s subjective morality sez you OUGHT NOT contradict yourself, therefore you OUGHT NOT contradict yourself. Everybody knows that.

  387. 387
    StephenB says:

    Box

    BoxIf I understand you correctly you place evil and suffering in a context of a learning process. They are the necessary means in order to acquire/learn all-important virtues.

    Those virtues are so important that they make up for all the evil and suffering in the world. The end justifies the means.

    Hi Box,

    Your question is so important that I must address it immediately, which means I will have to delay my response about reincarnation for another day. Much clarification is needed here. To say that a certain measure of suffering is necessary to acquire virtue is merely to say that it always involves some level of discomfort, usually minimal. It doesn’t require a terrible tragedy and it certainly does not mean that the end justifies the means.

    Let’s take a few virtues and examine them in an abbreviated way. We can begin with what the Greeks referred to as the “cardinal virtues.”

    Prudence – the ability to judge the right action given the present circumstances

    Justice – the ability to give each person his due

    Temperance – the ability to restrain oneself and achieve self control

    Courage – the ability to confront fear in terms of taking action or experiencing difficulty.

    The thing all these virtues have in common is the fact that they are habits. They are acquired through repetition. In each case, some discomfort is involved in the early stages of formation since one must act in a way that is inconvenient. It involves suppressing an unhealthy instinct, which is painful.

    Consider the virtue of courage. A young boy stays home from school on the first day because he is afraid his peers will not like him. His mother tells him that he must learn to confront his fears and insists that he go in the next day even if it makes him feel uncomfortable. So he endures the discomfort and finds that things are not as bad as he had imagined. The next time he visits a strange place, he will be more willing to take the risk because he has begun to develop the habit of courage. The next time, though, the stakes may be higher and the discomfort may be greater. Even so, he has learned to endure the pain because he has developed the habit of doing what he should be doing in spite of the fear. Someday, if he must stand up for a righteous cause, he will not sell out because he has learned to do the right thing even when others are threatening him with disapproval or even harm.

    So it is with all habits. In each case, an unhealthy instinct must be suppressed so that a healthy instinct can be allowed to develop. For a heavy drinker, it is painful to gain sobriety because means saying no to his desire for alcohol (temperance). For a lazy person, it is painful to learn the habit of hard work because it means saying no to his desire for excess leisure. For a person with a quick temper, it is painful to hold his peace because it means saying no to his desire to launch a verbal attack (patience). For a person who thinks only of himself, it is painful to ignore his own wishes and attend to the needs of another person because it means saying no (temporarily) to his own agenda (love). However, each time these good acts are performed, the habit grows stronger and less painful. Eventually the goal is achieved—-the right action becomes natural and painless. It is no longer a struggle. On the contrary, it is a joy and a pleasure. This is what it means to pass through suffering in order to develop the right kinds of habits. The goal is to find pleasure in the right kind of acts.

    So it would not be accurate at all to say that weWhy Auschwitz?
    Because there was no other way for you to acquire those virtues.
    Are we in agreement, so far?

    I am afraid not. Auschwitz was a terrible tragedy and it is certainly not necessary for the development of virtue. However, if one has already developed many virtues, such as courage, patience, love, selflessness, self control etc. he will likely endure the tragedy while others will perish. Also, it is possible that he may grow in virtue if he can endure the intense suffering without hating his persecutors. However, this kind of virtue is heroic and requires supernatural help. It would be a great mistake to think that disasters of any kind are necessary for virtue. Suffering can go either way: It may cause someone to grow stronger or it may ruin him and transform him into a moral monster. That is why God must be brought into the equation. If accepted for the love of God, it can be of a positive nature, but If it causes hate and resentment, it is very negative. Many who come here hate God because suffering has scarred their soul. They believe that God should have spared them, even thought they didn’t give God a chance to help them through it.

    If so, can you tell me what those virtues are? You speak of selfless-love, morality and the decision to love God.

    Yes, there are many more virtues and some of them do involve the love of God. The virtue of piety, for example, involves giving God his due worship. Accordingly, there are supernatural virtues, such as faith (accepting a revealed truth because it comes from God), hope (trusting that God will help you achieve your final destiny), and charity (loving God with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength).

    p.s. looking forward to see how you address my question about reincarnation.

    Hopefully, we can cover that ground tomorrow.

  388. 388
    keith s says:

    Joe:

    If you live near the ocean, feel an earthquake and don’t immediately head to high ground, you deserve a Darwin Award.

    Your knowledge of tsunamis is little better than that of StephenB, who thought they were some kind of weather phenomenon.

    Tsunamis can travel far outside of the radius in which the earthquake can be felt.

    Also, do you think a person who doesn’t understand the link between tsunamis and earthquakes (like StephenB) deserves to die? And is that your idea of God’s perfect love?

    I think the Christians at UD are probably grateful that you identify yourself as a Muslim.

  389. 389
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    Auschwitz was a terrible tragedy and it is certainly not necessary for the development of virtue.

    Why did God allow it to happen?

  390. 390
    Mung says:

    keiths, must think we’re all a bunch of hypocrites and is rejoicing in how he is not like all of us hypocrites. Not that anyone OUGHT NOT be a hypocrite.

    keiths whines yet again that he might get banned. Not that he OUGHT NOT get banned.

    keiths sez the IS-OUGHT gap OUGHT NOT apply to him. He even gives an argument for why it OUGHT NOT apply to him.

    Hilarious, really. And pathetic. But then, that’s just the way it ought to be when arguing with atheists/materialists.

  391. 391
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus:

    Box, Auschwitz and the like do have a function, if we will listen.

    And that function is… what, exactly?

    And was it a function that required the murder of a million people?

    Is that your “perfectly loving” God in action?

  392. 392
    Box says:

    StephenB,

    Thank you for your reply. Allow me to explain why I asked my question. In my belief-system learning (the process of acquiring awareness) is all important. Everyone is on her/his way to acquire the virtues you mentioned and much more – most importantly a perfect understanding of one’s own mind, which leads to enlightenment.
    This extensive learning process takes multiple lifetimes on earth (reincarnation), each of which will be thoroughly reviewed in the hereafter – in between lives. So the learning process is not restricted to earth, but certain lessons can only be learned here.
    More or less in accord with what you wrote, suffering is always involved with each step towards awareness – the two are entangled, so to speak. Suffering signals growing awareness.
    I believe that certain gruesome events – like Auschwitz – are necessary for us to fully understand who we are. That is, I have to trust God that there is no other way.

    It seems to me that my believe-system has some advantages over Christianity. There is no hell, no “you only get one chance”, no “this is only a test if you are good or bad” but a clear constructive goal, no “why does God allow … ?”, everyone will get there in the end – God doesn’t need a ‘final decision’ (based on partial knowledge) after only one lifetime; he is an eternal spiritual being. Moreover, if we are spiritual beings, it doesn’t make sense that we can incarnate only once; if it can be done one time, why not multiple times?

    Stephen, I think it will be clear by now why I asked you:

    If I understand you correctly you place evil and suffering in a context of a learning process. They are the necessary means in order to acquire/learn all-important virtues.
    Those virtues are so important that they make up for all the evil and suffering in the world. The end justifies the means.

    In my belief-system this is true. For a moment I entertained the possibility that this idea is more or less shared by Christianity. But I understand now that this is only so for a rather small part.

  393. 393
    keith s says:

    Mung:

    keiths sez the IS-OUGHT gap OUGHT NOT apply to him. He even gives an argument for why it OUGHT NOT apply to him.

    No, I say that it isn’t a problem for me since I am not a moral objectivist. Is that really so hard to understand?

  394. 394
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    KeithS said,

    Are there any Christians out there who can answer my two questions in a way that won’t make God and Christianity look horrible?

    I say,

    So KeithS is looking for a solution for the so called problem of evil that would be ascetically pleasing to a God hater.

    You can smell the irony

    peace

  395. 395
    keith s says:

    Box:

    I believe that certain gruesome events – like Auschwitz – are necessary for us to fully understand who we are. That is, I have to trust God that there is no other way.

    You don’t have to trust God on that. You can think it through for yourself to see if it makes sense.

    Auschwitz makes much more sense if

    a) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    b) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    c) God doesn’t exist at all.

    Since those explanations make more sense, why not adopt one of them? Why cling to a far-fetched idea that doesn’t fit the evidence?

  396. 396
    keith s says:

    fifthmonarchyman:

    So KeithS is looking for a solution for the so called problem of evil that would be ascetically pleasing to a God hater.

    I don’t hate God, FMM. I just don’t think he exists.

    And I’m not looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution — I’m looking for one that is morally acceptable to the majority of people who, unlike you, do not regard newborn babies as “evil rebels who would do worse than Hitler if they had the chance”.

    PS You might want to look up the word ‘ascetic’.

  397. 397
    Box says:

    Box:

    I believe that certain gruesome events – like Auschwitz – are necessary for us to fully understand who we are. That is, I have to trust God that there is no other way.

    Keith:

    You don’t have to trust God on that. You can think it through for yourself to see if it makes sense.

    I trust that you understand that in principle it makes perfect sense in my belief-system?

    Keith:

    Auschwitz makes much more sense if

    a) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    b) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    c) God doesn’t exist at all.

    I will go with option B. In post #312 I wrote:

    In short: there are vital lessons to be learned and unfortunately the only way is through evil and suffering. God is not omnipotent in the sense that He can create humans who already have those virtues.

    It’s more accurate to say that God cannot create beings with ready made full awareness – equal to Himself. We have to acquire awareness through suffering.

  398. 398
    keith s says:

    keiths:

    But to fail to prevent something is to allow it to happen. If I knew that millions of innocent people were going to die, and I could easily prevent it, I would prevent it. Wouldn’t you? It would be a moral imperative for us. Why not for God?

    StephenB:

    Yes, I would, but I think God should, for the most part, limit his intervention to spiritual matters.

    Why? If he’s omnipotent, he can handle earthly and spiritual matters with equal aplomb.

    Again, if you and I, out of love for our fellow humans, wouldn’t hesitate to act in order to save millions of them, then why does God refuse to act? Why does God’s supposedly “perfect” love seem so shallow compared to ours?

    And most importantly, why won’t you simply follow the evidence where it leads?

    The idea of a perfectly loving, all-powerful God is a pleasant idea, like Santa Claus, but it is also clearly a fiction, like Santa Claus.

    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    1 Corinthians 13:11, KJV

  399. 399
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    KeithS said,

    I don’t hate God, FMM. I just don’t think he exists.

    I say,

    could have fooled me

    I don’t think Zeus or Vishnu exist but I don’t spend a lot of effort trying to disprove their existence.

    You say,

    I’m looking for one that is morally acceptable to the majority of people who, unlike you, do not regard newborn babies as “evil rebels who would do worse than Hitler if they had the chance”.

    I say,

    I’m sorry I thought you were addressing Christians

    That absent God’s grace everyone is evil is the clear teaching of the Christian scripture.

    peace

  400. 400
    Mung says:

    Mung: keiths sez the IS-OUGHT gap OUGHT NOT apply to him. He even gives an argument for why it OUGHT NOT apply to him.

    keiths: No, I say that it isn’t a problem for me since I am not a moral objectivist. Is that really so hard to understand?

    ok, I take it back. You don’t have an argument for why the IS-OUGHT gap OUGHT NOT apply to you. You simply assert that it’s not a problem for you because you are a moral relativist. But that’s still an argument, even though it’s one that is fallacious. [Hint: It’s a Non-Sequitur]

    So please spare us the self-righteous hypocrisy.

    Someone who adheres to atheism/materialsm as you do really OUGHT TO be better acquainted with irony. Do I need to explain it to you?

    For someone who has no moral compass, you sure expend an inordinate amount of effort to never be wrong. Why is that?

    Why is that that atheists/materialists put so much energy into being RIGHT? Why does “THE TRUTH” matter so much to you?

  401. 401
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    And I’m not looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution — I’m looking for one that is morally acceptable to the majority of people…

    Pathetic. Really pathetic.

  402. 402
    keith s says:

    Box #398:

    I will go with option B. In post #312 I wrote:

    In short: there are vital lessons to be learned and unfortunately the only way is through evil and suffering. God is not omnipotent in the sense that He can create humans who already have those virtues.

    It’s more accurate to say that God cannot create beings with ready made full awareness – equal to Himself. We have to acquire awareness through suffering.

    But that raises a couple of questions:

    1. How do you know that awareness must be acquired through suffering, and that God is incapable of granting it any other way?

    2. Assuming that suffering is actually necessary, then how much of it is needed? Did every single one of those people need to die at Auschwitz? If one less had died would the project have failed? How do you know?

    If only 150,000 people had died in the 2004 tsunami, instead of 220,000+, would God’s purposes have been thwarted? How do you know?

  403. 403
    Box says:

    Keith:
    How do you know that awareness must be acquired through suffering, and that God is incapable of granting it any other way?

    Awareness is harmony. Suffering is disharmony. The direction to harmony is pointed out by suffering.

    Assuming that suffering is actually necessary, then how much of it is needed? Did every single one of those people need to die at Auschwitz? If one less had died would the project have failed? How do you know?

    First of all, in my belief-system dying isn’t such a big event as it is under Christianity. Second, I can only understand that suffering makes sense generally. Obviously I don’t have the ability to calculate the exact amount of ppl or the exact amount of suffering that is needed. Like all believers I have to trust in God.

  404. 404
    Mung says:

    Meanwhile, keiths continues to search for a “morally acceptable” solution.

  405. 405
    Box says:

    Further on #398,

    Box:

    God cannot create beings with ready made full awareness – equal to Himself.

    What is the Christian position on this? If God would have created beings equal to Himself, then there would be no problems like “sin”, “the fall”, “Hell” and so forth. So why didn’t He choose that option – if that option was indeed available? Why create beings who are clearly inferior to Himself?

  406. 406
    keith s says:

    Mung,

    As a Christian, how would you answer my two questions?

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    You’ve been unable to defend your faith in the past. Here’s a new opportunity.

    Will you step up and deliver, or will you avoid the questions, like kairosfocus?

  407. 407
    keith s says:

    Box:

    What is the Christian position on this? If God would have created beings equal to Himself, then there would be no problems like “sin”, “the fall”, “Hell” and so forth. So why didn’t He choose that option – if that option was indeed available? Why create beings who are clearly inferior to Himself?

    It’s a good question.

    Let me add that the beings wouldn’t need to be equal to God. For example, they wouldn’t need to be able to create universes. It would be enough if they simply chose not to sin.

    Christians, why is that beyond the capabilities of your supposedly omnipotent God? And keep in mind that the free will defense doesn’t help you here, because God can prevent evil without denying anyone’s free will.

  408. 408
    keith s says:

    keiths:

    How do you know that awareness must be acquired through suffering, and that God is incapable of granting it any other way?

    Box:

    Awareness is harmony. Suffering is disharmony. The direction to harmony is pointed out by suffering.

    Why can’t God establish harmony from the beginning? And how do you know this?

    keiths:

    Assuming that suffering is actually necessary, then how much of it is needed? Did every single one of those people need to die at Auschwitz? If one less had died would the project have failed? How do you know?

    Box:

    First of all, in my belief-system dying isn’t such a big event as it is under Christianity. Second, I can only understand that suffering makes sense generally. Obviously I don’t have the ability to calculate the exact amount of ppl or the exact amount of suffering that is needed. Like all believers I have to trust in God.

    You’re speaking as if your belief system is a given, but it’s not. You’re perfectly free to modify your beliefs in response to reason and evidence.

    Also, believing in God doesn’t require you to trust in him. After deciding that God exists, why wouldn’t you examine the evidence in order to decide whether he should be trusted?

  409. 409
    Mapou says:

    Box:

    What is the Christian position on this? If God would have created beings equal to Himself, then there would be no problems like “sin”, “the fall”, “Hell” and so forth. So why didn’t He choose that option – if that option was indeed available? Why create beings who are clearly inferior to Himself?

    I have already answered this question in this thread. Most of Christianity have no answer to your question because they insist on parroting one another with nonsensical dogma such as omnipotence and omniscience. They are doing the work of the Devil, IMO.

    The true Biblical position is that only the physical can be created, destroyed or modified. God can only create the physical, not the spiritual. Spirits, which have moral agency, cannot be created destroyed or modified. They just are. The spirit you had at birth is exactly the same spirit you now have as an adult. God only created our bodies which serve as receptacles for our spirits. God is not responsible for our moral behavior. Otherwise, free will, sin, punishment would be meaningless. God created us in mortal bodies because he could not be sure that we would be good. In fact, Genesis clearly says that he regretted it. This immediately destroys the omnipotence/omniscience arguments and turns those who preach this nonsense into false teachers. They need to repent from this crap. It’s evil.

    I challenge the resident fundamentalists or anybody else to show scriptural support where God claimed to have created anybody’s spirit/soul.

  410. 410
    MrMosis says:

    Keith S @ 409

    Also, believing in God doesn’t require you to trust in him. After deciding that God exists, why wouldn’t you examine the evidence in order to decide whether he should be trusted?

    I guess I am wondering what sort of definition of “God” could be put forth such that it’s even possible in principle to not “trust” him in any meaningful way. Depending on what you mean by trust perhaps.

    But given that the foundation of any good definition of God is Being Itself, or more properly, Subsistent Being Itself, I can’t imagine that it would do one a whole lot of good to bother not trusting Him.

  411. 411
    MrMosis says:

    Box:

    What is the Christian position on this? If God would have created beings equal to Himself, then there would be no problems like “sin”, “the fall”, “Hell” and so forth. So why didn’t He choose that option – if that option was indeed available? Why create beings who are clearly inferior to Himself?

    Those beings likely inhabit countless other realms. I can conceive of no reason that God oughtn’t make full use of His potential-actualizing, unlimited, creative abilities, and in unrestrained fashion.

