• Yajur
    31
    1. If there is a monotheistic God, she is omniscient and omnibenevolent.
    2. God can not be both omniscient and omnibenevolent.
    3. Therefore, there is no monotheistic God.

    For my second premise, I make the argument:
    a. Either God had advance knowledge that humans would be sinful (forbidden fruit, world wars, genocides, crocs, etc.) or she did not.
    b. If God did not have this knowledge, then she is not omniscient.
    c. If God did have this knowledge, and still made humans the way she did, then she is not omnibenevolent.
    d. Therefore, God can not be both omniscient and omnibenevolent.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    A straightforward Christian response is that the consensus view of what amounts to ‘good’ is flawed. Nowhere in the Bible or other sacred texts, is it stated that life is intrinsically pleasurable or free of suffering; suffering and loss are an inevitable consequence of existence. Furthermore if you cast your mind back over the last couple of centuries the most appalling instances of intentional evil have all been perpetrated by humans. Of course there are also catastrophes, diseases and epidemics, but how would it be possible to have a physical world in which there were no such things?

    I often see this argument on the Forum, and I think of it as ‘the hotel manager theodicy’. It’s the view that God is like an almighty CEO, responsible for everything that happens. I think that is a consequence of at least some forms of religious belief, but I also think it’s based on a misunderstanding.
  • Yajur
    31
    Furthermore if you cast your mind back over the last couple of centuries the most appalling instances of intentional evil have all been perpetrated by humans.Wayfarer

    Yes, exactly my point.
    These are people created by God.
    Being Omniscient he created them with the knowledge that they are going to have evil intentions.
    So how can God be omnibenevolent?

    Of course there are also catastrophes, diseases and epidemics, but how would it be possible to have a physical world in which there were no such things?Wayfarer

    Why do you think such a world is physically impossible? Smallpox was eradicated in 1980 and we're just fine.

    I also think it’s based on a misunderstandingWayfarer

    The Christian faith says a single God created the whole universe. If he created it and knew how it would unfold, isn't he responsible for everything that happens?
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    Being Omniscient he created them with the knowledge that they are going to have evil intentions.Yajur

    Christian doctrine says that individuals must be free to choose good or evil. If you could only do good, then it wouldn't have any meaning - you'd be an automaton. You are responsible.

    Of course there are also catastrophes, diseases and epidemics, but how would it be possible to have a physical world in which there were no such things?
    — Wayfarer

    Why do you think such a world is physically impossible? Smallpox was eradicated in 1980 and we're just fine.
    Yajur

    Where would the line be drawn? Would predation then be ruled out, because prey animals are eaten? What if being susceptible to cancer is part of the condition of being born? The world is not necessarily arranged for our convenience.

    The Christian faith says a single God created the whole universe. If he created it and knew how it would unfold, isn't he responsible for everything that happens?Yajur

    If you pose such a question purely to debunk it, then it is probably pointless to try and pursue it. But anyway, I think this attitude is far too anthropomorphic. Again, you're expecting God to be like a hotel manager, who you can complain to, and about, when the taps leak or the carpet is mouldy. But God is also awful, although that is often airbrushed out of domesticated religions in favour of cute nativity scenes and little cards with embossed cherubim. The price of being alive is an awful lot of risk - indeed most species that have ever lived have already died out. The fact that this is so, is not really an argument against God.
  • Janus
    6.1k
    Of course there are also catastrophes, diseases and epidemics, but how would it be possible to have a physical world in which there were no such things?Wayfarer

    It is not impossible to imagine a world in which such things do not exist; therefore it is not logically necessary that they should exist (if it is physically necessary that they should exist that just reflects the physical nature of our world, which is irrelevant to the argument). On what grounds would you say it is impossible for any physical world to be free from catastrophes, diseases and epidemics?
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    Well, considering the nature of the physical world. This one, in particular, happens to be volcanic, i.e. has a hot core, and the tectonic plates shift around. This results in catastrophes. But I don’t believe that Christians believe that such catastrophes are God’s work. Although, now that I write that, there is the phrase ‘act of God’ still preserved in insurance law. But be that as it may, I am always at a loss to see where this ends: a world where nothing dies, where there is no chance of misfortune, accident or injury? Hey, that sounds a lot like....oh, never mind. :smile:
  • Janus
    6.1k


    Yes, it sounds a lot like heaven. There would seem to be no logical reason why God could not have created a heavenly physical world if he was omnipotent, and no reason why he would not want to if he was omnibenevolent.

