Thursday, May 11, 2017

Davies on evil suffered


In The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil, Brian Davies draws a distinction between “evil suffered” and “evil done.”  Evil suffered is badness that happens to or afflicts someone or something.  Evil done is badness that is actively brought about or inflicted by some moral agent.  A reader asks me:

Do you agree with Davies in saying that God does not directly bring about what he calls “evil suffered”?  I want to agree, but yet I don’t know how to reconcile Davies’ position (and what seems to be Aquinas’ position) with God apparently directly willing the end of Ananias and Sapphira’s life in Acts 5, which obviously is an evil suffered.  It doesn’t seem there is causality per accidens like Davies describes God’s causal activity when it comes to evil suffered (e.g., good of one thing curtailing the good of another).

Before I answer the question, let me do some stage-setting by summarizing the views of Davies alluded to here.  (See especially pp. 176-83 of Davies’ book for his own exposition.)  Davies makes two relevant points about evil suffered.  First, it is a privation rather than a positive reality.  Second, it is not willed by God as an end in itself, but only as a concomitant of some good. 

By way of illustration of these ideas, let’s suppose that in the course of giving a philosophy lecture, I begin to draw a circle on the marker board but do not complete it, so that the resulting figure looks like a C.  The circle is a bad or defective circle, and insofar as I am the cause of it, what I have caused is therefore something that exhibits badness or defect.  But strictly speaking, the badness does not amount to some positive feature I have put into the circle.  Rather, it amounts to the absence of some feature that I could have put into it and that a complete circle would have had.  The badness is a privation rather than a positive reality. 

Strictly speaking, then, I have not caused any badness to exist.  Rather, what I have done is simply refrained from causing all of the goodness that I could have caused to exist.  The circle is good as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go all the way. 

So, in that sense I have only caused what is good.  But wouldn’t it have been better still to cause the rest of the circle to exist?  All things being equal, it would have been, but suppose that the reason I refrained from completing it is that I judged that doing so was necessary in order to explain to my audience the notion of a privation.  Then there would be an overall good situation – the generation of philosophical understanding in my audience – that was brought about in part precisely by my refraining from putting into the circle all the goodness that could have been in it.  The defective circle, though bad, was an essential part of some larger good.  And that is why I willed to refrain from completing it, rather than willing the defect in the circle for its own sake.

Now, for Davies, the instances of evil suffered that we find in the natural order of things are analogous to that.  When a lamb is eaten by a lion, the damage to the lamb amounts to a set of privations – for example, the absence of a limb, flesh, or skin that is torn away.  Though bad considered in itself, the damage also plays a necessary part of a larger good, namely the flourishing of the lion.  Lions of their nature can’t be the kinds of things they are without hunting prey like lambs, so that having the good of there being lions presupposes the bad of lambs being killed.  In causing a world in which lambs are eaten by lions, then, God does not cause evil as such.  Rather, he causes a world in which certain goods (namely the good of lambs having all their limbs, flesh, etc. unmolested) are absent, and these privations are not willed by him for their own sake, but rather as a concomitant of the good of there being lions in existence.

So that’s the background to the reader’s question.  And the question, again, is how the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira fit into this account of the nature of evil suffered.  Recall that Davies’ main points about evil suffered are, first, that it is a privation rather than a positive reality, and second, that it is not willed by God as an end in itself, but only as a concomitant of some good.  These deaths would, as the reader says, be instances of evil suffered.  So do they fit Davies’ account?

It’s not hard to see how they fit the privation part of the account.  Presumably the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira were simply a matter of the absence of continued divine concurrence with the operation of their vital processes.  After all, nothing can operate for an instant unless God imparts causal power to it; hence to cause the death of a person, God need do no more than cease causing the person to live.  The badness in this case (the deaths) amounts, as in the other cases, to the absence of a good (continued life). 

Apparently the reader’s main concern is with how the scenario fits in with Davies’ second point, to the effect that an evil suffered is not willed by God as an end in itself.  For didn’t God in this case will death precisely as an end in itself?  After all, there does not seem to be in the case of Ananias and Sapphira (as there is in the case of the lion and the lamb) some other natural substance that flourished, and thus attained its own good, by way of causing their deaths.

I would answer, however, that there was a larger good for the sake of which God willed this particular case of evil suffered.  Ananias and Sapphira were, after all, being punished by God for a grave sin.  And punishment, as I argued in a post from not too long ago, is a good thing.  It is the correction of a disorder, a restoration of the natural connection between evildoing on the one hand and the suffering of a harm on the other.  God willed the evil suffered by Ananias and Sapphira as part of this larger good of securing retributive justice, as well, perhaps, as part of the realization of one of the secondary ends of punishment (deterrence). 

To be sure, the case is unlike the lion and lamb example insofar as it does not involve a substance flourishing or realizing its good by way of the bad suffered by some other thing.  All the same, punishment is a good which of its nature necessarily involves the suffering of an evil as a concomitant – namely the harm inflicted on the evildoer, which remains a harm even though it is deserved.  So, the case does fit Davies’ overall account of evil suffered. 

(For more on the nature of punishment, see By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment.  For more on the nature of divine action and the problem of evil, see the forthcoming Five Proofs of the Existence of God.)

214 comments:

  1. So one could say, as the joke goes, that Satan is good as far as he goes, then, right? (He just doesn't go that far, so to speak, or isn't that good, he's horribly vicious and evil.)

    Concerning punishment in Hell, would it be bodily as well, or primarily mental anguish? I don't see how it could just be the latter, since any strong emotion is bound to affect your body, joy can make one feel exhilarated and well physically as well as emotionally. Fear can make one feel faint, stress can make one feel tired, anger tense, and shame makes one want to hide. Severe distress can leave one shaking. So I would expect that punishment in hell would make one feel bad bodily as well. However, I think there surely is a limit to the extent of how badly one's body can feel, at least from emotions. Would there be additional physical torment?

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    1. Yes- as far as it goes.

      The Manichean conception of Satan as some kind of powerful being of "pure evil" is not only wrong and heretical, but it's a contradiction in terms.

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  2. Sean,

    A more robust and merciful view of Hell I encountered is one where Hell is simply shame.

    The shame is caused by a person recognising what they have done when it comes to their sins and recognising that God is in all creation, which means they cannot escape him completely.

    Because they cannot escape God fully, they always feel shame for the sins that they had commited.

    C.S.Lewis made a good description of Hell when he described it as a kind of life on the lamb with people constantly moving away from each other.

    If you feel shame, you will, as you yourself have pointed out, have a desire to hide.

    What this means is that Hell will likely be neither joy nor sorrow, just shame.

    And it will be proportional to the amount of sins you have commited, the types of sins you have commited, the social factors which might mitigate your responsibility and decrease the punishment, and the amount of good you have done while you were still alive, which would also mitigate the amount of punishment.

    Church fathers like Cyril of Alexandria and some others also had pretty merciful views of Hell as well.

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    1. Joe said,
      "C.S.Lewis made a good description of Hell when he described it as a kind of life on the lamb with people constantly moving away from each other.

      If you feel shame, you will, as you yourself have pointed out, have a desire to hide."



      Hey, Joe. I think that if you recollect for a bit you will recall that the proto-damned in the novel "The Great Divorce" were in fact particularly unashamed; and very much self-righteously indignant. Their vengeful nursing of their perceived suffering of pain or injustice or frustration, had become the center point and all consuming focus of their existences.

      It was the irascible, demanding, and condemnatory nature of their egotism that caused many of them to move by steps so far out from the "bus station to heaven". Eventually they reach a distance wherein it would be almost impossible that they could ever return in time to that bus station, and thereby escape the pending arrival of absolute, hopeless, nightfall ... and with it, it is implied, the arrival full blown demonic.

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  3. @JoeD

    No. There is no merciful view of Hell. We absolutely have to beg God forgiveness for our sins. We deserve not only temporal punishment for them but eternal too.

    Hell is described as fire for a reason. God is not lying to us: it is a terrible and terrifying place.

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    1. timocrates knows this, since...

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    2. "Gene CallahanMay 13, 2017 at 11:33 AM

      timocrates knows this, since..."


      Knows as a presumptive Christian that,

      1. "God is not lying to us"?

      or

      2. Hell, "is a terrible, terrifying" and "eternal" place?

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  4. @timocrates


    I wasn't denying that we have to beg God for forgiveness.

    I completely agree with that.

    I was only using the world ''merciful'' relatively here.

    An eternity of shame is, in a sense at least, more merciful than an eternity of torture.

    >>>Hell is described as fire for a reason.<<<

    Yes, to communicate the message of Hell to Jesus' contemporary audience.

    But whether or not it is actually literal fire or torture is, safe to say, a bit of a controversy.

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    1. @JoeD

      People have gleefully done the most awful things to other without a wince of remorse. We say such things in public but we do a disservice to even just the human sense of justice.

      You go to a local police department and talk to murder detectives, for example, who have had to seen some of the most terrible things done to human beings conceivable and tell them that those who escape all justice for these crimes have no greater punishment to look forward to than some kind of shame or remorse.

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  5. I don't find it plausible to view pain as simply a privation. The lamb eaten by the lion isn't simply experiencing a privation of pleasurable sensations. Its pain neurons are positively firing.

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  6. Scattered, you are correct in that pain is something positive. Your mistake is in thinking that pain is evil. Pain is just a warning to avoid that which is harmful or destructive. It is necessary for physical beings to be aware of that which can destroy them. Pain is a good. It is the injury or loss of life that is evil and those most definitely are privations.

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    1. Pain is just a warning to avoid that which is harmful or destructive.

      But a critic could argue,why would Perfect being allow harm and destruction in the first place?

      It is necessary for physical beings to be aware of that which can destroy them

      Why sort of necessity are you talking about?

      More importantly a critic could respond to privation theory of evil by asking Why,given Perfect Being exist,is there any sort of privation in the first place?

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    2. One way to answer the concern, one adopted by Augustine, and through him many scholastics, is the neo-Platonic account of perfection and its relation to creation. Essentially, the claim goes, God is the only perfect being, where "perfection" here means something like "complete," "self-sufficient," etc. As a matter of logical necessity, any being God creates cannot be perfect in the way he is, because any created being by definition is not self-sufficient, i.e., it required God for its generation. As such, God's creative act seems to necessarily entail privation insofar as creation entails that created beings lack some perfection.

      That would only get the ball rolling, of course. How that plays into moral and natural suffering in ours and non human animals' lives isn't addressed explicitly by such recourse. But, it is a start.

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    3. Its a nice start.

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    4. Following Augustine (via Stephan) a bit further: since created beings are never "perfect" in the divine sense (even if they might become like God, they are still not God), there is always privation in creation: yet God says of creation that it is good, and of Man that he is very good. So while all evil and suffering are privation, not all privation is evil and suffering.

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    5. "But a critic could argue,why would Perfect being allow harm and destruction in the first place?" you should reread the post. Prof Ed says:"let’s suppose that in the course of giving a philosophy lecture, I begin to draw a circle on the marker board but do not complete it, so that the resulting figure looks like a C. The circle is a bad or defective circle, and insofar as I am the cause of it, what I have caused is therefore something that exhibits badness or defect. " and "But wouldn’t it have been better still to cause the rest of the circle to exist? All things being equal, it would have been, but suppose that the reason I refrained from completing it is that I judged that doing so was necessary in order to explain to my audience the notion of a privation. " and " The defective circle, though bad, was an essential part of some larger good." as william Lane Craig says " God may have morally sufficient reasons to permit evil to happen" so the critic has to shows He may not.

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    6. Incomplete chalkboard circles, which could have "completeness" to begin with only as purely human conceptual artifacts and lack any being of their own, much less any sentience, are really very bad analogues of the "privation" that obtains when the lamb's flesh is torn apart with bleated screams of terror.

      Any idea that the suffering of innocents serves a "higher purpose" is repulsive to Christianity. Christ did not die on the cross to legitimate such torture. Willingly to take on suffering, to bear one's cross, is of an entirely different order, one which is consistent with – but not comprehended by – grammars of sin and suffering as "privation," however logical they may be.

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    7. jaime lopezMay 16, 2017 at 7:12 AM
      " God may have morally sufficient reasons to permit evil to happen" so the critic has to shows He may not."
      --The asserted powers of omnipotence and omniscience negate that theistic argument.

      Such an argument is defensible only on a limited god, a god constrained to create only in certain ways, obligating god to create vast suffering inflicted unevenly in order to obtain some other good speculated to be so great a good as to justify the enormous harm done.

      But the Christian god is said to have unlimited powers of creation, so he could have created otherwise, and created such that the greater good was achieved without the manifest suffering he created.

      Further, the Christian god is asserted to be all knowing, so he knew before he even said "let there be light" all the individual instances of suffering his creation would inflict.

      In my sensibilities to intentionally create vast suffering, that could have been avoided in an alternative path to the same positive ends, is profoundly malicious, malevolent, and evil. Such is the Christian god.

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  7. Ed,

    Could you offer a perspective (or a reference) regarding God's creation as "good" or "perfect" such that it allows for the prospect of evil or pain. Does the Genesis account refer to creation as "good" such that it is directed to God's plan, rather than being flawless or without error?

    I would really like some Thomistic insight into this topic, which interests me greatly!

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    1. I am not obviously not Ed but from my studies the most orthodox version based on scripture and Church teaching is something the effect that evil and pain are a derivative consequence of possibility for creation itself, in particular morally free agents.

      It is absolutely true that God could have stopped or prevented evil or pain; but then he would either have had to create a very different creation (e.g. one devoid of human beings) or negate the nature of those beings or, as happened in the Flood, destroy them. As it is, His apparent tolerance of evil is for the sake of especially the human souls that can only exist because of Creation.

      The Flood is scary because ignoring the historical issues about it, the implication is that human beings can become so bad that they effectively forfeit salvation entirely and make creation almost, if not even actually, irredeemable.

      I cannot imagine and I can't bring myself to do theodicy when someone is suffering from great pain or tremendous trauma for having endured great evil, whether physical or moral or especially both. That is not my business. I don't pretend to offer consolation. I am merely answering the question from a strictly intellectual POV and, to summarize, the reason there is evil in this world is that if God prevented it absolutely He would have to forfeit us, so to speak. He gave us, e.g., a certain dominion over the earth and power over it and bound us up with it and so if He were to cancel all evil history would have to end; and as we know history, so our Faith tells us, it will eventually end.

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    2. If I might be allowed to carry on a little, I would say that from my studies the movie "the last temptation of Christ" would have been more properly the seductive voice of the devil saying to Jesus: "You can end all this pain and suffering right now; you can stop them from having to endure this pain, this horror and all these terrors and terrible things - just end it all now; for you are God and at your word this world you made can end."

      And if I were to make that movie - and being the at-bottom hopeless romantic of a Christian I am - would imagine our Lord seeing instead all of us who as a consequence could not possibly have ever existed for Him to love and welcome into His kingdom.

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  8. My earliest memory is the ghastly social effects of autism: selective mutism in pre-school. Compared to bipolar, which developed in high school, this wasn't too bad. Compared to crippling panic attacks, which started in my twenties, bipolar was a day at the beach. Compared to gaining 100 lbs from the meds and a life of grim nothingness ... you get the picture.

    The genetic code was designed by God. (My late brother inherited things far worse than me.) God DID this. Calling it an absence of sanity is rank sophistry and not found in Job. "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations?"

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    1. Sorry to hear about your mental health struggles and about your brother. I believe what the Thomists are trying to say (and perhaps not expressing themselves perfectly) is that the question concerns whether God has to add something for there to be chaos in the way he has to add something for there to be order. In a painting, for example, it is clear that the order of a beautiful painting is not merely just the sum of the parts of the individual paint drops, but there is also, on top of the individual paint drops, a harmony between them. In a disorderly painting, though, nothing needs to be added for there to be disharmony - it is the 'default state,' as it were, of the paint drops. The same is true of health: God maintains health so that the parts of the body work in harmony for the end of the physiological maintenance of the person, whereas for an unhealthy person God does nothing: he isn't informing the body with 'unhealth,' but simply not providing health. Again, disorder is simply the 'default state' of things (to reuse that imperfect expression). With respect to the genetic code, if one's genetic code is 'bad,' the Thomist isn't necessarily denying that God arranged for this, but he thinks that God did this by removing order from the code, not by adding bad anything to it.