  412. 412
    Box says:

    Keith: How do you know that awareness must be acquired through suffering, and that God is incapable of granting it any other way?

    Box: Awareness is harmony. Suffering is disharmony. The direction to harmony is pointed out by suffering.

    Keith: Why can’t God establish harmony from the beginning? And how do you know this?

    Like I said, God cannot create beings with ready made full awareness – equal to Himself. I ‘know’ this, because it wouldn’t make sense for God not to endow His creatures with ready-made full awareness – and let them go through all the suffering for no reason at all – if that is an option.
    Simularly, God cannot create a wise man. Wisdom has to be acquired through learning. How do I know this? It is in full accord with our experience.

    Keith: You’re speaking as if your belief system is a given, but it’s not. You’re perfectly free to modify your beliefs in response to reason and evidence.

    Of course. I think that my belief-system holds up to scrutiny by reason and evidence.

    Keith: Also, believing in God doesn’t require you to trust in him. After deciding that God exists, why wouldn’t you examine the evidence in order to decide whether he should be trusted?

    Of course. However, after examining the evidence I see no reason not to trust Him.

  413. 413
    Joe says:

    Why can’t God establish harmony from the beginning?

    Why are you a little whiny baby?

    Again, if you and I, out of love for our fellow humans, wouldn’t hesitate to act in order to save millions of them, then why does God refuse to act? Why does God’s supposedly “perfect” love seem so shallow compared to ours?

    Unlike God we cannot grant eternal salvation you immature jerk.

  414. 414
    Joe says:

    Your knowledge of tsunamis is little better than that of StephenB, who thought they were some kind of weather phenomenon.

    My knowledge is better than yours. Elephants knew of the impending doom. Uneducated islanders knew enough to get to high ground. And I understand that bothers you.

    Tsunamis can travel far outside of the radius in which the earthquake can be felt.

    Evidence please. You are too well known for your fabrications to be trusted.

    Also, do you think a person who doesn’t understand the link between tsunamis and earthquakes (like StephenB) deserves to die?

    Darwin Award. Ignorance kills…

    And is that your idea of God’s perfect love?

    Hump that srawman, keith. Hump it .

  415. 415
    Joe says:

    keith:

    No, I say that it isn’t a problem for me since I am not a moral objectivist. Is that really so hard to understand?

    It isn’t a problem for anyone, keith. Only immature jerks try to make it a problem and here you are.

    Christians know better than to question God. Grow up already.

    How could God judge us if we didn’t have pain and suffering? What would be the impetus for learning if this was a perfect world?

  416. 416
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    Mapou said

    God can only create the physical, not the spiritual.

    and

    I challenge the resident fundamentalists or anybody else to show scriptural support where God claimed to have created anybody’s spirit/soul

    The Bible says.

    quote:

    For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
    (Col 1:16)

    And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    (Col 1:17)

    the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.
    (Isa 43:21)

    Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:
    (Psa 102:18)

    The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
    (Pro 16:4)

    For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
    (Rom 11:36)

    yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
    (1Co 8:6)

    You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.
    (Job 10:12)

    But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
    (Job 32:8)

    Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
    (Psa 51:10)

    and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
    (Ecc 12:7)

    And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them.
    (Eze 11:19a)

    The oracle of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:
    (Zec 12:1)
    etc etc etc
    end quote

    You can if you like choose to ignore these and the many more like them or twist their meaning to suit your own desires but please don’t claim to hold the “True” biblical position.

    peace

  417. 417
    kairosfocus says:

    Re KS, 329:

    I am arguing from the theist’s assumption of omnipotence, whatever the theist means by that. Again, the question is whether each individual theist’s conception of God is coherent and supported by the evidence. I am not a theist, so the problem of evil does not affect me.

    Elsewhere he indicates that he is a subjectivist on morals, which is of course consistent with the evolutionary materialism or fellow traveller views he espouses.

    The view cannot bear scrutiny.

    As as been pointed out from 125 on, the immediate problem is that the problem of evil is one facet of a broader problem, evil and good, in turn an expression of the issue that morality is a fundamental binding principle in the world. So if an atheist or the like holds that evil is real and objectionable, then s/he immediately has to account for the IS at world foundation level capable of bearing the weight of OUGHT.

    If on the other hand, such an atheist or the like wishes to deploy OUGHT rhetorically, s/he faces the issue of exploiting the pain of others to promote a worldview that cannot stand on its own merits. And, that particularly has no basis for saying that to kidnap, torture, sexually assault and murder a young child is wrong.

    Apart from the monstrous nihilistic principle, might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘rights,’ ‘truth’ and so forth.

    Which, should give us all pause in light of a long, bloodily destructive and chaotic history of such nihilism.

    Accordingly, I beg to remind us yet again:

    >>>>>>>>>

    The exchanges since about 120 above would be funny if they were not so sadly revealing of what has been going on.

    I note:

    KS, 157 etc: I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    But of course, he so assumes that he is lord of the matter that he obviously did not bother to make acquaintance of a linked 101 summary of a major, even epochal answer to the problem of evil, that has been on record for some 40 years now. One that moved off the table the logical form of the problem, and put the inductive form in due proportion suitable for answering through Judaeo-Christian, redemptive theism. Where, the existential form is pastoral in nature and is also addressed by way of a video dealing with rape.

    In addition, KS has — now, sadly predictably — dodged the underlying issue that the reality and objectionableness of evil point precisely to the need for an IS capable of grounding OUGHT. And, indeed, are evidence pointing to God.

    And, oh yes, those who would indict Christendom, or at least those troubled by arguments from the evils of theistic cultures, might find here on helpful.

    So, now, let us roll the tape on what KS obviously refused to pay attention to before running on with his drumbeat of long since sell-by date talking points:

    ______________

    >>125 kairosfocus December 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help.

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution [–> and notice, the pivotal significance of another unjust execution at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and the answer it provides to evils . . . ] — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.>>
    ______________

    I predict, on track record, that KS will again ignore or pretzel-twist the matter into a strawman caricature.

    Let us hope that, at length, he will finally prove such wrong.

    KF

    PS: While we wait, we might want to view Koukl’s lecture, here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifl9z_wy-OM

    >>>>>>>>>

    There will predictably be no answer, just more evasions, as has become habitual with KS and ilk.

    But that does not mean that we, looking on, do not now have a duty of care to act on being forewarned.

    KF

  418. 418
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The omnipotence of God patently does not extend to the logically incoherent or impossible, or to an absurdity out of balance with other facets of God’s character, such as absolute goodness and wisdom. In short, strawman tactic rhetoric meant to twist the concept of omnipotence into a seeming absurdity fails. That God is supremely able does not mean that in that ability he acts in a foolish or evil manner, just the opposite, he acts for the good with utter wisdom. Anything that would tax God with folly or evil, on its face, is fallacious. I again point us to Tom Morris on Our Idea of God, for a useful 101 for those interested in serious insight not making silly talking points:

    http://michaelsudduth.com/wp-c.....i.org_.pdf

  419. 419
    kairosfocus says:

    Box, pardon, you caught my eye. God is a necessary and eternal being. A creature is necessarily contingent. It is impossible to create a necessary being — as long as there is not utter non-being, i.e. in any possible world, a necessary being will exist (e.g. it is impossible to have a world in which 1 + 1 = 2 fails, etc); where if ever there was an utter non-being, there would thereafter never be anything as non-being has no causal powers. Think a chalk board with a big empty circle, then erase circle, board, and space in which it exists, to non-being. This may seem strange at first, but that is because of the defects of our education and general level of awareness in our day. I again point here on, for a 101. And so obviously, God cannot create a creature equal to himself, that is a contradiction in terms. KF

  420. 420
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I trust it should be clear as to why I insist that a world-foundation issue has to be addressed on foundational concerns, using key aspects of comparative difficulties analysis. If you don’t try here on and noting the tip sheet at the end of the article from an intro to phil course. Without that foundational answer, the debates thereafter will be hopelessly confused. Those who duck and dodge dealing with the foundations first are in the position of trying to build a house without foundations on sand next to a flood-prone river. KF

  421. 421
    Box says:

    Box #406: What is the Christian position on this? If God would have created beings equal to Himself, then there would be no problems like “sin”, “the fall”, “Hell” and so forth. So why didn’t He choose that option – if that option was indeed available? Why create beings who are clearly inferior to Himself?

    KF #420: God is a necessary and eternal being. A creature is necessarily contingent. It is impossible to create a necessary being (…)

    Makes perfect sense. IOW God cannot create a being that necessarily exists, because such a being cannot not exist.

    Allow me to rephrase my question:
    Can God endow a creature with wisdom and moral insight equal (or near equal) to His own?

  422. 422
    kairosfocus says:

    Box,

    that would require omniscience or near omniscience, where (just to illustrate) infinity – a finite number –> infinity, i.e. there is a qualitative difference between the finite and the infinite. But what is feasible is to create a creature that can [potentially] access the result of that infinite wisdom. That’s you and me.

    Prov 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
    6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
    7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

    KF

  423. 423
    Mapou says:

    The fifth monarchy meister:

    Mapou said

    God can only create the physical, not the spiritual.

    and

    I challenge the resident fundamentalists or anybody else to show scriptural support where God claimed to have created anybody’s spirit/soul

    The Bible says.

    quote:

    For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
    (Col 1:16)

    And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    (Col 1:17)

    the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.
    (Isa 43:21)

    Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:
    (Psa 102:18)

    The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
    (Pro 16:4)

    For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
    (Rom 11:36)

    yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
    (1Co 8:6)

    You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.
    (Job 10:12)

    But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
    (Job 32:8)

    Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
    (Psa 51:10)

    and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
    (Ecc 12:7)

    And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them.
    (Eze 11:19a)

    The oracle of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:
    (Zec 12:1)
    etc etc etc
    end quote

    You can if you like choose to ignore these and the many more like them or twist their meaning to suit your own desires but please don’t claim to hold the “True” biblical position.

    peace

    First off, there is no peace between you and me. I don’t like you and your kind. Second, I’m not the one doing the twisting, you are. Third, most of the verses you list above do not even mention spirit or soul. Fourth, you are accusing God of creating evil spirits. You’re lucky God is merciful, otherwise he would zap you silly arse out of existence wherever you are. 😀

    Now, let’s take a look at some of the verses you quoted, the ones that mention the word spirit and that appear to support your claim that God created our spirits.

    The oracle of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:
    (Zec 12:1)

    According to Scholar’s Gateway, the Hebrew word ‘???????’ which is translated as ‘formed’ also means ‘to bind’, ‘to frame’ or ‘to be distressed’. The same word is used in Genesis. I know which translation I choose but feel free to claim that it means ‘created’. That is the beauty of free will.

    and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
    (Ecc 12:7)

    What spirit is this verse talking about? Is it the spirit of God or the spirit of man? The same Hebrew word ‘ruch’ can be used for both, you know. It is the same ‘ruch’ that David used when he wrote “Do not let thy spirit depart from me.”

    But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.
    (Job 32:8)

    Using Scholar’s Gateway and Young’s literal translation we get a completely different meaning:

    Surely a spirit is in man, And the breath of the Mighty One Doth cause them to understand.

    I could go on and on but I suspect I’m preaching in the wilderness. In conclusion, I do not call upon God to bestow his peace upon you but to confound you because you are a false teacher, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Adios.

  424. 424
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    God’s answer is still the same: Who are you to question me?

    The moment you put yourself in a position to evaluate God and His choices, you’ve already seriously misunderstood who He is and who you are. You’ve already displayed a shocking lack of humility. You’ve already completely underestimated His power and knowledge. You’ve already vastly overestimated your ability to comprehend. You’ve already tried to take on the role of God, and you simply are not even close to being qualified.

    You are not qualified to evaluate the Evaluator.
    You are not qualified to judge the Judge.

    If you think otherwise, He has a few questions He’d like to ask you first. You can find them in Job 38-41. Good luck.

    You may not like this answer, but there it is.

  425. 425
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    Your knowledge of tsunamis is little better than that of StephenB, who thought they were some kind of weather phenomenon.

    Keith, the liar cannot help himself. I said that weather forecasters are involved in the warning process.

  426. 426
    Mung says:

    So keiths still hasn’t figured out that intelligent design theory does not preclude the existence of evil designers?

  427. 427
    Mung says:

    keiths: As a Christian, how would you answer my two questions?

    1. Pearls
    2. Swine

    Now, why do you think I OUGHT to answer any of your questions and why do you think I OUGHT to defend my faith to you? Why do you say that I OUGHT to “stand and deliver” and OUGHT NOT “avoid the questions”?

    For someone who claims to not need to ground his OUGHT in anything but his own moral subjectivity you sure act like the rest of us OUGHT to be bound by your own personal subjective likes and dislikes. Why?

  428. 428
    keith s says:

    Mung,

    A reminder.

    keiths #407:

    Mung,

    As a Christian, how would you answer my two questions?

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    You’ve been unable to defend your faith in the past. Here’s a new opportunity.

    Will you step up and deliver, or will you avoid the questions, like kairosfocus?

  429. 429
    keith s says:

    StephenB #426,

    I’ll let the readers judge your answer for themselves:

    keiths:

    Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    StephenB:

    Because there was no reason for God to do so. Haven’t you ever heard of a weather forecast?

    Do you think God should have warned us personally and not through the weatherman?

  430. 430
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Mapou

    God can only create the physical, not the spiritual. Spirits, which have moral agency, cannot be created destroyed or modified. They just are. The spirit you had at birth is exactly the same spirit you now have as an adult. God only created our bodies which serve as receptacles for our spirits.

    I think you’re saying that all spirits have been in existence eternally. How was that finite number of spirits (513 trillion, for example) arrived at? That number just always existed – not one more or less?

  431. 431
    5for says:

    Keith @430, well as someone living in a country prone to tsunamis, I certainly have never heard them being featured in weather forecasts.

    And I would say, StephenB, its ok to admit you made a mistake.

  432. 432
    keith s says:

    Phinehas:

    God’s answer is still the same: Who are you to question me?

    I’m not questioning God. I’m questioning you.

    You believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God. How do you answer my two questions?

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    If your answer is “I don’t know” or “God works in mysterious ways”, then I have a third question for you:

    3. Why do you continue to believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God when there are much better explanations available?

    The world makes so much more sense if

    a) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    b) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    c) God doesn’t exist at all.

    Why ignore the evidence?

  433. 433
    Joe says:

    Well, islanders and other animals heard the warning of the 2004 tsunami. And God still isn’t beholden to keith’s definitions nor does God care about keith’s “judgments” and lack of vision.

  434. 434
    Box says:

    Kairosfocus,

    Box #422: Can God endow a creature with wisdom and moral insight equal (or near equal) to His own?

    Kairosfocus #423: that would require omniscience or near omniscience, where (just to illustrate) infinity – a finite number –> infinity, i.e. there is a qualitative difference between the finite and the infinite.

    Kairosfocus, thank you for your answer.
    Endowing a creature with God’s wisdom and moral insight would violate the unity/harmony of a being. It would be like trying to infuse the theory of quantummechanics into a baby. IOW it doesn’t fit.

  435. 435
    StephenB says:

    Keiths’ struggle with the truth may not be fully under his control. We know he does it to discredit his adversary when he cannot argue on the merits, but it isn’t quite that simple. There are two medical conditions that may define his behavior, but the practical use of language makes it difficult to personalize

    The first condition, psuedologia fantastica (compulsive or pathological lying) is difficult to convert to a single word. The term “psuedologiac,” for example, doesn’t fully capture the full meaning. The other condition, mythomania, lying to exaggerate, can be personalized as mythomanic, but it doesn’t really serve to describe the tactical nature of the act.

    I don’t really like to keep using the word “liar,” since it tugs away at UD’s attempt to foster civil communication. Any ideas?

  436. 436
    Mapou says:

    Silver Asiatic:

    I think you’re saying that all spirits have been in existence eternally. How was that finite number of spirits (513 trillion, for example) arrived at? That number just always existed – not one more or less?

    Well, I would not say that spirits have existed eternally since time/change is a physical concept. Spirits do not change: they just are. As far as the number of spirits is concerned, who knows? The spiritual realm cannot be known directly, not even by God. We can only know spirits indirectly by their actions in the physical realm.

    By the way, this is the reason that consciousness is such a hard concept to understand. I have said it before. Consciousness requires a knower (spirit) and a known (brain). The two are opposites. That is to say, the knower cannot be known and the known cannot know.

  437. 437
    Box says:

    5for #432:

    well as someone living in a country prone to tsunamis, I certainly have never heard them being featured in weather forecasts.

    That’s weird. Do you never check NOAA’s National Weather Service – Pacific Tsunami Warning Center ??

  438. 438
    Mapou says:

    keith:

    The world makes so much more sense if

    a) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    b) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    c) God doesn’t exist at all.

    This is a strawman. There is a fourth option:

    d) God is perfectly loving but he cannot separate the yin from the yang.

    In other words, as I have said before, wanting to have happiness without suffering is like wanting to have left without right. This current era is the time of our suffering. A new era is coming in its time, one of happiness and unbounded joy.

    Wake up, keith. You are sounding like the devil’s disciple. LOL.

  439. 439
    5for says:

    Box@ 438: no.

    But I wouldn’t call that a weather forecast either.

  440. 440
    Jerad says:

    Joe #434

    And God still isn’t beholden to keith’s definitions nor does God care about keith’s “judgments” and lack of vision.

    No, but surely it is reasonable to ask how a kind and loving creator would have considered such an event? I don’t see it being a problem asking such questions. Look at what happened in Pakistan today. Is there a problem with asking: how could a loving, caring, omnipotent and omnipresent creator condone such things? Okay, God granted us free will, allowed us to be ‘evil’. But does that imply the right for us to impose great pain and suffering on others? What lesson are we and they learning in that case? That there are objective morals and standards but we can violate them if we wish because we can? That one person’s need to explore their evilness overrides others’ piety and grace?

