• Bartricks
    5k
    I have a lot of sympathy with much of what those who think the problem of evil refutes God say. I agree with them that it is highly unreasonable to believe an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent person would create a world like this one and then dump innocent ignorant people in it, knowing full well the risks of harm this would generate.

    And when theists respond by trying to show how certain goods might plausibly require exposing us to such risks, I am wholly unimpressed. For this is an omnipotent being we are talking about, and so the idea that an omnipotent being 'had' to expose innocents to this or that risk of harm in order that some good could accrue to them seems, well, confused - for an omnipotent being can do anything and thus didn't 'have' to do that at all. That they did, when there was no need, once more seems incompatible with their goodness.

    So I am with the proponents of the problem of evil in agreeing that this premise is highly plausible - indeed, I can see no reasonable way of resisting that wouldn't simply trade on a misunderstanding of omnipotence:

    1. If God (an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent person) exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world

    But the proponent of the problem then adds the following premise to get to their desired conclusion:

    2. We are innocents living in ignorance in a dangerous world

    From which it follows:

    3. Therefore, God does not exist

    But it seems to me that premise 2 of that argument is not self-evident to reason. Our reason does not directly tell us that we are guilty or innocent - it is silent on the matter. As it is often said, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. So, that our reason does not directly attest to our guilt or innocence is not evidence that we are positively innocent. It makes it a reasonable default assumption - granted - but that's not the same as thinking we have positive evidence of innocence. It's the presumption: there's a presumption of innocent. But a presumption of innocent is not evidence of innocence.
    I think, then, that premise 2 is not self-evidently true. We just 'assume' we are innocent. We do not have positive evidence of it. This is of the first importance.

    Anyway, I reason like this:

    1. If God exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    2. God exists
    3. Therefore, God has not suffered innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world

    As with the previous argument, this one is valid. And it shares the same first premise - a premise I think is beyond reasonable doubt.

    The difference is in the second premise. But it seems to me that my second premise is supported by reason. That is, its truth is implied by some self-evident truths of reason. One might think otherwise, but 'if' it is, that is 'if' there is good positive epistemic reason to think God exists (not merely an absence of any reason to think he does not), then my second premise is more reasonably believed to be true than the second premise of the earlier argument. Again, this is very important as it means there's no 'problem' of evil at all.

    For an analogy: imagine you have no recollection whatsoever of what you did yesterday. Do you have any reason to think you committed a crime yesterday? Well, given you remember precisely nothing, you have no reason to think you did. However, you do not have positive reason to think you didn't.

    Now, other things being equal, if you have no reason to think you committed a crime, then it would be reasonable to conclude that you did not. That's the default.

    But what if someone now shows that there is some apparent evidence that you did commit a crime: your dna is at a crime scene or something?

    Well, now, surely, it does become reasonable - as reasonable as that evidence makes it - to think that you committed a crime yesterday? The fact that, absent that evidence, you had no reason to think you committed a crime and were thus default justified in thinking you didn't, doesn't mean that you still have reason to think you didn't commit a crime. The evidence that you committed a crime now makes it reasonable to think you did.

    That, I think, is how things stand with the problem of evil. If there is no positive evidence that God exists, then we are default justified in believing ourselves to be born innocent. And thus premise 2 of the first argument is default justified and the conclusion is one it would be reasonable to draw.

    But if there is some positive evidence that God exists, then the default does not apply. You just simply have some reason to think you are guilty of something - how strong a reason would depend on how strong the evidence is that God exists.

    If this is correct, then there isn't really a problem of evil at all. There's just the question of whether God exists or not. The fact we are living in ignorance in a dangerous world is not positive evidence that God does not exist if, that is, there is a scintilla of evidence that he does exist. Again, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; and so thinking there is a problem of evil is a akin to thinking that the presumption of innocence provides positive evidence of innocence. So, we do not need to worry about the problem of evil: if there's evidence that God exists - any evidence at all - then the 'problem' instantly vanishes.