    If God created the world then logically catastrophes must be his work, either by commission or omission.
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    There would seem to be no logical reason why God could not have created a heavenly physical world if he was omnipotent,Janus

    Is there anywhere in the Bible, or other sacred texts for that matter, where a promise or commitment is made ‘there shalt be no suffering or evil in the world’?

    And, I would be pretty careful about what, exactly, ‘creation’ amounts to, in the traditional view. It may not be the kind of engineering expertise which seems to serve as the predominant metaphor in our scientific age.
  • Janus
    6.1k


    Not that I am aware of, but that doesn't seem at all relevant.
  • unenlightened
    2.8k
    Yes, it sounds a lot like heaven. There would seem to be no logical reason why God could not have created a heavenly physical world if he was omnipotent, and no reason why he would not want to if he was omnibenevolent.

    If God created the world then logically catastrophes must be his work, either by commission or omission.
    Janus

    We're all in heaven already, but we get bored singing hallelujah, So God has made us this totally immersive game full of goodies and baddies and difficulties and problems. The creator of Mario also created Bowser - it was no mistake or failure.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    God didn't create evil. God created people with the capability of choice. It is our choices, the bad ones, that creates evil.

    If we could create AI would we give it free will or do you think we should make them choiceless automatons?

    Do you prefer to be someone responsible for your own actions or do you want to be a mechanical cog in the wheel of determinism?
  • Janus
    6.1k


    Yeah, right, that seems likely!
  • lupac
    16
    I don’t think I agree with your first premise; I don’t see why a monotheistic God must be omnibenevolent. That’d be great, of course, but I don’t see why ‘the one true God’ has to be on our side. Maybe God is cruel and omniscient; maybe God is fickle and omnipotent. Examples for both of those behaviors can easily be found in the Christian faith. I’d like to hear why you think a monotheistic God must be both omnibenevolent and omniscient.

    Your defense of premise two is stronger but, to borrow a tad from wayfarer, our definition of ‘good’ may be limited by our lack of omniscience. Perhaps if we could see and know all things we would be able to see that these obviously evil things lead somehow to a better world that could not exist without it. Personally, I’d still take the world without suffering. I think you could fortify the argument by adding something about needless suffering.
  • Sam26
    1.2k
    1. If there is a monotheistic God, she is omniscient and omnibenevolent.
    2. God can not be both omniscient and omnibenevolent.
    3. Therefore, there is no monotheistic God.

    For my second premise, I make the argument:
    a. Either God had advance knowledge that humans would be sinful (forbidden fruit, world wars, genocides, crocs, etc.) or she did not.
    b. If God did not have this knowledge, then she is not omniscient.
    c. If God did have this knowledge, and still made humans the way she did, then she is not omnibenevolent.
    d. Therefore, God can not be both omniscient and omnibenevolent.
    Yajur

    Your argument is a good one. What is funny is that people don't seem to understand the argument, based on some of the responses.

    Other implications of this argument are as follows: Any being that creates other beings with a free will, knowing that those beings would commit the kind of evils that would send them to hell forever, is an evil being, period. These are not the actions of a benevolent being, by definition. Basically what this says is that the Christian idea of God is either flawed, or that if this being exists, the being is not worthy of worship. In fact, this being should be shunned. I don't believe such a being exists, at least in terms of any religious idea.
  • Rank Amateur
    560
    here is skepical theist response.

    P1 - we have no basis at all to believe we can make any statement at all about the nature of God.
    P2. - any statement that any human makes that assigns any characteristic at all to the nature of God is by definition anthropomorphic and we have no basis at all to know if it is or is not true.

    Conclusion - any argument that contains a premise about the nature of God fails, because there is no way at all establish the truth value of the premise.
  • Sam26
    1.2k
    P1 - we have no basis at all to believe we can make any statement at all about the nature of God.
    P2. - any statement that any human makes that assigns any characteristic at all to the nature of God is by definition anthropomorphic and we have no basis at all to know if it is or is not true.