    Let’s look at it another way: what if it had been your child who was gunned down today while at school. Would that then just be part of God’s plan or his willingness to let us make our own way? Would you still consider there to be a purpose to it all?

    I’m happy to have my assumptions proved wrong. I’m happy to have such events rectified and alined with a greater truth. That’s all I’m asking. Explain it to me. Clearly.

  441. 441
    kairosfocus says:

    5for, there are several types of things that tend to get clumped with weather forecasting, probably for reasons of convenience. It’s no surprise that a network with expertise on weather event warnings would be a convenient administrative head for tsunamis. Call it network economics if you will. KF

  442. 442
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerad, you are starting to try to build without the foundation. Start with, what are the foundational things that reasonably explain evils as objectionable, rights as binding, etc. That is, what grounds OUGHT at world foundation IS level. Rhetorical approaches (which are typical in exchanges) are not really good at answering to worldview level questions, where for instance the first comparative difficulties lesson is that if there were easy answers the question would not be a worldview level question. Hence, the significance of comparative difficulties. KF

    PS: It would also help to ask, what capabilities are needed to genuinely love, think for oneself, and decide for oneself, then ask, what happens if someone then decides to abuse that ability. And, what the world would be like without such abilities.

  443. 443
    5for says:

    You are forgetting Jerad, that most of those children were evil and deserved to die and the few that weren’t are actually lucky to be given the opportunity to die (according to FMM)

  444. 444
    LarTanner says:

    To focus on one snippet in comment 439: “This current era is the time of our suffering.”

    Would like to know when the current era began and who “our” refers to (i.e., who are “we”), but the suffering of earlier centuries is unimaginable to moderns.

    We have not lived through the great Plague. Nor the deep havoc caused by the Viking raids year after year. Nor the constricting socio-political orders of the pre-moderns. Nor the pogroms and atrocities in Russia, even into the modern era. Nor the systematic enslavement and displacement of African people. Nor the genocides of the early 20th century. Nor the terrors of Inquisition. Nor the endless wars and merciless killing of ancient states.

    Modern ciivilzation protects the lives and welfare of individuals (and business/political interests) much better and more broadly than at any prevous time in human history. Obviously, the current era has its own anxieties and terrors, but anyone who really thinks about it will immediately much prefer to live in a modern Western civilization than almost any pre-modern one.

    God may be incapable, as you say Mapou, of separating yin and yang, but modern civilization is undoubtably a great and human achievement, even if that (ongoing) achievement has gaping imperfections.

  445. 445
    Jerad says:

    KF #443

    Jerad, you are starting to try to build without the foundation. Start with, what are the foundational things that reasonably explain evils as objectionable, rights as binding, etc. That is, what grounds OUGHT at world foundation IS level. Rhetorical approaches (which are typical in exchanges) are not really good answering to worldview level questions, where for instance the first comparative difficulties lesson is that if there were easy answers the question would not be a worldview level question. Hence, the significance of comparative difficulties.

    If you have an answer as to how a loving, caring creator could condone behaviour such as that as exhibited in Northern Pakistan today then present it. Please explain how this event can fit into your proposed rhetorical framework. That’s a fair question.

    KF you’ve frequently mentioned that you have been dismayed that members of your family have been threatened by online bullies. Since you seem to think such threats are credible and likely to occur, how can a loving and caring creator allow such things to happen to your family?

    Are these not reasonable questions?

  446. 446
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    It would also help to ask, what capabilities are needed to genuinely love, think for oneself, and decide for oneself, then ask, what happens if someone then decides to abuse that ability. And, what the world would be like without such abilities.

    Those are great questions. Other related or restated: What capabilities are needed for creatures to be able to have a personal identity and to freely be able to:
    1. share their personal self with others through love
    2. learn the value of life, creation, risk, danger
    3. understand the value of goodness and sacrificial/heroic love & actions

  447. 447
    keith s says:

    As amusing as StephenB’s tsunami gaffe is, it’s irrelevant, because there was no Indian Ocean tsunami warning center in 2004.

    If God is omniscient, he knew that 220,000 people would die for lack of a warning. Why didn’t he warn them?

    He knows who will contract Ebola, and when. He knows when earthquakes will strike, and who will die.

    Why no warnings? Humans are capable of loving complete strangers enough to warn them of danger. Why not God?

  448. 448
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    As amusing as StephenB’s tsunami gaffe is, it’s irrelevant, because there was no Indian Ocean tsunami warning center in 2004.

    LOL Keiths, who has been caught in several lies, thinks that his latest lie is irrelevant. Well, now, isn’t that special.

    Now he wants to emphasize the fact that there was no warning system. No kidding. The point is there that should have been.

    I have decided that I will not be violating UD’s policy for civil discourse if I occasionally use the term Keiths, the “mythomaniac,” since it is based in fact. Do UD admimistrators have any problem with that moniker?

  449. 449
    Mung says:

    keiths: Mung, A reminder. keiths #407:

    And? You asked two questions I gave two answers. Here they are again:

    1. Pearls
    2. Swine

    Since you seem only to desire to discuss the undesirable [in your opinion] actions of others and to hold your own actions immune from discussion [in spite of the blatant self-refuting hypocrisy], those are the answers you get.

    You have no basis upon which to demand answers from anyone or to have your incessant whingeing about the responses you get, or lack thereof, taken seriously. none.

    Your actions are the actions of a troll, plain and simple.

    You claimed to be in possession of a book that sounds the death knell for ID. You claimed we’d be hearing from it a great deal. We’re still waiting. You want to discuss ID, go for it.

    You want to discuss “the omnigod” that Christians purportedly believe in while at the same time admitting you don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t expect me to waste my time setting you straight on matters of faith and religion. It’s your argument. It would behoove you to develop it before presenting it as an insoluble riddle for Christians.

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    Not an argument.

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    Not an argument.

    Pearls. Swine. That’s my final answer.

  450. 450
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    I don’t really like to keep using the word “liar,” since it tugs away at UD’s attempt to foster civil communication. Any ideas?

    Lying Liars Lie. It’s what they do. IMO, it would be uncivil of you to hide the truth about Lying Liars who Lie.

    The problem arises first and foremost when you assume that someone like keiths, an avowed atheist/materialist who allegedly has his own subjective “morality” is ever telling the truth in the first place.

    Objective truth can’t be allowed. And there’s no objective OUGHT to speak the truth.

    Everyone like keiths who comes here inevitably saws off the branch of their own rationality and argument. I think we forget this far too often.

    Like Dylan says, you gotta serve somebody.

  451. 451
    Mung says:

    keiths: I’ll let the readers judge your answer for themselves:

    See what I mean? This is just hilarious. As if readers OUGHT to judge or OUGHT to judge one way or another [i.e., in favor of keiths]. sez who?

    And this thread is just chock full of such pronouncements by keiths. He claims he just doesn’t have to concern himself with the problem of ought but then makes constant appeals to what folks ought and ought not be doing or believing.

  452. 452
    keith s says:

    Mung:

    Pearls. Swine. That’s my final answer.

    Of course it is. Like kairosfocus, you are afraid to answer those two simple questions.

  453. 453
    keith s says:

    StephenB:

    Now he wants to emphasize the fact that there was no warning system. No kidding. The point is there that should have been.

    You see, those infants and children deserved to die, because they didn’t make sure that a multinational consortium installed a tsunami warning system in time for the 2004 tsunami.

    God is perfectly loving, and he did the perfectly loving thing: he issued no warning and allowed those children to die. It was their fault, after all.

  454. 454
    keith s says:

    Mung is particularly touchy about the problem of evil because he’s been burned by it before.

    This was his attempt to “defend” his God two years ago:

    keiths:

    That means that the excuse you’ve been giving for the Christian God — that he allows rape because he values free will — is bogus. He can value free will and prevent rape at the same time.

    Mung:

    Your problem, among other things, is that you don’t pay attention and you make things up.

    I never argued that God allows rape because He values free will. If I were to make some sort of assertion, it would be that God allows rape because there’s nothing evil about it. So now what?

    You need to define rape, and make an argument as to why rape is evil. You’ve done neither. You have no argument.

    [Emphasis added]

    Congratulations, Christians. He’s on your side.

  455. 455
    Mung says:

    keiths: Like kairosfocus, you are afraid to answer those two simple questions.

    Since you seem incapable of grasping even the simplest answers, I reduced my answers to a single word in response to each question:

    1. Pearls
    2. Swine

    You give yourself entirely too much credit. I gave my answers. But somehow, after the fact, and in spite of the evidence to the contrary, you manage to convince yourself that I am afraid to answer two questions that I already answered. I guess we just have subjective moralities that differ.

    Let’s take a quick look back to the past:

    keiths:

    keiths @ 397:

    And I’m not looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution — I’m looking for one that is morally acceptable to the majority of people…

    Each of them with their own subjective morality, just like keiths.

    I guess the difference here is that I read what keiths writes and he doesn’t.

  456. 456
    Mung says:

    Just What Is The Question?

    ks @ 119:
    No, the real question is this: What is the best explanation for the evidence we have?

    ks @ 151
    You are running away from the question, which is: Why does God, whom you regard as good, permit so many things that you regard as evil?

    ks @ 179:
    This raises an obvious question: why would God create a world in which the Fall, and the resulting evil and suffering, are possible?

    ks @ 249:
    Rather, the question is “Why doesn’t God ever poof toilet paper into anyone’s hands when they get stranded?”

    ks @ 249:
    If you care about the truth, you want honest answers to these questions: Is God really there? If he is, then what is he really like?

    ks @ 274:
    Every thinking theist understands that this is an important question. Is God for, against, or indifferent to evil and suffering?

    ks @ 327:
    The question is whether your concept of God is coherent and compatible with the evidence.

    Is it just me, or is keiths confused about just what the question is?

    keiths @ 274:

    It’s only a mystery if you insist on believing in an omniGod. If you follow the evidence where it leads, you conclude that either

    a) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    b) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    c) God doesn’t exist.

    In those three cases, the existence of evil is not a mystery at all. It makes sense.

    keiths has an answer that makes sense of the existence of evil. Do tell.

  457. 457
    Mapou says:

    LarTanner:

    God may be incapable, as you say Mapou, of separating yin and yang, but modern civilization is undoubtably a great and human achievement, even if that (ongoing) achievement has gaping imperfections.

    Sure, but we continue to die every day and lose our loved ones to diseases, old age, wars, crime, natural catastrophes, etc. Our world wars and various conflicts have been horrible. Even babies and small children suffer just by growing up. The whole world is suffering. Biblical prophecies foretell a time when the love of many will have waxed cold, a time of great trouble, so great that, unless God directly intervenes, no flesh would be saved alive.

    But soon, it will all come to an end. And then, as written in the book of Revelation, God will dry our tears and forget our trespasses.

  458. 458
    StephenB says:

    KEiths

    You see, those infants and children deserved to die, because they didn’t make sure that a multinational consortium installed a tsunami warning system in time for the 2004 tsunami.

    This is another good example of how Keiths, the mythomaniac, misrepresents others’ arguments. There is no reason to respond to it since he will lie about the response. Remarkable!

  459. 459
    Mung says:

    lol @ keiths

    Mung: Your problem, among other things, is that you don’t pay attention and you make things up.

    See, even back then keiths was a liar. Some things never change.

    Mung: You need to define rape, and make an argument as to why rape is evil. You’ve done neither. You have no argument.

    See, even back then keiths refused to define the terms he was using nor managed to connect them into a coherent argument. Some things never change.

    keiths didn’t have an argument then and he still doesn’t have one now. Some things never change.

    keiths has a rather odd habit of trying to support one failed argument by trotting out another failed argument he’s made in the past. Some things never change.

  460. 460
    StephenB says:

    Mung

    Is it just me, or is keiths confused about just what the question is?

    You have nailed it. The name of the game is to keep changing the question so that the context will change along with it. Then, when the answers reflect the changing context, you juxtapose two of them and call it a contradiction, hoping to discredit your adversary. Could anyone possibly be that intellectually challenged, you may ask? Oh, yes. Believe it. I call this the Asinine Adhominem–Darwinist Debate Tactic #20. What do you think? Can I improve on that?

  461. 461
    Mung says:

    The world is infused with evil events, sez keiths.

    Follow the evidence where it leads, sez keiths.

    The evidence leads to no god, sez keiths.

    Odd. Why doesn’t the evidence lead to an evil god?

    keiths has the conclusion he wants, so the evidence leads to the conclusion he wants. Anyone surprised?

  462. 462
    Mung says:

    StephenB,

    I don’t think keiths is deserving of his own DDD. I see him as employing DDD #4.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....tractions/

    His bombs” against ID were total duds so he decided to attack Christians. Perhaps that’s a sub-genre of DDD 4.

    I sort of envision keiths as a bystander at the cross asking if he could drive another nail into Jesus “just for fun.” After all, at the time, it probably seemed to be the morally popular thing to do.

    keiths:

    And I’m not looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution — I’m looking for one that is morally acceptable to the majority of people…

    Of course, keiths finds himself to be in that majority, somehow. How convenient.

  463. 463
    keith s says:

    Mung quote mined me twice (#456, #463), apparently thinking I wouldn’t notice.

    The actual quote:

    And I’m not looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution — I’m looking for one that is morally acceptable to the majority of people who, unlike you, do not regard newborn babies as “evil rebels who would do worse than Hitler if they had the chance”.

    Mung:

    Of course, keiths finds himself to be in that majority, somehow. How convenient.

    That’s right. I don’t regard newborn babies as evil little Hitlers. Convenient? No. Sensible.

  464. 464
    Mung says:

    keiths @ 464:

    Mung quote mined me twice (#456, #463), apparently thinking I wouldn’t notice.

    Sharp as a tack you are, keiths. Far be it from me to think I could get anything past you.

    Mung @ 402 (quoting keiths):

    And I’m not looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution — I’m looking for one that is morally acceptable to the majority of people…

    So there you are. Caught in yet another outright lie.

    keiths sets himself as judge of what is morally acceptable. Hilarious.

    keiths sets himself as judge of what is morally acceptable to the majority of people. Also Hilarious.

    I’m at a loss as to why keiths thinks this constitutes quote mining or even why I OUGHT NOT have quoted him in the way I did.

    keiths, the morally superior moral subjectivist, who lacks any objective way of demonstrating his moral superiority.

    But he does try hard (even if he can’t count to three).

  465. 465
    Mung says:

    keiths includes himself in that majority and in the same post accuses me of quote mining him for claiming that he includes himself in that majority. Go figure.

    Are all atheists nutso?

  466. 466
    Mung says:

    keiths. can’t define rape. can’t define evil. can’t say why rape is evil or even that rape is evil. pathetic.

  467. 467
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    And I’m not looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution — I’m looking for one that is morally acceptable to the majority of people who, unlike you, do not regard newborn babies as “evil rebels who would do worse than Hitler if they had the chance”.

    Oh, so your standard is to accept the majority position on moral issues, is it? Is that why you you embrace the minority position of amoral materialism/atheism? No wonder you don’t answer questions. Every time you actually try to say something, you get crushed.

    That’s right. I don’t regard newborn babies as evil little Hitlers. Convenient? No. Sensible.

    So what? Your mindless moral subjectivism prevents you from condemning such a perverse philosophy. So don’t carry on as if characterizing babies as little Hitlers is a problem for you. As you keep telling us, evil is “subjective.” Remember?

  468. 468
    drc466 says:

    keith s,

    The problem, ks, is that you are unable to open your mind to see the other side. I bet you’re terrible at presenting a devil’s argument. Stay away from debate team.

    a) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    b) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    c) God doesn’t exist.

    This is terrible logic. Reminds me of your horrible ONH argument. This is like saying:
    Fact: There are buildings standing.
    Therefore, either:
    a) Wind isn’t strong enough to blow down a building; or
    b) Wind doesn’t last long enough to blow down a building; or
    c) Wind doesn’t exist.

    Let’s just throw out a few things missing from your “Logic”:
    1) It assumes that your definition of evil matches God’s.
    2) It assumes that God has no other traits that might factor in, besides power/love.
    3) It assumes that the result of the evil act is undeserved.
    4) It assumes that the result of the evil act will not forestall some even greater evil.
    5) It assumes that what comes after life has no potential to outweigh what occurred in life.
    6) It assumes that the result of the evil act will not work for a greater good than if the evil act hadn’t occurred.
    Etc., etc.

    To turn the question around: say a man is caught torturing and murdering. You are all-powerful in your town. You are perfectly loving. Being all-powerful and perfectly loving, you pronounce to the entire town, including the victims’ parents, spouses, children, friends, etc., that you have decided not to punish the man in any way – after all, you love him in spite of his terrible crimes.
    What about justice? Holiness? Are you being loving to the victims’ families? Have you removed the incentive not to do evil, since there are no consequences?
    Or maybe you think God should’ve just created perfect people in a perfect environment who never would sin, and where no ill effects would harm them.
    Then what of Faith and Freedom to choose? Is it loving to create Robot Slaves? Supposedly, you value Faith in your people, and their ability to believe in something they cannot see, and their free will – but if you step in and publicly announce yourself by stopping any and all “bad things”, is there really room for faith? Aren’t you just slapping them in the face with your existence?

    So, sure, ks, let’s throw out Holiness, and Justice, and Teaching, and Faith, and just stomp all over our Creation with the Jack-boots of Power and Love. Is that the kind of God you’re looking for?

    Look, I’m not saying that the problem of the existence of evil isn’t difficult to understand. Especially if you or someone you love is the recipient of other man’s, or cursed nature’s, evil. I would never seek to minimize someone’s pain, or heartache. But saying “tsunami, therefore no God” is an emotional argument, not a logical one, and not a scientific one.

    Feel free to Black Knight on this one, too, ks, just don’t expect to win any converts.

  469. 469
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    Oh, so your standard is to accept the majority position on moral issues, is it?