    To put it another way, it is not a 'problem', but just the upshot of assuming that we have no independent evidence of God's existence. For yes, if we have no independent evidence of God's existence, then it's reasonable to assume we're innocent and thus that we are living in a world God would not have created and dumped us in. But if we do have some - any - evidence of God's existence, then it just ceases to be reasonable to assume we're innocent. That evidence 'just is' evidence of our guilt. The 'problem of evil' does not, then, generate any countervailing evidence. It is not a hurdle to be overcome. One ounce of evidence for God, becomes one ounce of evidence of our guilt. Problem dissolved.
  • 180 Proof
    8.8k
    One ounce of evidence for God, becomes one ounce of evidence of our guilt.Bartricks
    Thus, Onan self-flagellates ...

    The only deity consistent with a world (it purportedly created and sustains) ravaged by natural disasters, man-made catastrophes & self-inflicted interpersonal suffering is either a Sadist or a fiction – neither of which are worthy of worship.180 Proof
  • Bartricks
    5k
    I refer you to the argument in the OP. Do take the trouble to read it and do take a little more to understand it.

    Here it is for your convenience:

    1. If God exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    2. God exists
    3. Therefore, God has not suffered innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
  • 180 Proof
    8.8k
    I refer you to my reply to the OP which is further elaborated on in the argument to which the quotation is linked. Do take the trouble to click on my handle, read the post and then take as much time as you need to understand why it refutes the premises of your argument.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    You are begging the question. As always. Read the OP and say something that addresses something in it.
  • 180 Proof
    8.8k
    :roll: And which "question" is that?
  • Bartricks
    5k
    Yes, post little faces. :vomit:
  • 180 Proof
    8.8k
    C'mon, Batshitz, substantiate your claim: which question is begged? :nerd:
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    One ounce of evidence for God, becomes one ounce of evidence of our guilt.
    — Bartricks
    Thus, Onan self-flagellates ...

    The only deity consistent with a world (it purportedly created and sustains) ravaged by natural disasters, man-made catastrophes & self-inflicted interpersonal suffering is either a Sadist or a fiction – neither of which are worthy of worship.
    — 180 Proof
    180 Proof

    :up: Keep it coming, keep it coming!

    I just want to bounce something off of you. Have you ever noticed how justice and evil seem indistinguishable? They employ the same method - inflicting pain and causing suffering, That means, it isn't necessarily the case that the suffering extant in the world is evil, it could be justice.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    547
    I'm not sure how this logic works. Surely we are the result of our enviornment, no? Our morals are shaped by our culture. Our personalities are hugely influenced by our DNA. Our appetites and desires are inborn. Our will, generally weaker than said desires. If we are guilty, how can you be sure we're not guilty because of the world we live in? If the world were perfect, maybe we would be too?

    It seems a fundemental issue here is that it isn't possible to talk about us existing outside of existence, and the existence we have, the one in which we come in to being, is filled with all sorts of evils.

    Perhaps it makes sense if we assume we existed outside this world before, sinned, and have been thrown into this one for our transgressions- with our memories wiped obviously. Then a guilt sperate from a reality awash in evil makes sense.

    This, of course, is largely what Abrhamic faiths accept. We existed in the Garden, and were thrown into the fallen world for our sin. Our blame is grounded in a world without hurricanes, cancer, or 9 minute long Meatloaf ballads. Only in that case, our guilt is a shared one as the descendants of rebellious ancestors.



    Plenty of conceivable divinities are consistent with this world. The only one that isn't is an omnibenevolent, anthropomorphic God who operates doing whatever people assume a really smart, really powerful God would do to induce maximum "good."

    An evil God, an incompetent God, an incompetent or evil demiurge, an unknowable God, etc. are all compatible with this world. I don't know of any faiths that propose a God that extends maximum joy and pleasure to creation, perhaps because it is rather unbelievable.