      I hope this does not sound too abstract and heartless. I too have had some difficulties with mental health, and I was hoping (despite my expertise) to clarify the terms of the discussion, not to prove you wrong about anything.

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    2. In the final paragraph, it should read, of course, "despite my lack of expertise"!

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    3. It *is* the absence of order.

      Also, boo hoo. I've been on meds too with all sorts of suffering and suicidal thoughts and all that. It doesn't excuse you from working out the term in question.

      We're not asking about whether your evil state *is* anything. Obviously it is. The question is whether the *evil* is something positive. It isn't. It is characterized entirely in terms of deficiency with respect to function.

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    4. And the LORD said to him, “Who gives man speech? Who makes him dumb or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (Exodus 4:11)

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    5. I want to thank "Anonymous" above for the comment. The way you approach the issue is solid philosophical method: we MUST go back to our experience of reality - and not form principles on the basis of some abstract ideas, such as the difficulty of harmonizing a good God with the existence of evil. The privation theory most surely falsifies the reality of evil, as it is clearly given to us in our experience (which is the ONLY access we have to reality). Newman once quipped something like, "A thousand difficulties do not constitute a doubt." Just because it is difficult to see how a good God and evil are compatible, we are not justified in denying the very obvious nature of evil: in the vast majority of cases, it does NOT present itself to the mind as a privation.

      I am very sorry about your suffering, which is without question a positive reality. I say this, even though I believe with all my heart that in heaven, we will praise God for our suffering because of the good that it brought about (which doesn't make the suffering any less an "evil"; in fact, its ability to bring about good lies precisely in its negative quality, which itself is necessary to bring about the good in the specific way it does. God is much more powerful than evil, and it is characteristic of his goodness to bend even it to his purposes.)

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  9. Anonymous, Genetic diseases are not the result of some gene created by God but are cause by defective or damaged genes. Any defect in anything is a privation. Your experience was very real, but it was caused by a privation and not by God.

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    1. And the LORD said to him, “Who gives man speech? Who makes him dumb or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (Exodus 4:11)

      I presume there's a good reason for it! I don't listen to Job's comforters.

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  10. They say Plantinga solved the Problem of evil.

    Nope, Father Davies did and he solved it Wargames style.

    The only winning move is not to play.

    God is not a Moral Agent!

    Classic Theism Rules!

    Theistic Personal sucks more then anything that
    has sucked before!

    There I am good.

    BenYachov out!

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  11. timocratesMay 12, 2017 at 3:14 AM
    "We absolutely have to beg God forgiveness for our sins. We deserve not only temporal punishment for them but eternal too."

    "Hell is described as fire for a reason. God is not lying to us: it is a terrible and terrifying place."

    JoeDMay 12, 2017 at 4:56 AM
    "I wasn't denying that we have to beg God for forgiveness.
    I completely agree with that."

    --You poor brainwashed guilt ridden self hating Christians.

    Your loving god created you sick, ordered you to make yourself well, and beg forgiveness for your transgressions.

    If you fail to sufficiently beg forgiveness your loving god will torture you in agony for eternity with no hope of respite.

    By my lights Christianity is an evil, sick, sadistic, and cruel doctrine, and you two are brainwashed victims of it.

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  12. "By my lights Christianity is an evil, sick...Doctrine"

    By the lights of Christianity you are pathetically benighted.

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  13. I've noticed a fair bit of trolling in the comboxes lately -- yahoos who show up just to rant rather than engage in any serious debate. And for some reason people keep taking the bait. As always, I ask readers to ignore this stuff and not crap up the comboxes with pointless tit-for-tatting with these people. I prefer to moderate with a light hand if at all, but if discussions descend into trolling and counter-trolling I'll start deleting comments.

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    1. Do you consider the criticism of a doctrine that leads to self loathing to be trolling?

      Is it trolling to point out the apparent self contradiction of a god that is said to be all loving, yet tortures people for all eternity for doing the things he knew they would do when he created them, and he could have created them otherwise?

      I found this definition of "troll" on line

      *make a deliberately offensive or provocative online post with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them.*

      While that definition in principle might seem reasonable it has the difficulty of establishing intent. How does one gauge the intent of one who posts on line? Well, I suppose there are some linguistic clues, but in my experience forthright disagreement often gets labeled as trolling based more on the subject viewpoint of the moderator than than any actual ability to gauge intent.

      Anonymous simply did not address the points I made about a doctrine that does in fact teach original sin, the need to beg for forgiveness, the guilt of the sinner, the guiltlessness of the creator, and what I see as the evil of the doctrine itself.


      Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
      Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
      Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
      Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?1
      Epicurus

      Indeed, whence cometh evil? By my lights it is the doctrine itself.

      Perhaps Anonymous will choose to address my specific doctrinal criticisms as opposed to merely asserting my darkness.

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    2. Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
      Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
      Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
      Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?


      What does evil means here?

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    3. Red, please ignore him.

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    4. Stardusty, I that the inability to actually engage with your opponents, and the absence of any desire to learn the first thing about which you spout off, is a good sign of a troll.

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    5. RedMay 12, 2017 at 11:15 PM

      "What does evil means here?"

      The definition of evil, its source, its meaning...always very interesting questions.

      However, the precise meaning does not alter the incisiveness of Epicurus.

      We could say something as vague as "evil is doing bad stuff". The questions still illuminate the erroneous nature of attempting to attribute such vast powers to one being, god.

      Alternatively, the deistic god does not suffer these sorts of self contradictions, but the Christian god is incoherent owing to the assertion of simultaneous and mutually exclusive properties.

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    6. AnonymousMay 12, 2017 at 11:55 PM

      "Stardusty, I that the inability to actually engage with your opponents, and the absence of any desire to learn the first thing about which you spout off, is a good sign of a troll."

      What is your method for ascertaining my desire? Surly you do not assert clairvoyant powers.

      Do you suppose that an analysis of my words allows you to gauge my desire? Is there any chance your judgement is clouded by confirmation bias, or some other biasing effect?

      Has it occurred to you that thus far you simply have not been able to teach me anything because you do not possess any knowledge that is new to me on these subjects?

      I will share one small bit about me with you, I grew up while Woodstock was a live event.

      Life is for learning.

      Perhaps you know the reference? We are stardust.

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    7. @E. Feser

      You are right. Will restrain myself in the future.

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    8. Stardusty, go away.

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    9. @E. Feser

      If you change your mind boss and need someone to count-troll any pathetic Gnus who crawl in here just let me know.

      If not I too will ignore them. It's not like they have any original objections you and others haven't already dealt with in the past.

      Ah to find a Gnu with an original objection...as rare a species as an honest politician.

      Peace be with you Dr. Feser!

      Classic Theism rules!

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    10. Son of Ya'KovMay 13, 2017 at 7:54 AM

      "It's not like they have any original objections you and others haven't already dealt with in the past.

      Ah to find a Gnu with an original objection...as rare a species as an honest politician."

      Is originality a criteria for validity and soundness? Sorry, I don't see your point here.

      Do you have any original Christian apologetics to offer? If so, please share such here, it would be fascinating, since I have not heard an original Christian apologetic argument in many years.

      For example, the subject of the OP is evil. My posts have addressed the evil of the Christian god, and the four questions of Epicurus, as well as the harmful personal effects of self loathing that indoctrination into this topsy turvy culture inflicts.

      Neither the OP, nor the question of evil, nor the questions of Epicurus, nor my assertion that the Christian god is evil are fundamentally original.

      Originality comes in individual wording, nuance of argumentation, and presentation.

      The problem of evil remains for Christianity because by most common definitions of evil the Christian god simply is evil. God, it is said, will torture vast numbers of humans for eternity, surely an evil act by most understandings of what evil means.

      The assertion of powers to god, of being able, yet palpably unwilling to end evil on Earth, lead inexorably to the conclusion that he is malevolent.

      You may lament this is not an original objection, and indeed it dates over two millenia past, prior even to Christianity, yet I have not seen from you an original responsive apologetic.

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    11. @Stardust

      You are a gay-homo. And by gay-homo I don't mean gay-homo in the sexy hot way of Milo Yiannopoulos but rather in the creepy gross douchebag like way of Perez Hilton....

      Thus it is clear why you must be ignored.

      On your bike then.....

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    12. Stardusty,
      Here is your chance to demonstrate that you are not a troll--I shall answer what seems to be at the core of your objection, namely the issue raised by Epicurus's four questions. If you had merely raised these four questions and had not gone on to assume that they were unanswerable (and on that basis make all sorts of accusations), you would not have been regarded as a troll.
      The answer is that God being able to prevent an evil and yet deciding not to prevent it is insufficient grounds for the claim that God is malevolent.
      At the very least, the claim that anyone with the power to prevent an evil but who decides for some strong reason not to prevent it is malevolent is highly questionable and needs to be argued for.

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    13. @Tim

      Looks to me like you are trying to corner this guy with a classic Theistic Skepticism gambit.

      Well done! That is my second favorite response to the Problem of Evil.

      Of course I doubt Stardusthomo knows Theistic Skepticism from a hole in the head but we shall see.

      Cheers sir.

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    14. Tim FinlayMay 13, 2017 at 1:17 PM

      Stardusty,
      "Here is your chance to demonstrate that you are not a troll"
      --Your opinion of me is of no matter to me.

      " If you had merely raised these four questions and had not gone on to assume that they were unanswerable"
      --Why do you assume my assumption?

      "The answer is that God being able to prevent an evil and yet deciding not to prevent it is insufficient grounds for the claim that God is malevolent."
      --That depends on one's personal sensibilities of what constitutes malevolence. By my sensibilities and by the sensibilities of Epicurus on an omnipotent god (one who can do anything effortlessly) failing to alleviate such vast suffering when it would be effortless for god to do so makes god malevolent.

      "At the very least, the claim that anyone with the power to prevent an evil but who decides for some strong reason not to prevent it is malevolent is highly questionable "
      --Questioning is good.

      "and needs to be argued for."
      Malevolent, malicious, intending to inflict pain and suffering on others...the Christian god is very apparently all these things by the stories of the bible and the prevalence of suffering in this world.

      God is said to be omniscient and omnipotent, meaning he knew of all the suffering to be visited upon billions before he even said "let there be light".

      Given his omnipotence he had the power to have created otherwise. Given his free will he could have chosen to create otherwise. But he chose to create a world containing evil, so god is the source of evil. God is intentionally evil.

      Apparently not satisfied with merely inflicting vast suffering during our Earthly lives god intended to torture billions for eternity in his vast torture chamber called hell.

      Thus god is malevolent.

      Delete
    15. I know this fag (& by fag I don't mean a dangerous faggot like the glorious and beautiful Milo but more like the too gay to function fag character of MEAN GIRLS) isn't serious I mean he just ignored the question but till the bossman puts the lid on it I might as well have some fun brutally mocking him.

      gay-homo writes:

      >an omnipotent god (one who can do anything effortlessly) failing to alleviate such vast suffering when it would be effortless for god to do so makes god malevolent.

      Not unless there is a strong reason not too always stop all evil and how do you know there isn't one? At best you can say you don't know of any reason but that merely is a profession of ignorance on your part not proof.

      Can you logically prove there could not be a reason? Well?

      What too busy smoking pole to notice that bit?

      >--Questioning is good.

      Too bad you don't question your own ideas because logically there is no reason why Atheism couldn't be true or the argument from evil could be valid BUT you haven't rationally supported either because you are a stupid fag.

      In fact all you have done is whine & make emotional pleas not argue rationally.

      >Malevolent, malicious, intending to inflict pain and suffering on others...the Christian god is very apparently all these things by the stories of the bible and the prevalence of suffering in this world.

      This is not argument this is just an appeal to sentiment and emotion. Use reason you homo!
      U R making a fool out of yourself and proving you are as much of a Troll as Moi(except I will use reason to bolster my cruelty).

      >Given his omnipotence he had the power to have created otherwise. Given his free will he could have chosen to create otherwise. But he chose to create a world containing evil, so god is the source of evil. God is intentionally evil.

      Which theory of omnipotence are you channeling? Descartes? Aquinas? Because if we believe Aquinas, omnipotence doesn't mean God can do anything. God can't do the logically impossible like make himself not exist or make 2+2=5. If we say "God can do anything" none of those things really describes anything. In fact they describe nothing thus adding new meaning to the phrase "There is nothing God can do".

      If there is some greater good or goods that requires God tolerating evil for a time that could not be given otherwise, then that is an act of supreme benevolence not evil to allow the lesser evil to give the greater good.

      >Apparently not satisfied with merely inflicting vast suffering during our Earthly lives god intended to torture billions for eternity in his vast torture chamber called hell.

      Sorry homo but Hell is NOT a case of God punching you in the face for not liking him. Rather God is Air and Hell is you willfully sticking your head in a bucket of water three times and pulling it out twice.

      Now full discloser the rebuttals I just gave here are classic Plantinga mixed with some Theistic Skepticism.

      Arguments I myself don't believe ultimately defeat the Problem of Evil. But I read Davies so I know how to do it.

      You OTOH are just going to bore the poop out of the rest of us with lurid descriptions of Hell out of the last Clive Barker film you saw and make more Snowflake emotive appeals.

      Maybe you should do some reading on the subject matter before you come in here half cocked?

      Then maybe I wouldn't have so much contempt for you. Not really for you un-belief(that is easy to forgive) but more for your lack of rational thought.

      The later grievously offends me & I find very hard to forgive.

      What I wouldn't give to match wits with an intelligent Gnu but they don't exist anymore........if they ever did......

      I weep it is all too easy......

      Delete
    16. Ben Ya`aqov,
      Stardusty certainly revealed himself to be a worse troll than I had anticipated. I assumed he would concede that Epicurus's question needs modifying to be a serious objection. But no--he doubled down.
      Like you I don't think that Plantinga's approach solves the problem of evil. However, I think he does succeed in showing that the so-called "Deductive problem of Evil" fails. In other words, there is no formal contradiction between God being good and omniscient and there being suffering in the world. Serious atheist philosophers conceded that Plantinga had pretty much defeated the deductive problem of evil and changed tack to the "inductive problem of evil." I guess that Stardusty never got the message.

      Delete
    17. His objective is to keep you talking so he can keep preaching his view while pretending he is too dumb to get any argument you make.

      He is a liar or severely autistic or he is epically stupid. I provisionally think he is super stupid because according to His Trollness, provisions solve all problems of absolutes!

      You are wasting your time with him basically, and that is his objective, to make you waste time.

      Delete
    18. Tim FinlayMay 14, 2017 at 6:24 PM

      "Stardusty certainly revealed himself to be a worse troll than I had anticipated."

      Do you have any specific counter arguments to any actual words of mine?

      Delete
    19. EduardoMay 14, 2017 at 6:47 PM

      "He is a liar or severely autistic or he is epically stupid. "

      Do you have any specific counter arguments to any actual words of mine?

      Delete
    20. Nope... Or rather, I do, but what is the point, you will concentrate on secondary things or you will side step the question XD. In the Game of Trolls, who ever doesn't play it, WINS!

      Delete
    21. @Eduardo-He can't be autistic. My kids are autistic and they are an order of magnitude smarter then this fag(& by fag I don't mean yada yada yada Sexy Milo Yannopolis yada yada Rosie O'Donald etc) that includes the ones who can't talk.

      He is a homo and not the fun kind then help you dress nice, decorate your house and dish with your wife.

      He is the creepy kind who follows you into the men's room, smells bad and tries to sue you so he can force you too bake a gay wedding cake.

      Useless twit.

      Delete
    22. @ Son of/Ben Yakov

      He is most certainly a Troll XD, but the fact that he focus on secondary things, look like someone with autism, focusing on secondary things and completely incapable to see what the argument really is. However, a troll would behave like that to pretend innocence of course XD.

      Delete
    23. @Tim Finlay

      Stardust the creepy homo(not good homo like Milo but bad homo like Rachel Maddow) doesn't understand three steps forward one step back.


      The "inductive argument from evil" heck if he had any brains he would go full on Rowe's evidential problem of evil.

      But he is a Snowflake and a fag. A snowfag.

      I also bet he is a white boy.

      So what is the point of him?

