• Philosophim
    1.2k
    You seem just to be ignoring the case I have made. What I have said about the relationship between morality and God was not to address the problem of evil, but to correct the idea that morality operates as some kind of external constraint.Bartricks

    The title of your topic is "Solving the problem of evil". The problem of evil is a very specific problem defined by the contradiction inherent in the three omni's in one being. If you remove omnibenevolence as a restraint, then all you have is an omniscient, omnipotent God. Boom, problem avoided.

    But avoiding the problem is not solving the problem.
    When it comes to the problem of evil, I have shown that it involves a presumption of innocence.Bartricks

    No. As stated earlier, if you know about Christianity, in it God sacrifices themselves to forgive the sins of humanity. He declares them all guilty, but forgives them. Are you saying this is evil?

    If you are trying to redefine what good is, you're not going to make that case. Revenge is not considered the height of virtue. Forgiveness of the repentant is. Also, lets say that we are guilty of some crime we committed, but we do not remember it. In what world would that be considered just? At that point, you just want to hurt something for your own satisfaction of destroying something. That's pretty darn evil.

    I think you're confusing the philosophical puzzle of the problem of evil, with your own desire to redefine what is good. Perhaps a better topic title would be called "Redefining evil". But at this point, I think we've strayed from solving the problem of evil.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    The title of your topic is "Solving the problem of evil". The problem of evil is a very specific problem defined by the contradiction inherent in the three omni's in one being. If you remove omnibenevolence as a restraint, then all you have is an omniscient, omnipotent God. Boom, problem avoided.Philosophim

    I have not done that. God is omnibenevolent and there is no problem of evil. Clear? I am not denying that God has any of those properties.

    A good, all powerful being would not suffer innocent people to live in ignorance in a dangerous world.

    Why do you think I think that? It is because a 'good' person doesn't want innocent people to suffer. And if that good person has the power to prevent it, then they do - or at least, so it is reasonable to suppose. It's all there in the OP, so quite why you think I am denying that God is omnibenevolent is beyond me.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    No. As stated earlier, if you know about Christianity, in it God sacrifices themselves to forgive the sins of humanity. He declares them all guilty, but forgives them. Are you saying this is evil?Philosophim

    I have not mentioned Christianity. I am not a Christian. I don't know much about it or care. I am a philosopher, not a theologian.

    I have made an argument. To be clear: if there is evidence of God's existence, then that evidence is evidence of our guilt.

    Absent evidence for God, we have no evidence of our innocence or our guilt. What we have instead is a justified presumption of innocence. But a presumption is not evidence. And thus should there be any evidence for God, that evidence overcomes the presumption.

    But at this point, I think we've strayed from solving the problem of evil.Philosophim

    Then I do not think you understand what the 'problem' is. The 'problem' is that the bad things that happen to us seem to be of a sort that no good all powerful god would allow - and thus imply his non-existence. And that's quite right - of course, no good all powerful being would allow 'innocent' people to be exposed to the risks of such harms.

    So the problem depends upon an assumption of innocence, as I keep saying. Yet we have no evidence of innocence or guilt, only an assumption - an assumption that, admittedly, it is reasonable to make. However, the reasonableness of the assumption is not grounded in evidence, but is rather morally justified. When it comes to evidence, should there be any that God exists, then it will be eo ipso evidence that we are not innocent at all, but deserve to be exposed to the risks living here exposes us to.

    Now, if you think a good all powerful person would not expose guilty people to such risks, I want to see your argument for that. For I have now argued extensively for the opposite - that good people do not feel the same way about all harms, regardless of whether they're befalling the innocent or guilty. And that good people do not actively try and prevent justice from being done. I mean, does a good person release prisoners?
  • Philosophim
    1.2k
    I have not done that. God is omnibenevolent and there is no problem of evil. Clear? I am not denying that God has any of those properties.Bartricks

    Yes, you are denying the property of omnibenevolent. Perhaps the part you do not understand is that what is good is independent from something with power. Might makes right means you presume there is no morality. If you presume no morality, you have an omnipotent, omniscient being. That could just as easily be a devil that enjoys torturing even the innocent for their own pleasure.

