• ToothyMaw
    652
    An interesting point, at least in my opinion, came up in my discussion with Bartricks recently concerning the problem of evil, and how God potentially allows injustices despite being omnibenevolent. I’ll start with the following argument, which I think is reasonable:

    (1) If god existed he would not allow injustices to occur
    (2) Injustices occur
    (3) Therefore, God does not exist

    You might claim that if God is omnibenevolent he cannot allow injustices, and thus Bartricks’ problem of evil solution applies, but I do not think that justice is a necessary permutation of omnibenevolence; justice is the administration of law, not the act of complying with it; you wouldn’t say that a police officer can never break a law just because they administer it - or vice versa. They administer the law because they are hired to do it, not because they are perfect law followers.

    And even if God makes the administration of justice a necessity by codifying it he is then compelled to act by his own laws in order to remain omnibenevolent, thus robbing him of either his free will or his omnibenevolence if he refuses to administer justice.

    Thus, an omnibenevolent god could be unjust or lack free will. Or, alternatively, we can conclude that we are indeed getting our just deserts according to the following argument:

    (1) God would not allow injustice if he existed
    (2) God exists
    (3) Therefore, injustice does not exist

    This is a rather repugnant conclusion, as we all know that bad things befall good people all the time. But this appears to be where many people exist.
  • Philosophim
    777
    What is the purpose of justice? I think its key to your argument, and needs to be clarified.
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    What is the purpose of justice?Philosophim

    I think the purpose of justice is to entice people into the system with promises of redress, and then exhaust the financial and emotional resources of the parties to such a point they will no longer be able to engage in self-help. Split the baby and make sure no one is happy, but they are too worn out to do anything about it.

    That is how the peace is kept.
  • dimosthenis9
    497
    1) If god existed he would not allow injustices to occurToothyMaw

    Says who? If there is God why he should be a "good" one? It's a false premise where you built your argument on. Same Bartricks did at his own thread.
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    Says who? If there is God why he should be a "good" one? It's a false premise where you built your argument on. Same Bartricks did at his own thread.dimosthenis9

    I agree. There is a presupposition among some that God is omnibenevolent, by definition. That's just human beings projecting, like they have a habit of doing. It could very well be that God just has a different sense of humor and laughs every time a so-called "injustice" befalls someone. It's the stuff of sit-coms, after all. Conflict, drama. No lions lay down with any lambs in this play.

    Maybe some bacteria needs something to eat and it can't chow down so long as those pesky anti-bodies are standing in the way. Thus, God is omnibenevolent and allows that car accident or cancer or murder to occur so that bacteria can eat, unmolested. God is, after all, a God of bacteria; not humans. Bacteria are the center of the universe. Bacteria are the measure of all things. Then we, thinking we are God, try to interrupt that poor bacteria with formaldehyde. We are so stupid. God laughs.
  • dimosthenis9
    497
    That's just human beings projecting, like they have a habit of doing. It could very well be that God just has a different sense of humor and laughs every time a so-called "injustice" befalls someoneJames Riley

    Maybe some bacteria needs something to eat and it can't chow down so long as those pesky anti-bodies are standing in the way. Thus, God is omnibenevolent and allows that car accident or cancer or murder to occur so that bacteria can eat, unmolested. God is, after all, a God of bacteria; not humans. Bacteria are the center of the universe. Bacteria are the measure of all things.James Riley



    Exactly.
  • ToothyMaw
    652
    Says who? If there is God why he should be a "good" one? It's a false premise where you built your argument on. Same Bartricks did at his own thread.dimosthenis9

    It is only a false premise if you can verify that it is not true. I think that you mean that it is unsupported, and it definitely is, and, thus, my argument applies in very specific (but possible) conditions. You wouldn't claim that every thought experiment or counterargument is false merely because it assumes certain premises - which are often derived from another's arguments - would you?
  • ToothyMaw
    652


