• gevgala
    6
    The problem of evil, which centers around the apparent contradiction between the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good God and the presence of evil and suffering in the world, has been the subject of intense debate among philosophers and theologians for centuries. While some argue that they have found a solution, there remains no universally accepted answer to the problem of evil. In this post, I will try to argue that the lack of a definitive answer to the problem of evil may be intentional, as solving it could potentially lead to complacency towards evil and suffering.

    My argument:
    Premise 1: The problem of evil seeks to reconcile the existence of evil and suffering with the belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God.
    Premise 2: If a universally accepted explanation for the existence of evil were found, it would enable humans to reconcile with the presence of evil and suffering in the world.
    Premise 3: Reconciliation with the presence of evil and suffering, resulting from a universally accepted explanation, could lead to complacency towards the struggle against evil.
    Premise 4: Complacency towards evil and suffering would hinder progress in ethical thought, social policies, and humanitarian actions.
    Premise 5: The lack of a universally accepted explanation for the existence of evil keeps us questioning, reflecting, and seeking to combat evil and suffering.
    Premise 6: Our continuous struggle against evil, driven by the unresolved nature of the problem, leads to advancements in ethical thought, social policies, and humanitarian actions.
    Conclusion: Therefore, the unsolved mystery of the problem of evil may serve as a necessary paradox that motivates our ongoing fight against evil and suffering. This perpetual questioning and striving for answers help to drive progress in ethics, social policies, and humanitarian initiatives, ultimately fostering a more just and compassionate world.
  • invicta
    227
    The idea that a product of a perfect being is also perfect is a fallacy.

    The son is not always like the father.
  • Wayfarer
    17.4k
    :100: This is similar to John Hick’s argument in Evil and the God of Love. Can’t find any fault with it.
  • 180 Proof
    11.6k
    There is no "problem" without the premise of an "All-Good God". I think the only concepts of "God" consistent with indifferent nature (e.g. all life feeds on life) and needless suffering are "God is a sadist" and "God is a fiction" – both of which are unworthy of worship – and consequently anti/a-theism is (like) a moral imperative.
  • Tom Storm
    6.2k
    I don't really consider evil to be a human attribute. Perhaps disfunction is a better word and it removes the quasi-religious nonsense. For me if there is an 'evil' it is nature. The reality of predator and prey and all the requisite savageries and cruelties which are the hallmark of the lives of most living creatures - built right into the model of survival and which cannot be overcome. But this is only evil if it was designed this way by some monomaniac god who also kindly threw in cancer, MS and psoriasis, and wonky appendixes and a myriad of other design flaws and fuck ups for no apparent reason. If god were a car manufacturer he'd be shut down and the subject of some spectacular litigation.
  • boagie
    303
    The nature of evil is not a mystery, it is that which is bad, unpleasant, and anti-life pure and simple.
  • Fooloso4
    4.2k
    Premise 2: If a universally accepted explanation for the existence of evil were found, it would enable humans to reconcile with the presence of evil and suffering in the world.gevgala

    The real problem of evil, the misfortunes we suffer, would remain. A theological reconciliation does nothing to change that.

    Put differently, the real problem of evil is not theological. To the extent theologians treat it as if it is, they are part of the problem not the solution.
  • boagie
    303
    Evil is that which is a bad/painful/distasteful experience which undermines the essence of life. These experiences diminish rather than support life. The is no mystery about it.
  • Banno
    20.4k
    SO god invented evil in order to keep the plot interesting; like Tolkien torturing hobbits, but with the important difference that Hobbits do not actually suffer.

    How is it that God is not culpable?
  • Wayfarer
    17.4k
    How is it that God is not culpable?Banno

    In what possible world is there no suffering? Where children emerge wholly formed and not subject to the hazards of infancy? Where there is no predation and no creature ever suffers and dies? Where there are no diseases and nobody suffers injury from falls of accidents?

    There's a view that I call 'the hotel manager theodicy'. 'Hey, people are suffering! There's disasters and diseases! Who's in charge here!' It's based on the anthropomorphic image of God as a kind of director or CEO - a hotel manager, and not a good one. But I don't recall in any of the mythologies of the major religions any assurance that the world ought to be like this, that it ought to be free of suffering or imperfection. If there is a reason for suffering, it must be something other than that.
  • invicta
    227
    Snakes be snakes really…blame the woman

    Hmm not sure how the snake snaked his way to paradise
  • Banno
    20.4k
    In what possible world is there no suffering?Wayfarer

    In those possible worlds where there is no suffering. Obviously.