    You seem to want to say
    A good, all powerful being would not suffer innocent people to live in ignorance in a dangerous world.Bartricks

    And you are forgetting that an omnipotent being would also not have to cause suffering to create good. An omnipotent being doesn't have to punish evil. It can simply change evil without causing suffering.

    You also seem to be assuming that only your perception of what is good is correct. The point of introducing Christianity was to show you there is a view point of a God that is good that is far better than your own. If you believe Christianity was invented by man, then that means there are people who have a view point of good that is far better than your own. The desire to inflict suffering upon others for its own sake, even upon people who have done wrong, is a human desire, and considered evil by many people.

    You are describing what is omnibenevolent as something less than perfect. Which means its not omnibenevolent. Which means you have not solved the problem of evil.

    I have made an argument. To be clear: if there is evidence of God's existence, then that evidence is evidence of our guilt.Bartricks

    Incorrect. That is evidence that if a God exists, it cannot be a combination of the 3 omni's. What you must show is that a God could be a combination of the 3 omni's, and not have it be a contradiction. But as I've demonstrated, a perfectly good being would not cause undue suffering on the wicked, especially if they did not remember or know what it was they did wrong. Your argument is not sufficient enough to fit omnibenevolence, so it does not solve the problem.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    Yes, you are denying the property of omnibenevolent.Philosophim

    No. I. Am. Not.

    Perhaps the part you do not understand is that what is good is independent from something with power.Philosophim

    I have no idea what that means. Here you are once more straying from the problem of evil and into the relationship between God and morality. I have already said that omnipotence requires that God have power over morality - that God's will and attitudes constitutively determine what is right and good. To think otherwise is, as I have already pointed out to you, to conceive of God as 'bound' by morality - as if morality is some curious force or straightjacket that even God is subject to!

    God makes morality. Now that, in itself, does nothing whatever to overcome the problem of evil. For our source of insight into the content of morality - into what is in fact right and in fact good - is our reason. And our reason tells us that qualities such as sadism and so forth are vices. Thus, despite the fact that God can make anything good if he so wants, the fact remains that sadism is actually a vice and thus we can reasonably infer that God does not have it. He 'could' have it and still be omnibenevolent - for He could approve of sadism in himself despite disapproving of it in others. But that does not seem to be a reasonable default assumption to make. And so we are justified, well justified, in thinking that God himself instantiates the very character traits that he approves of us cultivating - so, we are justified in thinking that God is kind, generous, benevolent and so on.

    And that is all it takes for the problem of evil to arise - or for an 'apparent' problem to arise, anyway (to insist it is a problem is to beg teh question after all).

    And it is to that problem that I am addressing myself. For like most proponents of the problem, I accept entirely that a morally good person does not expose innocent people to the risks of harm that we are exposed to living here. It is just that I reason better than they do and conclude, as one should, that therefore He has not! Which is just what follows from the obviousness of that truth combined with the premise that God exists.
    And from that it follows that we are not innocent. It's just logic.

    Now once more, if you think that a good all powerful being would not expose guilty people to the risks of harm we face here, explain why.
    You say that such a being could just change the evil into the good if he so wished. Yes. But that would be unjust, as I explained. It is not for me to change you into the person I want you to be, is it? If I did that - if I had an idea about how I'd like you to be, and had as well the power to make you answer to it and exercised it - I'd be doing wrong, yes? So why do you think it would be okay for God to do so? Or, to put it another way, given God clearly doesn't approve of us behaving in that manner, why do you think God approves of himself behaving in that manner?

    God wants us to be certain sorts of people. But he's omnibenevolent so he's not going to just make us be those sorts of people, is he? What notion of omnibenevolence is that?
  • Philosophim
    1.2k
    Perhaps the part you do not understand is that what is good is independent from something with power.
    — Philosophim

    I have no idea what that means.
    Bartricks

    And that's the entire problem your argument runs into. Morality is a set of constraints on what we should or should not do, independent of our power. An omnipotent being could change it, or defy it, but then it wouldn't be perfectly good. That is the part you are missing.