    God as the Absolute, being positing that-which-it-is-not in order to define itself, is certainly compatible with suffering and pain.

    ---

    Anyhow, back to the idea of guilt. I think the idea of sin and guilt were a major historical progression. In ancient philosophy, you really don't see the concept of the will. You see prohairesis in Aristotle, but that is too narrowly defined to be our "will." You have some degree of subdivision in the Stoics, with the distinction of desires of the mind and appetites of the body, but still, this does not include the element of intentionality key to the will.

    The will, as that part of the mind which desires, decides, chooses, and acts, comes far more into focus with Saint Paul and particularly Saint Augustine. With the coming of Christ, you have the need to differentiate actions based on the autonomy and choice of the actor. After all, it only makes sense for one to be condemned for one's choices if they are truly choices. At the same time, the concept of redemption only works if one chooses to turn from sin and to Christ. You have to be damned to be redeemed, and redemption through forgiveness requires a will to contrition.

    In the Old Testament, choice is less of a focal point. God "hardens the hearts" of sinners and stays their course in sin. When God becomes man, the burden of control shifts, and man becomes responsible for his own redemption. He must choose redemption precisely because he is damned; if he was free from sin, the concept makes no sense.

    To my mind, this marks a progression in the religious understanding. From fearing God, "wisdom is the fear of the LORD," to choosing God, even to the point of self-negation, "to die in Christ I count as gain." And obviously here, self negation also means the negation of the will, "not my will but your," which has to exist to be negated.

    So I've come around on the OP, if maybe not in the sense it was intended: guilt is essential.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    How does any of that address the OP?

    If God exists, then the 'evils' of the world - the risk of harm our ignorance exposes us to - are our just desert goods. That just follows as a matter of logic from these two premises:

    1. If God exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    2. God exists

    If there is no evidence that God exists, then we are default justified in believing that God does not exist, because we're default justified in believing ourselves to be innocent (which implies God's non-existence).

    But if there is any evidence at all of God's existence, then that evidence is evidence that we deserve to face the risks of harm that our ignorance is exposing us to here.
  • 180 Proof
    8.8k
    Plenty of conceivable divinities are consistent with this world. The only one that isn't is an omnibenevolent, anthropomorphic God ...Count Timothy von Icarus
    ... therefore a corollary of my argument: only an "omnibenevolent" deity is worthy of worship (any other kind is indistinguishable from a capricious / malevolent "demon" or "extraterrestrial").

    Have you ever noticed how justice and evil seem indistinguishable?TheMadFool
    I don't think so. When just (justified via legitimate authority), punishment – enforcing punitive justice – inflicts suffering. Evil, however, inflicts suffering usually indiscriminately and always without justification, or legitimacy. Justice is not "indistinguishable" from injustice, Fool.
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    I defer to your better judgment 180 Proof.

    Justice is not "indistinguishable" from injustice, Fool.180 Proof

    A sentence no doubt but also more than just a sentence. :up:
  • 180 Proof
    8.8k
    If there is no evidence that God exists, then we are default justified in believing that God does not exist ...Bartricks
    ... therefore, the argument in OP is unsound at minimum. The "default", btw, is undecided, not "justified" (re: 3-value logic). :yawn:

    But if there is any evidence at all of God's existence ...
    "Evidence"? – faith is no longer good enough? Anyway, pro-tip: Theism is demonstrably not true. Amen! (I mean: you're welcome, B.)
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    The only deity consistent with a world (it purportedly created and sustains) ravaged by natural disasters, man-made catastrophes & self-inflicted interpersonal suffering is either a Sadist or a fiction – neither of which are worthy of worship.180 Proof

    Evolutionarily speaking, draft and reared-for-meat animals are to be considered successful - they outnumber any wild animal, solitary or social, by a factor of at least a 100, perhaps even a 1000. The cost - short, painful lives - maybe something cattle, pigs, sheep, chicken, horses, are willing to bear so long as they can pass down their genes.TheMadFool


    The predator-prey relationship is more complex than it seems when viewed under the moral lens. I think Nietzsche had similar thoughts as me in this regard.