    I get what you are doing, but you are not engaging with the OP. I'm assuming certain premises to make a counterargument against the viable solution to the problem of evil that Bartricks provided.
  • James Riley
    2.7k
    I get what you are doing, but you are not engaging with the OP. I'm assuming certain premises to make a counterargument against the viable solution to the problem of evil that Bartricks provided.ToothyMaw

    Agreed:

    I agree. There is a presupposition among some that God is omnibenevolent, by definition.James Riley

    I was agreeing with:

    Says who? If there is God why he should be a "good" one? It's a false premise where you built your argument on. Same Bartricks did at his own thread.dimosthenis9
  • dimosthenis9
    497
    It is only a false premise if you can verify that it is not trueToothyMaw

    Same it is a true premise if only you can verify it's true. And you can't. So it is unknown what God would be ("good" or "bad") if he exists.

    You wouldn't claim that every thought experiment or counterargument is false merely because it assumes certain premises - which are often derived from another's arguments - would you?ToothyMaw

    Well I might did. It depends in each case of course.
    But if the thought experiment is based on a total false premise I would just expect normally its "conclusion" to be false also
  • ToothyMaw
    652
    Same it is a true premise if only you can verify it's true. And you can't. So it is unknown what God would be ("good" or "bad") if he exists.dimosthenis9

    Yes, but people believe that an omnibenevolent god exists - most people in fact, or so it would seem. The purpose of the argument contained in the problem of evil and my argument is to show that god cannot be what they think he is; their very idea of god is contradictory. If no one believed in an omnibenevolent/omniscient/omnipresent/omnipotent being with free will I wouldn't make this argument.

    You are really missing the point of this.
  • ToothyMaw
    652


    I don't understand what you are agreeing with. I thought you were agreeing with @dimosthenis9
  • ToothyMaw
    652


    Oh I understand now, my bad.
  • TheMadFool
    13.7k
    I'm of similar persuasion. It's hard for me to tell whether justice or evil (injustice) - both seem to have the same modus operandi which is to inflict pain.

    What is incongruent with such a theory is what some people have condemend as a morally bankrupt attitude viz. victim blaming.

    In addition, such a belief raises questions about free will. Did Leopold kill Frank because he had to - Frank's bad karma forced (no choice) Leopold to want to end Frank's life.
  • dimosthenis9
    497
    The purpose of the argument contained in the problem of evil and my argument is to show that god cannot be what they think he is; their very idea of god is contradictory.ToothyMaw

    Existence or not of God says nothing about good on evil. Good and evil are just what religions added to "God's concept".
    People who believe in God in all these arguments against them, just say "it's God's plan" and end of story.
    So if your goal is to prove them wrong you won't achieve much. If on the other hand, your goal is to connect God with evil then your false premise doesn't leave much to talk about.
    That's the point, imo at least.
  • ToothyMaw
    652
    Existence or not of God says nothing about good on evil. Good and evil are just what religions added to "God's concept".dimosthenis9

    I agree. But I'm not really arguing about god's existence or non-existence, but rather about his characteristics given the problem of his potential unjustness.

    People who believe in God in all these arguments against them, just say "it's God plan" and end of story.
    So if your goal is to prove them wrong you won't achieve much.
    dimosthenis9

    Yeah, maybe, but I can at least make an argument that makes people like Bartricks think a little. I mean, do you really think it is that futile?

    false premisedimosthenis9

    You really love writing that.
  • ToothyMaw
    652


    Furthermore, there may be no scientific way of proving that god doesn't exist, so if one can find an argument that operates from within people's beliefs that can leverage some sort of conclusion that is ideal - and perhaps the only way to prove them wrong definitively. Otherwise the god question is open.
  • dimosthenis9
    497
    I mean, do you really think it is that futile?ToothyMaw


    Well in fact yes cause I think that theists explain the unjust issue of God via their belief that "God knows better". It's not that they don't admit that there are unjust situations all over societies. They just "excuse" it via the same way of thinking that they "excuse" God's existence on the very beginning.
    And based on that, logical arguments against it don't have much luck.

