Of course my opinion doesn't entail truth or falsity. But reasserting your opinion doesn't help your case either.
I rejected the privation argument for logical reasons.
I don't care if evil is defined as the absence of good and it doesn't impress me because it doesn't affect the power of the problem of evil in refuting theism. A child is tortured to death, a baby is raped (these things happen). It was a "lack of good". God allows this "lack of good" to happen. Hence he is not omnipotent or not benevolent. Same argument stands.
Again, you seem to be using the term "omnipotent" equivocally so lets define the term before we continue.
To say that God is omniscient or omnipotent mean that there can be no real barriers to God's knowing or acting. Apart from Himself, God has created everything there is to be known and sustains it in being. So it is impossible to think of something as thwarting God's will, that is and I can't say this any more clear,...UNLESS God HIMSELF ALLOWS THE THWARTING-as in the human free choice to sin.
But that is a circumstance that requires
omnipotence, and therefore is not an argument against it.
Yes, these things happen, but they happen because of the choices of people
, not because of the choice of God. You're demanding that God act contrary to Himself and how He created us. You're demanding that God be a tyrant and thus act contrary to love and goodness in order to prove His goodness.
Basically you're demanding that God contradict Himself.
How do I know? These are just claims, we can't prove this either way. How do you know there is a metaphysical reality of 'evilness' and that you aren't just making up words an attaching them to things you observe? My version works well with physics and how the natural world appears. Your version brings in complex, undetectable ontologies, moral fields or some such. Occam's razor tends towards my explanation. The person with the larger ontology has the burden of proof.
You're only asserting Occam's razor because you conveniently and a priori
"shave away" God as a possibility. You also ignore contradictions in your assertions.
Lastly, the person who usually says "the burden of proof lies with" those who they oppose are usually the one with the weak position. You came here, to a Catholic forum, asserting your beliefs. So the fact is that the burden of proof lies with you because you are the one asserting your assumptions about the problem of evil.
Therefore the burden lies with you.
Never mind, we have to properly define what good is before we can have any insight as to how evil is a privation of what is good. I'll treat with that in a little bit...
There are two objections here based on misunderstandings. The first has to do with the word you used when referring to the Fall: "implicated". You're still treating these principles such as "good" & "evil" or "law" and "justice" in the positive sense instead of the natural sense. It's like the question Plato posed to an objector, "Do the gods command a thing because it is pious, or is it pious because the gods command it?" The evil we choose to do has nothing to do with something placed upon us, it is a part of our nature-it was inherited. It is this fallen nature that we are born with. It is this nature that clouds our reason and darkens our intellect so that we see evil as something good and desireable. Instead of our reason directing our wills and subduing our passions we allow our passions to subdue our reason and dictate our wills. It is called concupiscience.
I don't buy original sin... Do you have any support for this other than ancient texts? Scientific evidence that we aren't just evolved from primates with animalistic tendencies, moderated by human rational behavior?
You see the evil in the world. You have no problem expounding this data as "proof" about God's supposed non-existence, yet you deny original sin and assert Darwinism?
So then would you also agree with the idea that you can get more from less? That you can get human rationalism from animalistic tendencies?
You assume the position that based on your experience people are generally good in their behavior. The fact is that people are not good in their behavior. People because of selfish longings and desires make bad decisions constantly; everything from adultry and murder to stealing office supplies from your work and lying to your wife on while on the cell phone about where you are at. We rationalize and justify our bad choices under various reasons yet these acts are evil. Even infants and toddlers selfishly desire their favorite toys even to the point of inflicting pain on their siblings. You have newborn babies screaming their heads off just so they can be given a bottle of formula. As parents we have love and pity for them and we endure it but the bottom line is that we are born as pure ids and superegos(to use Frued's terminology). The total domination of the self over others(be they things or even people) is the antithesis of love goodness.
Actually, I am more of a Hobbesian. I am impressed by people's selfishness, cruelty and malevolence and have a more negative than positive view of human nature. For a simple reason - we are animals.
So it seems we share this in common.
No, we are not animals. But we can, and do, succumb to base desires in mimmickry of animals and the fallen world. We were made ,and are called to, a higher degree of life that is evidence by our ability to reason and our desire for good.