    That said I don't endorse the view that goes I'm only torturing/killing you for your own good. If anything, it indicates a very disturbing lack of imagination even though the obviously elliptical way nature achieves balance bears the hallmark of creative genius albeit in a twisted, wicked sense. Nature is a psychopath!
    TheMadFool
  • SpaceDweller
    434
    If God (an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent person) exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous worldBartricks

    Your premise assumes God has full control over people and doing so in line with his omnibenevolent nature, you omit free will of people, it's completely absent and nowhere mentioned.

    This leads to conclusion that God-people relationship is master-slave rather than master-freeservant which obviously we all know is not true.

    Secondly, we have evidence that free will in human live is not lacking, it is obviously present, therefore expecting God to control us is contradictory to fact.
  • 180 Proof
    8.8k
    You've completely lost me.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    Your premise assumes God has full control over people and doing so in line with his omnibenevolent nature, you omit free will of people, it's completely absent and nowhere mentioned.SpaceDweller

    What? No, I assume we do have free will. How else did we come to deserve to be here?

    This leads to conclusion that God-people relationship is master-slave rather than master-freeservant which obviously we all know is not true.SpaceDweller

    Eh?

    Secondly, we have evidence that free will in human live is not lacking, it is obviously present, therefore expecting God to control us is contradictory to fact.SpaceDweller

    I know we have free will. I don't see what your point is. We have free will, and due to how we have exercised it at some earlier time, in some other place, we came to deserve to be here. Hence we're here.
  • SpaceDweller
    434

    Therefore if God exists:
    1. He can not be the source of evil because it's contradictory to it's omnibenevolent nature.
    2. He is not required to prevent evil because this would be contradictory to our free will.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    You're not following the argument I gave.

    God's not an arsehole, right? By definition, he's morally perfect. And he's also all powerful. So he can do anything and he's nice. He's not, then, going to create a dangerous world and put ignorant innocent people in it, is he?

    So, if he exists, he hasn't. Not has. Hasn't.

    But here we are, living in ignorance in a dangerous world.

    He wouldn't have put innocent people in that predicament.

    So......we're not innocent, then. We must 'deserve' to be here.

    There are two main ways you can come to deserve something. Something really bad happens to you and so you come to deserve good things as compensation. Well, that clearly doesn't apply here.

    The other way is you exercise your free will and attempt to do wrong to another. That's what we must have done.

    So, if God exists, this world is not 'evil'. It's a prison in which everyone is getting their just deserts: that is, everyone is being left to languish in ignorance in a world in which that ignorance exposes us to arbitrary risks.

    Thus, any evidence that God exists is evidence of that - evidence of our guilt. And in that way, the problem of evil is dissolved.
  • SpaceDweller
    434
    By definition, he's morally perfect. And he's also all powerful. So he can do anything and he's nice. He's not, then, going to create a dangerous world and put ignorant innocent people in it, is he?Bartricks

    Since God is omnibenevolent and since we have free will, then it's logical to conclude "dangerous world" is not dangerous because of God but rather because of us.

    The rest of your post is thus not in line with this logic as well.
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    You've completely lost me.180 Proof

    No problemo. Here's something funny :point: 'Missing' man joins search party looking for himself!
  • Bartricks
    5k
    Since God is omnibenevolent and since we have free will, then it's logical to conclude "dangerous world" is not dangerous because of God but rather because of us.SpaceDweller

    No, it is 'logical' to conclude that God made us ignorant and placed us here because we jolly well deserve to be here facing the risks of harm that our ignorance creates for us.