    But at the end who am I to decide that. It might end up into a fruitful discussion thread.
  • Alkis Piskas
    530

    God potentially allows injustices despite being omnibenevolentToothyMaw
    1) What "God"? One described by religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism ...)? Or an imaginary, constructed, ideal God?
    2) The term and attribute "omnibenevolent" has been created by Man, and most probably Christians. It does not exist even in the Bible, which provides just testimonies of God's goodness.
    "Omnibenevolent means all-loving. According to Christian teaching, God proved his all-loving nature by sacrificing his only son, Jesus, to make up for humankind's sins. This sacrifice allowed humans the opportunity to have eternal life with God in Heaven." (Nature of God in Christianity, https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zf626yc/revision/1)
    So, the above assumption is based on an arbitrary, imagined, constructed term-attribute. Therefore, it can be only applied to an imaginary, constructed, ideal God. And the whole discussion must start and be based on this assumption: "Assume that God is omnibenevolent." But it's not only that ...

    (1) If god existed he would not allow injustices to occurtToothyMaw
    Who and how can one tell what is "unjust"?
    From Oxford LEXICO we get the following chain of definitions:
    Injustice: "Lack of fairness or justice" -> Justice: "Just behavior or treatmen"t -> Just: "Based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair".

    So first of all, we must first establish, in human terms, that something that has occurred is not morally right. This of course depends on the established moral rules that apply to the case. And different cultures have their own rules of morality. So we have to limit "injustice" in our own culture or society. But even this is not so easy. Even within our own society there exist groups that have their own moral rules. Even Mafia has --e.g. "loyalty" is at the top of the list. Even families establish their own moral rules that apply only within them. Even each person has his own moral rules.

    So, evidently it is not at all easy to tell what is moral and what is not. How can we then know what "injustice" means to "God" --whatever "God"-- if he has moral rules and what they are?

    But it's not only this. We don't know if "God" is interested in human injustice and is willing to interfere. A lot say that God has given Man the freedom of will. If this is true, why should He interfere with human affairs and life in general? We don't know even if "God" is keeping a balance in life and the whole the universe and how He does that.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    Do not bother applying logic to religious matters unless you have a few screws loose, either be a good believer and do not think too much or let all the inconsistencies shake your faith till it drops. Benevolence and justice don't exist as things, they are asserted, this term "omnibenevolence" is nonsense, you're looking to make sense out of nonsense, this cannot bear fruit.
  • Hermeticus
    135
    Yes, but people believe that an omnibenevolent god existsToothyMaw

    That does not seem true to me. Rather, it seems that people believe that a human-benevolent god exists.

    If we are to assume an omnibenevolent god and we are to assume that god is the creator of all, then god must show unlimited good will to all creation, not just humanity. The very idea of injustice is entirely human. It is not a moral dilemma (for most) to eat an animal - but to feed a human to an animal is considered evil. To god, kind to all, both must be of equal magnitude.

    If we leave out the silly human concept of injustice, morale, etc and look at biology instead - if we look at organisms, from cell to human and beyond, there is no injustice. There is a simple, observable concept: Life nurtures itself through the dead.
    Is this injust? I think not. I think it is incredibly kind. It means that no matter how you live your life, in the end you will be useful to someone or something. You will help some being further their own life, whether you like it or not. You have been given a wonderful role. You might dread the thought that you'll be worm-food one day but that too is god's benevolence (towards the worms that is).
  • Tom Storm
    2.5k
    1) If god existed he would not allow injustices to occur
    (2) Injustices occur
    (3) Therefore, God does not exist
    ToothyMaw

    I have heard no reason to hold a belief in any kind of deity, so arguably this entire argument can be swept away. But I like arguments and I don't see how the first premise is justified

    Even as an atheist I ask myself, theoretically, who are we to know what a god would want? All we have are claims and a few dubious old books that are written by humans. Gods remains silent on all matters and leaves all communication to human spokespeople. (How could this possibly go wrong?) For all we know any hypothetical god is a cunt and why would it not be? Just pinning some 'omni' words onto some image of any kind of deity accomplishes nothing.
  • Benj96
    541
    An interesting point, at least in my opinion, came up in my discussion with Bartricks recently concerning the problem of evil, and how God potentially allows injustices despite being omnibenevolent.ToothyMaw

    Justice itself requires a choice between good and evil. You cannot punish someone who has no faculty of choice/ decision making. That’s why one can be “not guilty by insanity”.