As far as God, He is NOT a tyrant. He could not make us do anything, not without violating our nature. God is absolute Truth so what you're suggesting-that God would contradict himself-is absurd. He does guide us; its called the human conscience which is the law of God(the law of Love) written on our hearts or that little "voice" we hear in ourselves that supports us when we do good or rebukes us when we do evil. This is also part of our nature. But sadly people, who continually make one evil decision after another, make it a constant habit to suppress and ignore that voice until it is no longer heard in themselves. Our consciences, like our intellects, must be informed to work properly. When you ignore your conscience and fail to inform it, you make it subject to your passions instead.
Okay, I see this is your religious position. This doesn't jive with a deterministic world at all though. People don't choose to be born with bad souls or good souls, to bad families or situations. So, God doesn't intervene to save babies from being killed, but he did intervene to do some miracles thousands of years ago? He did intervene, right? That's how we know all this stuff about him... But he doesn't intervene any more. That entails the 'tyrant' position, strong language though.
In order to argue determinism you must prove materialism. You have yet to prove that materialism is true so essentially you're begging the question.
Secondly, I never said that people are born with good souls or bad souls. In fact I said that all people are created good, then they choose bad acts.
God's intervention into time does not either mean He's a tyrant because it presupposes His omniscience and omnipotence. He chose to intervene because He knew the dispositions and hearts of those He was intervening for and against. He knew what the response-their choices-would be to His intervention and he knew the consequences that would follow from that intervention and how all would follow according to His plan. That's the advantage of being a Divine Being in eternity-you see all times at once in their present as they happen.
You argue, that He doesn't intervene anymore? How do you know? Have you done a study, a survey?
Ending malaria doesn't change our free will to sin or not.
Stopping babies from dying in hurricanes doesn't change our freedom to be good people or not.
Why doesn't God help these people?
Again, why don't you
Hurricanes don't kill people. It's the people who know they live in an area of high risk for hurricanes who accept that a hurricane may or may not kill them. Its as rediculous as the person who lives in the shadow of a volcano and one morning wakes up surprised to find a lava flow in their back yard.
Basically, how do you know He doesn't? Or better, who are you to determine what is defined as "help"?
The value of free will has to do with Love. For love to be truly love it has to be totally free. But this love is not the generally mistaken modern notion of passionate love. The love that God wants is the highest form of love: the classic "agape"-free and total self-giving love. We could not enjoy perfect love and blessedness unless were were fully free to choose it. We must be fully free to choose God and self-giving love or total selfishness and therefore not-God.
Remember, our faith places the eternal as obviously more important as the temporal-our souls are more important than our bodies. We don't believe that physical death is the end of the person, so neither is the death of innocents(although we can only assume their innocence-we have no real way of knowing who would choose God and who would not-only He can know) is the end of their existence. As far as any such people we pray for them and place them in His care and mercy with the confidence that He will judge them justly and mercifully.
This doesn't justify the death of innocents to me, or the allowance of that.
I find it funny that you think you're in the position to make a judgement on the matter. Or that God has an obligation to justify it to you. Seems to me that you have an inclination to put yourself in the place of God.
If you think a world of mindless robots is more valuable than a world of people with free will then that is totally lost on me. I see such a mindset as the sad consequence of complacency living is a free country such as we have. There's no way I would trade the supposed total elimination of evil(I say "supposed" because there is no way that you could presume that such a world you suppose would be free of evil) and remove from the world the millions of opportunities and experiences of total self-giving love
I wouldn't call us mindless robots, but it's not about it being valuable. It's about whether it's true. It's not a mindset. There is reality, and we learn about it and then accept it or do not.
Again, you're presupposing materialism and begging the question.
So I don't assume animals have emotions. I am absolutely confident that they do, and can back this up with biological research.
To quote Peter Singer:
"Nearly all the external signs that lead us to infer pain in other humans can be seen in other species, especially the species most closely related to us –the species of mammals and birds. The behavioral signs include writhing, facial contortions, moaning, yelping or other forms of calling, attempts to avoid the source of pain, appearance of fear at the prospect of its repetition, and so on. In addition, we know that these animals have nervous systems very like ours, which respond physiologically as ours do when the animal is in circumstances in which we would feel pain: an initial rise of blood pressure, dilated pupils, perspiration, an increased pulse rate, and, if the stimulus continues, a fall in blood pressure. Although human beings have a more developed cerebral cortex than other animals, this part of the brain is concerned with thinking functions rather than with basic impulses, emotions, and feelings. These impulses, emotions, and feelings are located in the diencephalon, which is well developed in many other species of animals, especially mammals and birds. "
Singer here is equivocating feelings and emotions. What he describes are things felt-external stimuli-and he is abstracting that those must translate to internal subjective emotions. He's making the mistake that similiarity necessarily implies descent. He makes these assumptions because he is a utilitarianist and a materialist. He's in effect reading his philosophy into his science.