    God makes morality.Bartricks
    Then God is not an Omnibenevolent being. Its a being that simply creates laws for others to live by. If God says, "It is good to torture your babies and eat them," then that's a law. It doesn't mean God is perfectly good. What is good is independent of God, that is why God is omnibenevolent. God follows what is good, despite being all powerful.

    You are speaking in terms that are not omnibenevolent. You are saying morality is "might makes right". If you create an all powerful being that makes rules for humanity live by, and punishes them because that's what the God wants to do, that's not an omnibenevolent being. It would be just as disingenuous as if I started limiting God's omnipotence or omniscience. If you do that, you're not understanding that the God in the problem of evil is all powerful, all knowing, and all good.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    And that's the entire problem your argument runs into. Morality is a set of constraints on what we should or should not do, independent of our power. An omnipotent being could change it, or defy it, but then it wouldn't be perfectly good. That is the part you are missing.Philosophim

    Er, no, it is not a problem. It is called 'divine command theory' - it's a metaethical theory about the fundamental nature of morality. According to this view - the view that is compatible with God's omnipotence - moral directives are directives of God. So there is no external constraint - God makes na act wrong by issuing a directive not to do it. That directive 'is' its wrongness. And moral values are God's values - that is, if God values something, then it is thereby made morally valuable, for the property of being morally good and the property of being valued by God are one and the same. (this is not 'might makes right' incidentally; it's 'Reason' makes right - and Reason is God....has to be, else God won't be omnipotent).

    Thus, there is no external constraint on God. So you, I'm afraid, either do not understand the nature of omnipotence, or the nature of morality, or both.

    But anyway, it is neither here nor there, for I am not solving the problem of evil by appealing to the fact God can make anything good if he wants, I am solving the problem consistent with morality having the content that it actually appears to have. God has the power to change that content - but there's what God can do, and what God has done. And morality has the content it has and according to that content an omnibenevolent being would not suffer innocent people to live in ignorance in a world like this one.
  • Philosophim
    1.2k
    Divine command theory is a way of avoiding the problem of evil, not solving it. The point that I used above is the same counter to divine command theory. If God commands that we torture our babies and eat them, that is a law. No one would think that this was good, much less "the perfect good."

    But at this point I think we've both made our cases. I've pointed out you're not really talking about a God that is omnibenevolent, and given several reasons pointing that out. You believe for your part, that might makes right, and that omnibenevolent is simply an all powerful being making rules for others to follow.

    Now that we understand each other, there's really nothing else to be said. Hopefully you'll get some others to chime in and present their own views.
  • Bartricks
    5k
    Divine command theory is a way of avoiding the problem of evil, not solving it. The point that I used above is the same counter to divine command theory. If God commands that we torture our babies and eat them, that is a law. No one would think that this was good, much less "the perfect good."Philosophim

    Again, you're not staying on point. This is about the problem of evil, not the credibility of divine command theory. I am assuming that morality has the content it appears to have. The tired old objection to divine command theory is that it seems to allow that morality's content could change. But given that I am assuming it has whatever content it actually appears to have, this is all beside the point, as I keep saying.

    But at this point I think we've both made our cases. I've pointed out you're not really talking about a God that is omnibenevolent, and given several reasons pointing that out. You believe for your part, that might makes right, and that omnibenevolent is simply an all powerful being making rules for others to follow.Philosophim

    Yes, you're just confused. I am talking about an omnipotent, omnibenevolent being. Nothing I have said implies otherwise.
  • ToothyMaw
    761
    Reason trumps revelation, for either you have a reason to believe you have experienced a revelation, or you do not. And in the latter case you have no reason to think in the truth of the supposed revelation. And in the former case, Reason is acknowledged to have the greater authority.Bartricks

    How on earth can one have reason to believe that they have received revelation other than some sort of subjective experience? Furthermore, how would reason have greater authority than the revelation received? It is quite literally the word of god, so it cannot be challenged. Maybe reason can aid in its application, however?