    No. My standard is to follow my conscience.

    Think, StephenB. You are jumping to unsupported conclusions again.

  470. 470
    keith s says:

    keiths, to Mung:

    That’s right. I don’t regard newborn babies as evil little Hitlers. Convenient? No. Sensible.

    StephenB:

    So what? Your mindless moral subjectivism prevents you from condemning such a perverse philosophy.

    Where did you get that odd idea? The fact that evil is subjective doesn’t prevent us from condemning it.

    PS I’m relieved to hear that you regard fifthmonarchyman’s statement as “perverse”.

  471. 471
    keith s says:

    Mung, today:

    keiths. can’t define rape. can’t define evil. can’t say why rape is evil or even that rape is evil. pathetic.

    Mung, two years ago:

    Your problem, among other things, is that you don’t pay attention and you make things up.

    I never argued that God allows rape because He values free will. If I were to make some sort of assertion, it would be that God allows rape because there’s nothing evil about it. So now what?

    You need to define rape, and make an argument as to why rape is evil. You’ve done neither. You have no argument.

    [Emphasis added]

  472. 472
    keith s says:

    drc466,

    This is terrible logic. Reminds me of your horrible ONH argument.

    Yes, the one that you and your fellow IDers couldn’t refute. That must have seemed horrible to you.

    This is like saying:
    Fact: There are buildings standing.
    Therefore, either:
    a) Wind isn’t strong enough to blow down a building; or
    b) Wind doesn’t last long enough to blow down a building; or
    c) Wind doesn’t exist.

    Slow down, drc466. You’re making silly mistakes. The logic isn’t the same at all.

    First, the fact that some buildings are still standing does not mean that all buildings are still standing. Second, the fact that the wind hasn’t blown down building X does not mean that the wind can never be strong enough to blow down building X. Third, wind that is strong enough or lasts long enough to blow down building X may not be strong enough or last long enough to blow down building Y. Your analogy is a mess.

    By contrast, the options I offered actually make sense:

    1. If the omnitheists are correct, then God is both perfectly loving and all-powerful. However, the evidence is against this.

    If #1 does not hold, then you have to negate at least one of the three: perfectly loving, all-powerful, God.

    Negating them gives you my three overlapping, exhaustive options:

    a) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    b) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    c) God doesn’t exist.

    It isn’t hard, but you do need to think a little.

  473. 473
    Mapou says:

    Keith Meister, why do you ignore my comment at 439 where I refute your crap? Grow some gonads, man.

  474. 474
    keith s says:

    drc466:

    Let’s just throw out a few things missing from your “Logic”:
    1) It assumes that your definition of evil matches God’s.

    No, it doesn’t depend on my definition of evil at all. I am not a theist.

    I explained this earlier in the thread:

    Theists,

    Most of you are making the same mistake. It doesn’t matter whether I think that evil exists (I do, but I don’t think that it is objective evil). What matters is what you, as theists, believe.

    As long as

    1) you believe in an omniGod;
    2) you believe that God is good according to some standard of good and evil; and
    3) you believe that the world is full of evil by that same standard;

    …then you face the problem of evil. Why does God allow so much evil and suffering?

    drc466:

    2) It assumes that God has no other traits that might factor in, besides power/love.

    Incorrect. No matter what other traits a God has, the following possibilities are still exhaustive:

    1. God is perfectly loving and all-powerful.
    2. God is not perfectly loving.
    3. God is not all-powerful.
    4. God does not exist.

    For example, suppose that God is perfectly loving, all-powerful, and loves beetles. In that case, he falls into category 1.

    3) It assumes that the result of the evil act is undeserved.
    4) It assumes that the result of the evil act will not forestall some even greater evil.

    No. You can always attempt to argue that God allows evil for the sake of some greater good. The problem is that you need to make that case for all of the evil and suffering in the world.

    It leads to thorny questions like the ones I posed to Box earlier in the thread:

    Assuming that suffering is actually necessary, then how much of it is needed? Did every single one of those people need to die at Auschwitz? If one less had died would the project have failed? How do you know?

    If only 150,000 people had died in the 2004 tsunami, instead of 220,000+, would God’s purposes have been thwarted? How do you know?

    drc466:

    5) It assumes that what comes after life has no potential to outweigh what occurred in life.

    Suppose you have a choice between

    a) 40 years of happiness and joy, followed by a peaceful death, and an eternity of bliss.

    b) 40 years of unspeakable agony, followed by a terrifying death, and an eternity of bliss.

    Would you shrug and say “It makes no difference. They’re exactly the same.”? Of course not. We all know that a) is better than b).

    6) It assumes that the result of the evil act will not work for a greater good than if the evil act hadn’t occurred.

    See my response to your #3 and #4.

  475. 475
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerad,

    With all due respect, why are you taking part in the rhetorical game of accusing God instead of taking responsibility, starting with oneself? It seems to me that too many consistently refuse to address the first steps and get them right, so it becomes no wonder that thereafter, things get more and more off track.

    You are angry at evils, good.

    Now, is evil real and objectionable, or is this just a temper tantrum like a spoilt child refusing to eat veggies as they are distasteful to one used to too much sugar?

    If evil is real and objectionable, it points straight to the issue of OUGHT, evil is what ought not to be, a frustration, perversion, privation of the good out of proper purpose and dignity. It is wrong to kidnap, torture and sexually abuse then murder a young child on his way home from school to his parents. It self-evidently ought not to be. And the one who did this, by the very fact of concealment knows better than he did; and knows that if he were spotted, others would know they were to do something about it.

    There is a world of issues in there, cf here on for a bit of an overview, as I have been pointing out for hundreds of comments, and notice that not one objector has taken time to seriously interact with.

    (That in itself speaks volumes on what seems to be really going on.)

    If evil is real and objectionable, OUGHT is real, we are under moral government. Which, is connected directly to our being able to love, think, reason and choose for ourselves responsibly. The man who murdered that child had a real choice to treat the child with respect and neighbour love, but willfully chose instead to pander to his perverted lusts, and ended up a murderer.

    That pattern extends to any number of cases you have put up or wish to put up.

    None of them addresses seriously the grounding issue, though they may feel emotionally satisfying to the one angry at God for the crime of making us able to love, think, reason and choose for ourselves responsibly. So that, some of us choose to abuse that capability, twisting aside into self love at the expense of neighbour.

    Such, may even feel that to throw out such cases again and again is a rhetorical advantage, all the while such are ducking and dodging the underlying pivotal issues.

    Coming back on focus.

    If ought is real, ever since Hume we have known that we need to bridge the gap, IS-OUGHT. And, that this can only happen at world-foundation level.

    That is, there must be an IS that properly grounds OUGHT, a root source of moral authority that is at the basis for reality.

    After many centuries of back and forth debate, there is but one serious candidate, the inherently good Creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. The moral governor of the cosmos.

    The alternatives, as rule, come down to might and manipulation make ‘right’ and ‘truth,’ etc. A monstrous doctrine with a chaotic and bloody history that should give us all pause.

    In short, the reality and objectionableness of evils point to our being under moral government thence to the moral governor of the cosmos. Which conclusion, many do not wish to face.

    That’s reality, a simple and short summary of centuries of back-forth on debate points.

    Here is Boethius’ summary of the matter in the 500’s, while facing unjust execution on a false accusation:

    If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?

    We celebrate or enjoy the good, and find the evil repulsive (save, it seems when we hope to gain an advantage by indulging in it).

    That’s a big clue.

    And tied to it, is the fact that people can be taken in by lies and Plato’s Cave shadow shows, becoming blind to the evils they hope to benefit from.

    So when a Christian couple in Pakistan are in debt slavery, and are accused of destroying a few verses of a Quran used in magic rituals, which they probably could not read, they were accused of “blasphemy” by out of control neighbours who hate Christians for many reasons that will not stand serious scrutiny.

    They ask their master for permission to flee to save their lives, and he refuses, putting money ahead of life.

    The couple are pounced upon, beaten and literally burned alive, the woman being pregnant.

    Somehow, the murderous, mad crowd refuses to recognise that the biggest blasphemy against God involved, is the murder of those made in his image.

    Our neighbours.

    Oh yes, even poor Christians descended from so-called untouchables.

    And, like unto it, when someone can turn a dispute over a goat into an accusation that a fellow labourer, Asia Bibi, should not drink the same water as Muslims then accuse her of blasphemy under an unjust and oppressive law, beat her and drag her to area leaders who demand her soul as the price of her life, that too was wrong. It is wrong that she was unjustly sentenced to hang on a foolish charge of blasphemy under an unjust law and is confined in a cell that is destroying her health even as her family suffers along with her.

    Yes, the madness of refusing to exercise the ability we have to love neighbour as self, is plain.

    And yes, it is fun to raise rhetorical dilemmas and the like, dragging women caught in adultery to pose what you imagine is an unanswerable set of talking points. Jesus’ reply then speaks to us today: if you are guiltless, throw the first stone. None could.

    And, none can.

    And, he turned to the woman and said to her, where are your accusers?

    There are none.

    Neither do I condemn you, go, leave your life of sin.

    So, that is where we all stand today.

    Under moral government, and capable of loving, thinking, reasoning and choosing for ourselves to do the right thing. With God’s help.

    But too often, we instead choose to be a part of the problem because we perceive some advantage in frustrating, perverting, stunting the good, twisting it aside into what we term evil.

    With natural evils, we live in a world where to be able to choose, we need to have a reliable, predictable order of reality; which means that int eh course of such events, there are inevitable hazards and things that flow from these. And, we are responsible to act aright, individually and collectively.

    For instance, I am sitting on deposits from massive energy release volcanic eruptions of the past connected to earth’s tectonic processes that create land.

    In eh 1930’s there were rumblings and two significant studies. We were warned of the trends and possibilities.

    For a generation, such sat on shelves, largely forgotten and not understood.

    In the 1960’s, as there had been in the 1930’s and the 1890’s, there were more rumbles. More studies on shelves.

    In the 1980’s, there were conferences, plans, even simulation exercises of evacuations, and a major UN-funded study on hazard mapping. That study has a nine point, two page executive summary I have now seen, once it was released to the public long after the events. Or, more properly, after it was put in the reference section back room of the local public library where if you knew you could ask to see it under supervision.

    If those two pages and nine points had been read, circulated and heeded, it would have made a major difference

    In 1992, just on time, teh mountain started to rumble, and that continued for three years, with regional monitoring ramping up. I even put my 6th form Physics students on the programme, which led to several of them doing advanced studies in volcanology etc.

    In 1995, phreatic then dome building eruptions began, and the debates, confusions and controversies. Let’s just say it is hard to face the possibilities of disasters collectively, when people’s interests lie in investments at risk. I and others were literally threatened for being obsessed with visions of disaster, panicking the public, and even being subversives. That included being blamed for giving the public, videotaped warning during a public meeting that played a part in the commission of inquiry when people died, and which found HMG and GoM to have contributory, negligent responsibility for the deaths of fourteen identified individuals killed in the fatal pyroclastic flows of June 25th 1997. (Subversive no 1, who I supported then and now, is now premier of the country. We face the daunting task to try to pull together solutions to the disasters and consequences of blunders we warned against.)

    In short, if we are willing to face our responsibilities, it is not too hard to see how we abuse our God-given ability to love (especially, love our neighbour as ourselves), think, reason, and act with prudence by making right choices.

    And, it is then oh so convenient to blame God for the crime of making us able to love, choose, think and reason aright.

    Instead, of facing the reality in our own souls, and doing something about it that we know or should know is our duty:

    Rom 2:6 [God] will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]:

    7 To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [[b]springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [[c]the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life.

    8 But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath . . . .

    14 When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law. 15 They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] [e]decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving [f]thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them]

    16 On that day when, as my Gospel proclaims, God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to [g]the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts).

    Rom 13:8 Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor [who practices loving others] has fulfilled the Law [relating to one’s fellowmen, meeting all its requirements].

    9 The commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet (have an evil desire), and any other commandment, are summed up in the single command, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

    10 Love does no wrong to one’s neighbor [it never hurts anybody]. Therefore love meets all the requirements and is the fulfilling of the Law. [AMP]

    Or, if you want to, we can look at how John Locke, in grounding what we see today as modern liberty and democracy, in Ch 2 of his second treatise on Civl Govt cites canon Richard Hooker form his Ecclesiastical polity:

    . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8, also alluding to Justinian’s Corpus Juris Civlis, which appeals tot much the same in its built-in textbook of law:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity,preface, Bk I, “ch.” 8, p.80]

    Perhaps, we can pause, and think again.

    KF

  476. 476
    kairosfocus says:

    Re KS:

    >>>>>>>>>>

    The exchanges since about 120 above would be funny if they were not so sadly revealing of what has been going on.

    I note:

    KS, 157 etc: I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    But of course, he so assumes that he is lord of the matter that he obviously did not bother to make acquaintance of a linked 101 summary of a major, even epochal answer to the problem of evil, that has been on record for some 40 years now. One that moved off the table the logical form of the problem, and put the inductive form in due proportion suitable for answering through Judaeo-Christian, redemptive theism. Where, the existential form is pastoral in nature and is also addressed by way of a video dealing with rape.

    In addition, KS has — now, sadly predictably — dodged the underlying issue that the reality and objectionableness of evil point precisely to the need for an IS capable of grounding OUGHT. And, indeed, are evidence pointing to God.

    And, oh yes, those who would indict Christendom, or at least those troubled by arguments from the evils of theistic cultures, might find here on helpful.

    So, now, let us roll the tape on what KS obviously refused to pay attention to before running on with his drumbeat of long since sell-by date talking points:

    ______________

    >>125 kairosfocus December 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help.

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution [–> and notice, the pivotal significance of another unjust execution at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and the answer it provides to evils . . . ] — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.>>
    ______________

    I predict, on track record, that KS will again ignore or pretzel-twist the matter into a strawman caricature.

    Let us hope that, at length, he will finally prove such wrong.

    >>>>>>>>>>

    And of course, KS would find the just above to Jerad, helpful, if he wishes at length to deal with the root matter on the merits.

    KF

  477. 477
    Jerad says:

    KF #476

    With all due respect, why are you taking part in the rhetorical game of accusing God instead of taking responsibility, starting with oneself? It seems to me that too many consistently refuse to address the first steps and get them right, so it becomes no wonder that thereafter, things get more and more off track.

    I’m not accusing God of anything. I’m trying to understand your faith in the face of hideously evil behaviour on the part of others of faith. I am trying to understand how such events fit into your framework of explanation. I am trying to see any sense or plan in it. I’m trying to understand how you rectify a loving and compassionate god when over 130 children are gunned down in cold blood (and a teacher was lit on fire).

    You are angry at evils, good.

    Who wouldn’t be? I’m interested in what you think the explanation of it is. You say we don’t love each other enough. That we need to ground ourselves in an OUGHT. Well, the Taliban fighters who slaughtered tens of innocent people have their own version of OUGHT which is why they were driven to do what they did. And the Christians who killed and burned other Christians in the Waldensian and Albigensian crusades in Europe had an OUGHT that they subscribed to. They believed they were RIGHT.

    I can understand a god that lets people make mistakes which they then pay for. But I cannot understand why others have to pay with their fear and terror and lives because someone has a different OUGHT.

    After many centuries of back and forth debate, there is but one serious candidate, the inherently good Creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. The moral governor of the cosmos.

    I’m sure the Taliban fighters would agree with you. And yet, the evil continues. And not just in Pakistan. In Australia. And Pennsylvania. It goes on and on and on. Some of it perpetrated by those well versed in an OUGHT.

    I don’t understand a father god that lets his ‘children’ abuse each other so much. I don’t understand the point of that. I don’t understand why the pain and the suffering has to go on and on and on and on. And I don’t see that any OUGHTS have had much of an effect. Christians, Muslims, Jews, HIndus have all shown themselves capable of holding their holy writs in one hand and a sword/axe/rifle/machinegun in the other.

    Hundreds of years of OUGHTS haven’t stopped it.

  478. 478
    keith s says:

    drc466,

    To turn the question around: say a man is caught torturing and murdering. You are all-powerful in your town. You are perfectly loving. Being all-powerful and perfectly loving, you pronounce to the entire town, including the victims’ parents, spouses, children, friends, etc., that you have decided not to punish the man in any way – after all, you love him in spite of his terrible crimes.
    What about justice? Holiness? Are you being loving to the victims’ families? Have you removed the incentive not to do evil, since there are no consequences?

    Don’t forget, this is exactly what the Christian God supposedly does. A heinous serial murderer repents and accepts Jesus on his deathbed and the next thing you know, he’s enjoying an eternity of bliss in heaven. No punishment.

    Or maybe you think God should’ve just created perfect people in a perfect environment who never would sin, and where no ill effects would harm them.

    What’s wrong with that?

    Then what of Faith and Freedom to choose? Is it loving to create Robot Slaves?

    Apparently you haven’t been following the thread. I’ve addressed that several times. An omniGod can prevent evil without thwarting free will:

    Before God creates a person, he uses his omniscience to look ahead and ask whether that person will commit murder. If the answer is no, he proceeds. If the answer is yes, he refrains from creating that person and creates someone else instead — someone he knows will not become a murderer.

    He hasn’t changed anyone’s nature. Each person is completely free, and yet no one commits murder, because they all freely choose not to.

    If theists try to argue that by refraining from creating someone, God would be denying that person’s free will, then they put themselves in a bind — because that means that God is already denying free will to the gazillions of possible persons he never creates.

    Of course, this also works for any other kind of evil God wants to prevent. Why doesn’t he do it?

    drc466:

    Supposedly, you value Faith in your people, and their ability to believe in something they cannot see,

    Why would I value that? I would much rather have people think and evaluate the evidence to the best of their ability. Blindly believing in me would not be a desirable thing.

    but if you step in and publicly announce yourself by stopping any and all “bad things”, is there really room for faith?