    Look, this argument is valid and apparently sound:

    1. If God exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    2. God exists
    3. Therefore, God has not suffered innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    Bartricks

    So I do not know why you keep talking about what is logical, given that there's no question the above is. Logically, evidence that God exists is evidence of our guilt.
  • SpaceDweller
    434
    No, it is 'logical' to conclude that God made us ignorant and placed us here because we jolly well deserve to be here facing the risks of harm that our ignorance creates for us.Bartricks

    "ignorance" is relative word, it may mean many different things including those which have nothing to do with God or our suffering.
    ignorance is subjective.

    The only knowledge that matters is knowledge of good and evil, which is what free will encompasses.

    Look, this argument is valid and apparently sound:

    1. If God exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    Bartricks

    You see, it's not clear what is meant by "ignorance", what kind of knowledge do you think would set us free of suffering?
  • 180 Proof
    8.8k
    1. If God exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous worldBartricks
    Hidden premises.

    2. God exists
    Unwarranted assertion. (This again.)

    3. Therefore, God has not suffered innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    Invalid inference (1, 2)
  • khaled
    3.4k
    But it seems to me that premise 2 of that argument is not self-evident to reason. Our reason does not directly tell us that we are guilty or innocent - it is silent on the matter.Bartricks

    It is certainly more self evident to reason that a newborn is innocent than that God exists.

    It appears that: God exists (at least to you), if God exists he wouldn’t let innocents suffer here, infants are innocent.

    These aren’t consistent so which do we doubt? You doubt the third, that infants are innocent in this argument:

    1. If God exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    2. God exists
    3. Therefore, God has not suffered innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    Bartricks

    You use the first 2 as fact. But one can easily use different combinations:

    1- If God exists, he can prevent innocents from going into a dangerous world.

    2- God exists and doesn’t prevent innocents from going into a dangerous world

    3- Therefore, God doesn’t mind innocents suffering here

    Or:

    1- If God exists innocents would not be allowed into a dangerous world

    2- Innocents are allowed into a dangerous world

    3- Therefore God doesn’t exist


    It really is a matter of which appearances you take as premises and which you don’t. Which is why (as I said) these questions keep popping up:

    1- How do you deal with a conflict between your own appearances? Why did you choose the first argument instead of the later two? Does it not seem to you that infants are innocent? If so:

    2- How do you deal with a conflict between what appears to you and what appears to others? It appears to virtually everyone that infants are innocent but you don’t trust it, but on other matters you’re happy to quote the opinion of experts as indicative of “proper” appearances, so when do you trust what appears to others and when do you not?

    You think that everyone is incapable of understanding your arguments when, by your own words, fish sticks can understand them. Everyone understands your ramblings Bart, they’re doubting your “self evident” premises.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    547


    I get the logic. What I am rejecting is the premise that humans could somehow be guilty outside of their relationship to being in the world.

    The problem is one of causality. The world can't be bad because man is bad, if man doesn't exist before the world does. For the justification of evil by guilt to work God must:

    A. Make the world bad prior to man's existence, because he knows man will be bad. In which case the guilt proceeds the crime and can't be the cause of it.

    B. The world was originally good, but was changed because man was bad. This only makes sense though is human guilt is collective and hereditary.


    The view that the evils that befall man are due to man's transgressions is taken up and rejected in the Hebrew Bible in an interesting way. Job's friends are found guilty by God for claiming that evil only comes against those who are evil, and for claiming to speak for God vis-a-vis condemnation. The problem of evil is addressed and the response isn't an argument about greater goods or guilt, it is given after several books of disputation between Job and his friends, when God suddenly appears and joins the conversation:

    Job: 38
    Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

    2 “Who is this who darkens counsel
    By words without knowledge?
    3 Now prepare yourself like a man;
    I will question you, and you shall answer Me.

    4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
    Tell Me, if you have understanding.
    5 Who determined its measurements?
    Surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
    6 To what were its foundations fastened?
    Or who laid its cornerstone,
    7 When the morning stars sang together,
    And all the sons of God shouted for joy?...