    But yes, you are right that the standard picture of God is incoherent. Where we differ is in that I do not see a coherent alternative.
  • invicta
    227


    Well paradise was cool, some snake could speak to the woman it’s tasty he say…oh but wait god said no…don’t worry just an apple.

    Ok fine.

    Few hours later:

    God: OUT!!!
  • Fooloso4
    4.2k


    What should not be overlooked is how much of what the snake said is the truth:

    For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (3.5)

    God confirms this:

    And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. (3.22)

    Being like a god is a main source of our suffering. Knowledge is productive. Adam knew Eve and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. (4.1) Knowing good and evil means doing and producing good and evil. Both are fruits of the same tree.
  • Wayfarer
    17.4k
    I read that as a parable about the development of self-consciousness and language. Animal awareness is innocent in the sense that it has no sense of self and no idea that things could be any different to what they are. With the advent of self-consciousness, language, possessions, the fear of death, human consciousness moves to a novel plane of existence, able to make its own judgements and decide on its own courses of action.
  • Tom Storm
    6.2k
    What should not be overlooked is how much of what the snake said is the truth:Fooloso4

    The snake is the hero in this story.
  • Fooloso4
    4.2k
    The snake is the hero in this story.Tom Storm

    In my story too it often is.
  • Wayfarer
    17.4k
    Snakes are symbols of treachery and deceit throughout Western culture, near to the ground, symbolizing abasement, their poison symbolizing death. But they are worshipped as symbols of divine power in Eastern traditions:
    Nagarjunas-verses-464x625.jpg
    Iconographic representation of Nāgārjuna, 'Lord of Nagas'

    The Prajñāpāramitā teachings of Buddhism were said to have been retrieved by Nāgārjuna from the realm of the Nagas, having been guarded there from the time of the parinirvana of Buddha, awaiting a suitable audience. (I wonder what C G Jung would make of that - perhaps a symbol of the unconscious, and the hazards awaiting those who chose to explore it, transmuted here into guardians by Nagarjuna's insight.)
  • Fooloso4
    4.2k


    Genesis has the concept of the ways of things but not of their nature. The movement of the snake, moving one way in order to go in another, reflects its duplicity. Only part of what it tells Eve is true. Part of what it says is equivocal - on the day you eat you will not die, and part is a matter of what it does not say.
  • boagie
    303
    Evil is irrational religious baggage, much of which is about offending an imaginary friend. It is so much a part of the culture it is difficult for the culture to let go of it. It is an unhealthy concept that needs to be abandoned.
  • Fooloso4
    4.2k
    Evil is irrational religious baggageboagie

    The irrational religious baggage is something you and others are carrying.

    You are conflating a particular reified belief with the much older and more basic meaning which is that evil is what is bad, what causes suffering, hardship, and adversity.
  • Art48
    312
    One way to refute the OP is to provide a counterexample.
    Here is what I believe is a valid counterexample.
    Explanation:
    There are two co-equal Gods, a good God and an evil God. They are at war.
    Those who fight on the side of the good God, go to heaven when they die.
    Those who fight on the side of the evil God, to to hell when they die.
    Those who refuse to fight on either side, also go to hell when they die.
    If this explanation were universally accepted, it would not lead to complacency towards the struggle against evil.
  • Wayfarer
    17.4k
    There were many ancient religious cults that had such teachings - various forms of gnosticism, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism. A lot of people still believe it.

    I tend more towards the idea of evil as privation of the good. Evil is not something that exists on its own, but rather the absence of a good. Blindness is not a thing in itself, but is simply the lack of the ability to see. Disease is the absence of health, but it has no reality independently of health. Similarly, evil is seen as the lack of some good quality or attribute that ought to be present.
  • boagie
    303


    I am not confusing anything by stating that irrational religious meanings need to be negated. I fully agree that which is evil is a bad experience, painful, unpleasant and/or life diminishing
  • Fooloso4
    4.2k


    It is one thing to say that the irrational religious meanings of the term needs to be negated. It is quite another to say:


    Evil is irrational religious baggage, much of which is about offending an imaginary friend.boagie

    and:

    It is an unhealthy concept that needs to be abandoned.boagie

    There is nothing irrational about the Hebrew Bible term ra', Many scholars prefer to translate it as the tree of good and bad. There is nothing there about an imaginary friend. It is about what men do.

    You perpetuate the very thing you are trying to eliminate by carrying the baggage you want to leave behind.
  • Wayfarer
    17.4k
    'Atheists are those who stil feel the weight of their chains' ~ Albert Einstein
  • boagie
    303


    You've taken it out of context, must be a Christian---lol! The quote is. Atheists are those who still feel the weight of the chains they have shed.
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