      PS. Notice how the little bitch is too scared to respond to me? Because he knows as a Troll that is what I crave.

      Delete
    24. Interesting Theory Edwardo.

      But we both agree he is a troll. You by logical deduction and moi because I can smell my own and I can smell the weak.

      Delete
    25. Ed,

      Please leave at least some of Stardusty's more revealing comments here as an example of the moral reasoning bankruptcy of his kind of troll.

      You will note that at least one commenter did try to define and qualify terms with him in a proper philosophical manner. Red obviously hoped to ascertain the grounds for, and meaning of, the term "evil" as used by Stardusty when he attempted to indict "God" .

      Stardusty's spectacular flight from this very basic and reasonable question into more explicit trolling, provides a useful reminder of the real aim of his kind's comments.

      Yes we have seen plenty of this thing before; but, a once a month reminder of the emptiness of their "critiques" does no harm.

      Delete
    26. DNWMay 15, 2017 at 12:02 PM

      Ed,

      "Please leave at least some of Stardusty's more revealing comments here as an example of the moral reasoning bankruptcy of his kind of troll."
      --Why would Feser delete any of my comments? He hasn't so far that I have noticed.

      "You will note that at least one commenter did try to define and qualify terms with him in a proper philosophical manner. Red obviously hoped to ascertain the grounds for, and meaning of, the term "evil" as used by Stardusty when he attempted to indict "God" ."
      --Yes, and as I told him the exact definition of evil doesn't matter for my assertions.

      I did provide some acts I consider to be evil by my sensibilities, such as intentionally creating a universe wherein such vast human suffering has occurred.

      Another evil act of the Christian god, on the truth of Christianity, is intentionally creating a universe that will include torturing a multitude of people for eternity.

      By my sensibilities those are evil acts making the Christian god malevolent.

      "Stardusty's spectacular flight from this very basic and reasonable question into more explicit trolling,"
      --Asked and answered. If you missed the answers, or don't like the answers, or whatever, well, that's up to you.

      "provides a useful reminder of the real aim of his kind's comments."
      --Yes, I agree with you on this point.


      "Yes we have seen plenty of this thing before;"
      --Is that why the theistic responses contain such boring invective?

      Delete
    27. Don't worry StarTroll, Feser will eventually erase your comments, because you are a Troll and you show it at every turn, while grandstanding as being someone with meaningful words and insights...

      Just wait and see.

      Delete


    28. Starhomo is so stupid and gay it wouldn't take much of a jail sentence to make him go the other way.....like a parking ticket.

      He reminds me of the idiot Muslim Jihadist protestor who held a sign that said "Behead those who say Islam is intolerant". No wait..that goon is actually smarter then him. But I digress.


      >--Yes, and as I told him the exact definition of evil doesn't matter for my assertions.

      So he wants us to accept his claim the Christian God is "evil" but the precise definition of evil doesn't matter?

      So if I define "Evil" as someone who is a moral agent that always acts in a beneficent manner(because the definition doesn't matter to this homo) then well the Christian God cannot be "evil" according to his "argument" (such that it is).
      But the opposite.
      He must be the opposite of evil.

      Really? Precise definitions don't matter?

      I really hope for this fag's sake he doesn't work in a chemistry lab. Because without a precise definition of what constitutes a corrosive acid he is going to hurt himself and others.

      Scarry.......

      >By my sensibilities those are evil acts making the Christian god malevolent.

      So basically he is a hopeless subjectivist.

      Anyway by his thinking and my obvious correct standard. God is neither Good nor Evil.

      God is in fact Purple. Not the color but it doesn't matter since the precise definition of purple doesn't matter.

      One last question for Starhomo.

      What are U smoking bitch and where can I score some?

      Delete
    29. @Ben Ya`aqov

      Darn, now you made me log on to ask. What is your favorite response to the argument from evil?

      Delete
    30. Brian Davies' view that the Argument from Evil presupposes a God who is a moral agent who is morally obligated to use His Power to stop or prevent any and all evil immediately.

      God is simply not a moral agent given His Nature. God is good but his not the goodness of a moral agent.

      A Classic Theistic God needs a Theodicy like a Fish needs a Bicycle.

      Delete
    31. BTW if Dr. Feser deletes my counter trolling....

      I am Ok with that.

      Delete
    32. Couldn't we make an even simpler retort?

      The classical theist affirms God is the supreme good. The sceptic is trying to say the supreme good should have acted better in creating the world. Such an argument on the sceptic's part just seems silly.

      Delete
    33. @Jeremy Taylor:

      "The classical theist affirms God is the supreme good. The sceptic is trying to say the supreme good should have acted better in creating the world."

      It strikes as much more than silly; if God made a mistake in creating this world, then he made a mistake in creating the sceptic.

      Delete
    34. Jeremy TaylorMay 16, 2017 at 6:48 PM

      " The sceptic is trying to say the supreme good should have acted better in creating the world. "
      --If that is what some self described skeptic said I don't think the notion of "supreme good" was well thought out.

      I know of no atheistic basis to declare a "supreme good" or "supreme evil"


      grodriguesMay 17, 2017 at 3:02 AM
      " if God made a mistake in creating this world, then he made a mistake in creating the sceptic."
      --Hasty generalization. On the proposition that god made some mistake in creating the world it does not follow that all aspects of the world are therefore mistakes.

      The problem of evil rests on consistency of definition, not absolute proof of what evil is.

      If you say that electively torturing billions of people is evil then the Christian god is evil by that definition of evil.

      If you think torturing billions of people is good then the god who electively and intentionally created an eternal torture chamber is good.

      Is the intentional and avoidable torturing of vast numbers of humans evil? In my sensibilities, yes, and on that basis I call the Christian god evil.

      Delete
    35. I realise that it is probably futile to discuss anything with you, but the entire point of the so called problem of evil resides in there being an objective good. This has to be granted for the sake of the argument.

      Obviously, I wasn't suggesting that the atheist said that in so many words. I meant that is what there claims turn out to amount.

      And before you even bring it up, I'm aware there are still paths the the atheist could go down to questions, such as God's attributes. But such queries hardly fit the simplistic framework of the Academic (not Epicurean) argument you give above.

      Delete
    36. Starhomo contradicts himself.


      In an Earlier gay post he writes:

      > the exact definition of evil doesn't matter for my assertions.

      Later he writes:


      >The problem of evil rests on consistency of definition, not absolute proof of what evil is.


      So gaywade do precise definitions matter or not?

      U'R so gay! Not gay in the sexy awesome why of Milo but in the creepy douchebag way of Perez Hilton.

      Delete
    37. elete
      Jeremy TaylorMay 17, 2017 at 11:20 PM

      "I realise that it is probably futile to discuss anything with you,"
      --Futile in what sense? Perhaps you will learn something in the process, thus making your efforts personally worthwhile.

      " but the entire point of the so called problem of evil resides in there being an objective good. This has to be granted for the sake of the argument."
      --No.
      The problem evil applies with any particular definition of evil and is based on the asserted omniscience and omnipotence and creative powers and creative sequence of the Christian god.

      For example, if we assert that to torture vast numbers of humans avoidably, with premeditation, and intent, is a sort of evil then the Christian god is by simple logic, evil.

      God knew all the torture that was to come prior to creation, on omniscience. He could have created otherwise, on omnipotence. He chose to create as he did, thus intentional. So, by that definition of that sort of evil god is that sort of evil.

      It cannot be the case that there was a greater good necessitating this sort of evil in order to get to this greater good, because that requires a limited god who is constrained to create only in certain ways.

      "And before you even bring it up, I'm aware there are still paths the the atheist could go down to questions, such as God's attributes. But such queries hardly fit the simplistic framework of the Academic (not Epicurean) argument you give above. "
      --As I have shown, the fit is demonstrable.

      The questions of Epicurus remain an unsatisfied quandary for the Christian god asserted to have the properties of omniscience, omnipotence, and universal creativity.

      Delete
    38. "No. The problem evil applies with any particular definition of evil and is based on the asserted omniscience and omnipotence and creative powers and creative sequence of the Christian god."

      But the problem of evil is only a problem if someone claims that God is objectively good. If someone believes that God exists but doesn't assert that God is objectively good, then the PoE doesn't matter. An evil/neutral God is still God to them.

      Delete
    39. And if someone claims that God "seems to be good" or "is good from their perspective" then both sides merely beg the question against eachother wrt definitions and no one gets anywhere. Still not a problem.

      Delete
    40. "Futile in what sense? Perhaps you will learn something in the process, thus making your efforts personally worthwhile."

      "Indeed, inductive reasoning applied to long experience and analysis is quite rational and critical."

      The irony.

      Delete
    41. AnonymousMay 20, 2017 at 10:01 AM

      SP "No. The problem evil applies with any particular definition of evil and is based on the asserted omniscience and omnipotence and creative powers and creative sequence of the Christian god."

      "But the problem of evil is only a problem if someone claims that God is objectively good."
      --No, the Christian god is evil by particular definitions of evil. If one chooses to deny that the Christian god is evil by those definitions of evil then the denier has taken a self contradictory position, on the assertions of omniscience, omnipotence, and universal intentional free will creativity of god.

      " If someone believes that God exists but doesn't assert that God is objectively good, then the PoE doesn't matter. An evil/neutral God is still God to them."
      --Yes, the Christian god is evil if avoidably and intentionally torturing billions of human beings is evil. If you do not have a problem with an evil Christian god by that definition of a sort of evil then you do not have a problem, very true.

      Delete
    42. AnonymousMay 20, 2017 at 10:44 AM

      "And if someone claims that God "seems to be good" or "is good from their perspective" then both sides merely beg the question against eachother wrt definitions and no one gets anywhere."
      --Defining terms and analyzing a set of propositions for self consistency within those definitions is not itself begging the question.

      Note that Epicurus is not arguing that no god can exist, nor is he arguing that god cannot be malevolent.

      The questions bring to light that certain properties of god require various conclusions about god. If the properties are asserted but the conclusions are denied then the theists contradicts himself.

      My assertion"
      If X is evil and
      god is omniscient and
      god is omnipotent and
      god is the original universal creator and
      ((we observe X) or (god is defined as doing X)) then
      god is evil


      Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
      Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
      Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
      Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?1
      Epicurus

      Do you agree that avoidably and intentionally torturing billions of people is evil?

      Delete
    43. Futile in that you're a troll, unable or unwilling to engage in proper discussion. Your presentation of the problem is such question begging silliness that it isn't worth responding: if your uncle was a women he'd be your aunt, as the wit once said.

      Anyway, if evil is subjective, the problem of evil is obviously without whatever sting it might otherwise have. The sceptic must grant some sort of objective standard of good and evil for the sake of argument, otherwise all they are saying is that God's existence would violate the sceptic's purely personal taste about what is right. If the theist doesn't share that taste, it would be of little more import than one liking red sauce and the other brown.

      And they aren't Epicurus' questions. The argument bears the hallmarks of the New Academy, not the Epicureans. So you mean Carneades' questions.

      Delete
    44. Jeremy TaylorMay 20, 2017 at 9:12 PM

      "Futile in that you're a troll,"
      --By the definition of "troll" I posted above (taken from a simple search on the word) intent is required. How are you gauging my intent? Surly you are not asserting mind reading skills. Are you an internet psychoanalyst?

      " Your presentation of the problem is such question begging "
      --Please identify the question begging in my assertion of May 20, 2017 at 1:25 PM.


      "Anyway, if evil is subjective, the problem of evil is obviously without whatever sting it might otherwise have."
      --The presence of a defined subjective evil in the world and the denial of that same subjective evil in god makes that god incoherent.

      " The sceptic must grant some sort of objective standard of good and evil for the sake of argument,"
      --False, for reasons cited above.

      " otherwise all they are saying is that God's existence would violate the sceptic's purely personal taste about what is right. If the theist doesn't share that taste, it would be of little more import than one liking red sauce and the other brown."
      --But the Christian theist does have that taste, observing particular sorts of things defined as evil as existent in this world, yet denying those same sorts of defined evils in god, thus asserting an incoherent god.

      "And they aren't Epicurus' questions."
      --They are widely attributed to Epicurus and are generally known as "the 4 questions of Epicurus". Of course, attributions to the ancients are generally estimates of authorship and can sometimes be wrong. If you have some scholarly evidence showing the common attribution to be incorrect I suggest you submit it to the multitude of sources currently attributing these 4 questions to Epicurus.

      Delete
    45. "The presence of a defined subjective evil in the world and the denial of that same subjective evil in god makes that god incoherent."

      But they wouldn't accept that defined subjective evil as actually existing. That's Jeremy's point (I think). Why would a theist define good and evil subjectively if they believe that there exists an objective standard?

      Delete
    46. Yo, if I define something as wrong it becomes wrong.

      Thus said StarNoReason.

      Delete
    47. AnonymousMay 21, 2017 at 9:58 AM

      "Why would a theist define good and evil subjectively if they believe that there exists an objective standard?"
      --Because the theist is wrong.

      But howzabout we use a specific example? Is avoidably and intentional torturing vast numbers of humans evil?

      If so, then the Christian god is evil, on the further properties of omniscience, omnipotence, and original intentional universal creativity attributed to the Christian god.

      Delete
    48. If the Christians are wrong about objective morality, then it doesn't matter how you feel about God being Good because there is no such characteristic anyway. Which is what Jeremy meant.

      Somehow StarTroll agree with no objective morality, but wants people to conclude the objective inexistence of God (and hence allow you to go through the door of Enlightenment, XD) based on wrong human perceptions which nullifies his argument and turns it into nothing more then delusion or make-believe.

      Oh my! Ph.D in reason and logic indeed.

      Delete
    49. "Somehow StarTroll agree with no objective morality, but wants people to conclude the objective inexistence of God..."

      Eh, I don't think that's Star's point here. But you are right when you say:

      "If the Christians are wrong about objective morality, then it doesn't matter how you feel about God being Good because there is no such characteristic anyway."

      Indeed, if that were the case then God doesn't prevent evil because there is no real evil to prevent. At that point any supposed contradictions (on the theist's side) wrt good and evil wouldn't matter either because they'd be wrong even if they were consistent.

      Delete
    50. Star whatever your name is, go away.

      Eduardo, yes, that is what I meant. The problem of evil obviously appeals to some objective standard of good and evil to condemn God. It wouldn't have any sting whatsoever if good and evil were held to be a purely subjective matter. It would then make as much sense to condemn God for not creating a good enough world as it would to condemn someone for putting red sauce on their chips, not brown.

      I don't think the troll even knows what he is arguing. He seems to dance in pirouettes of fallacies, equivocations, and stupidity. The points he is making don't seem to stay the same from post to post.

      What does this even mean, for example?:

      The problem evil applies with any particular definition of evil

      Of course, Dr. Feser was right, and we should all have ignored him to begin with.

      Delete
    51. Of course, if the theist had their own particular subjective idea of good and evil you could try to show that God could not be good (and all-powerful) according to this. But that is a special case: in general the problem of evil gets whatever sting and rhetorical worth it has out of trying to hold God to an objective standard of good and evil. See for example Stephen Fry's rather silly histrionics on that Irish TV show a few years ago. The trolls own rhetorical games about God torturing humans relies implicitly on the same sort of framework.

      Delete
    52. Anon

      I'm sorry if it sounded like a strawman or some weird reply, But I am taking in consideration everything he has said so far. When you condense all his replies it starts to become clear that StarPretzel is full of contradictions and that he is here to Grandstand rather then make any point.

      He is here to attempt to "convert" people by making assertions and pretending no one has done a thing to prove him wrong, a basic tactic that is based on the idea that people will gravitate towards you if you pretend all is well and sound intimidating (Rhetorical Alpha Male) this way people will start to behave like you because that is what this Alpha guy does.

      That is why he was whining when Feser threatened to erase a Troll, him, from the thread. But when Jeremy (I think) asked to prove that he is not a Troll, he said "Your opinion about me doesn't matter"; Of course he doesn't because Jeremy can't ban him. It is also why he wants to give advices in the end of the Thread.

      Like I said I applaud you for your calm cool and collected behavior, but my patience has ended years ago with people like HappyStar, you know typical millenial delusions about people's niceness.