    [God proceeds to question Job on the causes of all manner of natural phenomena from the evolution and behavior of animals to the cause of light and rain]

    Job 40:

    6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:

    7 “Now [a]prepare yourself like a man;
    I will question you, and you shall answer Me:
    8 “Would you indeed annul My judgment?
    Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?
    9 Have you an arm like God?
    Or can you thunder with a voice like His?
    10 Then adorn yourself with majesty and splendor,
    And array yourself with glory and beauty.
    11 Disperse the rage of your wrath;
    Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him.
    12 Look on everyone who is proud, and bring him low;
    Tread down the wicked in their place.
    13 Hide them in the dust together,
    Bind their faces in hidden darkness.
    14 Then I will also confess to you
    That your own right hand can save you.

    That's the answer Job gets. Also worth noting that some sort of Dr. Pangloss's best of all possible world's never shows up in the Tanak:

    Ecclesiastes 4

    Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun:

    I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    and they have no comforter;
    power was on the side of their oppressors—
    and they have no comforter.
    And I declared that the dead,
    who had already died,
    are happier than the living,
    who are still alive.
    But better than both
    is the one who has never been born,
    who has not seen the evil
    that is done under the sun.

    And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

    Fools fold their hands
    and ruin themselves.
    Better one handful with tranquillity
    than two handfuls with toil
    and chasing after the wind.

    Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:

    There was a man all alone;
    he had neither son nor brother.
    There was no end to his toil,
    yet his eyes were not content(J) with his wealth.
    “For whom am I toiling,” he asked,
    “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
    This too is meaningless—
    a miserable business
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    547

    This logic holds if one assumes the unit of analysis for guilt is the individual, not the people. However, in the doctrine of Original Sin, mankind as a whole is condemned for the actions of their progenitors, Adam and Eve.

    We use the collective as a unit for assigning guilt fairly often. Corporations are punished as a whole for bad acts. The German people were to pay reparations to the Jews as a whole for their collective, not individual actions. Arguments in favor of reparations for American slavery often also invoke a similar idea of collective and inherited guilt.

    The other interpretation that resolves the issue of infants' innocence is that God knew man would be sinful before It made man. Or, on the individual level, God knows the infant will become sinful in the future. So the guilt precedes the action of the guilty.

    We can question if this is fair, but we have to bear in mind that time is perhaps a meaningless concept to apply to a transcendent God. Perfect memory means that the past is perfectly accessible to God, able to be experienced as fully as the present. Perfect knowledge means the future, or perhaps knowledge of infinite possible futures, is also as accessible to It as the present. Thus, God exists outside the conventional boundaries of time, in which case temporal cause and effect can't be understood the way we understand it conventionally.

    Or, if you posit the God of the pietist tradition, God is coming to evolve and understand Itself through the coming into being of the world. Thus being, or more accurately, "becoming," is the process of God attaining the Absolute; reality is being coming to know Itself through itself. Thus, being is necissarily out of balance since difference is a prerequisite of definition and meaning. If you posit a Heraclitian semiotics of the tension of opposites, you shouldn't expect a balanced world, but one out of harmony so that meaning can be constructed. Hence pain, darkness, and evil- these must exist to define their antipode.

    The same logic holds true for demiurgic cosmologies (one shouldn't expect a balanced world because the material realm is not within the Pleroma), or for cosmologies where an evil god of equal, or almost equal power to a good one, struggles for control of reality (Manichean cosmology, Zoroastrian, etc.).
  • Wirius
    10
    An interesting idea, but I still think it misses the crux of "The problem of Evil".

    The problem of evil is not really about God, its a lesson about defining terms without thinking through them fully. If you define any of the omni terms as "Being able to do anything without limits, even the impossible", then an omniscient, omnipowerful, and omnibenevolent being would be able to do anything, even contradictions.