    Even the concept of “good” itself necessitates the existence of evil. Otherwise goodness would be meaningless.

    So in the case of an omnibenevolent god an antithesis is required - an omnimalevolence. Otherwise how would such benevolence be practised and how could we ever “right” the injustices if said injustices never existed.

    It’s just like saying can something be completely white? But is white white without black? Without any semblance of contrast to give it its unique definition it cannot exist in that way.
  • ToothyMaw
    652
    That does not seem true to me. Rather, it seems that people believe that a human-benevolent god exists.

    If we are to assume an omnibenevolent god and we are to assume that god is the creator of all, then god must show unlimited good will to all creation, not just humanity. The very idea of injustice is entirely human. It is not a moral dilemma (for most) to eat an animal - but to feed a human to an animal is considered evil. To god, kind to all, both must be of equal magnitude.
    Hermeticus

    It seems to me you are conflating justice, which I agree is a decidedly human idea, with benevolence. And I think people do believe god is omnibenevolent, or at least approaching omnibenevolent. Someone can hold the concept of god's omnibenevolence and the fact that other creatures they believe to be created by god in one way or another are expendable: it is just part of god's omnibenevolence, as the creatures we slaughter serve a purpose in god's all encompassing goodness, and it is a good for humans to be front and center. It's bordering on fallacious to stuff all of those things into the idea of "omnibenevolence", but people seem to do it.

    I have heard no reason to hold a belief in any kind of deity, so arguably this entire argument can be swept away. But I like arguments and I don't see how the first premise is justifiedTom Storm

    I will make a new, more direct argument - since you aren't the only one getting hung up on that:

    (1) If god is just he does not allow injustices to occur.
    (2) God allows injustices to occur.
    (3) Therefore, god is not just.

    Even as an atheist I ask myself, theoretically, who are we to know what a god would want? All we have are claims and a few dubious old books that are written by humans. Gods remains silent on all matters and leaves all communication to human spokespeople. (How could this possibly go wrong?) For all we know any hypothetical god is a cunt and why would it not be? Just pinning some 'omni' words onto some image of any kind of deity accomplishes nothing.Tom Storm

    But people do believe god is all of those things you say he likely is not. Thus I'm making the argument I'm making: I'm trying to use the contradictions inherent in people's idea of god to show that he cannot be what they think he is, that he must be a "cunt". And yeah, I agree with everything you are saying, but I think you are missing the point.

    Justice itself requires a choice between good and evil. You cannot punish someone who has no faculty of choice/ decision making. That’s why one can be “not guilty by insanity”.Benj96

    I know. Thus I would expect a just god to take that into account when meting out punishments - and it appears as if he doesn't. All the more reason to think he isn't just.

    Even the concept of “good” itself necessitates the existence of evil. Otherwise goodness would be meaningless.Benj96

    I disagree; I think goodness only necessitates a choice between good and evil, not actual evil. Does not breaking a law require that criminals exist? I think not.

    So in the case of an omnibenevolent god an antithesis is required - an omnimalevolence. Otherwise how would such benevolence be practised and how could we ever “right” the injustices if said injustices never existed.Benj96

    I don't understand this at all. Could you explain why an omnimalevolence is required? I agree that justice necessitates evil, but why does omnibenevolence require omnimalevolence? Just so that it has meaning?

