• Shawn
    10.8k
    Let's say that a forest is on fire. In it is a fawn who, just like any other animal, lived according to Nature. This fawn had no escape from the fire, and was burned alive. It suffered, just like any other living entity suffers.

    Does God's omniscience have any coherent logical explanation for this occurrence of gratuitous pain and suffering?

    It seems to me that, with such a simple example one can demolish the omnibenevolence of God in one strike.

    The problem here is that it becomes, quite honestly, too simple to deny God's grace with such an evidential claim.

    What is your response to the burning fawn scenario with respect to God?
  • DingoJones
    2k


    What do you mean by “too simple”? Sometimes things are done simply, such as the obvious logical contradiction of omnibenevolence and the horrible death of the fawn. How complex does it need to be to satisfy you?
    Also, what is gods “grace”?
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    How complex does it need to be to satisfy you?DingoJones

    Exactly, the point here is that Occams razor has been applied to such a degree, that nothing simpler can be envisioned as evidential proof of a cold and distant God or a universe where there is none.

    Does that make better sense?

    Or, another way... If God's benevolence is so simple to deny with a burning fawn, then what does that say about notions of God himself?
  • 3017amen
    2.6k


    With all due respect please don't take this as rhetorical questioning:

    1. Why would you believe that God is omniscient?

    2. Who (which theist philosopher) was it that assigned those attributes to God?

    3. Is the Christian Bible a perfect book about God?

    Is there a common theme there... (?).
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    1. Says Him?
    2. Aquinas, I believe?
    3. Supposedly, no other book renders Him with such esoterics and grandeur than the Bible.

    The theme that follows from the example of the burning fawn, is that either God is too incomprehensible to even talk about or that our notions about Him are fundamentally flawed.

    Ya?
  • 3017amen
    2.6k


    See, you're better than you thought you were!!

    We human's get all twisted up over these notions of God. I believe it's one of the greatest sins of pride.

    If I can't get inside of your mind (or my own mind), how is it that we can get inside of God's...
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    If I can't get inside of your mind (or my own mind), how is it that we can get inside of God's...3017amen

    Yes, but, the bigger point here isn't justifying suffering, which is a common response. But, if at every point of the continuum of God's love towards humanity is put to question and in this case the simplest of examples, then something is wrong with our relationship with Him, even as an abstraction.
  • DingoJones
    2k


    Well not being omnibenevolent is not the same as being cold and distant. God could be mostly good but makes certain sacrifices for his plan or mysterious ways etc.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    Well not being omnibenevolent is not the same as being cold and distant. God could be mostly good but makes certain sacrifices for his plan or mysterious ways etc.DingoJones

    Yes, that is also a common response. But, what alternatives are we left with when presented with the most simple of evidential evidence towards denying the goodness of God?
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    It seems to me that, with such a simple example one can demolish the omnibenevolence of God in one strike.Wallows
    Your faith in His omnibenevolence. Is the state of your faith a criterion even you would want?
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    Your faith in His omnibenevolence. Is the state of your faith a criterion even you would want?tim wood

    No, that's not my point. Regardless of whatever I believe, if I can spot suffering in such a simple case, then so can anyone else?
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    then so can anyone else?Wallows

    For whom are you speaking?
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    For whom are you speaking?tim wood

    Anyone who knows what suffering is?
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    Anyone who knows what suffering is?Wallows
    What are you talking about? What you think? What you think other people think? Or a substantive topic - however unable of substantive consideration - like the "omnibenevolence of g/God?
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    I don't know what you are getting at.

    I'll repeat the point of this thread in standard form.

    A) God is omnibenevolent.
    B) A fawn burns in the forest.
    C) Any person can see that this was a case of gratuitous suffering, if not then why not?
    ...
    D) Either God is not omnibenevolent or our conception of him is fundamentally flawed.
  • 3017amen
    2.6k


    Sure, hence the metaphor relative to the tree of Life. As we read from the book of Ecclesiastes, as you say, it suggests there is indeed something wrong about this life's existence. Sad, but there is hope.

    Perhaps the question there is what seemingly is appropriate to believe. In my opinion it's entirely appropriate to pick and choose which scripture has the most relevance. We can try to think reasonably by treating like cases likely and different cases differently.

    What I'm saying is in the 21st century we need to give ourselves credit and be a bit more sophisticated about our interpretations of Christian apologetics.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    Christian apologetics.3017amen

    But, the position is indefensible. So, what's the point of getting apologetic on this account?
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    A) God is omnibenevolent.
    B) A fawn burns in the forest.
    C) Any person can see that this was a case of gratuitous suffering, if not then why not?
    ...
    D) Either God is not omnibenevolent or our conception of him is fundamentally flawed.
    Wallows

    Great. What does A) mean?
    B) Given a fire in the woods, a lot of things and beings suffer and die. Interestingly, they also suffer and die without the aid of fire.
    C) Gratuitous? To whom? How? Why?
    D) Unanswerable until A) explicated.