    What our punishments must be for our guilt is already known by god, so he knows exactly what each of us is going to be exposed to and could arrange the world in such a way as to make the punishments make sense if he wanted. Yet he doesn't do this. He just allows it to be determined by luck, as you say. Which isn't actually luck, because he must have known all of it ahead of time and could change it. If you say he doesn't know what we are are going to do because free will, then he isn't omniscient.

    Thus, god punishes unjustly, and therefore is unjust. I don't know how that ties into omnibenevolence, but an unjust god seems undesirable.

    If one freely does wrong, one thereby comes to deserve harm. That does not, of course, entail that others are obliged to give one the harm in question. It does, however, mean that it is not unjust for you to receive it.Bartricks

    In line with your god-theory-of-everything and the aseity argument contained therein this makes sense. But some choices are demonstrably unfree. If you want I can supply an example.

    What we deserve, it seems to me, is to run the gauntlet. God made us run the gauntlet, and from there on in it's down to luck precisely what happens to us.Bartricks

    I sincerely doubt that anyone who has actually "run the gauntlet" would believe that others deserve to "run the gauntlet", even in the presence of a compelling argument for such a thing.

    And if you want confirmation that we are living in a prison, just look around you at others, or look inside yourself. Notice that pretty much everyone you meet has some vice or other. And notice that you do too.Bartricks

    True enough.
  • ToothyMaw
    761
    Then God is not an Omnibenevolent being. Its a being that simply creates laws for others to live by. If God says, "It is good to torture your babies and eat them," then that's a law. It doesn't mean God is perfectly good. What is good is independent of God, that is why God is omnibenevolent. God follows what is good, despite being all powerful.Philosophim

    God can be omnibenevolent even if he determines arbitrarily what is good by adhering to the laws he creates, or by stipulating that he has his own set of laws to follow, according to your reasoning here; you just add the step of creating objective moral laws and, optionally, a set of rules only for god.

    I mean, if god never breaks a moral law he must be omnibenevolent, right? Regardless of who makes the laws?
  • ToothyMaw
    761


    Thought about it some more: the whole omnibenevolence thing seems weaker with a god that can arbitrarily change what is good whenever he wants. Technically I think it can be retained, but it isn't as meaningful as it is with a god that commands what is good because it is good because god could potentially change morality at any time and commit any act and still be omnibenevolent. A truly omnibenevolent god would command that morality cannot be changed and relinquish his omnipotence in the process.
  • Philosophim
    1.2k
    Thought about it some more: the whole omnibenevolence thing seems weaker with a god that can arbitrarily change what is good whenever he wants. Technically I think it can be retained, but it isn't as meaningful as it is with a god that commands what is good because it is good because god could potentially change morality at any time and commit any act and still be omnibenevolent. A truly omnibenevolent god would command that morality cannot be changed and relinquish his omnipotence in the process.ToothyMaw

    This is exactly it. Omnibenevolence is a restraint on what we do, because there is some greater purpose than our own personal whims. An omnipotent God could decide that we should torture and eat all of our babies, but an omnibenevolent God would not.
  • ToothyMaw
    761
    This is exactly it. Omnibenevolence is a restraint on what we do, because there is some greater purpose than our own personal whims. An omnipotent God could decide that we should torture and eat all of our babies, but an omnibenevolent God would not.Philosophim

    I disagree: if god commands us to eat and torture babies it could be moral, although it is so intuitively heinous that hardly anyone would do it. My point is more that omnibenevolence loses all meaning when god can arbitrarily decide what is moral and simultaneously create rules that only apply to himself or change what is moral to suit his own aims at any time.
  • Banno
    17.5k
    if god commands us to eat and torture babies it could be moral,ToothyMaw

    Isn't it open to you here to say that god is wrong? Wouldn't this be a situation in which the moral thing to do would be to condemn god?