    It’s just like saying can something be completely white? But is white white without black? Without any semblance of contrast to give it its unique definition it cannot exist in that way.Benj96

    That seems like a specious analogy; we have gradations of good and evil without omnimalevolence. People do evil things all the time and good things all the time and, thus, we know what bad is and what good is without a purely evil being. Furthermore, we have an objective criterion for what omnibenevolence is under DCT: an adherence to all of the laws god creates. You might make the argument that DCT doesn't allow for a truly omnibenevolent god because morality's content could change according to god's whims, but that is not really relevant atm as you can just take the other horn of the dilemma.
  • Tom Storm
    2.5k
    If god is just he does not allow injustices to occur.ToothyMaw

    I appreciate you trying to hone this argument but I don't think this is sound premise either.

    Would it not be better stated as "If god is just and omnipotent they would not allow injustices to occur." (using gender neutral pronouns)

    My other reservation with this point is that it presumes to know how God would view human injustice. There are assumptions baked into the premise and frankly there are too many unknowns to justify the claim. For one, what if human injustices are not seen as injustices by God because God knows things we do not? Etc.

    But people do believe god is all of those things you say he likely is not.ToothyMaw

    I understand this (you are wanting to use theism's beliefs against itself, which is standard atheist apologetics) but this very point (the wonky assumption made by believers) is the one that requires further questioning. As I see it, your syllogism is willingly accepting claims that have not been sufficiently justified.
  • Philosophim
    777
    ↪Philosophim

    Deleted.
    ToothyMaw

    Not a worry. I wanted to point out to anyone else watching that you did not delete it because it was offensive or embarrassing. I saw briefly it was an attempt to define justice. Its not easy to do. When you're ready, feel free to post it.
  • ToothyMaw
    652
    Would it not be better stated as "If god is just and omnipotent they would not allow injustices to occur." (using gender neutral pronouns)Tom Storm

    I was assuming that god is omnipotent; I'm carrying this argument over from Bartricks' problem of evil thread. Might want to give that a read first if you want to understand exactly why I formed this argument.

    My other reservation with this point is that it presumes to know how God would view human injustice. There are assumptions baked into the premise and frankly there are too many unknowns to justify the claim. For one, what if human injustices are not seen as injustices by God because God knows things we do not? Etc.Tom Storm

    This matters little for my argument. Even if we are indeed living out god's idea of justice, that's an idea of justice that is absolutely repulsive. A child murderer can walk free and healthy while a devoted humanist slowly loses his cognitive functions from developing Huntington's. That fact is, to me, unacceptable, and requires no more knowledge than that gained from glancing at a newspaper.

    As I see it, your syllogism is willingly accepting claims that have not been sufficiently justified.Tom Storm

    Then, once again, check out the argument I had with Bartricks. If you can find an issue with their solution to the problem of evil my argument is not necessary.
  • ToothyMaw
    652
    what if human injustices are not seen as injustices by God because God knows things we do not? Etc.Tom Storm

    The existence of unknown reasons or facts does not imply that even if one knows the relevant facts or reasons, the relevant facts or reasons do not determine if some course of action or conclusion is justified or not justified. Just because Bill has not told me he is a hockey player doesn't mean I cannot draw the conclusion that if he ice skates there is a good chance he plays hockey. The same goes for a sense of justice.
  • Tom Storm
    2.5k
    That fact is, to me, unacceptable, and requires no more knowledge than that gained from glancing at a newspaper.ToothyMaw

    Pretty much what I thought you might argue. :wink: But this is your 'puny subjective value system' against a god who knows all things. How could you possibly understand the meaning of it and presume to judge?

    I was assuming that god is omnipotent; I'm carrying this argument over from Bartricks' problem of evil thread. Might want to give that a read first if you want to understand exactly why I formed this argument.ToothyMaw

    Regardless of your response to B, you still need to state everything in a syllogism, you can't assume.

    I do understand this and all I am saying is that the presuppositions made in this argument are flawed. The tough part of this argument actually takes place before you get to assembling proof of a god's moral failings. But there is no point in continuing to discuss this foundational element- you either take this on board or you don't. Carry on. :smile:
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.