    Conclusion - any argument that contains a premise about the nature of God fails, because there is no way at all establish the truth value of the premise.
    Rank Amateur

    I've heard this argument before, but I think it's wrong, i.e., I think premise one and two are false. We can and do make statements about the nature of God all the time, and the basis for these statements have to do with the concepts we use. Now one might argue that the concept God has no instance in reality, but I think it's incorrect to say that "...we have no basis at all to believe we can make any statement at all about the nature of God."

    Premise two states that many of our statements about God are anthropomorphic, but that in itself doesn't make it true or not true, it just means that we have no way to determine if it's true, at least none that I see. After all it's conceivable that there is a God, and that some of the anthropomorphic statements about God are true.

    So given these rebuttals the conclusion doesn't follow. Moreover, I would not conclude that there is no way at all to determine if it's true that God exists. All we can say is that given our present knowledge there is no way to determine if there is a God in the religious sense, Christian or otherwise.

    I'm an atheist when it comes to a religious God, but agnostic when it comes to whether there is some being that might fit the bill in some sense. I just don't know.
  • Wallows
    6.2k
    We're all in heaven already, but we get bored singing hallelujah, So God has made us this totally immersive game full of goodies and baddies and difficulties and problems. The creator of Mario also created Bowser - it was no mistake or failure.unenlightened

    Sorry; but, this is obviously a false cause fallacy, Just pointing that out.
  • Rank Amateur
    560
    We can and do make statements about the nature of God all the time,Sam26

    and a 2 year old sitting on my lap can make statements about the calculus book on my desk. The point is we can say all we want, and we can believe all we want that we are intelligent enough to make meaningful statements about the nature of God - but we have absolutely no basis at all to judge in any way at all the validity of these statement.
  • Sam26
    1.2k
    But that's what the argument is about, the validity of the statements, are they true or false. It's not nonsense to talk about the existence of such a being, and your analogy of a 2 year old making statements about your calculus book just doesn't hold any water. It's not the same at all.
  • Rank Amateur
    560
    and the basis for these statements have to do with the concepts we use. Now one might argue that the concept God has no instance in reality, but I think it's incorrect to say that "...we have no basis at all to believe we can make any statement at all about the nature of God."Sam26

    and ants can communicate their understanding of their world to each other. And their perceptions of their world can be perfectly reasonable to their fellow ants who share the same perception of the world. And it can even be useful - they can tell them follow this trail and food will be there. And to any any other ant this world description is 100% true - but it has nothing at all in common with what our human view of the world is.
  • Rank Amateur
    560
    think my analogy is exactly the point i am trying to make - what is your basis for thinking our ability to actually comprehend the true nature of God is in anyway at all better than a 2 year old's ability to understand calculus ? Because we think we can ???
  • Sam26
    1.2k
    and ants can communicate their understanding of their world to each other. And their perceptions of their world can be perfectly reasonable to their fellow ants who share the same perception of the world. And it can even be useful - they can tell them follow this trail and food will be there. And to any any other ant this world description is 100% true - but it has nothing at all in common with what our human view of the world is.Rank Amateur

    I'm not sure what your point is here. Nothing is reasonable to an ant, reason plays no part in their world or understanding, and neither does truth. I agree that ants have nothing in common with our human world, well almost nothing. They are biological after all, and there are probably other common elements.
  • Rank Amateur
    560
    I'm not sure what your point is here.Sam26

    yea - you are missing my point - no worries
  • Sam26
    1.2k
    think my analogy is exactly the point i am trying to make - what is your basis for thinking our ability to actually comprehend the true nature of God is in anyway at all better than a 2 year old's ability to understand calculus ? Because we think we can ???Rank Amateur

    First, a two year old has no conception of what calculus is, that is, they don't understand the concept calculus, or the concepts used in calculus, so they may as well be talking gibberish. We are able to understand the concepts we use about God. For example, does God exist, i.e., is there an instance in reality where it might be metaphysically possible for such a being to exist. We don't need a perfect definition, or even a perfect understanding of the concepts to talk reasonably about the subject, we do it all the time in quantum physics. We do it all the time in fiction too. I don't need a perfect definition or a perfect understanding of my friends to know they exist, so why do I need this when speculating about God. I don't think I can talk about God, I know I can, we're doing it right now.
  • Rank Amateur
    560
    First, a two year old has no conception of what calculus is, that is, they don't understand the concept calculus, or the concepts used in calculus, so they may as well be talking gibberish.Sam26