      Delete
    53. Jeremy

      Yes, Feser has been telling us to not touch the poop for almost ten years now, but I .... Just.... I can't XD. Star is not all that horrible for a troll, he uses buzzwords and is just enough substantive so he would not look retarded in a special class.

      But pointing out his dumbness is way too funny lol. And meaningless as well, so yeah.... Sisyphus!

      Delete
    54. It's actually pretty funny, but the Argument of Evil relies on two things:

      1- we must be highly moralistic, maybe to the point of wanting to hurt someone for behaving wrongly.

      2- we must perceive God more like a Super-hero out some comic book instead of a more philosophical view.

      If you have these two, boom! You convince anyone that the argument of evil is awesome. (You also get a glimpse at the mind of a lot people too)

      Delete
    55. Jeremy TaylorMay 21, 2017 at 4:13 PM

      " The problem of evil obviously appeals to some objective standard of good and evil to condemn God."
      --False. the PoE shows the incoherence of a Christian god by showing the mutual incompatibility of asserted properties.

      " It wouldn't have any sting whatsoever if good and evil were held to be a purely subjective matter."
      --False. The "sting" is the incoherence of the Christian god due to the theist asserting mutually exclusive properties.


      " The points he is making don't seem to stay the same from post to post."
      --It seems that way to you because you have yet to grasp them and understand how they fit into a cohesive whole.

      "What does this even mean, for example?:"

      SP The problem evil applies with any particular definition of evil

      --I have explained the meaning previously but I will reiterate it here

      My assertion:
      If X is evil and
      god is omniscient and
      god is omnipotent and
      god is the original universal creator and
      ((we observe X) or (god is defined as doing X)) then
      god is evil

      Hopefully you will now understand that the particular definition of evil is irrelevant to this conditional assertion.

      To test this assertion pick any particular example of evil you wish. Hitler is always a favorite to bandy about, so let's give him a spin. Was it evil to perpetrate the holocaust against the Jews and others in WWII? If you answer yes then the Christian god is evil as a perpetrator of evil. If you further deny that your god is evil then your position is demonstrably incoherent by self contradiction.

      Sting.

      Delete
    56. LOL

      No wait...

      LOL

      Sting... Yeah I can feel it! It is my muscles aching from this trainwreck.

      Notice that StarUseless is saying that evil goes down a chain... You know... Sort of like a causal series, making everything in the chain Evil.

      Jeremy, he can't understand what you meant, but basically he agrees with you, which means his argument is just FEELZ all the way down.

      Delete
    57. AnonymousMay 21, 2017 at 4:07 PM

      "Indeed, if that were the case then God doesn't prevent evil because there is no real evil to prevent."
      --It doesn't matter for my assertion if the asserted evil is objectively evil or not.

      If The theist asserts X is evil and X is observed to exist and the theist also asserts god is not X the theist is self contradictory, irrespective of what X is.

      Delete
    58. Eduardo,

      Indeed, one of the contradictory properties the troll is talking about is obviously an objective notion of the good (the other, a notion's of God's power). I won't even bother to say it to him directly - but if there is no objective good, if the good is subjective or in some other way non-objective, such being dependent on God's will, there can be no contradiction, or at least not one worth all the fuss. If the theist said good and evil are subjective, there would be next to no reason to debate within about God and the existence of evil - unless he were silly enough to define some act as evil,God as perfectly good, and then say God can do that act.

      Only if there is an objective standard is there any point talking about the problem of evil. It is the only meaningful way one can try to really pin the theist down. If he just thought good was a matter of taste or God's inscrutable will, he could just shrug hus shoulders at any examples the atheist brought up. The very fact we sceptics always brung up similar emotive examples implies they realise they need appeal to a standard that all should recognise.

      So, the atheist needs to deal with the classical theist account of the good and God's attributes, and resorting to pop subjectivism is denied to him - if he wishes to maintain the force of the problem of evil, if it has any, he has to deal with the classical theist on the theist's own ground.

      Delete
    59. If you deny that objective good/evil is possible, then you don't even need the problem of evil, which is what we have stated. God can't be objectively good because such a property doesn't exist. The theist's problem isn't that they face self-contradiction, it is that they are trying to ascribe a property that doesn't exist. The PoE becomes redundant because you already know which of the three assertions must be dropped.

      Delete
    60. That should be the sceptics, not we sceptics, and bring, not brung.

      If Star whatever finds a subjectivist theist who defines God as perfectly fulfilling his personal taste of what is good, but also states he does things he personally thinks bad, then he has my blessing to berate him. For classical theists he needs to proceed as I said.

      Delete
    61. Jeremy TaylorMay 21, 2017 at 7:39 PM

      " if there is no objective good, if the good is subjective or in some other way non-objective, such being dependent on God's will, there can be no contradiction "

      Please demonstrate the point in this conditional assertion that requires an objective notion of the good.

      If X is evil and
      god is omniscient and
      god is omnipotent and
      god is the original universal creator and
      ((we observe X) or (god is defined as doing X)) then
      god is evil

      Delete
    62. AnonymousMay 21, 2017 at 7:47 PM

      "If you deny that objective good/evil is possible, then you don't even need the problem of evil,"
      --Well, ok, but that is another topic.

      " The PoE becomes redundant because you already know which of the three assertions must be dropped."
      --The PoE does not depend on objective good.

      Delete
    63. "Please demonstrate the point in this conditional assertion that requires an objective notion of the good."

      I'm guessing it's this one (hopefully I'm not misinterpreting Jeremy)

      "If X is evil"

      This would need to be changed to "If X is evil by subjective standards," in which case the conclusion would become "god is evil by subjective standards." The thing is, that still leaves the door open to God being truly good if there indeed existed an objective standard. And "god is evil by subjective standards" doesn't necessarily contradict "god is good by objective standards."

      Delete
    64. Ok, I'll try it one more time:

      If X is evil and
      god is omniscient and
      god is omnipotent and
      god is the original universal creator and
      ((we observe X) or (god is defined as doing X)) then
      god is evil


      Well, this isn't even a proper rendering of the so called PoE. It is quite possible to say God is not omnipotent rather is not perfectly good, even if we accept the sceptic's framing of the issues or, if we don't accept that framing, we could appeal to free will or privation and so on. The atheist would then have follow up queries of course, but the point for now is you haven't even managed to frame your position properly. This is the sort of question-begging silliness I was referring to. You would have to actually argue for points like a certain evil exists and therefore God is evil (or non-omnipotent). There are all sorts of theist responses.

      Otherwise, I didn't say that a subjectivist theist couldn't be caught in something like the PoE. If he said that to his personal taste God was all-good and also said such and such an act was to his taste evil, whilst stated God committed this act, then he would be caught in an inconsistency. I just said this kind of special case is uninteresting.

      In general, the sceptic is appealing to a common standard of the good. This is why they bang on about bunnies being eaten and the like. They implicitly appealing to some standard they think all share. Also theists they are debating with (leaving aside subjectivist theists or voluntarists, the latter of whom are completely immune from the PoE) have their own objective notions of what good is. The sceptic has to deal with this notion. To show that the theist's ideas about the good and God's attributes end up in a contradiction. The sceptic must either hold that the theist's views of the good are distorted, and suggest that God is evil by some better but still objective standard; or he must meet the theist on his own ground and try to show that by his own understanding of the good, and God's attributes, nature, creation, and so on, there is inconsistency in holding God to be all-good and all-powerful.

      What the sceptic cannot do is pretend that just banging on about a particular evil existing is enough without dealing with the theist's understanding of good, God, and creation. And he can't just dismiss all these considerations of the theist's position by then claiming after all there is no such thing as objective good. This robs the sceptic's position of all meaning. The best he could do is note if the theist is silly enough to say God wouldn't do something because it is evil and then says God does this thing.



      Delete

    65. AnonymousMay 21, 2017 at 9:21 PM

      SP "Please demonstrate the point in this conditional assertion that requires an objective notion of the good."

      "I'm guessing it's this one

      "If X is evil""
      --False. That is a simple conditional. Objective versus subjective evil is irrelevant to the structure of the conditional.

      " And "god is evil by subjective standards" doesn't necessarily contradict "god is good by objective standards.""
      --Irrelevant. If X is identified by the theist as evil and X is observed and X is denied by the theist as being of god then the theist contradicts himself.

      Subjective versus objective evil is completely irrelevant to identifying this common theistic self contradiction.

      Delete
    66. Jeremy TaylorMay 21, 2017 at 9:28 PM

      "Ok, I'll try it one more time:"

      SP
      If X is evil and
      god is omniscient and
      god is omnipotent and
      god is the original universal creator and
      ((we observe X) or (god is defined as doing X)) then
      god is evil

      "Well, this isn't even a proper rendering of the so called PoE. "
      --False. It is a proper rendering of my argument of the PoE. I really don't care what others may have argued.

      "It is quite possible to say God is not omnipotent"
      --That is part of the conditional statement, and is also part of Christian doctrine. You are free to deny it if you wish, but the typical Christian asserts the omnipotence of god.

      " we could appeal to free will"
      --On an omniscient god, no, not soundly, you cannot.

      " you haven't even managed to frame your position properly."
      --Hilarious. I have framed my position properly. I have not framed some other position, but I have not attempted to do so. I will leave it to others to frame others.

      " This is the sort of question-begging silliness I was referring to. "
      --You have not identified any question begging in my argument.

      "In general, the sceptic is appealing to a common standard of the good."
      --Your generalities are irrelevant to my specific argument.

      "What the sceptic cannot do is pretend that just banging on about a particular evil existing is enough without dealing with the theist's understanding of good, God, and creation."
      --That is just what I have done, in some sense, hoisted the theist upon his own petard.

      Pick an evil by whatever standard you wish. Apply it to my conditional. The Christian god is evil by that standard. To deny that Christian god is thusly evil is self contradictory.

      Delete
    67. To assume without proper argument that the existence of any particular evil is inconsistent with an all-good, all-powerful God is to beg the question. To assume that any particular evil is (relevantly) caused by God or that he is morally responsible for it, without, proper argument, is to beg the question. To ignore (or simply assert as unsound) theistic responses to the so called PoE, like privation, and free will, as well as all the pertinent metaphysical background, is to beg the question. If you can't see all this, then that is up to you. But it is still the case.

      Anyway, I can't see there is anything more for me to add. I've made my points, and won't say anything more unless some worthwhile response is made.

      Delete
    68. "False. That is a simple conditional. Objective versus subjective evil is irrelevant to the structure of the conditional."

      I don't have to change the conditional, I could just accept the conclusion as a premise and as a conditional state that "if this is evil by subjective standards, then God is evil by subjective standards," which as I said, still leaves the door open.

      Delete
    69. Jeremy TaylorMay 22, 2017 at 12:21 AM

      "To assume without proper argument that the existence of any particular evil is inconsistent with an all-good, all-powerful God is to beg the question."
      --I provided the argument multiple times above, thus this objection is irrelevant.

      "To assume that any particular evil is (relevantly) caused by God or that he is morally responsible for it, without, proper argument, is to beg the question"
      --Again, argument alr4eady provided, so this objection is irrelevant.

      " To ignore (or simply assert as unsound) theistic responses to the so called PoE, like privation, and free will, as well as all the pertinent metaphysical background, is to beg the question."
      --Argument already provided, so again irrelevant

      "If you can't see all this, then that is up to you. But it is still the case."
      --You just didn't read and understand the arguments.

      If X is evil and
      god is omniscient and
      god is omnipotent and
      god is the original universal creator and
      ((we observe X) or (god is defined as doing X)) then
      god is evil

      If god is omnipotent then he could have created otherwise. There cannot be a moral need to create evil because that means god is limited to only create in certain ways.

      If god is omniscient you cannot have free will. You can only do the thing god knew you would do before you were created, else god was wrong in his knowledge of you.

      If god is omniscient he knew all the evil he was creating and the evil doers could only do evil else god would be wrong, and on omnipotence he could have created otherwise. Thus god is the intentional source and instigator of all evil.

      If you then deny god is evil you contradict yourself.

      Delete
    70. AnonymousMay 22, 2017 at 5:32 AM

      "I could just accept the conclusion as a premise and as a conditional state that "if this is evil by subjective standards, then God is evil by subjective standards," which as I said, still leaves the door open."
      --Not for the Christian who then denies that god is evil by that standard. There is no open logical door for the Christian who denies god is evil yet acknowledges that evil exists while simultaneously asserting omnipotence, omniscience, and intentional universal creation of god.

      The Christian god with all those asserted properties is incoherent by self contradiction.

      It is a case of trying to fit 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound logical box, it won't squeeze in all at the same time, somthin's gotta go.

      Delete
    71. "Not for the Christian who then denies that god is evil by that standard."

      But if the standard is subjective then there is no need to deny it, any more than one needs to deny/disprove someone's opinion that chocolate is a better flavor than vanilla.

      Delete
    72. If the subjective standard IS the theist's standard, then you can go back to what Jeremy said about subjectivist theists. We aren't talking about cases where the theist argues for objective good, because that hasn't been granted for the same of argument. If it was, then we could talk in precise detail about "best possible worlds," "free will," "creating evil," "responsibility," etc, all of which have consequences for the PoE and they way it is presented.

      Delete
    73. If anyone does want an explanation of Thomist morality and the PoE, search this blog for older posts.

      Delete
    74. I thought Dr Feser was going to delete this garbage?

      Delete
    75. I second that. This guy has completely fouled up this combox without contributing anything substantive in the least. It would be a shame if he got away with that in the future.

      Delete
    76. AnonymousMay 22, 2017 at 7:39 AM

      SP "Not for the Christian who then denies that god is evil by that standard."

      "But if the standard is subjective then there is no need to deny it, "
      --By any standard of evil, subjective, supposedly objective, privation, or whatever, the conditional applies on omnipotence, omniscience, and intentional universal creation of god. God simply is evil on those assertions.

      If the same theist then denies that sort of evil of god then that theist contradicts himself, irrespective of the sort of evil asserted.

      Delete
    77. "By any standard of evil, subjective, supposedly objective, privation"

      "supposedly objective, privation"

      So you do grant objective accounts of good/evil. Under classical theism, the arguments can be made (they've been made in previous literature such as Davies' book/previous blog posts here) that the PoE fails. Because like I alluded in my subsequent comment, these three paragraphs of your argument becomes a lot more contentious:

      "If god is omnipotent then he could have created otherwise... Thus god is the intentional source and instigator of all evil."

      Delete
    78. AnonymousMay 22, 2017 at 10:34 PM

      SP "supposedly objective, privation"

      "So you do grant objective accounts of good/evil."
      --No, I used the qualifier "supposedly". It is asserted by some that evil is somehow objective. It doesn't matter for god to be evil, which the Christian god clearly is on omniscience, omnipotence, and universal creation.

      " Under classical theism, the arguments can be made (they've been made in previous literature such as Davies' book/previous blog posts here) that the PoE fails. "
      --You have presented no demonstration where my argument fails, thus my assertion that the Christian god is evil stands unrefuted here.

      " these three paragraphs of your argument becomes a lot more contentious:"

      SP "If god is omnipotent then he could have created otherwise... Thus god is the intentional source and instigator of all evil."
      --How are my paragraphs in any way contentious, other than you simply don't wish to face their airtight logic?

      If god is omnipotent, clearly he could have created human nature as he wished. He could have made everybody kind and loving. He could have instilled a sense of appreciation and empathy in all, yet he chose not to, thus he is the intentional instigator of vast human suffering and therefor evil.

      How is my very plain logic at all "contentious"?

      Delete
    79. "You have presented no demonstration where my argument fails"

      "How is my very plain logic at all "contentious"?"

      I figured you might say something like this, which is why I mentioned reading older blog posts, twice.

      Delete
    80. But would a just God allow us to be afflicted with Stardusty?

      Delete
    81. AnonymousMay 23, 2017 at 6:52 AM

      " I mentioned reading older blog posts, twice."
      --I have read and responded to every blog post addressed to me that did not violate the moderation instruction Feser provided, unless I somehow missed some.

      If you have a specific blog post you think somehow refutes my logical positions by all means please cit the date and time of such posts and I will gladly revisit them.

      But you have offered no specific valid counter arguments and neither has anybody else here that I am aware of. Again, please cite specific references if you disagree.