BTW, this is the same utilitarianist-who unabashedly advocates abortion and euthanasia-who when his mother was sick with a supposedly terminal illness, elected to care for her rather than follow his philosophy and euthanize her.
His excuse? He didn't admit that his theory was wrong, he merely said, "that doesn't mean my rules are wrong, it only means that I disobeyed them in the case of my mother, and acted unethically."http://oldarchive.godspy.com/issues/WHATS-LOVE-GOT-TO-DO-WITH-IT-The-Ethical-Contradictions-of-Peter-Singer-by-Dr-Peter-J-Colosi.cfm.html
Yet Singer I guess forgot that he wrote on page 2 of his book Practical Ethics, where he asserts, "...ethics is not an ideal system that is noble in theory but no good in practice."
And yes it does presume metaphysics and life after death. That could be the topic of another thread but I would quickly ask you here if there is not human soul how do you explain the ability of the human person(the subject) to objectify the body?
I don't even know what this means, to objectify the body?
I'll start a thread in the Lyceum on it.
I don't see how science can justify a soul.
If by "science" you mean empiricism then you're not even raising an argument. You're merely recognizing the limits of the empirical.
Do you think only humans have souls and that animals don't?
No, I make a distinction bewteen the types of souls they have.
At which point do you think the soul entered humans? A whole generation at the same time, or that each new 'sufficiently-human' creature was granted a soul?
Was it for:
Again, I don't deny the existence of a type of soul in animals. As far as "sufficiently human" you're assuming that these species are each and all "human" as we are which begs the question.
I'm not in the habit of interpreting data to suit my philosophy.
I am assuming materialism. I see no evidence of anything else. I see no reason for science of logic to extend to supernatural, non-material things, and no justification for doing so. If you think materialism is false, demonstrate the truth of supernatural, non-material things. (I don't know how you would do this, as I think you only live in a material world, only experience material things, and only have material evidence, by definition).
No, you're assuming empiricism, and it is an a priori
and self-contradictory doctrine. It is not empirical enough.
So you tried to blame suffering on us. I've mentioned many other examples. Babies killed in hurricanes. Death during childbirth. Spina bifida. Autism. Cancer. We can't blame these all on humans, especially in the majority if our history, in the pre global politics, pre modern medicine era. God permits this. Why does letting an infant's brain appear outside the skull so it suffers horribly and dies bring about a greater good?
Again, "babies killed in hurricanes"?-somebody made the choice to live there.
Death during childbirth? Spina bifida? Autism? Cancer? We can't blame these on humans? So my father who smoked all his life, did drugs, and got cancer is "innocent"? That he refused to take care of himself after receiving his stem-cell infusions and died from an infection isn't his fault?
I also watched my father die a peaceful and holy death despite all of his pain and suffering. And I believe that in some mysterious way what he endured in some way redeemed others as well as himself.
The bottom line is that all of your examples can and do trace back to human decisions, human free will, not God. So your argument fails.
You cannot come up with any definition of omnibenevolent that you want.
Here's the common sense definition of God as "all-good". God is the source of all that we recognoze as good. In fact we say that God is the source of all Being. Therefore God cannot be evil in any way, for whether an evil is moral or physical, it is properly understood in terms of what should be there but is not. A thing is good of its kind(and the qualification is important) if it succeeds in being that kind to the fullest. It is bad if it fails.
Now there can be no question of failure on the part of the Creator; God is to the fullest. And insofar as goodness is oone with perfect being, God is therefore perfect good.
God is perfectly good in Himself. We are good only so far as we perfectly cooperate with that goodness that is in Him. God, because of His love for us and free will cannot force us to act contrary to our wills despite His desire for us to act in cooperation with His goodness. By doing so he would destroy our wills and in effect destroy how He created us, and act contrary to Love.
He can compell us no more than a parent can compell their drug-addicted son or daughter to go into rehab-through Love and understanding and by informing them of their self-destructive ways. It STILL boils down to free-will; the addict still has to make the choice to change(to repent and do the good they know they ought to do. God, as a loving Father, informs us the Bible. He informs us by showing us the mistakes our forerunners made and gives us the perfect example of self-giving love through the example of His perfect divine Son.
So we have demonstrated that "omnibenevolence" when referring to God means the perfect goodness of God in Himself.
So God is the source of good and perfect goodness. And allows children to die and suffer horribly. The problem of evil stands.