    Who needs faith? I would much rather have people appreciate me for what I actually am, rather than what they blindly believe me to be.

    So, sure, ks, let’s throw out Holiness, and Justice, and Teaching, and Faith, and just stomp all over our Creation with the Jack-boots of Power and Love. Is that the kind of God you’re looking for?

    The jackboots of love? Isn’t that what we have now, according to you, with your supposedly perfectly loving God wiping out 220,000 people in a single tsunami, giving them no warning?

    Look, I’m not saying that the problem of the existence of evil isn’t difficult to understand.

    It’s a huge problem for omnitheists, but there is a simple solution: follow the evidence. Your omniGod doesn’t fit the evidence, so find a better hypothesis

    All three of these are better hypotheses:

    a) God is not perfectly loving;
    b) God is not all-powerful;
    c) God does not exist.

    But saying “tsunami, therefore no God” is an emotional argument, not a logical one, and not a scientific one.

    My argument is an evidential one. Your hypothesis — that God is omnibenevolent, omnisicient, and omnipotent — fits the evidence poorly. The other three hypotheses are superior.

    Why cling to an inferior hypothesis? Be brave and follow the evidence where it leads.

  479. 479
    keith s says:

    keiths:

    The world makes so much more sense if

    a) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    b) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    c) God doesn’t exist at all.

    Mapou:

    This is a strawman. There is a fourth option:

    d) God is perfectly loving but he cannot separate the yin from the yang.

    That isn’t a fourth option. It falls under (b).

  480. 480
    keith s says:

    kairosfocus,

    The questions await. Are you still too ashamed to answer?

  481. 481
    keith s says:

    KF,

    If you don’t like those questions, there are new ones every day. Today’s versions:

    God allowed those children in Peshawar to be gunned down at school because ________.

    God allowed those teachers to be burned alive because ______.

    Fill in the blanks. And if you can’t, or won’t, then summon the minimal integrity required to acknowledge it.

  482. 482
    Me_Think says:

    keith s @ 482,
    I hope no one says those children didn’t follow the ‘right God’

  483. 483
    kairosfocus says:

    Onlookers, the rhetorical games continue.

    I simply repeat the challenge that to address evils, one must go to the foundational issues. Which, KS has plainly refused to do for several hundred posts now. That speaks sad volumes on where such an exercise would point, and on the question of why he refuses to go there.

    There is a patent insistent refusal to do so, and the implications of that must be recognised.

    KF

    PS, Just to being that back to focus, as has been highlighted ever since 125:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    The exchanges since about 120 above would be funny if they were not so sadly revealing of what has been going on.

    I note:

    KS, 157 etc: I’ll be surprised if you can do it. I’ve never met an omnitheist who could give a plausible answer to the problem of evil.

    But of course, he so assumes that he is lord of the matter that he obviously did not bother to make acquaintance of a linked 101 summary of a major, even epochal answer to the problem of evil, that has been on record for some 40 years now. One that moved off the table the logical form of the problem, and put the inductive form in due proportion suitable for answering through Judaeo-Christian, redemptive theism. Where, the existential form is pastoral in nature and is also addressed by way of a video dealing with rape.

    In addition, KS has — now, sadly predictably — dodged the underlying issue that the reality and objectionableness of evil point precisely to the need for an IS capable of grounding OUGHT. And, indeed, are evidence pointing to God.

    And, oh yes, those who would indict Christendom, or at least those troubled by arguments from the evils of theistic cultures, might find here on helpful.

    So, now, let us roll the tape on what KS obviously refused to pay attention to before running on with his drumbeat of long since sell-by date talking points:

    ______________

    >>125 kairosfocus December 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    F/N: Those who struggle with the problem of evil and seek a reasonable worldview level answer (as opposed to those simply playing talking point games), may find here a first help.

    I note, that evolutionary materialism first faces a problem of a basis to ground objection to evil, as a manifestation of the IS-OUGHT gap and the need for a world foundational IS capable of sustaining the weight of ought. Cutting to the chase scene, there is only one serious candidate, the inherently good creator-God, a necessary and maximally great being. Boethius — awaiting unjust execution [–> and notice, the pivotal significance of another unjust execution at the heart of the Christian Gospel, and the answer it provides to evils . . . ] — aptly put the matter:

    “If God exists, whence evil? But whence good, if God does not exist?”

    If you doubt the force of that, consider this from Dawkins:

    Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This lesson is one of the hardest for humans to learn. We cannot accept that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous: indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.

    We humans have purpose on the brain. We find it difficult to look at anything without wondering what it is “for,” what the motive for it or the purpose behind it might be. The desire to see purpose everywhere is natural in an animal that lives surrounded by machines, works of art, tools and other designed artifacts – an animal whose waking thoughts are dominated by its own goals and aims . . . . In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference . . . . DNA neither cares nor knows. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. [“God’s Utility Function,” Sci Am 1995.]

    So, KS et al have a choice: ground the reality and objectionable nature of evil, requiring an IS that grounds OUGHT, or else stand exposed as playing with the pain of the suffering in order to push a world view and agenda that cannot even soundly ground OUGHT.

    KF

    PS: Notice, too, the continued pattern I highlighted earlier as to how threads are pulled off track — this one SHOULD be on a scientific issue, fine tuning, and there is a different thread that was set up for issues such as this.>>
    ______________

    I predict, on track record, that KS will again ignore or pretzel-twist the matter into a strawman caricature.

    Let us hope that, at length, he will finally prove such wrong.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

  484. 484
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerad, I have already given enough for you to work through the implications of yet another case of abuse of our capabilities, sometimes done by taking the name of God in vain — misusing the name of God — while despoiling those who are made in the image of God. The matter pivots on moral government, and our capability to love, think for ourselves, and reason and decide for ourselves. Which points to the foundational IS that grounds OUGHT. If we then choose to abuse that gift of responsibility and ability to do much good, that is our fault, not that of the one who gave us the gift and opportunities aplenty to turn from wrong-doing. If we wish to imagine that God’s patience in the face of our folly is his fault, or if we tax him with the crime of making us able to love, think and reason and decide for ourselves, that in itself speaks volumes, and not in our favour. KF

  485. 485
    Jerad says:

    KF #485

    Jerad, I have already given enough for you to work through the implications of yet another case of abuse of our capabilities, sometimes done by taking the name of God in vain — misusing the name of God — while despoiling those who are made in the image of God.

    I don’t think I did either of those two things but I’m not going to rehash that. But I do wonder why you take such offence when people ask you questions that you find difficult or uncomfortable to answer.

    And some of those ‘made in the image of God’ are killers and rapists and abusers.

    The matter pivots on moral government, and our capability to love, think for ourselves, and reason and decide for ourselves. Which points to the foundational IS that grounds OUGHT. If we then choose to abuse that gift of responsibility and ability to do much good, that is our fault, not that of the one who gave us the gift and opportunities aplenty to turn from wrong-doing.

    But there are conflicting OUGHTS! Clearly. How do you decide which one is correct? The Taliban fighters are equally operating out of an OUGHT. The Catholics who perpetrated the Waldensian crusade had an OUGHT which was supported by the Papacy of the time. Surely they thought they were not only right but had the blessing of the Holy See, considered to be the highest material authority on Christian matters.

    Again, I’m trying to figure out your framework. Let me ask you a couple of questions:

    If you had several children and they were abusing and torturing each other in your name would you, as a loving father, allow that to continue? If you heard of another parent who stood by while their own children murdered each other would you consider them a good parent?

    If we wish to imagine that God’s patience in the face of our folly is his fault, or if we tax him with the crime of making us able to love, think and reason and decide for ourselves, that in itself speaks volumes, and not in our favour.

    I’m not doing that. I’m asking you how YOU explain and think about certain things. You can’t just dodge the questions by pretending that we are somehow trying to damage your sacred beliefs. You are welcome to believe whatever you like as far as I am concerned (as long as you don’t overly impose those beliefs on others). But I do not understand your belief structure/framework. It doesn’t make sense to me. So I am asking you to explain aspects of it so I can get a better understanding.

  486. 486
    kairosfocus says:

    Re KS: KS seems to forget that over the course of weeks he has consistently shown selective hyperskepticism, the fallacy of the ideologically indoctrinated closed mind, disrespect for attempts at genuine dialogue and the like. He has shown himself to be only here to push talking points rather than seriously discuss. I have put the pivotal matter to him for hundreds of posts, and linked significant materials which he has refused to bother to read with any seriousness. Just this morning, I pointed him to some concrete cases [I believe six] that should more than adequately show how the principles that are foundational apply to the sort of cases he deploys for rhetorical effect, and he predictably refuses to think through from the perspective of humans being able to love, think, reason, choose and act for themselves. Just for one instance, when a culture resorts to the sort of litigiousness that makes people hesitate to act as good neighbours lest they be bankrupted and destroyed in reputation [I recall my uncle warning me on the case of a woman at a bus stop when he was a student in the US who had slipped in snow, and when he began to respond as a Jamaican would to try to help her up, others warned him that he could easily be subjected to either the cry “rape” or the suit for damages if there were injuries . . . ], there are consequences when there is an accident: they have been conditioned only to call for the professionals with insurance. When those show up, it may be too late — unlike decades ago, where I recall reading in Reader’s Digest of a man commended for going into a car with an accident and fire, to try to rescue its occupant. Enough has been said for the reasonable person, and enough resources have been linked onwards for further reading, and to further entertain trollish misbehaviour and Alinskyite resort to mockery, ridicule, personalisation and polarisation, is pointless. KF

  487. 487
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerad, I am not going to waste time going in circles. You have had a significant response taking time I did not really have to spare and I ask you to attend to it again. KF

  488. 488
    Jerad says:

    KF #488

    Jerad, I am not going to waste time going in circles. You have had a significant response taking time I did not really have to spare and I ask you to attend to it again.

    If you don’t want to clarify your beliefs that’s up to you. But don’t expect people to understand your point of view if you won’t take the time to spell it out.

    And don’t accuse others of walking away from questions if you’re going to do the same.

  489. 489
    Box says:

    Keith #470: Think, StephenB. You are jumping to unsupported conclusions again.

    I have tried to find the correct English term for what I felt reading this sentence. “Vicarious shame” may come close.

    Keith #475: It leads to thorny questions like the ones I posed to Box earlier in the thread (…)

    Which I answered in #404. Keith posted some follow-up questions in #409, which I answered in #413.

  490. 490
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    I think this conversation has been very valuable.

    It should now be clear that those with sympathies for ID often have radically different ideas about the characteristics of the designer depending on their background and understanding of special revelation.

    Yet these vast disagreements don’t in any way inhibit our ability to infer design in nature.

    The only ones with any issue in that regard are those who must rule out design from the get go.

    We can conclude two things from this

    1) ID is definitely not some secret conspiracy by a particular religious group ie evangelicals.

    2) ID is completely compatible with any worldview except one that has a vested interest in denying the existence of any designer whatsoever.

    peace

  491. 491
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    KeithS said,

    If you don’t like those questions, there are new ones every day.

    I say,

    Different questions same answer. Luke 13:1-9.
    You might not like the answer but please don’t pretend one has not been given.

    and it was given 2,000 years ago
    peace

  492. 492
    Joe says:

    If you have an answer as to how a loving, caring creator could condone behaviour such as that as exhibited in Northern Pakistan today then present it.

    Are our opponents the most simple-minded people on Earth? What if all of those children are now in Heaven?

  493. 493
    Joe says:

    No, but surely it is reasonable to ask how a kind and loving creator would have considered such an event?

    Actually the question is childish and boring. We don’t live in a perfect world and I wouldn’t want to.

    How could we be properly judged unless we were duly tried? How could we show we belong in Heaven if we never had to do anything that demonstrated we deserved it?

    I say all those children are now in Heaven.

    Also islanders and other animals heard the warning of the 2004 tsunami. The people who died obviously didn’t heed the warning.

  494. 494
    Joe says:

    The fact that evil is subjective doesn’t prevent us from condemning it.

    BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    If evil is subjective then you don’t know if you are condemning the right thing. IOW you could be totally wrong in what you condemn. And you are totally wrong about evil, pain and suffering, all of which are necessary in a physical world in which we are to be judged by our actions.

    But obviously that is too much for a simpleton like you to understand.

  495. 495

    Jerad,

    If morality is a subjective commodity, so what if God allows what you or keith subjectively consider to be “evil”? “What is moral”, under subjectivism, is arbited by those with the power (one way or another) to make it so, and thus whatever god said is moral would be the final arbiter of morality – even if one day god said X was moral, and the next day god said X was not moral.

    But, as KF is attempting to point out to you, your (and Keith’s) argument depends upon the rhetorical, emotionally manipulative use of examples that you employ as if they are universal, objective evils that even God is bound to prevent if possible.

    You cannot have it both ways; if you hold morality is subjective, then you have no valid logical complaint against god for what we see in the world. God would just be imposing its subjective moral code on us. However, if you hold that morality is objective, then you must concede god – of some sort – exists, even if you find its moral system objectionable.

    So, at this point, unless morality (what is good) is an objective, immutable aspect of god, atheists have nothing to complain about and no logical argument to make – all they have is emotional manipulation against a certain specific concept of god. If all you want to do is rattle a few specific Judeo-Christian cages and employ rhetoric calibrated to upset them, big deal. It doesn’t appear to me that you or keith have the capacity to make a case against theism beyond emotional pleading rooted in nothing more than what either of you imagine is possible for god to do.

    I submit that just because you and Keith might imagine that God can create an existence where evil things do not happen doesn’t mean that it is actually possible for God to do so. “Omnipotent” doesn’t mean god can do anything imaginable; it just means god can do anything actually possible.

    Fundamentally, it is simply not logically possible to generate an identifiable X into existence without an identifiable “not-X” also existent as a contextual grounding for the existence of X. Any “X” cannot even be imagined without the capacity to imagine “not-X”, in some way, that makes X an identifiable, imaginable thing.

    For “good” to be made manifest as an identifiable commodity, “not-good” must also be manifest as contextual grounding. Otherwise, we couldn’t even conceptualize “good” or any other X.

    What is possible to create/do becomes more and more constrictive as more and more necessary elements are added to the mix and must be accounted for in the design. Given certain necessary elements to a design, some things that would otherwise be possible might not be. For instance, if an aquarium must fit in a certain space; it might not be possible to put a certain number of fish, or certain kind of fish, in the tank and have a viable environment simply because of space restrictions.

    Sure, you could do it if you build a different tank in a different location; but not in that tank, and that location.

    Also, I submit that both you and Keith are assuming we live in a certain kind of existence – again, useful for emotional pleading to upset certain specific perspectives, but utterly impotent against other theistic conceptualizations of existence.

    If one wishes to seriously consider theism, one must be able to set aside the easy, manipulative rhetoric and look inside to comprehend that the moral outrage one feels against certain theistic ideas must emanate from an objective source or else it is entirely hypocritical and nonsensical. Unless your moral right and obligations stem from something more substantive than how you feel, you have no more “right”, or “obligation”, to stop an evil act than the other person has to commit it. You’re just two wolves involved in a might-makes-right struggle for a piece of meat. Each of you calling the other “evil”, each of you calling yourselves “good”, for no purpose other than to justify whatever you feel like doing.

    To consider subjective morality anything else is hypocrisy, and to consider “might makes right” a valid form of morality is simply unacceptable. Objective morality is a necessity or else you’re just a savage deluding yourself.

    Once one begins with the foundation that morality is necessarily rooted in an objective source, then one can begin forming a rational theism that accounts for what we actually observe in the world. Instead of letting evil and injustice push us into atheistic, subjective-morality nihilism that we cannot even live as if true, we can use those observations as a means to build a better conceptualization of a theistic existence.

    As KF has been trying to point out, this is not an easy, sound-bite course that can be covered in a few posts on a blog. It takes a commitment of time and effort to go beyond the rhetorical; it’s not a course most atheists are willing to embark on because, frankly, they already consider it a waste of time. You don’t even understand how to form a cogent theological question; your questions (and Keith’s) are rhetorical pot-shots intended to excite emotional passions.

    I was just such an atheist for many years. I was raised with the kind of cartoonish theism keith and others of his ilk keep attacking. It’s an easy target (I’m talking about the superficial kind of Christianity many grew up with at local Sunday Schools). I attacked it relentlessly for many years. I realized I was largely tilting at windmills for my own sense of personal heroism, my own self-aggrandizing narrative.

    How brave I considered myself! How relentlessly committed to the truth, even if it led to existential nihilism! How stupid all those believers were, how afraid! None of which would actually mean anything in an atheistic universe. Who was I posturing for? What benefit did it reap me to internally alienate myself from others so? What was the point if, in the end, it mattered not one bit?

  496. 496
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Joe

    Are our opponents the most simple-minded people on Earth? What if all of those children are now in Heaven?

    This part always seems to be missing from the arguments. Discussions about evil in this world assume that life and pleasure on earth are the highest values possible. Therefore, when someone is deprived of life here, that’s the greatest evil and there is nothing more.

    You can’t really argue about theism while taking an atheistic perspective. If you want to ask “Why did God …?” you have to assume and argue from the whole concept of theism at the same time. You can’t say simultaneously: “Why does God do [whatever] and also God doesn’t exist and there is no heaven or afterlife.”

    Again, atheists — if you want to discuss what a world created by a loving God is like, that’s great. But you have to also accept, temporarily at least, what God’s plans for humanity are, and those plans include heaven.

  497. 497
    Silver Asiatic says:

    WJM

    How brave I considered myself! How relentlessly committed to the truth, even if it led to existential nihilism! How stupid all those believers were, how afraid! None of which would actually mean anything in an atheistic universe. Who was I posturing for? What benefit did it reap me to internally alienate myself from others so? What was the point if, in the end, it mattered not one bit?