      Delete
  14. Dear Sean K.: You write, "So one could say, as the joke goes, that Satan is good as far as he goes, then, right? (He just doesn't go that far, so to speak, or isn't that good, he's horribly vicious and evil."

    I think the answer would be that you are correct. Since God is Existence Itself (and also perfect goodness), Satan in possessing the bare fact of existence would possess at least that much relationship to goodness. However, all of what Satan does with that existence, being evil, would also be a form of privation. This is especially true of the privation of the rational existence for which rational creatures were created.

    This is why Dante, being a Thomist, portrays Satan in Hell as mindless and mechanical, like an unthinking wind-up toy stuck forever in a frozen sea. He has lost all goods of intellect, and all other goods except existence. In becoming evil, he has lost all being, except (again) the being of continued existence.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am wondering whether the view of evil as the absence of a good has helped anybody in their day to day life. For instance, I have a toothache - I say to myself it's not a positive evil. What is happening is that my tooth enamel hasn't functioned as it should (privation) and therefore my pain is sending me a warning (so that's good)), and also if some species of bacteria has been feeding on my tooth then that bacteria has experienced a positive good. But for myself, I usually forget all this when in pain. Does anybody know of any stories of people who handled evil better because they had this understanding of it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am wondering whether the view of evil as the absence of a good has helped anybody in their day to day life. For instance, I have a toothache - I say to myself it's not a positive evil.....
      .....Does anybody know of any stories of people who handled evil better because they had this understanding of it?


      Well I am not a Thomist but I think a possible answer to this could be that the theodicy is designed merely to show that a Good God is compatible with ..lets say my having toothache ..
      if it succeeds it would give us a sort of reason(though a very abstract one maybe?) to think that Good God exists despite so much pain..

      As for handling personal problem with evil, for that the theistic intuitions about hereafter among other things could do the work...one can believe that none of these pains are gratuitous or at least that they don't constitute irredeemable evil...and these sort of things which does help in day to day life I think.

      So I think clarification of the scope of this theory is important, otherwise it can result in caricatures and over-application of it in some cases

      Delete
  16. Hi Ed,

    Thanks for a very thought-provoking post. I agree with your analysis of the case of Ananias and Sapphira. However, I'd like to take issue with your account of evil suffered. You write:

    "When a lamb is eaten by a lion, the damage to the lamb amounts to a set of privations – for example, the absence of a limb, flesh, or skin that is torn away. Though bad considered in itself, the damage also plays a necessary part of a larger good, namely the flourishing of the lion... In causing a world in which lambs are eaten by lions, then, God does not cause evil as such. Rather, he causes a world in which certain goods (namely the good of lambs having all their limbs, flesh, etc. unmolested) are absent, and these privations are not willed by him for their own sake, but rather as a concomitant of the good of there being lions in existence."

    I agree with your argument, insofar as it relates to the set of privations suffered by the lamb. So far so good. But you continue:

    "Evil suffered is badness that happens to or afflicts someone or something."

    The loss of a lamb's limbs, flesh and skin is certainly an affliction, but as you rightly point out, it's a privation. However, pain surely counts as evil suffered, since it afflicts the lamb.

    Some readers have pointed out that pain serves as "a warning to avoid that which is harmful or destructive." But even if that's true, the warning only works because it afflicts or bothers the individual experiencing it. And of course, the pain suffered by a lamb as it's being devoured by a lion doesn't serve any biologically useful purpose at all: by then, it's too late for the lamb to try to avoid the lion. So there's no getting around it: pain counts as evil suffered.

    Finally, you write:

    "Davies makes two relevant points about evil suffered. First, it is a privation rather than a positive reality. Second, it is not willed by God as an end in itself, but only as a concomitant of some good."

    With the greatest respect. I think Davies is simply mistaken here. Pain is not a privation, and pain is not always a concomitant of some good. Sometimes it serves no biologically useful purpose at all. (Case in point: phantom limbs.)

    I don't claim to have a better solution to the problem of pain than anyone else. All I want to argue is that the problem is real.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe it could be argued that pain which serves no biologically useful purpose, as in the case of phantom limbs, is a privation: that is, it is a disordered occurrence of pain (in the Thomist sense: not ordered towards the natural end of pain), and as such, it is deprived of the order which would direct it to be absent when it does not serve its natural end.

      Still more disordered, I suppose, is that pain which (as part of its own disordered nature) falsely convinces the sufferer that he deserves such pain. Pain of this kind is found in severe clinical depression and, I believe, in certain other mental illnesses. One might think of it as a foretaste of Hell – where part of the pain, I conceive, is knowing that it is deserved.

      Delete
  17. The Masked ChickenMay 13, 2017 at 10:07 AM

    I am writing this note to myself more than to anyone else to remind me when pain is real and darkness comes...

    Ed didn't finish the story: the lamb was torn apart by the lion for food and just as the lion was opening his mouth for a tasty treat - BAM - the lion is run over by a tour bus filled with children. Now, the lamb is dead, the lion is dead, the children are traumatized, and the driver is in jail. Nobody wins. These are the facts visible to the human eye. Just so, the atheist testified in court.

    Yet, in the presence of suffering, place must be made for faith, otherwise, suffering will forever remain only that which is visible to the human eye. We know, however, by the invisible light of faith, that things are not always as they seem. The good brought by suffering will, in many cases, remain invisible, hidden to this life of flesh and bone.

    The greatest evil suffered, the greatest evil possible to suffer,in any reality,was the death of God at the hand of man, but it was this very greatest evil which brought about God's dearest desire - the redemption of fallen Man. The physical Christ who walked the shores of Galilee never saw this summum bonum, never lived to see this good accomplished. It is God's direct act of power that brought this great good out of so great an evil.

    We do not have such complete power in our nature to convert all our suffered evils into redeemed goods, but through baptism and the infused gift of Faith, we are united to that supreme Act of suffering which has the power, in itself, to bring about the good it suffers for. By our union to this Act, through faith, all our suffering is made a part of His suffering and his victory, His conversion of evil into good, is our victory, as well. Just as in His case, however, the sight of that victory may not be apparent in the day and the hour of evil. We may never live to see it. It may have to wait to be proclaimed at another dawn, but we must hold onto the reality that such a good will happen, either for us or for another, for what else is there for faith, except that it be, "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen?". Faith is given in baptism and did you not know that in exchange for the gift of Faith, on the day you received it, you give your permission for suffering to occur in your life? It is an equitable trade, because faith gives meaning to suffering and transforms it into a means of good, however temporarily hidden that good is from sight.


    The Chicken

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  18. The Masked ChickenMay 13, 2017 at 10:09 AM

    (cont.)

    Just as the darkness did not overcome the Light that is the Light of the World, so the purest evil did not overcome the purest good. We, with our lesser powers, our sufferings, are like the two thieves being crucified between Innocent Suffering (that deserves to be personified, does it not?). We can choose to rebel against our suffering and demand answers and action - really work to screw up the big picture for our own petty comfort, or we can accept that portion which is ours to claim, by justice or by love.

    The good which results from suffering can be hidden, just as the pain from a phantom limb may be real, but it really depends on our sight what we choose to see. We know that once the brain sees what is real, the phantom limb pain recedes (such are the basis for modern treatments), just so, once we see by Faith and not by sight, we see the deeper reality our suffering is embedded within and the spiritual pain, at least, recedes.

    For Catholics, today marks the 100th anniversary of the appearance of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima, in Portugal. Her urgent message was that we give our suffering, in faith, to the One, who has the power to bring good from our suffered evil. We must suffer our evil out of either justice or love, but in either case, Mary pleads with us to see - to see that this life is not all there is, to see that suffering is the smoke and mirrors behind the greatest feat of mystical transformation ever made, to see that there is a reason, a purpose, and a plan to every moment of our existence. It is through faith acting in charity that we have the hope of better things, if we will only stop our rebellions and offer our gifts, both the pleasant and the awful, for mercy for ourselves and others. If there were no suffering, there would be no parents, for parents wear suffering like a second skin, but ask any parent how little it matters if only their children can flourish. By your suffering, you, too, may be spiritual parents to children unseen, for generations and generations to come. If only you would see...

    My comment contains no new philosophical truth, nothing that will convince an atheist, certainly, but if you would know the truth of suffering beyond argument, ask someone of faith who is suffering to offer and hour of their suffering for you. If you still do not understand after that hour, then you have missed seeing the love that has passed you by, sight unseen, and your poor sufferer who gave you the hour weeps, for you have reached only that phantom understanding of suffering of the atheist - that suffering is the eternal lament of what might have been. In that one hour you have missed seeing the Divine trick. Suffering is still in the top hat, for you, but for the man of faith - he is joyfully holding the dove (I mean, Holy Spirit).

    The Chicken

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  19. This "privation" "causation" talk etc. is a lot of silly babble. Life is a mystery, and Job gives us one million times the insight as a whole conference of Thomistic philosophers. As Thomas himself recognized, at the end of his life, btw!

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  20. The thing to remember is Fr. Davies teaches us that God is metaphysically good, ontologically good and give the lack of any real distinction between God's Being and Essence God is Goodness Itself.

    But God given His Nature in classic Theism cannot be coherently be called Morally Good. Or if we wish to be more accurate God is not a moral agent.

    Still if we want to be even more accurate. God is not unequivocally comparable to a human moral agent(with superpowers).

    All Theodicy presupposes God is somehow a moral agent unequivocally comparable to human moral agents.

    But God cannot given his nature be coherently conceived as such. The God of Abram and Aquinas, the God of Classic Theism needs a Theodicy like a fish needs a rowboat.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Additional:

    As a corollary to my last.

    God given His nature and His relation to creatures has no obligations too us. Thus any good God does for us is by definition gratuitous in nature.

    Given this relationship we can thank God if He "intervenes" to help us but we cannot demand or expect it.

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    Replies
    1. That's not perfectly right. There is a debitum naturae. But it is per such-and-such nature, not per such-and-such individual.

      Delete
    2. Aristotle

      Well God is obligated to do what He wills. So whatever He wills toward us He must do but not because of any debt to us but to himself.

      Or am I not understanding you here?

      Please elaborate if you can?

      Cheers.

      Delete
  22. Last bit.

    Finally there is no such thing in Classic Theism as the "Best of all Possible Worlds".

    God could have always made a better world then the one He in fact made and He could make still an even better one. but God given his nature is not obligated to create. He is thus not obligated to create any possible world. There is no world so good God is obligated to make it and none so bad that as long as it partakes of being God should refrain from making it.

    Thus I found Davies solution to the "problem of evil" far more elegant the something like a mere "Free will theodicy".

    Classic Theism RULEZ!!!!

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    1. Ya'Kov

      Davies' Solution is nice but its not without its own criticism. See for example Andrew Gleeson's response to classical theistic theodicies

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    2. @Anon,

      Looks interesting but where might one find a summery of the arguments that is not behind a philosophy paper paywall?

      Delete
    3. Well I tried listening to a presentation between Gleeson and Davies.

      Found here.


      https://vimeo.com/35461059

      I am trying to digest him but my gut tells me he is making fallacies of equivocation (like with his assertion Divine Simplicity appears to have the same properties as nothing).

      As for my personal assessment of Gleeson he seems a sincere fellow.

      Delete
    4. Just a technical point, Son of Ya'kov, but isn't emanation, rather than creation, compatible with classical theism. After all, Plotinus and Proclus are classical theists, I had thought.

      Delete
    5. I would guess so. Emanation is just another term for continuous eternal creation or creating from all eternity. I think even Aquinas might have agreed if God Willed it He could have caused the universe to exist from all eternity without a formal beginning.

      Philosophically Aquinas didn't think you could prove via either Philosophy or Science creation had a beginning. He believed it did solely on the authority of divine revelation.

      Delete
  23. As I understand it, emanationism also entails the necessity of creation, or of "maya" in Hindu terms. Necessity, not in the sense of being compelled from the "outside"', but rather by God's own creative nature.

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  24. Hi Son of Ya'Kov,

    You write:

    "There is no world so good God is obligated to make it and none so bad that as long as it partakes of being God should refrain from making it." [Emphasis mine - VJT]

    OK. So you're fine with God creating a world in which there are sentient animals which, once created, continue to live forever, but suffer unending excruciating pain? Seriously? Surely you jest.

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    Replies
    1. >OK. So you're fine with God creating a world in which there are sentient animals which, once created, continue to live forever, but suffer unending excruciating pain?

      That is an incoherent scenario. Pain is the sensation we feel where by our bodies inform us we are being damaged.

      Immortal Sentient beings could not be damaged so how is the sensation they are feeling really "pain"? Also if they constantly fell this sensation you equivocally call "pain" would it not be natural for them to feel this sensation? In which case if you fell threw a wormhole & entered this weird realm and intervened to stop their "pain" how do you know they won't complain saying "Hey I always felt that way why did you make it stop? This feels wrong?"

      Part of Chinese water torture is stopping the dripping.

      Vincent you have to drop the ID Paley nonsense and get with the final causality essentialist program dude.

      PS. If I always felt a sensation & there never was a time where I didn't feel it how would I interpret it as "pain"?

      I only know "pain" from moments when I am not being damaged and therefore I am not in pain.

      Delete
    2. I would not 'be fine' with such a world, though not for the reasons I suspect you suggest e.g. moral abhorrentness. Instead such a world would seem pointless and irrational - God could have no sufficient reason to create such a world.

      (In a Scholastic sense nothing would thriving, not even bacteria)

      Delete
    3. Hi Son of Ya'Kov,

      You may not have heard, but I'm no longer writing Intelligent Design articles for Uncommon Descent. Here's the book review I wrote last year that got me thrown out:

      http://www.angelfire.com/linux/vjtorley/axe.html

      Re Paley: I think he was right about one thing when it comes to animal suffering - the numbers do matter. In his book, Paley strove to show that the lives of most animals are relatively free from misery, because they either die young (before they know what hit them - which serves a useful purpose as it prevents overpopulation) or because they die quickly and/or quietly, with pleasure predominating over pain during the great bulk of their lives (until just before the end). In other words, most animals are relatively free from pain, most of the time, and among those animals which are sentient, pleasurable experiences dwarf miserable ones.

      I think Paley's overall thrust is sound. But what if we lived in a world where most animals suffered excruciating pain, most of the time? Such a world is perfectly conceivable. I would argue, however, that a good God could not create such a world. I don't buy the line that an animal is privileged simply to exist, no matter how much misery it endures. (Try putting your hand over a candle flame, and within a few seconds you'll agree with me.)

      You write that immortal sentient beings could not be damaged. The Church disagrees: people sent to Hell on judgement day are immortal and sentient, and they suffer everlasting pain. In any case, I don't need to assume that animals are immortal for my argument to work. One can simply imagine a world where most animals suffer excruciating pain during 90% (say) of their finite lives. This also disposes of our objection that we only know "pain" from moments when we are not being damaged and therefore we are not in pain. Let's suppose that the animals have an occasional short respite from the pain they are enduring. Would you now concede that the world I describe could only have been created by a malevolent being?

      Daniel also objects that in a Scholastic sense nothing would thriving, not even bacteria, in the world I describe. Not so. One can suppose that a few animals live lives which are free from excruciating pain, and manage to reproduce. Bacteria, being incapable of pain, would still thrive anyway.

      Delete
    4. Ah Vincent!

      >You may not have heard,etc

      Well that is good to know.

      >Re Paley: I think he was right about one thing when it comes to animal suffering - the numbers do matter. In his book, Paley strove to show that the lives of most animals are relatively free from misery

      As a matter of principle I don’t believe there is any equivalence between human cognition and animal so I don’t believe their sufferings are comparable. Animals are pure creatures of sense not intellect. Thus they can’t conceive of and thus fear long term suffering. They live in the now. Also animals are purely material beings and have no spiritual components so morally a suffering animal is equivalent to the “suffering” the Planet Jupiter experienced a few years ago when a comet slammed into it. I don’t know that animals are conscious like we happen to be.

      Thus Rowe’s Fawn argument means nothing to me. For it to succeed he needs to change the dumb mere animal into a five year old girl.

      Finally we don’t really know what animal suffering is like because of Nagel’s “What is it like to be a Bat?”. We really can’t imagine what it is like to be a Fawn who was struck by lightning and trapped under a tree.
      At best we can imagine ourselves with our human cognition burned alive and under a tree(& we might imagine we have fur but that is it).