Wrong. Your argument amounts to cutting off your head to stop a nosebleed. Your argument fails because without a good God then you have no way of making a judgement about what evil is or not.
Without Perfect Goodness good and evil are subjective and relative terms. By even calling evil "evil" you implicitly bear witness to a supreme Goodness.
You think the infants of Amalek were sinners and deserved to be put to death? The children deserved to be wiped out in the flood? That none of the infants were innocent? I don't think this is morally sound.
There are two things I know for sure: there is a God, and I'm not Him. I make no assumptions, I go by what happened. What I think is morally sound is irrelevent.
It makes me wonder, that is if you know the pentateuch so well, how you can expect any generation following would have some miraculous change of heart and the whole society-or even the world- all of a sudden repent of the lives and acts and even worship of their fathers before them and turn back to the God they spurned. I can understand that it may take a great faith than you may be used to to see that a temporary death is a mercy when compaired to an eternal death.
I wasn't exactly trying to convince the whole generation of religious people to abandon their gods. But it is possible. People deconvert and become atheists all the time. Sometimes they have trouble coping, and sometimes they are much better and happier off! There are support groups for the former and great new things for the latter.
You're running from the argument. We all know that, even in this time of the modern nuclear family, that when a grandfather was abused then it was that much harder for him not to abuse his son, and later for that father not to abuse his son. Sin always is proliferated from one generation to the next. Even more so when you have the families of the ancient times when multiple generations of families would live in the same house.
Maybe as much as I see now that it, at least to me, takes a greater faith to see this world as it is, and know that it ought to be better(which itself presumes a knowledge of Something that is supremely perfect), and yet remain an atheist. Because to see this world as its is and call it "proof" and say "there is no God" seems also to accept a notion that the world is destined to remain as evil as it is now or worse, and then to live and die without any hope of anything changing.
Instead, I would say that I see this world with a standard of evidence, as accurately as I can. That I think all gods are made up by men in their stories, and that we, collectively, have a responsibility to help each other and make the world a better and less evil place. This is a beautiful notion to me, not a despairing one.
A "standard" that is false is not a standard.
Secondly, about your charge that man "made up" God, I'll say this: If God DID exist, we'd invent atheism anyway. And we did.
I don't know what you're like, but I know what I'm like. And I know what God is like-at elat the God I say I believe in. That God is infinite; and He's all-wise, so He knows everything about me. He's all-good, too, and all-righteous, and perfectly holy. And He commands me to be perfectly holy too. Since he's all-wise, He knows exactly when I'm not very holy or good, and He judges me based on what He knows. And He's immutable too, so He'll never change. He'll always be the way He is now; so He'll always hold me to the same standards; and He's going t ojudge me by every idle word I utter. That
kind of God threatens my present state of existence and my lifestyle. If I were going to invent a God, I'd probably make one more congenial to my whims. [b]And if I didn't have the sense to invent him that way in the first place, I'd at least invent a God who could change his mind.
The lesser gods-like those of the ancients like the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Greeks, even the Romans-they were invented gods. It was obvious because in the stories that proclaimed them they were essentially human: petty, jealous, lustful, greedy, etc. And all of these ancient cultures also espoused a form of your determinism; the people who believed in these gods believed that they had no control over their lives and were entirely subject to fate. That should tell you something.
2) I'm talking about millions of toddlers and infants who haven't sinned at all. You think their suffering and death is justifiable. I claim it is not.
3) I do emphasize the natural world, as I disbelieve in supernatural realms. I don't think heaven justifies the suffering of the infants who died.
As long as you disbelieve in "supernatural realms" while presupposing materialism you're begging the question. At best you can only assert a certitude for the non-existence of heaven, you cannot demonstrate or prove it.
Burden of proof is on you here. You claim heaven exists. Your evidence of this supernatural realm is a material book that you read with material eyes.[/quote]
Again, see above on this charge. Within this context, the burden is on you. You're the one making the assertions.
Secondly, that I have material eyes, while important, is not an argument against the existence of heaven. The material eyes do not produce the immaterial "I" the self. Yes, it is an argument based on authority. But there is ample evidence-such as the thousands of NDE's-that can amount to a convincing amount of converging clues.
Consider: I have an invisible dragon in my garage. At best you can assert it doesn't exist, you cannot demonstrate it does not exist. Does this make it logical to believe in the dragon? Does it make it a sensible step? Why do you reject the dragon and not heaven?
