• Banno
    15.7k
    Those who do not believe in god, when they die, will be cast into eternal torment.

    This is a punishment out of all proportion with the offence.

    Christians hold that the person who inflicts this unjust punishment - God - is worthy of worship.

    So what is one to make of the moral character of folk who hold someone who tortures folk unjustly in the highest esteem?

    If you made the acquaintance of someone who thought highly of a person who tortured dogs as a hobby, would you befriend them? Ought you associate with them?

    This argument come up towards the end of the podcast The Many Worlds of David Lewis. I was unaware that Lewis had written on such topics.

    This seems to be the related paper: Divine Evil

    The interesting variation here is that the argument asks us not to consider the morality of such an evil god, but of those who consider him worthy of praise or worship.
  • unenlightened
    6.2k
    I think you have to except the pope from this Christian belief, along with the crowd of his followers. This is a old story that may have passed you by.
    https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/04/26/heartsick-boy-asks-pope-my-dad-heaven/553844002/
  • dimosthenis9
    567
    Those who do not believe in god, when they die, will be cast into eternal torment.Banno

    No they don't. There is indeed a portion of Christian fanatics who might believe this but the main majority don't.
    There are even more Christians who believe that God judge people by their acts not just their belief to him. I don't know how you or David Lewis get that.

    Except if the thread is about that minority of Christians who believe this thing. If so, fine.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    What exactly is your claim here - that god will punish only those who commit evil, not those who do not believe in him?

    Two responses: what is it that you think will happen to those who do not believe in god but nevertheless lead blameless lives when they die? But further, even if someone leads a life of corruption and evil, and so on some view merits divine punishment, their evil acts were limited, whereas hell is eternal; the punishment is totally out of proportion to the crime, and hence is unjust.

    I invite you to read the article, which is accessible and entertaining, and addresses your reply.

    I also invite you to consider the actual question here: what attitude ought we rightly adopt to those who think an evil god admirable? Consider the character Fritz in the article.
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    The interesting variation here is that the argument asks us not to consider the morality of such an evil god, but of those who consider him worthy of praise or worship.Banno

    I have often felt this way when listening to the baleful preaching of Pentecostals or other fundies. 'God loves you; but you will burn in hell for atheism.' Anyone advocating such a Mafia-boss, protection racket style of deity is complicit in perpetuating a cycle of cruelty and abuse.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    Yes; yet these advocates of evil will pretend to the moral high ground. They take themselves to be the model of righteousness.

    Take as evidence the present discussion concerning the supposed "religious freedom" bill.
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    They take themselves to be the model of righteousness.Banno

    I like 'advocates of evil'. Yep. As you know, if you go with a divine command theory of morality then anything goes... God wants you to sacrifice your fist born and marry your 13 year-old cousin - it must be good because god asks it of you.
  • frank
    9.6k
    Someone said: "So what is one to make of the moral character of folk who hold someone who tortures folk unjustly in the highest esteem?

    "If you made the acquaintance of someone who thought highly of a person who tortured dogs as a hobby, would you befriend them? Ought you associate with them?"

    Some would wonder how millions of people came to believe in hell, attempting to bring history and psychology to bear on the question. These people want to understand.

    And then others judge. Period. No further understanding needed.

    The first group is danger of failing to take a stand. What is the second is danger of bigotry.

    Which would you rather be?
  • Banno
    15.7k
    And so to the issue of faith - of believing something despite the evidence; or in the case you posit, of committing an erstwhile evil act in the firm belief that since god advises it, it must be good. And yet this god is himself a perpetrator of evil.
  • dimosthenis9
    567
    What exactly is your claim here - that god will punish only those who commit evil, not those who do not believe in him?Banno

    Yeah many believe that indeed. From my personal experience the majority of religion people claim is that God will judge all those who don't believe, in Christ's resurrection.Second Appearance. That will be their second and last chance to believe, according to them of course.

    With Lewis claim is the same as saying "that Christians believe that people who believe in other religions (Muslims etc) will be eternal tortured too!" which is something that of course most Christians don't think that way.

    This is a question that really bothered me at the past a lot. And I did a lot of "personal research" on that. By personal, I mean reading, talking with religious people, priests etc. Not a scientific research of course. But really I strongly insist that this isn't the main way that religion people think about atheists.

    I also add the way that if you noticed Pope talks about atheists. It is always about "God's hug being open to everyone" and shit like that. But never aphoristic to them! And not just Pope. Most priests.

    what is it that you think will happen to those who do not believe in god but nevertheless lead blameless lives when they die?Banno

    I m not sure how to answer that cause I m an atheist. But I ensure you that there are many who think that these people will be in paradise also. Same as a guy who believed in God (or said he did) but did terrible acts, will go to hell.