    That was very insightful. You were alienating yourself and annihilating any meaning for yourself to be a hero – to prove something. But then you wondered a great question: “Who was I posturing for?” That says a lot. Would it be wrong to suggest that you were posturing for God? Maybe a defiance against him? Or maybe not – but you were looking for an audience to cheer and praise you. (Maybe that explains the strange attraction atheists have for this site?) But it’s ironic that your whole life would still have no meaning, purpose or value – whether you were right about God or not. I guess some believe they’re doing a work of ‘liberation’ for people from bad-religion. But, if so, a true liberation would make more sense to improve religious belief rather than to destroy it all with atheism.

  498. 498
    Jerad says:

    Joe #494

    Actually the question is childish and boring. We don’t live in a perfect world and I wouldn’t want to.

    Is heaven a perfect world?

    How could we be properly judged unless we were duly tried? How could we show we belong in Heaven if we never had to do anything that demonstrated we deserved it?

    Do you think it’s fair/moral/acceptable to judge children based on how they respond when a gunman shoots their friends and starts their teacher on fire?

    What about the children who are locked into closets, sold into slavery, beaten, sexually abused. Are they being tested to see if they’re worthy?

    I say all those children are now in Heaven

    Do you think some of them would be emotionally traumatised after what they went through even if they are in heaven? Do you think all that pain and fear and suffering just disappears after you die?

    And, what if they’re not all in heaven? Where are the unbaptised ones? The Hindu ones? The Muslim ones? The Zoroastrian ones? The Sikh ones? The Buddhist ones? The Jain ones? The Shintu ones? Children all over the world are killed every day by acts of evil perpetrated by adults.

    And what about the survivors? The ones who witnessed their companions and teachers being brutally murdered? If your daughter had been at that school would you think it was a test of her worthiness?

  499. 499
    Jerad says:

    WJM #496

    If morality is a subjective commodity, so what if God allows what you or keith subjectively consider to be “evil”? “What is moral”, under subjectivism, is arbited by those with the power (one way or another) to make it so, and thus whatever god said is moral would be the final arbiter of morality – even if one day god said X was moral, and the next day god said X was not moral.

    I was trying to figure out what perspective KF’s ideological framework gave him regarding some events. I’m trying to figure out how the world makes sense to him. I am not arguing about whether or not there is an objective moral truth.

    But, as KF is attempting to point out to you, your (and Keith’s) argument depends upon the rhetorical, emotionally manipulative use of examples that you employ as if they are universal, objective evils that even God is bound to prevent if possible.

    Barry has used that technique several times trying to get people who disagree with him to accept that there is an objective morality. I’m sure you remember some of those discussions.

    You cannot have it both ways; if you hold morality is subjective, then you have no valid logical complaint against god for what we see in the world. God would just be imposing its subjective moral code on us. However, if you hold that morality is objective, then you must concede god – of some sort – exists, even if you find its moral system objectionable.

    I am not trying to ‘have it’ one way or another. I am asking someone with whom I disagree how they make sense of things I see in the world that make no sense to me. It seems very difficult for him to address a particular situation.

    So, at this point, unless morality (what is good) is an objective, immutable aspect of god, atheists have nothing to complain about and no logical argument to make – all they have is emotional manipulation against a certain specific concept of god. If all you want to do is rattle a few specific Judeo-Christian cages and employ rhetoric calibrated to upset them, big deal. It doesn’t appear to me that you or keith have the capacity to make a case against theism beyond emotional pleading rooted in nothing more than what either of you imagine is possible for god to do.

    I am not trying to make a case against theism. I am trying to understand how theism comes to it’s conclusions when I see so much horror and destruction and killing. Talking about some objective moral good is fine but it doesn’t explain why some things happen.

    Fundamentally, it is simply not logically possible to generate an identifiable X into existence without an identifiable “not-X” also existent as a contextual grounding for the existence of X. Any “X” cannot even be imagined without the capacity to imagine “not-X”, in some way, that makes X an identifiable, imaginable thing.

    For “good” to be made manifest as an identifiable commodity, “not-good” must also be manifest as contextual grounding. Otherwise, we couldn’t even conceptualize “good” or any other X.

    So . . . you can’t have good without evil. You can’t have heaven without hell? What’s the difference then between our physical, earthly existence where the good and the bad exist side-by-side and heaven and hell where they are separated? Maybe we are in hell now. Maybe there’s so much evil because we have already failed the worthiness test and so we are suffering for our sins. Is that possible?

    Once one begins with the foundation that morality is necessarily rooted in an objective source, then one can begin forming a rational theism that accounts for what we actually observe in the world. Instead of letting evil and injustice push us into atheistic, subjective-morality nihilism that we cannot even live as if true, we can use those observations as a means to build a better conceptualization of a theistic existence.

    Sigh. That’s why I’m asking the questions I’m asking!! I’m assuming KF HAS a rational theistic view and therefore he (and you) should be able to explain some events in those terms.

    As KF has been trying to point out, this is not an easy, sound-bite course that can be covered in a few posts on a blog. It takes a commitment of time and effort to go beyond the rhetorical; it’s not a course most atheists are willing to embark on because, frankly, they already consider it a waste of time. You don’t even understand how to form a cogent theological question; your questions (and Keith’s) are rhetorical pot-shots intended to excite emotional passions.

    After years and years and years of asking and waiting and reading the Bible I still haven’t heard situations like what happened at that Pakistani school explained or rationalised. I don’t see any sense in it at all.

  500. 500
    Box says:

    Jerad:

    I’m assuming KF HAS a rational theistic view and therefore he (and you) should be able to explain some events in those terms.

    You can find VJTorley’s explanation here.

  501. 501
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerad – just quickly …

    Do you think some of them would be emotionally traumatised after what they went through even if they are in heaven?

    If not, then this would have a major impact on your concerns, I would think.

    Do you think all that pain and fear and suffering just disappears after you die?

    As above, if yes, and if happiness was increased far beyond the previous life – and great meaning and purpose was revealed for the pain, fear and suffering, then this also would have a huge impact on your questions and concerns.

  502. 502
    Jerad says:

    SA #502

    If not, then this would have a major impact on your concerns, I would think.

    So, what do you think? IF the children killed in Pakistan or Sandy Hook are in heaven then will they still be traumatised?

    I don’t have concerns. I have questions of people of faith and how they rationalise the world.

    As above, if yes, and if happiness was increased far beyond the previous life – and great meaning and purpose was revealed for the pain, fear and suffering, then this also would have a huge impact on your questions and concerns.

    I’m interested in how theists evaluate events in the world. How do they explain the whys of some occurrences. I KNOW what I think but I don’t understand how they think based on what I hear them say about life the universe and everything. I can’t understand how they can see love and caring when I see pain and suffering, some of it perpetrated by people of faith. It just doesn’t add up for me.

    It’s all very well and good to have some overarching, feel-good philosophy but can you bring it down to specific events and understand them? Can you make sense of the things that happen when you believe there is a purpose?

  503. 503
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    Phin: God’s answer is still the same: Who are you to question me?

    I’m not questioning God. I’m questioning you.

    Right. You don’t want to question God, you just expect me to. Got it.

    You believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God. How do you answer my two questions?

    I already answered them, but I’ll rephrase to help you out.

    I am not qualified to evaluate the Evaluator.
    I am not qualified to judge the Judge.

    As I explained:

    Phin: The moment you put yourself in a position to evaluate God and His choices, you’ve already seriously misunderstood who He is and who you are. You’ve already displayed a shocking lack of humility. You’ve already completely underestimated His power and knowledge. You’ve already vastly overestimated your ability to comprehend. You’ve already tried to take on the role of God, and you simply are not even close to being qualified.

    I’m sorry if the above confused you, but to make things perfectly clear, I consider myself in the same boat as everyone else.

    keiths: If your answer is “I don’t know” or “God works in mysterious ways”, then I have a third question for you:

    Not quite. My answer is that the questions are fundamentally flawed. Any concept of a God who is worthy of the label, by definition, transcends human experience and understanding to the point that it is utter nonsense to suppose that a human is capable of even beginning to evaluate God’s reasons, motives, or methods. For your questions to even make sense, you have to assume a god who is not God. I do not believe in a god who is not God, and don’t feel any need to defend the beliefs of those who do.

    3. Why do you continue to believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God when there are much better explanations available?

    That’s not a follow-up question, it’s a follow-up assumption. And in typical keiths form, it is a follow-up assumption that has already been addressed, and, even more typically, ignored.

    But perhaps I missed where you provided better explanations for the origin of these?

    – Matter
    – Physics
    – Time
    – Universal Constants
    – Information
    – Life
    – Consciousness
    – Logic
    – Morality

    Or better explanations for these?

    – Fulfilled prophecy
    – Eyewitness accounts concerning the man, Jesus
    – The internal experience of a spiritual and moral reality
    – The testimony of those whose lives have been transformed (e.g. John Newton)

    Until someone actually demonstrates that there are better explanations (instead of merely assuming or asserting), is it truly unreasonable for someone to suppose that God might be the best explanation for the above?

  504. 504
    Andre says:

    Evil is subjective!

    LOL! I wonder how do we test that Keith’s version of evil is more true than mine? What is the benchmark we’re using for measuring evil?

    Thanks for the good laugh Keith S, if you’re the best that atheism has to offer, then atheism is not in good hands……

  505. 505
    drc466 says:

    ks,

    So – Black Knight it is.

    @473: Of course the Wind logic is bad logic. It is also a good analogy, because like your “logic”, it makes bad assumptions, leaves out other factors, and comes to invalid conclusions. Thanks for agreeing with the analogy.

    @475: Okay, so you are accepting the theists assertion that evil exists, but denying the theists’ assertion that the existence of said evil is man’s responsibility, consistent with God’s Nature, which is Holy and Just. Gee, cherry-picking beliefs, no wonder you think you win. Strike 1.

    You get the 4 possibilities correct (I suppose technically you could add a 5th, God is neither all-powerful or perfectly loving). God is perfectly loving and all-powerful. Your problem lies in a) the unfounded assertion that “because evil exists, God can’t be #1”, and b) a faulty definition of “perfectly loving”. Strike 2.

    Your “thorny question” is circular (not to mention completely ignoring theological thought on the difference between God’s “perfect” will and God’s “allowed” will). If God is all-powerful, then by definition the # of people who died at Auschwitz is the exact # of people who needed to die, and the # of people who died in the 2004 tsunami is the # who needed to die. If He isn’t, then the #’s could be “wrong”. Strike 3.

    For your 40yrs of joy/suffering question – Of course there is a difference – in one case I get (some of) what I deserve, in the other I don’t. Neither negates or diminishes the Love, and the logic is only valid if you can show the God didn’t have a reason for which path you actually did follow. If I got the 40yrs of joy, God had a reason. Same with pain. See Strike 3 above. Strike 4.

    @479: There’s a qualitative difference between forgiveness granted in the afterlife and lack of consequences for actions here on earth. God does not tell us everything that occurs after death, although the Bible indicates that the rewards we receive and cast at His feet are related to our actions in life, which may or may not have relevance to Justice served. You cannot know what Justice awaits next, or what it looks like. Therefore, forgiveness here != forgiveness there. Strike 5.

    Re Robot Slaves: Your logic that God could create only those people who would never choose to sin is sophomoric. This goes in the “languages aren’t intelligently designed” pile of stupid evolutionist tricks. It can be condensed down into a single instance of “God should have created Adam as a person who would have chosen NOT to eat the apple”. Of course, if God by definition creates someone He knew WOULDN’T sin, He in effect makes that choice for them. So they didn’t really have free will. You are trying to equate foreknowledge with responsibility, but if you give God the responsibility for man’s choice, it then becomes NOT man’s choice. In your equation, who is responsible? If your answer isn’t “man”, then man does not have free will. Strike 6.

    Re Value of Faith: No evidence of God would equal “blindly believing” – Romans is very clear that Creation is sufficient evidence to those who will see. “Who needs faith?” makes it clear that you’ve left your supposed “I’m just using what theists believe” position (see Strike 1 above), as the Bible is very clear on the value of Faith to God. You are again imposing YOUR views on God. Strike 7.

    God didn’t “[wipe] out 220,000 people in a single tsunami” – nature, as a consequence of man’s sin, did. If you accept a faulty premise (man’s sin isn’t responsible for cursed nature and the consequences thereof), of course you come to a faulty conclusion. Strike 8.

    “My argument is an evidential one” – that’s ridiculous – the evidence merely says that bad things happen. “Evidence” cannot come to a metaphysical conclusion, and logic is only sufficient where complete knowledge of all factors are available. Since, by definition, you cannot comprehend God, or His motivations, and have selected a limited # of factors to build in to your “logic” (just like the wind analogy), your conclusion cannot be logical, or “evidential”. Strike 9.

    Congratulations. You’ve managed 3 outs in two at-bats. Your arguments always seem to come down to “here’s my set of unfounded premises – if you question them you’re wrong and I win”. As KF has pointed out (repeatedly, ad nauseam, above), your argument really goes completely off the rails in Strike 6. I suggest you read his linked articles addressing the problem of the existence of evil, instead of covering your ears and eyes and yelling “la, la, la, I can’t hear you” at the top of your lungs.

  506. 506
    Jerad says:

    Box #501

    You can find VJTorley’s explanation here.

    Interesting but I was asking KF.

    I still don’t see how to rationalise an all-knowing and loving god with one that then had to form a new covenant or pushed Abraham into almost killing his son or wanted tribute in form of thousands of foreskins, or thinks it’s okay for the beings he loves to torture and maim and abuse and kill each other.

    Perhaps it’s just me but I can’t see a way where all the data makes sense with some theological viewpoints.

  507. 507
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerad

    So, what do you think? IF the children killed in Pakistan or Sandy Hook are in heaven then will they still be traumatised?

    No, they won’t be.

    I can’t understand how they can see love and caring when I see pain and suffering, some of it perpetrated by people of faith. It just doesn’t add up for me.

    I think I offered you one means of understanding that.

    It’s all very well and good to have some overarching, feel-good philosophy but can you bring it down to specific events and understand them?

    As I mentioned, I think people of faith don’t expect to understand all the mysteries of life here in an existence on earth that is temporary. We “see through a glass darkly”. Time is very short, even if you live for 100 years. But if “then”, meaning and understanding of these mysteries are revealed to an overwhelming extent, then it makes a huge difference.

    Can you make sense of the things that happen when you believe there is a purpose?

    You didn’t comment on what I offered already so I’m not sure if I should explain that again in a different manner.

  508. 508
    Box says:

    Jerad,

    Box: You can find VJTorley’s explanation here.

    Jerad: Interesting but I was asking KF.

    My mistake. I did not realize that KF is the one and only source for you.

  509. 509
    Mapou says:

    keith:

    Mapou:

    This is a strawman. There is a fourth option:

    d) God is perfectly loving but he cannot separate the yin from the yang.

    That isn’t a fourth option. It falls under (b).

    No. It solves the problem of evil and suffering. God can perfectly stop evil and suffering from happening if he wanted to but to do so would not complete our initiation/training. We are gods (conscious agents) in training. We must experience both the yin and the yang, pain and joy. Otherwise, we can know neither.

    Notez bien: Opposites are ONE. Furthermore, ONLY opposites are ONE.

  510. 510
    Andre says:

    Jerad

    It is through pain and suffering that God displayed his glory to us, there is no bigger way to express one’s love for another than laying down your life for them. That is what God did for you on the cross, He redeemed you.

    Isaiah 1:18 ” “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

    You where not born to live a cosy life, you have been born to bear witness to the glory of God, That is the purpose for which you have been created.

  511. 511

    Jerad said:

    I am not trying to ‘have it’ one way or another. I am asking someone with whom I disagree how they make sense of things I see in the world that make no sense to me. It seems very difficult for him to address a particular situation.

    It’s difficult to answer some questions that appear simple yet rely on entirely erroneous fundamental assumptions and are ignorant of a large body of information required before even the erroneous nature of the assumptions can be understood, much lese the logical problems posed by the rhetorical questions themselves.

    KF supplied this at 356 & 359. I think you must actually understand the theological concepts of good, love, justice, free will, etc. he (and others here) employ before you can begin to understand how trivial and even nonsensical such “why would god let this happen” type questions are to begin with. But, one cannot hope to move beyond mere “why doesn’t god act like I imagine he should” questions without first understanding why such a protestation is nonsensical in the first place and an irrelevant objection in the second place.

    I am trying to understand how theism comes to it’s conclusions when I see so much horror and destruction and killing. Talking about some objective moral good is fine but it doesn’t explain why some things happen.

    It doesn’t explain through the lends of how you would prefer it be explained, but that is not the lens through which it can be explained.

    The first step is conceding that without an objective good and a god to ground it, there is no reason for you to object to the “horror and destruction and killing” on moral grounds in the second place.

    The second step is a necessary inference from that (and other) necessary axiomatic position(s) – that if such evil exists, the only explanation is that it is an aspect of existence that is necessitated by the whole nature of existence, given all the other factors involved, such as free will and other binding aspects of god’s nature (and thus the nature of anything it creates).

    The third step is to examine those axioms to see how they intersect and form a necessary existential matrix requiring the existence of evil.

    You can’t have heaven without hell? What’s the difference then between our physical, earthly existence where the good and the bad exist side-by-side and heaven and hell where they are separated? Maybe we are in hell now. Maybe there’s so much evil because we have already failed the worthiness test and so we are suffering for our sins. Is that possible?

    Those are all interesting questions worthy of philosophical consideration. It took me years of reading and introspective study and observing the world as objectively as possible to come to what is still an evolving theological outlook on existence and experience.

    It’s not my view that god punishes anyone, but rather that people by their own acts which violate conscience put themselves and others in spiritual harm’s way, much like a hiker puts himself in harm’s way, and others as well, if he ignores gravity or basic common sense.