    Exactly, that is the point. With the only addition is that the 2 year old has no idea at all that he knows nothing about calculus. And our understanding of the nature of God could be no better than the 2 year olds understanding of calculus, and we also be equally unaware of the fact we have no idea what we are talking about - all our chatter on the nature of God - might also be nothing but gibberish
  • Yajur
    31
    I don’t think I agree with your first premise; I don’t see why a monotheistic God must be omnibenevolent. That’d be great, of course, but I don’t see why ‘the one true God’ has to be on our side. Maybe God is cruel and omniscient; maybe God is fickle and omnipotent. Examples for both of those behaviors can easily be found in the Christian faith. I’d like to hear why you think a monotheistic God must be both omnibenevolent and omniscient.lupac

    Let me show why all three characteristics (omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent) are required of the Christian God:
    1. If God is not omnibenevolent, we can argue he is not worthy of worship by all
    2. If God is not omniscient, the Bible is incorrect (1 John 3:20, "God Knows Everything")
    3. If God is not omnipotent, there is potential for a more powerful being, which in turn would be God
  • Yajur
    31
    here is skepical theist responseRank Amateur

    Here's a solid argument against skeptical theism:

    1. If one accepts skeptical theism, then one asserts that humans (non-omniscient beings) cannot make a reasonable judgment about what God would do in any given situation.
    2. If one cannot make reasonable judgments about what God would do in any
    given situation, then one cannot make claims about any other tenets of religion (e.g. the idea of heaven and hell or if God is actually omnibenevolent in the first place).
    3. Therefore, a skeptical theist must remain skeptical about all other religious beliefs.
  • lupac
    16

    You still haven't shown why God must be omnibenevolent to be God. If God is not omnibenevolent I think I could still argue that God is worthy of praise. However, even if God is actively malevolent and absolutely unworthy of worship they could still be God, we just wouldn't like that. If we do take worship to be a necessary characteristic of God then I think I could agree with your argument, but many people don't worship God and that doesn't change the fact that God is still God.

    I agree with you on your third premise but I just take that as proof the greatest conceivable being is God, and one of the necessary characteristics of the GCB is omnipotence.

    I agree that these are commonly held beliefs about the Christian God, but I don't think they're required characteristics of the Christian God, and even less so for a general God.
  • Rank Amateur
    560
    Here's a solid argument against skeptical theism:

    1. If one accepts skeptical theism, then one asserts that humans (non-omniscient beings) cannot make a reasonable judgment about what God would do in any given situation.
    2. If one cannot make reasonable judgments about what God would do in any
    given situation, then one cannot make claims about any other tenets of religion (e.g. the idea of heaven and hell or if God is actually omnibenevolent in the first place).
    3. Therefore, a skeptical theist must remain skeptical about all other religious beliefs.
    Yajur



    Yajur - happy to reply, but let's do one argument at a time. - to recap

    you present the argument from evil -
    i counter that a 3 - O God and Evil can co-exist if there are compensating goods
    there is an implicit no-seeum argument back that - you don't see any compensating goods, so there are none -
    I present the skeptical theist position that - we have no reason to believe that we have the capability to be aware of the compensating goods, or recognize them as such.

    than you make the argument above, with an acceptance of skeptical theism as a premise.

    So before answering that argument, i would need you to accept that skeptical theism is reasonable, and as such it provides a reasonable case that allows a 3 O God and evil to co-exist - therefor defeating the argument from evil -

    because what I won't do is try to have a meaningful discussion with someone who accepts a position in one case, and rejects the same position in a diff case depending on the answer they support - that would just be wasting both our times.

    So if you want to grant skeptical theism in the AFE case, I am more that willing to address it in your second argument
  • Terrapin Station
    5.2k
    If God did have this knowledge, and still made humans the way she did, then she is not omnibenevolent.Yajur

    Just so you know where I'm coming from I'm a hardcore atheist who thinks that the idea of a god and many other religious beliefs are absolutely absurd.

    However, your argument here doesn't work, simply because you're assuming that the way things are aren't the best way they could be. You're simply putting your own assessment as the trump card. But if there were a god, you could be mistaken and things could really be the best way they can be.
  • Rank Amateur
    560
    Just so you know where I'm coming from I'm a hardcore atheistTerrapin Station

    and probably a dead head !!!
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