    I invite you to read the article, which is accessible and entertaining, and addresses your reply.Banno

    As to be honest I wasn't about to read it cause from the beginning seemed like a claim based on a total false premise .And I thought it will be a waste of time.
    But wtf. I will now. What harm could come even from a bad argument?
  • Banno
    15.7k
    That "someone" is he whom your present interlocutor habitually refers to using the perpendicular pronoun.

    Perhaps you could make your point more directly?

    Or is your reply simply that we ought not contemplate, let alone discuss, the evil of Christianity?
  • Banno
    15.7k
    What harm could come even from a bad argument?dimosthenis9

    And think of the good you will do when you explicate Lewis' errors!
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    And yet this god is himself a perpetrator of evil.Banno

    I used to ask fundamentalists; 'How do you know that the god of the Bible is not actually Satan? Wouldn't that be the kind of trick Satan would pull? Look at the evidence - genocides and hatreds by the score - is all that not from Satan's style manual?' When they invariably say, 'But it says in the Bible that God is good.' The answer is obvious - 'Wouldn't Satan contrive it like this?' It doesn't work all the time but the fulminating faithful are often rattled enough for this to be satisfying.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    :wink: Rhetorical excellence!

    My interest here is as to the extent to which Christians (and Muslims) ought be allowed at the table when ethical issues are discussed. Given their avowed admiration for evil, ought we trust their ethical judgement?
  • frank
    9.6k
    Perhaps you could make your point more directly?Banno

    It was direct. Is it better to judge? Or to understand?
  • Ciceronianus
    2.2k
    Those who do not believe in god, when they die, will be cast into eternal torment.Banno

    It's their own fault, though. They were granted free will. They knowingly reject God, or commit mortal sin without repenting.

    This is a punishment out of all proportion with the offence.Banno

    Nah. It's not a big deal anymore. In my distant youth, in Catholic grade school, we were shown films and slides which depicted sinners burning alive in the flames of hell (or maybe purgatory, depending). We saw screaming faces sticking out of the fires (well, not real ones). But now, hell is merely deprivation of the presence of God and the vaguely named "blessed" for all eternity. It's nothing worth weeping or gnashing your teeth over anymore. There's no longer a "lake of fire" to be tossed into. It would be like never being invited to a really good and very lengthy office party, or being forever persona non grata at the country club.
  • Tom Storm
    2.9k
    My interest here is as to the extent to which Christians (and Muslims) ought be allowed at the table when ethical issues are discussed. Given their avowed admiration for evil, ought we trust their ethical judgement?Banno

    I think that is an excellent point and a very practical approach to the matter. Why would we let apologists for hatred and violence help build an agreement around ethics?
  • Wayfarer
    14.6k
    Those who do not believe in god, when they die, will be cast into eternal torment.Banno

    I think this depiction relies on a peculiarly modern conception of God as a kind of camp commandant. The Christian view would be more that due to humanity's inherent predeliction to sub-optimal behaviour (consequence of 'the original sin') then the outcome of their life choices is likely to be poor ('hell'). They are offered a way to avoid this fate ('salvation') but should they reject it willfully, then the consequences are on them. I believe this is what is behind C.S. Lewis statement that 'the doors of hell are locked from the inside.' It's not imposed on them except as a consequence of their decisions.

    There's no longer a "lake of fire" to be tossed into.Ciceronianus

    The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. — Baudelaire
  • Banno
    15.7k
    It was direct. Is it better to judge? Or to understand?frank

    Well, these are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, a judgement that does not involve understanding is a poor judgement.

    So let's understand. Lewis raises issues that are pertinent, and argues his case clearly. This thread asks others to view and assess that argument. The ensuing discussion improves our understanding.

    And then we have no choice but to judge. It's our existential condition. As you judge me.

    And again, you've made it clear in PMs that you do not like me or my approach. It is also clear that you are not obliged to read nor to respond to my posts.

    And yet here you are, again.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    It's their own fault, though. They were granted free will. They knowingly reject God, or commit mortal sin without repenting.Ciceronianus

    There's a short yet quite brilliant little argument concerning this, and making use of possible worlds, second paragraph of p. 234.