    Rules, laws, and consequences are necessary aspects of any comprehensible system, whether they are physical or spiritual in nature. An existent, individuated being must exist somewhere a something, with something else and somewhere else being actual commodities. As individuals we must exist somewhere and others must be distinguishable from us. For existence and our choices to matter, there must be distinguishable ramifications between real options.

    You want an explanation for some X event, but in order to understand the explanation and be satisfied with it you must be able to see the whole context of what is necessary and what the consequences are for the event for everyone even remotely involved, in this life and beyond. We cannot see all of this, but we can accept it in principle based on a carefully reasoned theism. We can understand that, in principle, evil must exist for our existence and choices to matter.

    IMO, god cannot “intervene” in any meaningful sense of the term because god is the substance the entire construct is made of. There’s nothing else in existence and no “space” for anything else to exist in. What we see as evil is an aspect of god and experience that is necessary.

    Evil occurs, and because of this, as StehenB has already pointed out, the opportunity exists for individuals with free will to make choices – choices to intervene, to endure courageously as an example to others, to help, to change for the better – and also to do nothing, turn away, dismiss it, make some rationalization, harden their heart, desensitize their conscience, etc.

    This creation is an opportunity for free will, individuated entities to create the story of their life, as StephenB said above – to grow into virtuousness, into courage, and into love – through a context that provides meaningful and significant opportunity to do so.

    I don’t like to say that evil “serves a purpose”, but rather that evil, and harm, are necessary aspects of any system where things like goodness and virtue are even recognizable, much less actionable and rewarding.

    What is it like from the victim’s perspective? Have you ever been a victim? I have. From my perspective, such events are opportunities, in this life or beyond, to learn, grow, or build virtue and good character in a way that actually matters beyond subjective posturing and ad hoc rationalizations. At such times, victims often have the opportunity to become heroic, to offer a guiding example for the rest of is, to be inspirational.

    Take for example Flight 93. This is heroism and self-sacrifice of so profound a nature that just thinking about it is inspirational and emotionally moving. Yet it occurred in the context of horrendous evil. Could it such heroic virtue have been actioned in some other kind of circumstance? Certainly not without losing the characteristic of standing up against evil no matter what it costs you.

    Keith seems to think that god can just magically instill such qualities in us, that they do not have to be earned. I think they have to be earned in some real, existential way.

    After years and years and years of asking and waiting and reading the Bible I still haven’t heard situations like what happened at that Pakistani school explained or rationalised. I don’t see any sense in it at all.

    I’ve never read the Bible. It seems you are committed against the explanations offered here by KF and StehenB above. I’ve given you an “in principle” explanation that generally agrees with theirs.

    All of this turns on how you are prepared to go forward. There are other theistic perspectives that would refer to karma and other such explanations for such “evils”, which have largely different concepts of god and what we are experiencing.

    One view is that all of this is nothing more than a kind of holographic entertainment system god is using to enjoy infinite perspectives of experience through, and that all experience is agreed to in advance regardless of how painful or tragic it appears from this level. Thus, “evil” is a fiction used solely for the purpose of generating literary plots and interests.

    The point is, it is the nature of your perspective that is disallowing a satisfactory conceptualization of god wrt the evil you see in the world; it is not theism itself that is lacking.

  512. 512
    Andre says:

    I can not recommend this enough but I urge atheists and theists alike to familiarize themselves with CS Lewis’s

    Man or Rabbit

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9fR1vSxNEQ

  513. 513
    mike1962 says:

    WJM: One view is that all of this is nothing more than a kind of holographic entertainment system god is using to enjoy infinite perspectives of experience through, and that all experience is agreed to in advance regardless of how painful or tragic it appears from this level. Thus, “evil” is a fiction used solely for the purpose of generating literary plots and interests.

    This is very close to my view.

    Cheers

  514. 514

    Keith said at 331:

    That’s as silly as saying that “1+1=2? cannot be true unless somewhere else “1+1? doesn’t equal “2?. Or that God couldn’t create giraffes with long necks unless giraffes didn’t have long necks at some other time and place.

    Keith apparently is immune to basic logic, and is again substituting “anything keith can imagine” for an necessary element in an argument. “not-A” doesn’t mean that everything which is not-A must exist, or the exact opposite of not-A must exist, but rather that something that is not-A must exist contectually to even begin to imagine A. To imagine a giraffe with a long neck, it must have some sort of context that is not “giraffe with a long neck”. Giraffe must be an identifiable animal in fact or at least fiction that can be imagined as opposed to some other creature; a “long neck” must be an identifiable commodity as opposed to a short arm or a short leg; etc.

    1+1=2 is identifiable as a correct mathematical expression as opposed to an incorrect mathematical expression or as opposed to the color-combination statement “red + blue = purple”.

    Even if that were correct (and it isn’t), it wouldn’t mean that God would have to create a world in which “not-A” is true. To create a bicycle with round wheels it isn’t necessary to create one whose wheels aren’t round.

    No, but there must be non-bicycle something around, and non-round something around, and non-wheel something around in order for those characteristics to be available to even imagine.

    The problem with the commodity of good is that the kind of contextual relationship that is necessary for it to be identifiable as such relies solely on the existence of an experiential dichotomous counterpart – like light and dark, up and down, health and illness.

    If there is no down, “up” cannot be conceived. If there is no illness, “health” is not a meaningful concept. Light is meaningless without dark, and without evil, “good” cannot be understood.

  515. 515
    Andre says:

    WJM

    The problem with the commodity of good is that the kind of contextual relationship that is necessary for it to be identifiable as such relies solely on the existence of an experiential dichotomous counterpart – like light and dark, up and down, health and illness.

    If there is no down, “up” cannot be conceived. If there is no illness, “health” is not a meaningful concept. Light is meaningless without dark, and without evil, “good” cannot be understood.

    CS Lewis said it the best……

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

  516. 516

    Keith said:

    But as I just explained, a standard omniGod can use his omniscience to avoid creating sinners.

    “A standard omniGod”??

    Another case where keith mistakes what he imagines for what is actually possible by relying on his premise of a magically omnipotent God.

  517. 517

    Keith,

    If avoiding the creation of sinners destroys the design goal of creation as a whole, then the only way god can avoid creating sinners is by abandoning the design goal. Just because you can imagine god doing something doesn’t mean it can actually be done.

  518. 518
    Joe says:

    Actually the question is childish and boring. We don’t live in a perfect world and I wouldn’t want to.

    Is heaven a perfect world?

    Heaven isn’t a world and our physical bodies do not live there.

    How could we be properly judged unless we were duly tried? How could we show we belong in Heaven if we never had to do anything that demonstrated we deserved it?

    Do you think it’s fair/moral/acceptable to judge children based on how they respond when a gunman shoots their friends and starts their teacher on fire?

    That shouldn’t be the only test and the test would be to see how they respond over the years. The test is also to see how others respond too. The parents and relatives, for example.

    What about the children who are locked into closets, sold into slavery, beaten, sexually abused. Are they being tested to see if they’re worthy?

    Ask God.

    I say all those children are now in Heaven

    Do you think some of them would be emotionally traumatised after what they went through even if they are in heaven?

    No

    Do you think all that pain and fear and suffering just disappears after you die?

    Yes

    And, what if they’re not all in heaven? Where are the unbaptised ones? The Hindu ones? The Muslim ones? The Zoroastrian ones? The Sikh ones? The Buddhist ones? The Jain ones? The Shintu ones? Children all over the world are killed every day by acts of evil perpetrated by adults.

    They are in Heaven. That is unless there is something keeping them out.

    And what about the survivors? The ones who witnessed their companions and teachers being brutally murdered? If your daughter had been at that school would you think it was a test of her worthiness?

    Your emotional pleas just expose your desperation.

  519. 519
    Joe says:

    Sinners are self-created. Sinners made the choice to sin.

  520. 520
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: neither evil nor sin are creations, they are perversions of what was created, abusing the ability that gives rise to the very highest virtues and capabilities: freedom to love, think, reason, and decide. Without freedom, none of these is possible and we would be in a very different and much inferior world. KF

    PS: Heaven would be a world in which those who have made the choice towards the light of right and truth receive the results of their choices.

  521. 521
    keith s says:

    keiths:

    KF,

    If you don’t like those questions, there are new ones every day. Today’s versions:

    God allowed those children in Peshawar to be gunned down at school because ________.

    God allowed those teachers to be burned alive because ______.

    Fill in the blanks. And if you can’t, or won’t, then summon the minimal integrity required to acknowledge it.

    fifthmonarchyman:

    Different questions same answer. Luke 13:1-9.
    You might not like the answer but please don’t pretend one has not been given.

    Luke 13 doesn’t answer the questions.

  522. 522
    keith s says:

    WJM, to Jerad:

    If morality is a subjective commodity, so what if God allows what you or keith subjectively consider to be “evil”? “What is moral”, under subjectivism, is arbited by those with the power (one way or another) to make it so,

    No, it isn’t. We’ve been over this many times, William.

    Under moral subjectivism, each person’s internal sense of morality is his or her final arbiter, not power. The fact that a bully can make you give up your lunch money doesn’t make it moral. The fact that Kim Jong-Un can force a North Korean to do X doesn’t make X moral.

    Also, your morality is as subjective as mine. It’s just that you claim, with no evidence, that your subjective morality reflects an underlying objective morality.

    But, as KF is attempting to point out to you, your (and Keith’s) argument depends upon the rhetorical, emotionally manipulative use of examples that you employ as if they are universal, objective evils that even God is bound to prevent if possible.

    For the nth time, my argument doesn’t require an objective standard of evil.

    The problem of evil is a problem for anyone who:

    1) believes in an omniGod;
    2) believes that God is good according to some standard of good and evil; and
    3) believes that the world is full of evil by that same standard.

    If you believe those things, then the problem of evil is a real problem for you.

    You cannot have it both ways; if you hold morality is subjective, then you have no valid logical complaint against god for what we see in the world.

    You’re not getting it. My argument is not a complaint. I am simply pointing out that the omniGod hypothesis is a poor fit to the evidence.

    Given the amount of evil and suffering in the world, it doesn’t make sense to conclude that God is perfectly loving and all-powerful. It’s a simple matter of rationality: when choosing among competing hypotheses, it makes sense to prefer the ones that fit the evidence better. Isn’t this obvious?

    I submit that just because you and Keith might imagine that God can create an existence where evil things do not happen doesn’t mean that it is actually possible for God to do so.

    Exactly! That’s why it’s more rational to propose that God isn’t omnipotent, or that he isn’t perfectly loving, or that he doesn’t exist.

    Fundamentally, it is simply not logically possible to generate an identifiable X into existence without an identifiable “not-X” also existent as a contextual grounding for the existence of X.

    This is false, as I already explained:

    That’s as silly as saying that “1+1=2? cannot be true unless somewhere else “1+1? doesn’t equal “2?. Or that God couldn’t create giraffes with long necks unless giraffes didn’t have long necks at some other time and place.

    And:

    Even if that were correct (and it isn’t), it wouldn’t mean that God would have to create a world in which “not-A” is true. To create a bicycle with round wheels it isn’t necessary to create one whose wheels aren’t round.

    WJM:

    It’s an easy target (I’m talking about the superficial kind of Christianity many grew up with at local Sunday Schools). I attacked it relentlessly for many years. I realized I was largely tilting at windmills for my own sense of personal heroism, my own self-aggrandizing narrative.

    That appears to be the approach you have taken to all of your beliefs, theistic as well as atheistic.

    My approach is simple and rational: Given the evidence, what thesis is more likely?

    When you consider the evidence, the omniGod thesis looks ridiculous. It’s clear that people cling to it for emotional, not rational, reasons.

  523. 523
    keith s says:

    William responds to my bicycle example:

    No, but there must be non-bicycle something around, and non-round something around, and non-wheel something around in order for those characteristics to be available to even imagine.

    You’re not thinking, William.

    The fact that God can conceive of evil does not oblige him to create evil.

    And even if it were somehow weirdly necessary for evil to exist as a contrast to good, why not just a tiny amount? A loving God would minimize the evil in the world.

    Do you think our world contains the minimum amount of evil necessary? If so, on what basis do you make that assertion?

    I think we should go with the explanation that makes the most sense. We should pay attention to the evidence instead of ignoring it.

    If God exists, we should try to learn about him as he actually is, rather than trying to shoehorn him into our preconceptions. And if he doesn’t exist, we should accept that.

    What is wrong with an honest search for the truth?

  524. 524
    keith s says:

    Joe:

    How could we be properly judged unless we were duly tried? How could we show we belong in Heaven if we never had to do anything that demonstrated we deserved it?

    Think, Joe.

    An omniscient God knows how you would respond in any situation without having to test you.

    That’s one of the things that makes the story of Abraham and Isaac so goofy. Why did Yahweh need to test Abraham in the first place?

  525. 525
    keith s says:

    Joe:

    Sinners are self-created. Sinners made the choice to sin.

    If God is omniscient, he knew they would sin before he created them. He did it anyway.

    He is responsible.

  526. 526
    keith s says:

    Phinehas:

    God’s answer is still the same: Who are you to question me?

    keiths:

    I’m not questioning God. I’m questioning you.

    You believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God. How do you answer my two questions?

    1. Why didn’t God warn us of the impending 2004 tsunami?

    2. Why didn’t God intervene to prevent Jessica Chambers from being burned alive?

    If your answer is “I don’t know” or “God works in mysterious ways”, then I have a third question for you:

    3. Why do you continue to believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God when there are much better explanations available?

    The world makes so much more sense if

    a) God isn’t perfectly loving; or
    b) God isn’t all-powerful; or
    c) God doesn’t exist at all.

    Why ignore the evidence?

    Phinehas:

    Right. You don’t want to question God, you just expect me to. Got it.

    No, I’m asking you to question your beliefs, to see if they hold up to scrutiny.

    I am not qualified to evaluate the Evaluator.
    I am not qualified to judge the Judge.

    Are you qualified to think and to make rational decisions about what to believe and what not to? The responsibility for your beliefs lies with you.

    My answer is that the questions are fundamentally flawed. Any concept of a God who is worthy of the label, by definition, transcends human experience and understanding to the point that it is utter nonsense to suppose that a human is capable of even beginning to evaluate God’s reasons, motives, or methods.

    In that case you have no basis for making any assertions about God. Yet here you are, claiming that God is perfectly loving and all-powerful.

    keiths:

    3. Why do you continue to believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God when there are much better explanations available?

    Phinehas:

    But perhaps I missed where you provided better explanations for the origin of these?

    – Matter
    – Physics
    – Time
      .
      .
      .

    We’ve been over this already. Even if you assume that those require a God as an explanation, they don’t require a perfectly loving, all-powerful God.

  527. 527
    mike1962 says:

    keiths: Under moral subjectivism, each person’s internal sense of morality is his or her final arbiter, not power.

    If you don’t have the power to enforce your personal morality what does it matter?

    I’ve been reading here, and some thoughts: where does this sense of objective, absolute morality come from in the first place? Either it is merely subjective, bequeathed to us by blind evolutionary forces, and thus, by corollary, not objective, and is merely another means for, what, survival? Or it does come from an objective source, something that is grounded in the uncreated, eternal ontology of The Whole of Reality, whatever that might be.

    If merely the first, I don’t see how anyone can complain about anything on the basis of fairness when things don’t go their way and expect anyone to give a rat’s arse. There is no such thing as fairness since fairness requires an objective standard, which is what is under consideration. We are left with only subjective distaste, revulsion and repugnance, and finally silence after one is dead. And thus rape, murder and slavery are no more “evil” than lions eating gazelles.

    But it seems to me that something nags at the heart of everyone who is not a sociopath (those poor souls who simply don’t “get it”) that there really really really is good and evil. That rape and murder really are evil in a sense rooted in the ontology of base reality itself, whatever that is.

    This thing called morality is yet one more thing that makes humans different than the rest of the animals. Vastly superior intelligence (I’ve never seen a chimp build a skyscraper or send a rocket into space), music, art, language, and …. morality. We don’t merely quarrel and fight like apes, we argue based on supposedly objective standards, or at least we try to. Which leads to…

    The weird thing about morality is this: we are able to consider at all that it may be objective and absolute. Were did that come from? This ability to think of something that might be grounded in the fundamental reality. You can call it an illusion, but an illusion of what?

    I’m not an orthodox Christian by any means, my views are closer to WJM’s, but I do like what C.S. Lewis said. If there were no absolute “something” to this whole morality question, we wouldn’t be considerating absolute morality in the first place. In a reality where there is no eyes, nobody would be arguing over “sight” and “blindness”, for they would have no meaning. Yet, we (and least I can, and others claim to) sense that “absolute morality” has a meaning. If reality had no absolute morality, then the very concept of absolute morality would be meaningless. But it isn’t. A mirage looks like water when it isn’t, but we think it does because water actually exists somewhere. If in asserting an absolute morality exists, I am seeing a mirage, what is the mirage representing? What is the illusion of?

    Lewis considered this one of the clues to meaning in the universe. I think he was right.

  528. 528
    StephenB says:

    Box, if you are still around, here is my perspective on reincarnation and Christianity

    Christians accept the principle of psychosomatic unity understood as a composite of body and soul. This means that the two are really one substance; they naturally belong together. Accordingly, we believe that the inevitable separation of body and soul at death is an unnatural event. That is why Christianity holds that the body and soul will be reunited someday.

    Thus, we reject that proposition that the body is imprisoned in the soul or that a soul can be attached to more than one body. This brings us to the subject under discussion, which is the question about whether we can learn from our past experiences (or lives) and move forward. In this context, it seems to me that we have two questions: How can we move forward, and toward what are we moving?

    On the first question, I don’t believe that we existed in a past life, and even if we did, I don’t think we could learn from the experience unless we could remember it. Since most advocates for reincarnation seem to hold that we don’t remember such events, I find it implausible that anything could be learned from it. There would have to be some continuity of memory or a way in which we could recall our moral successes and failures, who we hurt or helped, and why?