    This by way of pointing out that there is a fundamental error in the logic of the approach to morality adopted in the argument here. God's commanding an act on our part does not make that act right.
  • ToothyMaw
    761
    Isn't it open to you here to say that god is wrong? Wouldn't this be a situation in which the moral thing to do would be to condemn god?Banno

    What I meant is that if god deems such an act to be moral it is moral. My bad. Btw, I think Bartricks is taking the more repugnant horn of the dilemma.
  • Banno
    17.5k
    What I meant is that if god commands such an act to be moral it is moral.ToothyMaw

    Why?

    What you suggest concerning babies is immoral, even if god commands it.
  • ToothyMaw
    761


    It might be disgusting and horrible and no one would actually do it, but you have to admit that if god is omnipotent he can make anything moral, no matter how ostensibly despicable.

    You have linked Euthyphro's dilemma in other threads. You aren't ignorant. Why play dumb?
  • ToothyMaw
    761


    And I actually think that the people pretending to be Bartricks come up with some pretty brilliant arguments.
  • Banno
    17.5k
    you have to admit that if god is omnipotent he can make anything moral, no matter how ostensibly despicable.ToothyMaw

    That's what I'm questioning. It's the naturalistic fallacy as much as the Euthyphro. Consider the open question: is it right to eat babies? You know that it isn't. If you claim that it is because god commands it, you are simply acquiescing to a tyrant.
  • TheMadFool
    13.9k
    If you remove omnibenevolence as a restraint, then all you have is an omniscient, omnipotent God. Boom, problem avoided.Philosophim

    :up:
  • Banno
    17.5k
    What a pity.
  • ToothyMaw
    761
    That's what I'm questioning. It's the naturalistic fallacy as much as the Euthyphro. Consider the open question: is it right to eat babies? You know that it isn't. If you claim that it is because god commands it, you are simply acquiescing to a tyrant.Banno

    Look, it is undeniable: if god is omnipotent then anything can be moral. Unless there is a law that god cannot change that says that it is wrong to eat and torture babies, god overrules our own intuitive moral faculties.

    All of this being said, yes, fuck what any god has to say about morality. I would rather be wrong than acquiesce to a tyrant too. We are better off exploring these questions on our own, especially considering there is no way of knowing if we have actually encountered the revelation of an actual god or some sort of super-powerful being that just seems omnipotent and omniscient.
  • ToothyMaw
    761


    What a pity? What is a pity? That I'm trying to be honest here?
  • Banno
    17.5k
    if god is omnipotent then anything can be moral.ToothyMaw

    But that's wrong. Morality is not found by looking to the scriptures, but in deciding what you will do next.

    Even if the scriptures are the word of god, you are the moral agent, you are the one who decides what you will do. And it is open to you to decide that the word of god is evil.

    Right and wrong is not like the laws of physics, sitting around in the world waiting to be found. Right and wrong are attitudes you adopt towards the universe.

    You can't get an "ought" from an "is". That it is the case that god commands it does not make it what you ought do.
  • ToothyMaw
    761


    One ought to do what is good, right?
  • Banno
    17.5k
    "is good" is generally take to mean what one ought do, yes.
  • ToothyMaw
    761


    If god determines with his power that an act is good one ought to do it then - which is different from having a disembodied command to do something. If he issued a mere command to do something your argument would make sense: one could justifiably refuse to follow his commands and remain moral; our own faculties and agency would indeed be paramount.

    This isn't deriving an ought from an is but rather following an infallible command, the very content of which instructs an ought.
  • ToothyMaw
    761


    But we would need to know the commands are definitely infallible, and I see no way of confirming that. So DCT still sucks.
  • Banno
    17.5k
    Yes, but there is a deeper point here, and yes it originates in the Euthyphro.
    This isn't deriving an ought from an is but rather following an infallible command...ToothyMaw
    There's a gap between what god commands and what we do, a point at which we make a decision to do as commanded or not.

    At that point, the one making the decision decides what is right and what is wrong.

    Even in deciding to follow god's command, one decides that following that command is right.

    Hence:
    fuck what any god has to say about morality. I would rather be wrong than acquiesce to a tyrant too.ToothyMaw

    We each have no choice but to choose.
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