      >I think Paley's overall thrust is sound...etc..

      This assumes animal suffering is the same as human and I have little reason to believe this is the case.

      > I don't buy the line that an animal is privileged simply to exist, no matter how much misery...

      I don’t by the idea animals are “people” or equivalent to human being who are mentally handicapped. Animals have no spiritual components. No spiritual souls they are material beings only.

      >You write that immortal sentient beings could not be damaged. The Church disagrees: people sent to Hell on judgement day are immortal and sentient, and they suffer everlasting pain.

      That is a false analogy. The souls of men are in general willed by God to receive the Beatific Vision as their final end and the souls in Hell suffer because that final end is thwarted by their rebellious will. The damage is self-inflicted. It is irrational to suggest immortal sentient beings suffer the loss of the beatific vision God meant them to have yet at the same time positively willed they not have. That is a contradiction.

      > In any case, I don't need to assume that animals are immortal for my argument..etc.

      Pain evolved as a mechanism to warn us we are being damaged. Our intellect or instinct tells us the sensation we are feeling is “pain” and our suffering arises from our being damaged to move us to avoid damage. An intense sensation without that final cause isn’t really “pain” and if God created a bunch of creatures to feel it then it would be good for them.


      > This also disposes of our objection that we only know "pain" from moments when we are not being damaged..etc

      No it would just be natural for them to stop feeling the sensation they usually feel. Again without the final cause of warning of damage then it is just a sensation and because God created them with natures to produce and experience that sensation it is natural for them.


      >Daniel also objects that in a Scholastic sense nothing would thriving..etc.

      Immortal beings don’t diminish so what would bacteria thrive on?
      I doubt the resurrected living body of Jesus has bacteria like it did in life. Why? How do germs feed on impassible flesh?

      Cheers.

      Delete
    5. Hi Son of Ya'Kov,

      I'd like to address your comments.

      "Immortal beings don’t diminish so what would bacteria thrive on? I doubt the resurrected living body of Jesus has bacteria like it did in life."

      As I said above, my thought experiment doesn't require animals to be immortal. What's more, there's a difference between the preternatural immortality enjoyed by Adam and Eve and the supernatural immortality enjoyed by the risen Christ. I'm pretty sure that before the Fall, Adam and Eve would have had gut bacteria. Finally, bacteria don't need animals to feed on: they've been around for four billion years, whereas animals and plants appeared less than a billion years ago.

      "Pain evolved as a mechanism to warn us we are being damaged. Our intellect or instinct tells us the sensation we are feeling is “pain” and our suffering arises from our being damaged to move us to avoid damage. An intense sensation without that final cause isn’t really “pain” and if God created a bunch of creatures to feel it then it would be good for them."

      Some but not all pain is biologically useful. Think of a toothache, a backache, or the pain of bone cancer. Without a doctor or dentist around, there's nothing you can do about pain of that sort: it doesn't serve any useful purpose at all. So we can imagine a world in which animals are mortal, and in which they are relatively pain-free during the first year of their lives, but that after that, inaddition to experiencing biologically useful pain sensations, they are also subject to toothaches, backaches and so on, nearly all the time, with only occasional relief. At any given moment, most but not all animals in this hypothetical world are suffering excruciating pain, which usually serves no urose and is only occasionally beneficial in helping animals to survive. However, just a few animals in this hellish hypothetical world are hardy enough to reproduce. What I'm saying is that a world of that sort would be incompatible with the existence of a good God.

      "As a matter of principle I don’t believe there is any equivalence between human cognition and animal so I don't believe their sufferings are comparable. Animals are pure creatures of sense not intellect. Thus they can't conceive of and thus fear long term suffering. They live in the now."

      The pain of a toothache is urely in the now. It is purely material. And if some animals' brains and nervous systems are wired similarly to ours, then it's highly lausible to infer that they feel toothaches just as we do.

      And yes, animals do suffer from toothaches too: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080907205651AAgdOEh

      Cheers.

      Delete
    6. Sorry. "serves no urose" should read "serves no purpose." (Keyboard problems.)

      Delete
    7. @Vincent

      In principle I do not believe animal suffering is really comparable to human. Animals are material beings only without spiritual components so I don't know their sufferings are really "hellish". I doubt they are really that.

      Second the utility of pain is not relevant. Pain evolved to tell us we are being damaged. That we can't address all forms of damage is not relevant.
      If I am not being damaged then my nerves are damaged sending false signals if I feel pain. But hypothetical beings who feels a constant sensation that has not final cause to tell them they are being damaged cannot be said to be "in pain". If God created such beings to always or mostly feel this sensation then such a thing is natural for them and to stop the sensation harms them.

      Since I you are equivocating to make this argument I counter with an equivocation of my own. If these beings are in constant "pain" then how do we know they aren't "masochists"?

      If you stop them from feeling this sensation that is natural to them because God wills this is part of their essence and being then they will complain.

      Just like the weird chap in leather being whipped by a lass in leather. He for some weird reason wants that to happen and paid good money for it (not that I endorse that).

      Cheers.

      PS The final cause of Pain is to tell you that you are being damaged. Wither you can heal the damage is another thing.

      Delete
    8. Vincent,

      I hope this insight doesn't sound to vulgar if so I apologize.

      God condemns Sodomy because that act thwarts the natural end of sex and reproduction. Given His Holiness God could never create any world where He commands rational creatures to commit sodomy.

      But there is no reason why God could not have created a race of rational beings that Reproduce with same orifice they expel solid waste from. It superficially resembles buggery but technically it isn't.

      Well beings feeling a constant sensation that does not serve the final end of telling them they are being damaged can't really be in pain.

      Cheers.

      Delete
    9. Hi Son of Ya'Kov,

      You write:

      "If I am not being damaged then my nerves are damaged sending false signals if I feel pain. But hypothetical beings who feels a constant sensation that has not final cause to tell them they are being damaged cannot be said to be "in pain". If God created such beings to always or mostly feel this sensation then such a thing is natural for them and to stop the sensation harms them."

      If you define the final cause of pain as merely telling an animal that one of its organs is being damaged, regardless of whether the pain can be treated or avoided, then the pain felt by the animals in my hypothetical example would still have a final cause.

      You suggest that the constancy of the animals' sensation of pain in my hypothetical example would mean that it is natural, and hence not really pain. But I was willing to grant that the animals didn't experience this pain until they reached a certain age, and that even after that, they experienced occasional relief from the pain. I see no reason why you couldn't call that pain - especially if they attempted to self-medicate when given the opportunity, as many animals do: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/49/17339.full .

      That would also answer your suggestion that such animals may be masochists. If they were, they wouldn't seek medication for the pain.

      I might add that pain often gradually increases throughout an individual's life, reaching the point where it can become excruciating.

      In short: suffering in the animal kingdom could be a lot worse than what it is on Earth. The fact that it's relatively mild is evidence for God's goodness.

      Your original claim was that there is no world "so bad that as long as it partakes of being God should refrain from making it." I think you've qualified that claim out of existence.

      I shall sign off here, and let you have the last word if you wish. Cheers.

      Delete
    10. You can have the last word Vincent.

      Peace out bro.

      Delete
  25. timocrates, you said:

    You go to a local police department and talk to murder detectives, for example, who have had to seen some of the most terrible things done to human beings conceivable and tell them that those who escape all justice for these crimes have no greater punishment to look forward to than some kind of shame or remorse.

    Having been a Detective (not a Homicide Detective, but one of the Sexual Assault variety), I can tell you that I agree with your statement in large part. In fact, it is from these experiences that I realized something: namely, the problem for Christianity and God is not Hell, but Heaven. Indeed, the problem is not the existence of Hell, but the existence of Heaven. After all, how can a just and loving God allow such dark and evil beings into Heaven. So we have the problem backwards: Heaven is the problem that Christians need to discuss, not Hell.

    Cheers,

    Damian Michael
    www.damianmichael.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I share your concerns, and this is exactly what bothers me the most about Christianity. Obviously, it's about repentance, but the heart which has the magnitude to forgive such acts.....truly, I have a long way to go in my journey. I hope you do well in your walk, I'll pray for you.

      Delete
    2. Damian MichaelMay 15, 2017 at 11:02 AM
      " the problem is not the existence of Hell, but the existence of Heaven. After all, how can a just and loving God allow such dark and evil beings into Heaven. "
      --False dichotomy, both are problems. But at least heaven is said to be in some way good, as god is said to be.

      God made those "dark and evil" beings what they are, on the claim he is omniscient and omnipotent. Thus, god is the source of evil in this world. The least god can do is offer some consolation to those he has created so badly.

      But god, it seems, is capricious as well as malicious, since he intends to torture others of his evil creation for eternity merely for doing the very things he knew they would do before he created them, although he could have created them otherwise. Malevolent indeed of god.

      Delete
  26. I will refrain from commenting indepth here but will suggest that a form of justice based on vengeance, a desire to undo one's own hurt or somehow erase the hurt of victims by hurting others, is part of what sanctity is supposed to overcome.

    When people speak of Hell as 'shame' it would be better to think of it as sharing in the madness of Satan (a hypothetical most damned being), a permanent, raging denial of a world independent of one's own will coupled with the deep down undeniable knowledge that being, including one's own, depends on God. A good analogy for Hell as a state would be the blind insatiable striving of the Nietzschean Will to Power.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thou shalt not crap up mine combox!
    Best Ed.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Aren't we simply trying to recreate Augustine's distinction between moral evil and natural evil, both caused by the fall of us and of the angels, and metaphysical evil, which is inherent in createdness?

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  29. I'm not a philosopher, but I don't see why one must accept the view that the kind of suffering that exists in Hell is anything like physical or mental pain.
    I mean, from what I've read here, to get into heaven you need a supernatural gift called charity. It is something in your soul that you may not even notice, it doesn't affect you phisically or mentally (I assume) and yet it is extremely good. It is good in a metaphysical sense. Also, I assume that when one gets to Heaven, one doesn't feel "cheerful" like she just won the lottery. Whatever makes being in Heaven a good thing is in a metaphysical sense.
    Likewise, why must the 'suffering' and 'pain' of being in hell be like the physical or mental pain we experience in life. Why can't it be a state of disgrace in a metaphysical sense that one may not even notice but who is extremely bad nonetheless? It is already assumed that "good" and "bad" are not always related to feelings.

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  30. I am sorry because I know this is off topic but I really think this is something that Edward would want to comment on.

    Without any evidence the claim has been made, yet again, that atheists are smarter.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/atheists-more-intelligent-than-religious-people-faith-instinct-cleverness-a7742766.html

    https://www.springer.com/gp/about-springer/media/research-news/is-religion-an-evolved-domain-or-instinct-/12292652

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    Replies
    1. Stupid Theist?May 19, 2017 at 1:15 AM

      "Without any evidence the claim has been made, yet again, that atheists are smarter."
      --How many cosmologists are Christians? Atheism is positively correlated with higher education levels.

      Not scientific proof you say? Ok, fair enough, but some interesting correlations nonetheless.

      Atheists are just better as simple logical deductions such as the simple logic that god is the source of evil in our world, since he is said to be both omniscient and omnipotent, so he knew everything every person would do before he created anything, and he could have created otherwise, thus he intentionally created vast suffering, making him grossly malevolent.

      Christians don't seem to be able to follow that simple logic.

      Thus, the multifaceted nature of the brain is exposed, Christians being generally very nice and intelligent and successful decent people, yet they are not able to solve certain simple logical problems.

      Delete
    2. Then I must not be a Christian in spite of my claims to the contrary and you must not be an Atheist gay boy?

      In an Earlier gay post he writes:

      In one place you wrote.

      > the exact definition of evil doesn't matter for my assertions.

      Later you wrote:


      >The problem of evil rests on consistency of definition, not absolute proof of what evil is.

      That is not logical or coherent that is just being gay.

      So you are not an Atheist then? I am the Atheist and you are the Christian.

      I am more logical and prettier and kind to dumb animals.:D

      Delete
    3. Stardusty Psyche

      I think the problem is the underlying premise of such claims. They intentionally remove any contextualizing factors and stumble into the realm of confirmation bias.

      There is a moral decline in the Western, richer countries. Those countries also have more money and thus better education. Those countries also have a growing number of people who are indifferent but also who care little about the philosophical questions underlying some of their base assumptions.

      You also seem to claim that no theist has grasped with the philosophical questions or studied logic. Quite beyond the abstract debate, I personally have suffered a lot and seen a lot of suffering. I have considered everything and find it unconvincing that the problem of evil is a real difficulty considering God's causal relation to his creation (working through secondary, permitting evils he does not will as to allow freewill and goods such as the coming into being of some new life etc. etc.).

      Delete
    4. TheistMay 20, 2017 at 10:01 AM

      Stardusty Psyche

      "I think the problem is the underlying premise of such claims. They intentionally remove any contextualizing factors and stumble into the realm of confirmation bias."
      --I don't see how this is the case with my specific statements.

      "There is a moral decline in the Western, richer countries. Those countries also have more money and thus better education. Those countries also have a growing number of people who are indifferent but also who care little about the philosophical questions underlying some of their base assumptions."
      --Not so much among atheists and apologists.

      "You also seem to claim that no theist has grasped with the philosophical questions or studied logic. "
      --Studied, yes. Grappled with, yes. Grasped, no.

      " I personally have suffered a lot and seen a lot of suffering. "
      --I would not ordinarily personalize the PoE but you have brought up your own suffering.

      Are you at fault for your suffering? Do you blame yourself? What choice did you have, really?

      On Christianity, before god even said "let there be light" god knew you would suffer. God is omnipotent so he could have created this world with a different structure absent your suffering. You could not possibly have avoided your suffering because god already knew you would suffer so to avoid your suffering would have negated god's omniscience.

      Thus, with malice of forethought, god chose to force you to suffer when he could have chosen otherwise. An evil god indeed, this Christ you worship like a tormented creature returning to a cruel master.

      " permitting evils "
      --On Christianity god does not merely permit evil he is the source of evil, since he is the source of all things.

      " as to allow freewill"
      --You have no free will, since you must suffer as god knew you would before he created anything at all, anything else but your suffering would negate his omniscience.

      Theist, I have a human emotion known as empathy, so I truly empathize with your suffering and wish you all the best. I suggest you rid yourself of the Christian self flagellating guilt trip and realize the irrationality and thus the logical incoherence of the Christian god. That alone will not end your suffering, but it will be a first step in gaining enlightenment that brings inner peace in spite of your suffering.

      Delete
    5. Conclusing Theist has no Free Will because he assumed Theist has no Free Will, because his argument has to assume no Free Will so God "knew" exactly what would happen to you.

      It is funny, he asks of Theist to change his ways although, He, Theist, has no choice over his actions.

      StarBeggar hasn't grasped logic nor reason, despite his bit**ing about others.

      Delete
    6. "Become an Atheist... You will have feelings of enlightenment despite the fact the fact that I, StarBullShit, thinks that your suffering is meaningless and unjustified in a purely subjective and provisional manner."

      Yep... That is some sales pitch right there. Notice that he automatically changed from confrontational behavior to friendliness/converter when Theist seemed to be a more soft and nice person. Just like a treacherous animal to be honest.

      But we all must remember that he is a NICE and EMPATHIC guy, despite the obvious fact that he comes out as manipulating and dissumulated.

      Delete
    7. EduardoMay 21, 2017 at 9:41 AM

      "It is funny, he asks of Theist to change his ways although, He, Theist, has no choice over his actions."
      --Perhaps God has foreseen that I am to be the instrument of His will to end the suffering of Theist, therefor I have no choice but to render my assistance in His plan :-)

      Or, maybe I am just doing what molecules do...

      Delete
    8. Stardusty Psyche

      " I suggest you rid yourself of the Christian self flagellating guilt trip and realize the irrationality and thus the logical incoherence of the Christian god. That alone will not end your suffering..."

      I did not state what my suffering was. For the record a lot of it has been inflicted upon me by other people, including injuries. So I will blame God for that? Especially since I got through many of these difficulties with the aid of, as I see it, God or religious practice.

      Also your comment "Studied, yes. Grappled with, yes. Grasped, no." is unbelievably arrogant and completely false. That you disagree with the conclusions of someone else is all you have really demonstrated with this comment.