    And E) What is your conception of g/God such that any conception of h/Him by you would not be fundamentally flawed?
  • Qwex
    366
    I accept the notion of insurance.

    I accept the notion of great mathematical prowess.

    If there is a God thing.

    God thing can predict the future from a cohesive view of the present.

    "I know you will probably lead a good life'.

    During vessel selection, God thing probably has a plethora of different vessels available for one and his/her 'moral rating'.

    If the God thing can sense all beings and select thoughts, it can easily find a good vessel for who deserves heaven or hell.

    Of course, the burning fawn example.

    I'm in a good vessel, I may witness the worst torture - it's improbable. However if it does happen I think heaven will be increased in the next life.

    I believe this universe is a low frequency hell. This means that, you might burn, and other things. There is a chance of that. By being here, we either deserved that chance, or we're on a special quest.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    E) What is your conception of g/God such that any conception of h/Him by you would not be fundamentally flawed?tim wood

    None...

    Therefore, one can either plead ignorance or simply retire from entertaining any notions/premises of A,B,C - in regards to trying to justify the fawn's suffering.
  • 3017amen
    2.6k


    If I understand the question correctly there would actually be no point or real import. Of course I'm biased because I'm a Christian existentialist. The Fundamentalist would likely interminably argue for the sake of arguing, which in turn helps no one.

    I certainly don't mean to put the kibosh on your OP, but it does suggest that we all have to learn which questions are the best one's to ask ourselves and each other.
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    trying to justify the fawn's suffering.Wallows
    What makes you think that justifying the fawn's suffering is necessary - or even possible? I'll buy that the fawn feels pain. Suffering? Ehh. Not so sure. And not even worth questioning or doubting, except when someone wants to make illegitimate use of it. I'm thinking you are very confused about boundaries.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    I certainly don't mean to put the kibosh on your OP, but it does suggest that we all have to learn which questions are the best one's to ask ourselves and each other.3017amen

    Well, if we simplify things, then a burning fawn makes no rational sense in any possible world or one where a God resides.

    Let me try and use a mathematical analogy. Think of this as some epsilon-delta derivation of a point f(x) on the plane. x is the burning fawn, and no lower bound exists. Therefore, f(x) is the incoherence of/for which to maintain the goodness of God?
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    I'm a Christian existentialist.3017amen

    I cribbed this from online;
    "Kierkegaard proposed that each person must make independent choices, which then constitute his or her existence. Each person suffers from the anguish of indecision (whether knowingly or unknowingly) until he or she commits to a particular choice about the way to live. Kierkegaard also proposed three rubrics with which to understand the conditions that issue from distinct life choices: the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious." - Wiki

    Is it a fair entry into Christian Existentialism (CE) and your understanding of CE?
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    What makes you think that justifying the fawn's suffering is necessary - or even possible? I'll buy that the fawn feels pain. Suffering? Ehh. Not so sure. And not even worth questioning or doubting, except when someone wants to make illegitimate use of it. I'm thinking you are very confused about boundaries.tim wood

    Maybe I'm confused. But, if we reduce the notion of the problem of evil to such a simple case (let's assume it's the simplest case imaginable), which leaves open room for doubting God, then doesn't that imply either/or two things, being that of which either God doesn't exist or we simply will never be able to understand Him?
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    Well, if we simplify things, then a burning fawn makes no rational sense in any possible worldWallows

    It makes every sense in every world in which it occurs.
  • Shawn
    10.8k
    It makes every sense in every world in which it occurs.tim wood

    Maybe the fact that it happened, then yes, we can all agree as to that. But, the ontological import is the same in any possible world, no?
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    You shall have to think about and decide, if you can, what it is you're talking about, ideas about something, or the something itself, on your best understanding. Till then, you've got one foot in incoherence.

    You clearly have feelings and thoughts about the fawn. None of them seem appropriate.

    And I buy the notion that reason gets you exactly nowhere when it comes to the meaning of g/God. That is, nowhere. Reason can help with other people's ideas on the subject,but that's a different subject, as well as being a subject that calls for a good deal of study
  • Shawn
    10.8k


    Yet, we both understand the import of the burning fawn here.


    Therefore, you also understand that anything is moot about God at this point, including yours.
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    But, the ontological import is the same in any possible world, no?Wallows

    Meaning? You shall have to explain to me "ontological import" and the significance of "any possible world"? Again, what are you talking about? Short, simple, declarative sentences. E.g., "I think...".
  • tim wood
    5.3k
    Yet, we both understand the import of the burning fawn here.Wallows
    The fawn burned. The reasons might be interesting. Beyond that, I do not know what you are talking about. What is the "import"?
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