    And then Lewis goes on to address your second point.
  • baker
    3.7k
    My interest here is as to the extent to which Christians (and Muslims) ought be allowed at the table when ethical issues are discussed. Given their avowed admiration for evil, ought we trust their ethical judgement?Banno

    When your face is printed on the money, you can do what you want. But until such a time, you just might have to find a way to get along with others, regardless of their morality.
  • frank
    9.6k
    Lewis raises issues that are pertinent, and argues his case clearly. This thread asks others to view and assess that argument. The ensuing discussion improves our understanding.Banno

    It's old stuff. New to you I guess? Have at it.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    More stuff that is addressed in the article - I comment it to you, it's quite a good read.

    The metaphor is of a parent who leaves sharp objects, explosives and matches in the nursery. "... the consequences are on them".
  • baker
    3.7k
    I think this depiction relies on a peculiarly modern conception of God as a kind of camp commandant. The Christian view would be more that due to humanity's inherent predeliction to sub-optimal behaviour (consequence of 'the original sin') then the outcome of their life choices is likely to be poor ('hell'). They are offered a way to avoid this fate ('salvation') but should they reject it willfully, then the consequences are on them. I believe this is what is behind C.S. Lewis statement that 'the doors of hell are locked from the inside.' It's not imposed on them except as a consequence of their decisions.Wayfarer

    But your birth is imposed on you, by God.

    God, supposedly in his infinite wisdom and goodness, made you inherently sinful and deserving of eternal suffering. Nevermind the "inherited sin" theory; God knew it all, he put it all in motion, nothing happens without his will, he is reponsible for your birth and your nature.

    And the only way you can avoid your horrible fate is by believing what some people tell you, people who beat you, rape you, and generally don't care whether you live or die. Truly, people whose word you should take for gold!
  • Banno
    15.7k
    Getting along with them is fine, until they want to introduce legislation that allows them to persecute LGBTQI+ children.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    Have at it.frank

    Will do. And others will join us. Thanks for your contributions.
  • baker
    3.7k
    Why would we let apologists for hatred and violence help build an agreement around ethics?Tom Storm

    Given that we want some kind of democracy and that they make up a considerable portion of the human population, what choices do we have?
  • Wayfarer
    14.6k
    But your birth is imposed on you, by God.baker

    Where does the Bible say that?

    God, supposedly in his infinite wisdom and goodness, made you inherently sinful and deserving of eternal suffering.baker

    Buddhists believe that you are born out of the karma of previous lives, and that your condition is one of 'beginningless ignorance'. Should you not avail yourself of the opportunity to devote yourself to the Dharma in this brief sliver of time that your life occupies, then your fate might be a hell that is equally dreadful to any of those depicted in Dante's Inferno.

    Lewis raises issues that are pertinent, and argues his case clearly.Banno

    So far, on first reading, don't agree with this assessment at all. The problem with your reading, and Lewis' reading, is that it plainly starts from the premise that religion is tosh, and will then proceed to interpret every argument accordingly. Of course nearly everyone here will then join the pile on. It is an exercise in religion-bashing, and the seeking of self-satisfaction that 'us atheists are far more humane than those beastly Christians and Muslims could ever be'. So I don't think I'll play along.
  • baker
    3.7k
    Getting along with them is fine, until they want to introduce legislation that allows them to persecute LGTBQI+ children.Banno

    You and them have two foundational beliefs that are incompatible:

    You believe that the world can and should be changed for the better.
    The Abrahamic monotheists believe that the world is incorrigible, a vale of tears.

    This is your essential and unbridgable disagreement.
  • baker
    3.7k
    But your birth is imposed on you, by God.
    — baker

    Where does the Bible say that?
    Wayfarer

    "You formed me in the womb" says the Psalmist.
    Besides, it follows from God being omnimax that nothing happens without his will.


    Buddhists believe that you are born out of the karma of previous lives, and that your condition is one of 'beginningless ignorance'. Should you not avail yourself of the opportunity to devote yourself to the Dharma in this brief sliver of time that your life occupies, then your fate might be a hell that is equally dreadful to any of those depicted in Dante's Inferno.

    Ha! Now you're getting there.
  • Banno
    15.7k
    So far, on first reading, don't agree with this assessment at all. The problem with your reading, and Lewis' reading, is that it plainly starts from the premise that religion is tosh, and will then proceed to interpret every argument accordingly. Of course nearly everyone here will then join the pile on. It is an exercise in religion-bashing, and the seeking of self-satisfaction that 'us atheists are far more humane than those beastly Christians and Muslims could ever be'. So I don't think I'll play along.Wayfarer

    An excellent assessment. The more so, for you, since you now have no need to address the arguments presented in the article, or hereabouts.
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.