    For me, then, growth in virtue ends at the end of our one life. While I think our goal is sainthood, I don’t think most people make the grade in this life, even those who make a strenuous effort. That is why I accept the teaching of a temporary Purgatory in the after-life, a place or condition by which we can be cleansed of small faults and made perfect. However, this purgatory is not a “second chance” since only those who have been saved can enter there. Such a place or condition is necessary, I believe, become one must be perfect to stand in the presence of God. (Not all Christians believe in Purgatory).

    This brings us to the question of how we obtain virtue. Advocates of reincarnation seem to argue that we grow in goodness through the experience (sometimes actively, sometimes passively) of many lifetimes and primarily through the power of intelligence. Christians believe that virtue can be understood by the intellect, but that it exists primarily in the will, the faculty by which we make critical choices about what we are going to love. This requires moral education, moral training, and moral exertion. From a Christian perspective, a good person is someone who loves what he ought to love (the good) and hates what he ought to hate (evil). We believe that this issue gets settled in one lifetime.

    At the same time, Christians also believe that we cannot “save ourselves.” Without God’s atonement and grace, or independent of his merits, we can do nothing. While we are obliged to practice virtue insofar as we are able, and insofar as we are obliged to call on God to help us grow in virtue, we cannot in any way take credit for the final result (salvation) or even the moral progress that we achive, since our efforts alone will come to nothing. It is only when our efforts are united to and empowered by Christ that we can attain our goal. (Not all Christians believe that we can achieve merit or that our growth in virtue is connected to our salvation, though I do.)

    So, what exactly is our goal? For Christians, it is the destiny of the individual person to find happiness with God. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t belong to a heavenly family. Quite the contrary. We all connect in some way and we will continue to connect in the afterlife with God. We are, after all social animas. However, our individual identities are real: We do not lose our identity by being a “part” of some larger or more comprehensive kind of being.
    Reincarnation, however, seems to indicate a final resolution by which individuals merge into “being,” as if they were a mere part of something more real than themselves or having more substance than they do. To me, this kind of destiny destroys individuality and the inherent dignity of the human person. We can’t love God if we “are” God or a “part” of God. There must be a distinct “you” and a distinct “me” for love to bloom.

    Finally, we come to perhaps the most controversial subject of all, namely suffering. While I understand much of the logic that supports reincarnation, there is one aspect of this world view that troubles me greatly. It is the idea that people who are born in great poverty, distress, or suffering deserved their fate because of something they did in a past life. Frankly, I think this is a very cruel teaching. We may well blame someone who has brought on his own suffering by refusing to live his life according to the natural moral law—but we cannot reasonably hold him accountable for something he likely didn’t do at some other unlikely time or place, especially if he can’t even remember doing it. Worse still, is the idea that evil and suffering are an illusion. It just doesn’t offer any comfort for those who are truly in agony.
    Granted, this abbreviated response cannot possibly do justice either to the subject of reincarnation or Christianity. Still, those are my thoughts for the moment.

  529. 529
    keith s says:

    drc466:

    Okay, so you are accepting the theists assertion that evil exists, but denying the theists’ assertion that the existence of said evil is man’s responsibility, consistent with God’s Nature, which is Holy and Just. Gee, cherry-picking beliefs, no wonder you think you win.

    How is a tsunami man’s responsibility?

    And even for those forms of evil that involve humans, your omniGod isn’t off the hook. He knew what every person would do before he created him or her. He created them anyway. He is responsible.

    You get the 4 possibilities correct (I suppose technically you could add a 5th, God is neither all-powerful or perfectly loving).

    I specified that the possibilities were overlapping and exhaustive.

    God is perfectly loving and all-powerful. Your problem lies in a) the unfounded assertion that “because evil exists, God can’t be #1?, and b) a faulty definition of “perfectly loving”.

    I haven’t said that “because evil exists, God can’t be perfectly loving”. What I’m saying is that the sheer amount of evil and suffering in the world makes it more likely that God isn’t perfectly loving, or isn’t all-powerful, or doesn’t exist at all.

    Why ignore the evidence?

    If God is all-powerful, then by definition the # of people who died at Auschwitz is the exact # of people who needed to die, and the # of people who died in the 2004 tsunami is the # who needed to die. If He isn’t, then the #’s could be “wrong”.

    That’s silly, unless you think that might makes right. Do you?

    For your 40yrs of joy/suffering question – Of course there is a difference – in one case I get (some of) what I deserve, in the other I don’t. Neither negates or diminishes the Love, and the logic is only valid if you can show the God didn’t have a reason for which path you actually did follow.

    I was correcting this mistake of yours:

    5) It assumes that what comes after life has no potential to outweigh what occurred in life.

    As my example showed, finite pain matters even if followed by an eternity of bliss.

  530. 530
    Mung says:

    I see the keiths daily hilarity show continues.

    keiths:

    No, it doesn’t depend on my definition of evil at all. I am not a theist.

    ok children. can you say non sequitur?

    keiths:

    For the nth time, my argument doesn’t require an objective standard of evil.

    What argument?

    keiths:

    If you don’t like those questions, there are new ones every day.

    Yes, we noticed. It’s evidence you’ve been reduced to simple trolling.

  531. 531
    Mung says:

    keiths: The fact that evil is subjective doesn’t prevent us from condemning it.

    Not that anyone OUGHT TO condemn evil.

    Did you condemn the tsunami you keep going on about?

  532. 532
    keith s says:

    drc466:

    There’s a qualitative difference between forgiveness granted in the afterlife and lack of consequences for actions here on earth.

    Says drc466. And you know this how?

    God does not tell us everything that occurs after death, although the Bible indicates that the rewards we receive and cast at His feet are related to our actions in life, which may or may not have relevance to Justice served.

    Why should anyone take the Bible’s word for it? The Bible is notoriously unreliable and self-contradictory. Not surprising, when you consider how it was put together.

    Re Robot Slaves: Your logic that God could create only those people who would never choose to sin is sophomoric… It can be condensed down into a single instance of “God should have created Adam as a person who would have chosen NOT to eat the apple”. Of course, if God by definition creates someone He knew WOULDN’T sin, He in effect makes that choice for them.

    No, because in my scheme God chooses whom to create, but he allows them to choose their own actions freely.

    If you think that God is denying free will by creating some people and not others, then you are admitting that God is already denying free will to the zillions of people he never creates.

    You are trying to equate foreknowledge with responsibility, but if you give God the responsibility for man’s choice, it then becomes NOT man’s choice.

    You think joint responsibility is impossible?

    Re Value of Faith: No evidence of God would equal “blindly believing” – Romans is very clear that Creation is sufficient evidence to those who will see.

    Romans was written in a pre-scientific age. The Bible gets a lot of stuff wrong, and that is one of them.

    “Who needs faith?” makes it clear that you’ve left your supposed “I’m just using what theists believe” position (see Strike 1 above), as the Bible is very clear on the value of Faith to God. You are again imposing YOUR views on God.

    Remember, you were asking me what I would do if I were omnipotent and perfectly loving. I certainly wouldn’t want a bunch of people believing stuff about me without evidence.

    It is you who are imposing your views on God by trying to saddle him with the Bible.

    God didn’t “[wipe] out 220,000 people in a single tsunami” – nature, as a consequence of man’s sin, did.

    I look forward to your scientific explanation of how man’s sin causes plate tectonics, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

    “Evidence” cannot come to a metaphysical conclusion, and logic is only sufficient where complete knowledge of all factors are available. Since, by definition, you cannot comprehend God, or His motivations, and have selected a limited # of factors to build in to your “logic” (just like the wind analogy), your conclusion cannot be logical, or “evidential”.

    By that reasoning, you aren’t entitled to claim that God is perfectly loving or all-powerful. You’ve shot yourself in the foot.

    Apologetics is clearly not your talent, drc466.

  533. 533
    Mung says:

    keiths:

    What is wrong with an honest search for the truth?

    Priceless.

  534. 534
    keith s says:

    StephenB,

    While I understand much of the logic that supports reincarnation, there is one aspect of this world view that troubles me greatly. It is the idea that people who are born in great poverty, distress, or suffering deserved their fate because of something they did in a past life. Frankly, I think this is a very cruel teaching.

    It’s a cruel teaching indeed, much like the silly Christian teaching that everyone deserves eternal punishment simply for being born with “original sin”, inherited from Adam and Eve.

  535. 535
    StephenB says:

    Keiths

    It’s a cruel teaching indeed, much like the silly Christian teaching that everyone deserves eternal punishment simply for being born with “original sin”, inherited from Adam and Eve.

    Why is the teaching of original sin silly?

  536. 536
    Mapou says:

    According to Keith’s view of God and the universe, humans and animals should only have pleasure sensors. Pain sensors are not needed in this moronic world view. Since we have pain sensors, God does not exist or he is either stupid, evil and weak. Or something.

    Keith, you think too highly of yourself and your personal wisdom and understanding of reality. Just relax and smoke some weed or something.

  537. 537
    Box says:

    StephenB: On the first question, I don’t believe that we existed in a past life, and even if we did, I don’t think we could learn from the experience unless we could remember it. Since most advocates for reincarnation seem to hold that we don’t remember such events, I find it implausible that anything could be learned from it. There would have to be some continuity of memory or a way in which we could recall our moral successes and failures, who we hurt or helped, and why?

    I believe that our present condition is comparable with amnesia. The idea is that in between lives – in the hereafter – memory is restored and integrated in order to learn.

    StephenB: This brings us to the question of how we obtain virtue. Advocates of reincarnation seem to argue that we grow in goodness through the experience (sometimes actively, sometimes passively) of many lifetimes and primarily through the power of intelligence.

    I hold – like you – that all aspects of a person should be involved.

    StephenB: However, our individual identities are real: We do not lose our identity by being a “part” of some larger or more comprehensive kind of being.

    This is an important reason why I feel connected to Christianity. I strongly detest the attacks on personhood and consciousness by materialism and eastern religion.

    StephenB: Reincarnation, however, seems to indicate a final resolution by which individuals merge into “being,” as if they were a mere part of something more real than themselves or having more substance than they do. To me, this kind of destiny destroys individuality and the inherent dignity of the human person. We can’t love God if we “are” God or a “part” of God. There must be a distinct “you” and a distinct “me” for love to bloom.

    I couldn’t agree more. Those merging ideas are sickening.

    StephenB: Finally, we come to perhaps the most controversial subject of all, namely suffering. While I understand much of the logic that supports reincarnation, there is one aspect of this world view that troubles me greatly. It is the idea that people who are born in great poverty, distress, or suffering deserved their fate because of something they did in a past life. Frankly, I think this is a very cruel teaching. We may well blame someone who has brought on his own suffering by refusing to live his life according to the natural moral law—but we cannot reasonably hold him accountable for something he likely didn’t do at some other unlikely time or place, especially if he can’t even remember doing it. Worse still, is the idea that evil and suffering are an illusion. It just doesn’t offer any comfort for those who are truly in agony.

    I fully agree. This does not represent my idea of reincarnation. Reincarnation should be a tool to provide diverse experiences for humans to help them traverse the trajectory from ignorance towards wisdom. In my book someone is born in great poverty because that is an experience that will help his/her development – maybe in a former (or future) life things were opposite (great wealth). Obviously experiencing two opposites (may) lead to wisdom.

    StephenB: Granted, this abbreviated response cannot possibly do justice either to the subject of reincarnation or Christianity. Still, those are my thoughts for the moment.

    Thank you very much Stephen, I have learned a lot about Christianity.

  538. 538
    mike1962 says:

    Box: I strongly detest the attacks on personhood and consciousness by … eastern religion.

    Can you unpack that for me? “Eastern religion” is a fairly wide highway. Just curious.

  539. 539
    Box says:

    Mike1962,

    You are correct of course. My broad sweeping statement refers to Hinduism, Buddhism and all eastern religions which share a concept similar to nirvana.

    In the Buddhist context nirvana refers to the imperturbable stillness of mind after the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally extinguished.[2] In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the divine ground of existence Brahman (Supreme Being) and the experience of blissful egolessness.

    This wiki quote don’t quite grasp the extremity of the concept of Nirvana. In short, I agree with StephenB that these ‘drop in the ocean’ concepts are equal to the destruction of individuality.
    Many years ago I asked a professor, who specialized in eastern religion, a simple question, wrt to Nirvana, “what’s in it for me?”. He was unable to answer my question.

    Christianity, I believe, is unique in its emphasis on freedom and (enormous) responsibility of the individual.

  540. 540
    Me_Think says:

    Box @ 540

    Many years ago I asked a professor, who specialized in eastern religion, a simple question, wrt to Nirvana, “what’s in it for me?”. He was unable to answer my question.

    You haven’t read Dean Radin’s research papers and books like Supernatural about Yoga Sidha and other exotic stuffs? bornagain77, can you please help him with rigorous scientific papers of Radin ? 🙂

  541. 541
    Joe says:

    An omniscient God knows how you would respond in any situation without having to test you.

    Think keith- that is only your opinion.

    If God is omniscient, he knew they would sin before he created them.

    And that is also only your opinion. An omniscient God would know ALL possible outcomes and leave it up to the person to make the choice. THAT is the test, duh.

  542. 542
    fifthmonarchyman says:

    KeithS said,

    He knew what every person would do before he created him or her. He created them anyway. He is responsible.

    I say,

    Your parents knew before you were born that you would do things that were wrong at times.

    They had the power through birth control or abortion to prevent you from ever doing anything wrong whatsoever.

    Are they responsible for the wrong you have done in your life?

    If not why not? They had the knowledge and the means to prevent at least some evil from entering the world.

    peace

  543. 543
    kairosfocus says:

    5th, busy here but spotted your comment. I’d also say that the idea of God knowing ahead of time is flawed, it is relative to us. On the premise that he is every-where and every-when, his knowledge is direct, as opposed to causally deterministic, ahead of time, Laplace demon type knowledge . . . we are really free and responsible. There are of course onward deep things on that too; I have been pointing out that the matters in hand have many fundamental issues involved that need to be addressed seriously on that level. Of course those who refuse to do so show that they suspect such a level would not serve their purpose. Revealing, by implication. KF

  544. 544
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: before we forget it, let us remind ourselves from Alinsky’s notorious rules for radicals, to understand another facet of what is going on in the kulturkampf:

    5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.” . . . .

    13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. [NB: Notice the evil counsel to find a way to attack the man, not the issue. The easiest way to do that, is to use the trifecta stratagem: distract, distort, demonise.] In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

    “…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

    “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.”

    Remember that next time you see ridicule, mockery, strawman twisting to facilitate same, and ad hominems coming from those who refuse to address foundational issues in fundamental terms.

    KF

  545. 545
    Phinehas says:

    keiths:

    Phin: My answer is that the questions are fundamentally flawed. Any concept of a God who is worthy of the label, by definition, transcends human experience and understanding to the point that it is utter nonsense to suppose that a human is capable of even beginning to evaluate God’s reasons, motives, or methods.

    keiths: In that case you have no basis for making any assertions about God. Yet here you are, claiming that God is perfectly loving and all-powerful.

    I do have a basis for making assertions about God: It is called Revelation. Though I am not qualified to evaluate God’s reasons, motives, or methods, I am equipped (as are you) to listen to Him. God has revealed Himself in His creation, in His Son, and through His Spirit and Word. Listening to God is an act of humility. Attempting to evaluate Him is an act of pride. I only claim about God what He claims about Himself, and I only know what He claims about Himself by humbling myself to listen to Him.

    keiths: 3. Why do you continue to believe in a perfectly loving, all-powerful God when there are much better explanations available?

    Phin: But perhaps I missed where you provided better explanations for the origin of these?

    – Matter
    – Physics
    – Time
    .
    .
    .

    keiths: We’ve been over this already. Even if you assume that those require a God as an explanation, they don’t require a perfectly loving, all-powerful God.

    Yes, we have been over this. And you’ve never explained how creating something from nothing is within the reach of a cause that is somehow less than omnipotent. If creating the universe out of nothing doesn’t point to an all-powerful God, please tell me what would?

    As before, you’ve elided my list to leave out the parts that would point to an all-loving God. (That may be convenient to your argument, but anyone paying attention will note the repeated attempts to dodge this evidence and recognize that these are not the tactics of someone who feels their position is the stronger one.) The story of Jesus and His sacrifice as recorded by eyewitness accounts is chief among these.

    But even if you are not willing to accept what has been said of Jesus and God or what has been demonstrated of His love through His own life and death or through His intervention in the lives of others, how do you convince yourself that something can come of nothing without an omnipotent (or close enough to be indistinguishable from omnipotent) act of will?

    You keep claiming there are better explanations, but why aren’t you presenting those better explanations regarding the list I have provided? Be honest. You don’t like thinking about that list. You don’t like being presented with that kind of evidence. You don’t like being reminded that you have no better explanation for these things. Rejecting God out-of-hand leaves you with no explanation at all. None. But to admit this would be to admit that you may not be as intellectually fulfilled as you want others to think you are.

    Real intellectual and spiritual fulfillment are only a humble step away. There’s nothing but pride keeping you from taking that step.

  546. 546
    mike1962 says:

    Box @ 540: Many years ago I asked a professor, who specialized in eastern religion, a simple question, wrt to Nirvana, “what’s in it for me?”. He was unable to answer my question.

    I would answered, “bliss.” He probably should have known that answer. 🙂 At any rate, I don’t buy into the destruction of individuals either. I believe individuals are part of the core ontology of reality. All points of consciousness are facets of one diamond, if you will.

  547. 547
    Box says:

    StephenB,

    The wiki article about the 3rd century theologian Origen Adamantius is very interesting wrt Christianity and reincarnation. Releated to the subject is his belief in the pre-existence of souls. This section of the article deals specifically with Origin’s view on the “transmigration of souls”.

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