      Delete
    9. Please don't feed the troll.

      Delete
    10. TheistMay 23, 2017 at 9:07 AM

      Stardusty Psyche
      " I suggest you rid yourself of the Christian self flagellating guilt trip and realize the irrationality and thus the logical incoherence of the Christian god. That alone will not end your suffering..."

      "I did not state what my suffering was. For the record a lot of it has been inflicted upon me by other people, including injuries."
      --Yes, that is usually the way, I am sorry to hear that.

      " So I will blame God for that?"
      --On an omnipotent, omniscient, universal creator god, yes, most logically.

      " Especially since I got through many of these difficulties with the aid of, as I see it, God or religious practice."
      --Even if we assume for the sake of argument that your religious practices were not an exercise in self delusion it is an evil god indeed that inflicts suffering to induce begging for relief so he can then play the hero, yet merely partially mitigate his original evil actions.

      "Also your comment "Studied, yes. Grappled with, yes. Grasped, no." is unbelievably arrogant and completely false."
      --Oh? You have grasped my argument then? Can you use specific logical analytical reasoning to identify and communicate my errors?

      " That you disagree with the conclusions of someone else is all you have really demonstrated with this comment."
      --I have repeatedly demonstrated on this thread that on omnipotence, omniscience, and universal creation the Christian god is evil, and thus those who deny the evil of such a god contradict themselves. No individual here as made any significant specific counter arguments.

      Please see
      May 22, 2017 at 6:18 AM
      and by all means point out the errors of my argument you seem to think you have grasped.

      Delete
  31. Ya'kov:

    Вы хорошо пишете

    ReplyDelete
  32. One thing I'd like to add to this is that we really need to establish agreed upon definitions of things like omnipotence and omniscience before debating things. For example, a definition of omnipotence as "able to do anything" is obviously inadequate, since you run into the "Can God create a rock so heavy that he can't lift it" argument. Not all powers exist. And you can't fault an all-powerful being for not having a power that doesn't exist. On a separate note, think of self-control. Just because you refrain from ever doing something, even though you have the power to, doesn't mean there is something wrong with you. It just means you always make the right choice in that matter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be a very limited god indeed if god could not induce the sort of behavioral nature in humans as he wishes.

      Further, it would be strange indeed to assert an omnipotent god could not choose to do away with an eternal torture chamber.

      No, sorry BLS, you would have to deny the notion of depraved indifference and even the most rudimentary notions of omnipotence and omniscience to make the Christian god anything other than the foremost evil in existence.

      Delete
    2. "It would be a very limited god indeed if god could not induce the sort of behavioral nature in humans as he wishes.

      Further, it would be strange indeed to assert an omnipotent god could not choose to do away with an eternal torture chamber."

      It might not be a lack of a power (which would be limiting); it could also be the lack of exercising that power (which could be done for a good reason, a reason which might not be apparent to us).

      Delete
  33. Gee, I am not sure, even after reading many of these comments what objective meaning the term "evil" is supposed to have when Stardusty uses it.

    And terms like depraved indifference ... what in a Godless universe could that possibly mean? Why should I care if Stardusty spends an eternity writhing on a red hot skillet, if I am never aware of it, and if he has chosen it? It's just, you know ... molecules ....

    So what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DNWMay 23, 2017 at 3:45 PM

      "Gee, I am not sure, even after reading many of these comments what objective meaning the term "evil" is supposed to have when Stardusty uses it."
      --For my argument objectivity/subjectivity is irrelevant. For myself, I know of no objective morality and I have never been able to get anybody to tell me a moral proposition that is objectively true.

      "And terms like depraved indifference ... what in a Godless universe could that possibly mean? "
      --That is up to each of us as individuals as well as a majority by consensus.

      "Why should I care if Stardusty spends an eternity writhing on a red hot skillet,"
      --Do you care about the suffering of others? Most of us do. It is called empathy, which has no need of god for its origin.

      " if I am never aware of it, and if he has chosen it? It's just, you know ... molecules ....

      So what?"
      --Human molecules sense empathy for other sorts of molecules. It is in our evolved nature.

      Delete
    2. So you admit that your moral stance is not objectively true. And that your notion of depraved indifference is not an objectively sustainable moral judgment, but rather a term you and some number of others like to apply to people you don't feel as you do. And that caring about the suffering of others is something you and some others do, but you cannot really say what entitles you to that care, just that some people do.

      So we agree that your consensus is not my consensus; that your empathy is a chemical reaction and the mileage varies by model and driving conditions. And that some like vanilla, and some like chocolate, and some are indifferent to both.

      And we agree you have no argument at all in support of your vapid critical stance: just empty rhetoric based on no objective evaluative standards at all.

      No, I don't care about your suffering. Try doing situps and lifting weights. You will "suffer" less.

      Yeah, God could have made a universe where, like some big naked sexually mature baby, you could float around on a bed of warm gelatin and play with your toes for eternity.

      Whether you would consider that suffering or not, I cannot say.

      And of course there's always Novocaine. I guess "evil" disappears with that.

      Delete
    3. DNWMay 24, 2017 at 7:02 AM

      "And we agree you have no argument at all in support of your vapid critical stance:"
      --False, there is no such agreement between us.

      I have no need of an objective standard of evil to logically prove the Christian god is logically incoherent.

      You have failed to provide any specific counter analysis to my points in May 22, 2017 at 6:18 AM.

      I will reword them, perhaps that will help you to understand the logically irrefutable sequence of my assertions.

      It is the Christian who claims there is evil in this world.
      It is the Christian who claims god is not this sort of evil.
      It is the Christian who claims the omnipotence, omniscience, and universal creation of and by god.
      It is the Christian who makes these mutually incompatible claims.

      God must have intended to create evil, because he could have created otherwise, else he is not omnipotent, and he knew how is creation would generate so much suffering, else he is not omniscient.

      God is therefore the creator, instigator, and source for all evil, which he did with perfect forethought and intent, and avoidably thus purposely and effortlessly avoidably inflicting more suffering than any other being by far.

      The Christian god is thus not merely evil, he is the most evil being in all existence. When the Christian then denies this evil in god by his own standard of evil the Christian contradicts himself, rendering god a logical impossibility, and thus incoherent.





      Delete
    4. Just to be clear then,

      1. All your histrionic indignation over suffering so far, was not because you believed suffering to be evil in some objective sense, but because ... well for some other reason having to do with your more or less randomly evolved tastes and felt preferences.

      That is to say, in your worldview, you experience certain interior feelings or sensations when confronted with particular kinds of things and events, and you then apply certain terms to those in order to express those feelings when negative or positive. And that is more or less the totality of it ... except insofar as you get others to chime in that they feel the same ... or at least pretend to.

      You know, that would be what has been referred to many times here, as the emotive theory of ethical or value statements (or propositions). So we agree that you hold to the emotive theory of value.

      Thus, (and adverting to your own take on objective reality before analyzing the Christian worldview), the case of the Waffen SS marching down your street and rounding up you and your little buddies in order to cleanse the neighborhood of what they see as nuisance genetic forms, by first collecting, and then dousing you with gasoline and igniting you, is not "objectively" evil by any universally valid or morally mandatory standard: even though "Suffering!™", occurs.

      It is not then anymore objectively wrong, or evil, than it would be for you to, say, set out mouse traps to keep the vermin out of your bedroom.

      And we might further validly emphasize that if you were euthanized, or killed without warning, no objective evil would be done to you in any case, as there would not even be the question of Suffering™ to deal with.

      So are we at least agreed on the lay of your landscape up to this point?

      I ask all this because I want to make sure that when you emit a value statement, I can assign the proper weight to it, and do not conflate your own use of the term "evil" for rhetorical purposes, with the sense which others imbue the term.

      And then, 2,

      I guess, we have also reduced the question as to whether the Christian concepts of a good God, and "evil" events, if the terms evil and good are used univocally, becomes incoherent; because of some deduction you insist must logically follow from the definition of "good" as you understand the term. Right?

      But before we go on to address that 2nd matter, you must address the first issue as to our agreement.

      Delete
    5. DNWMay 25, 2017 at 7:51 AM

      "So we agree that you hold to the emotive theory of value."
      --False, there is no such agreement between us, since I have yet to enroll in any particular recognized school of ethics, not wanting to be tasked with defending associated views I may not hold.

      "So are we at least agreed on the lay of your landscape up to this point?"
      --No, but I agree no objective evil has yet been identified and published.

      "I want to make sure that when you emit a value statement, I can assign the proper weight to it, and do not conflate your own use of the term "evil" for rhetorical purposes, with the sense which others imbue the term."
      --Irrelevant to my argument. Subjective/objective, emotive, or whatever, it doesn't matter what the particular definition of evil is to show that the Christian god is evil and the Christian who denies that god is evil by his own definition is contradicting himself.

      " because of some deduction you insist must logically follow from the definition of "good" as you understand the term. Right?"
      --No, the definition of good is irrelevant, except that it is in some sense the negation of evil such the the equivalent argument can be formed using ~good=evil.

      "But before we go on to address that 2nd matter, you must address the first issue as to our agreement."
      --I appreciate you trying to reach agreement on terms and fundamentals to avoid miscommunication, but I do not take upon myself any particular entire school of thought, nor does it matter that the Christian thinks morality is objective and I think morality is relative.

      If the Christian claims the SS perpetrated evil then the Christian god is evil on omnipotence, omniscience, and universal creation. If the Christian then denies god is evil the Christian contradicts himself.

      Delete
    6. Ok, so we have reached the point wherein it is admittedly impossible for anyone to know what it is that you mean by "evil", or why "Suffering™"; should constitute "evil".

      You wish to make positive moral assertions, but you will neither admit to the obvious implications of the assertions you make, nor will you define the terms in any manner apart from some imaginary ostensive exercises.

      We really then have no means of objectively understanding or pinning down what it is you are ultimately talking about when you call something, "good" or "evil" or use those terms.

      In fact, in your own moral landscape there appears to be no such possibility.

      But, if you cannot yourself define and defend what "evil" means to you except by pointing at unanalyzed instances, then there are no means of anyone else gaining any assurance that you have any more sound an understanding of the Christian notions of "good" and "evil", than you do your own, when you go on to boast that you can demonstrate a logical incoherence in the Christian concept of God.

      If you cannot even establish your own use of terms on an unequivocal basis, what reason has anyone to impute to you a better or more rigorous understanding of these terms when you pretend to employ them in order to supposedly impeach the logical possibility of a "good" God on that very basis? That is, on the basis of some supposed terminological contradiction which you imagine you have spotted?

      All you are doing, is speciously drawing an existential inference regarding God from the supposed incompatibility of one Godly attribute with what you claim is existential "evil", as demonstrated by existential suffering: which you claim on the basis of your own say so, cannot exist without contradiction. But, we don't know what you mean by "good", or "evil" or why "suffering" is the refutation of "good".

      So, we can at least agree that you personally have no clear and distinct idea of what is meant by the term, "evil"; and that in your moral landscape it really has no objective meaning.

      We also note and agree that when you try to piggyback off of Christian notions of "good" and "evil" in order to try and expose an imagined conceptual incoherence, you actually have no better idea of what "good" and "evil" mean there, nor how suffering is supposedly the most profound "evil" in that Christian framework which you wish to indict, than you do in your own framework of meanings.

      You apparently imagine you can hold someone to a conceptual standard you brandish, without being able to define that standard is, or to justify the grounds on which it is supposedly based.

      You imply you have some logical abilities. You then know that in order to soundly establish your contention categorically, the terms used must be univocal.

      But you don't even have a univocal definition in your own landscape, much less a demonstrated understanding of what "good" and "evil" mean for Christains, and how "Suffering™!" per se, establishes your contention.

      It is small wonder that no one can have a sensible conversation with you, when we cannot even figure out what it is precisely that you imagine you know.

      Perhaps if you do not yourself believe in the objective meaning of the terms, good" and "evil", you could at least say what you know Christians must believe about the use of these terms, and how they do in fact define them in relation to "Suffering™".

      Delete
    7. By the way, it probably does not need mentioning, but part of the logical framework here is provided by the inescapable fact that in an existential landscape in which it is presumed that the terms "good" and "evil" have no objective senses and that therefore "Suffering™" cannot be objectively called "evil", an argument employing these terms against the existence of a good God, or what a good God would necessarily do in order to avoid the existence of evil, is itself an otiose and pointless veiled circularity at best, and an hilariously absurd argument at worst.

      In order for the terms of the argument to make any sense at all, the terms must have at least formally admitted and defensible definitions univocally employed.

      If all suffering cannot be demonstrated as "evil" per se, and if the existence of a coherent concept of ultimate "Good" cannot be shown to be incompatible with any so called suffering at all, then the argument fails in categorical terms as an example of establishing a Universal Negative Contrary.

      One would think that this is obvious; and that whereas it establishes nothing as to the existence of a Good God, it undermines the so called argument seen here, that purports to logically disestablish the possibility of a "good" and omnipotent God, on the categorical basis of the existence of "Suffering™"

      Delete
    8. DNWMay 25, 2017 at 1:40 PM

      "Ok, so we have reached the point wherein it is admittedly impossible for anyone to know what it is that you mean by "evil","
      --My meaning of evil is not important to show the self contradiction of Christians.

      "You wish to make positive moral assertions,"
      --No, it is the Christian who asserts there is evil in this world, or evil acts perpetrated by individuals, making them evil doers.

      Call it whatever you wish, for this argument I simply called it X


      If X is evil and
      god is omniscient and
      god is omnipotent and
      god is the original universal creator and
      ((we observe X) or (god is defined as doing X)) then
      god is evil

      If the Christian then goes on to deny god is X that Christian has contradicted himself.


      "We really then have no means of objectively understanding or pinning down what it is you are ultimately talking about when you call something, "good" or "evil" or use those terms."
      --Unnecessary and irrelevant (see above)


      "Christian notions of "good" and "evil", "
      --Whatever those notions are the set of properties attributed to god are mutually exclusive.

      " you pretend to employ them in order to supposedly impeach the logical possibility of a "good" God on that very basis? "
      --By any definition of the words I have encountered the following is logically true:
      if evil then not good.

      "terminological contradiction which you imagine you have spotted?"
      --It is not a terminological contradiction. It seems you have not really come to understand what my argument is.

      I listed the core argument here as well as some follow up paragraphs:
      May 22, 2017 at 6:18 AM


      " we don't know what you mean by "good", or "evil" or why "suffering" is the refutation of "good"."
      --You don't need to know for this argument.


      "You apparently imagine you can hold someone to a conceptual standard you brandish, without being able to define that standard is,"
      --Yes, all I need to know is that X is called evil and X is denied in god while god is demonstrably the source of X.

      "You imply you have some logical abilities. You then know that in order to soundly establish your contention categorically, the terms used must be univocal."
      --Here is something that is logically true
      X != ~X
      Do you need to know what X is to know that statement is logically true?

      I have have demonstrated the logical incoherence of the Christian god. I don't need to precisely define X to do a logical analysis of assertions regarding X.


      "It is small wonder that no one can have a sensible conversation with you, when we cannot even figure out what it is precisely that you imagine you know."
      --I know a variety of things regarding X. Also, about omniscience, and omnipotence.

      I also know some relationships involving X and the negation of X.

      Delete
    9. DNWMay 25, 2017 at 2:28 PM

      "By the way, it probably does not need mentioning, but part of the logical framework here is provided by the inescapable fact that in an existential landscape in which it is presumed that the terms "good" and "evil" have no objective senses and that therefore "Suffering™" cannot be objectively called "evil", an argument employing these terms against the existence of a good God, or what a good God would necessarily do in order to avoid the existence of evil, is itself an otiose and pointless veiled circularity at best, and an hilariously absurd argument at worst."
      --If my argument rested upon a general notion of moral assertions such as good and evil you would have some important points here that would then need to be addressed.

      Since it isn't, you don't.

      "In order for the terms of the argument to make any sense at all, the terms must have at least formally admitted and defensible definitions univocally employed."
      --I unequivocally apply "X" throughout my argument. I will leave it to the Christian I am refuting to define "X".


      "One would think that this is obvious;"
      --If that were the form of my argument you would be raising some obviously important considerations.