    So let us run with this logic. If God can do anything, is infinitely good, and we consider good experiences to be being able to live healthy, and happy lives while learning and becoming good ourselves, then we run into contradictions.

    If God can basically do anything, then we can learn and experience all good without experiencing any suffering. You see, if we "needed" to experience suffering to learn, that would be a limitation on Gods power. But a God who can do anything, even contradictions, doesn't "need" to do anything.

    If we look at the present situation of humanity, there is obviously suffering, crippling experiences, horrifying genetic abnormalities, and senseless and wasteful death.

    Therefore we cannot conclude that God can do literally anything, and be perfectly good. It just doesn't work. There are two conclusions we can make from this.

    1. God does not exist.
    2. Our definition of "omni's" being "Can do literally anything, even contradictions" are poor, and we need to revise what they mean.

    In my opinion, the first conclusion is a lazy way of dismissing the conversation, which only causes people to try to "solve" the problem of evil instead of concluding the more logical conclusion of point two. If you can conclude omni as being, "The greatest possible X that can be", then you have:

    omnipotent: "The most powerful a being can be."
    omniscient: "The most knowledgeable and aware a being can be."
    omnibenevolent: "The most good a being can be."

    Basically, God might be the best in what is possible, but God is limited by what is possible. If you think about this for a while, this should be satisfactory to you. If God is possible, then God must exist in the realm of possibility, not impossibility.

    This also solves the problem of evil. We can merely conclude that if there is evil in the world, it is because of God's limitations. This also fits in with the idea that God wants humans to make certain choices, improve themselves, learn, and cause actions which further good in the world. This also seems to fit in with your OP in a certain sense. The existence of evil does not necessitate God is unjust or punishing the innocent.

    Of course, this does not prove that God is actually omni-anything, that we're innocent OR guilty, or that God even exists. These are further puzzles to think about. But if you understand that the problem of evil is merely a lesson in not defining words in such a way that they cause contradictions, you can solve the problem of evil and move onto other ideas.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    If you define any of the omni terms as "Being able to do anything without limits, even the impossible", then an omniscient, omnipowerful, and omnibenevolent being would be able to do anything, even contradictions.Wirius

    Yes, that is I think the only reasonable way to understand what omnipotence involves. Here is an argument for that: to be all powerful is to be more powerful than anyone else. A being who can do anything is more powerful than one who can do some things and not others. Thus, an omnipotent being can do anything.

    If you try and place some restriction on 'anything' (anything logically possible, or some such) then the argument I have just made will come and get you.

    So God can do absolutely anything. And so this:

    If God can basically do anything, then we can learn and experience all good without experiencing any suffering. You see, if we "needed" to experience suffering to learn, that would be a limitation on Gods power. But a God who can do anything, even contradictions, doesn't "need" to do anything.Wirius

    is quite right. There is no benefit that God was constrained to give you at the expense of some harm.

    You are on the rails up to this point. But then it all goes wrong and you stop following reason.

    If we look at the present situation of humanity, there is obviously suffering, crippling experiences, horrifying genetic abnormalities, and senseless and wasteful death.

    Therefore we cannot conclude that God can do literally anything, and be perfectly good. It just doesn't work. There are two conclusions we can make from this.
    Wirius

    You have just begged the whole question by assuming that we are innocent! It's absurd. Look, if God exists, you're in a prison. That's the point I was making. It follows logically. Here:

    1. If God exists, then he would not suffer innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    2. God exists
    3. Therefore, God has not suffered innocents to live in ignorance in a dangerous world
    Bartricks

    Do you think that is invalid or unsound? Which? Don't just blithely ignore it, as you have done. It shows - demonstrates - that if God exists, then we're in prison. And the evils that befall us are deserved. We are coming to harm here because God - quite rightly - hates us.

    And note the much more subtle general point: any evidence that 2 is true is evident for 3 and thus the problem of evil instantly dissolves.

    Thus, there is no problem of evil.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.