The "wishful thinking" argument. Basically your saying that there is no scientific evidence for heaven so then there is no heaven.
There no scientific evidence for the notion that nothing exists except what is proved by scientific evidence. You assume that whatever there is no scientific evidence for, does not exist. But there is no scientific evidence for the assumption. It is simply an arbitrary decision to narrow the bounds of reality to the bounds of materialism and the scientific method. This is a decision of the will
, not the intellect.
Nor for many other ideas that everyone admits are valid, even the scientist. When the scientist closes his laboratory and goes home and kisses his wife, he does not believe there is nothing there but hormones and neurons and molecules.
I have no right to claim anything as "justifiable", I can only read that it happened, accept it as history, and presume in faith that the God of justice, love and mercy knew what He was doing. The same as you have no right to say that it was unjustifiable because there is no possible way you can know that with certainty.
If you accept it on faith, then you are not using evidence. You can use faith to accept any religion. This is as much as admitting that you can't logically support this position but must simply accept it is true despite a lack of convincing evidence.
No, I'm making an argument based on authority. Not all arguments are accepted only on material evidence. Some are accepted on philisophical insight, some on authority, some on converging clues.
Naturally arguments based on authority are not as "powerful" as those based on evidence. But it doesn't mean that the argument is unproven. You have yet to show ANY evidence of its impossibility
. All you have been able to say is that you see no (material) evidence. Which goes to the abouve reply.
All knowledge is based on faith in some sense, whether emotional, intellectual, or volitional. One demands proof when the one who he is trying to obtain knowledge from is untrustworthy. Naturally, if I were to say "I believe in God" and yet demand proof from that same God would be absurd. Because for God to be God by definition He must be Truth itself. And if He would lie He would be a contradiction and therefore not God.
My conclusion follows from the data I have and IS logical and valid. You burden is to prove that materialism is the only "game in town". Which you have not. And until you do, you're arguing in a circle.
If you think infants can be sinners, I don't know how to respond. Do you think beating babies is okay? Throwing them in jail? Of course not. They can't talk, they can't walk. They can't know any better. Blaming them is silly. It doesn't apply. You can't blame animals or babies without rational capacities. Similarly, calling them sinners is silly. Do you not think so?
I've already given the definition of what sin is, and it is that definition I go by when making the determination about infants being sinners. For the sake of breveity I suggest you go back and read it again. It is not a positive notion but a natural and inherent reality. So it is not "silly", in fact it a rather serious thing. Something that theists can take much more seriously that atheists.
You're other objections are as laughable as they are absurd. They're emotionally driven and inflammitory.
If you don't think heaven is better then life on earth then I pity you, seriously. But I understand, because while everyone presumes to know what hell will be like not many people have considered what heaven will be like. I've aske many protestants the question, "what do you thnk you will do in heaven?" and I get various subjective answers from the pious(I'll get to be with Jesus all I want) to the funny(a never-ending Longhorn vs Sooner football game).
If you think that eternal life full of happiness, peace, joy, and love is in no way preferrable to this life full of pain, frustration, and empty pursuits then I really feel sorry for you.
I mean, I think heaven is a fabrication. Just like Valhalla and Hades and Elysium. People want to be immortal, so their respective cultures invent other worlds where they can do so.good
I have several replies to this one:
a) The heaven of the Bible does not correspond to our dreams or wishful thinking. It is selfless, self-forgetful love and saintliness, not the gratification of selfish desires; the death of egotism rather than its ratification; holiness rather than indulgence; adoration and self-forgetful worship of God rather than self-carressing autoeroticism; spiritual love rather than physical love.
b) Even the physical details or symbols of heaven do not correspond to the popular Bible picture. When you consider the details in the Bible or the details in the experiences of the saints or patients who have had NDE's the experience of heaven is always a surprise and a shock.
c) Even if there is a correspondence between our innate wishes and the idea of heaven, that correspondence could equally well be explained by God's having designed us for heaven rather than by our having designed heaven for ourselves. The glove could have been made for the hand, or
the hand could have been made for the glove.
d) Your reasoning is fallacious. It argues: If there were no heaven, we would have to believe in one(because we need and want it so much); and we do(have to) believe in one; therefore there is no heaven. This is you affirming the consequent. You might as well say that if there were no earth, we would still have to believe in it(because it appears to our senses); and we do(have to) believe in it; therefore there is no earth.
e) If an effect cannot exceed its cause, how can the idea of heaven, perfect and beautiful as it is, be caused by our fallen, foolish, fallible, finite minds?