      Since it isn't, you aren't.

      Delete
    10. So, despite your earlier talk, we can now supposedly forget all the hand-wringing about "Suffering™", or what the term "Suffering™" means, or just what the term is used to describe, or how it supposedly defines or relates to "evil".

      And we do not have to worry either, about any real definition of "evil", since your argument is now narrowed - you claim - to simply stating that if there is any existent or process X which is not obviously consistent with the stipulated attributes of a God who is responsible for, or to whom, existence can be traced, then that concept of God is incoherent.

      Incoherent that is, if that God does not do what you think that God should or must necessarily do, based on your semantic assumptions.

      But of course you claim that you do not need to know the actual meaning of the terms or how they are employed in order for your "argument" to be ... whatever you claim it is ... "valid" presumably.

      However, your "argument", in which you cannot even explain the meaning of the terms as used by the people who employ them, much less claim that your use of symbolism actually re-presents their terminology, definitions, or metaphysics, is presumably thought by you to be sound as well as valid. Or not. Who knows at this point.

      It's obvious that your argument is simply that:

      If God is omnipotent and good as claimed: then, the attribute words omnipotent and good imply that if God could do X he necessarily and per definition would.

      But you say,

      He does not do X.

      Therefore you say, he is either not as claimed, or is not.

      But your problem is you don't know what the words used to imply your "is not" conclusion actually mean.

      Your argument could actually work as easily by modus ponens to support the contention that if there is a good God, and that there is no such thing as a metaphysically equivalent "evil".

      But, instead you wish to modus tollens deny the consequent; thereby implying you imagine that there is ontologically equivalent evil, and if evil, then, either no good or no omnipotent God.

      If so, you must be prepared to stipulate that you know that "evil" has the same ontological status as does the term "good", when it is used by the people whose beliefs are critiquing.

      And that ... is why you were jabbering on about "Suffering™". You were doing so in an attempt to establish that there is an "evil" that has properties significant enough to support your crypto-metaphysical argument as sound ... not just as an empty formal and self-referential pattern.

      Delete
    11. DNWMay 26, 2017 at 9:13 AM

      "So, despite your earlier talk, we can now supposedly forget all the hand-wringing about "Suffering™", or what the term "Suffering™" means, ...And we do not have to worry either, about any real definition of "evil", "
      --Those are interesting subjects that deserve attention but are not required for my logical proof of the incoherence of the Christian god.


      "Incoherent that is, if that God does not do what you think that God should or must necessarily do, based on your semantic assumptions."
      --No, what I think god should do is irrelevant.

      "But of course you claim that you do not need to know the actual meaning of the terms"
      --Logical expressions can be demonstrated to be logically true (or false) without defining what the variables represent.
      X = X
      is a logically true statement irrespective of what X is defined to be.
      The Christina god reduces to
      X != X
      or
      X = ~X
      both of which are logically false statements, irrespective of what X is defined to be.

      "If God is omnipotent and good as claimed: then, the attribute words omnipotent and good imply that if God could do X he necessarily and per definition would."
      --No, he simply did X and is thus necessarily X. God built a deterministic mechanism to do X, therefore he did X.

      If the Christian denies god is X the Christian contradicts himself.

      "But you say,
      He does not do X.
      Therefore you say, he is either not as claimed, or is not."
      --The Christian has identified X as real in this world, but denies god did X, and the Christian thus contradicts himself.

      Delete
  34. To condense it I think Stardusty is saying that if God could have created a universe with no evil, and He was all good, then he would have done so. Of course, this necessarily depends on a specific moral philosophy/framework (in this case classical theism), since that is where the inconsistency must lie.

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    1. ozero91May 23, 2017 at 4:30 PM

      " this necessarily depends on a specific moral philosophy/framework "
      --In what moral philosophy/framework is the intentional and effortlessly avoidable infliction of great harm and suffering somehow not evil?

      What else would characterize the intentional and effortlessly avoidable infliction of great harm and suffering except the attribution of evil?

      Pick the most heinous evil doer you can think of. What did he do that indicated his evil, if not inflict harm and suffering intentionally and avoidably?

      On omnipotence, omniscience, and universal creation the Christian god is the most evil character in the universe by far.

      Delete
    2. >On omnipotence, omniscience, and universal creation the Christian god is the most evil character in the universe by far.


      But Starfaggot you reject defining evil so saying God is the most evil character in the universe has no objective meaning.

      U'R' so gay and by gay naturally we don't mean gay in the hot sexy way Milo Yannopolis is gay but in the douchebag way Perez Hilton is gay.

      U'R' just too gay to function.

      Delete
  35. Is going to the gym evil?

    According to StarNonSense, YES!

    Remember that when you go to the gym.

    ReplyDelete
  36. EduardoMay 23, 2017 at 8:08 PM

    Is going to the gym evil?

    According to StarNonSense, YES!

    Remember that when you go to the gym."



    For sure. It involves suffering" doesn't it? "Go for it, get those last 3 curls in, dude! Feel the burn, man!" Yeah, "EVVVV-il!

    And of course, shivering on a hill top at dawn, in the snow, on opening day, is evil too. Evil that it is cold, evil that I feel the cold, evil that I shoot the buck, evil that he lives only 7 years anyway ... evil, evil, evil.

    Now, one thing that is a little difficult for me to figure out, is how in a modern world where anesthetics are so readily available, evil" cannot be completely banished with a pill alone, and why it takes all those nuzzling arse sniffing Bonobo 'virtues' so beloved of the political left, to compensate. Isn't the absence of physical suffering enough? Is our little Bonobo metaphysically entitled to more? In aid of what? In aid of some objective good? Could feeling "good" be good, because it is a signal that something more fundamental than the feeling itself is being realized, be part of the answer?

    And if not, would not the greatest good for the greatest number of our sensitive compatriots, not simply be the final administration of a fatal soporific as they are hooked up to an orgasm inducing brain wave diddler?

    See? The relativist's so-called 'problem of evil', solved, easy-peasy, once and for all, and on their own assumptions and granting their own context ; without even bringing God into it.

    Wish all problems were that easy to solve.

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    Replies
    1. Here's what I'm wondering about. Sure, if an instance of suffering isn't evil (like a workout) then there was no need for God to "avoid" it. I'll even grant that hell can be demonstrated as not evil. But for suffering/injustice that is seen as evil/wrong (like abortion), would a "Good" God not be expected to either intervene or prevent it from possibly occurring? If not, then why are humans who intervene and fight against injustice seen as good/heroic?

      Delete
    2. Stoping privations is an who leads to more Good things basically.

      But yeah, why God fails to act or fail to stop Evil/Privations? I don't know. The stock answer is that by allowing certain privations, there will be more Good and I agree there are plenty of instances where Evil will cause us to attempt to be better. But it is hard to grasp something like that, because each case is a case.

      Delete
  37. Stopping privations lead to more Good, search on the bar for "good" or "privations" and will probably have a way better understanding of the idea through Feser's words.

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    1. One of the problems that occur in discussions like these is that people fall in and out of the context in which these issues are initially framed, either unconsciously or at their rhetorical convenience.

      Let me give you an example. Stardusty has been harping on Epicurus' supposed four questions. Does Stardusty refer to Epicurus's definitions of good and evil while doing so? No. Stardusty does not even believe in good and evil. What Stardusty attempts to do is to use the supposed form of a 300 BC philosopher's argument as recorded in Lactantius ... https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Epicurus ... for refuting the Christian conception of God.

      Doe Stardusty then revise the conceptual content of Epicurus's supposed formulations to deal with the more developed notion of evil, or the worldview entailed by Christian theology? No. He figures he doesn't need to since his "argument" will work just as well no matter what the term evil or good connote.

      But that cannot work: either accept the conceptual changes and understand the senses conveyed by the words, or resort to an empty formality, which informs us of precisely nothing in terms of existential import.

      Either we accept the classical Greek version of a finite reality which the Gods also inhabit, express, and are limited by, or we move onto Neoplatonic or Christian conceptions of God, in which the four questions cannot be assumed to operate similarly because of the different ontological status of the beings, or the metaphysical distinctions in being, which are assumed.

      Thus, what works (maybe) as an argument for a Zeus sitting on Mt Olympus, and whose idea of pleasure and good is the same as Epicurus and conditioned by reality, rather than conditioning of it, becomes a comically ignorant argument to any observer who does not conceive of reality in the same terms as Epicurus: That is to say, as a closed loop materialist system which may or may not have a superhuman figure lording at the top of it.

      Stardusty probably sense that, so he drags in "Suffering". But since that concept alone will not take him where he wishes to go (even though it suffices for an Epicurus type) he has to empty his argument of semantic content, and try to salvage some face with an empty claim of validity.

      But it refutes nothing as it is devoid of specific conceptual content. And if the terms are provided with Christian conceptual content, definitional content in which "evil" is not the ontologically equal, inverse of "good", then the argument misses the mark entirely.

      Delete
  38. Well, I do notice that his argument is as empty as an empty bottle of Coke. His argument in the end is to point a contradiction in Christian view of things, but he has no desire to know what Christians mean by each word because HE KNOWS them all, how could he be wrong!?!

    But I have not thought he was posturing with a reason... Thought he just really thought the argument worked the way he wrote XD!

    Thanks for the clarification it was most helpful

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    1. EduardoMay 26, 2017 at 1:36 PM

      "Well, I do notice that his argument is as empty as an empty bottle of Coke."
      --Agreed, since the bottle remains filled with substances not necessarily apparent to the ordinary observer. Yet I understand aspects of existence that do no occur to the ordinary observer.

      " His argument in the end is to point a contradiction in Christian view of things, but he has no desire to know what Christians mean by each word"
      --I have hoisted the Christian upon his own petard, I have no need to brandish my own.

      Delete
    2. 1-ahahahah well thought out, true! There is still air in there, just like you can still write mostly worthless words, just like the air is not why I bought the Coke in the first place. I love how you have this need to glorify yourself at every turn despite you being a troll. It is a bit schizo to see you do that, when obviously all the evidence points away from your purported Awesomeness, hence why everybody thinks you are a troll, and people literally want to go away. Has nothing to do with your beliefs necessarily, but with your actions so far.

      2-You have done no such thing. You believe you do, as you keep repeating the same non-argument over and over, like a mantra. When people give you a possible answer you hand-wave like a headless chicken, your sophism is pretty strong, but doesn't go unnnoticed.

      Funny, I criticize you for not wanting to know what the side you are attacking says and your reply is... THAT?. You have zero to offer but you are full of disdain and conceit. Congrats old far, people definately are learning from you, they are mesmerized at your performance!

      If X is evil and
      god is omniscient and
      god is omnipotent and
      god is the original universal creator and
      ((we observe X) or (god is defined as doing X)) then
      god is evil


      First question here is how Christians identify Evil and what they mean by that? If they mean Privation, your argument holds no water and if anything it becomes a strawman based on similar words with different definitions.

      You assume that Free Will is incompatible with God Knowing all things, because you assume the future is written or you assume that everything is determined ... by something... So I don't see any problem there from the Christian side.

      If the Christian is suppose to accept determinism then there are no morals, Burning StarDusty alive is as normal as StarDusty's stupid comments. So your non-argument doesn't work there too because it assumes the Christian believes in some form or REAL evil not some Opinion...

      You also assume that you can analyse God as a Man, something that Classical Theism rejects, which means you don't really know what you are talking about again.

      Your non-argument implicitly assumes some kind of higher moral rules so God has to follow them, but is that what Christians believe? I know for certain that is not necessarily the case, especially for the Philosophical tradition in the Catholic Church which is what this site is about, and I assume what people here tend to believe in.

      The only thing I found rather interesting was "Why God didn't create different" sort of argument, which in Classical Theism doesn't lead to any Evil at all, and to make God do something Evil, you must necessarily assume that God is like a Man and failed to live to Higher Moral Grounds, but if that is so, then there is something higher than God, which means it wouldn't be God.

      You have hoisted your ego by your own petard as far as I can tell, so please do, Brandish that around.

      Delete
    3. its actually quite unfortunate that this discussion has turned so sour, surely there could be some kind of evidential problems Problems from evil relevant to Classical theism, unfortunately they haven't turned up here..

      also Eduardo, shouldn't the word fatalism be used instead of determinism in your comment?

      Delete
    4. Anon

      Truthfully... I don't know for sure XD. But I think Fatalism would come from his deterministic assumptions that he inserts in his argument.

      Another thing... Trust me! StarDusty is not here to debate anything, he is here to bother other people (The Evil Christians), cause a ruckus and attempt to pretend his position is unbeatable because he is always right because he is a genius.

      If you want proof, just check two threads before this one and you will see him and another Anon (I'm assuming you ain't the same) taking him seriously and attempting to get him to argue properly but all Pixie here could provide was a cop-out, he doesn't even attempt to make an argument, just an IOU and a victory Lap. Nobody slightly serious would do that. Only a troll would behave like that, his argument only makes sense when someone with some former knowledge about the matter can flesh it out in their heads.

      There were only two times he actually started to make sense, one of them he simply contradicted himself and the other was the "Why not a different world" comment, which if I am not mistaken, is something I've heard from Atheists before.

      Seriously, I could do his job for him way better hahahhah.

      Now, I don't know if any evidential problems may concern Classical Theism because of what Classical Theists believe. You see, before I have ever heard about Classical Theism, I would assume that God just like people needs a moral compass, which means God can act in a BAD way just as long that God desires to do so the whole Good (as in how I perceive Good) God didn't really seem true to me, although I didn't really see the Argument of Evil as a reason to disbelieve in a Good God, but if you do assume that God must respond to a Higher Moral Standard, then God has to be able to do Evil things or have done.

      Classical Theism is not like that at all however, just go and read some blog posts from Feser, search the word Evil or Good and will get why it has nothing to do with one another. If anything, is like Moral as we humans perceive doesn't even go into the equation.

      Just an addeddun but the way people tend to say that God is Evil, doesn't even Prove that God is Totally Evil, only shows that God has acted in an Evil way, or is capable of Evil, because the argument works the other way around and we conclude he must be Good too. Basically it doesn't work the way people want, it works only to show that God can't be completely Good, which I think many Christians would agree with. You see the whole problem with God being Perfectly Good comes from shifting definitions in the Modern Age. I think Feser talks about it too.

      Delete
    5. EduardoMay 26, 2017 at 3:32 PM

      "You assume that Free Will is incompatible with God Knowing all things,"
      --False. On omniscience free will is logically impossible. This is a simple logical conclusion, not an assumption.

      Delete
    6. No it's an assumption because I God could know all possible paths you would take on a maze and yet, you would be free to choose. God would also never get it wrong.

      No contradictions there. If you think there is, tell me how or let's agree to disagree on all things XD.

      Delete
    7. Delete
      EduardoMay 26, 2017 at 9:24 PM

      "No it's an assumption because I God could know all possible paths you would take on a maze and yet, you would be free to choose."
      --That is not sufficient for omniscience. He must know what we will actually do.

      To get the answer correct on a multiple choice test merely being aware of all the choices is not sufficient. You must know the correct choice, else you are wrong.

      " God would also never get it wrong."
      --So, you advocate marking every choice on the multiple choice test, and when the teacher gives you a zero you plead, "but I knew it was one of those so I never get it wrong!"



      Delete
  39. I think that Feser's discussion of concurrentism can be useful here.

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/01/metaphysical-middle-man.html

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    1. The biggest problem is that Classical Theism is pretty hard to discuss in a combox XD! Even worst, discussing with a no-good-faith-Troll like PixieDusty.

      Delete
    2. If I'm reading it right, it states that God isn't necessarily the cause for every effect, but He is necessary for cause and effect to occur. Kind of like how an engine is needed to move a car, but the driver determines which path it takes.

      Delete
    3. AnonymousMay 26, 2017 at 3:46 PM

      I think that Feser's discussion of concurrentism can be useful here.

      http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/01/metaphysical-middle-man.html
      (from that link)
      " if you draw a square on a chalkboard with blue chalk, both you as primary cause and the chalk as secondary cause are joint causes of the effect"
      --Right. The caulk has no free will. If the author writes an obscenity it is the fault of the author, not the fault of the chalk.

      The Christian god is the author. Each of us are his chalk. He is evil. We are blameless.

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